Sunday, July 31, 2011

it's time

Baby Man has a new social worker. I've heard she's not as good, but his case is still going to termination.

I have trouble with the Feebster not in the same room as me. I also have random bouts of crying and worry over the other three kids at random times. Baby Man is staying with the most awesome woman who is taking the most awesome care of him and spoiling him like crazy. She even brought him over for me to see him today. Random bout of crying after he left.

I guess this is probably normal.

Whoever left the "birth trauma" site, thank you. I have been looking at it.

Losing the uterus has been weird. Even though my last godforsaken tube was tied, it's still weird *not* to have my uterus. Kind of a sick codependent relationship I had with the ol' girl.

I also expressed to my mom today that the last 7+ years have had me in a constant state of either pegnancy or grieving over lost pregnancy or dealing with the results of pregnancy gone awry ( birth defects, etc.)

It's so strange to be stepping into this new era,

one in which I will never, ever take a pregnancy test again.

It's time, and I know it. I am so thankful for the biological children God has given me but,

damn, y'all,

it's time to move on.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


I feel like the ATM display at the bank when it's about to tell you there's no money in your account...




I will finish that story, I promise.

Baby Man has a new case worker. That's some news, too.

She's 11 days old and it's still hard to wrap my head around.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

the day I almost died

Right after the c-section surgery and tubal ligation I was sent to a recovery room. There, my blood pressure dropped to 70/35, but the anesthesiologist gave me some medication through my IV to get it back up again. Half an hour later it dropped again and the same medication was given. I was told that an epidural can cause your blood pressure to drop, so we weren't all that concerned about it, though I was monitored closely.

During my recovery time I felt a sharp, stabbing pain in my right side, above where the c-section scar was. Whenever they touched on my uterus and got to that spot I would try to push whoever was doing the pushing away. They told me that was normal as I had just been through surgery, that there was alot of soreness there.

Two months leading up to the birth, I was *aways* pressing on that spot, trying to counteract the pressure of the baby and thinking it was just round ligament pain that would go away. It would for awhile, but then it would always come back. The night before she was born, Monday night, I couln't sleep, because that spot hurt so badly. It was stabbing through me like a knife.

Anyway, they brought me back to my room and I spent the better part of the day holding onto that spot and asking the nurse to please not press so hard on it. I told her I needed more pain medication; that what she was giving me wasn't enough, and I distinctly remember her saying, "No, the pain medication you're being given should cover it."

Being the pleaser that I am, I just assumed that this was normal c-section pain and I'd forgotten about it. I really wasn't paying much attention to the baby and hadn't even checked her over. I'd cried like I was a baby myself when she came out, unable to believe she was so perfect. She had the cord around her neck, but it was quickly unwrapped and her apgars were 8,9,9.

I had been so relieved, and I need to recount her birth story, too.

Anyway, the next several hours were a blur. I was sweating so profusely that Scott had to literally sit by my face and wipe it down every 5 minutes or so. It was literally dripping off of my face. The nurse would come in to "palpate the uterus", and I shoved her hands away when she would get to that spot. She didn't seem to understand that that spot really hurt.

I think I have a very high pain tolerance, because after both Lucy and Asher's c-sections I walked out of the hospital the next day without any by-mouth pain medication. In this situation, I don't think a high pain tolerance served me very well. Where someone else may have passed out from the pain, I was just highly uncomfortable but still able to think rationally that it may just be my c-section incision.

My mother in law came to visit around 4, and at that time I felt like a bigger knife was stabbing me. She was on the phone with someone and I yelled at her that I needed the nurse, now. She went yelling into the hall that I needed a nurse, and the nurse I had came slowly walking down the hall and told me again that the pain medicine she had me on was the only medicine she could give me.

