Monday night, Michael and I were putting together their bikes (Transformers for Bruise, Princesses for Bucket) while we watched "High Spirits" (Yay, Netflix! ... The movie was okay. But it was good to see it).
I noticed that my back was hurting a little more than usual. I wondered if I was starting to develop sciatica.
We got the bikes put together and the evidence hidden, so we could surprise the kids when Michael got home after work on Tuesday.
I woke up around midnight or so with what felt like the worst pulled back muscle EVER. I tried to find a comfortable position in bed, without waking up Michael, that is.
Failing that, I woke him and begged for a blessing ... hoping it would ease the pain enough for me to go back to sleep in some less-painful position.
I ended getting up repeatedly to go to the bathroom ... and to throw up WHILE going to the bathroom.
(You haven't lived until you've retched into the toilet and soaked your pantyliner simultaneously. And then, having CHANGED your pantyliner, you sit on the toilet to pee while vomiting into the bathroom trashcan. [Thank you, Rubbermaid. We're glad that you make easy-to-clean products.])
After I emptied my system of the kids' birthday dinner (We had coupons for them to have free kids' meals at Red Robin, which was a fun experience), I was still hurting. I had taken two doses (about an hour apart) of extra-strength Tylenol ... which had no effect. We tried ice. We tried heat. I tried sleeping in different positions ... nothing was working.
At around 4:45, when Michael's first alarm went off, I got up and ran the hottest bath that I could, hoping that maybe THAT would ease the acute backache that I had.
No such luck.
So, after HE showered, and I staggered out of the tub, I called my clinic. The OB on call told me to head to the ER and they'd send me up to Labor and Delivery (not that I was in labor ... but that's where they treat the pregnant ladies). And that she strongly suspected kidney stones.
(SPOILER: Dr. C was right.)
We got the kids up and loaded into the van while I dragged on a bra and clothes and grabbed my purse and phone ... then laid on the floor by the computer after putting on shoes. Then I staggered out to the van as we loaded up and drove to the hospital.
We got checked in and I was put into a tiny room where they monitored BabyGirl to make sure that she was doing fine and that I wasn't having any contractions.
I also had to do a clean urine catch (aka - The test where I pee all over my hand) ... and they found that I was pretty dehydrated.
Jenny, the nurse who admitted me, was very sweet. When she found out it was the kids' birthday, she presented each of them with a Beanie Baby as a present. Bucket got a bear, which she named "Rainbow Bear." Bruise received a chameleon, who goes by the name of "Godzilla."
I was very, very touched by her thoughtfulness to my kiddos.
We started an IV of saline and, oh, wonderful, lovely, amazing Fentanyl. I was able to have a dose of Fentanyl once an hour as needed. And a dose of Vicodin every four hours, as needed, to get the pain managed.
Now, I don't know about you, but I now LOVE Fentanyl. I had had some Stadol before my epidural six years ago ... and it made me LOOPY. Like high-type loopy ... as far as I know.
But, really ... Michael says that he's never seen me as loopy as I was on Stadol.
I actually remember some of the things that I said while on it:
"Mom. MOM. I can see our house. The house that I grew up in. But it's not like how it is NOW. It's how it was when I was little. ... It's so ... VIVID."
"WOW ... I'll bet it'd be REALLY trippy to read Alice in Wonderland while taking this ... Wow."
"Honey ... We should get a dog. A dog with LONG, GRACEFUL LEGS."(Michael was thinking that I wanted a giraffe-type dog. No, I wanted like a Golden Retriever-type.)
But, yeah ... Stadol is ... interesting.
Fentanyl wasn't like that.
Rebecca or Susan (two of my main nurses that first day) would give me a dose and I'd feel my eyes go all glassy and I'd be ready for dozing. Until the pain'd come back and I'd be ready for my next dose.
Susan also gave me THE TALK after she came back into the room to check on me ... and found me sobbing to Michael about how much it hurt. Because I was SURE that not enough time had passed for my next dose of medicine (actually it HAD. And that was one reason she came in to check on me).
After dosing me up, she asked me, "Now, WHEN are you going to call me for your next dose? Please do it before it gets to an 8 again."
And I promised that I'd call her when it got to a 4 (on the scale from 0-10) ... since around 7 or 8 (Though Michael tells me that my "seven or eight" is more of a "nine or ten"), I start throwing up due to pain. And I did. ... When it got to a 4.5, I called her in.
(There are some addiction issues on my mom's side of the family ... so I can be wary about taking medication. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE modern medicine and what it can do for me ... but I also try REALLY HARD not to abuse it.)
