Archives for posts with tag: hospital

Restraint – The act of controlling the expression of one’s feelings – Farlex free dictionary.

In the last 7 days, I have been subjected to a lot of stress. A lot. I’m sick of restraining my feelings, sometimes you just gotta have a go, say what you want to say, and feel better. Right?

First event: The youngest child (and usually most sensible/sensitive), had a demonic outburst of anger and hatred which lasted approximately 15 hours, (one hour of declaration and 14 of withdrawal), which was directed solely at me. Luckily I had the sense and maturity to restrain myself from reacting, and carried on with life and parenting as usual – because “teenager”.

It didn’t stop me from having a couple of sleepless nights worrying about the cause of his outburst, or trying to discuss the situation with OM, (his mother), which was unfortunately the wrong move for me this time. I can’t, for all that is sensible, believe in or condone  free range parenting. I see it more as a neglectful, abject dissolution of responsibility.

But that’s just me..

I restrained myself from commenting further because what I wanted to say would have come from years of frustration, and probably not helpful in any way other than unburdening myself of said frustration!

Sometimes I struggle with the 3 way parenting model. Sometimes I struggle so hard I want to scream. Instead, I’ve spent years intensively working on trying to accept that my parenting style is not perfect, and not everyone has to adopt a similar style in order to raise children. But I have my limits!!

Second event: Fitty had been complaining of pain in his right lung, neck and shoulder for about 2 weeks. On Tuesday night, around 6pm I arrived home (from a visit with my spiritual cleanser and bestie, T), to find that his pain was increasing. I suggested, as I had been for a week, that we really should get him to a doctor. Fitty had been refusing, but his increasing pain was starting to talk him round..

By 7.30pm I was speeding him to the emergency room with a suspected collapsed lung. He was in terrible pain, hyperventilating and going into shock.

We didn’t think we had time to wait for an ambulance, so it was up to me to get him safely to the hospital… I don’t think I need to comment further on the amount of fear, anxiety and panic created by that situation?

Upon arriving at the ER, he was immediately surrounded by 3 staff, attaching all kinds of cables and monitors. His heart rate was way up, his oxygen stats way down. He was in a lot of pain. At the time, I busied myself filling out the form, and trying to stay out of the way, whilst trying to control my own hyperventilation!

It was when they wheeled him into the critical care room and rolled in the “crash cart” that I began to feel the overwhelming seriousness of the situation, and my utter helplessness!  I felt sick, fearful and ready to burst.

I restrained myself immediately, opened the curtain that separated us from the rest of the patients in the emergency room, took myself away from Fitty, into a corner near the exit and stared at the wall. I can’t even tell you what I was thinking, it would hurt too much, but I will tell you that I didn’t cry, I didn’t collapse, I just took a couple of long deep breaths and told myself to hold together. It wouldn’t do to have Fitty see me in tears, the last thing he needed was more stress! I returned to critical care and stood once again by my love’s side, with resolved strength. (I doubt he even noticed my absence.)

I have since thanked all the Gods in the universe for his safe return home to us. The staff at the hospital were able to stabilise him quickly, and although a thorough diagnosis is still not available 5 days later, Fitty’s pain is manageable and his symptoms have abated. We are waiting for further test results to determine the cause, but we both feel confident he is receiving the right treatment. He is soo much better!

Upside: Fitty gave up smoking the morning before he fell ill. He knew something wasn’t quite right. A few days later I stopped, and we are now both smoke free. (Those who follow this blog will know this isn’t our first rodeo, if fact this will be attempt number 7!) “They” say it takes an average of 7 – 10, so we’ll just keep trying until we succeed.

The teenage angst has passed, he told me he didn’t even know why he said the things he did? Well fuck son, thanks?

Seriously…  Now it’s the dog…

SIKLate last night Pooh dog was vomiting and shitting liquid waste. Listless, forlorn and sleepy, she hadn’t eaten properly and wasn’t drinking much either. It was the excessive “bowing” that clued me in to the fact it may be gastritis. I remembered reading about the behaviour having something to do with gut pain. I followed the advice I got online, and she’s doing much better today.

I guess it does you good to get smacked upside the head with a bit of “life” now and again, but I really need it to stop now.

Unrestrained,

Meg XO

*this post brought to you by “nicotine withdrawal” and “fuckoff life I’m sick of your shit”*

I balked at the idea of calling this post Tricky 6 part 5. But that’s what it is. The part where he isn’t causing half a dozen medical professionals to scratch their heads and confer, rather that in which he was a joy to his parents and grew to be a smart and very witty young man. But first, the part where he was a tiny human….

At 3 pounds my little man was tiny and felt so breakable. You know when you bring home your newborn and you feel all weird about dressing them and pushing their resistant little limbs through their grow suits? Imagine one who is about a third that size? Then add to that the fact that his skin is so frail and new, so thin that if you touch him to hard you may just give him a nasty looking bruise.

It was awful for the first day or two. I was so shy of hurting him that I felt useless and clumsy. Like a first time mother. Then I got used to him, and learned that I wasn’t going to damage him, that I could touch him gently and lift his little legs to change his nappies. Each nappy was actually a quarter of a full cloth or toweling nappy, which was then folded into a tiny triangle.

My mind boggled at the idea that every thing in his world was a quarter the size of normal baby merchandise. Tiny pacifiers or “dummies”, little jackets especially made for preemie babies, little bonnets and booties that were so sweet and small. I didn’t yet have to worry about feeding him, as he was fed via a tube that was inserted up his nose and down into his stomach, fastened to his little cheek with tape. I was told by the nurses that breastfeeding such a tiny baby would tire him out way too much. Preemies need to do one thing and one thing only and that is to put on weight! The effort of sucking for such tiny humans costs them too much energy, therefore they are tube fed until they gain some strength and weight.

