Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Anatomy & Physiology and The Great East Coast Earthquake of 2011

So I'm talking to my dad on the way home from class tonight and it goes a little something like this:

Me: Hey, dad.
Dad: Hey. I was just calling you back.
Me: Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....why did I call you? (awkwardly long pause) Yeah, I have no idea. But check this out. Anatomy & Physiology. I TOTALLY OWN it.
Dad: What?
Me: I totally own it.
Dad: What do you mean? You own it?
Me: Yes.
Dad: I don't understand. How can you own it?
Me: I don't know how else to explain it. I rock at it.
Dad: Isn't this only your third class?
Me: Fourth. But I'm great. We have covered a lot of material already. Geeze.
Dad: Ok. (long pause) Well good. 

Well that was sufficiently awkward and unfulfilling. It always makes you feel good when you brag about yourself to someone and their brain can't wrap around the concept. 

But I still totally own this class. 

And now, the great, amazing, spectacular East Coast Earthquake of 2011.

I get a text from Hunter that reads, "Did you feel the earthquake?" So I call him because I have no idea what he is talking about and I'm in the car so I can't look it up because I refuse to pay THIRTY DOLLARS A MONTH for crappy cell phone internet. Sorry Verizon, but I can't justify raising my bill 30% for an accessory service that is slow and limiting. Anyway...this is how that conversation goes:

Me: Hey. What earthquake? What are you talking about?
Hunter: I don't know. I just heard about it.
Me: Well when was it?
Hunter: I don't know.
Me: Okay, where did it originate? 
Hunter: I don't know.
Me: Well how bad was it?
Hunter: I don't know. 5.something.

Really? Tell me there's this devastating earthquake and you can't tell me one more dang thing?! Driving me crazy. Now I have to wait the ENTIRE seven minute drive home to find out for myself. Rude. 

So I get home and put together the details and guess what I was doing at the exact moment the tremors were felt in Charlotte? I was getting adjusted by my chiropractor. I get the first opportunity of my entire life to feel an earthquake and my bones are literally being cracked back into place at the EXACT moment the ground is moving making it completely impossible to experience it at all. Seriously. SERIOUSLY. The timing of this is totally ridiculous. 

By the way, I am totally diggin' all the pics of the damage floating around the internet that look something like this (just wish I thought of it at first but I was too busy being beside myself):

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

After the Aftermath

Recap: I went into early labor. I was put on modified bed rest. I birthed a toddler. And yes, that is as painful as that sounds. I recovered. What felt like the minute after I recovered, Mason was being admitted to the hospital for surgery. I had my adorable gall bladder attack literally two hours after he got out of that surgery. Mason recovers. I have surgery. Then, apparently, nothing major or life threatening happened for at least 15 seconds so I decided to start school. At least I had the sense enough to start with only one class (that also has a lab) before jumping directly into the pool of insanity.

Welcome to Rowan-Cabarrus Community College South Campus. The name is so long they don't even bother with bummer stickers. Okay, that's not really true. They just leave off the 'South Campus' part. But they shouldn't. I'm thinking about getting a tattoo of the full name on my upper arm. It would spiral down to my wrist.

So I get there around 4:30 on the night of my first 6pm class because I was told I have to get my student ID made but I couldn't get it made when I came to the campus and signed up for my class and practically gave away my next child to pay for everything. Oh no. I have to come back. With all of my spare time. Obviously. I thought briefly about bringing both of my kids around nap/food time to let them scream it out while I got my pretty picture taken as a punishment for the insane lack of streamlined efficiency we've got going on here. But it made me really tired so I stopped.

So I am there at 4:30 on the second day of classes because there will probably be every cowboy John and their brother getting their ID made. I walk up to the front desk and ask where my class is. Bam. Easy. Then I ask where to get my ID made. I kid you not, these were the directions:

Go through that door over there and down the stairwell. Go straight out of the stairwell and take a right at the hallway. Follow the hallway to the end and take another right. Go past the elevator, through the double doors and through the second set of double doors. At this point you will be outside.