I got to have a sonogram. I saw my kidneys and my spleen. And BabyGirl.
Robert, the ultrasound tech, says that she has hair ... so the old wives' tale about heartburn being a sign of your baby having hair just might have more truth to it than I'd have given it credit for.
He also printed me off a couple new sonogram pictures of her in profile. Looks like she might have more of Bruise's profile, according to Mom and Michael.
Once, when it was still Rebecca's shift, I was crying because ... I was missing my kids' birthday, being stuck in the hospital. So I asked her, "If it's not too much trouble, if you have time, I wouldn't mind if you could please get me some Kleenex. If it's not an inconvenience."
She choked back a laugh and hugged me. "If it's not an inconvenience!! I'll get it for you right now, you poor thing!"
(Hey, I already was feeling bad since the nurses had to monitor my fluids and urine output ... and strain my urine. It's nice to know that THEY don't feel it's too much trouble ... but, hey, I'm an only child. I tend to be pretty independent. ... Which is why I ended up apologizing over and over to Michael for my having a kidney stone. Since I felt/feel like my body failed me right then.)
Mom and Dad C (and Grandma C) came by to visit that evening, after dropping off some cake and balloons for the kiddos at the house. Dad and Michael gave me a blessing that I wouldn't require surgery and that everything would work out. According to my faith, of course.
I passed a stone around midnight or so Wednesday morning. Bev, my night nurse, was pretty thrilled.
In eleven years total of straining urine for kidney stone patients in two different hospitals, it turns out that I was the first one to pass a stone on one of her shifts.
"It's like CHRISTMAS!!"
Truth be told, I didn't even know I had passed it. It could be that I was THAT drugged up ... or it could be that the stone doesn't hurt nearly as much as the kidney blockage did.
I was doing well enough later that, after spending the night in a larger room ... where Michael was able to sleep (fitfully, albeit) in the same room, I was discharged late Wednesday morning. It had been about ten hours since I had any pain medication and I was doing fine. They assured me that I should be feeling back to normal (as in no residual pain) by Friday. Which was perfect, since the kids' birthday party was going to be on Saturday.
We went home and waited for Mom (who, thankfully had come to spend the kids' birthday ... and stayed through Friday) to bring the kids home from the bus stop. I was part of what was turning out to be their birthday WEEK surprise.
Bruise walked in, stared open-mouthed at their bikes in the living room (they had opened presents from Mom, Aunt Ju, and Grampy on Tuesday), then noticed that Michael had started working on a Lego set that Bruise found a little too daunting to tackle on his own. He beelined RIGHT PAST ME.
Bucket, however, saw me right off and just about tackled me with a hug. THEN she checked out the bike she had to run past.
The kids got their homework done ... and I was starting to feel a little ... off.
I had been sent home without any pain medication, so I took a dose of extra-strength Tylenol and took a nap. I woke up a couple hours later (around 4), after Michael had taken the kids out to ride their new bikes. (Bucket was SO GLAD not to have to use her tricycle anymore.) ... I felt better ... for about an hour.
Then I called the clinic and Dr. C faxed in a prescription to Target. We picked up the prescription of Vicodin and I took one around 7:15, as we went to use the kiddos' coupons for free kids' meals at Burgerville. We ate and I waited until 9:15 to take another Vicodin.
(I had noticed at the hospital that Vicodin tended to take the edge off about 15 minutes after taking it. Then it'd REALLY kick in about 25 minutes after that.)
I gave the second pill an hour to kick in ... which it didn't.
And I was hurting pretty badly.
So I called the clinic again, and they had me come back to the ER (then L&D) ... where I was dehydrated again, despite drinking at least 3L of water that day ... because I had thrown up at least three times (I had thrown up at the house ... and then had Michael pull over three times on the drive to the hospital ... where I threw up twice out of those three times).
I apologized over and over to Michael that I had to go back to the ER. And I felt like maybe I just wasn't having enough faith ... and that's why this was happening ALL OVER. What wasn't I learning?!?!?
But they got me set up in the same room we had vacated just a few hours earlier (about ten hours). They monitored BabyGirl again, got a clean urine test via catheter (since the last one was inconclusive due to all the skin cells in it. Oops.), started the saline again (since I couldn't pee ... it hurt and I wasn't passing anything anymore), got a catheter started, started the Fentanyl again ... And I tried to sleep through the pain. Again.
So, it turns out that it's not uncommon after passing a kidney stone for one's ureter (the tube from the kidney to the bladder) to swell, due to the trauma, and to re-block the kidney.
And, as you probably guessed, that's exactly what happened in this case. And why it was so dang painful. AGAIN.
