Clark’s story: Part II

Help from above that I don’t deserve

*Shelby was my nurse that night. She came in and introduced herself and told me that her plan for me was to remove my catheter somewhere around 10:00pm, which was roughly 12 hours after my surgery. At that point they would get me into a wheelchair, and I could go to the NICU to see Clark. I would keep the pain pump overnight. The cardiologist had completed an echo on Clark and said that everything looked pretty normal. Mild variation and they would follow it. My mom, sister, dad, and Ben were in the room with me when the neonatologist that was present at Clark’s birth came into the room. She said that they had done some preliminary testing per MFM suggestions and that genetic testing had been sent off and that x-rays of his head, neck and abdomen had been done. The x-ray of his head showed a cyst in his brain. The x-ray of his spine showed flattened, deformed vertebrae and the x-ray of his chest showed significant rib abnormalities on the right side of his chest with flattening of the rib bones.

There was no moment of shock for me–I cried immediately. My nurse walked in, saw what was happening and left. The doctor asked if I was okay. I just nodded. No, I wasn’t, but that should be obvious. I was distraught. I managed to ask her what we needed to do next. She said they would be doing an MRI of brain and spine the following day. That was it–news having been delivered, she left.  My sister and parents left, too. They were going to stop at the NICU to see and probably pray over Clark. I think they were too upset to say much. In walks Shelby with a wheelchair and a nursing assistant. “You just had major surgery, so you can’t stay for too long– you’ll hurt yourself, but you’re going to see your baby, now. Hold on, let me grab your medicines real quick.” While she was gone, I gingerly swung my legs over the side of the bed, stood up (ouch), and hobbled into the wheelchair. At that point, I think I would have crawled to the NICU if I’d had to. She walked back in, looked at me, and laughed and said “Well, let’s go.” She didn’t have to do this, and she was taking me about 3 hours early. So, off we went to the NICU, and I cried as they wheeled me in.

He was in this tiny isolet, naked save a diaper, and he was beautiful. They told me he was only on 1L of 02 and was doing really well. They figured because he’d been in so much fluid, and was delivered via c-section that he was unable to breathe well right after birth. It was quickly resolving though. He had a rib deformity–pectus excavatum. You can google pictures of this. It’s basically a sunken-in chest. Not all that rare or abnormal and rarely causes any other issues. They did not think it was causing his initial respiratory issues. Again, I asked if I could nurse him—no. They then took me through their orientation, and I hit the dilaudid button on my PCA pump like 83,492 times because they were explaining what a pulse ox was when all I wanted to do was touch my baby, cry, and tell them to shut up. Ben tried to explain that I had been an ICU nurse for over 2 years, so she nodded and tried to explain his heart rate monitor to me 🙄. Honestly, I know it’s their job, but I really wanted them to shut up and go away because I had just received bad news and wanted to process it without their explanation on germ theory and the importance of washing your hands. Under Shelby’s orders, I left a few minutes later.

That night was spent sleeping and waking up again fuzzy-headed and confused. It was a long night. I was pumping every 2 hours or so and drinking liters worth of water because I was so thirsty. Ben and Shelby poured up colostrum and half-carried me to the bathroom on a regular basis. I was so sore and my heart was hurting and I just prayed a lot. I couldn’t understand what I was supposed to be doing. Should I give up? Should I pray that God brings us through this? Should I just accept that Clark is very compromised and will likely suffer a lot?  I didn’t really know, so I just prayed for peace and comfort and healing for Clark. “Please give peace and comfort and healing for Clark.” I said this over and over and over again when I would wake up because it was the only prayer I had left.

The next morning I begged Shelby to come back that following night while she unhooked my IV dilaudid and loaded me with Percocet. I got up and took a shower. It hurt like hell, but I didn’t want to stay in the bed any longer, and I felt like I needed to get ready to deal with whatever the day was going to bring. I ate breakfast and got into the wheelchair to go to the NICU. When we got there they told us he was off oxygen and had been all night, and that he was doing well. I asked if he was peeing/pooping and she said, “Oh, yeah.” All very good news, and I was so happy. I asked if I could hold him and she said yes. It was a precious moment. Then a physical therapist walked in to assess his foot.  She said it was absolutely not clubfoot. His foot was positional and would need to be massaged, but was not going to require clubfoot therapy. Our OB and neonatologist told us they didn’t think it was a clubfoot, but after all the bad news it was really hard to believe that something could be okay. Hearing a third person confirm this and explain why it wasn’t a clubfoot was helpful and made it more real and believable to us. The nurse said I could try nursing him, but that he may not latch. She got a lactation counselor from the NICU to help me and observe for any issues. I snuggled him up and he latched immediately. Ate for 25-30 minutes. Another answered prayer. Because he did so well and I was a STM with breastfeeding the doctor agreed to remove the IV fluids. He was now off O2, off IV fluids, peeing/pooping, and eating. He looked so beautiful and I was just ready to get his MRI over with. We left to go eat lunch in my room,  and when we came back they let Ben hold him and bathe him. Then they took him to MRI which was supposed to take “an hour.” It took two and a half. So I got back down to the NICU and nursed him quickly. I told Ben he was getting out of the NICU now. They had no reason to keep him. The nurse tried to argue saying that he needed to be “observed,” and I shut that shit down quickly. “He’s eating, and off 02. What are y’all doing for him here besides letting me accumulate a huge bill?” She left and got the NICU doctor who was a new face. He said the results of the MRI were back and they were normal. NORMAL.

