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Sunday, June 27, 2010

He's home....and my arms are full!!!

After 9 LONG months of pregnancy, followed by what felt like 23 even LONGER days of NICU, Ansen is home!!!!!!  We now have a huge oxygen tank in our living room, and a monitor that I am incessantly staring at, meds that need to be given every 3 hours, as well as a baby that nurses every 1.5 hours and only wants to be held when sleeping.  And I am one HAPPY mama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Coming home Sunday....

TENTATIVELY that is.  I have learned not to really believe anything til it happens.  Ansen will be coming home on oxygen, monitors, and 6 meds that need to be given pretty much round the clock.  Its kind of daunting, but also exciting to just get him home finally!  Doug and I have to take infant cpr today (requirement to take him home on all this) and then tomorrow night I have to sleep at  hospital in special overnight room, so I can practice with the oxygen, monitors and meds by myself, with support of hospital right there if I have an questions/concerns.  That should be fun.

ON the TMI front, I have some new worries.  Since the hsyterectomy, I have had nothing on the vag. discharge front (which I figured was normal, since I have nothing there anymore).  Well starting yesterday, now I am having yellow/brown and sometimes pink coming out of me.  Its VERY concerning to me, bc its the same colors as the wound fluid coming out of my incision.  I am counting down the minutes right now til I can call my dr this morning and ask about this, but I am guessing its not normal at all....and I am just scared what it could mean.   My visiting nurse is concerned with amount of wound fluid still coming out and said that if I had something like an abscess causing it, they would have to cut me back open and then start this whole packing thing over again.  That would be a nightmare, especially if the baby is home.  I got a referral to wound clinic and they gave me an appt in 11 days.  Guess I will just see what my dr says today when I call up about this.  I would LOVE if he said that its normal by some miracle, but absolutely NOTHING has been normal here, so it just wouldn't surprise me in the least to have some odd complication that would necesitate more surgery.  *sigh* 

Sometimes I feel like I am just barely keeping on the edge of sanity with this much bad luck can someone have.  I try to remind myself how lucky we have bad as things have been, it could have been so much worse.  But I am stressed out.  I Just want to recover and have a moment where I don't have to worry about complications and risks, as well as my baby stuck in NICU.  I want to get to that point where I am 100% recovered and I can finally say that I now certain I made it through this whole mess, healthy and alive.  I am still worried about complications, especially when I am not healing normally, and now having new things showing up.  *another big sigh* 

Well doctors office is almost open, just about time to give them a call about this all.  Can't wait.....

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Another day, another talk with dr, another potential new plan....

Talked to another dr yesterday, and now its been mentioned that along with the diuretic, that Ansen might be going home on oxygen now.  I am at the point that the most important thing right now for me is getting him home and in my arms 24/7, but I am sad that he has taken enough steps backwards that this is a new possibility.  He was canula free for quite a while....and now he needs 1/2 liter of oxygen to keep his sats up to 94/95.   What would it be like having a baby home on oxygen and monitors??  Its getting harder and harder to imagine our life ever going back to "normal" here.  I shouldn't be surprised, since nothing has gone normal this entire journey. 

I have an appt this afternoon with maternal/fetal dr to look at the open part of my incision.  Its still draining A LOT.  Not really great news....visiting nurse says they might need to do a CAT scan to make sure there isn't an abscess or something more serious going on in there.  I just want to heal.  My incision is almost closed up in that spot, but bc of the massive amount of drainage, they don't want it to close fully yet now.  So now its being packed a bit more to keep it open.  Fun stuff.

Visiting nurse is coming soon.  And then I can go head out to be with my baby.   When I walk towards the NICU, I usually feel like I am suffocating.  I am sick of it.  My baby is almost 3 weeks old.  Will my he celebrate his 1 month birthday there??  The walls start closing in and I feel sick to my stomach, walking up to the NICU desk, asking to see my baby.  I stand there and wash my hands for 2 minutes....and I just dread the sights and sounds of NICU.  I walk over to my baby boy-and I put on my gown and I pick him up and I sit down....and no matter how suffocating the NICU is to me and how sick I feel to be spending another day there, I then feel instant calm looking at his sweet little face.  Holding him/nursing him is therapy for me.  He snuggles into me and makes his little faces in his sleep, all the little smiles, making little o's with his mouth....and I forget where I am.  I forget that I am stuck at this crappy NICU all day.  I am simply with my baby.  Taking care of my baby.  Changing his diaper, feeding him and snuggling him, just like I would do at home.  I look at him and I don't see his canula or all the wires hanging out of his little sleepers-I just see my sweet little Ansen.  And I hate to leave him at night.  Its the worst feeling in the world.  Bc then I have to come back to reality.  That my baby is stuck indefinately in the NICU, all by himself....all night.  My arms are empty at night.  And I hate it. 

Just have to keep trudging along this journey I guess.  To think that I once thought the hard part would be over if I survived the delivery.  HA!   I am 100% confident that God is still with us in this journey for sure.  Being with Ansen is like getting a peek at heaven each and every day.  But I would be lying if I said that I wasn't still having a hard time with this all.  I am.  Sometimes it feels like nothing can go right for us.  I know in retrospect things could totally be MUCH worse.  We ARE very lucky.  But it certainly hasn't been easy-not one step of any of this.... 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Chronic lung disease

Yesterday I talked to one of the doctors, who told me this is what they are suspecting Ansen has.  It makes me sad for sure that he could have a chronic condition for life, all from his birth.  Its caused by the ventilation and oxygen and his respiratory distress sydnrome, which very likely caused scar tissue in lungs-making lungs fill with extra fluid that normally isn't there.  We have been told that its very likely he will go home on a daily diuretic, to clear that fluid out of his lungs on a daily basis and make it easier for his lungs to get the right amount of oxygen.  Yesterday, I was still hoping that maybe this wasn't the case, but last night, Ansen had to be put back on canula bc he had a really poor night with his oxygen saturation AND he gained about 3 oz in one day...which is all pointing to the extra fluid on lungs causing all these issues.

I feel INCREDIBLE guilt.  What if I could have waited another week or two until delivery.  I try to remind myself that my own outcome could have been totally different if that was the case, but I still do feel guilty nevertheless.  I wish I could make this all easier for Ansen.  My poor baby boy....I love him so much and I just want to cuddle him in my arms and make all this go away for him. 

