Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It's Official! (warning: long post)

Yep...I am officially back to work after 9 years of being a stay at home Mom. I've been asked if I really want to do this and my answer every time is, "YES!".

Going back 9 years....
It only takes ONE event to make you become a stay at home Mom...the complicated birth of a daughter....
When I was pregnant with Kacey, I'd been teaching preschool for nearly 8 years. I had a very rough pregnancy. When I was 6 months pregnant with her I went into early labor. They were able to put me on medication to keep me from dialating but it never took away the contractions. It just kept them from being regular. My last few weeks of pregnancy were spent in and out of the hospital and doctor's office. A month before my due date, Feb 2000, I hadn't felt Kacey move in over 24 hours. I called the doctors office twice that day and they reassured me it was because she was "big" and "the space in there was tight". In my heart I knew something else was wrong. That evening I was nearly in a state of panic and I called the emergency line to my doctor. He called me back and said that if it would make me feel better then go on to the hospital and let them hook me to the monitor and make sure things were okay. I didn't hesitate and we were on our way to the hospital 45 minutes away. Normally if I jiggled my tummy then Kacey would push back but there was nothing. No pushing foot. No pushing hand. No head banging around in there. We got to the hospital and I explained my problem and they immediately took me into the room and hooked me up. The nurse began to move the monitor around. I could see the look on her face was one that was disturbed. She called for the head nurse. She began moving the monitor. She had an even more disturbed look. I then rallied the courage to say "What's wrong?" and she looked at me and said "We can't find a heartbeat." I immediately went into a hysterical cry. I was 8 months pregnant...managed to keep her inside me 2 months longer than my body really wanted her in....and now THIS? Within a few minutes, they found a faint beat. There were 3 nurses in there calming me. One of them immediately gave me 2 cans of apple juice to drink as fast as I could. The beat got stronger and they kept me overnight. They tried to tell me that it was a "bad monitor" and the baby was fine. I begged the doctor to run more tests because I really did think there was something more wrong. He just passed it off as me being a paranoid Mom (which btw, really pissed me off!) I was released to go home and over the span of 2 weeks, Kacey would stop moving for a period of a few hours and I'd cry for hours after because I'd had a baby before and I knew that I could make her move if I wanted her to. On March 8, 2000 I woke up and felt "funny". I called into work and told my boss I wasnt feeling well but we didnt have anyone to cover my class so I told her I would try to come in. Because I'd had contractions over the last 3 months, feeling the cramps were nothing out of the ordinary for me. I taught preschool that day! Worked from 7am to 3pm. Went to get Kayleigh from school at 3:30pm. On the way home, I got a sick stomach. I was beginning to wonder if maybe I was coming down with the flu! I was off all my medications and it never occured to me that this might be labor. Kayleigh and I got home at 4pm and she started homework while I went to get a bath. A warm bath always relaxed me. As I layed there in the bath, the pain started to get worse and I realized the pains were coming every 8 minutes or so. Could this be? Nah! I still have 2 weeks! I'm not due til March 18th! I got out of the bath and thats when I knew that it was labor for sure. I knew Frankie was on his way home from work (we didn't have cell phones then). I called my doctor and told him that the pains seemed to be every 7-8 minutes. His words, "Why arent you on your way to the hospital?" LOL! Frankie came home, got a shower and we were on our way! As we were driving, Kayleigh shouts from the backseat, "I'm hungry!" Oh yeah...I was so wrapped up in pain that I forgot to feed her! Frankie hadn't eaten either soooooo... with contractions every 6 minutes by now, Frankie pulls through the McDonald's drive thru to get them something to eat. Haha! And yes...he told them to hurry because his wife was in labor! *giggles* It wasn't funny at the time, but it is now. We make the journey to the hospital 45 minutes away. My Mom met us there and already had a wheelchair waiting. I was already pre-registered so everything was a go! I was scheduled for the epidural this time. I tried natural when I had Kayleigh but couldn't manage the pain so they made sure I got it this time. After I got the epidural, the pain started to dull, but the numbness started to move up my tummy. It moved all the way to my neck and I felt my entire chest tingling. I started to cough. It was one of those nagging coughs like when an asthma attack is coming on. Within a few minutes, I blacked out. I was out for about 10-15 minutes (from what I was told). I woke up with an oxygen mask on, still very pregnant, and everything around me fuzzy. My doctor was at my side holding my hand and my husband was on the other side holding the other hand. I was dialated a 10 and still not comprehending what just happened. My doc reassured me that I was okay and it was time to push. As I began to push, I felt the pain. Yes....PAIN! Holy cow! I am NOT spose to be feeling this pain because I