At 6 pm that night, my father in law came to visit. As he entered the room I was bracing myself against the bed, trying to counteract or distract myself from the pain in my abdomen. I greeted him by saying I wasn't a very good hostess and please take the baby. He took her, and then Scott came in. Scott told me my leg was falling off of the bed, and as he tried to put it back on the pain in my side got more intense and I screamed at him, "NO!" I still had my eyes closed.

He said to his Dad, "Dad, did she look this white when you came into the room?" I don't think his dad had really noticed one way or the other, but later Scott told me I had looked like a moving corpse. You couldn't differentiate where my lips ended and the rest of my skin began.

I heard Scott say, "This isn't right, I'm getting help." I was amazingly lucid this entire time.

When he came back in with the nurse, she looked at me and said, "Oh, my!" and then ran over to do my vitals. My heart rate was 132 and my blood pressure was 60/30. She picked up the phone. Scott told her the phone didn't work, but she fumbled with it anyway. The message finally got to her and she ran from the room, saying, "I'm going to get some people."

Before she left, I watched her pull the "Code Blue" switch.

I think it was 1 minute and the room was suddenly filled with people. Doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, they just kept pouring in. At one point the count was 17 people in our little room. The bed next to me was moved out of the room as everyone set up shop.

Phoebe had been forgotten. I watched her in her little bassinett, sleeping peacefully away.

The anesthesiologist took up residence at the head of my bed. He was literally pulling vials out of his pocket as soon as he came into the room. Scott was watching him the whole time and he said he would sort of sort them through his hand, choose one, and dump it into my IV. He'd look at my vitals for a minute, frown, and then try something else.

My bed was elevated at the feet so all of the intact blood in my body could keep my vital functions going. I wanted to panic but I don't think I had the energy. I looked at Scott, standing at the foot of the bed, hands in his back pockets, looking like he was ready to vomit.

I couldn't look at him again.

There were about 7 nurses surrounding me at this point, asking me where I hurt.

"I HURT RIGHT HEEEEEEEEERE!" I said, pointing to the spot that felt like it was being knifed. My nurse went in for the kill, determined to show her aptitude at torturing patients, I guess, poise and ready to press on the spot.

"I think she may be bleeding," another nurse said. "I wonder where?"

I shoved Nurse Rached's hand away and said, "I'm bleeding right here! IT'S RIGHT HERE!'

They kept pontificating, at which point the anesthesiologist said, "She's bleeding. She's bleeding. She's bleeding." At this point he was actually pushing the bed toward the door with his knees. Everyone was waiting for my doctor to get there and make the call for me to go to the OR. What seemed like 45 minutes was probably about 6.

Her partner arrived, and nurses were trying to talk to me and keep me distracted. They had pasted-on smiles and none of them told me I would be OK. I knew they didn't know that, and they were probably assuming I wouldn't be.

All this time I kept returning my focus to an outfit Phoebe's Grammy had given her, size 3 months. I imagined Scott dressing her for church all alone in that outfit, in me never getting to see her wear it. Then, I started praying that I would be able to see her in that outfit, to go home to my kids, to live life with Scott. I started tuning everything else out and just kept praying.

My doctor's partner came in and the anesthesiologist gave her the rundown. One nurse said, "We need to do a sonogram to see if she's bleeding, and where." The sonogram technician came in, very leisurely-like, and said, "Well, this machine will take about 5 minutes to warm up."

The OB just looked at him and then at the anesthesiologist, who shook his head. She said, "She doesn't have 5 minutes." At this point I said, "I don't want a sonogram. I want to go to the OR."

I have never seen a medical team move more quickly once a decision has been made. There was already a male nurse behind my bed who was ready for the call to be made. He had braced himself so as to be able to push me towards the door, and there were about 10 people trying to get me out of the room. When we came back to the room later, you could see where my bed had actually damaged the wall and the door as they tried to ram me out of there.

At first everyone was walking, and then the nurse at the head of the bed said, "She's crashing!" Then everyone started to run, as in, sprint. I vaguely remember thinking that I thought this kind of thing only happened in episodes of ER. Scott and I always thought that was so cheezy.

