Sunday, August 30, 2009

What a Long, Strange Week it's Been

22 Week Update from

"At 11 inches (the length of a spaghetti squash) and almost 1 pound, your baby is starting to look like a miniature newborn. His lips, eyelids, and eyebrows are becoming more distinct, and he's even developing tiny tooth buds beneath his gums. His eyes have formed, but his irises (the colored part of the eye) still lack pigment. If you could see inside your womb, you'd be able to spot the fine hair (lanugo) that covers his body and the deep wrinkles on his skin, which he'll sport until he adds a padding of fat to fill them in. Inside his belly, his pancreas — essential for the production of some important hormones — is developing steadily."

To say that this week has been slightly crazy would be an understatement!! We hosted a couple's baby shower on Saturday night that turned out really nice, then on Sunday I went to the movies with a girlfriend and Justin and I went to Babies R Us for the dreaded registering experience! It was pretty overwhelming at times, but I think we managed to do okay! We also went to the mall to pick out a few maternity shirts that are becoming more necessary every day. I can still fit into most of my pre-pregnancy clothes, but they aren't near as comfortable as elastic banded pants and loose fitting tops! After that we went to a friends house for dinner and relaxing.

Monday was my first day at my new job and it went really well. Things are already starting to come back to me and soon it will feel like I never left! That night, Justin and I both ate some leftovers and hung out with a friend. I went to bed pretty early due to my constant back pain. There is one spot in my back that has been bothering me for about a year and a half. It is the same spot that tends to be a symptom of gall bladder problems, and I really hoped that when my gall bladder was removed last year that this pain would go away. Now I'm starting to wonder if it is a result of my favorite blue chair. It usually doesn't start hurting until the end of the night when I'm relaxing in my chair watching TV or reading. Usually when it starts hurting, I either go and read in bed or move to the couch. Monday night, I went on to bed.

I woke up at about 2:30am to go to the bathroom, but I was having a hard time getting back to sleep. My stomach was feeling very weird and I just did not feel very good at all. Around 3:30, I realized why I wasn't feeling well when I had to run to the bathroom to throw up. Immediately I began to be concerned - I NEVER throw up. When I am throwing up, something is seriously wrong with me and I know that I must be really sick. I knew it had nothing to do with the pregnancy because I had not been throwing up at all in the last 5 1/2 months. While I was still in the bathroom, I heard Justin get up and run to the other bathroom. Okay, that's weird, I was thinking.. He came in to check on me and I asked him if he was sick too. He said yes, but he thought maybe he was sick because he was worried about me. I wish I could say that was the end of our "sickness". Little did we know, it was just the beginning.

We took turns throughout the rest of the night running to different bathrooms, either with diarrhea or to throw up - or sometimes both. Next thing I know, it's 7:00 and I have to make the decision on what to do about work - I mean, it's my 2nd day back, I can't call in!!! So I decide to get in the shower, hoping that would make me feel a little better. That didn't quite go as planned since I couldn't stop myself from throwing up in the shower. GROSS!! By this time, Justin was feeling a little better and was ready to go to work. I, on the other hand, was feeling worse. I was so weak and tired, I had no energy, and I was still throwing up! I slowly got ready and made my way to work - thank goodness I have a great boss who sent me home right away, and was completely understanding that I was very, very sick. I stopped to get some Gatorade before I got home and began taking tiny sips of that, hoping it was going to stay down. No such luck. I had already put a call in to my doctor and was waiting on them to call me back with some advice. I was still going to the bathroom about every 30 minutes and was unable to keep even the smallest sip of anything down. At this point, I was beginning to get a little worried because I knew how dehydrated my body was getting, and I knew Austin was getting absolutely nothing from his mommy. Poor Justin didn't make it to work without pulling over to throw up and continued to throw up once he got there. He waited for another supervisor to relieve him and then he came on home to join me. Let me tell you, we were miserable and pitiful, but at least we were in it together! Finally my doctor called back some time after 1:00 and sent me straight to the ER. I called my in-laws to see if they could take me, because by this time, Justin's sickness was over and he was finally able to fall asleep.

