Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Life Comes At You Fast

What was supposed to be a nice two week bit of respite in Indiana has turned into  one very protracted doctors visit that will result in the birth of this baby in my home state.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I am giving birth here. 
I believe that every event in my life has in some way prepared me for the next hurdle that I must overcome.  And after I jump over or knock over or plow through these hurdles I am stronger because of them and better equipped to deal with the next one.  It doesn't mean that each one is a more difficult challenge than the one before it.  Each one is different and I learn from each experience and ultimately grow as a person.  There are so many circumstances that I have no control over, but I do have control over one thing.  My attitude.  I can choose to let the circumstances overwhelm me or I can choose to get on with life and remember that no matter how cloudy the sky may be, the sun IS up there shining behind them.  So, with all of that being said, I will attempt to explain what has been going on with me.

A couple of days after I returned home I began to have migraines behind my right eye and no amount of Tylenol would cure them.  After the first day I gradually began to lose some of the vision in that eye.  It progressed until the third day when I had lost almost all of the vision in that eye and the pain was nearly unbearable.  Several people urged me to go the the ER, which I did.  After the ER doctor took a look at my eye he decided it looked urgent enough to call in an opthamologist.  The eye doctor arrived and began what would be the first of many, many examinations on my eye.  It was dilated and looked at in more ways than I can count.  His initial diagnosis was toxoplasmosis but to be sure he ordered a number or blood tests to be taken and referred me to a retinal specialist who I would see the very next day.

I have spent much of my vacation looking into one of these contraptions. 

I had never heard of toxoplasmosis, but after spending several hours on the computer that night researching it I was very disturbed by what I saw, but I decided to wait until I had met with the retinal doctor to draw any of my own conclusions.  

The next day my eye was in for another round of tests and dilation and poking and prodding.  This doctor wasn't as quick to call it toxoplasmosis and requested that I have several more vials of blood drawn to rule out a number of other things that it could possibly be, including Syphilis and Cat Scratch Fever.  All really fun things to consider might be pumping through your blood.  He did give me several different eye drops to reduce the inflammation and pain in my eye and they began to work almost immediately.  He also told me to see an OB while I was here just to make sure the baby was OK.

So, the next day saw me getting a high resolution ultrasound to make sure that I wasn't growing Nosferatu in my womb.  According to the tech she looked good and she very obligingly gave us what looked like the finger although it was hard to tell because at this point she's about as cramped as one of the slaves on Amistad.  After that fun little peek at our baby I was quite relieved to see that she seemed fine.  Next it was off the the regular OB where I was checked out and told that , holy bag 'O waters Batman, I am already 3cm dilated!  I tell ya, after popping out one baby, the ol cervix just aint the Fort Knox it used to be.

At some point during all of this doctor frenzy, my amazing husband arrived and it was a great comfort to me to have him accompany me to everything because up until that point I had been going it alone while family watched Ellie.  We still had to wait at least a week for all of the blood work to come back and in that time I was to see several more doctors.  This was to continue for the foreseeable future.  So we had a talk.  And after that talk it was mutually decided that I would stay here in Indiana to finish treatment with the wonderful team of doctors that I had begun with and deliver this baby as  a Hoosier.

Because my eye has to remain dilated, it is very sensitive to light.  Therefore I have become a pirate.  Arrrrrrrgh!

It's funny how life seems to always have a way of bring me full circle again and dropping me on the green doorstep of the cream house with the wraparound porch on Pennsylvania street.  When I got married I had been living with my parents at this house and that evening as I was getting my bags to leave for my new life with Jeremy, I looked around the house and began saying goodbye to everything.  Even the furniture.  Goodbye forever because that's what it felt like.  And now here I sit.  At the computer in the upstairs bedroom overlooking the American flag waving out the window and the blooming Dogwood blossoms and I can't help but feel a bit of nostalgia.  

After the hurricane when I had no home to return to, I came here.  When my Husband was deployed to Kuwait and our baby was only a few weeks old, I came here.  And now, when a little worm threatens to eat my eye during what I thought was a vacation, I AM here.  So here I stay.  And there is something comforting in that.  Something strangely comforting in the way the sofa is dented in the place where my Father's butt has resided for the better part of a decade, comforting in the way that I know all of the neighbor's names and they can all be found outside in the evenings sipping cold drinks as the sun sets over this flat, Midwestern landscape that I call home.  

After a week of waiting and one very painful amniocentesis to test the fluid for toxoplasmosis it has been determined that I DO have toxo, but it is neither in my blood nor in the amniotic fluid meaning that the baby does NOT have it.  The doctor believes that it is what's called congenital toxoplasmosis meaning my Mother gave it to me in utero and the spores have lain dormant for the better part of thirty years and now because my body is preoccupied growing another life; they thought it would be a good time to come out and wreak havoc on my optic nerve.  Thanks Mom, it's just like herpes, the gift that keeps on giving.

I have been put on several medications to deal with it because when it comes to my vision time is everything.  I am being closely monitored by three doctors and we are probably going to induce this little girl sometime next week.  In some ways I am sad about that because I wanted to know what it was like to go into labor on my own, but the majority of me says let's get her out so my body has one less thing to worry about and it can begin to heal my eye.  Because at this point, I have not regained any of the vision that I lost.  And that's OK.

I am thankful that I have two eyes and that one of them is still working just fine.  What I have learned so far is this:  No matter how much control we may think we have over our lives, it can all change in a moment.  At which point I was reminded of the serenity prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

It is the little things that keep me content.  Here we have all the fixings for a pleasant summer afternoon on the porch watching the birds make their nests.


Amanda said...

I love you, I love you, I love you! And even with a patch on your eye, you are still my most beautiful friend.

Lauren said...

Oh, I'm so sorry. I'm sorry for the stinky medical mess you are dealing with, I'm sorry your plans for bringing in baby were flipped topsy turvy, but mostly, I'm sorry that I don't have your amazing attitude and outlook on life.

orly said...

You are such an amazingly strong and beautiful woman. I can't wait for you to come back and I especially can't wait to meet this gorgeous baby. xoxo

monie said...

Hi Jill- I have been thinking about you ever since I read your post about the toxo. That is crazy, not fun stuff. I am happy to hear the baby is fine and hope you regain your vision soon. Good luck with your induction- who knows, maybe you will go on your own before that!

Anonymous said...

Wow ....

I have read your blogs since the begining ever since you started it way back when I found you from CCycle Chic. ..

a bit at a loss for words but just wanted to say sorry about all the medical issues, but God bless and all will come out OK. Sending good thoughts and karma and prayers your way.

(On a positive note -you make a darn cute pirate)

Mom Cooper said...

Jill, Amanda was telling me about your "trials and tribulations", I am so proud of you for the way you have handled the whole situation. My prayers have been with you and your baby that you would have a safe delivery and it sounds like that part was great. Congratulations on your new little one. I know you know that God was and is in control of everything, besides He probably just wanted another little Hoosier baby born!!!!

Take care of yourself.

Arlene, aka proudest Nana in the whole wide world.