Saturday, March 15, 2014

Getting through Rest!

Having gone through a stressful pregnancy and needing to rest, as well as facing the fact that I might not be here to see and raise my baby on the other side. I needed something to do to help distract my mind. I also wanted my baby to have some special things from me, that people could put on her to help her know that I loved her. So that is when I decided to be proactive with what I wanted to leave my children with if I didn't come through this. I decided to try my hand at crochet. I had given it a go a few times and did a bit here and there, I hadn't really got it enough to make anything. This time I was going to. I started searching youtube for videos that would help me make something.

The first thing I made was a hat for my baby.

here is her wearing it

After that I built some confidence and started making dresses.

Then booties

Then I made a few more hats.

Then complete outfits.

I made her a blanket that that had my smell all over it so she could be wrapped in it and have a Mummy hug.

After making all my baby things I started work on gifts the rest of the children.

After Marcella was born and I have recovered some I started work on Christmas gifts for my family and friends. I think they turnes out pretty good.

My advice for those one bedrest and faced with an uncertain future, find something that works for you. Allow yourself the time to feel, in put on your armor and make the most of the time you have with what you have.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Recovery in Maternity Ward.

Time to move down stairs to Maternity...

On day 8 after the delivery of my daughter the staff in ICU started talking to me about moving down to Maternity Ward so that I could be closer to my baby. The OB didn't want the doctors to move me, as he didn't think the midwives would be able to handle all my care at that point. I had to agree with him. I liked the security of having the attendants around if something should happen. Up until that point I had only stood three times assisted by two other people, and only been out of bed to sit in a chair once. I had stood assisted long enough for them to get a wheel chair under me to take me to have a shower, which was done in the chair, and that was the first time going on a toilet as well. All the time I had the security that if I fell there would be people strong enough to help get me up.

Anyway the decision to move me down was made; However the midwives were worried about caring for me as I had so many issues, so they put me in the private room closest to the nurses station, and sent me with my own ICU nurse. The poor nurse had hardly anything to do. I didn't need anything, I wasn't interested in eating, I couldn't sleep, and obs where only every two hours. So we spent most of her time talking while she held my baby.

However that night when her shift was over was when I actually needed her- I needed to use the toilet. The nurse that I had assisting me during the night shift was in her 60's and she wasn't sure she could help me, so she went and asked another nurse to assist her. The nurse she brought back was in her 70's. So I had these two elderly women helping me to the toilet, I felt like I should have been helping them to the toilet! Oh and the joys of having someone else wipe your bottom for you simply cannot be explained in text!

Here is a picture of the walking frame I used while learning to walk again.

The Nursing staff at Maternity were very lovely, and treated me really well. I think mostly because they felt so sorry for me. At that point I had staples in holding my stomach together, stoma bag collecting the lymphatic fluid pouring out of my groin incision, a bladder bag to help my bladder heal, a drip, and two drainage bags collecting the excess blood and gunk(technical name) from my wound. So even rolling over in the bed was a task no stay untangled. Then there was the vomiting- I had trouble keeping anything down, if they heard me vomit the nurse would rush in and put a pillow on my stomach and hold it down with their body weight to help easy the pain. I would have felt sorry for me too.

Some of the miscommunications from Doctors was a bit challenging. After 14 days post-op, I was due to have a test to see if my bladder was healed enough for me to have my bag out, well one of the doctors told the night nurses that I needed to be nil by mouth for the test (wrong information) So the night nurses gave me my medication (Pain relief) and then took the water away for the night. Shortly after I vomited and lost the medication and the water. By the time morning came I was dehydrated. Feeling very weak, and even though they had then worked out the mistake, by that time I wasn't able to keep any water down, or medication, or pain relief, and in a world of pain from the vomiting. So then I needed to be started on a drip, to get my hydration back up, which included a drip of panadol ( I didn't know they had it in drip form!), electrolytes, and minerals to help pick me back up. After all of that it turned out that the test hadn't even been booked for that day.