We got to the ER at about 2:00 and were told we would be waiting an hour and a half to two hours. GREAT!! Luckily the bathroom was near, but seriously, who wants to throw up and do their business in a single male/female stall right outside the ER?!?! After about 30 minutes I was called into triage. Immediately when I got in there, I knew that I was about to pass out. I can always tell when it's coming on and I looked at my mother-in-law and told her. The patronizing nurse was telling me that I would be fine, just let her get the blood pressure cuff on. I'm thinking, Lady I am not fine and you will understand when I'm face down on your floor!!! I told her again, I AM GOING TO PASS OUT!!! By the time she got the blood pressure cuff on, while still feeling like I'm going to faint, I felt a vomiting episode coming on. I barely got the words out and she barely got a bag for thing I know I'm throwing up in triage while my mother-in-law is holding me up so I don't hit the floor when I pass out. By this time, my blood pressure had been taken and it was 79 over something..never saw that bottom number. It didn't matter, it was low enough for her to call for a stretcher immediately, and they ended up pulling another patient out of a room to get me in one.

The only good thing that came out of this horrible triage experience was that we didn't have to wait in the ER for two hours!! I would have much rather gone through that than to sit in that waiting room, running back and forth to the bathroom. Once they got me on the stretcher and into a room, they started an IV and hooked me right up to some much needed fluids. They did lots of blood work, checked for a bacterial infection and an upper UTI (which is ironically what I thought I had until Justin joined me with the sickness). They also checked the baby, and his heartbeat was normal and everything appeared to be okay. They found I had blood in my colon, which kinda freaked me out. My potassium was very low, as well as my blood pressure. Once all of those things were under control, and after a few bags of fluids, I got to go home around 8:30 that night.

It took a few days for Justin and I both to get back to normal, but finally by Friday I think we were both as close to 100% as we were gonna get. I can't even begin to tell you how awful this 24 hour period was for both of us, but he would agree that it was much worse for me. In the nine years that Justin and I have been together, I have never seen him that sick. Whatever we had, we had it bad!! We were both relieved when it was finally over for good, and definitely relieved that nothing was wrong with Austin. I will be a happy camper if I never get that sick again!!

I'm going to switch gears here for just a moment. For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while now, you all know about my friend Nikki. Amazing, optimistic Nikki, who never seems to let her particular "sickness" get her down. Here I am complaining about a 24 hour stomach bug, when she's fighting the battle of her life. I read this week on Nikki's blog about her treatment she's been getting from her new doctor in Indiana. I wish I could say that the update was good. Apparently, Nikki was pretty sick herself this week and also had to take a trip to the ER. They found that she was extremely anemic and her hemoglobin level was dangerously low. They admitted her and she had to get two bags of bloods before they released her to go home. After recovering from the ER experience, her and hubby Tom went to Indiana to see the doc, where he gave her some not so good news. Her numbers have continued to rise. This was not supposed to happen with this treatment! The numbers were supposed to be going down, down, down. How can they be going up?? So the doctor decided to stop the treatment and change to a pill form of chemo that she will take for 21 days before she is tested again. This treatment will keep her from making the frequent trips to Indiana. The doctor told her that this treatment is the last "conventional" therapy there is for her to try. If this doesn't work, she will begin seeking out any and every clinical trial there is out there. Nikki said she is focusing on the positives (as always) and has been doing lots of praying and meditation. She is now focusing on a healthier lifestyle and doing everything in her power to make this treatment work.

Isn't it amazing how strong she is?! How incredibly brave and positive she is? I don't know why this continues to amaze me - I saw it in person just a few months ago and it's not like this is someone that I didn't grow up with, someone I didn't know like the back of my hand. It just renders me speechless to talk about her journey and how she continues to stay so optimistic throughout this fight. I pray to be like her. I pray that she can continue to keep up the fight, no matter how hard it gets. Please join me in this prayer for her. I believe in the power of prayer, and so does Nikki. She can fight this and she can beat this, I know she can. Let this be a lesson for all of us - remember when your sick or having a tough day, remember Nikki and how many times she's been sick and how many tough days she's had to face. She's still fighting and so can we. It puts so much into perspective for me and she'll never know how much she has taught me. Please pray for her, it would mean the world to her. I love you Nikki and you're always in my prayers!!!

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