Let that sink in.

The MRI of his brain was normal. No brain cyst. No skull abnormality. No hydrocephalus. No evidence of craniosynostosis. There was some fluid around the brain, but very minimal and considered normal for c-section baby. The MRI of his spine was normal. No compression, or misshapen vertebrae. The MRI was not of his ribs so they still look “off,” but are causing no distress. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I asked, “But what about the xray? Could it have been so wrong.” The neonatologist had no answers, but said that the MRI was conclusive and the brain and spine looked fine.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

 I then told the neonatologist we would like him back in our room now. After much discussion he finally had to agree there was not anything wrong with him, so he reluctantly agreed to let Clark leave the NICU with us. The very same neonatologist visited us the following morning and wanted us to follow up with neurology on Friday for “completeness.” Whatever, man.

I still don’t have the words to say what’s in my head. It’s not even a discussion that I hate MFM. They have used ultrasound imaging every month since August and told us that Clark will have major issues forever. They have said that I was unable to have this baby in any other way than a c-section. They said he had a definite clubfoot. They said he had ventriculomegaly significant for shunt consideration (at my final appointment) and most likely craniosynostosis. And none of it has been proven true. Are they really that incompetent? Are they complete idiots?

I cried in my room to my mom on Thursday. It was a day after his dismissal from the NICU and I was so upset about how everything had gone and the constant stress for months and months. I said out loud, ”Actually, maybe they did see all of that. I think God just decided to heal my baby.” Immediately, I felt sudden peace. The god-given kind. Giving voice to those words confirmed them. I know now without a shadow of a doubt that God DID heal my baby. I don’t know why. I know I certainly don’t deserve it, but I want you to know that He did it anyway.

I’ve been vocal about my disbelief that Clark would be healed. I just haven’t been able to drum up much faith about it. But over the last week especially I have just prayed that God would heal my baby–God please heal my baby.

Matthew 21:21-22 “Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

Now, we’re not completely out of the woods yet. Clark has pectus excavatum which ironically is the birth defect he DOES have that MFM didn’t find. Weird. And it can be sign of chromosomal abnormality. And the genetics tests aren’t back yet. And he has been referred to neurology because he has hypotonia (meaning he’s pretty floppy). So we aren’t out of the woods completely, but I have been made aware again–God is ever-present and he listens to our cries for help. He hears us. He cares. For every person who has raised a prayer on Clark’s behalf–thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Please keep praying because God is listening.

“’If you can?’ said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for him who believes.’” Mark 9:23

So please. Keep praying with me. Believe with me. Love to all ❤️

Clark’s story: Part I Getting Clark here

The lead-up and birth of baby Clark

First of all, bear with me. The past two weeks have been so full of ups and downs and misinformation and miscommunication and miracles and curveballs.  I will attempt to give a shortened version that still allows for complete understanding. You could also totally decide not to read my blog, so there’s that option as well. Exercise your rights, people. Anyway…

I cannot believe it has been almost 2 weeks ago when I met with my OB for my 36 week check up. At that check-up she mentioned that we could validate inducing me the following week at 37 weeks due to my fluid levels if they continued to be very elevated. I asked her what was considered “very elevated,” and she said usually an amniotic fluid index of at least 28cm. The previous week, my levels had only been 24cm, which meant that although I was more comfortable and not having as much difficulty breathing, it also meant that I could not qualify for early induction. And I was done with this pregnancy:  so much stress, so little relief. If we induced at 37 weeks, my OB didn’t see the need for a c-section.

At the MFM appointment that afternoon my levels were 29cm. I felt relieved. This baby would be here the following week. The MFM doctor measured the head circumference and said it was too large to “reasonably” consider a vaginal delivery. He said that he would talk to my OB about this in his report. He said that he couldn’t find much information on possible syndromes because Clark didn’t meet enough criteria to clearly fall in line with any particular syndrome. He reiterated that his head shape was very odd and large and that the mild ventriculomegaly may require a shunt shortly after birth. You know, all the warm fuzzy stuff that has endeared MFM to me so much. 🙄

The following morning a physician from the MFM clinic called and said that he needed to connect me to a social worker to tour the NICU. I asked why and he said that with Clark’s medical needs “he will never qualify for the ‘regular nursery, and we offer the tour to make the NICU seem less scary.” He said that I would be able to see Clark probably 12 hours after my c-section delivery, but that I would only see him for short time immediately following birth, and that I wouldn’t be permitted to hold him due to the cold temps in the OR. I lost it. We had not decided for sure on a c-section, none of Clark’s imaging indicated a direct admit to NICU, and being told I couldn’t hold my baby for almost a whole day devastated me. After frantically calling my OB and my husband and playing phone tag all day, it was decided I would have a scheduled c-section the following week, and that Clark would only go to the NICU if he was unstable and not “just for monitoring.”