During the healing process there where many shattering moments for me. One of which was failing my bladder test. My bladder hadn't healed enough and was leaking into my body, so I had to keep my bladder bag in for longer, which for me was really a dignity issue, and I really longed to just be able to just go to the toilet. In the end I kept the the bag for 7 weeks, and when it finally came out, my muscles where quite sore because the bladder hadn't been used for so long, and my body had to rebuild my walking muscles because I had to get up many times more to go to the toilet. :)

The vomiting didn't stop once I got home it continues which again was both painful and unpleasant, I would vomit for so many reasons, anytime I went to the toilet I would vomit, in many ways it was a bad joke, the pain medication would clog me up, so I would then have to take something to make me regular, then I would have to take something to help control the vomiting, and all I wanted to do was go to the toilet!

Bleeding was another issues. It was finally time for me to go home, I had arranged for someone to come and get me and take me home. I had showered and put on clothes for the first time in 4 weeks, I was wearing underwear even which I had only been able to do for the last 3 days, due to all the drains and bags. I went to the toilet and then I started bleeding from the vagina. I hadn't had any bleeding at all the whole time I was there. Dread went through me, I was ready to go home, I finally arrived at the day that I could leave the hospital. I couldn't leave on my own steam, but I could be wheeled out of there, and now this. The doctor was called and checked me, they wanted me to stay for longer to work out what it was, they did an internal and couldn't find anything; and the lady did say however that they couldn't make me stay. I decided to go home anyway, hoping that it was a one-off. Well it wasn't. Every time I went to the toilet I would bleed, and it wasn't just a light bleed, blood would actually pour out of me. It sounded like I was peeing, but of course I wasn't because I couldn't pee. It was blood. So two days later the bleeding wouldn't stop so I had to go back into hospital. That was a crushing moment, I just wanted this journey to end, I wanted to get better and start dealing with the changes in my life. Anyway after a night in the hospital and a few tests it was discovered that I had blood pooling inside of me from all the operations- there must have been an opening in the top of my internal wound that was allowing the pooling blood to come out. The doctors said there was nothing that they could really do about it, they could go in and try and drain it out, but then they risked damage to my bowel, and I really didn't want to have that, so the best idea was to leave and let my body reabsorb the pooling blood, and release the rest.
I'm now 6 months out from the trauma and it has finally stopped.

Breastfeeding was also very problematic, and I wasn't able to establish a breastfeeding relationship with Marcella which has been one of the most crushing parts of this journey for me. I have previously breastfed all the other 6 children for at least 4 months, and when I learnt what my boy needed nutritionally I fed them until 24 months. I had other NICU babies and had experience with teaching babies to breastfeed, expressing, tube feeding, and so on. I wasn't an unexperienced mother that just gave up. Marcella was quite good at attaching for a prem bub, but tired easily, but because of all that went on my milk just never came in properly; I was exhausted with very little strength. I really needed someone to be with me every couple of hours to express, and help me feed marcella. Some of the NICU nurses were so nice and would stand next to me for the almost hour it took to feed Marcella using a supply line, other NICU nurses where not so good, and told me that I was holding my baby back trying to breastfeed her. Some nurses made sure that as soon as it was morning they would bring the baby down to me because I could walk up there, whilst other nurses didn't bring her down, even when they were phoned my nurses several times to bring the baby down! I remember one day I didn't get to see Marcella from 9pm - 4pm when someone came to visit me, and walked up to the nicu and got her for me. Now 6 months on it still breaks my heart that I can't breastfeed. I did try relactating but was unsuccessful. I'm sure that I probably could have got there if I had the tools that I needed to at the beginning of the journey.