I was so very lucky with 6, who was born healthy, with no breathing difficulties or other problems. He was just required to gain his “full term birth weight” or within those parameters and then we could take him home.

This took time however, and a week after my c-section I was discharged from the Hospital and had to go back to Magoo’s (Mum), to stay. This meant being apart from baby 6 and nearly broke my heart. It also meant being reunited with 3 and 5 as a proper mother. One that could look after them and kiss their tears away and read them bedtime stories again. Every cloud has a silver lining.

Driving back and forth to the hospital wore me out quickly. (These days they won’t let mother’s drive for 6 weeks after a c-section!) Back then, no such rule. I would spend hours by 6’s humidicrib talking to him and changing his nappies. Then it would be time to go to the “milking room” where there were 6 or so breast expressing machines set up for us to use. We would do our “milking” and then go back to our babies.

6 was in Bay 2 of the N.I.C.U by his second day of life, and I longed for his transfer into Bay 3, as this meant it was time to take him home. It was in Bay 2 in his second week of life, that I got to hold 6 for the first time. It was a moment that I will never forget. After having 2 babies that I could hold and feed straight away, it was torment to have to touch, change and sponge bathe my baby through the holes in his crib. Even his first photos had to be taken through those holes! So when I arrived at NIC one morning to be met with the news that today was “the day”, I was beside myself with excitement.

I placed him next to my naked skin, wound a blanket around us, and sat and had one of the most contented moments of my life.

After losing James, after months of laying in hospital, here finally was the wonderful moment where baby and mother bonded. Skin to skin, heart to heart.

He grew so quickly and did so well that we were able to transfer to our local Hospital within a few weeks. He was around 5 pound at this time and so gorgeous. He was smiling and a happy contented baby. We lost the feed tube at around 4 weeks and so breastfeeding was well established. I could live at the flat in town with the other two boys, and would go to hospital approximately every 3 hours for feeds. The hospital had a standby supply of my breast milk. It was so great to be back at home with the boys, my friends and the rest of my family.

Again and again I depended on Aunty J. She was like a second mother to my boys and was essential to my partner and I whilst 6 was in hospital. Life was so busy, going back and forth all the time. I was so glad when he was able to come home.

Four months old.

Four months old.

The photo above was taken at a girlfriend’s place. She was so entranced with how small 6 was at four months, she wanted to take a photo to compare him with her daughter’s baby dolls. He wasn’t quite as big as them yet!

6 grew quickly, but had his fair share of hospital visits. Of course he was the most fragile of my children, requiring a 5 day stay in hospital for chickenpox. He had a form of asthma that affects premature babies, which made him get sicker than most  babies do with childhood illnesses. But he was a strong little man, and fought off his sickness bravely. He was prescribed asthma drugs and responded well to them.

6 was around 8 months old when he got R.S.V. which is a very serious virus affecting most babies between the ages of birth and 2 years. It can be very serious for premature babies or babies with weakness of the heart or lungs. Poor baby 6 and I were flown to Canberra Hospital for treatment. His little lungs became very inflamed and he required oxygen 24 hours a day. He hated the nasal prongs and would tear them out, so the only answer was for me to sit with him and hold an oxygen mask over his nose and mouth. The only way he would allow me to do this was if I sang his favorite song, “Incy Wincy Spider” over and over and over. Which I did. That song still brings me to a state of mild panic and unease when I hear it.

When I weaned 6 from the breast, I quickly found that his asthma worsened after having a cows milk formula. We put him on goats milk, followed by soy which seemed to work the best. To this day 6 prefers soy milk, even though he no longer has any sensitivities to  cows milk. Recently due to the bad publicity soy products are getting we are trying slowly to change his habits. I am of the belief that just about everything we eat is GMO so I sometimes wonder why Fitty and I bother singling out specific products?

I honestly think that 6 was less sturdy than my older boys. He quickly joined his classmates in growth percentiles, out doing them completely the year before High School began. However his bones seemed more brittle.

At 2 years old 6 decided to learn to skateboard and fell sideways breaking his femur (upper leg). Off to hospital again.

traction is no fun for a 2 year old!

traction is no fun for a 2 year old!

He was a great patient. Requiring traction for 3 weeks, with one of those casts that have a stabilizer between the legs. I was a mess trying to look after him. It broke my heart, but he always had a smile on his face. He was watching Teletubbies all day long, eating Twisties and getting all his Mother’s attention. So he didn’t mind it so much. Once he came home, with the prospect of the cast for another 4-6 weeks, I wondered how we would cope, but he very quickly learned to amble around, he looked like a crab!

At four years old, our poor boy fell down the steps at the farm. He broke his collar bone, but not badly, we had to keep him still and calm, and he healed quite quickly. I began to wonder if he had a bone density issue and took him to the doctor. He agreed that the soy formula and perhaps his prematurity added to his lack of bone strength and suggested more calcium rich foods like yoghurt and cheese. He loved yoghurt anyway and was quite pleased to be offered it more frequently.

My older children and most of my friends have always accused me of “babying” Dale, but when you consider all we went through together, I think we just had a more dependent on each other bond than that which I developed with my other boys. They did all the normal things at the normal times, sometimes quicker, and were always out the door to play in the sandpit or navigate the clouds on their motorbike! (5!!) Whereas 6 was a sick little boy most of his infancy and needed nebulizing and special care a lot of the time. Plus of course he’s my youngest child and don’t we all baby our youngest a bit?

Life as a single mother was obviously funny!

Life as a single mother was obviously funny!

Around the time the above photo was taken, He who used to be and I decided to call it quits. I’d like to say that I was a calm, decent woman who kept all the pain from her children, but unfortunately I can’t claim that. In all honesty I was a mess and due to infidelity on his part I went a tiny bit mad. I was so broken!