The following Tuesday, December 5th, we were admitted for the c-section. My nurse told me that the NICU staff would be present because he was probably getting admitted. I asked why and she gave me stupid MFM’s line of “with his diagnosis blah blah blah,” and “for observation.” Done. I decided right then and there that if I wanted to control anything with this birth and Clark’s care that I was going to have to be a bitch. I told them under no circumstances would he be admitted unless he was compromised, and that if they thought they could admit him for “observation,” I would make their jobs extremely difficult for them. The nurse left in a hurry, and I called my OB’s office. She happened to drop by 3 minutes later, and we discussed it again. Again she said he would not go unless there were issues.

Right before my c-section, they bolused me with fluid to combat low blood pressures from the epidural. Unfortunately, it didn’t work, the epidural hit too high, I felt like I couldn’t breathe, had a panic attack, and almost lost consciousness. My lungs felt as if they were squished to nothing, I could not oxygenate, and I was losing it. I told them I needed to sit up right now, and they said I couldn’t– that I was too numb and the epidural had hit a little too high. SO, I grabbed the edges of the table and sat halfway up before they freaked out , held me down, and rapidly began bolusing me with more fluid. “You can’t sit up! Your pressure is really low, that’s why you feel short of breath. You’re actually breathing ok, your sats are fine, Beka.” “How low?! I cannot breathe, it feels like an elephant is sitting on my lungs. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe!” “It’s not reading, yet. We’re fixing it.” Cold rags were put all over my face and slowly the pressure on my lungs eased. “Wait, we have a pressure, finally. It’s about 70/30. It’s coming up.” I apologized for freaking out like a basic bitch, and they said I actually turned green so they knew it was a legit pressure issue. They also said they had never seen someone actually able to fight epidural-induced paralysis and sit up. Fight or flight, people. I was fighting AND flighting. Crisis was averted, screen went up, and Ben came into the room. I told him I almost died, and we laughed like idiots because life is weird. About 3 minutes later, Clark was born and I heard my doctor say, “She totally could have had this baby vaginally…his foot doesn’t look too bad.” I heard nothing. No crying–nothing. I asked why he wasn’t crying and my doctor kept saying everything was fine. He began to cry and was taken into the next door assessment room. My doc said he was in a ton of fluid. I told them they better measure all my fluid and be very impressed with it because it had been so terrible to deal with throughout this pregnancy. Final total was about 2800ml of free fluid not to count the lap pads and towels used as well. Normal levels are between 800-1000mls. I’m an overachiever. As soon as they closed me up, they took me to that next door room to see baby. The NICU doctor said his APGAR was 7 and 7 and he required a little oxygen, so he needed to go the NICU. Damnit. Oh well. What was I going to do? Anyway she also said she didn’t think his head looked weird at all, and didn’t think he had a clubfoot either. More on that later.

I was able to hold him for a few minutes, and then they took me to recovery where I was given 50mcg Fentanyl to hold me over until my Dilaudid pump was hooked up. Here’s where the real shit happened. There were issues “with pharmacy” and “with finding a pump.” It took over an hour for my pump to be set up. My spinal had been reversed (I had full use and strength of my legs), and I had no pain meds during this time. It was agony. I could feel my the full range of my incision burning, and it was excruciating. It took about 2-3 hours to catch up to my pain before I felt more normal again. If I hadn’t been in such pain, I would have killed everyone in my immediate vicinity. Count yourselves lucky, bitches.

Finally get moved to mother/baby unit and I send Ben to be with Clark. I was told I would be able to see him late that evening, but that he would have to stay overnight. I asked if he was able to eat anything. “No. We’re giving him fluids though.” Probably protocol, but I went back to my room and demanded a breast pump. I had previously asked for one about 3 times and everyone kept forgetting to bring it, or were “looking into it.” I’m telling you, at this point I was back in bitch-mode. I told them if they unhooked my IV, I would just walk home to get my pump since it would probably be faster. Son of gun, I had one delivered to my room 5 minutes later. Go figure. And then, because it was shift-change, God granted me the sweetest nurse. Because he knew I was going to need her.

My awesome mom, my dead fridge, and Darcy’s book pillow

My mom is better than yours. She just is, and she drove 5 hours to save the day last weekend because her name is Mavis and that is how she works. You see, Ben left the country because he’s not pregnant and still maintains a fun lifestyle. I, however, am something akin to a beached whale, who has contractions if I sneeze, lift a pillow, or roll over in bed. Lifting and chasing after Darcy full-time could seriously send me into pre-term labor (again), so my mom drove 5 hours and stayed with me to help. She cleaned my house, did my laundry, cooked, shopped, and took care of Darcy all while I planted my fat ass on the couch and watched new episodes of “Call the Midwife.” It was glorious, and if you haven’t watched that show, you are totally missing out. I hope I’m half the woman my mother is one day. Seriously that short, little woman can accomplish anything in small timeframes AND do it better than anyone else could. Also, while Ben was gone (side-eye to Ben), Darcy decided to cut 4 teeth at once, and our refrigerator died. Like dead, died. Luckily my in-laws quickly got us a new fridge. In the meantime, Ben’s twin brought us his mini-fridge, and Ben’s younger brother brought us food. So, even though Ben was all la-ti-da “I’m going cliff-diving and climbing volcanoes,” while the world fell apart (exaggeration, but have you HEARD my daughter whine while teething?!), his family stepped in with greatly appreciated replacement fridges and Newk’s pizzas. That Mavis, though? She’s the real MVP for life. Darcy agrees and is in love with her. She’s known as Mattie by all of her grandchildren, except Darcy. Darcy calls her Mammy and cried whenever “Mammy” left the room. Last night she saw one of my mother’s diet cokes in the fridge, snatched it, and ran for the front door screaming for “Mammy!” It was cute, but Darcy was pretty disappointed when the Diet coke didn’t work like a genie lamp and produce her doting Mammy.