I think the greatest heartbreak for me is that I can't have any more babies. Yes I've been through all of this pain, hurt, worry and stress, but I would do in again in a heart beat for another blessing. I think that some of the issues bonding with Marcella, are things that I couldn't do with Marcella, like breastfeeding wouldn't worry me as much if there was the prospect of having another one. I think I will grieve this hurt for a long time to come still.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Miracles of Birth

Since coming home from hospital and sharing some of what I have lived through, I have been thinking that it would be good to sit down and share the blessings and miracles that we experienced through Marcella's births. There are many. Here is my list of some of the miracles we experienced, it is by no means a complete list, and I'm sure my heavenly Father has heaps more that I we just didn't see, and was preparing for months. Many prayers where answered.

I guess the first place to start would be that both Marcella and I are alive. During this experience there were so many times that both of us could have died, and if fact we lost one baby.

* Marcella in her own right is a miracle and we love her dearly.
* The obedience of our children during the time I needed them. I was sitting in my chair crocheting, then I experienced a few Braxton Hicks Contractions, I had been having them for several weeks. They were strong but not painful in any way. Then all of a sudden there was a gush, and I knew straight away what it was. I closed my eyes and had one of those deep sighs, now it all begins! I ran to the toilet hoping it was like the other bleeds, and gush and then it would stop. Well it didn't stop, it was pouring out. I knew I had to get off the toilet. So I ran to the bathroom (right next door) and put a towel between my legs. Now this is where the children helped me. I was in the bathroom with blood pouring out. I asked the children to bring me the phone, and the laptop. They did that STRAIGHT away, with out fuss and questioning, they just did it and did it quickly. Next I told Sophie to run next door and ask the neighbour to come over and help. She did that really well.
* Our neighbour was home. It's not unusual for them to be home, but thankfully this wasn't one of those times that they were out and our neighbour was able to come over and help with the children.
* Then while calling the Ambos, I message Ben to come home, I was bleeding. I also messaged my friend to come help I was bleeding. We had discussed early that if it was an emergency I could call her. Now here is the miracle, both Ben and my friend where on face book at that time. My husband didn't have a mobile phone, so facebook was our only communication tool during the day. Now normally Ben would have gotten my message a little while after I sent it, but that day he got it straight away, and started running home. My friend who is also a busy homeschooling mum, happened to be on facebook at that exact moment as well, and was able to pack up her four children quickly and come. For me those are two great miracles, because I was able to go into theatre knowing that my children where being looked after and My husband was able to say a quick goodbye for me before theatre. We both had no idea that it would be nearly a week before we saw each other awake.

Now for the next part of the journey I was unconuious so wasn't aware of the miracles and the prays that were said on my behalf.

Ben's Account of the miracles while I was under.
* The miracle of having present and available baby sitters.
* The facebook group that I had set up to share our baby news, which was a good communication tool.
* The support the Chaplains gave to Ben and my Mother.
* People all over the world where praying for me and my baby.
* All the blood that was needed was available to save my life.
* Marcella had an APGAR Score of 4 when she was born, and it quickly became normal.
* Marcella didn't need too much help when she was born, and other than being 4 weeks early, she was developed enough for life outside of womb and only had to learn to feed.
* The skilled surgeons and medical staff, including the quick responding Ambos.
* All the kind staff that where so nice to me.
* All the friends and family that supported my husband during the time I was in hospital.

Sometimes the miracles were big and life saving, and sometime seeming small like having the chapel turn up at just the right moment to help me through an emotional breakdown, or friends turning up with broth and healing prays and words to feed my body and my soul.

