Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Kathryn's Hospital Stay....Part 1 - The Arrival

Last month I attended a very special birth. It was actually my first "official" birth as a Midwifery Student/Apprentice. You can read about it here.

Kathryn indeed is a very special baby. She is so precious and tiny and a reminder to all, well at least to me, that God has created all of us thoughtfully, purposefully, and in his own image.

A friend of mine and fellow blogger were discussing the wonderful blessing and protection from this world that a child with Down Syndrome gets from Our Creator. There is a train of thought out there that those born on this earth with mental handicaps were the bravest and most revered souls of His Army. When he chose to put them in this earth with all the temptations of satan and sin they were given the protection of this "handicap" to shield them from the seduction and easy enticement the rest of us are subject to. I like this train of thought.

Anyway, two weeks ago Kathryn was desperately dehydrated. She was not nursing well, had a fever, and was becoming very limp and lethargic. Chris, the midwife I work with, called me to tell me she'd been out to see them and recommended they go to the children's hospital in the big city about an hour from their home. She was concerned that Kathryn would live through the night.

At the time, I didn't understand why they would even think twice about going. If my child was sick AND my midwife suggested I take my baby in, I'd be flying out the door ASAP, do not pass GO, do not collect $200, if you know what I mean. Let me tell you, God has a way of humbling our hearts when we judge like that. In Part 2, or 3, of this story I'll explain how.

I told Chris I would go up and see them to talk about going to the hospital. I took with me 12 oz. of liquid gold that my friend laurazim had in her freezer, along with another 9 oz of frozen breastmilk and 5 oz of fresh.

I was about 100 yards from their house when a car with an Amish man in the front seat passed my car and I knew it was them. You just don't see too many cars with Amish riding in them.

I pulled into their drive (if you can call it that....mostly buggies pulling up in this "drive-way") and their eldest son came out to let me know that they had just left for the hospital. Praise God.

I called Chris right away and she said The Driver (someone the Amish can hire, for an expensive fee to drive them) had called and told her. I asked if they would like me to take them instead since I was there for Kathryn's birth, know hospital lingo, and can advocate for them. We met at a gas station and transferred them to my *free* car.

The drive in was all talk about thoughts on living in the big city.....the traffic, the noise, etc.

Ervin, Kathryn's dad, commented on how people say that maybe it's unsafe to live so far out in the country where his house is away from all the "conveniences" and "safety" of the city. He said at least he can let his children play outside and not worry they're going to run into the street and get hit by a car.

I told him I don't enjoy being able to put my hand out of my window and touch my neighbor's house, let alone dealing with the never quiet, never dark nighttime musings in a city like that one, where I lived for almost 15 years before moving to my current how.

"That's the truth," he says.

When we finally got to the hospital there were raised eyebrows and side glances all around at the antiquated Amish couple and their baby coming in. The receptionist asked for the baby's name and searched her computer.

"You'll have to fill out these forms. She's just so new that her information isn't popping up in our system yet."

Umm, no. She's not in there because she was born into the comfort of her parents arms, not into a hospital room. But we'll get to that later.

We didn't even get a chance to sit down and look at the forms when the triage nurse called for Kathryn.

They took her temperature, 102.3 axillary, and whisked us back to an exam room. They took a detailed history from Ervin and Rachel and hooked her up to monitors. I chipped in whenever necessary with details from the birth. Her heart rate was in the 190's (normal is 120-160).

The pediatric resident in the ER immediately wanted to do a blood draw, catheterize her to test her urine for infection and do a SPINAL TAP.

WHAT??!! She's two weeks old. She doesn't have meningitis. She's dehydrated. Give her some fluids. Hello!

"On any baby under two months old with a fever we HAVE TO check their blood, spinal fluid, and urine and assume infection in one of these places as the cause for fever."

I quickly pointed out to Rachel and Ervin that they don't have to do anything. The hospital's protocols recommend they do these tests, but they don't have to consent to anything they don't feel comfortable with. The resident left the room to let us talk.

I went over B.R.A.I.N. with them - The Benefits, Risks, and Alternatives to those 3 tests, what does your Instinct tell you, and what happens if we do Nothing (not really an option here, but part of the discussion nonetheless).

In this case, we needed to ask more questions. What more information would you get from a spinal tap that you couldn't get from blood? Do you really need urine? Would you get results any faster from either of these places than from the blood?