Yesterday, Doug had an verbal altercation with a close family member....Doug claims he will never talk to him again now.  It makes me sad to see the family torn apart bc of others judgemental attitudes.  He used to talk to this individual pretty much every day, since he is close family.  All the sudden, this family member stopped answering Doug's calls, and this has gone on for months and months now.  Doug finally got a hold of him yesterday and this family member told Doug that he has been ignoring us for months now bc A.  him and his significant other can't stand that we homeschool   B.  that we have supplemental, secondary state insurance that helps us pay for the things that our crappy primary insurance won't pay for and C. that we had Ansen.  I think C bothered me the most, since I am used to everyone being judgemental about the other two things as it is.  This family  member told Doug we should have terminated the pregnancy and it upsets them greatly that we didn't.  After all I have done to get this baby into the world, its hard to hear a close family member that still thinks Ansen's life shouldn't be. Ansen is STILL fighting to be in this world.  How someone close to us can easily dismiss the value of Ansen's life AND hold a grudge against us for choosing to fight for Ansen's life....well I feel myself getting bitter about the whole thing myself.  None of this has been easy on us for sure, but once you hold Ansen and look into his eyes-its like looking at a glimpse of Heaven.    This little life that shouldn't be is highly valued by us, as well as by God, and I don't know how we are supposed to just forgive and forget this comment.  Obviously though, God doesn't want us to live a life poisoned by bitter feelings like this either though.  So what are we supposed to do in this kind of situation??  I don't know.

I do know that we would appreciate all the prayers we could get right now, that Ansen's doctors will figure out what he has going on, so that he can on the right meds and eventually get home.  Also, I could use some prayers that my incision wil heal up.  I am having TONS of wound fluid coming out still, which is not good at all.  Tomorrow at my next appt, we will probably have to start looking into other issues that might be causing me not to heal right  Sometimes it feels like nothing is going right at all for us, but then I remind myself that Ansen and I are alive after all this...and every day I get to go to hospital and snuggle him close to my heart, and my heart bursts with joy over the sweet miracle of him, regardless of all the bumps in the road.     

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The baby that doesn't follow the norm....

Just about everyone that has come to talk to me about Ansen in NICU has told me that Ansen does NOT follow the normal pattern of anything.  He is a mystery to them, why his lungs were so bad (36 week babies usually don't need to be intubated for a week, followed by cpap for 3 days and the canula on/off for a week). His lungs came out worse then a 30 week old.  I don't know why, but I am thankful he is recovering from this.  I don't know if it was bc of my crappy placenta or what?  I don't like to hear how baffled everyone is about him.....but regardless, he IS a  miracle.  That he is even here after all this, that we are both here....well i am truly grateful.  I am also impatient to get him home at times, but I know he is where he needs to be, and just that I get to spend my days with him makes my heart sing. 

I FINALLY got to attempt nursing with him the other day.  I was scared out of my mind that he would give a feeble attempt, and that would be it.  Nursing has been very important to me and I didn't know if I would get to even attempt it, bc of plans to keep placenta in.  I was elated to have my uterus out and be able to nurse still-and finally have some normalcy, but its been nothing normal at all, pumping round the clock for the last 2.5 weeks. 

So on Friday, Ansen and I took the plunge....and all I can say is that nursing is his superpower!  I have nursed him 6 times in the last 2 days and after those feedings, he has pooped and peed up a storm.  He knows exactly what he is doing, and knew right from the start.  The nurses have acted very surprised that he is switching back and forth from bottle to nursing so easily.   I guess that is another non normal for him-and one I am glad for!!!!  Its very nice for me to head to the NICU all day and still have something normal to look forward to.  And when I am nursing him, no one can tell me that I am holding him too much!

Today has to be a short day visiting Ansen, bc Doug heads back to work tonight. :(  I am sad about that.  I will only get to be with him from 11ish-to 3.  4 hours may sound like a lot of time, but it only feels like seconds when I am with my baby.  I have been averaging about 8 hours a day with Ansen.  But we have to do what we have to do.  Doug needs to start making money again-since we have no paychecks coming in (and haven't had any for a few weeks) and we are working through our savings now. 

Doug just found out from NICU that Ansen had another episode last night of de-satting for 15 minutes.  This time he didn't need oxygen to finally get out of it (as opposed to the night before, where they gave him 30 minutes and then had no choice but to give him canula), but it still took him some time.  I don't know why he is having such a hard time with this??  What is wrong with my baby???  And will he ever get to come home?  :(

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Not coming home for at least another 3 days now :(

Ansen had a poor night-desatted down to 84 with oxygen, and is back on canula and now on 3 day regmine of lasix.  To say I am bummed is an understatement.  I just want my baby home, but I understand if he still needs to be there, there is nothing I can do.  It still majorly sucks though.  I was sure I would have issues with this delivery, but I never thought in a million years that my baby would have to be put through all this.  He was one day shy of 36 weeks, with 2 doses of steroids.  He just got two neighbors (twins) born at 31 weeks, doing a heck of a lot better then him.  My mommy guilt is running REALLY high right now...just feeling awful that my poor baby has had to go through all this.  It feels like our life will never return to normal.  Every day, I have to leave the rest of my kids and Doug all day, so I can spend the day with Ansen, who is all by himself there.  Part of the reason I probably still have this wound that I have to have a visiting nurse come take care of every day is bc I have never gotten a chance to rest after this surgery-I have been running around since the day after surgery, up and pumping around the clock when I am supposed to be home and resting.  Trying to remain positive this last 16 days, but its getting really, really, REALLY hard at times.  Especially today.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Told to bring in a carseat....

Doug tells me not to get too excited, but I am assuming that means he *might* be coming home REALLY maybe tomorrow??   He has no PICC line anymore (IV), he has no canula, and all he has to do is take 52 cc's of breastmilk every 3 hours by mouth to get home.   Last night he took all the bottles he was supposed to.  I was really bummed last night bc when I went back to the NICU last night, they told me not to hold him anymore, bc he hadn't done well with his 6 pm bottle...and it was all bc I held him too much that day.  I was about to burst into tears.  How can you hold a baby too much??  I hate that the NICU "owns" my baby right now and can tell me this kind of stuff.  I want to tell them "do you know what I had to go through to get this baby here into this world-I earned my rights to hold him too much".  But of course, I just sat there steaming instead and the second he woke up, I scoopped him up.  I ended up staying for 9 pm bottle, which he took ALL of again for me.  I hate leaving him all by himself there at night.  Hoping really hard that this carseat test goes well and that we can bring him home tomorrow, so I can hold him way too much at home each and every day, and NOT get spoken too for it anymore.  And so I can start attemping to breastfeed.  I loathe pumping.  The NICU is very pro pumping and very anti-bf'ing it seems, bc every time I have asked if I can try bf'ing, I have gotten some excuse after another.  I give up up now.  I am just going to do their bottle thing and GET HIM OUT!!!  And then I will finally attempt bf'ing.  Hoping really hard he can transition easily to it...we'll see. 