Wait. What? Where exactly are you taking me, lady? She continues...

Follow the path (it was actually a sidewalk but we are in the cun-tree so I was wondering if I should have worn closed toed shoes. or boots.) and go through the double doors. After the next set of double doors, go right and they should be set up in there. Or they might be in room 325.

And then she smiled all pleased with herself. But I'm thinking, why are there so many sets of double doors? We could have just called them 'doors'. Maybe she was worried I would have come to a set of two doors and would have stopped because she only said 'door' instead of explaining the plural-ness of the situation. Lord knows, I would have been stuck in some basement hallway until the end of my days. And I'm totally loving the quick sentence she through in right at the end. Or they might be in room 325. I wasn't even going to ask where that was because my class was due to start in an hour and a half.

I get to the student center (which is where the twenty minutes of directions led me) and get my ID made. Welp, that took all of a minute and a half. It's now 4:45 and my class doesn't start until six. Six. So I look around to see if there is anyone I can sit and make nice with. I see so much acne and so many boobs (some things are worth keeping a mystery, girls) that I just walk back to my car where I make phone calls for the next hour. Super social.

When it's finally late enough that it won't be awkward for me to sit in the classroom, I walk up to the hallway the room is off of and there is a large group of people scattered outside of it. The room is empty and the lights are on so I go for it. This is what any normal person would do in this situation, right? I see nothing spectacular about this. It's unlocked so I walk right on in and pick my seat. Right in the front because mamma don't got no time to waste with this school thing.

About five seconds after I walked in, the huge group of people in the hallway come in, too. The guy who is leading the pack says, "Smart lady. We all just assumed it was locked."

Well. There ya go. I am the official curve wrecker. Why? Because I. Opened. A. Door.

Amazing. I should just quit now and go right to med school.

Only a few things of note happened in the next three hours:

The girl who sat next to me came in with at least half of the seats empty. She walks herself right up to where my backpack is laying on the table and my purse is in the seat and asks if anyone is sitting there. Really? So I move everything so she can sit down. Then she spent the entire three hours of the class telling everyone around her what was going on in her brain. She would answer rhetorical questions, talk to herself and even respond when no one was looking for a response. For instance, the professor said some basic something about something or other and she said, "Yeah, I remember that from last time." Nice.

The professor has about the driest sense of humor I have ever seen in someone. It's wonderful. He seems to be exceptionally knowledgeable to be teaching at a community college so one of the girls in the class asked if he was a doctor. He said no, he was a teacher. She asked if that was all he did and he said, "Well I play some tennis, I golf..." He also said, during his overview of the first and second chapters of our giant book, that  he didn't know why so much chemistry was in there because no one should ever have to memorize it. This guy is great. Oh, and he said the word "penalized" several times except he pronounces it "pee-nal-ized" and I haven't yet figured out if this is serious or a joke. Maybe he just likes saying the word 'penal'.

Nothing else amazing happened. Except, in my student ID, my head looks HUGE. Maybe it's because of my giant brain, being the curve wrecker and all.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Hospital Chronicles: Part 4

I call this one "Good News Travels Fast".

I was dreading the walk back up to the pediatric wing because as my pain subsided and my brain started to take back over, I began to remember glimpses of being rolled out of there. It wasn't very pretty. I was definitely crying and I am pretty sure I was moaning in pain. Yikes. So I walk back into the unit and the nurses immediately start asking how I am doing. Embarrassing, but sweet. So I told them all about the gall stones and then walked back into our room. Shortly after that, the night shift took over and the day shift left. This made me relax because then I was just another normal mom of a normal patient and I could get my focus back on Mason.

Or so I thought....which was adorable by the way. Our night nurse walks in to introduce herself and first things first, asks how I am doing. Okay, that's a little sad but it's nice that she is concerned. I can't really be all that surprised that our day nurse told her about it because I am supposed to be providing care for Mason so I can see where they might be worried. I assured her I was fine and I would probably get my surgery that next week. She checked on Mason and left the room.