This led me to quickly jump into a relationship that wasn’t good. Before I knew it, we had bought a house together and were engaged. I kind of knew it was a rebound relationship, but after a few years together, a marriage, and many dramas we too, called it quits. I had decided then and there that it was all going to be about the boys and I from that moment on. No more relationships. No more dates. No more men. I was sick of all the heart ache and drama and felt I owed the boys some time on our own. I didn’t see Fitty coming at all……

6 turned 7 years old just after we moved into a lovely big house. It was huge, each of us had our own space as well as huge big family rooms. It was one of those houses boys dream of living in. 5 and 6 each had their own rooms built high in the house, each room consisting of two levels. Up the ladder to their bed, down the ladder to toys and clothing storage. The house had a huge light-well in the middle and if you stuck your head out 5 or 6’s internal bedroom window you could pelt a pair of sox down onto your mother as she walked up or down the many stairs! This soon became their favorite game.

Dale's first time on an escalator.

Dale’s first time on an escalator.

skating without broken bones.....

still skateboarding……

Enter Fitty! I had begun to go for a drink after work with a few of my friends, and one night ran into Fitty at one of his band gigs. We hadn’t seen each other for years, only to wave or say “Hi” quickly. Here he was giving me an enormous hug and it just felt “right” I can’t explain it better. The rest is history.

dale

6 you are now 6 feet tall and skinny as a rake! You have the most wonderful sense of humour and I get sooo cranky because I just can’t stay mad at you while you make me giggle!

You make me crazy with your untidy room, and you eat so much I wonder if you are going to burst. You are such a different child to your brothers, you fill my head with wild wonderings on just how much you will achieve in your life. I can see you on TV or on the stage. Your dramatic and comedic talents are so exceptional. Watching you perform your community play last year made me so proud. You totally stole the show for me.

Dale performs in first play.

Dale performs in first play.

You make 7 and 8’s life so much happier just by being you, and I am so grateful for the way you love them and “big brother” them. They love you and think the world of you, you know? It’s unusual for siblings, especially steps, to get along so well as you all do, and I thank you for the ease, grace and fun with which you have accepted your younger siblings.

Dale at wedding

I know you are destined to be very happy, it’s something you excel at right here at home. May you always have the energy for laughter and lightness that you have now my darling child.

So – we moved into Magoos house in Canberra, and we were there for exactly 3 days before we went to meet Dr M, the Specialist at the Ante-natal clinic on Tuesday morning. Magoo and I eagerly awaited the appointment. We wanted to know that everything was going to be alright.

I was questioned about the pregnancy and the hemorrhage that had occurred just a few nights earlier. When Dr M, questioned me about the pressure I felt down low in my belly, he decided to do a physical examination right then and there and upon completion he asked if my other children could be cared for by someone other than myself. Magoo said, “of course…. why?”

“I think the fetus has engaged very low down in the birth canal, and although the waters haven’t yet broken, you are in danger of delivering prematurely any time from now. I believe you should stay here in the hospital until the end of your pregnancy.”

I was absolutely shocked at this news. I figured the pressure was just soreness from the abruption of my placenta, which had caused the bleeding. I hadn’t thought that my baby could be well on his way down the birth canal and threatening to be born any minute. There was no labor pain or cramping, just pressure? Dr M discussed the logistics with us, and it was decided that I should be admitted immediately. An ultrasound was scheduled for early the next day, so we could see exactly what was happening down there.

My boys were with Magoo’s husband, back at the house. I can remember being really worried what they would think when “Nanna” returned home without Mummy. I was able to call them later that night from my bedside and tell them that Mummy was ok, and she had to sleep at the hospital because their baby brother was “sick” in my tummy. They were happy and fine without me, I knew they were in good hands with Magoo, but I missed them terribly. Being in a city hospital was very different than our own local hospital. So much bigger. But it was nice, clean and the staff were very friendly. I was expected to rest in bed and not even get out to use the toilet. Which I felt was a bit extreme. For the first night I put up with it though, and the next day requested to be allowed to use the bathroom and shower. It was agreed as my bleeding had stopped completely overnight.

My ultrasound was the next hurdle. I waited anxiously. I remembered James every minute, and kept thinking that they were going to not be able to find a heartbeat, or that there would be more fetal bands from the bleeding. There had been a lot of fetal monitoring throughout the night, and my baby’s heartbeat was loud and clear, but I still worried that the ultrasound would show something terribly wrong. I began to prepare myself for bad news. Magoo came in at lunchtime with my boys, and I was overjoyed to see them. 5 took a running jump from the doorway onto my bed, causing everyone to freeze with concern as he landed on my belly! Poor little mite was only 2, he didn’t know to be especially careful with his mummy. 3 was calmer, and stood back grinning from ear to ear at me as Nanna and Grandad scolded 5 for jumping up on me. I gathered 5 in my arms and explained to him that he had to be gentle with mummy’s tummy now. He understood, and his beautiful big brown eyes looked so concerned. I will never forget how it felt to be sitting in that hospital bed, knowing that my poor little man had to do without me for god knew how long I would be in hospital. It broke my heart. Nanna and Grandad were very caring, but very old school and strict. I wondered how my wild little buddy would cope?

As is the case in most hospitals, what they say will happen often happens long after. They eventually came to wheel me down for the ultrasound around 4pm that afternoon……..and it was kind of funny.

As I have explained many times, I knew I was having a boy. I’d never had it confirmed, not in any of my pregnancies. I just somehow knew. So when the ultrasound technician got underway, he asked me if I wanted to know the sex of the baby. It went something like this….

“So do you know what you’re having?”

“Yes. A boy.”