Still having my wound care twice a day.  It is still draining like crazy, but half of it has closed up and nurse says it looks great.  Tonight, Doug is my wound nurse.  Lucky him.  The stuff they don't tell you about in those vows I guess.  I just can't til ALL this is past...til my baby is home, my incision is healed, and we can move on from this and into a new exciting chapter of our lives. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

the fun never ends.....

Ansen is doing well.  He is on 1/4 liter canula and *might* be off canula by tomorrow.  He is also up to 48cc's a feeding (through tube down his nose) and will be on enough by tonight to get his IV out by tomorrow.  That means he can move over to the graduate (continuing care) nursery, where he will simply need to work on taking all his feeds by mouth.  I have yet to get to attempt nursing him and I am getting really nervous about it.  Eating really takes a lot out of him.  I hope that I can still make nursing work for us.  I LOATHE pumping, but have been pumping around the clock for the last 2 weeks, hoping that we would be able to transition to breastfeeding.  Ansen is such a sweet, calm baby though.  He just loves to snooze in my arms, and there is nothing more relaxing in tihe world then to lay back in the NICU chair with him on my chest.  Its heavenly. 

I have had a 4 day migraine now, that I am assuming was set off by all the lights in the NICU (especially those darn bili-lights, that you can't help but stare at).  Motrin is keeping the edge off my headache...hoping I can wake up tomorrow and have it finally gone! 

Another bit of excitment is that part of my incision is opened up.  That part never healed right to begin with (looked awful near belly button once they unbandaged it).  They told me it was a hematoma.  Well I called up yesterday bc it was STILL draining like crazy, and when I went in, Dr. H said "well that doesn't look good".  NOT what you want to hear.  So I guess there is a hole, like in my abdomen.  Only about one inch long and one inch deep.  So now I have a visiting nurse coming to house twice a day to pack this 1 inch part of my incision...and teaching Doug how to do it so they can come less often.  I just want to feel healed and normal again.  But I keep reminding myself to be thankful that the surgery was successful and that the other ~13  inches of my incision looks fabulous.    I have been ordered to eat lots of protein, drink lots of water, and rest so that this last part of my incision will heal up quickly.  I hope so!!!

Today is our 9 year wedding anniversary.  Although it may appear crappy (especially when our anniversary day is spent having Doug learn to pack a hole in my abdomen),in retrspect, we are just so thrilled that everything went well enough that we are able to celebrate together the day that we became a family.  And what a family we have grown into.  Even with Ansen still being in the hospital, we still feel so blessed.  Soon enough, our family of eight will be able to move on from all this, and simply enjoy life and each other (hopefully WITHOUT a hole in my abdomen..... )!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sorry for lack of updates....

I have been kinda bummed by Ansen's lack of progress.   He went from vent to canula and was doing so well, and then he was suddenly doing horrible and has been on 2 days of cpap.  I can't hold him on cpap and it just feels like things are going SOOOOO slow here.  They call Ansen the "touch and go baby" at the NICU.  And as much as i try not to let myself take the blame for the stuff he is going through, I sitll do have some mommy guilt.  I wish I could have given him an easier start somehow.  But every day, I remember to thank God things did work out the way they did and we are both relatively healthy.  SO MUCH could have gone wrong, the fact that my delivery went so well is a miracle in itself....and then that Ansen is here and getting healthier by the day.  In a few more weeks, this will all be a distant memory and I WILL make up for the lack of baby holding I have gotten so far-I can guarantee I will never want to put him down ever. 

As for me, I am healing still.  I am just taking motrin now and my incision looks pretty good in most spots.  There is one troublesome spot near my belly button that I have had to keep an eye on...right now, all we can do is keep it clean and dry and hope that it starts to look like the rest of my incision sooner rather then later.   Hysterectomy wise, I just think about how weird it is that its the fact I will never have a period again...thats just really weird to think about at the age of 30.  But I feel so lucky that I was able to have all the children we were meant to have....I am very content with the six beautiful children God granted us with for sure! 

Hopefully I will have some more exciting updates sooner rather then later.  I can't wait til we can have some normal baby moments...holding and nursing and just plain being able to pick up my baby when he is crying.  Hopefully not too much longer...maybe another week (although less would be awesome).  Thanks everyone for all your thoughts and prayers throughout this journey....we still feel like we have worked a miracle here! 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Held a little piece of Heaven today....

Thank you God!!!!!!!!

The birth of Ansen Gabriel

Well I am up and kind of wired at 2 am (after waking up at 1 am to pump), so I figure I might as well write this out now while I have  the energy and time.  Its going to be LONG.  Here it goes!

First of all, I never thought the day of Ansen actually being born would ever really arrive.  We went from being told to terminate the pregnancy, to being told he was almost certainly miscarrying, followed by a pre-term delivery scare where they talked about "chances of survival", and then to find out for the rest of the pregnancy that my life was in danger at delivery and that there was a chance that I might not meet this baby for myself.  This pregnancy has felt like a cancer from the start.  Every single problem, every single new danger.  It was very hard on me to continue on bravely.  Every day the pregnancy continued on was more time for my placenta to further grow and potentially invade other organs (from ultrasound, two of my doctors were convinced that my bladder was involved).  The only thing that kept me going in these times of great fear was my faith that God had shown that he had big plans for this baby.  Our Ansen was meant to be-after what we had gone through in the start, I was SURE of it.  If God hadn't given up on Ansen, how could I??   As much as fear tried to take over my life (and I had many great moments of fear), God gave me the faith and hope to move on each and every day, no matter how fearful I might still have felt. 

