Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Love Antibiotics!

It's amazing what can happen when you're on the right medication and actually know what you have...

This was taken last night after my shower...

Leaps and bounds better than I was just 48 hours before on Saturday.

Here's to getting back to normal!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Chickenpox...or maybe not?

Last Saturday, we were hanging out at home and I noticed a few red spots on my neck. Since I have a pretty severe case of Eczema that I've dealt with my whole life, I didn't think too much of these spots and passed them off as probably just another eczema flare up. Sunday afternoon though, we gave Tyler his first bath, and then I started feeling sick. I got the chills real bad (fever), and was really sleepy. I took some Tylenol, ate dinner and laid down on the couch to rest. I woke up Monday feeling a little better, but not completely. Monday was a weird day though with all the rain, it was dark outside and Tyler slept most of the afternoon so I got some good naps in that afternoon which helped me feel a little better. My spots however hadn't gone away and in fact had spread a little more and were starting to look like something other than Eczema. I decided I probably should go see a doctor just to be sure.
(Monday afternoon)

Since I'm not an established patient at any primary care office I knew it was going to be quite the chore to get in same day or even next day, and that was only if I could find an office around here that took AHCCCS. I did find an office who took my insurance, but their first new patient appt. wasn't until April 5th... not going to work. I finally called the Dr. my parents see who is in their ward, but forgot they only do same day appointments and it was already 3:30 pm. They said if I called back the next morning, I should be able to get in then.

So I did. I went to the doctor's office, where I was loosely diagnosed with chickenpox. They weren't anywhere else on my body except my neck and a couple on my face, but they said "yeah those look like pox to me". So I left the office crying the whole way to the car in fear that my precious 3 week old baby was doomed to get the chickenpox. I was running the awful thought of him suffering with them and there being nothing I could do about it, plus it being my fault he had them in the first place all afternoon. They gave me a prescription for Acyclovir which would supposedly "clear it up quicker", but I was also told there was no research on taking that medication while breast feeding, so I would need to "pump and dump" for the time I was on it. Being that the antibodies in my breast milk was the only chance Tyler had at avoiding this awful virus, I wasn't too excited about taking him off of it. I researched the medication a little more and everywhere I found said it was really only effective if taken within 24 hours of the rash developing... and since it had now been 4 days that I'd had these lesions, I figured it wasn't worth it to take Tyler off breast milk so I could "clear up quicker". So, I didn't fill the script.

Wednesday, I was starting to feel pretty bad. I was so exhausted, I felt like I couldn't do anything. But I had to make a trip to downtown Phoenix to get fitted for my bridesmaid dress for my step sister's wedding next weekend. My friend Marie was nice enough to come and drive Tyler and I down there to keep us company and keep me from having to drive. We got home, our wonderful friends Wes and Tiff brought us dinner and when they left, I just fell apart. I was just laying in bed sobbing because I had no energy to care for my baby, I felt like I couldn't do anything, and the skin on my neck and lower half of my face felt like salt was being poured into an open wound. I was in so much pain, no medicine was working to take it away, and I was exhausted. I was out of options for what to do. My mom came over around 11pm that night with a bunch of hopeful remedies to make me feel better. I had tried Calamine lotion, Aveeno Hydrocortisone cream, A&D ointment, and nothing had worked. My skin felt so dry (which is usually is on my neck anyway from my Eczema) almost like it was crawling, and I didn't know what to put on it that wouldn't bother my lesions but would moisturize my skin. My mom brought some Vitamin E oil that actually worked wonders that night. I was so relieved, and went to bed soon after.

The next few days just seemed to get worse and worse. I kept thinking to myself that this couldn't be just the chickenpox. I never remembered being this miserable as a kid when I had the chickenpox. I knew they say it's worse when you get it as an adult, but I had just had a baby 3 weeks prior, and I felt like that was a walk in the park compared to this.

We had various family members out to help me during the day while Dan was at work. Finally on Friday late afternoon (Dan had worked a half day and was home taking care of me), after receiving a Priesthood blessing, my fever spiked. Throughout the week I'd been taking Tylenol as needed for my fever and it always broke it within 30 minutes or so. But Friday around 4, I took Tylenol and by 5, I didn't feel any better. I then took 2 Ibuprofen, and still felt no relief. Dan then took my temperature...104.2. He then called his mom to come watch Tyler so he could take me to the ER. By then, the few spots I thought were Eczema and the Dr. thought were Chickenpox had progressed to this...

