Saturday, November 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Kyle

Since I am posting this from my sisters house, and computer, I don't have any photos that I can include with this post today, but I'll update it when I return home the week after Thanksgiving.
Today I'll share the story of the Birth.
Thirty Six Years - truly, where does the time go.
My due date was November 7th.  Being my first pregnancy, I really did not know what to expect at all.  My Mom's labors all occurred at least two weeks before her due date.  She said, she would go into the doctors office, he would examine her and say, see you next week, and she would deliver the next day.  No such luck for me.
My prenatal course (OB nurse speak jumping right in here!) was uneventful.  Back in those old days, we didn't have an ultrasound unless it was medically indicated.  And being a Group Health patient, they weren't doing anything that might add to the cost.  So my due date came, and went.  And my 41 week check up came, and went.  My OB (Dr White, I will always remember him fondly) said that I just needed to be patient, it would happen eventually.
We lived in Federal Way.  The hospital was in downtown Seattle.  On the 16th I began having some irregular contractions, so we hopped in the car and headed in to see if "this was it!""  After an exam by the nurse with the shortest fingers on the staff, they told us to go walk around for a couple of hours and then come back to be checked again.  Walking around Capital Hill was not the most comforting place to be, but walk we did.  It sure seemed like those contractions were getting stronger and closer together, so I was optimistic when we returned, then concerned when I realized it was going to be the nurse with the stubs for fingers that was going to examine me again!  
No change I was told.  It drove me crazy when she would smack her hand down on my abdomen during a contraction and then tell me "that wasn't a very GOOD one!"".....It felt plenty good to ME!!!
After some discussion, it was decided that since I was so far past due, that I would come back that evening at 7:30, be admitted, given a sleeping pill and then have my labor induced in the morning.
Well, okay, at least it was a plan!!!  Lynn and I hung out at my Mom's in Seattle until it was time to go back. I already had my stuff in the car, thinking I was in labor when we first left the house.
When we arrived at labor and delivery, there was me, and a woman who was scheduled for a morning C-section in the department, that was it.  Which made me wonder why in the world they put me in the labor room that shared a wall with the nursery!!!  I was supposed to sleep with all that commotion going on right next door????   They had me change into the stylish hospital gown, and a different nurse, an older woman who actually wore a nurses cap, came in and said she was there to prep me.  Told me to bend my knees and while she continued to chat, out came a razor and bing, bang, boom, she did a perineal shave!!  Lynn just about passed out.  He decided to go home to sleep while I got turned on my side for an enema.. Then a sleeping pill was given to me and I was to sleep until they started the pitocin in the morning.
 Sleep was not happening.  But something else was.  I found myself up to the bathroom constantly, had some bloody show and I felt so constipated.  And the place started getting busy!!  Patients in labor were coming in like crazy!!  At 3:30 the bed next to mine in my shared room was taken by a very nice woman, who was there in labor with twins!!  Her 16 year old daughter had brought her in.  After a short time, she was whisked off for a C-section since baby A was a footling breech.  It didn't take long before her bed was cleaned and filled with yet another woman in labor.  And I continued my treks to the bathroom every half an hour.  Just before 7:00 AM I heard the day shift nurses gathering in the hallway outside my door.  They were getting their assignments and a report for the day.  The last patient mentioned was me...and it went like this "Who has the induction?" A small voice said "me".  Charge nurse says "you are going to go in and tell her that we can't do her today, we are just too busy".  Which pushed me right off the emotional cliff.
 As this meek pretty Asian nurse named Heidi pulled my curtain back to introduce herself I was sobbing into my pillow.  I told her that I had heard the report.  And then I had to stop to tolerate a contraction.  I told her that I was having some bleeding during the night.  She told me that while they couldn't induce me, if I went into labor on my own, then I could stay.  About 5 minutes later Dr White came into the room and asked why I wasn't hooked up to my IV for induction yet.  Heidi told him that they filled with active patients during the night and could not do an induction today.  He said he wanted to examine me, and while doing so, asked for a ""hook"", which Heidi gave him, and proceeded to break my water!!!  He smiled at me and said, "Now you aren't going anywhere".  Alright then......The charge nurse was NOT happy (years later I understood that feeling!)  Lynn arrived about an hour later and made himself comfy in the chair next to the window.
A few hours into it, I wasn't making too much progress, and the heart rate was starting to dip a bit, so a scalp lead was put on the baby's head and pitocin was indeed used.  Around this time, I was assigned a nursing student who was there to observe.  It was at that moment the idea came into my head about being an OB RN.  It had never crossed my mind before that.  I had wanted to be a cheerleader, but it didn't pay anything....So this nursing student stayed by my side through the rest of the day.  I did have an epidural around noon.  About 5, Dr White again appeared and announced to me that it was time to start pushing.  And so I did.  But I  noticed that every time I pushed, everyone was busy staring at the monitor.  After 3 or 4 contractions of this, he decided we would move to the delivery room and he would "help"......So off we went.  I had taken the required childbirth prep class, and had guilted Lynn into attending one of them.  When it was time to push, he was supposed to help me up into a semi sitting position and count to 10.  It was when he thought counting in spanish might be fun that I told him to knock it off!!!
Dr. White got some forceps (Lynn called them spoons) and slid them in alongside the baby's head.  A few more pushes with him steering from the other end and out came this HUGE baby boy!!!  Dr White's first words werë " ït's a boy and he is hung like a moose!"  
Kyle James Templeton had arrived.  All 9 pounds 12 ounces of him.  He had a couple of small bruises on the sides of his head where the forceps had been and a smallish bruise on the top of his mostly bald head where the scalp electrode had been, but he was perfect.  And he was mine.
He got onto the breast feeding pretty easily.  Our hospital stay was 3 days.  When we checked out and got wheeled to the car parked in front of the hospital I started to panic a bit.  As Lynn pulled away from the curb I started to cry.  And I cried most of the way home.  With fear, happiness, wonder and more fear.
I remember it like it was yesterday.  What an amazing gift this child has been to me.  Happy Birthday Kyle.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