The last week of pregnancy was very bittersweet.  I knew it was most certainly the last time I would ever be pregnant.  I was always worried about something happening to Ansen during these final days....if he didn't move for a bit, I would start poking at him like crazy until he would give me a reassuring kick or two.  I was enjoying my other kids and Doug and loving them and appreciating them.  And I was scared out of my mind that that might be my last week on Earth.  Every day that went by, I wondered "will this be my last Saturday?", "Is this my last car ride to so and so with the family", " is this my last  meal at EB's (a fav. restaurant of ours)", etc.  I would look at Doug, and it would absolutely tear my heart apart thinking about leaving him alone-from the moment I met Doug, I knew he was so incredibly special...he is my best friend, my amazing husband and an even more amazing Daddy to all our kids.  We have only had 14.5 short years just wasn't enough.  I didn't know if he would ever understand why I HAD to give Ansen life, if it ultimately meant having to give away my own.    As much as I tried to convince myself I WOULD LIVE, I was still scared.  But I knew I had done what was right.  I had peace in my heart about giving Ansen the life he was fighting for, no matter what I had to do and what I had to face. 

The day of surgery arrived.  I was surprised to actually get any sleep.  The kids were all in our bed, joyfully talking about how today was the day Ansen would be here.  We had to get up and out of the house early, to get some final stuff done.  And go for one final family ride.  I felt like I was just in a daze.  How are you supposed to feel IF it is meant to be your final day?  I didn't know.  We went to my brother's house to drop off the kids with my sister and my Dad.  I still sat there in a daze, as my kids ran around and played.  And I asked them each for a hug and a kiss and I looked them each in the eyes and told them how much I loved them.  My brother gave me a hug, and it was one that I didn't want to let go of.  I told him I loved him.  My sister got all the kids packed back into the van, hopped into the driver's seat...and I could see the worry all over her face.  She told me that she loved me....and I told her I loved her as well.  And all I could think was "please don't let this be the last time I see any of them".  Gave my goodbyes to my dad, and I finally had to force myself to turn around and walk towards the car we were taking to the hospital.  I didn't want to go, but I had to.  Doug and I drove most of it in silence.  I didn't want to ask him if he was as terrified as I was.  I didn't have to ask him.  A week prior to surgery, my doctor had wanted to specifically speak to Doug.  And he had had to talk to Doug about the very bad risks.  Risks of death.  And his importance as my health care proxy.  That he had to know what I wanted if the time came that I was unable to decide for myself.  I told Doug I choose life.  I had fought for Ansen's life, even when there was only the smallest chance possible....if I even had a chance, I wanted Doug to fight for it.  And on the car ride to hospital, I squeezed Doug's hand and simply told him one more time "I just want to live".

We got there and checked in, which was one big crazy mess.  Our surgery was at 1pm, and I had been told to come in at 10 am to maternity hospital to have baby monitored before being sent to the main part of hospital for my surgery.  But maternity then sent me to main part of hospital to register.  Lots of walking to other side of huge hospital.  Registration then sent me to pre-OR waiting room.  More walking.  And pre-OR said "why are you here so early?"  I told them I was told to come early to get baby monitored first, but of course, they didn't have what they needed to do that there-bc that was all in the maternity part of the hospital....where I was originally told to come.  So more phone calls were made and then they decided to just get me in the pre-OR area and that maternity would be sending down ultrasound and doppler to monitor the baby there.  I said a goodbye to Doug (just for the time being) and went into my little pre-surgery area and got dressed in my gown.  I folded my clothes and put them in my bag.  And then just stared at that bag.  Was this the last time I would wear them?  Nurse came in and put an IV and asked how I was feeling.  I told her I just wanted tomorrow to be here.  Then I just sat there and waited for maternity people to come.  Across from me was a guy waiting for surgery.  I sat there, wondering what he was going in for....and I am sure he sat there wondering what I was going in for.  We just kind of glanced at each other nervously.  His surgery had been majorly delayed.   We were just waiting.  I wondered if he worried about not waking up after surgery.  Doug was escorted in at this time and I felt better to have him by my side.  My maternal fetal dr, Dr. H came in and he walked over, squeezed my shoulder, and told me I was in good hands today.  I thanked him.  For the many hours before surgery, he told me that again and again-I would be in good hands.  And I thanked him again and again.  I met his fellow who would be at my surgery.  I met my two nurses that would be at my surgery.  The gyn-oncologist stopped by and told me she was ready to go whenever the OR was, and that her partner would be there as well (the other gyn-oncologist).  The two nurses from maternity showed up, introduced themselves that they would be at my surgery for Ansen....and Ansen was monitored.  Dr. H came to check my placenta and where Ansen was, and he had flipped to transverse.  He drew lines on my stomach showing where to cut, where placenta started.  Ansen looks great and I felt a twinge of guilt that he was so happy in there, but soon enough he would be ripped from his cozy little world.  I hoped he would be okay, being born earlier then normal.  I met the two anesthesiologists that would be there at surgery.  Lots of doctors and nurses congregated in front of my pre-surgery area, talking about whether or not to put me to sleep before or after central line was put in.  I glanced over and guy across from me was just staring at all the people I had over there.....I nudged Doug and said "I can guarantee you right now that guy is thanking God he is not facing whatever surgery I am".   I wished I could be that guy instead.  Dr. H told aneshesiologists that baby was going to get a lot of general anesthesia, no matter what they did...just bc he had to cut carefully through things to not start any bleeding.  So it was decided for my own comfort that I would get the central line (line going in through vein in neck to heart), arterial line (line to artery that would register every second of my blood pressure, beat by beat) and catheter after surgery.  Lots more people came  in and introduced themselves.  Two NICU nurses and NICU dr, bc of the prolonged general anesthetic for Ansen now.  Urologist and interventional radiologist would be in there.  It was just so many people.  It was very overwhelming.  But I felt at peace.  This peace had taken over my my head, all I could think was "well we did it God...we won".  No matter what outcome we would have during surgery, I was now convinced that I had accomplished God's gratest good.  Throughout great fear, I had still been able to make the right choices.  Ansen would live.  I was at great peace...still thinking proudly "we won God, You won!"  It was a nice feeling, a surprising feeling to feel right before surgery.  I had to use the bathroom and Doug came in there with me.  And in there, he said "lets get over with the goodbye hug".  We aren't usually audience huggers.  And so there, the bathroom, we just hugged.  I didn't want to let go.  I told him I loved him.  And we continued to hug....I didn't want to let go of him EVER.