“Oh, so you’ve had an ultrasound to determine that already have you?”

“No.”

“Well then how do you know what you’re having?”

“I just know. I knew with all my boys.”

“Oh, okay, well lets just see if I can confirm that for you then.”

“Okay, thanks. Usually I don’t really want to know for sure. I kind of know already, but I guess it would be nice to know without a doubt. He will be my last baby after all.”

“OH? Not planning any more then?”

“No. I couldn’t go through this again. Nor would I put my family through it again. This is it. Whatever will be will be. But I think he’s going to be ok. I think he’ll survive?” Up until this point it was a very friendly conversation we were having back and forth. Then suddenly this…

“Um, I hate to tell you that you’re wrong, but I reckon this is a baby girl.”

“Nope. Have another look….” I replied. I wasn’t being “smart”, I just didn’t believe him. Of course I had hoped for a girl, at some stages in each of my pregnancies I longed for a girl. But not this time, not after James. I wanted, no I needed another little baby boy.

“I don’t know how you could lay there and argue with me Missy! Where are your 6 years of medical training? Huh? Just exactly who do you think you are to question this very advanced technology? You are having a girl.”

“Umm I’m sorry, I don’t mean to upset you or tell you how to do your job at all. I have no medical training. BUT I’m pretty sure I’m having a baby boy!” At this stage I was chuckling quietly to myself. What a loser this dude was, getting all high-horsey on me. But what if I was wrong, I thought. . “Just have one more look, please?” I asked this of him very timidly.

“There. You see it’s a Gi……!” He reddens quickly. “Oh there it is. It is a boy…..How did you know?” Looks at me somewhat suspiciously, like maybe I chant around a cauldron with my coven at night….

I went easy on him. Told him that I’d known with each of my boys, and that I had no reason to doubt my intuition this time. To give him credit, although he didn’t apologize for his little uppity rant, he did smirk and let it be known that he was wrong, and I was right, and all was cool between us again.

What really surprised me was what he said next. After all that crap about the sex of my baby, the real situation was now being laid out for me. The baby seemed fine. He had restricted womb space as I was apparently contracting regularly. I couldn’t feel the contractions. I felt a bit “crampy”, but nothing really noticeable, so this was news to me. He also pointed to a huge ball of dark matter. It was situated low down in the birth canal, between the baby and the outside world. This, was a blood clot. Estimated to be about the size of an orange, it was significantly bigger than my baby looked on the screen.  The forming of this clot was what stopped me from miscarrying the night of the hemorrhage. This “clot” was a life saver! It remained to be seen, just how long the clot could remain blocking the entrance, and stopping my baby from being born early.

I had no shortage of information while I remained in hospital. I was seen daily by my Specialist and told very early the next morning exactly what my chances of delivering a live healthy baby were. The worst case scenario was that he would be born immediately, and wouldn’t have much chance of survival. A 21 to 29 week fetus faces all the challenges you can think of. Most importantly before 29 weeks, the baby has not developed “surfactant”, a substance vital for the infant to breathe. This stops the lungs from sticking together, and collapsing when your baby first breathes. My best hope was to hang in for the longest possible stay in hospital before my baby was born.

I was given a tour of the N.I.C.U, (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), and met the staff who would be caring for my baby after he was born. It was incredible. There are 3 bays in the NIC, Bay 1 being for the most acute care, Bay 2 being for less acute cases and Bay 3 is where the babies go when they are in minimal danger, just waiting to put on weight and go home. I wandered through all the bays and saw some amazing, miraculous things. A tiny baby girl, born at 25 weeks and no bigger than my hand from heel to tip of finger. She was tiny. About as long as a coke can, but much thinner. These tiny babies are little miracles just to be surviving after birth. She was the smallest baby there, and sadly she didn’t live much longer than 27 weeks. I remember the day she died. All the nurses had red eyes. That little blossom had fought so hard for life!

The NIC unit was a real eye opener. The staff explained to me that 6 would probably be born and go straight into Bay 1, then depending on his issues and prematurity would be transferred to Bay 2 where he would spend the majority of his time in NICU. It would probably be months before he would be able to go home with me. Everything I was told was sinking in, I was mentally preparing myself for the fight not only to keep him inside me for the longest time, but also for the fight for life that would occur after he was born. We all underestimated my baby boy. He was truly a miracle. We eventually nick-named him “the cat on the screen door”. He just hung in there!

Just hang in there.....

Just hang in there…..

My baby, my wonder child. The baby who made me whole again. The baby I worked so hard to have. Here is your story at last, my wonderful youngest son.

When I lost James, I felt as if the universe had divided down the centre, leaving me and my grief on one side, and the rest of the “normal” world on the other. I felt like part of myself was missing, and I believe that part still is, in a small way, but during the months following a stillbirth, that missing part sums up just about everything you are and everything you do. It’s a very sad situation, as you are almost completely alone in your grief. Nobody knows what to say and there is no way of comforting you. Only one thing remained on my mind during this whole awful period, and that was to fill my womb again. It felt empty and ached for another baby. I had been given the go ahead by my Dr Lew, and I saw no reason to wait any longer.

In late February 1997 I fell pregnant with 6.  It had been He who used to be’s birthday, so I am exactly sure of the dates. I knew straight away that I was pregnant. I even told He who used to be the following morning, that I had just fallen pregnant with our new son! He said, “surely we’d be getting a girl this time?”

But I knew…. I just always knew. I would play around with the idea of having a girl every now and again, but it was as if my mind would just say, “stop that nonsense, you know it’s a boy!” It’s the weirdest thing to have to explain, as it is simply a thought in my head that is adamant about things, then these things come to pass. It’s awfully handy when picking out nursery and clothing colours!