Anyway, Ben returned from his Central American adventures, my mom went home 😢, and this past weekend we transitioned Darcy to her big-girl IKEA bed (see previous post) and moved the crib into baby Clark’s new room. Darcy is doing fairly well-ish with going to sleep, but has been waking up at around 5:30am on the nose, screaming. It’s not very cool, but at least she’s sleeping through the night in her bed. Sunday morning, Ben crawled into her little bed with her when she freaked out, and we all got another 1.5 hours of sleep. Success! So, it’s not perfect, but we’re working on it. For instance, tonight she decided to act crazy and keep climbing out of bed while screaming hysterically. So, we let her scream (I’m a member of the cry-it-out-within-reason camp. Not sorry) for about 5 minutes and wander around in her dark bedroom. After 5 minutes, silence. We go and check on her and she’s fallen asleep face-first on her books on the floor. It was hilarious and kind of tragic at the same time. But, because we are not stupid, we let her continue sleep on her books for another 15 minutes, so she would be in a deeper sleep for the transfer back to her bed. It worked like a charm, so judge away if you so feel inclined.

Andddd, we had another depressing doctor’s appointment today. I’m not even going to share details on it right now because I’m already sad enough, and I don’t feel up to rehashing the particulars. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve felt better about Clark’s situation. I feel hopeful that he’s going to be okay and that the “potential issues” could be nothing and that everything will be fine and he will be healed. I want to chalk it up to having faith, but in all actuality, it’s probably just a heaping dose of denial. After I recover from an appointment, I blissfully live in my growing faith-bubble (denial) for a couple of weeks. Then, I have another appointment and the hope I had been growing is dashed and destroyed in about a 2-hour time span. I cannot possibly convey to you how absolutely wretched these appointments are, I can only tell you that I would not wish the “gift” of this pregnancy’s anxiety to the person I hate most in this world. I’ll be 32 weeks tomorrow, and I’m thankful that this pregnancy is drawing to a close. I genuinely hope this baby comes early. Not *too* early, but early. So that this part will be over, and we can move on.

School continues to be unimportant. I ignore it as much as possible because I have very healthy coping mechanisms called: 1) avoidance and 2) eating all the things.

I’m sorry if you’ve called me, sent a text, or left a FB message, and I haven’t responded. I fully intend on responding to each one, and your reaching out is so appreciated. I’m just buried in my feelings, and I’m feeling fragile lately. You see, I used to think I was kind of badass and could handle heavy and uncomfortable things, but I was stupid. I am not very strong unless you count waiting until I get into my car to fall apart when leaving my hellish appointments. My faith is shaken, and I’m struggling to find the good in things right now. I don’t want to be anyone’s rain cloud, so I’m retreating to my safety bubble (the couch–lets be real), and I’m waiting for Clark to get here, so that I can come up for air. Love to all of you beautiful people.
 

 

 

 

 

When the Rayner family does Ikea

For the last couple of months, Ben and I have been discussing what to do concerning nurseries. Darcy and Clark will at most be about 21 months apart, and she’s still in her crib. Now we have an extra dresser, nightstand, etc. But we need another bed and another bookshelf and possibly a glider. What KIND of bed has been a topic of discussion and research. See, another crib seems like a kind of good idea. It keeps Darcy nice and trapped in her bed (she’s made no effort thus far to scale the sides to freedom). Then again, spending money on another crib seems kind of stupid when we’d likely be transitioning her out of it in the next few months anyway. Decisions, decisions, and of course everyone has an opinion:
“Do NOT transition that baby out of her crib until she’s three. You won’t sleep once she realizes she’s mobile.” “Oh we transitioned our baby at 18 months! It was no big deal.” “Do it before Clark gets here. That way she can get used to her new bed.” “Wait as long as possible. Put her in the big girl bed a couple of months after Clark gets here.”

Blah. Blah. Blah. Not that we aren’t appreciative of other’s opinions, it’s mostly that conflicting opinions are often unhelpful. With no clear-cut answer, we decided that Darcy will move to a big girl bed before baby Clark gets here, and Clark will get the crib. Now…what kind of bed to buy for Darcy? A toddler bed or a twin bed? Ben thinks Darcy is too small for a true “big girl bed,” and I kinda agree. I mean she’s not even 25 pounds at 18 months old. She’s still my baby! So, I looked at toddler beds, and I thought most of them kinda sucked. Until, I was FB stalking a girl I went to college with and somehow ended up on her sister-in-law’s profile and saw that her daughter had the perfect bed. I know, I know, that sounds super weird and creepy, so I took it a step further and I actually messaged sister-in-law and asked her where she got her daughter’s bed. Yes, my old sorority sister’s sister-in-law that I’ve never met. Funny enough, she actually responded and informed me that it was an IKEA bed. I then spent the next 20 minutes finding it on the IKEA website. It was called the Minnen, and it was beautiful. The price was really good–like $80, and it is a pretty, white, iron bed. It’s also a toddler bed, sort of. It’s the width of twin, with an adjustable length. So it can be short like a toddler bed, extended a little longer than toddler-bed length, or a full twin length. “I’ll just order this sucker online!,” I thought. Shipping alone was $100. Um, no, thank you. I will not order this sucker online. So, when we went home the following weekend for my 10-year reunion (holla Magnolia class of ‘07), we took the trip to the new Memphis Ikea. Ay yi yi.

