Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Gall Bladders, Pregnancy, and Sixteen Years of Marriage

Well, that was a quick four weeks or so.

Christmas came and went, New Year's, too. It was a good holiday and I'll share details and photos later.

School is in full swing and the kids are finally back on schedule.

Right now, I'm recovering on the couch. Recovering, you ask? From what, you ask? Well, dear reader, I had a gall bladder attack (never had one before) and was in the hospital for two full days.

The baby is fine, she's alive (most important) and kicking (also important) and I'll be 36 weeks in two days. The gall bladder, however, is not fine. It has stones and is full of infection.

Sunday night, around 8:30PM, I started to feel some incredible pain just below my ribs, but above the uterus. I wasn't sure what it was, so I stretched, drank water, went to the bathroom, noticed it was not the uterus contracting, walked around, changed into my nightgown out of restrictive clothing, lay down on the bed, moved around, tried different positions, and the pain would not stop. It kept getting worse. By the time Brandon came upstairs with the kids (to put them to bed), I was a sobbing mess. He called the doctor and she told him to bring me in right away. We drove to our hospital (25 minutes away) and about half-way there, I threw up everything I had consumed that day. The pain was so severe, and I just kept throwing up (luckily, I had something to throw-up into!). When we got there, they put me in a room, checked vitals, monitored the baby, ordered an ultrasound, asked questions, and then, FINALLY, but me on some pretty powerful narcotics. And then I threw up again. I think. It's all blurry.

Ultrasound showed inflamed and infected gall bladder.

The next 12 hours I only remember being given drugs (awesome!) that made me throw up (not awesome) and made me loopy (medium awesome). I struggled to sleep, to focus --but the pain was gone. Every 2-3 hours, it would come back... finally, it started to subside. Maybe because I was empty of all nutrition? Maybe because all the fluids they kept pumping into my arm helped? Maybe because of how I was sitting? They moved me to another room and started antibiotics. I ended up staying at the hospital for four rounds of IV antibiotics, and luckily I didn't need the pain killers about 16 hours after they had started giving them to me.

I came home yesterday afternoon. Although I'm still really tired, really sore, and really worried, I'm much better. Baby Girl was a champ, and although she keeps kicking me in the gall bladder/liver (thanks a lot, baby!), she's good. I worry about her, though.

And honestly, dear reader, when they put me in the bed Sunday night, I was convinced that the only way to get rid of the pain was to have a C-section RIGHT then and there, and have them rip that thing out of me. If they had suggested it, I would have said, "yes!" no questions, asked. And I don't regret feeling that way. It's ironic coming from a home birth advocate, is it not? It's incredible what real pain will do to you! But I'm glad she's still growing inside of me; she needs more time. Honestly, though, I have never felt more excruciating pain in my life. Steady and growing and bitterly painful. I haven't thrown-up anything in... years. Years and years! I don't get sick. I threw up more at the hospital than I have in my entire life, I swear. The pain was intolerable.

Labor and childbirth is a walk in the park compared to that. Hands down. Like, it doesn't even compare on the pain scale. I would say the gall bladder thing was a 10 and labor is... a 6. Or 5. Seriously! And yes, I give birth unmedicated, and yes, I'm some kind of "expert" and yes, I have a pretty high tolerance to pain, but holy cow, I would deliver 10 babies in 10 days rather than go through that hell again!

Anyway, so I'm home, unable to nest, unable to bend over, unable to... well, do too much. I'm going to take it easy for a few days, and hopefully I can get my energy back before baby does decide to come. I'm also looking into all kinds of options --diet changes (which I've already made, even if just to get through this pregnancy without any more attacks), surgery postpartum, inducing baby early, just waiting like the original plan, etc. My list of things to get done before baby comes won't be fulfilled, I've decided, and that's okay. I just have to prioritize (again) and make what I can do work.

And, now, with all of this said, I have to talk about one more thing: My husband.

Brandon was incredible. He held my hair while I puked all over, he held my hand while the pain was so hard. He asked questions for me, got the nurses for me, and then went home at 4AM to make sure the kids were taken care of (we are so lucky #1 is old enough and responsible enough to watch the kids during times like these!).

He texted my mom to update them on how I was doing, he found people to help with the kids so he could get to meetings or come visit me in the hospital. He got my prescriptions for me and brought me roses as a welcome home gift. While I was absent, he found my CTR ring I had lost (he bought it for me in August of 1998) and fixed the iMessage problems I was having on my laptop. And this morning, he got up with the kids to read scriptures and get them off to school so I could sleep.

That is love, dear reader. Real and true.

On Friday (the 16th), we are celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary (double anniversary!). Which kind of blows my mind! Time keeps speeding up... Now, I would be lying if I said our marriage was perfect, or if I said marriage was a cake walk. We've had our share of some really hard times, including some rough stuff in 2014. Life is hard, and when health issues arise, it gets harder. When you have a lot of kids, it can be hard, too (although not always in the ways people think). Marriage is a choice, and marriage is a chance for personal growth, as well as an opportunity to exercise real charity. Now, I've been blessed with a good marriage. I don't give credit to fate. The credit I give is to God. He has taught us what will bring true happiness to marriage, and I know that the reason we are as happy as we are is because we're both trying to follow what He has taught. Brandon is a good man with a good heart and he's married a good woman with the same. But we're also both incredibly selfish beings (that's the mortal part) who have a hard time communicating when we're vulnerable. Basically, we're normal.

But despite all of the rough times we've had, we are still loyal. We still care for one another and the love we share is built on these 16 years of commitment. When I think back on our marriage, it's amazing how much the good outweighs the bad. The pettiness or willful misunderstandings pale in comparison to the wonderful times we have with each other, to the miracles we've encountered, and to our gratitude to God for a good life.

There is so much time left, too, to get it all right, to work on perfecting our many imperfections. We are in the trenches of life, right now. We are bogged down with the gamut of child-rearing, from pregnancy to diapers. losing teeth to teenagers. This period of our life will last for a bit longer, that's for sure. And we've both been hit with incredibly humbling experiences in our years together, but each time we get beat down, we've always figured a way back to the top. We don't allow each other to drown. In fact, as my therapist told me recently, "a marriage works when they follow this rule: only one person gets to be crazy at a time." Ha! It's true, though. Take turns being crazy --don't be crazy at the same time. Because our hardest times have been when we are both crazy at the same time!

Anyway, I just want to say that I dearly love my husband. I'm glad I chose him; I'm glad he chose me.   I would choose him again if I had the choice. Our love hasn't been built upon romance and butterflies and passion. Our love has been built upon friendship, loyalty, and forgiveness (with some of that romance and passion still hanging around in the background, of course!).

Isn't that the love that lasts, anyway?

So, to my husband, I thank you for all you are. I love you so much.

To my sweet baby girl, I say, "come soon, sweetie!"

To my gall bladder, I say, "you have failed me! I may need to rip you out of my body. Sorry, dude. But not that sorry."


Anne Marie said...

I am SO very sorry about the gallbladder misery! Ugh! I wish you the very best as you get through the next several weeks. I LOVE your thoughts here on marriage. I love how you keep it real and positive all at the same time. Beautiful!

tankinggamer said...

Here is to a fast recovery. I've been following your blogs for a while now, just haven't had a chance to say anything because of my job. Get well soon.