Guess it really does happen.

We got to the prep room and by that time Scott had completely lost it. He was sobbing. His tears were hitting my cheeks and he said, "You can't leave me. You're my best friend. I love you. We haven't had enough time together yet."

I was surprised the critical care team was letting him be there until it hit me that they figured this was the last time he'd see me alive, and so did he. At this point the anesthesiologist was whispering things in my ear, I'm not sure what. I asked him if he knew what my blood type was, and he started chuckling and said, "Yes, sweetheart, I know your blood type."

I turned my attention back to my Scott.

"You have to pray," I said.

"What do I pray?" he said.

"Pray this," I said.

"Dear God, please don't let Rachel die. Let her live. Dear God, please don't let Rachel die. Let her live. Dear God, please don't let Rachel die. Let her live."

Dude, I'm so eloquent.

My doctor arrived and told me it was probably a bleed in my uterus, and she may have to give me a hysterectomy. "Take it! Take it all! Throw it in the trash!"

haha, that was my response. She smiled and said, "OK."

At that same point, I recall thinking that I would either wake up in a recovery room or looking at the face of God, and that neither place would be so bad. I heard one nurse say to another, "How is she still talking?", and I looked over to the corner of the room where my parents and Scott's dad all looked like they themselves were going to pass out. My mom stood on her tiptoes and waved to me and said, "Lots of people are praying for you!"

My mind flashed back the past 32 years and all the times my parents had been there for me, all the things they'd done for me, all the times they'd sacrificed for me, and now they were watching me about to die.

Then I heard, "She's coding," and lots of alarms going off,

and everything went black.

part 2 is here.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

so good

I keep starting to write the story of all that transpired on Tuesday. I always quit.

There is a part of me that wants to go back there, that has needed to go back there.

There's also a part of me that wants to put it in the past and move forward.

A woman who deals with women who have had traumatic births at this hospital told me that the emotion will probably hit me at really odd times and catch me off guard.

The whole time they were working on me, the only thing I could focus on was a 3 month outfit my mother in law had given Phoebe. "Please, God, let me be there the day she fits into that. Don't let it just be Scott and Lucy trying to figure out how to button it up. I can't leave them yet."

As the doctors ran me down the hallway, yelling at each other, practically using their scalpels before I was asleep, I kept feeling this pervading, peaceful calm. I gave up trying.

You hear that?

I gave up trying.

I knew that I would either wake up looking at the face of God, or I would wake up in a recovery room. And either way, I had to let it go.

Scott was sobbing and leaning over me and his tears were falling down my cheeks and the only thing I could think to do was to lead him in a prayer.

The last thing I remember was losing my vision and a nurse saying, "She's coding."

I don't know if I expected God to answer my prayer and let me live, or not. In much the same way that after 4 years of pregnancy loss I can't believe that the little girl with the profile just like her big sister's and the squeaky noises was given to me, perfectly healthy and whole - lying in her bassinett, and I can pick her sweet little body up any time I want.

She doesn't care about pregnancy tests, or ultrasounds, or what month which miscarriage happened. She doesn't care about anything other than the fact that she gets hungry, and she needs me to feed her. She gets lonely, and she needs me to cuddle her up.

I guess I'll write the stories down, sometime, but I keep getting this nudge that it's time for my heart to rest, to reconcile, to move forward.

It is sweet.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


My uterus is having a reunion party from my blown out tube of the great ectopic pregnancy of September 2009. Also in attendance is the piece of fallopian tube taken out after my wondrously screaming second daughter was born on Tuesday (holy crap is it weird to say that!)

The same nurse who later held my hand as I coded and Scott was sobbing said at the time, "Wow, doctor, now THAT is a tubal!!!" Scott was even thinking about getting a vasectomy as well, just to be THAT SURE I would never get pregnant again.

