February 15, 2016 (by Angela)
Where do I begin to explain the lack of posts for the last six weeks? I guess I begin with our trip to Virginia that was intended to be a 5 or 6-day visit to see our daughter Amanda and grandson Sammy while enjoying the New Year’s Eve festivities in Hampton, Virginia, where they live.
Jim and I had talked about going to Oklahoma for that week to see the Olive drop in Bartlesville, but my mommy senses said I needed to be home, or go east, just in case Amanda, who was well into her third trimester with her hubby serving overseas, needed me. When we discovered Hampton had a Crab Pot drop, that was cool. Off we went; taking the dog with us, we set out in the car.
About five hours out from Hampton, we got a pretty scary message. Amanda, who was at a regularly-scheduled OB appointment, was having blood pressure issues and had nearly passed out. She was in route to Riverside Medical Center in Newport News, Virginia, in an ambulance, and folks from Langley were making arrangements to pick up the three-year-old from the doctor’s office to take to one of Amanda’s friends to stay until we could arrive. That was a LONG five hours!
Once we saw Amanda at the hospital, she gave me her keys. Jim drove me to pick up her car, so I could get Sammy and take him home. Jim stayed with Amanda until things were sorted out. It was not until 2 a.m., after about 14 hours of tests and blood work, that the decision was made to admit her. The diagnosis was pulmonary embolism, or PE, most likely resulting from her pregnancy. This is so rare in pregnancy that none of the 8 doctors in her OB/GYN practice had ever had a patient with this condition, so her care was transferred to the high-risk OB group out of Norfolk, Virginia.
Jim said it first, but we both were thinking the same thing. There was no way I was returning home with Jim; I was staying to care for Amanda and Sammy until the baby arrived and Amanda could function. Amanda was in the hospital almost 6 days that time. He and I took care of Sammy, the animals, the house, and Amanda (as much as we could with her in the hospital) until Jim had to go back to Tennessee for work. Then it was up to me.
Jim returned home with the dog, so he could be back at work on the 4th of January. Our daughter was in the hospital two more times during January, and when she was home, she was on partial to full bedrest, depending on the day since there were at least three doctor’s appointments each week in January. Abigail, the baby, was not due until February 21st, but even before all of this occurred, a C-section was scheduled for today, February 15th. I expected to spend most of the month of February helping Amanda and the kids through a somewhat normal C-section delivery. After Amanda’s diagnosis, the goal was to get to 37 weeks.
On January 28th, again, at a regularly-scheduled OB appointment with the high-risk OBs, we found ourselves once more unexpectedly headed to the hospital in Norfolk (she had spent 3 days in Norfolk middle of the month). Amanda’s BP continued to be problematic, and the NST and Ultrasound of the baby seemed to indicate she was doing well and large enough to be delivered now. Overnight, work was done to control the blood thinners Amanda was put on so as to minimize bleeding during surgery. Abby was born at 9:32 a.m. on January the 29th, technically considered a preemie, though only by two days, she weighed 6 lbs and 6 oz, and Abby was 18.8 inches long.
We had hoped that all would be well after the delivery, but nausea enveloped Amanda. Then it became clear the closing of her incision was not working well, so she was taken back in to re-open and close it with staples. The next day, just after Amanda and Abby were moved to a postpartum room, she began experiencing “bathroom blues” that I think was most likely a result of the magnesium drip. Regardless of why, the doctors would not give her Immodium for 30 hours. The up and down visits to the bathroom alone were stressful and draining, but add to that she was attempting to breast feed a newborn.
Thankfully, her husband’s mother, Joyce, arrived at the house Saturday morning to stay for a week, so she could help with Sammy, allowing me to stay with Amanda in the hospital Saturday night to help with the baby and to help her get to and from the bathroom. Finally, Amanda and Abby came home on Monday afternoon, but Amanda had a list of medical issues to address, some she had before and some developing after delivery.
Earlier in January, her husband Brett had decided that since things were not going normally to split his leave and return for 10-days (not counting travel), but he had to work around when his current duty station could allow him to be away. If all had gone as planned originally, he would have been home for Abby’s birth; under the secondary plan, he would have arrived when Abby was a week old. As it turned out, Abby was 10 days old when he met her. Having Brett home helped Amanda and the kids in so many ways that I am thrilled this decision was made!
While Amanda will be treated for some time to come, she is slowly returning to what is the new normal for her. It is hard to not be able to do all she wants to do, and is used to doing, but once Brett returns to Korea at the end of the week, Amanda is going to try to ease back into daily life on her own with the two kids. This working out as it did allowed me to return home this past Wednesday, giving their family of four an opportunity to savor alone every moment of daddy being home.
Quite frankly, I did not have time to think about the blog, much less think about writing a post. Jim had his hands full at home with work, caring for the dog, and dealing with home issues (another post to follow on his trials and tribulations to come), so he had no time or energy to write either.
We are thankful for a beautiful, healthy little girl and a happy family of four. We are also hopeful that Amanda will eventually make a full recovery; she is going to need all of her energy for Sammy and Abby. Of course, I am so happy I was able to stay and help them when needed, but I glad to be home again. We need to rest and prepare for our ninth grandchild to arrive in June (more about that later) and our trip north in July.
Thanks for being patient with us. *smile*