A Big thanks goes out to all those that have keep us in their thoughts and Prayers.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Memories of ICU

I said my last post that I would share some of the things that I went through during my recovering from the birth of my daughter. So here goes. For me, the last things I can remember where in the operating theatre. Asking the date so I would know when Marcella was born, next was being prep quickly for the operation to get her out. I had people putting needles and IV's in both arms, having another doctor do a speculum to see what they could see, being asked heaps of questions like when was the last time I eat. While being asked these questions one the of the assistants prepping me started waxing down stairs. This was a huge surprise. There was no, I'm going to do this, just rip, totally unexpected. With other c-sections I had been numb before they did that, so didn't even know that they had done it. This time because they where putting me under, which is less safe for the baby they did all the prep work and left putting me under until the very last minute. While all this was going on I was having contractions and blood was gushing out. I then remember the Anaesthetist telling me that there would be someone putting pressure on my throat so that no food would come up and choke me, and that it may feel like I'm being suffocated by the mask as I go under, and it did. I remember taking in as big and as deep of breaths as I could to get that feeling over with quickly. I only remember having to take 3 big, deep breaths.

The next thing I knew I was slowly waking up with wires, iv's, tubes, and bruises everywhere. I was still on life support. I remember having very little strength at all and being in a world of pain. The breathing tube was down my throat, and there was a soft board in my mouth. It was rigged up so that if I tried to pull the tube out I would start to gag, which alerted the nurse to what I was up to. All I wanted to do was get that tube out of my mouth. Then I had what I thought was a strong need to go to the toilet and poo. I just felt so panicked because I needed to go to the toilet but I could get my message out. Inside I was screaming for help, I need to go to the toilet. I think it took a while before anyone could understand me. When they finally did someone explained to me "no, it's ok, you don't need to go to the toilet. You have bag collecting you poo. That's what your feeling". Oh finally I could breath a sign of relief I wasn't going to poop myself. I didn't have a clue how I would go to the toilet in that state anyway. I didn't even have enough strength to touch my face. I would take all my strength to get my hand anywhere near my face to get the breathing tube out.

I was be in and out of consciousness. Every time I woke I would see a nurse sitting at the end of my bed writing notes. I don't have a clue about what on. After what seemed like several hours the doctors finally came and gave to order to get my breathing tube out. Oh gosh that was a relief I was so happy and scared about what it would feel like getting it out. When it did come out I vomited every where. I was covered in vomit. I had a feeding tube down my nose which they took out the next day.

Shortly after I had my breathing tube taken out the men arrive to help the nurse clean me up. The men are the strong arms of the ICU. They would come every two hours to roll me. My gosh the names I would call them inside my head. It was so painful. They would roll me on my side, and I would spend the next two hours rolling myself back onto my back, and much less painful position, and just when I finally go more comfortable, they would come back and roll me to the other side. I didn't like seeing them at all. At that time was on a steady follow of Morphine.

The next day, because I was awake the NICU were going to bring Marcella down to see me and try to get feeding going. So ICU moved me to a private room. I remember the room so well. On the left side of me was a wall of windows. I was so tired and weak. Every time I feel asleep I would have nightmares, and I would have to use all my might to jolt myself out of the nightmare and wake up. Only to drift back into sleep and have it happen all over again. Every time I closed my eyes it felt like someone was standing next to me, and not a friend. I would open my eyes and check, and there was no one there. One dream I keep having over and over again was, me lying in the bed, and the window next to my bed would suddenly turn into a roller door (like a garage door). Then I would get out of bed and walk out the door. I was worried that I would get lost and didn't want to walk out the door but I couldn't stop myself from doing it. Outside it was dark and night time, I couldn't see anything other than a few feet in front of me, there was just grass. Like being in the country, it was quiet and dark, no lights other than one near the door, like a sensor light. Then directly outside the room was a hill. At the top of the hill was an aboriginal man playing the didgeridoo. At the bottom of the hill was an orchid. Then from behind me my Dad (who has passed away) would appear and say he planted that Orchard. I got the feeling it was his favourite plant. It was at about this point in the dream/nightmare that I would wake up. I call it a nightmare because I always felt panicked and scared during and after it. Now looking back I wonder if it's a bit of memory from my time on life support. The idea of leaving this room, not being able to stop it, and being really worried I wouldn't be able to get back. I hadn't been told what happen at this point.