IKEA. Land of Scandinavian inventions and efficient, cheap furnishings. Land of unknown. Land of insane layout. Okay, if you have ever been to an Ikea, then you get it. If you haven’t, allow the following paragraphs to enlighten you and to also prepare you.

I had heard that Ikea was an experience, but I had also semi-prepared. I knew what we were going for: the bed and the mattress required for the funky lengths of the bed. No window shopping here. My research was done, son. So we get up on Saturday morning, and head out sometime around 10:00, getting out to Ikea around 11:00. It’s huge, man. This Ikea building thing is massive with a big ole parking lot, too. It’s not that crowded and we walk in. Immediately Ben is all, “What is this? Where do we start?” You see, when you walk in, there’s kind of a lobby area with a big sign numbered 1-29ish. Under each number it says something like “lighting” or “living room” or “kids furniture.” Bingo. Section 9: Kid’s furniture. Now where did we find section 9? Well, apparently, you can’t just walk to aisle 9. You have to “ENTER THE SHOWROOM” and traverse through sections 1-8 to get to section 9 in a strange labyrinthy-type of manner. Luckily we brought our stroller and Darcy was successfully contained as we whipped around “kitchen,” “living room,” and whatever else occupied sections 1-8. As we approached “kids furniture,” I saw it. The Minnen (cue angel-music). Darcy’s eyes also lit up as we approached. I looked at her to try to see which toy she was looking at. She wasn’t looking a toy or at any of the other 6 beds on display. She too was reaching for and enthralled by the Minnen! “Let her out, Ben. Let’s see what she does.” He unstrapped Darcy, and she immediately crawled into the bed and gave us her cheesiest smile. Silently congratulating myself, I was thinking, “She loves it! Ha! Ha! My job is so easy. Great minds think alike, little one.” She rolled all over the bed, sooo excited.

ikea1

Now Ben asked, “So where is it? The bed? Where do we grab one.” Well, I knew that we picked it up somewhere else, but I wasn’t sure where exactly. I grabbed an Ikea person and asked, and he told us to write down the aisle number and bin number on the display Minnens’s tag. So we did, and then he told us to follow the signs to the warehouse. Yeah. The signs to the warehouse pointed us to walk all the way through the cafeteria and sections 10-29. What. The. Crap. Is there not a quicker route? No, actually. There isn’t.  You go to Ikea, you gon see ALL of Ikea. I knew this was going to be bad because Darcy LOVED this bed. Leaving this bed was going to cause a tantrum as we walked through the remainder of Scandinavia’s ultimate warehouse. I looked at Ben. He looked at me. We nodded in agreement, and he grabbed up the small human. The small human thrashed, screamed, and attempted bites as we took her away from her newly favored playground. Held like a football, Darcy was walked through the crowds in the cafeteria (it was now lunch–of freaking course it was), and through sections 10-25 where she finally calmed down(ish). Everyone was made aware–Darcy was here, betches!  Ben was SO understanding and accepting of Ikea’s ways *snort* and proceeded to complain at every section we breached. “What the hell kind of design is this? Why are we still walking?” Insert eyeroll emoji. Get over it, Ben. We are getting a bed and mattress and duvet and duvet cover for under $200. Shut it, boo.

We get to the warehouse where Darcy wants to run amok and act like the heathen we pretend she isn’t. I leave Ben to deal (don’t worry, karma is a swift hag), and just go to the aisle and bin I’m supposed to, find what we want and flag Ben over to come grab it. He does, we buy it and we go home, tra la la. HA! Not exactly. Because while Ben checks out, I take Darcy to the car to get her in her car seat, settled, and out of the way for loading. We get to the car, and she goes into full savage mode at the sight of the car seat. In her defense, we had driven from Baton Rouge the night before (5 hour trip), and gotten in the car this morning for the drive to Memphis (1 hour trip), and she was hungry. AND basically because of who she is as a person, she just could not deal. So, there I am in the Ikea parking lot, pregnant as hell, sweating to death because it’s Fall in the South, and actively manhandling my surprisingly strong, extraordinarily pissed-off toddler. It was AWESOME (see my earlier karma statement). Finally, I muscled her into her carseat about the time Ben arrives with our stuff. It was then that we discovered that the box for the bed was too large to fit in my car. Like not going to happen in this lifetime. So we had to open the box, get all the pieces of the bed out, WITH the instructions (see, I was on my A-game), and rearrange everything, so that the pieces wouldn’t bang together on the way home. It took about 15-20 minutes in the heat and everyone was in an *incredible* mood by the time we left.