About this time, it was an hour before surgery, and we found out we had gotten bumped out of OR room for now, bc of an emergency craniotomy??  The guy across from us was still waiting to.  Probably still thankful he wasn't me.  Finally he got wheeled away and my stomach spun a bit.  I was getting nervous again.  We got transferred to another pre-OR waiting room, bc the room we had been in needed to turn into a recovery room.  And we waited.  A couple of the nurses were asking me about kids and trying to keep my mind off of things.  When everyone started putting on masks and hats, and then I got a blue hat put on my head, my stomach did the biggest flip flop ever.  I was a little after 2 pm, and the time had come.  I looked at Doug and shot him an "I love you" with my hand (its always been our thing, using the sign language ILOVEYOU to quietly get our point across).  And he gave me a quick kiss.  And as I was being wheeled away, I sent him another ILOVEYOU sign.  I felt so bad for him-what HE must be feeling at this moment.  As they were wheeling me away, they asked me if I wanted medicine that would relax me and make me feel like I had a couple glasses of wine.  I didn't know what that felt like, since I don't drink....but I said sure.  My heart was racing and I was afraid that I would start crying.  And so they gave me something in my IV and suddenly everything was cloudy and a bit like a dream.  Somehow I ended up on the OR table (don't remember getting up on there??)  And I looked around the room and there were SOOOOOOO many people.  People moving in all different directions, lots of people talking and doing stuff.  This was BIG stuff going on in here.  This wasn't some little surgery I was facing.  But I was at peace still.  And all these carts of medical equipment everywhere.  Was I really going to need THIS much stuff??  Someone put an oxygen mask over me and told me to breathe in really deeply, for the baby.  And I kept taking these really deep breaths, thinking of Ansen.  I glanced over and saw two iv bags filled with this milky shite stuff, which I guess was the anesthetic.  It was almost time.  I took those deep breathes and in my head, I just called out for God to be with me.  I was told that it was time to go to sleep.  And I tried to hold on as long as I could, calling out for God to still be with me.  That we had won.  And I suddenly I woke up.

I felt I was choking and gagging something stuck in my throat and I couldn't get it out.  But I think I was alive....that must be good??  I fell asleep again and woke up and the gagging/choking feeling was gone.  But I was so thirsty.  I kept calling out for Doug, but my voice was so quiet.   No one would hear me.  Someone asked me what I wanted and I said "my husband".  I kept falling asleep in between thoughts.  I would wake up again and ask for Doug.  And tell everyone how thirsty I was.  I heard someone say my husband was there, and someone touched me and was praying outloud.  And then Doug was gone again.  And then a nurse was feeing me ice chips.  And then all the sudden, Doug was back, feeding me ice chips.  I was trying to ask what had happened, if Ansen was okay, but I kept falling asleep.  It felt like Doug was shoving those ice chips in one after the other, but he in reality giving me like 5 minutes in between them bc I kept falling asleep.  That general anesthetic is some crazy stuff.  They had Doug leave again bc they needed to do some work on my central line in my neck.  I guess this was like a 2 hour thing, but it felt like minutes again.  And I was moving and was brought to other side of hospital.....remember like 1 second of that ride.  The next morning, I FINALLY got all the details I wanted to ask, but wasn't sure if I had asked.

After they had taken me, Doug started back to the OR waiting area.  He said he felt like he in a daze...not sure what to do.  And then he ran into one of my friends, who showed up there to support him.  I had no idea she was coming and I am so grateful she took the time out of her day to be there for Doug and I.  She took Doug to cafeteria to eat, and Doug ate something, although he said he felt sick and just lost at that moment.  My friend kept Doug talking and helped keep the time passing.  The mininster from my mother in law's church came and sat with them for a few hours.  I thought that was very kind.  They prayed and talked.  And then after he left, the pastor from our Chuch showed up and spent about 3 hours with Doug and my friend.  When I heard this, I just felt the love of the moment.  So many people there with Doug, hoping and praying for me  And so many others praying and hoping for us as well, those that couldn't be there, but were there in spirit, around the world.  I can't express my thankfulness to those who were there for Doug at what was probably one of the worst moments of his life.  Doug said he talked to the pastor about anything and everything for hours.  He just kept talking to her and asking questions about faith and stuff.  I wish I could have been there to witness this moment.  It makes me cry just wanting to think about it.  Thank you to Karen, Reverand Earl and Pastor Elva for being there for my best friend when I couldn't.

Doug said that the first update was the scariest, just bc the dr working alongside Dr. H came storming in, out of breath, looking around the room frantically.  Doug said his heart just sunk.  But she said the baby was out.  The second update came later, that baby was in NICU and that I was having a hysterectomy.  Doug knew that meant it had to be somewhat good news, bc I had been told that they would leave everything in if it was too bad.  Doug and Karen and Pastor Elva went and met Ansen for a few minutes and a prayer was said for him.  Then Dr. H called Doug and explained a little bit more about how it was going.  Gyn-oncologists were doing hysterectomy at that moment.  And that it appeared my bladder was unaffected.  Later Doug heard from Dr. H again that they were closing me up, and that although my placenta had gone through uterus (placenta perecreta) it had NOT attached to bladder at all.  My bladder was completely unaffected! What a miracle, since it had certainly looked VERY involved on ultrasound.  My doctors had stayed VERY much on top of my blood loss and I was told I lost about 6 units of blood and I received 4 units of blood to replace it.  That is just amazing, they were so concerned that I would be hemmorhage out blood faster then they could give it to me, since percretas are very vascular.  Although Ansen had to get so much general, they went about my surgery in a way that really saved me from catastrophic blood loss.  I was finally out of the OR at about 7ish and Doug was allowed to come in for only 5 minutes the first time.  He and Pastor Elva came in and she said a quick prayer for both of us, and she left.  Doug tells me he told me "you did it".   He told me as much as he could in that short period of time.  All I remember is the prayer though.  He was asked to leave and he tells me I cried and begged him not to go.  I don't remember that.  And then he was allowed back in again after a bit, and that was when he fed my ice chips and told me the whole thing again.  Still don't remember much fo that...except for the ice chips.  And then had had to wait again, for the 2 hours while they did some work on the central line on my neck.  All in all, he probabl had to tell me a million and one times about everything.  He was happy though.  And I could feel his happiness and although I wasn't really sure what had happened, it felt like it must have been good.  And I was alive.