Last night they thought I may have a pulmonary embolism (do not Google please), but after the CT we were rejoicing. Nothing more than fluid in my lungs from all of the blood and fluids I was given.

Of course you will get a really long rendition of her birth story, name meaning and the story of how the emergency all happened, but...

I am just so thrilled to see her in the flesh. She is soft and kittenish and smells like wonderful baby and basically she was worth it all. More pictures to come, I promise.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

right before emergency surgery


i can't believe i'm alive

friends...i cannot wait5 to show you photos of our baby girl. She is perfect. I, however, nearly died yesterday.

I was in excruciating pain after the birth in one spot and my blood pressure crashed at 7 pm last night. The nurse pulled the code blue button in my room and ran to get help.

people came running in and I was in excruciating pain. Excruciating. My bp was 63/34 and the doc said I was going into SVT. My heart couldn't handle the stress and massive internal hemmorhage was suspected.

It is thought that baby provided enough pressure on the uterine hematoma (not even near the previous csection scar) to keep me from bleeding out the last months of pregnancy. Had she been born vagin*ally there would have been no way my doctor would have known it even existed.

I crashed on the way to surgery and now have coursing through my veins half of my bodys capacity of someone elses blood. A wonderful stranger.

I heard "we r losing her" more times than I care to count. Scott and I said good bye. He was sobbing and I was in shock. I kept staring at our baby girls new clothes and wanted so badly to be with Scott and watch her grow. During the 2 hoursof surgery the only sound in the waiting room was prayers of petition to our God.

there was so much blood and not enough time that I was given a hysterectomy...all but one ovary. There is so much more to tell you but we have on our hands a beautiful 7 pound 12 ounce baby girl...Phoebe Ellis. Pictures to come as soon as I can figure out Scotts phone.

Thank you God for sparing my life.

Thank you is too inadequate a prayer.

Monday, July 18, 2011

birth plan

You know you don't *really* care how it all goes down as long as everyone's healthy if you're:

1. Writing up your "birth plan" (ha) 17 minutes before you're supposed to arrive at the hospital to register, and

2. Blogging about it before it's actually written.

3. Oh, and that your "birth plan" involves your husband cutting the cord, an intact and working but*t hole, and waiting on the vitamin k and shots if she looks ok from the get-go.

4. Living and crying would be nice, too.


Friday, July 15, 2011

don't google those things

I'd been having this odd pain in my groin for the last 4 or 5 days, but really just thought it was tendons and the baby pressing on them, or maybe just the lu*st that burns ever-constantly for my Nautica-wearing husband. (1990s, anyone?)

Talked to a friend who is VERY non-alarmist, and she suggested I talk to our doc (we share the same one; we're cool like that.) Co-pays are separate, though.

Scott actually called me on the phone, something he *never* does unless he thinks I'm dying, which, well, apparently he did. He told me to call an ambulance if I was feeling faint and who cares how much it costs, and, hey, by the way, remember that lady I worked with who died just when we started dating? This is exactly what she died of!

"Oh, honey, that's FANTASTIC!" I replied, as I downed an entire bag of potato chips.

Enter the tears, because if my husband is saying these things, the guy who doesn't raise an eyebrow as the hurricane bears down on the ship, then I am S-C-R-E-W-E-D.

Anyway, 45 minutes later I was getting a doppler done of my leg, freaking out because I had googled "C-SECTION AFTER BLOOD CLOT DIAGNOSIS", (for the love of Peter and Paul, never google this), and imagining my own funeral, complete with my children asking Daddy why Mommy wouldn't wake up, and why is she in a wooden bed?

Lucy would lay a laurel wreath upon my bosom, and she would be wearing that little Cinderella outfit, the one Cinderella wears when she's sweeping the cinders and her evil stepmother is making her stay home from the ball, but only after she buries her dead biological mother and lays a laurel wreath, as I said, upon her bosom.