I also called Chris right away to gauge her perception of the "have-to's". I can still hear here say in a shocked and WTF kind of voice, "Spinal Tap!? What do they need to do that for? Give her some fluids."

Turns out they won't get any different information from the spinal fluid. Just checking for the same bacteria as they would in the blood. Would it change the antibiotic they give? No, just a higher does. Would they get the results back faster? Nope. It's gonna take TWO DAYS to grow cultures from each.

This is where they tell us that they are planning on giving her the antibiotics anyway as a precaution while they wait for the cultures to come back. Well, if you're going to give the antibiotics anyway, then we really don't need a lumbar puncture now do we? And a catheter? She's dehydrated. There is no urine to speak of, so let's just risk making her incontinent by inserting a catheter into her already collapsed urethra, shall we?


Did I mention this is a teaching hospital? I'm starting to think that maybe this is just too good a "teaching" case when every resident and their mother are coming in to see the Down's Baby born at home without a "doctor" who's now sick at 2 weeks of age.

And I am starting to understand the reluctance to come to the hospital. It has now been almost 4 hours since we arrived. She still doesn't have an IV. She hasn't had anything to eat in almost 20 hours. The residents are asking stupid questions and trying to talk Rachel and Ervin into the spinal tap.

"Did she get Vitamin K and Erythromycin ointment at birth?" Rachel looks at me and shrugs. I tell the doc that there was no indication for Vit K as there was no birth trauma to Kathryn and no signs of bleeding or bruising. There was also no history to indicate Erythromycin ointment.

Fact - Erythomycin ointment is smeared into the eyes of newborns to protect them from the transfer of Chlamydia or Gonorrhea to their eyes from their mother's vagina. If mom doesn't have either of those STDs then there is no medical indication for this procedure. It was instituted by many states as "mandatory" for all babies as a prophylaxis for public health reasons. I.E. it's easier, and cheaper, to just assume all mothers have an STD and treat all babies than to counsel moms on an individual basis.

So when I told the MD there was no history to indicate E-ointment, I was politely trying to say, "They are Amish. Neither of them are sleeping around. They have only slept with each other for their entire lives. She has 10 healthy babies at home, all born outside of a hospital. She doesn't have any sexual risk for STDs and it would be insulting for me to have to explain this in technical terms in front of her and especially to you."

I pipe up again with the "hey, she hasn't had any nutrients for 20 hours, what-say-we skip the chit chat and get her some fluids?" talk and the attending physician comes in and *finally* decides to start the intraosseous infusion. I just lost you, didn't I?

An intraosseous infusion is like an IV that is put into a bone to infuse the bone marrow as opposed to a vein. This is especially useful on an infant, notably a dehydrated one, as their veins are almost always too tiny to access and, in the case of dehydration, probably collapsed. You drill a little hole in their tibia and insert the IV line there. It's not so bad really. Babies bones are not as hard as yours and mine. They are still very cartilage-y (is that a word?). *from what I learned that I always wanted to know in IV-tech school, graduate 2005

After a bolus of 60 cc's of saline (which is a lot for a 6 pound little girl), it was like we had a completely different baby on our hands.

Her hands and feet were no longer purple (her body had shunted all her blood and fluids to her vital organs to preserve their integrity, but now her body allowed fluid to circulate everywhere). She was breathing better. She was rooting. She opened her eyes a little. Her heart rate dropped a little and was closer to normal.

It was nearly midnight. They finally got the blood draw and sent it over to the lab. They put antibiotics into the IV. I began feeding her the colostrum with a syringe dropper since she was still too weak to nurse. Talk of the spinal tap continued. A radiologist came in to do an X-ray of her lungs to see if they were infected. The docs kept telling Rachel and Ervin that she could really be really sick and they need to test her.

Around 1:30am my husband informed me that I need to get home to My Lovey, who needed me. I had to leave but told them I'd be back in the morning. They were certainly going to admit her and keep her overnight for fluids, if not for a few days. She needed to be hydrated and regain her strength.

The receptionist guy came back and asked for her paperwork. I asked Ervin if I should fill it in for them. He said, "Go ahead. I don't understand any of that stuff and I hope I never have to." Well said.

All I could give them was her name and address. No SS#, no phone #, no insurance #, no race/ethnicity, no employer....she's a baby duh, no work or cell phone #. Mom and dad are "emergency contacts" and they don't have a phone either. What simplicity to only put in her name, address, and date of birth. Is there really anything else necessary?

I gave Kathryn a kiss, Rachel a big hug, and Ervin a handshake.

