Wednesday, June 11, 2008

checking in

Hi! I am still here, just not super-bloggy lately, which is kind of weird considering I feel like I'm tied to my new laptop all day long right now. Most of what I'm doing online is completely unproductive stuff like reading blogs and message boards and visiting I Can Has Cheezburger, instead of doing productive things like updating my own blogs and writing emails that I really, really need to write.

Elanor has been really wakeful at night lately. It's better now than it was last week, but it's still frustrating, because while I was in the hospital and for the first week or so after I was home, we were having my mom or Brett's mom take her at night and she really wasn't waking up much at all, maybe once if that. She was also sleeping in her co-sleeper. Now that she's back in the room with Brett and me, it's all gone to pot and she's in bed with us and practically nursing all.night.long. She's teething (first tooth popped through yesterday!) so that is part of it, but although knowing that is nice, it doesn't make my nights much easier.

Thankfully, we have had family here (Brett's mom is here now) so I can get some rest during the day. I have to admit that I feel guilty when Brett hands Elanor off to his mom or my mom when he leaves for work and I go back to sleep, sometimes until as late as early afternoon. But I do feel like I need a lot of sleep right now, so I guess it's just a blessing that we have people here to help. I seriously do NOT know how I would handle her lack of sleep if I had to get up at 6:15 every day and haul my butt into work. I would be soooo sleep deprived and miserable!

I have slowly been processing everything mentally and emotionally. I was talking with my dear friend Marci (who is home in Seattle for the summer! YAHOO!) about it last week. I've gradually been going to the place in my mind that I've been walling off, the place that says: You could have died, and left Brett a widower at 26 and Elanor without her mama. And that place scares the shit out of me.

Marci made the point that when everything was going down on the 13th and she didn't know whether I was alive or not that she was more afraid for Brett and Elanor than she was for me, because if I had died, I would be in heaven with Jesus but Brett and Elanor would be alone on the earth. And that totally clicked...she's right. That's the scary part, that they would be alone here, with no wife and mama to take care of and love them.

This came up in kind of a humorous way a couple of days ago. We've been talking about starting Elanor on rice cereal soon, and Brett's mom and I were talking about it the other night at dinner.

Brett said, "Rice cereal? You mean like Rice Krispies?"

His mom and I exchanged a glance and started giggling.

"No, it's like Cream of Rice," I said.

"Oh. Well, then I guess it's a good thing you're still around; if you weren't, Elanor would be eating Rice Krispies."

Seriously! Heh.

All humor aside, I've been experiencing a lot of anxiety over the past week or so. As the doctor said when we visited him yesterday (more about that in a minute), "I'd be worried if you didn't have any anxiety right now." He actually said he'd expect me to have some degree of post-traumatic stress syndrome. Yikes!

I think part of why the anxiety has been sinking in lately has to do with the fact that it's beginning to hit me how very differently things could have turned out. What if Brett had already left for work that morning, which he normally would have done? (He had an off-site training that started a few hours later than his normal day starts.) What if Brett's mom hadn't been visiting and hadn't been able to give me CPR?

I'm trying not to think about those what ifs. Because the reality is that those things were they way they were, thank God. And I'd like to believe that's for a reason -- that it wasn't my time, that God has plans for me here. Clearly, he chose to leave me here, and I thank him for that.

This anxiety is coloring everything right now. The whole incident has hit home the lack of control I (or any of us) have in the macro -- you know, whether I live or die. And it's making my reactions to the micro -- like whether pots and pans are put away where they belong, or how Elanor's onesies are folded, stupid inconsequential stuff -- that much more intensified, because I can (supposedly) control them. (Which, HA, because when other people are taking care of you and your house...there's really not much control involved.) The anxiety is just magnifying all of those stupid little things and I am freaking out about them, and I hate that.

Anyway, I'm feeling a little better about the anxiety the past couple days, but it's still there. We are going to talk to a pastor at church this week; I feel like I need it. We both need it. On top of all of my health issues, we have some other stressors in our lives right now that are only intensifying the effects of the anxiety. It's nothing I can talk about here, but suffice it to say it's making both of us more anxious than we want to be.