When they moved me to this room, they gave me a morphine pump to help with the pain. However I was so weak for all the blood, and operations I wasn't strong enough to press the button to give myself a dose. They had it set up so I could have a dose every 5 mins. But I could only have a dose when someone walked into my room. It took another day til I was strong enough to get that darn button down. After the first night in that room my poop pipe keep having explosions. It was very embarrassing and smelly. So the Nurse decided we should just take it out. So that was one less thing inside/attached to my body. However it took a little while for me to regain control over my bowels, and trust what was going to come out my butt. In the process of doing so I had a few accidents. The first nurse I had was so lovely about it all. So just got on with cleaning it up and keep reassure me that it was ok and not to worry. However the next nurse I had was not so happy about the situation and while cleaning up the mess was quiet ruff with my down stairs area and rubbed so hard that she made me very sore and bleed. It was another pain to add to the all ready painful experience. Not only was it painful, it was very degrading. It's already a really horrible position to be in. To go from an fairly able person ( on bed rest) to not being able to toilet yourself is an awful experience in it self, with out feeling even more degraded. Another unusual experience was having someone brush my teeth for me. That was weird and no something I would like to repeat at all. Also being bathed in a bed, having my hair washed in bed with shower cap type thing, and eventually having someone shower me.

It finally came time for me to start physiotherapy and start the process of sitting up, standing, and then trying to walk again. Oh gosh another world of pain. Not only the physical pain but also the technical pain of managing all my accessories, I had an iv in each arm, my catheter bag, two blood drainage bags, and a stoma bag collecting Lymphatic fluid from the open incision on my groin. My physio was very nice, and spoke in a gentle reassuring voice, which helped the process.

Marcella was brought down to me around every 4 hours during the day, so we could try and feed, but being early she didn't stay awake for long, and I didn't have much strength to hold her for long. We started expressing, the lactation consultant had expressed colostrum and gave it to her will I was still on life support, and expressed me a few other times, they did however have to through the milk away because of the drugs that they had me on.

After 5 days on life support, and 3 days in a private room, I was released from ICU and moved to maternity ward where I could be closer to my baby. I stayed there for another three weeks. The Staff in ICU were on the most part very lovely, caring and supportive. Out of all the Nurses and attendants I had during my time there, there was only that one that it more difficult. I thank them very much for all their time, and care in what was a very hard time.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Marcella's Birth Story, from Ben's Point of View.

From time to time things happen in our lifetimes that test our faith. This is the story of an experience that tested mine that resulted in another glorious blessing to our family.

My wife and I are 33 years old and we are already the proud parents of six children. We are proud to have a big family and we love the joy our children bring to us; and even though no child of ours has been an 'accident', this time when my wife told me she was pregnant it was a bit of a shock. It seems we were in for much more of a shock as time went by. After a woeful first trimester filled with incapacitating weakness, bleeding, nausea and vomiting, we were all glad for the promise of a reprieve in the second trimester. The third trimester however, brought some more significant problems for us. By 20 weeks she had already had about 10 bleeds which would mean a trip to the hospital each time to check that our baby was still alive. At the 20 week scan she was diagnosed with placenta previa, at which point the doctors where hoping it would move during the remainder of the pregnancy. Around the 32 week mark she had another scan at which the doctors found that Christina had complete placenta previa. A condition that means that the placenta was lying unusually low in your uterus and covering Christina's cervix. Doctors informed Christina that a caesarean section would definitely be needed, she could not deliver naturally. After this diagnosis, the doctors at the hospital kept a careful eye on Christina, checking week by week to see if there was any change in her status. Christina, at about this time decided to set up a facebook group to let people know what was going on in her pregnancy (family and church friends often would ask her how she was going, and found this the best way to tell those close to us what was going on). This was her third post after creating the group:

'Welcome to the group! I'm currently 32 +5 weeks pregnancy with another blessing. From my last ultra sound (a week ago) I have grade 4 placenta previa, with the placenta over my old c-section scars, which means there is a possibility of having placenta accreta. Our baby has also been diagnosed with a clubbed left foot, we won't know the degree of until birth. I'm booked in for a c-section on 25 of June, which will make me 37 weeks. As long as I don't have bleeding before that. Other wise delivery could be any day'.