I was ecstatically happy with being pregnant, but  I was concerned also, and when at 10 weeks I started to spot blood, I thought I would lose my baby again. I had been so careful, not done anything really strenuous, however 5 was a big toddler and I did have to lift him into the car and bath sometimes when Daddy wasn’t there. The spotting was minimal and Dr Lew gave me the all clear after a few nights in hospital.

I returned home vowing not to lift 5 at all, and enlisted the help of friends and family for lifting washing baskets etc. My friends were great, and even though they all had families of their own, they were there for me. I am a very lucky woman to have the friends I have. My sister in law J was again the backbone of my life. She did so much for us and our boys, I will truly never forget all the love and support she gave us all.

It was impossible not to lift and carry on with life as normal, He who used to be and I were living between our flat in town, and our new property out of town, so there was constant packing and movement between the two properties. The “farm” had no water supply other than a small rain water tank that was very old, and I couldn’t bath the children or do washing. Life was fairly basic out there, so mostly the kids and I stayed in town. We would pack up for a few days at a time and head out, but during the pregnancy I mostly decided it would be better to stay put in town.

Things progressed normally for weeks on end and I began to feel secure in the pregnancy. However as we approached the 20 week mark I began to feel crampy and sore. I told Dr Lew who examined me and couldn’t find a reason for the discomfort. He told me to continue taking it easy at home. With a five year old and a two year old this was not so easy, but the flat was small and easy to maintain, and the boys were able to do a lot for themselves. We split their bunk beds so I wouldn’t have to reach up to make them. We left things like cleaning showers and such for a much later date.

He who used to be’s older four children had moved interstate with their mother, causing a lot of grief for us at the time. We missed them terribly, and as they had moved so far away, we wouldn’t be able to see them regularly at all. I can remember one visit we had from them, just a few months after they moved away. The kids had all grown so much! The eldest boy was all of a sudden a young man, and the girls fast approaching teenage years. It was beautiful to get all the kids together again, and they played for hours with the younger boys. Helping their Dad make a sandpit in the small backyard of the unit for the little ones. We didn’t see the older kids again for almost 6 months!

Late in the afternoon one day in mid July ’97 I told He who used to be that I felt exhausted, and asked could he take the boys out to the farm for the night, I would meet him there the next day. I wanted to spend a night in town by myself, and rest. The boys were very demanding, and I was 20 weeks pregnant and feeling exhausted! He packed them up in the afternoon, and after promising I would be out with a yummy lunch for them the next day, off he went for the night. We often did this, sometimes He who used to be would go to the farm to do some work and leave us in town, sometimes we would all stay out there, and sometimes we would all stay in town. It was a very flexible way to live, and our boys loved it. So did we. We felt that we had the best of both worlds!

This night I decided to do some folding and catch up with laundry. I had done everything, had a last cup of tea and decided to head to the shower before bed. I hadn’t really done much, just folded a basket of washing and put it away. For some reason I had done everything I could think of in the flat. The dishes were all done, the beds were all made and everything was tidy and clean. Thank goodness for I wasn’t to return to the flat again for months after that night.

Call it instinct? Nature called for me to get everything organized for my baby. And I did!

As I headed into the bathroom I stopped and stared at the boys empty beds. Such a feeling of sadness and loneliness overcame me. I felt so melancholy looking at the striped “Bananas in Pyjamas” doona covers that 3 had begged me to buy for him and his brother’s beds just a few weeks earlier. Their room was so tidy, unnatural looking. It was an eery feeling. Little did I know that I wouldn’t be tucking my children into their own beds at home for a long time.

I stepped into the shower and as I began to wash I noticed a bit of blood in the bottom of the shower. I was alarmed and quickly decided to get out and lay down. It was as I stepped out and began drying myself that the flood began. It was terrifying. Buckets of blood seemed to be pouring out of me all at once. I knew that I was hemorrhaging and had just minutes to get to the hospital before I bled out. I had become an expert on survival strategies during my my pregnancy with James. (Ironically, I never bled at all the night James was born.) I shoved a big fluffy bath towel between my legs, threw on a night gown and shoes and bolted for the car. It didn’t even occur to me to call an ambulance as I was three streets away from the hospital, and knew I could get there in just over a minute. Waiting for an ambulance could cost me my baby’s life and I wasn’t going to chance that.

I had some car trouble with my Ford station wagon earlier that month and had to push or roll start it a couple of times. I thought it was the battery but as it had started first time for over a week I thought the problem had fixed itself? HA. Picture a panic stricken woman, who hadn’t even phoned the hospital to warn them of her arrival, gushing blood everywhere jumping into a car only to have it not start!!

Aaaargh! It was just over a minute since the bleeding had started, I threw the gear stick into second, opened the door and gently pushed the car out of the car port onto the slope of the flat’s communal driveway. It steepened quite quickly, I jumped into the driver’s seat, pushed my foot into the clutch and released it and THANK GOD ALMIGHTY the engine came to life. I drove like a maniac for the minute and a half to the hospital, parked my car neatly and then bolted for maternity, completely by-passing emergency, as I knew where to go to give my baby his best chance. The looks on the faces of the maternity staff as I came screaming down the hall!! “STOP RUNNING!” the mid-wives yelled to me, as they could see the blood flying from me. I had no idea what I was doing, panic had completely taken over, but strangely as I entered the care of these wonderful people, I became calm. I had another clear as a bell thought in my head that told me everything was going to be fine. Just lay down and let them take care of you.