Technically, I suppose that "little Cinderella outfit" is really just a whole bunch of cast-off rags her older brat sisters donated to the cause, but hopefully Scott would buy her a real costume at the Disney store for the occasion.

Asher would hit me in the face and tell me he needed a glass of milk.

I am nearly shouting from the rooftops with my good news: no blood clot, just freaked out mother... though that would require me walking outside and the humidity here is hellish.

My sister in law came over and made food for all of the kids, watched them while I went to my appointment, and then scrubbed my kitchen down while I lounged in the living room scarfing down Costco apple pie and watching Eloise with the littles.

Sainthood, I tell you.

3.5 days, if anyone is wondering.

And yes, my bags are actually packed.

Time for a nap, because somehow I have deluded myself into thinking that having a newborn, a healing c-section scar, a 6 month old, and two other small children will be a walk in the park.

I keep thinking this weekend is going to seem so looooooooooooooooooooooong, BUT perhaps I'd better enjoy it.

Just really happy they don't have to put mesh things in my veins before the surgery so that clots won't travel to my brain and kill me on the operating table.

But, you know, stay posted for that freakishly worried post somewhere around Monday evening. I have to report to the hospital at 5 AM Tuesday morning, so I won't have much time to think about it, then.

My doc said she'd let me try for a VBA2C up until 40 or 41 weeks, and maybe I'll just go ahead and cancel the section at the last minute.

Or, you know,

maybe not.

93 hours

Not that I'm counting or anything.

In need of distractions...

the weekend spreads out before me like a vast expanse.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

132 hours

Dear Baby Girl,

In 132 hours we will be leaving for the hospital to see you. To touch your face, to hear your cries. I have faith that we will be doing all of these things, though Satan tells me otherwise.

It's a daily battle, you know, and it has been, for the past 9 months. I have been scared for you, but I know that Providence makes no mistakes and I have to rest in that fact.

Today you weighed 7 pounds and 11 ounces and you've got to be so proud of your mom for officially making it one week past the number of weeks I carried your brother and sister.

It has not been easy, but I do it for you.

I keep praying that you will come earlier, that I won't have to be cut open to have you and that you could be born the usual way. Wouldn't that just be icing on the cake?

Last night I vomited my entire dinner. It was a good dinner, so this was a sad fact. When I exited the bathroom your dad was waiting for me and I let myself have a good, long hard cry. He held me and whispered to me, "I don't know how you do it."

"I don't know how, either," I replied.

We went to Build-a-Dino and your brother and sister built you a dino, a pink one, with your name on it. They were so happy and eager to stuff that Dino full of little hearts they had kissed with their love, rubbed in tiny fingers to warm, jumped with up and down to ensure there was energy when the hearts were inserted.

The Dino is pink and she is named, well, "Pink," and she's already dirty because one or the other has been carrying her everywhere and occassionally holding it up to my belly, saying your name and telling you she is giving you a kiss.

In a fit of wild passion, I filled out the bear's birth certificate at the computers in the corner, meant for kids, with your pretty flower name.

Having you so close I can almost touch you has the anxiety coming faster, but it also has me realizing I have no control and I need to enjoy this time of feeling you kick and punch and of not having to worry about you wrestling with all that is wrong with this world once you arrive here.

In there, you're protected from the knowledge, at least, of anything sad or bad.

Can't wait to hold you, and love you, and tell you how long you were waited for.

Love you,

Saturday, July 9, 2011


10 days until c-section, if she doesn't come before.

I am hot, sweaty, generally feeling nasty.


Thank you.

Give me your tips on getting her to come early. Ha, I know, she won't come until she's ready, blah, blah, blah,



Oh, and you have been officially introduced to the ugly underbelly of foster care.

Thank me later.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

ready for the world

When you were first born, you needed me differently than she did.

You'd cuddle right up to my chest, nurse longer, gaze at me differently.