Right after that, the Nursing Assistant came in to check Mason's vital signs. With the same breath that she introduced herself, she asked how I was doing. Really? My response was something like this: "Oh my God. Did everyone hear about that? I mean, I'm okay, thank you for asking." It was about time for me to leave and let Hunter take on the night shift so I packed up and headed out. I got stopped by several people on the way out, some of whom I have no idea who they are, asking how I was doing. Apparently I was the story of the day. Strange.

I finally got to leave and pick Parker up from Michelle's. It took me a very long time to fall asleep that night because my pain felt a lot more pronounced once I was laying down and nothing else was going on. But at least I woke up pain-free by morning. When I called Hunter to get the update from the night, he told me the surgeon called. He called to ask how I was doing and to recommend a surgeon. Honestly. The entire hospital heard about that. I really wouldn't be surprised if my OB called my cell phone to check in on me and my gall stones. I kind of expect it at this point. I guess good news travels fast. Insane.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Hospital Chronicles: Part 3

I call this one "Could we add some more things? Because I'm getting bored here".

You remember when you had sleepovers when you were little and you would stay up all night and the next day you were so tired you felt drugged? But you didn't know what it felt like to be drugged because you were in elementary school  so you just spent the day wondering why your hands looked weird and the floor looked tilted. As I write this I am starting to think everyone may have not had this experience. Anyway, it happens. And it did. In elementary school and yesterday.

After about four hours of sleep that felt like 25 seconds, I got everything ready for the day. This included waking Parker up at 5:45 am which is by far the earliest I've ever had to do that. I was definitely concerned that this would turn the entire day into a grump fest. When I picked him up he looked at me oddly then closed his eyes then looked at me again then closed his eyes and then I laid him on the changing table and he looked me squarely in the eye and loudly proclaimed, "Baby Poop!" Okay then. I guess we're good. He then went on to tell me all about some wonderful memory he has of baby Mason making a dirty diaper. Of all things to remember. Nice.

Our friend's (Michelle) mom, Kim, came up to be with us for the surgery which was amazing. Michelle and her little girl got there shortly after I handed him over to the nurse anesthetist...which was shortly after I had another one of those 'moments'. Kim and Michelle were a perfect distraction while Mason was in surgery. I am overflowing with gratefulness for their support.

The surgeon met with us after and told us how great he did. He also told us that we caught it very early (this isn't our first rodeo) and because of that the muscle was softer than it usually is when babies get this surgery. This made the procedure a little more difficult and these are the cases that occasionally need a repeat surgery. Oh. Well then. I could have gone without that knowledge. It's cool though. I'm not panicking. A little maybe.

Anyway, Mason did great and came off of the anesthesia wonderfully. He has also taken all of his feedings perfectly. At this point I am starting to finally relax because Michelle has Parker and I sent Hunter home to sleep and Mason just fell asleep and the room is dark and cool and quiet and I'm all snug up in the hospital bed with the Boppy pillow and my sweet little boy curled up against me.

And then it happened. All of a sudden, it felt like someone grabbed the organs under my ribs and violently squeezed and twisted and wouldn't let go. It rivaled birthing pains. Not even joking. I paged Mason's nurse and she came immediately. I was doubled over the bed in pain at this point. She told me she had to take me to the emergency room and ran to get a wheelchair. I am pretty sure this is where I started crying from a mixture of severe pain and fear of the unknown and concern for the child I am supposed to be taking care of. A different nurse came to get Mason and said she would watch him while I was gone and I don't remember doing it but I called Kim and told her I needed her to come back and take care of Mason.

Mason's nurse literally ran me down to the ER while I was crying and I am pretty sure moaning in pain. I think I caused a little scene in the pediatric wing. A big scene. Just wait until tomorrow's entry. She gets me down to the ER and they want my insurance information. Seriously? I am definitely moaning in pain and my face is soaking wet with tears and you want my insurance card. Yeah, no problem here. Except you are insane.

