Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Story Time: A Kidney Stone Adventure

An old story in the form of excerpts from an email to my sisters--this takes place back in Rexburg, Idaho in October 2007 while approximately 18 weeks pregnant with Ender:


our official ultrasound will verify it, but yeah we're quite sure it's a boy! Now we have to think of names... it's hard to be serious. We keep thinking up really doofy ones. 
Thanks for the compliments on my pictures! It's been hard for me to gain weight with all my barfing (and I have barfed a LOT lately, I don't know if it's the medicine or what!). I know the weight might not sound like something to complain about! Most of the time I'd be glad to report that my legs are thinner and my face is thinner etc but I worry for the baby in this case, and I don't need to lose weight pregnant or not. 

Guess what! My belly button sticks out a little now! I think it's so gross! Michael thinks it's cute and he even likes it when it pooks out of my shirt! Usually it doesn't show through clothes (or I'd put a bandaid on it!) and it lays flat when I'm lying down/reclining on my back. 
I've got to brush my teeth too but we already packed that stuff in the car for our trip to Salt Lake...kind of stupid of me I guess, since that means I have morning breath + barfbreath + spaghetti breath. NASTY!!! :D 

Can you relate to this?--my bladder hurts! Of course, I kind of hurt all over my middle, front and back. But if I move anything that even slightly shifts against my bladder, RARRRRGWOOOF!!!! hahahha that sound is perfect for it. 
When I've told people I had surgery, I think most of them are thinking I was cut into. I guess I never really realized before now that surgery doesn't always involve an incision. But I'm not really anxious to tell them that the doctor went up my "downtheres," as one nurse called them (hah!). Ew. No thanks. 
I really want to tell you what it was like, since I'd never stayed in a hospital overnight and never had surgery before! Are you interested? I was asleep for the surgery, of course. Which was actually the scariest idea about all of this. It made me cry as Michael had to leave me when they took me away. :'( I wasn't worried, I knew I'd be okay, but it really was scary! Can I tell you about it? 

Before Michael had to go, the nurse wheeling me apologized for not being very skilled at moving my little bed thing, and I joked that it was okay, she was a better driver than I was. She didn't get it. I think she was sort of strange. Maybe it was because I said it so straight without smiling or anything (kind of out of it...) but she thought I meant I worked there. Whatever. So she started wheeling me away from Michael, and while I wasn't thinking anything like "oh these empty sterile hospital halls are frightening," I just couldn't stop crying. I tried telling myself I was just crying from the pain, which wasn't too hard to believe, but I knew I was scared too. 

Michael told me later he felt so awful having to leave when he knew I was scared. I prayed and felt somewhat better but kept crying. They brought me to this area (curtained to create "rooms") where another nurse gave me an IV and a soft showercap-like hairnet. She was all "Now stop that crying!" And I could tell she meant it humorously, especially because she said "I'm a social cryer, so if you cry, I'll cry!" It actually didn't bother me even though I only found it vaguely funny. It took a while to stop crying though. Kind of quiet sobs, if you know what I mean. I talked to her a little and she helped me cheer up some (and I remembered to pray again with thanks for that).  
Then another couple nurses came in. The guy was named Jan (weird, isn't it? I forced myself to be serious about it) and the woman was named Lillian. I told her about my sister-in-law, that she's 4 years old and an absolute drama queen. The nurse laughed and said "Oh I'm not going to claim that!!" And Jan said, "What, because you are a drama queen?" Lillian nodded all embarrassed-like. I decided I liked her. I tried to remember to thank all the nurses as they helped me, giving me lots of heated blankets to help me stop shivering. They were being really gentle and patient. 

They brought me to the X-ray room. Usually, you do not take x-rays of pregnant women (duh). There is too much risk for the baby. In this case, the surgery was the best option if I hadn't passed the kidney stone because the pain those stones cause can trigger labor--and boy do I believe it. So they took the x-ray with as absolutely minimal electric shock as possible, covering my left side and the baby as much as they could. 

*Michael told me later that the baby actually poked his head into the x-ray a tiny bit! The little punk! But the doctor was sure that was okay*

I think I cried again at this point, I don't remember very well. But they had to slide me onto the table and laying flat on the somewhat hard surface hurt so much! I felt really, really cold. They put blanket after blanket on me. I told them I hurt, so much--I said it almost apologetically, because I knew they were trying to help me. Then a nurse gave me some pain medication through my IV...what really bothered me was the oxygen mask. I don't like having things on my face, and my nose was stuffy. I felt so claustrophobic, it was hard to keep calm. Once the IV was in, and I had several warm blankets on me, I said "Thanks, I feel much better..." 
The medicine started working really fast. It was kind of a gross feeling--I felt very lightheaded and everything was hazy and warm. I felt like my whole body had been stuffed full of hot fog. But at the same time, the pain was becoming distant and I felt more submissive to the oxygen mask. I didn't even notice when I fell asleep. In fact, it was a surprise when I woke up to hear them say "It's all over!" 