All things considered, I count the trip as a roaring success–I mean my bar of expectations is set pretty low, behavior-wise. We got Darcy a whole new bed set that is really, really pretty and girly for under $200, and we didn’t have to pay shipping. And we had the experience of Ikea which Ben would like to repeat never. Although, he did find this particular gem particularly amusing: cinnamon1

Shall we take a closer look?cinnamon

Like “Good call, Ikea. Without that disclaimer I was totally going to sue you for the misrepresentation of cinnamon roll size. I would like to pay $1 to eat cinnamon roll forevah, please.”

Personally, I found Ikea strange, yet oddly likeable. Not unlike the first time I ate sushi. To all parents who are parenting tyrannical toddlers, I salute you. It really is fun and funny and we’re gonna have awesome stories from it. Plus, Darcy really is a sweetheart. She loves to play and run and just be a crazy person more than anything. Right now we just have fits when the fun has to end. The days are long, but the years are short, and I am so thankful to spend them with my sweet Ben and my precious Darcy. Love to all.

When you’re just keepin’ on, keepin’ on

Or, life lately

We had our appointments with our OB (regular baby-doctor) and our MFM (Maternal/Fetal Medicine aka high-risk baby-doctor) physicians this week. It started off with the MFM appointment, which Ben couldn’t come to. I went in, did all the vitals, etc. Then they asked me to lie on the reclining table thing while the tech scanned me. This was awful. You see, on a daily basis since about 18 weeks, I feel like I cannot breathe. It was a major complaint of mine when I was pregnant with Darcy, but it is 10x worse this pregnancy. No position helps unless I am sitting straight up, or leaned forward like a 75-year-old man with COPD.  So, after about five minutes, I said, “I’m really sorry, but I need to sit up now.” They said, “Oh, we’ll raise the head of the bed. That will help.” “No, I am going to puke if you don’t let me sit straight up.” Then everything starting going black, and I started sweating, and I thought I was going to die. So, my sonographer finished the scan with me sitting straight up. “Wow. You’re really symptomatic, how do you sleep at night? Reclined?” First of all, thank you Captain Obvious. Yes, I am super symptomatic because I CANNOT EFFING BREATHE. Secondly, reclining is terrible. You’ve just witnessed this. And I do not sleep is your answer. I wake up every 45 minutes to an hour to try to readjust. Well, this information concerns the MFM physician, and he says I might have congestive heart failure. WUT? Then he follows that little pearl up with, “I mean, do you exercise?” “Well, I ran a half marathon last December, and ran 5-10ish miles a week up until 15 weeks with this pregnancy.” “Oh okay, then. You’re probably fine. We just don’t see many small mamas with this much trouble breathing.” Anyway, he examined me and determined that I was just “super symptomatic,” and I wasn’t in congestive heart failure.

That was how things began. Then we discovered that based on my scan I have borderline polyhydramnios. This means I have almost too much fluid, which can contribute to a litany of pregnancy issues including “breathlessness.” Clark looks the same—skull is funky, foot is clubbed–AND is measuring a couple of weeks ahead of my due date. Also, because he is a wiggle-worm, MFM couldn’t get great images of his pulmonary artery, and I’ve been referred for a fetal echocardiogram. I also failed my 1-hour-glucose screen that day, so depending on my results of my 3-hour-test that I took today, I might have gestational diabetes, too.  Then the doctor said he wanted me to get another genetic screening test done, but the first we had done wasn’t covered by insurance (you do not even want to know the price tag on that one). So, I asked if it would change the treatment plan, and he said no, so we declined the test. Anddd, basically Tuesday’s appointment was a huge pile of suck.

I’m okay with it all now, but Tuesday, I was distraught. I try to stay positive, and I know that these physicians’ jobs are to rule out any issues, but I’m at the point where I do not desire to know one more possibly negative thing about this pregnancy. I just don’t care to know. If it isn’t going to make a difference, then I don’t give a damn to know if or what kind of chromosomal abnormality MAY exist in Clark. Unless I start passing out, I don’t want to know if my heart function is shitty because of CHF. I have enough information at this time to decide I DON’T WANT TO KNOW ANOTHER DAMN THING. Because everything is “possibilities” and “probabilities” and “increased chance of” and/or “potential problem.” For some, knowing everything brings peace. For me, it brings doubt, and I don’t want to give Satan any more reasons to tempt me to doubt the goodness of God. I just don’t. I truly believe that God will give me the strength to deal with whatever comes our way WHEN it actually comes our way. One of my favorite books concerning faith is Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place. She was just an incredible woman filled with wisdom, and she kind of agrees with me on the worrying thing.

Corrie ten Boom said, “Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

And the more information that something “could be significant” or “could be nothing,” the more I worry.  Ben and I have different perspectives when it comes to hardships and faith. Ben always believes that things will get better. That it IS going to be okay. I personally believe that saying things “will get better” is an invitation for things to become exponentially worse. I’m truly not pessimistic, but even you have to admit that the scales of fairness, statistics, and equality seem a little warped, and not in our favor. I believe that Clark won’t be healed, but that God will give me the strength the deal with whatever comes our way when he is born. My sister keeps telling me, “Clark will be who he has been created to be.” And that brings me comfort. God has allowed all of this. He has created Clark for His purpose, and He loves this baby far more than I could ever imagine. Just like He loves me. And that is good. It is the good stuff in the ugly situation, y’all. Beauty from ashes, and it will be beautiful.