28 Years Later, and Counting!

Tuesday is Election Day!!!  It is November 6th.  On Tuesday, November 6, 1984 it was also an election day.  But I had to ask Lynn last night, who were we voting for back then, because I could not remember.  Twenty Eight years ago today, November 4th (Happy Birthday baby brother Kevin!!)  I was in a state of panic and worry.  Making plans for surgery day.  Thank goodness a wonderful friend Karen volunteered and kept her three beautiful girls home from school and drove from Everett to Federal Way with Darcy, Melinda and Valerie and spent the day with Kyle, Jeff and Todd.  Her girls were the same ages as my boys....I'll be forever grateful for that act of kindness.
But lets back up a bit.  To the beginning of the story.

In December 1983, Lynn and the kids and I were on our way home from the annual Christmas party at my Aunt Adele's.  I had been attending this party since I was a child, so it meant a lot to me to be able to go and bring my kids every year.  Always the Saturday before Christmas, which is why I remember the date.  We would take the Edmonds Kingston ferry over and back.  And we were about 10 miles from home on the way back.  The kids were all asleep, Lynn was driving and I was searching the radio for a particular Christmas song I always loved, but was obscure enough that I seemed to only hear it if I was lucky!  It is called Stop the Cavalry, by the Corry Band.  Canadian I think....anyway!!

I realized that I had some discomfort under the underwire of my right breast.  It was a fairly new bra.  I reached up to adjust it and my fingers grazed across what felt like a lump in the lower inner quadrant of my right breast.  Maybe about the size of an almond.  No, I was not a good breast self exam person, but I knew I hadn't felt it there before.  We got home about 20 minutes later.  Saturday night.  On Sunday morning, I called the Group Health consulting nurse line.  Told them what I had found and felt.  Her first question to me was "how old are you?"  I told her I was 31.  She said I was "too young for it to be breast cancer" but if I was concerned I could call my regular doctor and get an appointment.  No rush.  Okay, that made me feel a bit better.  I knew that my Great Aunt Nanny had died of breast cancer.  Because of that I had kind of kept an eye out on newspaper articles about this disease.  Nanny had never had children, ,which I knew was a contributing factor.  Well, I had had THREE!!!  And nursed them all!!  Which meant I was extra protected, right???  Then I remembered that when I was nursing Jeff I had a HORRIBLE mastitis infection, in that right breast.  The only time I was so sick I wanted to die.  It did clear up with meds and vigorous nursing.  And when Todd was a baby, I noticed the very early warning signs of the mastitis coming again, in the same spot, in the right breast, that this lump now appeared.  Hmmmm....

So I made an appointment with my regular family practice physician.  Dr. Larry Pogue.  I'll never forget him either.  This appointment was 10 days after I had called, and so 12 days after I had found the lump.  I was sitting on the hard cold paper covered exam bed, with the silly paper smock on over my bare chest.  Dr Pogue strode into the room with my chart in hand.  I told him my discovery story, he did was I would consider a "cheap feel up", and said "oh, it is just fibrocystic breast disease, Nothing to worry about".....and actually then just turned and walked out the door, still with my chart in his hand.  I quickly got dressed, and stepped out of the room, and saw him sitting in his office at a desk.  I timidly walked to the door, knocked and said "what?"  He sighed, and said "fibrocystic breast disease.  It will come and go according to your menstrual cycle".  I told him about my Great Aunt, and about my mastitis and he said "stop worrying about it, you are too young to have breast cancer."  And so I left the clinic.

