Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Prepping for Thanksgiving and the Alien.

The alien in various parts of her collection process.

I got a few extra days off prior to Thanksgiving because of a bunch of snow and ice that came through the Pacific Northwest. We don't typically get very cold in the winter and thus we aren't very prepared when it happens. I didn't really push it to go into work, because I had plenty to do and in general could use a bit of break.

We've been getting the house ready for our company. We are looking at having about 15 people for the big feast tomorrow. I've made more pumpkin cupcakes, a pumpkin cheesecake and this afternoon have the traditional apple pie to make. Ed is frying a turkey, for the first time ever. I am a little nervous that we might end up with a medical emergency. Furthermore his list of other things he is frying is starting to get longer and longer.

In the background of all our preparation is a small alien. She is busy walking from room to room collecting items from this world and taking them back to her world. She walked all around the house yesterday with a full size broom. Because she is such a short alien, she knocked over things, scratched the walls and made a mess with her broom. But, the alien really liked that broom. Today the alien has been into walking around with small oranges and putting them in new locations. Furthermore there is a lot of conversation that takes place with the oranges. Apparently us humans didn't know that an orange could carry on such a good conversation.

If we ever need to find the alien its not too hard. We just follow the goldfish cracker, pirate booty crumbs as we pick up oranges, various shoes, hats, a broom, remote controls, and cell phones until we find the fast moving giggling alien at the end of the trail.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday's are for fun!

I always love Sunday. Neither me or Ed has to work on Sunday and it is typically a great family day. Today it is fore-casted to snow and it is 32 degrees outside. I have put Kate in multiple layers of fleece. Luckily though she is very, very busy today with her new skill which is keeping her warm.

She is busy WALKING!!

She has been working at it for awhile, but I didn't want to call her a walker until I felt like she was going to really stick with it a lot of the time. Now for sure it is her favorite way of getting around, and she is just getting faster and faster. She loves to play chase, hide and seek (modified baby edition), and walk in laps around our house.

I am hoping that she will start learning to look where she is walking. But if she is at all like her mother this may be a skill that she never masters. So fun!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Just something to think about... a bit of a whine.

My dear dog Cookie, I euthanized in our home in 2008
to end her suffering from osteosarcoma (bone cancer)

I absolutely know that other people have some pretty horrible things they do with their job. I appreciate that life is not a competition and there are so many people that are out there with a heavy load on their plate. I also completely understand that this subject that might even offend people, and is a private family or individual issue. I do not want to have or start a debate on this issue. With all that said, I have a complaint...

Euthanasia. It is the humane ending of an animal life. It is part of my job, nearly daily. I take it extremely serious, not only in helping people make the decision, and evaluating my patients to determine if they are a appropriate candidate for euthanasia but also in the process. I want the patient to not be scared, and I want the owners to feel that it was the right decision and I want the procedure to go smoothly and peacefully.

It is not easy. The procedure involves an intravenous injection of a caustic lethal overdose 0f a sedative. Not all animals want to have an injection. Most of these patient are extremely old or debilitated, so their veins are extremely fragile and difficult to find. Owners range from extremely emotional to angry. I will have one or two people present, but I have had up to ten people present. Sometimes I have very young children present, that have flowers and hand drawn pictures of their pet. I have watched people cry hardier than I even knew was possible.

Sometimes the patient is an animal that I am very bonded with. A patient that I have know since they were a puppy or kitten. Or they are a personal friends pet, or a family pet. I have euthanized all of our own pets, and my parents animals. Typically, I try not to cry while I am doing the procedure because I need to concentrate on what I am doing. There are times when I know the patient is in pain and I need to euthanize them, but I do not want to euthanize them, I just don't want to be there.

You would think that I would do the same number of euthanasia all year round. How could death have a busy time? Well, it does. You can ask other veterinarians. We do more euthanasia around the holidays. I don't really know why. I just know every year from about the week before Thanksgiving to the week after New Years I will do more euthanasia then the rest of the year.

I have four euthanasia scheduled in my work day tomorrow, and they are scheduled one after another. 2 hours of euthanasia. Not typical, but really a bit more than this lady wants to handle.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Spreading the word.