(Friday Afternoon)

We went straight to the hospital and after getting checked in, the Dr. said he wasn't sure, but he thought I probably did have chickenpox at the beginning, but that I had a large staph infection of the skin known as Impetigo. They hooked me up to an IV and started giving me large amounts of fluids to help get my fever under control, and also some IV antibiotics to begin the treatment of the infection. I was discharged after about 3 hours total, and after filling my prescription for the antibiotic as well as Vicotin for the pain in my skin I showered, drugged up (Vicotin & Benadryl...I was out) and went to sleep in the rocking chair that Dan had moved into our room for me.

This morning when I woke up after a bag of IV antibiotics, a nice warm shower and a full night of sleep, this is what I looked like...
(Saturday Morning)

So, I suppose I'm on my way to healing. It's just going to be a slower road then I'd like I think. The nurse said the infection should be cleared up in about 10 days, and that I should start to see improvements in 2-3 days. The only other bad thing, is that this infection is also highly contagious. Only through direct contact, and the bacteria has to enter the skin through an open wound or scratch. So, I'm basically quarantined to our bedroom and am washing my hands 20 times a day at least. We'll see once all the infection clears up, if there really was chickenpox underneath or if it was just Impetigo the whole time.

I'm just anxious to be back to normal, to look like normal, and regain control of my house/family/life. I am so grateful for all of our family who has been willing to come help do my dishes, clean my house, get up with Tyler in the middle of the night to feed him, etc. I'm just ready, after 4 days of sitting in bed looking like an Ogre, to get back to taking care of my own family. I'm anxious to get back to my little boy, who has done very well with everyone else caring for him but I can tell that he knows it's not mom and it breaks my heart that it can't be.

I'll tell you, I don't get sick very often, but when I do...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Daniel Tyler Bienz

The day we've been waiting 9 months for finally came on Tuesday March 1st. For those who enjoy reading about the whole story (I know I do), I'll start from the beginning. (Beware: I don't spare many details)

Monday night (Feb. 28th) was just like any other normal night. I had gone to Target that afternoon to exchange a few things for the baby and pick up some odds and ends. We had dinner, watched one of our favorite shows "Castle", I was lining the inside of the dresser drawers with contact paper, etc. We decided to go to In N Out Burger at around 10 pm after I saw a commercial of a delicious looking cheeseburger. On the way home, we were even pulled over and given a speeding ticket for going 63 down Ironwood just north of Guadalupe, which is still Apache Junction and the speed limit is apparently 45. (Anyone who drives that road regularly knows that if you were actually driving 45, it would be a safety hazard since everyone drives at least 65 from the 60 south along Ironwood). Anyway, we got home, ate our late night snack, and went to bed about midnight.

I woke up around 2:45 with some cramps in my stomach, indigestion and not feeling too great; but I assumed it was just from the In N Out Burger I'd eaten right before bed. I got up, went to the bathroom and laid back down to go back to bed, like normal as my cramps had gone away in that short time. Just as I was about to fall into a deep sleep, the cramps came back again... I continued to lay in bed, still thinking my stomach was just a little upset from the food. But just the same, the cramps came and went 2 or 3 more times over about the same amount of time. I looked at the clock for the next one just out of curiosity, and realized that these slight cramps were coming every 10 minutes almost exactly. It wasn't anything really painful though and felt just like normal cramps at that point, so I decided to just lay there and see what, if anything, would come of them.

By about 4:30, after about an hour and a half of tossing and turning, wondering if I should get up and do the load of laundry I had planned on doing the next day with all the baby's clothes, sheets and blankets in it, Dan looked at me, wide awake, and asked how I was feeling. I told him about what I was feeling, and he said "yeah, I don't know why but I feel really anxious, like before something big happens, or before you give a talk in church." He got up, and went to watch some TV in the living room. I laid in bed a little longer before deciding it wouldn't hurt to do my load of laundry, since I wasn't sleeping anyway. Finally about 6 am I fell back into a light sleep after just getting used to the predictable discomfort every 10 minutes. Dan came back in around 7 and asked what I wanted him to do. If he should go to work and wait for me to call, or if he should just stay home. I told him to just go to work but to keep his phone close, because at this point, the what I knew by now to be contractions hadn't gotten any stronger or closer together for the previous 5 hours or so, and I didn't want him to miss a whole day of work if we wouldn't need to leave for the hospital until late that night or even the next day.