Do I think it is God talking to me in my head? Kind of, especially when I remember the dream I had of letting James go the night before I had him. The dream I had as he was dying clearly showed me that James was going upwards, out of my body, and I was fighting to pull him back  down to me. The way I see it is that “God won”. James is with Him now. Maybe it is my own subconscious talking to me. The “voice” or ‘thought” in my head has always known exactly what is happening and what is going to happen next. (That I’m having a baby, that it is a male child etc). Something you would expect your subconsciousness to know, yes? I won’t know for sure until I meet my maker. But in my life I choose to believe, and therefore it is more logical for me to understand that “God” was talking to me, or allowing me to “think” for myself, these life changing and sometimes life-saving thoughts. I’m not saying, “God talks to me”, I’m simply stating that I “listen” to these specific thoughts I have at special times in my life. And that these “thoughts”  have an uncanny ability to be 100% right. The guidance is good, so I’m going to trust it. There is no clearer way for me to explain my faith.

It was scarey, but I knew things would be okay, I was filled with a feeling of calm once I arrived at Maternity. I knew I was in good, and most importantly, caring hands. These ladies are exceptionally good at their work, and as I had birthed a few times in their unit before, I was well known to them, and the risks associated with my new pregnancy taken into consideration from the start. None of these girls expected me to keep my baby that night, they told me later they were sure I was going to lose 6, the amount of blood I was losing was a very bad indication. I lay as still as I could that night. I kept saying, “I cannot lose another baby”. “I won’t lose him, I can’t!” I knew it would cripple me if I had to go home once again without a baby in my arms.

I was able to sleep for a few hours early in the morning, and when I awoke the bleeding had all but stopped. The nurses and midwives were astonished at how lucky I had been. I was scheduled for an ultrasound later that day that showed a good strong heartbeat, but because of the bleeding not a lot else could be seen. In the next few days while resting in hospital it was decided that I was a high risk case and should consider moving to Canberra Hospital in order to give my infant a chance should he be born prematurely.

Our local hospital, although fantastic, did not have the necessary skills or equipment to care for an extremely preemie baby. Dr Lew directed me to a top Specialist who I was to see when I arrived in Canberra. He didn’t think it was necessary at that point to put me in Hospital in Canberra, and thought it best if myself and the children could find somewhere to stay in Canberra, so we could be close to the N.I.C.U. (Newborn Intensive Care Unit), if my baby was born early.

Luckily Magoo was living in Canberra at the time, and she was delighted to have us come and stay. We were unsure how long we would have to leave our home for, but being with Grandma and Grandpa was so much better than me having to leave my boys at home with their dad and go to Canberra Hospital by myself. We moved into Magoo’s house to await the Specialist appointment. He who used to be brought us up to Canberra in the family wagon, stayed the weekend, but had to return for work on Monday, so he drove the 3 hours home, Sunday night.

I had an appointment with the Specialist at Canberra Ante-natal clinic, the following Tuesday. I was just under 21 weeks.

Well I have been a busy lady lately. Fitty and I only just arrived home from Sydney late yesterday afternoon, and have one whole week before 2 weds his beautiful Bride. We are just a little bit excited now, and a lot busy.

Today we had to buy clothing for young 8, plus 7 and I had to have our final fitting for our dresses, and we had to buy some fresh fruit and vegetables after being away most of the week.

We began at the dress shop and my dress fitting went well. I had left things until late as my weight had been plummeting earlier in the year when I first looked at the dress. Turns out it only needed a little tweaking and fits perfectly now. With 7’s dress I was worried about the bust of the dress fitting. She has just begun to blossom and I worried she may quickly outgrow any alterations done early. So we left hers until today as well. Hopefully we shall have two very perfectly fitting dresses come Saturday!

I have been asking Fitty for weeks if 8 had something to wear to the wedding, which is “Black Tie Formal” and had been told he was “all set”. This worried me a little as I usually need to see things with my own eyes before I am satisfied. Men sometimes have a different idea of what looks good than we women do don’t they girls? Anyhoo, turns out 8 had grown out of his good duds and needed a whole new outfit for the big day. We thought we could probably get away without buying him a suit, as he is only 10 years old, so decided to buy him a nice pair of dress pants and shirt instead.

Easier said than done when you consider his size to height ratio. A 10 year old who has grown out of the kids size range. We searched through several childrens wear departments until we finally gave up and decided to try a small mens pant. BINGO! A very excited 8 was very happy to have found a nice pair of pants, even if I do have to cut about a foot off the bottom and re-hem them!!  He liked every shirt I had picked for him to choose from, so that was easy too. Thank goodness we are all organized now!

We were very lucky to have both Grandmothers on hand this week for our Sydney trip to see the Surgeon. Fitty’s mum looked after 7 and 8, and Magoo looked after her “grand-doggie” as she calls Pooh.

Pooh in Grandpa's Shed.

Pooh in Grandpa’s Shed.

I am a big sook and suffered terribly when I dropped my little doggie off. I was completely overboard worrying about this and that. Making sure I told Magoo several times how to look after my little girl. I finally had enough cuddles and waved goodbye to her and Magoo for a few days. Sniff sniff….
I worried less about the kids! 6 went to his father’s house for a few extra days and 7 and 8 had a ball getting spoiled at Nan and Pop’s!

Fitty and I had a night with 4 in Canberra, and left for Sydney early in the morning, which put us at our hotel quite early in the day. I asked the Receptionist if there was any chance of an early check in, as I was feeling very unwell. At last a wonderful, intelligent and kind Receptionist! She sent us down to the bar for a free drink, and told us she’d contact us as soon as our room was ready! It was around 11.30am at this stage, (and Fitty had not one but two beers!) He was quite happy about 20 minutes later when the lovely girl called and told us our room was ready.

She had upgraded us to a lovely room on the top floor with a Turkish Steam Shower, and a massive Spa Bath! I was so happy I nearly cried. What a lovely Hotel Rydges in Parramatta is, and what great staff they have. We thoroughly recommend a stay in their fine hotel! http://www.rydges.com/accommodation/sydney-nsw/parramatta/welcome/

Pooh -Sydney trip 016Pooh -Sydney trip 008

Turkish steam shower anyone?