The next day, I also found out more about Ansen.  He had been under general anesthetic for at least 45 minutes and he didn't cry at all when he was born.  His lungs were very full of fluid and he was very lethargic and having a hard time clearing them.  Hence, he ended up on a ventilator.  Everyone was kind of surprised by how much trouble he was having after birth.  But I was assured he was alive and doing well....just that he probably wouldn't be out of NICU quickly like they had originally thought and hoped for.   I was so incredibly grateful that I had been able to have the hysterectomy.  It meant I didn't have to do chemo drugs and deal with infection risks of placenta/uterus in me, and it also menat I could breastfeed!!!  I started pumping that morning after surgery-so joyful that I would be able to breastfeed my last baby.  Don't get me wrong...I felt like I had been hit by a truck, I had this huge bandage on my stomach and had no idea what had been done there, but I was just so elated that I was live and my baby was alive.  Word's can't describe the feeling of joy you get after surviving something like this!!  I had a morphine pump and I was told to squeeze this little thing whenever I needed any extra pain relief.  I was actually pretty good though til the afternoon.  That afternoon, I was told that I was getting my catheter out...and I was most certainly cursing my doctors at that moment.  Did everyone forget about the major surgery I had just had??  The gyn-oncologist told me I needed to get up 8-12 times today.  Was she nuts??  It hadn't even been 24 hours since surgery started.  I knew they wanted what was best for me and I knew walking was best for me, but I didn't want to do it!  I just wanted to happily lay there and rest and celebrate.  But I got up.  HOLY PAIN!!!  I pressed that morphine things plenty of times those next 2 days.  Every time I had to to the bathroom, I would reward myself with a hit of morphine once I got back to my bed.   My other reward for finally getting out of bed was being able to see Ansen.  Doug wheeled me to the NICU and I got to see him for the first time...somewhat.  I was in the wheelchair and his isolette was up so high and I couldnn't really stand much, so that I couldn't make out much...but it was my baby and he was alive.  We had done it!

Over the next few days, everyone was surprised by how quickly I was bouncing back, especially after the hysterectomy.  But I was just so darn grateful to be alive and have my second chance of life, side by side with Doug and with all my kids, that I could happily deal with whatever pain I needed to.  Bandages were taken off and I got to see my stomach for the first time, all swollen and lopsided, with a scar that runs from top of belly down around belly button and below it.  It was ugly and bloody and really barbaric looking actually with staples EVERYWHERE, but it was also my proud souvenir of this journey.  Its ugliness was and still is  a thing of beauty for me.  It reminded me that I had taken some really ugly battles this pregnancy and in the end, it had brought much beauty/joy to my life.  I will forever look at this scar and smile.

Ansen had a rough start and they think he ended up with pneuomina from his rocky birth start, but a week later, he is doing fantastic.  Hoping he will be completely weaned off the vent in the next day or two.   Dr. H kept apologizing that Ansen was so sick from his birth....but all I can say is he is alive and I am alive.  Dr. H gave him hope for life back at 6 weeks and actually gave him that life on June 3rd, at 3:41 pm when he pulled him out of me.  I will be forever grateful for Dr H and what he has done for us, as well as grateful/thankful to everyone on the wonderful team that kept us alive and well. 

Ansen was awake last night (finally off of sedation) and he was interacting with me...looking at me, kicking his legs at me as I rubbed them, clutching at my hands.  Tears came to my eyes.  It was my "thank you Mommy for fighting so hard for me" moment.  He is alive and here in this world bc I followed my heart...and let God lead me through this journey, many times onto roads I did NOT want to travel.   His life is a miracle to me.  Every time I see him, I think "he shouldn't be here, but he is".   It's an amazing feeling.  And I am forever grateful for all the life lessons I have learned along the way.  I will never be the same.  Thank you God for that. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

So incredibly grateful

I know I left off with the last post so negative, but I am so incredibly grateful most of the time here.   I DO think I am going to still need the prozac to get me through the first few months of postpartum, just bc this has not been a normal pregnancy experience whatsoever and I guess I am processing it with the anxiety that is showing up out of the blue now-something I have little control over. 

All in all, I have 1000 thankyous to write and a 1000 ways to express my apprecation for this experience.  My baby that I was told had no chance at life is alive and in this world.  It's hard to describe what it feels like to look at your baby and know they shouldn't be here.  I felt his little soul on me all these years and I was terrified of trying to bring it into this world...I guess I just "knew" I was heading into dangerous territory this pregnancy.  We went back and forth about trying, and in the end we just put all our faith in God that there must be a reason he was putting this little soul, tugging at my heart 24/7.   The baby that I was told that I had NO choice but to terminate.  I can still remember the doctor explaining all the methods of termination to me, so nonchalantly...and here I was, thinking of that pulsating dot on ultrasound, holding on for dear life...just trying to live.  That little soul was NOT disposable, as much as the dr tried to convince me.  At that moment, I had no choice but to choose my baby's life, even after being told it could be potentially very dangerous for me.  And then I was told he was almost definately miscarrying-his sac had slipped down and there was little hope.  But still he fought to live.  And I fought for him to live.  Finding out at 26 weeks that delivery might be inevitable....and that my baby might not live after all was terrifying and devastating.  And then to find out after the fact that I had now put my life at jeopardy and was facing a potentially catastrophic delivery...all for this little life.  Its been a very difficult 9 months, but I look at Ansen's sweet face, and I am looking at a miracle.  A miracle that shouldn't be here.  My thankfulness for Ansen cannot be described. 

Also thankful to get a 2nd chance of life myself.  You don't realize how amazing your life and this world is until you have to sit there and face losing it all.  So many people realize this life lesson way too late.  How grateful I am now to not just get wet, but to actually FEEL the rain now of life.  To feel life with all my soul and being each and every moment, and to know just what a precious gift my life is....and Ansen's...and everyone's!!!!

I was talking to a friend and I was surprised to hear her say that my story had inspired her to call her dr today and get her IUD out for a 4th and last child that she had convinced herself the last 5 years that she didn't need.  I didn't know what to say.  Part of me wonders why she isn't scared out of her mind to have another after all I have gone through here.    But for others to see this as such a joyful, happy ending that we do...well that really makes my heart sing with joy!!!  It has been amazing (and amazingly difficult) but every tiny bit of it was so incredibly worth it.  Every day I get to go to the NICU and hold hands with a miracle here on Earth.  My miracle.  Thank you God!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Could you send a psych eval to room 2742?