Meanwhile, Kim is trying to get a hold of Hunter but can't because he is sleeping and doesn't hear his phone. So she tries Michelle so someone can come to the house to wake him up. But Michelle is taking a nap with the kids and doesn't hear her phone either. So Kim sends her husband to the house but Hunter, still sleeping, never hears him at the door.

At some point they wheel me back to a bed and start asking me questions about things like the date of my last  Tetanus shot. What. The. Heck. They draw blood and hook me up to an IV for pain management. Once it subsides a little, they send me to get an ultrasound. I always think that the best solution to a frightening situation is to have a strange man in a dark room press on my stomach for twenty minutes. That's my motto anyway.

The results of the ultrasound showed that I have gallstones. Hooray. We don't have enough going on right now so I was hoping more could happen. Thankfully, I didn't have to get surgery immediately because they dislodged which is about as comfortable as that sounds. But I will have to call a surgeon on Monday to schedule a surgical consult.

Yup. That all happened. Just keepin' it lively 'round here.

The Hospital Chronicles: Part 2

I call this one "Crazy in a Different Kind of Way".

Obviously Mason had not been feeling very awesome due to his stomach being bloated and not being able to digest food (which also means no bowl movements which was getting painful I think). But apparently the positive diagnosis from the ultrasound chilled him out a little because on the walk from radiology to the children's hospital,  he had an impressive blow out in his stroller. I made this adorable discovery when we got to his room and I picked him up. It was everywhere. Just add that to the list of crazy.

I learned a valuable lesson that evening. Just because we had been through this before does not mean it would be the same. Once we got Mason registered, they had to insert a tube through his nose and into his little stomach to pump out all of the gook that was stuck in there. This was new. And also one of the worst things I have ever had to witness. I definitely apologized to the nurses for the moment that I had while that was going on. Thankfully, they were great and told me not to apologize because they understood.

I remembered from last time around that Parker getting his IV was one of the worst possible experiences of all time. What's adorable is that it had nothing on what was to be Mason's first IV experience. The poor kid was stuck four times before they could get it to work. It took an actual phlebotomist and his surgeon to get it going. That was an incredibly intense situation. The phlebotomist told me that if they couldn't get it on the fourth try, they were going to have to use a vein in his head. After I threw up a little in my mouth, I told her I couldn't handle that. Like at all. Not even on opposite day. So thank God they got it to work in a less nauseating way. 

Hunter got to the hospital in just enough time to witness the IV insanity. The plan after that was for him to take the night shift and me to go home and get some sleep....and relieve our friend Lauren who was keeping Parker. I think it took me three hours to actually leave because they kept doing things to Mason and asking us questions, etc. Three hours is a long time when you keep thinking you can leave in the next five minutes.

Once I got home and relieved Lauren (thank God for her), I was able to go to bed....but after I took apart the carseat and cleaned it and washed the removable parts and packed a day bag for Parker's adventures of the next day and pumped so I didn't explode and packed a bag of things I would need the next day at the hospital. I slept around four hours before I got up to shower and get ready for Mason's surgery. 

And that is how the second half of Friday went.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Hospital Chronicles: Part 1

This part is called, "If I Only Had a Brain".

You know what's fun? Going to the doctor's office with your newborn three days in a row and four days in a week. It's about a hundred bucks worth of fun. So it should be awesome, right? False. On one of these visits, I was still recovering from birthing a 10 pound 3 month old and had the privilege of taking both kids solo. It was stressful. I sweated a lot. Long story short, Mason was doing what Parker did verbatim before Parker was diagnosed with Pyloric Stenosis (the hardening of the pylorus muscle which releases food from the stomach into the intestines).

Side note: this is going to be a short entry because I have just had a VERY long two days that I am pretty sure was actually a week and a half. I don't care what logic tells me. I know how long it really was.