We both put on our purple and headed out to spread the word for Premature Awareness today. People are probably tired of hearing about this from us, but oh well, they recieved MOD bracelets and a little card with some facts on it. At least one of us was pretty cute in spreading the word.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Premature Labor.

I had a great pregnancy. We barely had to even try, and I was pregnant. No vomiting, no nausea, and I was tired but it was bearable. I quit drinking all caffeine, and cut way back on the sugar. I was not showing at all, and I enjoyed keeping it my little secret. I didn't tell people at work until I was 20 weeks pregnant. Nobody had even guessed.

I worked full time. I modified my exercising, but kept running. I felt fine, no pain and I was keeping up with everything. My doctors appointments were all normal. Blood test were all normal. We found out we were having a little girl. She was wiggly on ultrasound, so we did two to get everything measured. I could feel her move all the time. We named her Kate. I started to talk to her on my way to work, during a run, or just when I was sitting watching t.v..

Week 23 of Gestation

My pants were getting tighter and tighter, and I really shouldn't wear my normal pants anymore. Katie was always active especially at night, and every night I love feeling her move. I looked forward to just sitting down and feeling her move after dinner. I notice today that I am getting a little awkward at work, I couldn't bend over to get that Labrador up on the table. I couldn't even lean over and hold that cat down like I used to.

A client notice I was pregnant today!

My feet are starting to hurt more and more often. I felt good during my weekly run around the lake, not bad for a girl over half way through her pregnancy. I wondered how long I could keep making it around the lake? Maybe up until 32 weeks pregnant? I'd have to ask at my next doctors appointment next week.

Day off work, always lots to do to get ready for Kate. Boy, I am feeling really tired. And I have a strange feeling down almost in my pelvis. Is it a cramp, or is it her kicking? Maybe this is what a braxton hicks contraction is like? Sure sounds like what I read in my baby book. I think I will just sit down more today. Luckily those weird feelings seem to go away with some rest. I'll have to ask my doctor about that next week.

Pelvic pressure that feels like the baby is pushing down
Abdominal cramps that may occur with or without diarrhea

Back to work, boy we are busy. I feel so tired this week, I am glad there is a three day weekend and we are going away. I think I just need a few days off. Those weird feeling have come up a few times again but not consistantly. I feel it when I sit down now too. Sometimes its painful even and takes my by surprise. I am heading into the later part of pregancy and she is getting bigger so I bet I just have to get used to it.

I am having a lot of mucous like discharge when I am going to the bathroom. I read that you will have discharge changes in later pregnancy. This seems like a lot though. I think I will call the doctor when I get a second. At least there is no blood.

Watery fluid leaking from your vagina
Menstrual-like cramps
Unusual or sudden increase of vaginal discharge

Thank goodness, just one more day until the three day weekend. I have to call the doctor today. I have had a lot of discharge still, and I feel something every-time I sit down. We are so busy at work though, I have six surgical procedure to get through. I've mentioned what I was feeling to my friend and a coworker, and they didn't think it sounded like much.

Called the doctor. They said if I felt better when I rested, then it was probably some mild uterine irritability. Take it easy and they'd see me Tuesday. I feel better about it then. My lower back is killing today, I guess I will just lay down at lunch.

I feel bad I could barely eat dinner tonight. I just kept having those weird pains, and just feeling some nausea. Ed keeps wondering if we should still go on our trip to Eastern Washington. I timed the pains I am feeling. I am not having more than 3 an hour. We'll see how I am feeling in the morning to decide if we should go.

Low, dull backache
A contraction every 10 minutes or
five or more uterine contractions in an hour.

I feel so much better. No more nausea. No more strange discharge. Lets go on our last little trip while I am still able to get around and not too pregnant.

I still have those feelings, but only when I sit down. I just can't believe how tired I am still.
I am so glad we came on this trip. It is good to see old friends and have them touch my belly. My strange pains actually got better last night when we went for a walk back to the hotel.

