Through the miracle of message boards and cell phones, lots of people have people have probably already heard this story.
Through the limitations of such, many more people have not. I'm getting lots of “OMG! I didn't even know you were sick!” sorts of emails from friends the globe over.
Nether did I.
Here, I'm going to reassemble, to the best of my (limited) abilities, the events of last week leading up to the birth of Max and the days immediately following. As I've told a few people, I was totally not present for several of those days, so I'll be relying on my sister's blog entries from that time to tell the story. She did an amazing job of keeping her blog current as things happened, so hopefully she and photos can fill in where my brain lacks. Her blog entries will be in colored text, my words are in black.
Please bear with me… I'll probably be editing this a bit over the next few days as I re-read it and remember things or gain new context from talking to people or whatever.
Get comfy. It's confusing. It involves trips into outer space. But it has a happy ending. Here we go.
I hadn't been feeling so hot for a couple days… when the pics in the blog entry below were taken (at the ballgame on April 13) I'd had a rager of a migraine all day, and had even had to stop the car to throw up on our way to BART. As weird as this sounds, that isn't such an odd occurence for me, as I do get vomit-inducing migraines sometimes, so I went about my life, as I usually do.
I went to work on Monday, and just couldn't shake the migraine, which was rare. They didn't usually last more than a day or so. I tried to take it easy, but just felt kind of sluggish and thought that my feet were swelling a lot more than they had been in the past; I had to take off my wedding rings on Monday morning (which bummed me out to no end) and I planned to go buy a larger silver band on Tuesday after work, because I felt so naked with nothing on!
I worked all day Tuesday, feeling kind crappy, totally proud of myself because I'd done such a good just keeping my feet up all day, that come 3:00, my ankles still look like ankles! I was thrilled! I was sitting at my desk, typing and chatting with a salesperson, and the conversation was something like this:
Me: “Um. My left hand is falling asleep.”
Her: “You mean it fell asleep?”
Me: “No, I mean a second ago, 2 fingers were numb, now three fingers are numb…”
“…and now my face is numb. This is bad, I should probably call Kaiser”
So I called, and because it was 3:30 and I was in Walnut Creek, the advice nurse and I decided that I should just head to the WC hospital to be checked out instead of trying to make it all the way to Hayward, where my doctor is, before they closed at 4:30
I drove myself the 2 blocks from my office to Kaiser, and I called Jamie and my sister to let them know that I was being sent to L&D to “be checked out” I specifically didn't call my mom, because I was expecting to sit around for a couple of hours, maybe get some high dose BP med and get sent home. Never in my wildest imagination would I have predicted what actually happened next…
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Please pray for my sister and Spiff.
I'll ask her if I can update the whole situation but don't want to do so without her permission… please, pray.
Posted by Katie at 8:27 AM
UPDATE ON MY SISTER AND SPIFF
Sorry to have been so cryptic in my last blog entry about my sister’s condition. I needed to check with her that it was ok to write about it.
My sister felt numbness in her hands and face on Tuesday afternoon while at work. The advice nurse told her to go to Labor and Delivery (L&D) in Walnut Creek, less than a mile from her office, rather than traveling to her home hospital in Hayward. She called to let me know somewhere around 3:30pm of where she was and what was going on. I later got a text message from her telling me she was being admitted. Great. She was told she might be staying until she delivered her baby. Double Great. She's only 27 weeks and 5 days pregnant. Triple Great. 28 weeks is a magical number in pregnancy for the developing baby, most notably, lung maturation. The troops all gathered at the hospital (special thanks to Uncle Mark who stayed with Faith while Jas and I went together to see my sister!) just in time for Lizz to be transported to ICU. She was given steroids to help Spiff's lungs mature to the point that he'd have a better chance outside the womb should it come to that. She was taken to ICU because she needed more constant monitoring (of her BP, low platelets, and high creatanine, all evidence of pre-eclampsia. Look it up) than the L&D nurses could give her. In the ICU, it's one nurse to each patient. She spent the night there and much to the family's delight, she was moved back to L&D late this morning because her blood pressure had been lower and more stable than previously. Once I had heard that, I sighed a big sigh and decided not to check in on her because she was bound to be tired and/or entertaining visitors. At 2pm, I called. The doctors thought the numbness in her hands and face was due to a minor stroke. Yes, A Stroke. She has had no seizures or paralysis. This new bit of information prompted the doctors to schedule her for a c-section. Baby Spiff is scheduled to be born at 7pm, April 17, 2008. 28 weeks gestational age. There is some good news. (crazy, I know!) Spiff has been doing remarkably well despite the trauma his mommy is going through. His heart rate is solid, he is active as ever, and doctors guestimate his weight to be about 2.5lbs. Babies born prematurely, at 28 weeks, have somewhere in the neighborhood of an 85% survival rate. 85% of those surviving babies go on to lead happy, normal, and very healthy lives. Spiff has a leg up (we hope!) because it's also shown that babies that weigh more than 2lbs at birth have an even BETTER rate of survival.