So, yeah, moving on. I had an appointment with one of the cardiologists yesterday. He said that I seem to be doing fine, and that it appears this incident can be chalked up to postpartum cardiomyopathy, also known as peripartum cardiomyopathy. There's lots of information on the web about it; dork that I am, of course I googled it extensively when I got home last night.

Peripartum or postpartum cardiomyopathy is heart failure that happens either during the last month of pregnancy or within six months postpartum, when there is no other cause for the failure. That certainly fits my case. They can't find anything else to explain this: no lifestyle issues -- I've never smoked, I don't drink much, I've never done any drugs, I am not overweight, I exercise (I don't have a CAR for pete's sake! I walk everywhere!) -- no genetic issues, nothing else to explain this.

So that scares me, that it's apparently something related to pregnancy and/or birth. The doctor said they don't know why it happens; there's not, that he knows, any correlation between a stressful pregnancy or delivery and this condition. It's just a mystery.

Dangit. And I wanted answers!!

I'm going to make an appointment with my OB to talk about this, to try to figure out what she'd recommend in terms of another pregnancy someday (because I really want more kids) and just to see if she can offer any more insight.

Really, that's the update. I'm not quite sure about going back to work yet. My short-term disability currently expires 6/23. There are plans in the works to make me part-time (I'd just like to note here that I have an amazing boss and amazing co-workers who are willing to help me and let me work the amount I need to and can handle working), but we're working out some things with regard to my health benefits right now. Hopefully it will all come together. If you're the praying type, you could pray that it does. I'd appreciate it.

I am hoping to be around more in the coming days and weeks. It's funny; since this has happened, many, many people all over the country have confessed that they read my blog, which is totally great, but it also makes me want to stop being lame and actually post regularly.

Ok, this entry is random and rambling and long enough already. I'm cutting myself off now and hitting the publish button...


BethanyWD said...

I guess you can chalk me up to one of those readers that came out of the woodwork! I don't have much to say except when I read about what happened over on Hola, Isabel! and found your site, it was very emotional for me (I can't even imagine how it is/was for you!). I have young kiddos, too, and I can't imagine them growing up without a momma. Then I discovered (by reading through your archives) that we delivered with the same OBs office at Swedish! (My doctor is Johnson.) I'm a Seattle area person, too. My 5-year old was born down in Pierce County, but my daughter was born at Swedish - I had a c-section, too, as she was breech.

Anyway, I hope you continue to feel better and heal your body, mind and soul. Blessings to you and your lovely family.

Kris said...

We'll be praying everything works out in so many areas of your lives. Wish we were closer to come visit and help out, but sounds like you've got great people helping you.

Xin Lei said...

K, thank you for the's so good to read your writing again. I will be home in a few weeks...hopefully we can see each other! Hugs!

Kristin said...

Hi Kathleen, I stumbed upon your blog after finding you on MySpace. I am so thankful that you are doing well! What a scary thing to go through.

You are a wonderful writer, thanks for updating your blog :)

Becky Hamilton said...

Dear Kathleenie,

I'm so glad you're blogging again. I've had you on my mind and in my prayers quite a bit and all I can say is I am SO glad God decided to keep you on this earth, too!! He must have more exciting plans for you in the years to come. I, too, wish I was closer so I could come see you, help in any way possible, etc. But know you are loved down here in Portland and thought about often. I will keep praying for all the adjustments/changes, work, insurance issues, etc. Love you friend!!

thrice said...
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Erin said...

Hi Kathleen, I'm had peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) too. You'll be happy to know that many women regain full heart function and can discontinue med's, and some can even go on to have more children! Strangely, many cardiologists don't have the most up-to-date information about PPCM, which can be found here: If you joint the support group, Dr. Fett will be glad to answer your questions. He's a leading doctor and researcher in the field of PPCM. Also, feel free to email me as well:

Praying for your healing and recovery!

C said...

Add me to the long list of those who are beyond thankful that your work here on Earth isn't done. Glad that you're blogging again, and you know that my thoughts are always with you!

rebec loring said...

i feel so honored that you 'like' in 'like reading other blogs' was MY BLOG! now i'm all nervous that you super trendy, fancy writing, all grammar knowing friends will read my blog and be all: um, can she put a sentence together, or what!? oh well. i love you. i will see you soon. (i agree with marci). jesus is rad. life without you would suck.