So we go to the Dr. for the last time that week (because it was a Friday and there were no more days left to go) and they end up sending us right to the hospital for an ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis so he can have his surgery. Also, we had 20 mins to get there and the doctor office was 30 mins away. Obviously this makes sense. And I hadn't eaten all day which only added to the gloriousness that was my situation.

We get to the radiology department and this woman greets me and asks if I had been there before and offers us a warm blanket or something to drink while we wait. It was weirdly amazing. And then about a hundred old ladies start gawking over Mason and about how handsome he is and how big he is and bless my little heart for having such a big baby and so on and so forth. So this made the day feel much better than it was. I love cute, old ladies. Especially the ones that see how amazing my children are.

After we do the ultrasound, the doctor calls and tells me it was positive for pyloric stenosis and shortly after sends us up to the pediatric wing. So here's the deal....our pediatrician had left for the day by the time we got in to the office. So we saw a different doctor. After she told me the diagnosis, I asked if she was going to tell our usual pediatrician. Her response: I've already sent her a text.

This is where my brain blacked out from reality. I immediately thought these things...

"What did the text say?"
"Why do I feel like it had stupid abbreviations that middle schoolers use?"
"Did they make a joke? Did they use LOL?"
"Did our doctor send back a sad face?"

These are all things I wanted to know. Mostly about the sad face though.

And that was how the first half of yesterday went.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Only I would go into early labor twice and then make it to my original induction date. But we finally had him. And he is so stinkin' beautiful I almost can't stand it. But for the story first...

Disclaimer: If parts (or all) of this doesn't make sense, I apologize and will re-write it when I am not so delirious with newborn baby everything...which I hear is in about 20 years.

By the time my induction day rolled around (taking it's own sweet time by the way) my belly weighed at least a hundred thousand pounds. But I'm probably being conservative. My best friend from high school, Liz got to come over from Tennessee for the birth which was AMAZING. She took such great care of us including taking this picture of us right before we left for the hospital.

I was supposed to look miserable...either Hunter didn't know he was in the picture or he was too tired to care. It was around 6 am which was totally the time we were supposed to be at the hospital but whatever. It all worked out. Now here is a real picture.

Oh wait. I still look miserable...and tired, too. I wasn't exaggerating about the belly, now was I? You thought I was being all melodramatic but I was serious. How there was only one in there, I will never know.

Ok, so we get to the hospital and check in. It was weird to do this without having intense contractions while trying to answer questions like your husband's social security number. They take me back to my room and I get all settled in with the night nurse. Then the nurse who would be taking care of me that day walks in...and this was completely awesome. It was the same nurse I had with Parker! And she was just incredible. She actually recognized my name from my chart and chose to come ride the ride with us again. That was so stinkin' cool.

Fast forward through all the gory details....if you want them, you have to come's way too much for a blog...

Quick version: I had an epidural which was the best thing I've ever done with my life and then I only pushed for seven minutes. Seven. I was motivated to get that baby out. Holy moly. But he was huge so he wrecked my world. Seems to be what my kids like to do. It's all my husband's fault.

So here are his stats:

Mason Scott West
Born at 11:32 am
9 pounds 15 oz...I would just like to point out how that is one ounce shy of 10 pounds.
21 inches long

My favorite quote of the day came from my dad's girlfriend..."Congrats on your little angel/linebacker". Well said, Susan. Well said.

Out of order a little but my doctor got to deliver him which was so wonderful. When he walked in my room before we got the party started he said, "Where have you been? I've been waiting for you for a month." Join the club, Dr. Jones. Then after we all heard how much Mason weighed, he told me I was real woman. That felt pretty good until my pain meds wore off. Then not so much.

Fast forward to the next day and my old lactation nurse, who was totally not supposed to be working there anymore, walked in the room! She ended up coming back after working some where else for a while. So that was a great surprise. All of my favorite, amazing people from last time were all there this time. What. A. Blessing. And although I am totally wrecked and so sore I want to cry, I honestly couldn't be happier. Mason is perfect and healthy and so beautiful. And Parker is an amazing big brother who loves to help.