Turkish steam shower anyone?

The Surgeon was quite a charmer! He told me his record for solving a problem like mine (in one patient), was 28 surgeries! I hope he doesn’t see me as a challenger for that record?

He has booked me into his diary for early April, so luckily I can relax and enjoy the Wedding and another month of reasonable comfort until I have my next 2 procedures in Sydney. I am very worried about this, but will have to just go with the flow. I know he is the best man for the job, and am reassured, (now that I have met him and researched the crap out of him on the net), that I couldn’t be in better hands.

3 and "the Nut"

3 and “the Nut”

When your eldest child goes off to school, your emotions get the full work out. I considered myself lucky that I had another little one at home, and that eased the pain somewhat, but he was my little mate! He’d been right there beside me for so long I just didn’t know what to do without him for a while.

On his first day of school, I knew not to expect him to cling, I could see he was so excited. He actually wanted to say goodbye to me at the gate, I don’t think he realized he had to find his way to a classroom and all that, he just was in a hurry to “get to big school”, and leave me far behind!

I took him to his class and he just disappeared into a sea of small children. I looked around and saw the looks on most of the mummy’s faces. We all seemed to be wearing the same look. There were one or two crying, (and the inevitable mum of 5 who was flying in with the last of her brood, she didn’t stay long that one)! But one thing I could see was that we were all pretty much in the same boat. I sought him out to say goodbye and just about had to put him in a head-lock to get a cuddle and kiss goodbye. “Yes OK MUMMY! GOOD-BYE!”

I remember worrying about stupid things. What if someone hits him in the head with a cricket bat whilst playing cricket? What if he gets sick and nobody notices? What if the other kids are mean to him? The list of “what ifs?” are endless, and it took all my courage to leave him there that day. I have already admitted to being an over-protective mother, so I don’t need to tell you how I worried that first week.

He hated my over-protectiveness. He was so bloody independent! I used to argue with him in the morning about not doing his own lunch for school! He would always get up before the crack of dawn and do it himself! I wanted to do something for my little boy to get him ready for school, but nope, he was always ready before I got to him.

One thing that used to stupefy me was when he and I would go down to town shopping. The number of Mr’s and Mrs’s he knew! “Hello Mr Brown, how’s your little doggie?” he would say. We’d move on a few steps and I would ask him, “who is that? How do you know him?”

“Oh he’s just a friend of Grandads.” Or, “I met him at the school, he’s Ben’s Grandad.” My little boy knew a whole lot of people I had never ever met! The control freak’s worst nightmare? Not even knowing who my child was introduced to, or talking to?

I suppose I really should have been thankful for my independent little man. Considering the years to follow and the succession of hospital stays and babies, I reckon it helped him to deal with the separation from me. He always just dealt with things. He is so much like me, I guess. We are the same…. You just deal with what life gives you and you move forward.

Many years later, when I had begun to relax and had returned to work, (all 3 of my boys at school), I finally got that dreaded phone call.

“Mrs ______ your son ______ has been hit in the head by a shot put.” (yeah, that’s right, 9lb’s or so of lead straight to the head!) I was to meet him at the hospital.

I FREAKED! All my nightmares filled my head at once. I could barely see to drive, I went straight from work to the Emergency Department. There he was, a bit dizzy, a bit sick, but enjoying the drama nonetheless. Turns out he had decided to play catch with the shot put ball, threw it up in the air above his head, and of course the darn thing whacked him one on the way back down! He survived. We waited hours for a head X-Ray, which showed no internal issues or fractures. He was a very lucky boy that day.

I don’t know if my heart ever returned to a regular beat though!

One of the biggest moments in our lives came when 3’s biological Dad, (B.D.) came into his life. (Long story short -we had been a semicasual relationship which resulted in an accidental pregnancy). I was nearly 23, and decided to return home to my Dad’s to live and have the baby, a decision which suited his (B.D and B.D’s mother very well at the time.)

Finally after 17 years of not having ever known his “real” father, my son met him. I should at this time point out that the ex, was to all intents and purposes his Dad, and will always be his Dad. There is no substitute for being the man who raised you, who was there for you throughout your life. Biology or not.

3 and I talked often about the reality of meeting his B.D. one day, and when it finally happened we were all ready. (I’m pretty sure his Dad felt a little put out at the time, but 3 made sure he knew that he was still the only “Dad”!)

3’s B.D. traveled down from QLD to stay with us in our home. A big step, but as we had talked on the phone, and I was compassionate to their needs, we decided it was the only way for them to make the most of the few days they had. I hardly saw 3 that weekend, and that was ok, it was something that had to happen. And it was beautiful. All those wasted years, these two instantly fell in love with each other!

3 and his B.D.

3 and his B.D.

3 is all grown up now, the sum of all the experiences we had together, plus many of his own. He is a most wonderful young man. He has found love in the form of one unusual young lady, “the Nut”, as we call her, well, because (she is a bit nutty). We don’t actually know if this is the relationship that will take him through the rest of his life, but one thing I do know is that I love her. I always have, since the minute she walked through our door. But more about her some other time…

3 you have made my life wonderful darling, there are things I never would have gotten through without your strength, love and loyalty by my side. You may not realize it now, as you struggle through your 20’s trying to find your way to stability and happiness, but you are a fantastic young man. You have never been afraid of anything, and you’ve never let anything hold you back. I love you son. I just wish you’d learn to slow down and put all four wheels on the ground!!

no need to worry about 3!!

no need to worry about 3!!