If he is a true Porter/Parsons, this kid is gonna be just fine.
Just in case he doesn't know it yet, prayers, happy thoughts, and good vibes are all welcome.
Peace. Hug your families.
Posted by Katie at 7:47 PM
About here is where things get really hazy for me, so I'm leaving most of the storytelling to Katie… I was put on magnesium sulfate which threw my elecrolytes and sodium levels all out of whack and I was on sedatives to help me sleep that just didn't do good things to my brain.
Basically, every time I woke up from being asleep, be it 6 hours or 6 minutes, I thought it was a new day, and I had to re-process everything that was going on around me. I thought I had been in a hospital (in Florida for some reason) for over a month, when I'd been in Walnut Creek for three days.
I thought my entire pregnancy had been a dream; the photo of Max by my bed, I thought they were humoring me. I had to start over every. single. time. I. woke. up. My incredible, amazing, superhuman (and handsome!) husband was an fantastic advocate for me when I couldn't be one for myself, and stepped up and got me off the sedatives when he realized I wasn't getting better, and I was “back” soon after. (Jamie has several blog posts of his own in the coming days, trust me!)
Thursday, April 17, 2008
So I don't leave you hanging, we got a call at 11:30pm last night saying they were about to deliver Spiff. Everything went well and Baby and Mommy are doing well. We are on our way to see them shortly.
I'll update more as I get permission to do so 🙂
Posted by Katie at 10:24 AM
Friday, April 20, 2008
Today was a very hard day…
They took her off the magnesium sulfate at 9:30 last night instead of waiting until midnight because she was very loopy and not dealing well AT ALL.
Since then, her brain has been in a fog. Physically, she is doing well. Mentally, not so much. She has high levels of magnesium and low levels of sodium and off-balance electrolytes in her body. Not a good combo. She sleeps a ton and OFTEN doesn't remember things we had just talked about.
The scariest part for me was when she looked at a picture of my nephew that I had printed and put on her bedside table and said “who's that?”. When I told her “It's your little boy, and he needs you to get better”, she just said “oh” and turned her back to the picture.
The docs have been worried about her kidney as it is not flushing the magnesium out as fast as it should and they thought it might be failing. They restricted her fluids and kidney function had appeared to have improved so she can have small sips of water again.
When I spoke to my mom a few minutes ago, she said Lizz's moments of lucidity seem to be getting longer and more frequent. During those moments, she is able to correctly answer when asked what her husband's and baby's name is. That's an improvement.
The baby is doing well. He's jaundice so he's under the lights, but he's in good hands. They haven't been able to do Kangaroo Care and my sister hasn't seen him since yesterday morning (they tried this morning but she fell asleep on the ride down the very short hallway). He got his first taste of formula around noon today and did great with it. 🙂
Thanks for your prayers and good wishes, as always.
Posted by Katie at 9:06pm
Saturday, April 19, 2008
I am not sure they are too concerned about PPD (post-partum depression) at this point.
Lizz just needs to get the mag. levels lower so her head can clear. In fact, they went to visit the baby this morning and when she saw him, she gasped and said “He's really here!”, so that's a positive reaction. I was able to talk to her just a few minutes ago and she was MUCH more my sister than she has been in the past days. I was able to talk to her about the baby and how beautiful he is. She agreed ;). She said something about “being on Mars” the past few days and I laughed and told her “I think you have been hovering somewhere OVER Mars… if you were on Mars, at least we would have known where you were!” Conversations need to be kept short and sweet so as to not tax her too much. She falls asleep easily and takes a few minutes to come out of the fog when she wakes up.
