Monday, 26 May 2014

Hospital Tour, Frostina Style

The Hubby and I went on a tour of the new hospital where we will be having Baby Olea. It was quite surreal. This huge hospital is such a contrast to the small, private, Women and Children's Hospital in London where we had our son and Frostina. It's absolutely massive. The good thing (and one of the reasons I picked it) is that it is attached to one of the top Children's Hospitals in the state and has a level 4 NICU. It's definitely the place to be if you have a high risk pregnancy so I feel very secure.

It's also very American which still feels foreign to me. I know, I know, I'm American,,, but I've had 2 babies in England and 0 babies here and it's a different experience. Not bad, just different. Overall I am happy with the hospital and it's facilities. Though I'm not sure how I feel about their policy to encourage rooming in. After a c-section I know I will really need my sleep at night. So I think I will still request they take Baby Olea to the nursery at night. Hopefully I won't get too many dirty looks from the nurses about that.

Did you know they don't swaddle babies anymore? When did that happen? At the tour they said to only swaddle babies that are diagnosed with colic. We didn't swaddle Frostina for long with a normal swaddling blanket because The Hubby was a rubbish swaddler. But we did buy these zip up swaddling blankets that we used instead. Without it, Frostina used to swing her arms around and wake herself up. So I think I will still use those with Baby Olea (see how I'm assuming she will come home with us alive and healthy?)

We brought Frostina with us and that was quite an experience. First of all, she insisted on bringing Winnie the Pooh. Unfortunately, this particular Pooh Bear is huge and too big for her to carry for long. He ended up getting dropped on the ground in the parking garage and on the hospital floor. I immediately start thinking about all the germs that are now all over Mr Pooh. So who ends up carrying him, me of course.When we got home it was straight into the washer and a hot water cycle.

She ran around the auditorium during the information session making sure everyone knew she was there. She climbed in and out of every empty chair she could find. She found both clocks in the room and shouted, "Clock, clock, tick tock, tick tock," in front of each of them. She spotted all the lights which she also announced to the room. I won't even get into the balloon that she saw way up high in the ceiling which caused quite a dialogue of, "Da boon flying, da boon flying." Poor Hubby barely got to hear what the woman was talking about because he was so busy chasing her around.

When the tour started she began her own narration about various things she saw along the way like doors, lights, balloons (in the gift shop), and of course all the clocks. She also wanted to know what every noise was, and you know there are lots of noises in a hospital.

One fun game she played was getting behind and then running back to us saying, "Too fast, too fast." The hubby and I joked at one point that this was what everyone was in for in 2 years time. Everyone on the tour seemed quite entertained by her. The woman from the hospital told me I will definitely have my hands full when the new baby comes.

If she had been British I would have immediately interpreted this as a judgement on Frostina's behaviour, but since she was American I didn't take it badly. Of course there were two other older siblings on the tour who were quiet and stayed with their parents. You wouldn't even have known they were there. But not my Frostina. She made sure her presence was known by all.

Because that's how Frostina rolls!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Shields Up

This pregnancy I have become a master at defense mechanisms. Not by choice really, but it seems to be my standard operating mode- Full Shields Up.

I spent the entire pregnancy with Frostina being scared. Petrified would be a better word. I was sure that at any moment it would all go wrong again. I fretted and cried and fretted some more. I made myself miserable with stress and fear and worry. I'm not upset at myself about it because it was the only way I knew how to be pregnant after a loss. It was my standard operating mode.

This time around things are very different. For one thing, I have Frostina to chase around. Plus there's the international move, trying to find a new house, and getting my new life sorted here in Florida. I am busy and have much less time to sit around being scared.

But it's more than that I think. I think this time around I just can't be fearful the entire time. I can't be worried all the time that this baby will die. I barely survived a fear-filled pregnancy and I think I just can't do it again. So my smart little brain has figured out how to put the walls up and help me to focus on the rest of my life, not just the pregnancy. I have no idea how it happened or how long it will last. I may wake up tomorrow and feel completely different,,, and that's ok,,, but for now this is how I feel and what seems to be working for me.

A bit of the old me has crept back in. The old me that stayed away from sad and scary stories. The old me that truly believed that ignorance in some cases is bliss. The old me that actually allows myself to believe that being pregnant means you will be coming home with a living baby in the end. I'm not as foolish as the old me though. I do know that avoiding bad thoughts and stories doesn't protect you from having them happen. This time I am choosing to focus on the positive as opposed to hiding from the negative.

I have found myself shying away from many of my old haunts here in the internet. I am no longer drawn to every sad story of women who like me have lost children. Not because I don't care about them or don't relate anymore,,,, because I still do. But more because I don't need to connect to the pain of others the way I used to. There was a time when I craved that kind of affirmation, to know I wasn't alone. But now it all feels a bit too much, a bit too indulgent, a bit like I need to spend my time focusing on my life as it is now.