The following spring, I was on the good health and exercise bandwagon!!!    I had lost about 30 pounds, and where do we women lose it first?  Yep, my boobs shrunk!!  However, the "lump" didn't!  It actually seemed bigger!  So I called Group Health again, and asked to see a different doctor this time.  This was in June.  Wow, I can't remember his last name.  I do remember his first name was Eric.  I went in to see him, he did a bit more of an exam of my breasts (maybe because I was trimmer and more appealing - LOL??) and then said he concurred with Dr. Pogue's diagnosis of fibrocystic breast disease.  And that I should try to track the lump size according to my menstrual cycle and then come back and see him in 6 months.  Okay, I said and I left the clinic.

Along comes September.  Kids getting ready for school.  Todd getting ready for preschool.  One morning Lynn rolled over in bed, and his arm rested across my chest that damned lump now hurt when it was touched!!!  So I called Dr Eric Idiot office and said I wanted to come in again.  Once again I am sitting on the exam bed with my courtesy paper napkin over me. and he walks in carrying my chart, and without even looking up at me says "has it been 6 months already?"  I said No, but now this lump it painful and I want it taken care of.  Another big medical sigh (don't they teach them that this is a very condescending and rude thing to do?)  He reaches up under my crackly paper and feels the lump.  Then says, "okay, lay down here.  I am going to aspirate the fluid out of it and it will go away".  Again remember, I was not a nurse at the time, so I did not know exactly what that meant., but I did lie down as told.  Put my right arm up under my head, okay.  He turned around with a HUGE syringe and needle and said, stay still and plunged it into the lump.  And began to pull back on the plunger.  Hmmmmmm.....nothing seemed to be coming out.  Well, maybe he didn't get the right spot.  So he PLUNGED it in again.  Withdrew and again nothing came out.  I watched the color drain from his face as he was preparing for one more go at it, I actually grabbed his arm and said "STOP!  Now what do you want to do, because you are NOT doing that again. !!"  He stopped, looked at me and said "well, I think we should go ahead and send you to see the SURGEON."  YA THINK?

Down to Tacoma I went a week later to meet with Dr.Peter Van Waggenen.  And his cute PA, Manny.  He examined the purple breast and said "I really don't think it is anything to be concerned about, you are only 32 years old. But I do think we should go ahead and get a mammogram."   And he wanted to see me back then at the opposite point in my menstrual cycle.

However, now that he Dr Eric Dickhead  savagely attacked the thing, there was already so much bruising that it would be hard to get a clear picture of what was in there, so I had to wait 3 weeks to get the mammogram.  Frustrated, angry, scared 3 weeks.  Plus I had to drive to the Kirkland Group Health facility to have it done.
Go there, on time, and the mammogram girl was very kind.  It was my first every mammogram.  And it was seated!  Which I still think was interesting.  And it did hurt.  After she took her needed pictures, she came back into the room and actually showed me one of them.  She said "see how it looks like an egg?  kind of smoothe edges?  That is a good sign, as cancer is usually mishappen"  I said okay....and then she said "however the radiologist would like you to go next door and have an ultrasound of the breast, so they can see if there is fluid inside".  Alright, I'm here, whatever.  I wait a bit more time, and they call me into the ultrasound room.  Another nice tech.  She lays me down, puts some nice warm ultra sound gel all over my breast.  When I had my babies, it was before ultrasounds were routine, I had never had one before so this was a new adventure.  She placed the wand on the still sadly bruised breast and pointed to the tv screen so I could watch.  After a few minutes, she went out and got the radiologist.  At least that is what I think he was.  He never introduced himself.  After they looked at the results on the screen, ran the wand over the breast another time, the only words this mystery man said to me was "good luck"....and left the room.  I turned to the tech and said "what was that supposed to mean?  Good luck getting dressed?  driving home?"  She at least looked a bit embarrassed and said that the results would be sent to the surgeon.
I looked her right in the eyes and asked "do you think this has ANYTHING to do with my menstrual cycle?"
She shook her head no.  My appointment with the surgeon was two weeks away.  I asked to use their phone, and I called Dr Van Waggenen's office.  I said I did NOT want to wait two weeks to see him.  She was able to get me in two days later.

As I sat, at least I was fully dressed this time, waiting in his office he came in, sat at his desk and said that he still believed that it was just a cyst, but that he agreed it was time for it to "come out".  His nurse called Tacoma General, which is where Group Health did their surgeries at the time, and said that it would be two more weeks, before they could get it done.  I said that was TOO LONG to wait!!!  She actually said to me "well, if it is cancer, two weeks isn't going to make any difference".....

When I got home and relayed this information to Lynn, he was so angry he called and she told him the same thing.  So we had to wait two weeks....wait and worry.

Still with me????  My post from 2009 that I shared previously on FB tells the next chapter.    I really will try to share the next stage in days or weeks to come.

But for now, I keep counting, and living.  Tears are readily at the surface for me at this point every year.  I don't think that will ever get easier.