On the way home I called Chris to fill her in and vent about the care they received.

I prayed. And hugged my own babies tight.


*more on this to come....at least a 2 and 3

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Aaaaah! They Grow Too Fast

Well. It's that time.

The time when your baby is no longer a baby. The moment, for me, when they stop looking like a baby and start to look like a kid.

She's still my baby. Still a toddler.

But today........I cut her hair.

Her hair was getting in her face, in her eyes, and in her food. It was time to insert bangs. She really likes it and took to the cutting well.

Oh, that? That's the "I can't believe you won't let me play with the expensive picture-taker thingie" face.


Updates Coming

This isn't really a post, per se. It's a little reminder to myself, and a little "trailer", so to speak, for you. I have many posts swimming around in my brain. They are all equally important and amusing.....I just am out of time right now.

So, posts to come. Not nescessarily in this order or with these titles - but in the company of the subject at hand:

Amish Baby Hospital Stay
Crash and Burn
Baseball Explosion
Dishcloth Cotton
Strawberry Fields
Goopy Eyes
God Will Provide/I Love the IRS
Sociopath Adventures
School Musings
Veggie Tales Lovey
Aquanetta strikes again
The Heat

Stay tuned......

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sociopath Strikes Again

The woman is mad. She is demented, deranged, illogical, unbalanced, unhinged, non compos mentis.

She does not have touch with reality, but rather her reality. The game....I am not playing. She has now had her "secretary" contact me regarding a previous "issue" wondering if I had received communication about it or not. Consequently, another contact has been made regarding a separate, but just as important, issue.

Words have been chosen carefully, deliberately, cunningly, and shewdly for these contacts.

I will have to decide if recourse is worth my time and talent. Aptitude for dealing with the sociopath, I have much. Patience to make them writhe in their skin....I am learning.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Gotta Love Jon Voigt

Hollywood's Not ALL Bad

Actor Jon Voigt opens up.

It's Official. He's the Obamassiah

Someone finally decided that Barack Obama is God.

I'm glad we got that out of the way. I was a little confused there for a while.

I can't embed the video for whatever reason, so you'll have to click on this link.

No really.....

Really, you have to go and read Fr. Brian's blog. The post today was WONDERFUL. Love it.

I know I already told you this, but I really mean it this time. Go. Read. Love.

Desperate Times

I have been dealing with a sociopath. Do you know what a sociopath is?

"Sociopaths are people without a conscience. They don't have the normal empathy the rest of us take for granted. They don't feel affection. They don't care about others. But most of them are good observers, and they have learned how to mimic feelings of affection and empathy remarkably well." (from above linked website)

I've encountered sociopaths before. In fact, I was living with and married to one for 7 years (my 1st husband). They are fairly common. I read the book "The Sociopath Next Door" (by Martha Stout) last year. It was enlightening, illuminative, and informative. It brings the world of the sociopath into a context that translates to everyday life and helps you to recognize the sociopaths around you.

Not only is my ex-husband a sociopath, but I also have a few family members who are sociopaths.

Unfortunately, there is no way to "cure" a sociopath. Your only chance for peace is to completely rid yourself of them. Cut them out of your life as fast as you can and don't look back. And it's no good trying to convince others that the person is a sociopath. They probably won't believe you since the sociopath is such a good actor and liar. Just get out and sever all ties to them.

Sociopaths are commonly narcissists, caring for nothing more than their own advancement. After all, when you do not feel love, empathy, or compassion, what else is their to live for but yourself. Their "goal" is to "win." Whatever the "game" may be.

My current sociopath, whom has had me duped for more than a year, is onto me being onto her and is now trying to sabotage my education/career. I have spent hours upon hours the last couple of days researching my options and trying to decide what, if anything, I can and should do.

Obviously, I need to get her our of my life. But it's not as easy as it sounds. This woman has conned many, many people in many different socio-economic circles that she is a loving, caring, intelligent individual who only has their best interests at heart. People idolize her and comment often on her sincerity. She has no problem, and is very good at, lying. In my last interaction with her, she told me a bold-faced lie at least 3 times.....lies which had actual evidence of what was the truth. She did this without conscience and even tried to make me feel guilty for insinuating that she lied and then attempted to appeal to me with pity and flattery.

