Saturday, June 21, 2008

Apendix-less, pained, drowsy... but relieved

What a couple of weeks we have had. Actually, that is a bit of an understatement.... what a disaster!  Last Monday (9th June) morning I woke up with a nasty case of diarrhea and vomiting that left me wasted and bed-bound. We had to cancel our playdate with Luc’s schoolmate Henry. I was feeling a little better Tuesday - managed a park visit with the boys - but was pretty much confined to eating toast. Tuesday evening and I started to feel horrible. No sleep Tuesday night, a call to my obstetrician and then constant vomiting - meaning that I could not even keep ice down. I spoke to my doctor’s assistant who asked that I go directly to the Prentice Women’s Hospital to be rehydrated. 

I got myself to hospital, was hooked up to an IV and then the diagnoses began. I was having severe pain and cramping that I thought might have been contractions.... but didn’t feel quite right. A lot of prodding, a couple of potential diagnoses, a bedside and then an indepth ultrasound, a scary CT scan and finally the culprit was determined - a nasty appendix. The doctors were reluctant to go in without knowing the real cause for pain (as they did not want to upset the uterus any more than necessary)... I happened to be of the same opinion! 

The doctors operated straight away - at around 4am Thursday morning. Around 24 hours without food or liquid made this an opportune time for a general anesthetic. I had some magnificent midwives to keep me company whilst in the labour and delivery suite, and to accompany me to the Northern Memorial Hospital across (or under) the road for my surgery. My surgeon had some experience with appendicitis in pregnant women - coincidently, performing an appendectomy on one the previous morning. I was sent back to the Prentice to recover and for the baby and myself to be monitored. 

Scarily, I had dilated slightly since being admitted and contractions were felt. I was given a course of medication to stop the contractions. When the contractions continued, a neonatal specialist came to speak to me about problems and concerns associated with pre-term delivery (as I was just over 27 weeks pregnant). The baby was given a course of steroids to increase lung capacity ‘just in case’. I was kept in hospital for the next couple of days under observation. The care was great and I had a magnificent view over Lake Michigan from my room. I was discharged on Saturday evening and came home. 

Paul has done a magnificent job of keeping the household going and the boys amused. Poor thing hasn’t had a moment to himself as I am in a word, ‘useless’. I had forgotten that one of the consequences of surgery would be pain. I find it difficult to sleep as I can only sleep on one side, and walking is limited to a hobble. I am not allowed to lift anything and standing for any period makes me woozy. 

Late on Wednesday night, I began to have another series of contractions. I spoke to the obstetrician on call who asked me to monitor these. They were coming more frequently than 10 minutes apart... so again, I went back to hospital to be ‘evaluated’. I was hooked up all night to monitors to check baby and progression of contractions. Thankfully the contractions went nowhere and are most likely due to my body witnessing some trauma and reacting to it. My obstetrician feels there is a very good likelihood of me carrying to full term (phew!) 

Thankfully, we welcomed the arrival of Paul’s sister Naomi last night. Naomi flew out from Australia and will be staying with us for about three weeks to look after the boys and ensure they have a good summer. Hopefully Naomi will be able to see a bit of Chicago while she is here. 

Picture: Luc’s rendering of Mummy on a hospital bed, attached to a drip. Daddy stands in the background with his ‘regrowth’ (Paul shaved his head a couple of weeks ago). Luc and Nicolas stand in front and drink some apple juice on a table (brought to them by lovely nurse Kate). 

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Tea for two (plus another 10!)

Luc requested a tea party for some of his friends a few weeks ago. I was a little bemused at the vision of several boys sitting down to sip tea and daintily eat cucumber sandwiches.... like that would ever happen! I put Luc up to the challenge - he had to design an invitation and devise a menu. The menu was a cinch - lemonade (with real lemons) and chocolate cake (but “a big cake, no cupcakes!”)  

I searched for a while to find a ‘real’ tea set that was not too ‘girly’. There is a real dearth of products of a domestic nature that are not pink, nor covered in flowers or butterflies. I know many a mother who has searched high and low for a kitchen set, doll stroller or the like, that is not pink or full-on girly. Little boys, it so happens, spend some time with their mothers... and do (shock horror) see them as a role model. Anyway, I finally found a tea set at Land of Nod. Luc was rapt as it included pieces in his favourite colours: blue and green. 

The day of the tea party finally arrived and Luc acted as a most gracious host - resplendent in a chocolate-covered shirt (that he had allowed Nic to lick) - a result of his decorating his cake. Callan brought along some cupcakes he had made and decorated, and insisted that he needed to bring. I managed to sneak some fruit and sandwiches into the menu, and of course some obligatory scones and iced tea. Luc and the big boys sat at the dining table, while the little brothers sat at a small table with plastic tea set (thank you Nanna). This of course upset the status quo - Nic wanted to sit in his seat at the big table. 

The ability for 3 and 4 year olds to sit and remain focussed on ‘taking tea’ was limited to how much cake, lemonade and strawberry jam they were able to imbibe... and before the sugar started to take effect. The time-frame was somewhat less for the 1 and 2 year olds. It was in a word, mayhem. Luc adored his role as host and was already planning his next tea party (complete with “vanilla cake”) before his guests had even left the house! 

Image: Luc’s invitation for his tea party