Recent History, Part 1
Where do I begin? Well, how about the beginning of this year? Or more precisely December 31st, 2011, New Year’s Eve. Matt and I planned on ringing in the new year by a quiet evening at home with our toddler Charlotte. We splurged a little on dinner and dessert, but that was the end of the fun. I got another attack of tremendous pain, like a band of knives had been tied around me, digging into my ribcage. I’d had a handful of attacks like this before, mostly in the middle of the night, for the past couple months. I was pregnant at the time with our 2nd child, a boy, due the end of January. This time though, the pain would not stop. I spent the entire evening writhing around on either the couch or the bed, trying to find any position or motion that would make the pain stop. Any time I wasn’t in one of those two places, I was in the bathroom sick. I didn’t see the fireworks on TV except a second at a time when I dared to open my eyes trying to ignore the torture I was in.
The rest of the night was no better. Not the next morning either. Happy New Year to me. Unable to take any more and not know what was going on, I called the maternity ward of the hospital I was booked into for the upcoming birth. Hearing my explanation, the nurse on the other end of the phone told me to come in for at least an overnight stay. She had a feeling about what the problem was, and she was right: gallstones. But the official diagnosis wasn’t that quick in coming. It took two more days of chasing doctors, specialists, and getting ultrasounds done before they could finally give me some sort of plan for how to cope until the baby was born. I would have surgery to remove my gallbladder about a month after the baby’s arrival. I was put on a virtually fat-free diet in the meantime, and the rest was left up to me to learn what other triggers there were to bring on attacks. (Did you know a banana is like throwing a hand grenade down your throat if you have gallstones? I didn’t. And the doctors didn’t tell me so either. Learned that the hard way.) In the end, I stayed a full week in the hospital, able to go home only after having a day and a half straight without any major pain attacks. The nurses were friendly and took good care of me, but otherwise I was alone except for the too-short visits when Matt would bring Charlotte to see me. The doctors and nurses all told me that if I had another attack, I was to come back right away and plans would be made on the spot for how the baby would be delivered, whether by induction or C-section. They gave me steroid shots to help the baby’s lungs develop because they didn’t expect me to reach the due date.
Of course, the baby came late. One week after the due date, Callum was born on February 6, 2012 at 7:45am. The labor was uneventful, really. All over in just 5 hours from the time my water broke in the middle of the night. But the result wasn’t expected. OK, yes, we knew we were having a boy, but this fella was a whopping nine pounds! That’s a far cry from Charlotte who was only 6.5lbs at birth. And from there, well, let the mayhem continue….