As it turned out, the days ticked slowly over and it seemed less and less likely that Christina would be able to deliver naturally, and the placenta accreta issue, I found out, occurs when the placenta attaches too deep in the uterine wall but it does not penetrate the uterine muscle. Each doctor Christina consulted closer to the time appeared more and more concerned. It was firmly decided by the doctors that Christina would definitely need another ceasarean. The facebook group turned into a bit of a forum to ask people start praying, and to express her annoyance at having to jab herself (she suffered with prenatal diabetes too). 18 days before the C-section date she wrote this:

'As if there enough differences in this pregnancy baby is lying in half breech, half transverse position. Nothing can be simple and straight forward in this pregnancy'.

Having a baby in full breach position would prove much easier for the doctors to resolve than the position it had gotten itself into. Despite all of this happening, it was strangely humorous clearly seeing the baby's head sticking out of Christina's tummy, with the rest of her body curled up seeming to want to conserve space. The doctors also diagnosed our baby with Club foot, which worried christina a little, and the spectre of a forced hysterectomy loomed as well, as we both wanted the option of having more children as much as the ability to stop.

As the pregnancy progressed, Christina spent more and more time in bed, watching movies and crocheting. Facebook became one of the only links to the outside world, since she was unable to drive to places (I don't have my licence due to health problems). When online, Christina said little leading up to the birth except '15 days to go' or '8 days to go'. She struggled with lots of anxiety, feeling nervous about the operation. She did have a conversation or two with me about her wishes should she not make it through the operation, which concerned a bit, but I pushed the thoughts to the back of my mind.

With one week to go, on a Tuesday, I was sitting at TAFE during class time when I saw a sudden facebook message from Christina: It went like this

Ben Mathewson
Christina Mathewson
Home now
Ben Mathewson
Do you need me home now?
Christina Mathewson
Now Bleeding
Ben Mathewson
Ben Mathewson
Im nearly there
Have you called anyone?

I packed my bags very quickly and ran home. On the way I quickly wrote Im nearly there
Have you called anyone? No reply. While running home I heard the ominous sign of the Ambulance siren. When I had got there the ambulance staff were loading her up with a towel around her, about to drive to the hospital. Christina had also rung her best friend who was on her way over to look after our other children. The ambulance drove off after I got some instructions from Christina, and I caught a lift to the hospital with my kind next door neighbour after Christina's friend arrived. My head was a blur. I didn't know what was going to happen next. It was comforting talking about something else in the car.

When I got to the hospital I ran out and talked to the ambulance people, asking them for her. They told me to go upstairs to find out where she was. Doctors directed me to theatre and told me I could only go in quickly to say a few words to Christina before she went in. Reassured to see her, but heart still racing, I told her to 'stay calm', and 'it will all be okay', without really having the same confidence. After this, time seemed to drag. I was shown to a bed in a ward and continually asked by worried looking nurses if I wanted a cup of tea. After a couple of hours a nurse came to see me and tell me the baby is fine, and beautiful, and can be found in the nursery. Marcella Daphne Providence was born into the world 7 pounds, without sign of club foot, and perfect in every way, entirely unaware as babies are of the chaos around her. When I asked the nurse about Christina's wellbeing they said 'we don't know yet'. After about 5 hours of waiting I posted this under her name.