Once she realized I was onto her, she started out with the flattery mode......interacting with me in a way that made me feel flattered without really saying anything overtly complimentary. Then, when she realized I wasn't really buying it (which was easy to do, because I am a bad emotional actor and I tried to act like I believed her, but I didn't do a very good job) she decided to try to and make me feel worried in a very clever and deceitful way and tried to make me feel as though I owed her.

I bet she is just LOVING all the angst she is causing in my life.

Hopefully I can figure out what to do to get this person out of my life so I can move on.

Read the book if you can, or just read the two articles I linked above. They may just change your life.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

It's Just Like Knitting

Today, in midwifery school, we had a lecture and demonstration on suturing. Then we practiced.

I was delighted to learn that the sutures we use to "stitch" someone up are those one would use to stitch up a seam on, say, a sweater or cardigan - mattress stitch and blanket stitch.

Granted, I tend to like to knit seamless sweaters and other items in the round so as to avoid seams.

Needless to say, I need to butter-up on my sewing skills if I'm going to be doing this on perineums.


Saturday, June 6, 2009


I was making dinner and decided to search the house for dirty dishes to wash while the food cooked (a woman's gotta multi-task). I heard my little baby playing in the living room, or so I thought.

But when I craned my neck around the chimney to look for him, I saw nothing.

I listened closer, and looked in the direction of his coos.

And found him. Here.

Um, excuse me? How did you get there?

Pretty proud of yourself, huh?

How are you going to get out? Oh, you want me to get you out?

Ok, but only because you're My Lovey. And I can't resist.

Friday, June 5, 2009

New Kid on the Block

Check out my friend Fr. Brian over at Scriptura et Ecclesia.

He doesn't post often, but he's got good stuff. And he likes to say, "Dude."


She Copped-Out

She couldn't pick one of us to win the "You Tickle Me" Award, so we all get it. Here's mine:

Apparently, I tickle her with my choice of funny things from this post.

Thanks Jenni.

Don't Quote Me

Funny bit of words I actually muttered to a dear friend last night.....

"We didn't even know him the first time we met him."

Really? Hmmmm.

I'm getting old.


Fire's Gone....Now what?

I'm pretty sure they are going to rebuild. Thought you might like some pictures of the aftermath. These are from April, a few days after.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Notre Dame.....I Know, Old News

So, I'm a little behind on opinions and such. Here's a great post by Fr. Z on the Notre Dame crapola that Frurer Obama was a part of.

Go read it. You know you want to.

I know it's old news, but I drank a cup of Darjeerling Tea at my friend, laurazim's, this evening and it's caffinated and I'm on a roll and I am putting up all the stuff on my blog that I have wanted to put up for weeks.

So there.

Tickle Me

Jennit over at One Thing is having a Very Funny contest to win the coveted "You Tickle Me" award. Ok, I'll bite. Here's her poll questions with my answers:

1. Who can make you laugh the hardest (someone you personally know)?

My friend Justin, whom I haven't seen in almost 4 years. The first time my husband and I met him he had us peeing our pants. Really.

2. Who has the most contagious laugh (of those you know personally)? Gotta be My Lovey (see sidebar)

3. What is the funniest movie you’ve ever seen?

Hmmm. You're making me think real hard. That's not so easy after you've had some kids. Boondock Saints. "....some huge freakin' guy cereal crushed him..." Hahahahahahaha!!!

4. Who is your favorite comedian?

Jeff Dunham. Hands down. Try not to laugh. I dare you.

5. What’s the funniest cartoon you’ve ever seen?

Animaniacs. Pinky & The Brain.

6. What’s your favorite comic strip?

Garfield. Duh. (I used to have a Garfield tattoo. My very first professional tattoo that I got when I was 16. Unfortunately, it was sacrificed when I decided to get my sleeve.)

I cannot find a copy of the strip I'd like to paste here. But I do remember it. Jon gets a call from a woman who dialed a wrong number and asks here if she'd like to turn it into a "right number" and go on a date with him. And she says yes! Turns out Bertha is a little overweight. Jon tries to think of something nice to say and finally says, "My, your teeth are round." She replies, "I eat a lot." Garfield says/thinks, "You don't say."

Hee hee.

7. What’s your favorite joke?

If I put that on my blog, I will lose readers. :) It has something to do with a bad way to spend Easter.

8. Here’s a link to something that will make you laugh: You betcha.

9. What was the last thing you laughed at so hard you cried?

Flower. She had filled her pants with some rather potent poo. I layed her down and pulled off her pants. As I opened her diaper I asked her, "Did you poop?" She replied, "Holy Crap!" This is when I realized that maybe I had used this phrase a little too often when changing her.