Wow! I’m totally blown away by this whole experience! I will never be able to thank T enough for letting me be there for her and little “JJ” at the moment of his birth. I am completely in love with this new little man!

I got to the Maternity Wing at around 8am and T and I quietly chatted, (well she was pretty quiet), I was like an little kid, rambling excitedly from one subject to the next! We were joined by D, (T’s hubby) and her two year old daughter shortly after. At around 9am they came to take T away to prep her for the Cesar. They came and got me 20 mins later, and then I stood around outside the operating theatre while they administered this and that to T.

During that time I was dressed in scrubs and hanging around outside theatre, I was approached no less than 3 times by visiting surgeons and asked questions about the procedure and layout of the Operating Suite. This was hilarious, and if I hadn’t been so nervous for T, I could have had a lot of lunatic fun “playing nurse” for real! I addressed the first real nurse I saw, and said, “you guys really should have different coloured gowns or hats for visitors!” I told her what had happened and she said she’d bring it up at the next meeting, she also added that the surgeons wouldn’t remember something as simple as hat colours anyway, as they are all visitors from other hospitals! Teaching Hospitals get pretty crazy I expect?

I digress, after standing around for what seemed like ages, I was finally led to T. She was so serene and calm, I thought “piece of cake”,(during my emergency c-section with 6, my arms were vibrating with the shakes.)

It was a piece of cake! My best friend is so amazing, she was so patient! She looked concerned a few times, but no real problems.

At the moment they pulled the baby from her, I saw the most beautiful little face. He came out so clean and lovely, with a perfectly handsome face. I knew straight away he was a boy, and said to T, “that’s a boy face”, and lo and behold, caught a glimpse of the right equipment seconds later. “It’s a boy, it’s a beautiful boy”.

At times throughout the day I would watch D looking proudly at his son, and nearly cry! Grandma D was beside herself with pride, she now has 2 of the most good looking grandchildren ever, to crow about! What a happy family they are. C was quite happy to kiss her new brother, but as most 2 yr olds, she was just as happy running around making us laugh!

The rest of the day was spent watching T and her family, with her new baby, marveling at what a natural she was with her newborn. He fed voraciously throughout the day, and wet enough nappies to keep me busy! T was in a lot of pain so I hung around until quite late in the evening to help her with things. During that time we talked, and tried not to laugh too much, poor T! I was so glad I was able to be there for her, and provide comfort to both of them. I felt very privileged to have seen those first moments of a new life. I also feel like the bond between T and I has deepened once again. I only hope I get to repay her one day for the blessing she has bestowed on me.

I can’t wait to get back to them today!

Hello Mummy! Tand JJ

Hello Mummy! Tand JJ

Jayden Kyle 045

Hospitals are pretty much all the same, on one point anyway. Going home is like a surprise party. Nobody seems to know anything until suddenly everyone bursts into your room shouting, “Isn’t it great! You can go home!”  You may have been waiting with your bags packed  and ready to go for hours.

Not that I’m complaining.

This time around I have lucked out and got my own room, complete with air con and TV. No snorey  companion beside me to make the nights endless. So it has almost been not bad. The nurses here are an awesome bunch, most of them full of fun and very caring. However overworked they are, they always have something comforting to say to you.

They do suffer from some kind lack of irony however. They barge into your room waking you at all hours. I seem to need medicating every 20 mins at night! Getting the biggest jump and squeal out of you is the game here, and then telling you to “just go back to sleep dear….I’ll be back to finish that in about 20 mins.” They  always know when you have just dropped off too, and that is when they strike.

Jokes aside, I feel very lucky to have been looked after so promptly and professionally each time I come in. If you are going to spend time in hospital I thoroughly recommend our local!

One thing I haven’t done is stick to my diet, having spoken to a few nurses and doctors about it, they reckoned I should  forget about it until I go back home as I would need the extra strength to get back on my feet after the operation. I have tried to eat as well as I can, with the exception of the first dinner. I scoffed all those forbidden goodies into me in no time, knowing I would be fasting from midnight. Trouble is I felt disgusting afterwards.  My body had gotten used to the healthy food, and balked at the idea of all that processed yuk.

 

Today I’ll wait patiently for my own surprise announcement..

Yep! Again…back in hospital.

”Turns out I need another surgery. What started out as a pretty normal day quickly turned sour on us. Off we went to the local GP, Fitty is my chauffer at the moment as I am usually off my face on pain killers. It also hurts  to use the pedals (and you’d be surprised how much you use those booty muscles to hang on when driving)! I’m not looking forward to him going back to work, then Magoo gets to drive me around!

Anyways, there we sat, my pain increasing by the minute, waiting to see the doc. I knew something was badly wrong, but I just didn’t want to go back to hospital, again. The doctor had other ideas…

So here I sit, after a lovely sleep-over in surgical ward, waiting patiently for theatre, nothing to eat or drink since midnight last night. Things could be worse, I could also be dying for a cigarette! Haven’t had a problem since day one! So pleased with myself.

Fitty is doing great too. He gets a little irritated by the patches, poor thing, big red squares remain when he takes one off.I think he may have to seek an alternative soon. In the meantime he has such an increased energy level he has done amazing things at home. Fitty really isn’t keen on the idea of renovating, he’s a building designer by day, and knows all the ins and outs, but also knows how rough it’s going to be to live through t all. I can picture 6,7 and 8 running around with little hard hats and tool belts on already! They’re very keen to update the house. Bathroom tiles are falling off and I haven’t been able to open or close a cupboard door in the kitchen for years, as there aren’t any! Just one left and it falls off if you look at it too hard….

Back from surgery now, awake and ready to start the whole healing process all over again. I didn’t plan on blogging about my health non stop, but it’s such a huge part of every day right now, you’ll just have to put up with the whinging for a little while longer.