As for grad school, I withdrew from one of my classes. It was an exhaustive, research-based, labor-intensive class, and I just don’t have the get-up and go for that and my other clinical-based grad school class, 40-hour work weeks, being a high-risk baby incubator, and existing as a functional human. It’s beyond my abilities at this point. So, this skews my overall ‘graduate as quickly as possible’ plan. I now feel at peace with this decision, even though it felt like a huge personal failure at the time.

Darcy is hilarious. She is rough and tumble and so, so much fun. She loves to run to me and shove her face in mine and just giggle. She also has about 10 bruises and six scratches from her legs to her face, and both knees are skinned and scabbed. Kid plays hard. Also, we got an incident report from her daycare because of an altercation regarding possession of a toy. Darcy had toy, friend wanted toy, a struggle ensued, and Darcy bit the hell out of friend. Ohmylanta. I’m sorry, mom of bitten child. My daughter is unreasonable and will fight to the death for her teeth to be brushed, so a perceived threat over a toy will likely continue to be dealt with a heavy hand (teeth). Sorry. She doesn’t bite at home.

Anyway, that’s all for now in our lives! I promise, I plan on writing a fun, non-heavy blog later on in the next few days detailing our first trip to Ikea with baby Darcy. Bless you, if you’re still reading along. Love to all.

Thoughts on baby Clark, Jesus, and how I’m a demon lady

To spare some of you from reading through a long blog, I’m going to address a few things up front. Soooo, first things first: There’s not an update on Clark, yet. Our next appointment with maternal fetal medicine is in a couple of weeks. Next, if you can’t handle Jesus-talk and cursing, my blog really isn’t for you. I’ve already fully admitted that I am a flawed person. I mean, I sniff hamburger meat a few days after the expiration date to determine whether or not it’s really expired or just kinda expired. And then, because I also live dangerously, I cook it up and eat it if it’s of the kinda variety. You see? Flawed. And I have reason to talk about Jesus, and I have reason to cuss. And don’t expect to get a spiritual or theological awakening, either. It’s mostly a confession of my own terribleness. I digress. 

Okay, so I was raised in the church of Christ. Only COC’ers will appreciate the capitalization consideration I took in that last sentence, by the way. I don’t necessarily identify by that church of Christ label. I’m a sinful woman who happens to love and want Jesus, and yet I have some major struggles with this faith. You see, I’m a doubter as well as a sinner. I get a lot of anxiety when people discuss the day they were saved. Because I can’t really pinpoint when I was. Oh, I can tell you when I was baptized, but I can’t tell you for sure that I was saved then. I was straight up told that if I wasn’t baptized, then I would burn in the lakes of fiery sulfur for all eternity. As an eleven year old, I was motivated, man. No fiery pits for me. But there was no big change in my life. I was still an eleven-year-old punk doing punkish crap, and I started to doubt my salvation. Like, “Am I safe from sulfuric fires?” This fear was further spurned on by the old, “If you don’t know whether or not you’re going to heaven or hell, you’re going to hell. When you’re saved you’re given blessed assurance of your salvation.” Well, shit. Blessed assurance I did not have. Now after all this time, I was back in hell’s corner. From there I have battled throughout all of my Christian life. I’ve grown a lot, and felt God’s presence, His goodness, and His blessings, but a lot of the time, I’ve felt like God’s stepchild instead of one of God’s chosen. I believe in Jesus. I know He exists. I know He can heal baby Clark, but I doubt that He will. I hope He will, but I doubt He will. I know that He has done crazy cool miracles in this world since He created it. I know He sent His only Son to die for all people in this world. And yet, I doubt He will heal my son for the same reason I’ve always felt just a * little * on the outside of God’s unending love; His miracles aren’t…well…for me. The pain and growing and just enough spiritual growth are for me. And I know that so many of you want to pray for me to deepen my faith and change my mind, but you won’t. I think it’s going to be my lifelong struggle. A couple of years ago, I confessed this to a minister of a church I was desperately trying with. I told him basically what I just wrote, “I KNOW and truly believe God exists, I just don’t put my full faith in Him, and I know that’s wrong.” His response, “Yes. Well, Beka even Satan’s demons believe in God. That’s not enough.” Damn. So, I’m stepchild status because I’m basically on par with the demons. I really am effed. It’s okay you can laugh at that, I don’t seriously think I’m on par with Satan’s minions. And, I also totally realize his answer was un-therapeutic at best, but I won’t lie, it occasionally concerns me on a spiritual level. Especially when this demon-Christian woman really wants her son to be healed. So that he won’t have to suffer. And if I’m being honest, so I won’t have to watch him suffer through big surgeries or handicaps. This leads me into the “non-update-baby-Clark” part of the blog. We don’t have concrete answers. We have confirmation of one defect (clubfoot) and strong suspicion of another (skull deformity/craniosynostosis), and therefore the possibility/probability of some type of chromosomal abnormality. So, the obvious questions in most people’s heads include something along the way of, “Wasn’t that what Darcy had?” or “So there’s probably a genetic reason, right?” and “Are y’all going to get an amniocentesis?” or “Are y’all going to try to have more children after this?!” Or maybe because all of these questions ran/run through my head, I just feel like they’re running through yours, too. I’ll share what I feel comfortable with as I feel comfortable sharing it. But to answer these 4 questions—Yes. We don’t know. No. Who the hell knows at this point?