My husband and two sons were also on my bed at the time (where I was changing her). I looked over and my husband had actually picked up a wipe and put it over his nose so that he wouldn't smell the poo. I am actually laughing right now just thinking of him laying there with his face all caboogled up and contorted.

Reminds me of this:

Which also made me cry and still does everytime I see it!!

10. Got a funny photo? Show me!

More Pictures

Just 'cause I know there is at least one person reading this blog who hasn't seen us in over a year. :)

I will assume my husband and not some random stranger snapped this pick of us sleeping.

And here's My Lovey sleeping on My Love.

And this is my princess. She's too precious for words.

We Like Strawberries

Yes, we played with them for a while. But then, we started to chow.

"I'll get you my pretty, and your little seeds too!"

Or maybe your sourness will get me. Soooooo good.

Stop taking my picture, Mom.

Fine. Here's a cute face for you!

So, uh, lady? You gonna give me a bath or what?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Special Delivery

Note: I started this post a few days ago.....I don't have nearly the memory I used to have and therefore you will see that there is a point where I shorten the story and, ahem, get to the point.

I finally made it to a birth. The last actual, live birth I was there for was my dear friend C.'s last baby boy born 7 years ago.

I watch a lot of birth videos. I see a lot of pictures. But to actually be there as one of God's new beings enters this world and leaves the warmth and comfort of his mother's womb is truly amazing.

I got the call around 3pm that my help was needed. The midwife I work with has two other assistants and neither of them were available. I made a bunch of phone calls to find someone responsible and suitable to watch my children and finally arrived at The Victorian House (our country doctor clinic in rural midwest, where the MD lives in the upstairs of the house with her family and the first floor is her office/clinc/birthing center, etc.) around 5pm to help with the delivery.

The mother, R., was so calm I wasn't even sure she was in labor. Her husband, E., was a little restless, feeling like maybe he should have stayed home to do chores. This was not my first experience with the Amish community, but it was my first birth with them. Eventually E ended up going out and push-mowing the lawn. We all, including his wife, found it amusing.

R's contractions seemed to pick up. I spent my time rubbing her lower back during them and then talking with her between them. We all had a good chuckle at E outside with the push mower. She told me about her other children. She had 6 girls and 4 boys at home. I saw in her chart that this was her 13th pregnancy and 2 of her children had been called back to God before she got a chance to meet them.

We were all wondering out loud if the baby would be a boy or girl. I have so far only helped with girl babies. All the newborn exams and home visits I've done have been with girls. My teacher, C., said that if R wanted a boy I better leave. :)

C decided we better get set up as it really seemed that the baby would be here soon. R's contractions were getting stronger and she was feeling pushy. I went outside to call E in. I kept rubbing R's back as C got us set up for the birth, bringing out a bin to catch the placenta, warm blankets for the baby, sterile sissors to clamp and cut the cord, absorbant pads to lay under R, the birth chair (should R want to use it), and some towels.

R decided to change into her house coat, which is like a robe, in between contractions. E was supporting her and holding her hand. C and I finished setting everything up and R was standing and pushing while leaning up against the wall. We moved some pads under her and thought maybe C'd catch the baby right there. But between the next two contractions, we all helped R move onto the birth chair.

The strength of this woman was really something to behold.

Long story short (this is where I am starting again), there is a new baby girl. She was out in 7 minutes flat. She is the 11th baby in the family, the 7th girl. Her name is Kathryn, and she has the longest and thickest hair I have ever seen on a baby. She is a strong nurser and is loved dearly by her parents. She has Down Syndrome.

My thoughts as I drove R home with her new baby daughter (C stayed behind to do paperwork and E took the buggy home a little earlier) were that God gave this family, and this baby, a wonderful blessing. He knew that if this baby was born to this family she would live and be loved. Her parents would accept her, their role in His plan, and her role in their lives.


Had she been given to a different set of parents, things could have ended differently. I'm not saying that they FOR SURE would have, but very possibly. If a "modern"-type couple had conceived this child and had opted for the most state-of-the-art testing now recommended for all pregnant women the chances of this baby even surviving past 20 weeks gestation in the safety of her mother's womb would have been around 10% (90% of parents who are told their unborn child has Down Syndrome choose to kill their baby).

And did I mention she is the cutest baby? Seriously. I could die from the big squishy lovefest that is her cheeks.