'please keep praying for christina. She is in hospital now. More news to come soon. (Ben)'

After I had nursed the baby for a little while and spend 7 hours in the hospital the nurses told me there was 'nothing I could do at this point' and that I may as well go home'. I took their advice and went home. Running on junk food and adrenaline all day I pondered what to tell the children. When I got home, christina's best friend had the house cleaned up and the children ready for bed. My oldest Sophie (9) was the one who was most worried. I told her that 'mummy was still sick, but the doctors were looking after her'. After trying to keep a smile on my face as if everything was normal, I was able to get 5 out of my six children to bed. My youngest (2) wrestled with me in the bed and screamed uncontrollably until 11 o'clock. After he'd finally quietened down I fell fast asleep.

I awoke two hour later to the sound of a male voice at the end of my bed, and someone firmly grabbing my foot to get my attention.
'Sir, SIR, it's officer.... someone here. I need you to wake up sir!'
After my eyes adjusted and I had finished shouting in fear, I discovered a policeman at the end of my bed.
'What!? What?! Who are you?'
'I'm officer 'such-and-such' (I found out later it was about 1 o clock and I STILL don't remember his name) and It's very important that you ring the hospital'
After stumbling, bleary eyed to the phone, and after the officer had repeated the number several times until my brain could comprehend it, I rang the hospital.

'I think that you need to come down here. We are doing all that we can, but your wife has lost a lot of blood and she might not survive'
There was no way I could get a babysitter at 1:00 in the morning.
'I'll come as soon as I can'. I said.

Not being able to go back to sleep I rang our friend at 6 in the morning and said that Christina was in trouble and I needed a babysitter as soon as I could. Once she had organised her own children she was over at our house by 7:00 as my second oldest (age 8) had just woken up. I made a decision, because my children needed to know the truth, and I didn't want them to resent me if Christina had died.
'Your mummy might die' I said to her, 'but the doctors are looking after her'. Perhaps because she had woken up, or because she was the calm, quiet child it didn't seem to register with her. I was trying to hold it together and not cry, so I changed the subject to the TV show she was watching.

When I got to the hospital the doctors told me that Christina was in a critical but stable condition, and they had stopped the bleeding, but she was 'not out of the woods yet' and would still be in theatre until 9. Distraught, I rang the hospital chaplain, and He said he would pray over christina. He came, and once Christina was back in intensive care he put oil on her head and prayed that she would live. Finally being face to face with Christina did not set my heart at ease. She was looking grey and had tubes protruding from everywhere, including a machine to help her breathe. I knew then what 'critical but stable' meant. I was asked to ring her mother which I did.
Once that chaplain had gone, another came to replace his shift. I spent hours talking to this kindly lady, just offloading and trying to express my anxiety and grief at what had happened.

After this, I waited at the hospital in my little room trying to rest, and watching TV while staff continued to fuss around me. I was asked at least 10 times a day whether I wanted a cup of tea. The staff cared for me and the neonatal nursery told me I needed to take pictures of all of the baby's 'first' things first baths, first cuddles etc, so that Christina could feel part of her story 'if she survives' I thought, but tried to scrub that thought away from my head. I was overwhelmed. And as much as I loved this little baby, I wanted her mum to be fine too. By that evening, and after many tears in private places I had an assurance from doctors that they had things under control. I wrote this post to our facebook friends

Hello, it's ben here again. It has been a very difficult day today, but I want to say thank you for everyone who prayed. I got to the hospital at 6 a.m. and the doctors gave a less than 30% of her surviving. She was in a critical condition. Right now, it looks like they have isolated her bleeding problem and they are feeling much more confident she will pull through. With your prayers and friendship, she has and will pull the rest of the way through, and my very disturbed spirit feels much more at peace now. There is still a small chance she will bleed again so the doctors are still watching her closely, but it is fair to say the battle is almost over. Thanks again. Christina and I are thankful to have such valuable friends. (Ben).

In the meantime, many things had happened in our family. My friends, and especially Christina's best friend, organised trips to the dentist for my oldest, meals to be delivered when I was at home (I am a pretty poor cook, but this ordeal has shown me how to cook at least. Our friends in homeschooling group and church groups organised babysitting, cleaning, prayer and the support of 'just someone to talk to'.