First of all, recovering from this.  My stomach iss so swollen and painful and that scar is just as much fun to look at as it is to feel, especially when getting up and moving around.

Today has been a REALLY hard day for me.  I have been doing so well, that I was sent home this afternoon.  Without my baby.  Without getting to hold my baby even ONCE yet.  I am having a hard time with this.  Nobody knows what it feels like to have to face a surgery, knowing that you might be alive to meet your baby after all is said and done.  Well, I have found it to be almost nearly as hard for me to have live through this experience, only to not get to hold my baby at all.  They cover just about every part of him up and I am lucky to hold a finger in the NICU.  And then they cover that up.  I just want to hold my baby and feel that he is real.  That any of this is real.  I have fought for this baby since the start, and I still don't feel like we won here.  I keep crying about it....and just feeling really out of it.  I told the drs discharging me about how sad I am (crying the whole time about it).  They said they would take care of it, and then I heard them ask  the nurse to "send a psych eval to room 2742".  That made me feel really good.  So then this guy that looked like Alton Brown with a crazy neon green tie came in to talk.  Well I told him what I am feeling and I left the hospital with a prescription for percocet, ibuprofin AND prozac.  And maybe I need it. As painful as recovery has been, I think the mental anguish of this  last few days has been that much more.

And the NICU has made one mistake after another with Ansen, hense he is right about where he was 4 days ago.  They tried to wean him too quickly off of ventilator for 3 days, then had to go completetly back to day 1 once they realized that....and then they decided it was easier to have him heavily sedated the last two days, only to find out today that is actually messing with his blood gas levels.  So off of most of that today.  I just want to hold my baby boy, see his little face without tubes and wires and covers over it, I just want to hold his hand for hours.....I want to hold and feed him and breathe in his smell and have that moment to finally cry out my thankfullness to God that we both made it out of this healthily.  Right now, it feels like he is never going to get any better.  Its so hard.   Maybe I did need the Alton with the neon green tie.  *sigh*

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Having some blues....

Mixture of hormone drop and the fact that my poor baby boy is still on a ventilator.  Every time I see him, I cry.  I just feel so bad that we had to rip him out of there so early, that he he had to be born heavily under general anesthetic, and that he is having such a hard time with his very wet lungs now.  I haven't yet been able to hold him and I am having a hard time with that.  I just look at him and I want to pick him up and make sure he is real.  All I can do now is hold his hand and wait until he is feeling better.  I am pumping, and starting to get small amounts of milk for him, although he isn't on feedings yet.  Birth story soon.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Ansen Gabriel

6 lbs, 10 oz   20.5 inches long

Praise God! 

VERY LONG birth story to follow later...when Mommy is feeling a lot less groggy.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

God be with me today

Feeling sick and anxious with nervousness.  Have Kylie crying that she doesn't want me to go to hospital.  Two hours before I have to drop off my kids and head to hospital...and going to spend those 2 hours with my beautiful babies and Doug.  Still hoping for the best here, trying not to worry....the impossible task.  Surgery is at 1 pm Eastern time, any continued thoughts and prayers would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all.  God be with me today. 

I truly can't wait til tomorrow night.....

I can't wait til this nightmare is officially OVER.

I can't wait to have the unknown FINALLY transition to the known.

I can't wait to not have to worry anxiously about Ansen , every ache and pain, every twinge and movement, or lack of movement.

I can't wait to wake up after the surgery, alive and well....and see my sweet husband first and foremost.

I can't wait to thank my doctors...and most importantly, thank God.....for my safety throughout surgery.

I can't wait to finally reassure my husband that the worst is finally past us. 

I can't wait to see my little guy for the first time, to hold him and marvel at the miraculous sweetness of his existence.

I can't wait to introduce my very excited kids to their baby brother. 

I can't wait to move positively forward from this journey, and to share my heart and the joy of this journey with the world!

To get to alll my tomorrow night...I am unfortuately going to have to deal with one last not-so-easy day.  One last anxiety filled, most certainly very terrifying day.  I am NOT looking forward to the saying goodbye to my babies and Doug part, the catheter part, the ivs part, the central line part, the being put to sleep part, the whole unknown part...none of it will be easy.  But we are so close now to the hopefully very good stuff part......SOOOO INCREDIBLY CLOSE.   I have to remain strong and faithful that God is with me, for the most difficult, but most rewarding part.  I started this journey, feeling that God had special plans for this baby....that I couldn't terminate his life...and I begged and pleaded with God, that if He could give Ansen the strength to fight for his life, that I would fight just as hard for his life on my side.  Tomorrow will be the culmination of that fight for his life.   The answer to my uknowns.  And hopefully the first of a great many sweet days of celebrating our victory against placenta increta/percreta.      

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Things to do today-1 day before surgery...

The kids are going over to my brother and his girlfriend's house tomorrow morning (which is right next door to my Dad-so lots of available hands on deck to watch kids).   My brother is usually pretty laid back (hope he can stay that way with 5 kids, 6 and under).  I told him to just let them play.  Eat, play, eat, play, eat, bed.  Repeat.  Today is my last day at home pre-surgery, and my last full pregnant day.  We have SOOOOOO much to do!  My list includes:

1.  Cut boys' hair (they all look like shaggy dogs and its just something I have been meaning to do, but haven't done WILL be done today).

2.  Buy food/snacks for kids for next 4+ days.  My kids eat A LOT.  Like I don't think anyone can fathom it til they see it.  Already made the list for Doug, so *hopefully* Doug can make it through the store somewhat fast.

3.  Get all kids sleep stuff ready to go AND over there set up.  Twins are sleeping in pack and plays.  PLEASE let Rylan start sleeping through the night there, since he hasn't done too well of that here the last couple weeks!  Tomorrow morning is going to be too crazy to try to set up things....I want it all ready to go tonight, and my kids can be minimalists here.  As long as they have their "kikis" and "mermes" and "ellies", they will survive tonight.  Just wondering if I should bring ac, since kids are used to sleeping in subarctic temps....hmmmmmmmm.

4.  Move over inflatable pool, bikes, helmets, trailer, cozy coupes, water table and bouncy balls.  That way, kids have PLENTY to play with-to keep them busy and keep my brother and his girlfriend somewhat relaxed watching them (easier to watch them while they are busy then when they are bored).

5  Find at least 4 outfits/undies/diapers for each and find a big enough bag for that. Also find bathing suits, swimshirts, and towels for each.  And a couple sets of pjs for each kid as well.  Thats gonna need to be a GINORMOUS bag....