Jamie has been amazing in being an advocate for her care. He has stopped letting them give her sedatives because it makes her brain function MUCH worse. He's keeping vigil at her bedside and checking on his son (who is being very well tended to by the NICU nurses). He has GOT to be exhausted by this whole process but he is really being amazing. I am not sure he really can process how much his being there for my Big Sister and my Baby Nephew means to me. I know they are in good hands and I can rest (somewhat) peacefully at night. Spiff (I'll reveal his name after my sister OKs it. She kept it a secret for
28 weeks, so I know it’s important for her to reveal.) He did not digest any of the formula they gave him yesterday so they have stopped the FF and gave him a “pic line”. He also had an episode with his blood pressure but it has since normalized. So, that's it for now, I think… thanks for thinking of us!
Posted by Katie at 9:55 AM
MY NEPHEW'S NAME IS…
Maxwell James Porter. He was 2lbs, 4.8oz at birth and 14 inches long.
I got permission from my sister to reveal the name, so thanks for the patience!
My sister and Jamie are HUGE Beatles fans. Their wedding was Beatles-centric and they visited The Beatles ol' stomping grounds on their honeymoon! Max's nursery bedding is John Lennon's “Real Love” set that my mom and I found while I was still pregnant at a mom's sale! It was too good to pass up!
Soooo, where did the name Max come from? The Beatles! (Lucky guess.) It's been hypothesized that the song “Maxwell's Silver Hammer” is about the Manson Family but the songwriter himself, Sir Paul McCartney clears it up. Thanks to Wikipedia, you are all about to find out what the song means…
McCartney said in 1994 that it merely epitomizes the downfalls of life:
“Maxwell's Silver Hammer” is my analogy for when something goes wrong out of the blue, as it so often does, as I was beginning to find out at that time in my life. I wanted something symbolic of that, so to me it was some fictitious character called Maxwell with a silver hammer. I don't know why it was silver, it just sounded better than Maxwell's hammer. It was needed for scanning. We still use that expression now when something unexpected happens.”
Fitting, no? 🙂
A quick update on my sister's condition… She's MUCH better! Tired still, but able to carry on conversations and remember things from before the hospital stay. She even asked me about our grass! 🙂
Her friend Ann Marie came to visit while we were there and she took her down to meet Max. That was her first solo outing (sans Jamie) to the NICU. She stood by his
incubator for a while which pooped her out so she came back to the room to rest.
Thank you for the well wishes.
Oh…did I forget to mention how amazingly beautiful this child is? Want Proof? 😉
Told Ya So!
He's got 10 fingers and 10 toes…they are just small 🙂
Posted by Katie at 7:10 PM
I was discharged from the hospital on Monday morning, and we’ve been back to the NICU every day since. It’s hard being so far away, so I’m actually planning on going back to work soon; I’m closer to him when I’m there than when I’m here at home.
Max’s prognosis is good, he’s certainly got lots of people rooting for him, and assuming you’re among them, we thank you!
I have been following your blog for a while now and just want to say CONGRATULATIONS!! I am so glad that everything is ok with you and your precious baby. Congratulations again. Being a mom is so amazing.
Kelly Marie says
I’m sooooo happy you’re both doing well. I can’t imagine going through all of that haziness that you did. Scary scary.
Dearest Lizz! He’s beautiful, I have tears. And, what an amazing story, he must have really wanted to arrive so early!
Hugs, my friend and know you and Spiff (ok, Max) are in my intensive prayers.
Kelly of The Vintage Butterfly Boutique says
Just came across your pic on Facebook and thought “awww, Lizz had a baby.”, then I realized there was a preemie story there and came over to your blog to catch up.
You poor girl, what a quick turn of events!
I’m happy you are all doing well.
I don’t know if you remember, my twins were born at 27 wks., so I know the days of the NICU and a lot of what you are going through.
Congratulations and best wishes!
When he’s finally home and things have settled to “normal” remember to be easy on yourself and give your brain and emotions lots of time to process all you have been through.
[kelly] on peas
This is the first time I've read this post Lizz. I have tears for what you went through to bring this beautiful child into the world.
Your husband, sister, and whole family are tremendous.
Mom of the Twinkies and Tot! says
That is a crazy story! So you did have a stroke? How long was your son in the NICU for? Our girls spent 48 days and one had to come home on oxygen until 4 months old. It's (the experience of it all, NICU, preemies, complications) something I'd never wish on my worst enemy! Great birth story!
Wow, Lizz. Just, wow. I read the whole thing with tears in my eyes! It must have been such a hard time for you all, but at least now – 4 years later – all is well and happy. 🙂
I don’t know how I missed this amazing story before!! It brought tears to my eyes. Your son is a fighter, just like his mom!!