And the only thing to do in that case, since there's no surgery or anything needed, is to manage the pain and wait it out. ... Which we did.
And, well, it did make me feel better that Bev and the other nurses assured me that with how much Fentanyl I needed to get from wiggling-to-find-some-less-painful-position-and-puking-into-the-biohazard-bags (I also ended up throwing up in the bathroom biohazard/garbage can in my hospital room. Yup. I was a mess ... trying to suck down water to flush out that rogue kidney ... and unable to keep stuff down while I was in pain), I NEEDED to be at the hospital. That, no, I wasn't being a pansy at ALL.
Which did make me feel a little better. (The Fentanyl ... now THAT and the Percocet ... I felt TONS better with those, too.)
They moved me into a postpartum room the next morning (Thursday), where I stayed for observation until Friday ... when I was released. With a prescription for pain medication. Just in case.
Thursday, I got to have an x-ray done ... I even got to get it on CD. In it, you can see my rogue kidney, still a little blocked ... but there aren't any stones to be seen (so it was just that dang, swollen ureter).
You also can see BabyGirl lying transverse, one shin bordering my kidney, the other pointed straight up toward my diaphragm, and one arm crooked down into my pelvis. She even has her head turned so you can JUST make out her eye and nose sockets and a grinning jaw.
Silly little minx.
(If you're on my Facebook, you've probably already seen this picture. It still cracks me up.)
And I got home after Michael got off work and came by the hospital to pick me up. (I found myself watching more than one episode of Toddlers and Tiaras ... how sad is that! I think I might have a little addiction to that show. Which is REALLY sad. I can handle loving What Not to Wear and things like that ... but this? This seems to go beyond the pale, wouldn't you say?)
We picked up my prescription and some Milk of Magnesia (since narcotics can ... slow certain processes down. To a standstill ... and part of my lingering backache, I was pretty sure, was due to constipation.), then we picked up the kids' birthday cake and headed home ... to relieve my Mom for the weekend (she has my stepdad to take care of and church callings to fulfill in her own ward).
I found it rather funny that Mom and L would ask if we were cancelling the kids' party.
What? I've only been in the hospital twice this week! The house is relatively clean ... we're serving cake and ice cream, a veggie tray and a meat-and-cheese tray (all purchased) ... the only stress-inducing thing is keeping the four cousins that will be there entertained ... And MICHAEL's in charge of THAT.
I technically didn't HAVE to be there ... but I am glad that I was. It was a nice, low-key party.
I don't say that it was QUIET ... because with six kids in a small house, it's NOT going to be quiet.
Unless they're all tranquilized. ... No. I won't do that. No matter how tempting. :P
Now, the worst thing about being in the hospital, for me, was having to drag my IV stand (or take just the IV bag) to the bathroom every 1.5 hours or so. That and not being able to cuddle with Michael. Hospital beds just aren't wide enough for that.
I can handle being woken up at least every four hours for my vitals ... I can handle being strapped to the fetal monitor for at least 30 minutes to make sure that BabyGirl is doing fine.
Now, it IS a little easier to get out of a hospital bed than out of our bed. BUT ... I don't have to have an IV. AND I get to have snuggles with Michael AND with Freyja-cat. (Purr therapy ... it's some of the best.)
And, since we don't have cable, I'm not so tempted to try to catch an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras. :P
I still am a little sore from one IV site ... and my feet and calves have swollen to a size more fitting of some body carrying another hundred pounds than I currently do.
Which is sad for me ... but since my fingers and face are still slim(ish) and my blood pressure was fine, I'm just glad that it's not preeclampsia. AGAIN.
Been there, done that, have the stretch marks and sagged-out skin to prove it.
But, hey, I ended up with two healthy kiddos who are now six.
And, in a few more weeks, I'll have another healthy little girl to add to our family.
I still am behind on my sleep ... but it's good to be home. It's REALLY good to not be in pain.
And, as Dr. B, the urologist, stated ... if I ever have another kidney stone, I'll TOTALLY recognize what's going on. (I just hope that I won't have to.)
He also is pretty sure that this is all pregnancy-related. So I don't have to change my diet or anything. Just make sure to drink LOTS of water. Which I am.
But, yeah ... that's how I spent most of the week. Doped up.
But, on the EXTRA-BRIGHT SIDE, we're registered for the hospital for when BabyGirl arrives.
And I also have two gals who I can call to take me to the hospital in case I go into labor when Michael's not here and I progress fast enough that I can't drive myself in. So that's a plus, too.
Michael's able to sleep at night now. ^_^
In our nice, comfy bed. ^_^