This next part feels a little unlike myself, but I think you'd understand. :) 
I woke up feeling extremely panicky--I wanted the mask OFF my face NOW and I couldn't open my eyes. I couldn't tell if I was just too groggy, I just couldn't get myself to open them. I kept trying to move my head away from the mask and a doctor and a nurse were over me trying to shove it back every time. They both kept urging me to open my eyes to see where I was, to breathe deeply, to calm down, etc. It seemed to take forever, but I did try to be a good patient for them. I hated that mask but I held still for just a bit and barely slit my eyes open. They were goopy. I learned that they put "ointment" (basically vaseline) on your eyes so that they won't dry out--I didn't even ask if my eyes had been open during the surgery. I think that's disgusting. They wouldn't let me wipe my eyes either because they thought I might scratch them. I wanted to roll my eyes--I'm not a BABY! but I obeyed.

Just as I was past these first distractions, I realized I HAD TO GO TO THE BATHROOM. Worse than I've ever had to go before--and the nurse gave me a bedpan. I asked her--I think I asked her 3 times-- "won't it make a mess?" She says "No, the bedpan will catch it all, sweetie." What?! My whole bottom is in the bedpan! I don't care about the bed, it's going to make a mess on me! But I tried anyway, and my muscles just screamed at me. They couldn't do it. The bedpan was just some awkward rubber box-tray thing that was starting to print its shape into my bottom. :[ Oh, so comfortable. Best invention since...whatever those medieval people considered as cool as sliced bread. 

I tried not to bug the nurse but I probably asked her hundreds of times if I could go to the bathroom--in a toilet.

I think it's kind of funny now, actually, but I was sincere. She said we needed to wait and it was normal that I couldn't go yet because of what those muscles had gone through with the surgery. 
I think the most helpful thing they did in getting me to calm down was letting me hear the baby's heartbeat. It was strong and healthy! I was so glad to know that while I was something of a wreck outside, the baby was safe and well in his womb-haven. 

I was supposed to tell her my pain on a scale of 0-10, and as soon as it was down to 4 I could go. That was motivating! So she gave me some more pain meds and sat by me while filling out paperwork. I half-heartedly kept the oxygen mask on my face (she caught me every time I tried to tilt it off). That's really making me laugh now, actually. 

I got a little more used to the "urge" in my "downtheres" and was able to "relax." Which really just means I consented to feeling like I had to pee-like-crazy-so-much-that-it-killed and decided I would do everything I could to calm down. I very excitedly told her when I thought finally my pain was down to a 4. 

They asked me to rate my pain SO OFTEN that day I got so sick of it. It's hard for me to "rate" it; how do you tell?! But it was just for my personal welfare, they said, so they knew whether I needed more medication for my tolerance. Smart I guess, but it got dumb real fast. 

When they brought me to Michael and his parents, I was so happy to see them finally! 
Michael's dad said "We've signed you up for the 15k, get dressed quick and we'll get you over there!" 

It made me smile, which felt really nice finally. I said "Oh sure, I'm ready for it." 
"They give you a free T-shirt!"
"Then it's all worth it, of course!" 

I felt so glad to be with them again! Michael said he waited for what felt like ages. He prayed for me, and while he felt terrible to have had to leave right when I was scared, he also felt calm. I told him that I had too. It was really sweet to know that neither of us had to worry. We'd had such a comforting prayer together beforehand and knew that the baby would be alright and I would be alright. 
Michael's dad commented on the baby's head being in the x-ray and said irreverently, 
"No serious damage, you know, it'll just be able to say every other word or something." 

We laughed at this idea and he started saying 1 Ne 3:7--"I - go - do - things..." 
Even though it hurt almost every muscle to laugh, it felt so relieving anyway just to be with them! 
(in case you were in as much tense suspension as I'd been, I did finally get to go to the bathroom and it was not a relief, much to my disappointment. It stung like some kind of liquid fire and I had the nasty surprise of discovering it was bloody. They told me that's normal and it would clear up within 3 days--thankfully it cleared up by evening. But the sense of urgency, of having to go, didn't leave after going. It's still like that sometimes. Poor muscles...) (and sorry if that totally grossed you out!) 
I hope you didn't feel like you were reading an elderly geezer's medical saga of detailed accounts from every time they had diarrhea to every nauseating detail of exactly what kind of party their organs were throwing. :) 
And of course this isn't the whole story. More before and more after. 

I love you, sisters!"

I've thought about this a little more lately, this whole story of how difficult things were when I was pregnant with Ender. What a huge blessing that everything is so great with Scarlett! And I'm sure grateful that Ender isn't stuck with saying only every other word. ;) 

1 comment:

  1. Either I never read this email, or I just really needed a refresher, because it all sounded new to me! I am SO glad that this pregnancy has been so much easier for you.


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