What I did on my maternity non-leave…

November 26, 2014 at 9:27 pm 3 comments

As many of you may already know, Dane, Rex and I (and to some extent Myles and Floyd) welcomed Grant Xavier Thompson into the world on Friday, September 19th at 8:20PM. (Otherwise known as “National Talk Like a Pirate Day”.) Baby Grant was born two weeks early tipping the scales at a whopping 6lbs, 1oz., and measuring 19 and ½ inches.

Lounging on the tanning bed.

Lounging on the tanning bed.

Because he was technically “full-term” we were able to dodge a stay in the NICU this time around, but we were not able to avoid being readmitted back into the hospital two days later with a case of jaundice. Suffice it to say, no Baby Book of ours will ever be complete without a picture of our kid sunning himself under the bilirubin lights. Oh well.

Anyway, back in the day, when Grant was still a newborn, I had planned on writing a detailed blog post documenting his “birth story”. Not sure why exactly, but I guess I just figured that if nothing else, it would serve as a gentle reminder for me, several months from now, when I decided that I wanted to try again for that baby girl :).

Speaks for itself.

Speaks for itself.

Luckily, I do not actually need that aforementioned “birth story” because I am oftentimes reminded of what ‘went down’ that night (usually at some inopportune time, you know, like at the dinner table…. in a nice restaurant or something) every time Rex pulls out my iPhone and starts replaying the video footage. Apparently Dane found it necessary to record a play-by-play of the whole thing on my phone. (I really need to move those somewhere else.) Speaking of which, the other tangible memory I have of labor is the amount of times Dane stood giggling over his phone as he searched for a visual reference of dilation. He did finally find one.

“Honey, look at this! You need to get yourself to the size of a bagel! You love bagels! How appropriate!”

Grant "The Tank" Thompson

Grant “The Tank” Thompson

As far as the kiddos go, after a few visits to the hospital and a little issue returning to his birth weight (those were some dark, hormonal days!), Grant has actually done quite well. I am happy to report that we now refer to him as “The Tank” or “Tank Thompson” because of his chubby little cheeks, and chubbier little baby buns. At his two-month appointment he weighed in at twelve pounds putting him square in the fiftieth percentile. It has certainly been quite foreign to us, moving our two-month old into three to six month jammies and size two diapers.

At home, integrating the two boys (and dogs) has gone fairly well but we have definitely had our moments – particularly when mommy is the only one home and trying to get out the door. (It is amazing to me how two kids can manage to time their “poopies” to the exact moment everyone is finally strapped into their respective car seats and ready to go.) For all intents and purposes Rex generally ignores Grant, except when “The Tank” decides that he wants to play with his rattle or something. It is then that Rex decides that he wants the rattle and goes all “terrible twos” on Grants’ ass buns. I was able to see some improvement in their interactions after I appointed Rex “Chief Diaper Fluffer” (think fluffing a pillow, not the other type of fluffing Dane!). Rex takes his role very seriously,

"Brotherly Love"

“Brotherly Love”

which is great, as it has allowed him to feel some sort of responsibility for his baby brother. This manifests itself each and every time I leave the house when Rex reminds me (many times) that I need to also remember to take “Lil’ Brother”. Kinda cute, in a patronizing sort of way.

As for the dogs, Myles wants nothing to do with Grant; Grant belongs to Floyd. (Myles had long ago adopted Rex). Floyd takes on his new position with some hesitation though, since Floyd likes to use as little energy as possible to exist. (Hence the nickname, given to him by Grandpa, of “Sock”; because he moves about as much as a pair of socks.) I wouldn’t say Floyd is as good of a “dogfather” as Myles was to Rex, but he is learning, he at least shows up.

More Brotherly Love

More Brotherly Love

So yeah, the kids are healthy, the dogs are fine, Dane is doing well; me, on the other hand, not so much. Long story short, while I was 34 weeks pregnant, my doctor randomly (albeit luckily) discovered that I had a really sick left kidney. I was all for ignoring it (that’s what I do!) but my OB/GYN made me an appointment about a week after I delivered. Even the pediatrician who discharged Grant after his birth (and overhead my doctor nonchalantly telling me about this really good nephrologist he knew that had kept this lady alive “twenty years longer than she should have been”) told me that I couldn’t disregard it. As a result Grant, spent his first several weeks (not) laying on his back doing basically nothing (as newborns usually do), but instead following me around to a bunch of different Specialists and Imaging Centers. After several daunting tests it was concluded that I have severe hydronephrosis of the left kidney from a 4.4 cm Chronic Staghorn Kidney Stone. From this point on I will refer to my stone as Vernon, or Vern for short.

Vern is allegedly a silent killer. You never feel him and bam he wreaks havoc on your kidney. The only way to remove a Vern, is actual surgery through your back called PCNL I think. (Don’t ask me what it stands for) In early October we were able to schedule this surgery for Monday, November 24th. That gave me a good six or seven weeks to totally freak myself out via Dr. Google.