During that evening the doctors informed me that the following day they would be taking the packing off christina's stomach. The doctors informed me that they 'may have' isolated the bleeding and that if there is no infection and no continual bleeding, then she would be on the slow road to recovery. At 12 that day- 3 days after delivery date; the surgeon came to see me with a smile on his face, and said that Christina's progress was good, and that there was no infections. After another three days the doctors removed the tubes and Christina was able to slur out 'I love you' to two of the children I had brought to visit her. After another 2 days doctors moved her out of intensive care and onto the maternity ward! I found out through talking to emergency staff that Christina needed her entire body weight of blood replacing four times over, and had effectively drained the whole state's supply of O Negative blood! On top of all this I found out that she had to undergo a forced hysterectomy and has some damage to the bladder where the placenta had grown through the Uterus.In total she had 5 days on life support.

Time passed and after about 4 weeks in hospital Doctors gave her the all clear to come home, which she was overjoyed about, despite the fact that she was still toting a bladder bag. The day after, however, she had to be rushed to the hospital with another bleed. The anxiety I felt rose up strongly again within me. She stayed overnight and the following day the doctors gave the verdict that it was 'just the body trying to get rid of waste materials'. 'No more panic!!' I thought! She came home the following day and little of consequence happened after that. Christina, as it turned out, would go through a roller coaster of emotions and various sicknesses as her body adjusted to the pain of the trauma and all of the blood transfusions. She slept a lot and she still sleeps a lot as we try to forge a way through, finding a way to get back to 'normal life' whatever that is; and we are looking forward to a pain free life, some time in the future.

From time to time things happen in our lifetimes that test our faith. I hope for our families' sake that testing is over for a while.

Ben Mathewson.

"At least your alive."

"At least you are alive".

These are the well meaning words I hear often. I know that they are coming from a loving place, from people that want to be thanere but aren't really sure what to say. But sometimes those words make me think that the way I'm feeling about some things are invalid because I couldn't have easily not been here.

You know sometimes it's just nice to have someone understand your feelings. Like "I'm really glad your here, but yes I can totally understand that what your going through really suck!".

Yes I'm glad I'm still here, and most of the time I cope with the changes to my life, my body and my family pretty well. However there are times when I still struggle. Like when I'm in bed, I would just like to roll over without pain. Yes I'm in much less pain than I was in, but it's still pain none the less. Like when I sort through my things and find my pregnancy test with Marcella, and know that is the last ever pregnancy test I will take, that is the last time I will ever feel that surge of excitement and joy that we will be expecting another blessing in our family. I know some people around me are very glad that I can't have more children, but for me that is devastating. Most of the time I try and look at to the future and the next stage of my and our lives as a family, however in quiet times it still hurts, and REALLY SUCKS!

But hey at least I'm alive.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Little things!

Oh the things you enjoy when you have everything taken away. I long for the day when I can go to the toilet without thinking about it, and taking a vomit bucket with me. Without thinking, "Have I fully emptied my bladder?", " Am I going to poop or vomit?, or both?" which happens often. I long for the day when I eat properly, without having to take a tablet to stop me feeling sick. I long for the day when I have the physical strength to prepare my family a meal, to drive the car, to go shopping, to leave the house without assistance and to go somewhere other than the hospital. We have this nice new van (new to us) that we all long to go for a drive in. I long to be able to care for my baby properly, and for my family. For days when I can cook the meals that make my family feel better, bring healing to my husband, and wellness to my children. I don't want these first days with my baby to go by without me begin able to be a part of them. There is no more babies for us, which is really hard to think, I'm missing all these things, the breastfeeding, the special times, and so on, and I've never going to get them again. I'm blessed to be here with my family and seeing them grow, learn, and change. However there are hard things about that as well.