"Boys and girls are different," they said.

"Duh," I thought.

But I think it's true. You need the soft reassurances of me, even at this young age, more than she did. She is bolder, brighter, ready for the world.

You: unsure, unsteady. Lots of calls for "Mama" in the night and during the day.

It doesn't matter how often I bathe you (I've sort of given up doing it often), you still smell like rotten puppy. You are adamant about the clothes you choose, and you announce loudly to anyone who will listen,

"I have to poop!"  every time you are about to do so.

You always forget to wash your hands, and dirt is always under your fingernails.

You are more stubborn than any child I know, and you wear me out.

Everything is a battle.

And then, some nights as you sleep, I shuffle through the little boy mulch that covers your carpet:

Toy soldiers, Matchbox cars, candy wrappers, filth.

There's usually some random object on your pillow you demanded to sleep with, and I'm usually too tired to object.

I look at your sweaty blond head, the lips that look so like your daddy's, hear the soft puff of your breath.

My heart catches in my throat, and I know this one thing:

Every day I love you, every day I hug and accept and patch up your broken places, every day I tell your father that I don't think I am equipped for you and take a deep jagged breath and wonder what I did wrong today,

I make you ready for the world.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dear Baby Girl

Dear Baby Girl,
Being asleep during the Biophysical Profile was not cool. You gave me a heart attack.
Being awake during the Non-Stress Test they ordered after that was cool.
By the way. The acupuncture and the 6 inch long needles inserted into all areas of my body this morning weren't for fun. They're supposed to get you going.

Feel free to come out any time now.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Tomorrow is my next-to-last Biophysical Profile. My last OB appointment is next week. My c-section is going to be some time the week after that.

A friend texted me today and told me that I am so in denial about this whole thing that when I actually have her in my arms I'm going to be a little shocked.

my text back: "You know this girl well."

I'm proud of myself for not freaking out, today, at my 37 week appointment. This is when I lost it with Asher and it's when they took him out. And then, well, he spent 2 weeks in the NICU on a ventilator because he couldn't breathe. Now *THAT* was fun.


Baby Man's parents failed their application to have him live in their home, should they ever get him back.

The social worker emailed this information to me today and asked me again about being ready to fill out adoption paperwork.

We are filling out adoption paperwork.

In other news, Baby Man is the smiliest, happiest, calmest baby around.

...and he is now the proud owner of this new talent.
What good this little guy has done our hearts.

Friday, July 1, 2011

in which she gets her name

No name has really seemed to "click" with this girl. 

So, hoping to remedy that, this past Sunday I had a special request of my family. Said family, knowing I have a penchant for hormonal swings, decided to go ahead and honor it.

Scott and Lucy, deep in agonizing thought amidst tortilla ingredients, it appears..

Scott furiously crosses off those names which only have one vote (we were each allowed five).

Asher, meat head that he is, had to be bribed with Twizzlers. He also voted for every name but two.

Scott, furiously crossing out names as we vote...

We came up with our top four favorite names, and we've been thinking about them this week, assuming we'd just take them to the hospital. 

Yesterday, however, I was thinking again through our list of 54 names (no, I'm not kidding) and stopped at one that only Asher had voted for. It's not one we've discussed with anyone else, but it's one that just seemed to "click".

I emailed Scott and said, "This is her first name."

He said, "Yes it is!"

Today, driving toward the hospital, I was listening to a song by one of my favorite artists. The emotions conveyed in the song are so similar to my emotions over this entire journey, and I immediately knew what her middle name would be.

Once again, ever the technology officionado, I texted Scott on my ghettotastic cell phone and said, "This is her middle name!"

And he said, "How did you get it?"

And I told him my reasoning and how it struck me, and he said,

"I like it."

I typed out her name in this publishing field and then un-typed it. 

Our daughter, her name...both like delicate secrets tucked underneath my heart.

And both, my friends, about to make their delicious debut.