I am so glad that I have a doctors appointment on Tuesday. These movements or strange feelings are starting to just bug me. And I wasn't even really able to eat again last night. It is hotter over here, and I did get a bit sun burned. Kate is still moving around good and I can feel her flipping over now. It will just be nice to talk to the doctor about it all.

Monday Morning:
I feel fine. I got up to go to the bathroom, I think I did at least five times last night. I looked down and there was a few drops of blood in the toilet. I wiped and there is more blood. I called Ed. I wiped again. We called the doctor. We go directly to the closest ER.

Blood from your vagina

I was dilated to 5 cm with my fluid bag protruding from my cervix. I was given a shot of steriods. The magnesium drip was started. I was going to be helicoptered to Spokane where they would be better able to help me. Ed would have to drive as there wasn't room in the helicoptor.



I've think that I spent the better part of a year beating myself up over not knowing that I was in labor. I still think about it a lot, I still cry over my naive stupidity. I have realized that I just didn't know any better. Pregnancy is a confusing time, your body is changing everyday. You don't want to be 'that type of pregnant lady' that calls the doctor over everything. And when you call the doctor you may need to press about things if you don't feel that they are right.

I had no risks factors for premature birth. We still do not know why I went into premature labor. They were able to hold off my labor to the day of viability, 25 weeks. I received the second steroid shot 48 hours after the first. Kate was born strong and we've have survived.

I beg of you to learn the symptoms of premature labor. Tell them to other pregnant women. Advise women to go to the doctor, ER, or midwife if they are feeling any of the symptoms. Be that type of woman that calls the doctor about anything and everything. Fight for your baby and others because they can not.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Christmas is right around the corner!

Merry Rainbow Christmas 5x7 folded card
Shop for elegant Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

I took the easy way out this year, and did it all on-line. Still had a blast making my cards and it was the quickest I've ever done them. Though I still have to get them sealed, signed and delivered, but I have a goal before the first week in Decemeber.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Crazy good times!

It was a great Saturday at the Scheenstra's!

And by great, I mean it in the most simple of ways. We woke up at 6 am, after our second night in a row of sleeping through the night. We had breakfast, got dressed slowly and went and ran a few errands before nap. Nap was easy, no fuss at all. I gardened, which I haven't done in weeks. Then after nap we went to our (mine and Ed's) favorite local brewery.

Our daughter who has been so difficult to get to eat, sat in a high chair and ate quesadilla like it was nothing! And we were able to just sit and eat and drink peacefully. The waitress even commented on how well behaved she was. Okay, that just doesn't happen all the time. I just looked at Ed, and with out saying anything I know that we both felt that this was a very special moment.

Back home, it was more fun times of pulling things out and playing with them and a ton of walking practice. I can almost call her a walker at this point. Kate is just laughing and walking and laughing and walking. Now she is sleeping and the house is a good quiet.

I list it all out not to bore you, but to emphasize the simplicity of the day. Oh, and how good it feels to have a simple good day when you've worked so hard for them.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Premature children are not just small.

A common misconception is that premature children are just small. They catch up right? They just need a little more time to grow right? She perfectly normal now? If only life was that simple. Of course by the time they are adults a lot of preemies have no significant differences from their peers but, unfortunately plenty of premature children live with a lifetime of challenges secondary to their prematurity.

In a way it is the dark side of prematurity. The side that people just don't like to talk about. And as a mother of a extremely premature child it is the side that everybody is very busy to tell you doesn't exist or won't exist for your child. Its the side of prematurity that is publicized but typically not as much as the premature child that goes on to be genius or the star athlete.

Being born early leaves significant changes to the brain, nervous system and immune development of the child. Furthermore, the trauma of trying to survive in the world when one should not be there (i.e. breathing air when you should be breathing amniotic fluid, and laying with gravity when you should be floating in a belly) can also result in further injuries and changes to their body (CPD, IVH, etc). The smaller the infant is at birth, and the more premature they are at birth the more significant the risk for long standing handicaps. These range for ROP or blindness, cerebral palsy, to ADHD and other developmental delays.