6.  Pick up bug spray, more suncscreen, wipes and replenish our stock of chewy tylenol....the "essentials".  Thanks to a friend and the great diaper deal she found, we have plenty of diapers at least. 

7.  Move over some inside toys (bucket of trains, bucket of cars, and bucket of barbies).  Oh and crayons and coloring books.  Get new movies from library as well.

8.   Pack a hospital bag??  I don't even know what to bring at this point.  I am having a hard time focusing on the after, when I am so focused on the "getting through this" part.  I figure just getting myself there tomorrow is good enough at the moment.   But I should try to throw something together, especially stuff for Doug.  Although, can't think of anything he will really want either at this point. 

9.  Buy a couple 0-3 month summer outfits.  My mom just bought over a bag of yellow and green 3-6 month clothes (she still thinks a girl might pop out here).  Ansen will not be ready at all for 3-6 month stuff, all my other boys were born in November (so their 0-3 month stuff is winter) and we have bought VERY little this pregnancy at all.  I guess when I send Doug to get the kids "essentials", like chewy tylenol, I will have him pick up a couple 0-3 month things. 

10.  Get the carseat out.  Doug FINALLY found it, although I am not sure if he found the base yet.

11.  Somewhat clean out car.  We are switching cars so that my brother and family can have a car to get out with all the kids.  I don't think they would appreciate our mess.....but don't have all day to dedicate to that we will just do what we can.

12.  Clean up the house??  Would like to have a clean house to hopefully come home too, but who am I kidding??  Thats the last worry on my list right now.  Put that on the very maybe to do list. 

13.  Go for the biggest ride ever.  Rides are our family thing, and I want one BIG, HUGE family ride tonight.  I don't want our ride to ever end.  I want to go to all our favorite places, and maybe get the kids ice cream and just have it be the best ride ever.

14.  Hug and kiss and love my babies.  Tell them I love you hundreds of times today. 

15.  Hug and kiss and love my husband.  Tell him how much he rocks...what an awesome dad he is, what an amazing husband he is and how much I love him. 

16.  Head to last drs. appt.  Drink TONS of water so that I can have some good veins tomorrow for all the IVS I will need.  Try to remain optimistic today.  Try to fully rid myself of this numb feeling I have had this last few days.  Picture myself holding Ansen-and the pure joy of that moment after this nightmarish surgery is over.  Thank God for my journey.  Thank God for my family and friends and my life..and for Ansen.  Feel God's presence with me, as well as faith/peace to face tomorrow.

I think that is about it.  So much to do, so little time to do it.  And Doug is STILL lounging in bed.  He has worked hard the last few days, so he certainly deserves it.  I most certainly want him well rested to deal with tomorrow.   But time is a-wasting....

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

feeling blah.....

2 days before surgery and I am just in a funk.  The kids have been wild and crazy-twins are always screaming, fighting and throwing things, big kids are complaing more then they are helping, and my patience is just THIN.  To top it all off, I have been sleeping like crap the last bunch of nights (I can't get to sleep forever bc my head is filled with thoughts...and then I wake up at least once a night/last night 3 times-to pee and then I start the whole thinking too much/can't fall asleep thing again.)  Two days ago, I was having like an all day anxiety attack that kept coming and going (feeling like I couldn't breathe and such), but this last few days I have found that I just need to numb myself of the reality of the surgery being here in 2 days and the anxiety attacks fade (for the most part).

I just hate that I am feeling so annoyed by some of my kids' behaviors lately....I know I should be appreciating and enjoying every moment I have with them pre-surgery...and usually I do, but this last week or so, they have been really "off" as well.  We go outside to play and then within 30 minutes they are fighting and complaining that they are bored and that they want daddy to come home.  Bedtime has been horrendous, with them jumping around, telling me they need to use the bathroom 100 times, etc.  I am just really discouraged why this last week, things have been so much harder...and why I can't look past it and just feel that joy I was feeling last week, the week before, etc.  *sigh*

I have one more full day tomorrow before surgery.  My last full pregnant day for sure.  I don't know how I should be feeling.  We have so much to do to prepare the kids to be watched by others and tomorrow is going to be crazy.  I really could have used a slow day for sure though, but Doug had to work the last three days (I would have REALLY liked him to get today off, but he had to work it to get his triple pay for Memorial Day).  Now everything is just one big crazy mad rush, and I am just not feeling ready for any of this at all.

Sunday, my pastor came over to talk about things and pray, which I was very appreciative of.  My mom and dad were over and she asked them to let us have a few moments to ourselves, so they kept away.  Afterwards, my mom asked "oh, did she want to talk about baby's baptism?"  I have been trying to explain to my parents that this is NOT your normal surgery I am getting into....but my mom always chastises me that I am overreacting.  I don't want to get them more worried then they need to be, but I am sick of pretending this is no big deal either.  I have been doing that most of my pregnancy, trying to downplay the risks and remain optimistic for everyone else.  Actually, I don't mind being optimistic if I didn't have so much pessimistic stuff bringing me down personally.  It would be nice if I could hear something that resembled optimism tomorrow at my appt.  Its my last appt and I am dreading it.  How many more times do I need to hear about my great risks at this surgery.  No one has done any additional tests or anything like that, but yet every time I go in, the visits get more and more pessimistic.  I just want to go in and have the drs reassure me "this is going to be a hard surgery, but you will be fine."  Is that too much to ask??

I know I am not alone in this journey, but I still spend a lot of time feeling very alone.  I have done nothing that special with my children are the biggest accomplishment, and then on days like today, I feel like I am getting it all wrong, and then I start to think about how much worse I could make their lives by leaving them.  I could have made a different choice way back when, and my life would be SOOOO much easier to bear at this moment.   Don't get me wrong, I find it very worthwhile the person I have become and God's work on my life for sure after such a journey, but after going through ALL this mental torment, and finding myself in this new, very worthwhile place, I feel its just cruel that I still have to fear the worst of all, losing my new and improved self...all those future moments of joy with my family and friends and with the world. 

I am REALLY hoping tomorrow that I wake up on the other side of the bed.  On the more positive, reassured, not feeling alone and scared and joyless, side of the bed.  Hoping and praying that God will give me some peace to face these last 40 hours before my surgery; peace to handle this last leg of my journey strong and full of faith...and hope.