So Dan got ready and left for work around 7:30, and I continued to try to sleep a little until around 8:30. At that point I got up, tended to my laundry, and started making sure our hospital bag was pretty much completely packed with everything we had. I folded a few blankets and a couple outfits and got the diaper bag ready to go too. About 10 am, they started getting to be about every 7 minutes, and I'd even had one that was 5 minutes from the one before. I texted Dan, and told him to head home and get ready to leave for the hospital in the next couple of hours because they were getting closer together and gradually getting stronger and stronger.

I took a shower and tried to get a few more things together while I waited for Dan to get home. He did finally get home about 11:30, and by then I was in pain. I could no longer walk or talk through the contractions which were coming every 5 minutes, if not even quicker. He changed into some jeans, threw a few things into the hospital bag, and we left for Banner Ironwood around noon.

We got there, were checked in and up to triage by about 12:30. They hooked me up to the contraction monitor and saw that I was indeed having contractions, and that I was dilated to a 6 and fully effaced. The nurse agreed "yep, today will be a birthday party day!" as she prepared to transfer me up to a labor room. They wheeled me over to labor and immediately started my IV of fluids in preparation for the epidural. About 5 minutes or so later, the anesthesiologist came in and started talking with me about the epidural and preparing to give it. I received my epidural around 1:30 Tuesday afternoon, and then just laid and waited for a few hours. Around 3:30 the nurse asked if I was ready to start some preliminary pushing. We did a few pushes, and while he was already down low, he wasn't quite low enough yet for the full on pushing. After about 20 or 30 minutes of prelim pushing, the nurse checked and found that our little boy was upside down, with his face down instead of up. By this time, my epidural was not working hardly at all anymore. My legs were still numb, but the pain of my contractions was just as great as it was before I had the epidural. After deciding I couldn't just "push through it" anymore, the anesthesiologist came back to give me a 2nd dose, this time of something much stronger. Man, was I ever grateful for that. After laying for about 20 minutes with a large peanut shaped ball between my knees, the baby had rotated enough that they could turn him the rest of the way as he came out. My doctor then came to check on me, and after discovering I was dilated to a 9 broke my water and got the party started...

We began the real pushing then, around 5:30 pm. After about an hour of hard strong pushing, I could see in the mirror what everyone else could see, that his full head of hair was very close. At that point, I was pushing and pushing and seeming to get no where. His head seemed to be stuck between my pelvic bone and my skin which was not stretching anymore, and wasn't tearing on it's own. The doctor asked, after sensing my frustration and fatigue at this point, if I wanted her to cut a little bit to help him out a little easier. I declined at that point, not wanting to have an episiotomy if at all possible. I guess I still had some hope that with the next 1 or 2 pushes, he'd be out on his own with no cutting. But, after another 10-15 minutes of pushing unsuccessfully, my doctor made the decision (which looking back, I'm glad she did at that point) and said "ok, I'm going to cut just a little, only because the babies heart rate is dropping now". Knowing that my child was beginning to suffer made me not care anymore about what I wanted. Sure enough, after making a small cut, and 1 or 2 more pushes, at 6:52 pm he was out and laying on my chest. I instantly had forgotten about the excruciating pain I'd just been in for over an hour. Tears ran down both of our faces as the joy and love they say you never know until you have a child filled our hearts.

Dan was by my side, encouraging me and talking me through the whole thing. He cut the cord, and went to watch the nurses wash his newborn son off on the other side of the room, while I got stitched and cleaned up. They brought my little boy to me all wrapped and cleaned up and I couldn't help my just admire with awe the perfection of this infant that was sent to me from my Father in Heaven. I was overwhelmed with gratitude to Him for the blessing of giving me this little boy to nurture and care for here on earth. Never in my life had I seen anything more beautiful, or more perfect than the child I held in my arms that night.
We were greeted with many excited visitors over the next 2 days in the hospital before returning home on Thursday afternoon. Just as with my pregnancy, everything went and is continuing to go wonderfully and with no complications. Tyler was born healthy at 7 lbs. 12oz. and 21 inches long. My recovery has been probably about as good as I could have wanted, with minimal pain. All of Tyler's testing and monitoring came back normal and healthy. Dan and I have been blessed with a beautiful, healthy baby boy and could not be more grateful and overjoyed!