"Eat, Sleep, Binky"

“Eat, Sleep, Binky”

On November 5th, I had a procedure to put a nephrostomy tube in. I dreaded this procedure thanks (once again) to Dr. Google but it really wasn’t the worst. In fact the “Versed” that they use to sedate you was really quite amazing. During the procedure they drill a hole through your back to your kidney and attach a tube to drain your urine to a bag attached to your leg. Attractive right? At least it allows you to ‘make potties’ anywhere though! It hurt for about three days but by the fourth day I could pick up the kids again and go on my merry way. On Friday, November 21st, they did another procedure to get that same tube extended further into my bladder to make surgery “easier”. They were unsuccessful with the most unfortunate consequences.

Sunday morning I woke up with a pain that was so excruciating that I was pretty sure I was going to die. It, by far, trumped labor. We called the radiologist to prescribe the good drugs, which he did, but then I took my temperature and it kept going up and up. It was suggested that I get myself to the ER. (Always one of my favorite activities) After about three or so hours in the waiting room (clearly there is no triage based on pain levels because we were pretty sure the mom and daughter in the room next to us were discussing the different forms of birth control with the doctor for over an hour) they finally gave me a shot in the buns so that I could at least sit down like a normal person. They assumed I had a kidney infection and hooked me up to an IV, pumped me full of all kinds of stuff, one of which was a painkiller that immediately sent me to “la la land”. At one point a nurse even came back to check to see that I was still breathing :). Overall Sunday was a pretty bad day but the silver lining was the entertainment we got from meeting our hospitalist (no idea what that is exactly), “Dr. Murray”. He was just as, um, competent as “Chuck” was back in 2012. Luckily he passed the reigns to another doctor two days later who at least had heard of the concept of a nephrostomy tube.

I guess they can really sleep anywhere.

I guess they can really sleep anywhere.

You would think that after being admitted to the hospital and put on some pretty intense pain medication someone would sleep better than they would at home with their two-month old son. So not the case. The first two nights I was up every 45 minutes to an hour for a number of reasons. Sometimes it was to draw my blood or give me a shot (always a good way to wake up), sometimes to take my temperature. Sometimes it was a person accidentally calling my room looking for a “Walter”. Oftentimes it was the guy in the room adjacent to me (a.k.a. “the moaner”) groaning “nurse, help me, ugh, I hurt, nurse, nurse” over and over again. We all hurt dude. By the third night I had figured out how to get myself a good three hour stretch without being bothered, mostly because the moaner went home. I still can’t figure out why everyone needs to check on you at 4AM, 5AM, 6AM and 7AM and make small talk.

Seventy-two hours in and I’m pretty sure my breast milk is radioactive with the amount of antibiotics, pain meds, and anti-clotting agents that they have given me. My appetite has started to return (never a good thing when you are subjected to hospital food) and I have found out that I can walk almost anywhere as long as I take my IV stand with me. (I wonder if it would fit into Big Pearl?) Last night I took a little stroll to the cafeteria or rather “out to eat”.


The Great Hospital Escape!

I picked out a nice soup and sat at an empty table watching NCIS on TV. It was snowing on the show so I pretended that I was at a ski lodge. I guess that active imagination I gained from being an only child has served me well. Today I took a stroll with the whole family all the way to the stoplight in front of the hospital. Surprisingly, I passed by a number of doctors and nurses and no one seemed bothered by it. Maybe it is normal for a partially gowned woman to be walking the streets of Auburn towing an IV bag. Either way it was nice to get out and about, I just wonder how much they will be charging my insurance for the sunshine obtained while on hospital premises.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I know it is selfish (but hey, I am a “Self”) but I would be very thankful if they were able to release me back home and spare me whatever the cafeteria here is going to drum up and label “Thanksgiving Dinner”.   If I manage to stay fever free tonight, I am golden. Surgery has been delayed until the evening of December 9th, which means when it is all said and done I will not have showered in about a month and a half. Think about all the water I am saving the State of California! Regardless in exactly thirteen days big ‘ole Vern is going to get himself blasted into a pile of kidney rubble. I hope he suffers…horribly. Happy Thanksgiving!


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“Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades…” Our Christmas Letter.

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Paul Self  |  November 27, 2014 at 5:14 am

    It is obvious that you are on the mend when you write a humorous blog like this after all you have been through. Welcome back from the dark side! Love, Dad

  • 2. Gia Lyons  |  November 27, 2014 at 10:51 am

    omg. Angela, so thankful Vern was discovered in time – freakin’ scary!

    LOVE the pics of the boys together. Grant looks like a toddler already!

    I hope you made it home today, but if not, I hope Dane snuck you a turkey on bagel sandwich at least.

    Hoping you have all the best drugs, lots of hugs, and enough sleep, m’dear! Love you.

  • 3. Donna Self  |  November 28, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Ma Self here. Based on how deathly sick you were, I am so glad to see that the old sense of humor has returned. You were one sick puppy….

    I too loved all the pics! I was laughing hysterically through all, and especially enjoyed the comments underneath each one. And, of course, the prose was hysterical, also.

    As I read this, I knew that you were released on Thanksgiving Day, which is kind of ironic. You hate turkey, mashed potatoes, and dressing. You would rather have a hamburger or hot dog and chips, with a diet Coke to wash them down…I hope your mother-in-law complied. XOXOXOXO


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