 You know what I am thankful for? I’m thankful to my sweet husband Ben who brought me coffee this morning at work because I had a bad morning and initially failed my first test of the semester. I’m thankful that the other students in my class were my equal in dumb and missed the same questions I did on this morning’s test because the teacher threw those questions out—I now pass! And I am deeply thankful for an amazing tribe of friends who love this old demon-woman so well. Your thoughts and prayers and sweet gestures of love are so appreciated.

So that pretty much concludes the crazy faith-related storm inside my brain a lot of the day. I am not all doom and gloom. I feel lucky to be this little one’s mama, and I cherish each kick and flutter. I don’t constantly meditate on the bad or possible bad. Rather, I plan his nursery and tiny blue outfits. I plan on how to keep him safe from Darcy, who is a tyrant and tiny, yet strong, bully. Mostly though, Ben and I pray for baby Clark, laugh at our daughter, and love this life we’re in.

 

 

 

Why the internet is stoopid

And airing out a diaper rash is a bad idea found on the internet

Stop reading now if you aren’t into reading about potty stuff. Just stop and wait for a post that details the other parts of my life. If you’re game to read on…

Darcy came back from the beach with a pretty horrific diaper rash. To be fair, she arrived at the beach with the start of one, but it only got worse with sand, wet bathing suits, and the heat. I was trying everything; A&D ointment, Desitin, a concoction of an anti-fungal, Desitin, and Aquaphor. Nope. This rash wasn’t budging and poor baby D was uncomfortably tugging at all of her diapers. Now, if you ever even Google anything about diaper rashes, “they” tell you that you should simply “let it air out.” This basically means letting your un-housebroken toddler run around naked and hope for the best. After exhausting all of my ointments, powders, and creams I decided to give it a try.

Ben was out of town for a wedding (how convenient for him), and I had the Darce-bird all to myself for all of Saturday. The day started off innocently enough. We went to return some maternity clothes at Old Navy, we went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. We went to eat lunch at a cute little Italian café where Darcy refused the food and stared directly at an older couple for the entirety of the lunch date. Not awkward at all, Darcy. We went to Trader Joes for groceries—insert heart emoji—I freaking love that store. Then, we went home, fed Darcy a lunch she deemed worthy (Easymac-whatever, Darcy) changed a poopy diaper (this is important), and put the Darcy to bed. When she woke up, I had decided it would be naked time. This rash was out of hand, and she had already pooped, so the un-diapered Darcy show was a safer option now.

About an hour and a half later, she woke up laughing and with a heavy, heavy diaper. Perfect! She’d peed recently. It should be safe. I took off her diaper and brought her to the living room. I turned around to put up the baby gate to the back hallway, and when I turned back around, she was gleefully splashing in a puddle of her own urine. Awesome. I grabbed her and took her to the bathroom to clean her up, pulled out the Clorox wipes and thought, “Well, we’re probably ok now.”  Within 15 minutes she peed the floor again. What in tarnation? How often does someone pee? I mean I’m pregnant, so I totally get a bye on the every 15-minute thing, but seriously? So, I cleaned her up again and we moved to our outside porch. Safer this way. Hotter this way, too. Kind of a pick your poison thing, and I was over wiping up pee.

Darcy is such an adorable exhibitionist. She was toddling around like the emperor who lost his clothes. I definitely sent a booty picture to her daddy. She walked over to the ottoman of one of our outside chairs, looked at me and giggled, squatted and shot out three poop balls in a span of about 5 seconds. Now, I am a nurse. I have seen patients’ chests’ cracked open at bedside, I have been inside OR rooms, I have cleaned up all kinds of poop, but I have never seen poop balls fly out of a tiny booty at that velocity in my life. It took me a minute to get my wits about me. In that minute Darcy straightened up and firmly planted one of her chubby feet right in IT.

*Mental scream*

I finally snap into action and grab her, booty facing out, foot firmly held at a distance, and carry her football style into the bathroom for a quick scrub up. Inwardly I was thinking, “How do people DO this?! It’s only been like 45-” looks at clock-“30 minutes?!” After a very quick scrub up, I grab paper towels and head back out to the porch to clean IT up. But it’s gone. The poop balls have disappeared. No. Oh God, please no. NO! I hear Libby smacking her lips from somewhere behind me, and my suspicions are immediately confirmed. Libby ate the freaking poop. What fresh hell is this? I’m not even sure which small creature is more disgusting. The pee-puddle-splasher/poop-ball-shooter, or the poop-ball-eater. At this point, I was done. If Desitin could not fix this rash, then Darcy could just keep it forever. Sorry, not sorry. Diaper back on baby. This diaper stayed dry until bedtime, by the way. Imagine that *eyeroll*

The moral of the story is that the people on the world wide web are idiots. Do not follow the crunchy, holistic, craptastic (see what I did there?) advice “they” spout on internet forums. They are idiots, and obviously have investments in the Clorox wipe business. Darcy’s butt is perfect now, and basically all I did was change diaper brands, and slather it with every cream known to man, including the dangerous and awful Talc-containing power. OoOoOo-arrest me now. May your parenting endeavors leave you with great stories and funny memories. And may you have dog-breath freshening treats on hand. Until next time, love to all.