Trust me, this is not a happy, I'm over it now post. I'm so not over it. But I can't dwell on it like I used to. I can't let it consume me day in and day out. I have to do things like paint Baby Olea's room in the new house and go through Frostina's old clothes to see how many are suitable for the sunny Florida climate.

I have to move forward and live my life. And for now that means not dwelling so much on the past. Never forgetting my beloved son of course, but perhaps filing things away. Away behind the defensive walls, behind the shields. The way you put important things away in a very safe place you know you can revisit when you need to. Put away for safe keeping as opposed to being put in a frame sitting in your front room.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Just One Of Those Days

Today was not a great day. It wasn't awful, but it pretty much typifies my life these days. By this I mean hectic and filled with all the not so fun things that proper grown ups have to deal with.

I should probably back up a bit before I go any further to help you get caught up. A few posts back I mentioned that my perinatologist tested me for various auto immune antibodies and what do you know, I came up positive for one of them. His solution was for me to start taking blood thinners to reduce the risk to Baby Olea. Sounds good, right?

Welcome back to America! The land of health insurance companies who think more about money than about patient health (in my humble opinion). My insurance doesn't cover that particular medication, or any blood thinner for a person of my age. After two appeals by my doctor the official answer is, "No because it's not on the list of approved medications."

Yes, I'm serious.

To pay out of pocket for a 30 day supply, my local pharmacy wanted to charge me $1000. WHAT??? I know, that's just crazy talk. Thankfully my amazing doctor's office staff were able to find another pharmacy who are only going to charge me $300. Such a huge price difference for the same medication is shocking, but it shows you it pays to shop around. *Side note- I owe that nurse a thank you card.

In addition to this, I failed my 1 hour glucose tolerance test by 5 points. Major bummer. So today I had to go back to take the 3 hour one. When I got the call that I failed they also advised me that I would need to come pick up a special pre-test diet that I would need to stick to for 3 days prior to the test. Surprisingly, it seemed to me to be very high in carbs and even required me to eat dessert after lunch and dinner (which being the good rule follower that I am, I obeyed).

Of course I have no family in Florida so I have to pay a sitter for this joyful experience. So in addition to it being a not so fun way to spend a Tuesday, I also have to pay money for the privilege. In the end it was 6 hours of babysitting time I had to pay up for.

The test was set for 8:30 this am which is good since it's a fasting blood test. I had the sitter booked to come at 7:15 to give me plenty of time to transition out and get to the office on time. 7:15 arrives and no sitter, 7:30 and no sitter. I called the sitter and the phone went to voicemail.

Now I'm panicking. This sitter is great and Frostina loves her. I found her through an agency since I knew I would need reliable childcare for all our house hunting excursions and my doctor's appointments. She is a responsible woman in her 50's so how can she be a no show? My mind is racing and I don't know what to do. I now have visions of bringing Frostina with me on this 3 hour blood test adventure. What a nightmare that would be, but needs must.

As I was getting her dressed to go the sitter called back. She had her days mixed up but said she could be there in 15 minutes. Not ideal, but at least I didn't have to drag Frostina long to a marathon doctor visit. I tried calling my doctor to tell them I would be late but kept getting the fax machine. Turns out I have the wrong number programmed into my phone, silly me.

The sitter finally arrives and I fly out to my appointment, except that my tank is empty so I need to get gas first. It's been a long time since I've had a car so I forget to check the tank,,, lesson learned. I finally arrive 45 minutes late but thankfully they don't give me a hard time.

It was during the 3 hour boring human pincushion torture session that I get the call about my blood thinners and the final verdict from the insurance company. I agree to stop by the new, cheaper pharmacy on the way home to pick up the medication. Keep in mind that I am fasting and am 1 hour behind the schedule I should have been on.

Test is over and I won't know the results for a few days but I don't care. I scarf down the banana I packed and head to the pharmacy. I finally get there and they don't have anything for me. Ugh!

Luckily the pharmacist remembers them calling to ask about prices so he calls them back and gets the prescription. All of this takes about 35 minutes while I wait, starving in front of the shelf of candy bars they have sitting under the counter. By this time I am starving and have a headache.

Then I get a text from my sitter asking how much longer I will be because her kitchen is being re-done and the granite guy has arrived early. I feel no guilt about this because it's her fault I'm an hour behind so I tell her I will be back as soon as I can. She gets a neighbor to let the guy in so that crisis was averted.

I finally get my meds (well half of them because they don't have all 30 days worth in stock) and now I need to get something to eat. My original plan was to take the test and then enjoy a leisurely Mexican lunch at this restaurant I've just discovered. But now there's no time for that. Instead I settle for a slice of pizza and an iced tea at the pizza place in the same strip center as the pharmacy.

I head home and pay the sitter a small fortune for my not so great day. Between the blood thinners and what I had to pay the sitter, it was a pretty expensive day. I swear, one of these days I would like to pay a sitter and get to do something besides sit in a doctor's office.

Did you make it all the way to the end of this rant? Congratulations and thanks for sticking it out with me. I hope your day was better than mine was.