Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Birth Story (The Short Version)

A couple weeks ago I woke up with a kink in my neck.  Throughout the day it got progressively worse so I called my OB.  She suggested that I take some tylenol and keep a heating pad on it which I did for two days only to have the pain continue to get progressively worse.  I called the OB again and it was suggested that I go to a local ER and get some percocet which I did.  I used it sparingly because I didn't want to drug the babies but the pain persisted.  Then after about a week of suffering I woke up in the middle of the night with stomach cramps.  I began vomiting and didn't stop for about 12 hours.  I actually hesitated calling the OB again but I just knew something was not right. Jason and I drove into the hospital on a rainy Monday night thinking that I'd be given some IV fluids and something for the nausea and sent on my way.  Instead, I was told that I had a very severe form of preeclampsia called HELLP Syndrome and that the babies needed to be delivered immediately.  I was just 34 weeks.  We had nothing packed and had only what we wore into the city.  About an hour later Arlo John Sullivan Coleman was delivered weighing in at 4 pounds 11 ounces and just moments later Ellis Cameron Sullivan Coleman was born weighing in at 3 pounds 4 ounces.  Surprisingly Ellis was doing just fine despite his size and hypo plastic left heart and joined my in my room shortly after I was sewn back up.  Arlo needed to be monitored a bit more closely in the NICU because he was having a tough time breathing on his own. Thirty-six hours later I was feeling a lot better and was sent to the maternity ward with Ellis.  Jason had been able to see Arlo several times and assured me that he was doing just fine in the NICU.  He just needed to work on breathing a bit.   After lots of visitors that second day Jason and I send everyone home to settle in for the night with Ellis.  My spinal was starting to wear off completely and I was beginning to feel some pain.  That pain that I had had for two week before the c-section had returned and it got progressively worse just as it had before except this time it was very rapid and much more severe than it had been.  After hours of trying to tell nurses that I thought something was wrong I was finally seen by someone who decided to do a quick ultrasound of my abdomen.  Suddenly things began to move very quickly and frantically.  They took Ellis away to the NICU, sent me upstairs to get a proper ultrasound and had several liver specialists to come talk to me.  It was, by far, the most painful thing I've ever experienced.  I was rushed off to the ICU for close monitoring and further tests.  As it turns out I have a very rare and life threatening complication of HELLP Syndrome.  I have a large hematoma on my liver.  So here we are eight days after the babies were born, eight days into my what is to be a very long recovery.  Arlo is still in the NICU and will be for a while.  He's breathing well and is now learning how to eat.  Ellis is still with us.  He's a little angel.  If we hadn't come back for him I don't know what would have happened.  Here we are eight days after the babies were born savoring every moment with them, loving them, taking it one step at a time.
Arlo John and Ellis Cameron


Thursday, December 6, 2012

On Being Honest

I'm not a natural writer.  Most of my posts require me to dig deep.  In order to write effectively I must allow myself to open up and pour my heart and soul onto the page.  I write and rewrite until I feel that my words are conveying the message that my heart whispers to me.  It takes time and patience and trust.  Often it is difficult for me but it is always worth the effort.  I do it because it helps me heal.  I do it because I believe in the power of connection.  My beliefs, mine and Jason's, are above all, what define us.  It's the one thing that, no matter what, make us who we are.  This journey has helped us to strengthen our beliefs.  It has helped us to define the kind of people we want to be for ourselves, each other and to our children.

One of the things that Jason and I believe in and value is honesty.  From the beginning of this journey we have been honest about what we are going through.  We have been honest with each other, our friends and colleagues and with ourselves even when it wasn't most convenient.  When our insurance company required us to disclose any fertility treatments used to achieve this pregnancy we were honest knowing that it would mean the pregnancy would not be covered according to their policy.  Prenatal care in India is very affordable and although unfair we accepted it and moved on.  Now that we are in the US and in need of some very specialized health care we are facing tens of thousands worth of hospital bills complicating and already complicated situation.  This week we learned of a kind of medicaid for pregnant women.  It was suggested to us that we apply so on Monday we spent hours waiting to see someone that would tell us if we were eligible to apply.  As we sat there among other women and families also waiting to apply Jason and I couldn't help but wonder if we were doing the right thing.  Having some financial assistance would really help alleviate a lot of the stress we are facing right now but we certainly don't feel entitled to it.  We wondered if we would be somehow taking something that someone else needed much more than us.  We are so very blessed in so many ways.  In the end, we answered all their questions with the utmost honesty because that's the only way we know how to be.  We explained our situation in the hopes that maybe we are eligible for some assistance but knowing we probably won't get it.  We won't know for another 4-6 weeks so until then we must proceed paying out of pocket.  If we are eligible and do receive assistance we will find a way to give back and help other families in need.

When all is said and done our savings will probably be depleted and our bank account empty but we will be rich in our hearts.  We will come out the other end of this with integrity and we will be able to share this defining event in our life with our children.

This is who we are, Babies.

This is what we believe.