We have one of the smallest of the smalls. The hospital where we gave birth does not consider anything below 25 weeks viable for surviving. Our child was born at 25 weeks and 1 day. She was 800 grams at birth. Only 1% of all births are at gestation of under 28 weeks. The doctors told us she had a 50% of survival and of those that survive 50% will have significant life long handicaps.

The other day somebody asked me when our daughter was going to just be like a normal kid. At first I didn't know how to respond. A year ago I would have just started to cry. I looked at them and said, "I finally stopped thinking about that. Kate is who she is and I love her for that.". She might adjust out at 2 years, or maybe not until she is in school. But the reality is that she may never be like her peers either. For a type "A", perfectionist like myself this hasn't been an easy thing to come to terms with. I realize though now and accept that being born premature was not a choice that any of us made for Kate but it happened. We being her parents will love her and accept her no matter who she develops into. Of course we are going to provide her with love and support all the way and hope that she reaches all the goals she every hopes to dream.

I just want to remind you to think outside of your normal, because there are a lot of beautiful people on the other side of normal. And know that premature children are not just small. Please also support the March of Dimes, to research ways to prevent and treat premature birth.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Working momma blues.

I've worked since six weeks after giving birth to Kate. This wasn't easy since I had her some 300 miles from home. But, somehow I managed to set up some lo-cum (filling in) for other veterinarians that needed time off while I was living at the Ronald McDonald House in Spokane. Kate's neonatologist was the one that suggested it, I think he was tired of seeing me sitting in the NICU hour after hour.

Then after three months of being away from home, I got back and started back to working part time then I was back to full time in four weeks. I have been working full time ever since then. I have taken less a little over a week off in the past year. I typically work between 45 and 55 hours a week.

Now I don't write all this to be a sob story more to give a little background. The truth being that I do best when busy. Obviously if a doctor who had only known me for a few weeks, suggested and even made a phone call to get me back to work I most give off a vibe of somebody who needs to keep busy. Furthermore I have a wonderful career. Absolutely one of the best professions somebody could have. My job is challenging, a daily adventure, and I have a passion for my patients. Most of the time when I am at work, I think of nothing else but my patients and the case or procedure in front of me. Well, that was before Kate.

After Kate work has been different. First off, gone is the luxury of coming in early and working late. I think I have been to work early about twice since I had her. Typically I am about ten minutes late. And then if I work late, I won't see her before bed. I have to leave as soon as my last appointment is over to even get to see her for thirty minutes before bed. Because of this I have to get everything done during the work day, this often involves managing every minute of the day to the millisecond. Typing as fast as a I can to get my records done, calling clients with test results while I drive home (hands-free of course) and doing what-ever it takes to get out of there on time.

And then of course there is the conflicts. No childcare. Childcare needs to change days. Childcare is taking a vacation. Doctor appointments. More doctors appointments. Even more doctors appointments. Kate is coughing. Kate is sneezing. Kate isn't pooping. Ed has a meeting. I have a meeting. Grandma has a meeting. Most weeks there is several phone calls, schedule changes and at least three things that I have forgotten or messed up on the home front.

I take offense when people make insensitive comments about working mothers (or any mothers for that point). Or make a statement about it being a choice. Yes, it is a choice in a way. Unfortunately life is not that straight forward. At times in your adult life you have to do what needs to get done and the only choice is in what order you are going to do it. Bills have to be paid, and your decisions are difficult. You do the best you can with what you have.

All the same, sometimes this busy bodied person who loves her career just longs to stay home. To take care of my daughter everyday all day. To have a few things a little less chaotic and less scheduled. To just slow down. To not feel so torn in so many different directions. And above all else not feel like I am missing out on Kate's infanthood or just life for that matter.

And that my friends is the working momma blues.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Premature awareness month.

Our daughter one week after birth at 25 weeks.

November marks the start of Premature birth awareness and prevention month, and thus I could let the first blog of the month be about anything else.

1 in 8 babies will be born premature.

Only 25% of those families will know why they had premature baby.

Babies born premature have increased chance of survival now. Unfortunately the rate of having premature children continues to increase.

This month I will dedicate several blogs on our own birth experience and information on premature children.