have the epidural. Thats when I was told the epidural was shut off. I had an allergic reaction to it which caused my blood pressure to drop to 60/44 ....yep, they had to save me before they could save the baby! As I pushed, the monitor that was watching Kacey would start to beep like some insane machine. Her heart rate would drop with every push. She was in the birth canal and there was no turning back now...no time to do a c-section...and I remember the doc shouting at the nurse "Silence that monitor! We have to get this baby out NOW!" Forceps....as my doc pulled...he realized Kacey was stuck...her airway was being cut off and if he didn't do something fast, we'd lose her! ***graphic so if queezy stop reading*** He reached inside and pulled the embilical cord out before her, clamped and cut it and then reached back in to slip the cord from around her neck....then immediately forcep delivering her. My Mom was standing over in the corner taking pictures of delivery and she had no idea what she was capturing. The first picture of Kacey, limp in my doctors hands, blue, not breathing...yes basically a dead baby. He tossed her to the neonatal team that was on standby waiting. Tubes were shoved everywhere and her airways were cleared and opened. As my doc finished things up with me, I was crying and asking if she was okay? There was no crying, I didnt see her moving. For the 2nd time, I thought I'd lost my baby! And then I heard it, something that sounded like a mouse squeak. She was breathing....she was trying to cry...and I saw the look of relief on everyones faces. The nurse brought her over for me to see, I held her briefly and then she was taken down to the neonatal unit. Everyone followed and I was left in the room with my doctor and a nurse. My doc then left and came back with Frankie. He asked if we minded if he had prayer? What? My doc wants to pray? Huh? I was confused and I replied with "Yes, but why?" and thats when he explained just how close Frankie was to losing not only me, but our daughter as well! Overwhelmed, I cried during the prayer as my doctor thanked God for giving us this angel. The head nurse walked back in the room with 2 poloroid pictures in her hand. One for me and one for the new big sister, Kayleigh. She told me that they were not sure just how bad things were but they would keep me posted. How bad? Were things still bad? She looked perfect on the outside! I wasn't allowed to get up because of the epidural reaction. It wasn't until nearly 10 hours later, that I actually got to cuddle my new daughter for the first time! I remember unwrapping her and counting her fingers and toes...10 of each! The pediatrician came in after making her rounds that morning. She asked Frankie to sit down as she spoke to us. "You realize that the cord was around Kacey's neck 3 times?" THREE TIMES?!?! No I wasnt aware of that! "She went on to explain that my doctor had said that we had some complications while I was pregnant with her not moving and now they think she has it wrapped for quite some time inutero" WHATTTTTTTTTT???? I wanted to scream! I explained that I'd told them I knew something was wrong, but I just didn't know what :( So she went on to tell us that they were not sure how much brain damage was done, but she was breathing on her own, her heart sounded good, she was moving around and she knew how to suck already. It wouldnt be until she was 2 that they would be able to tell us just how much damage because that was when she'd be hitting those developmental milestones. Being told your child may not be "normal" was one of the hardest things I'd ever heard (until the diabetes diagnosis). We stayed in the hospital for 3 days. During those few days, Frankie and I discussed what we'd been told and we decided how we would handle things. Because I'd been at my job for almost 8 years, I had quite a bit of vacation saved up. I was going to use that vacation and be paid for being on maternity leave. During that time, I would get all the bills we had paid off so we only had basic bills. Those basic bills were something Frankie could pay on his own and I would make the heartbreaking decision to be a stay at home Mom. It took me 3 weeks to work up the nerve to quit. I loved my job (wasn't crazy over the people I worked with) but I loved being in the classroom. I'd shut my class door and I entered my own little world with a room of 20-22 preschoolers. How would I tell my boss? How would I tell my class? How would I deal with the parents? What about all the materials in the classroom with my name on them? I was so scared but at the same time, I knew my baby needed me. I knew Kayleigh needed me. Three weeks into my maternity leave, my boss called me at home to see how Kacey was doing. I got choked up trying to tell her what I was thinking about doing. I wasn't sure what our future held with Kacey. I knew the place I worked for couldn't deal with having a "handicapped" child in the infant room. My place was at home with Kacey. After telling her I wouldn't be returning to teach, I'd be returning to gather my things...it took me about 20 minutes to compose myself. I called Frankie to tell him I'd quit. I felt like a burden had been lifted but I was still scared of the months to come. As the months passed, Kacey started to exceed the milestones. She was even passing them early! At her 2 year check up, her pediatrician told us she was "perfect!" Our angel was perfect! There was no brain damage at all and she was healthy! My decision to be a stay at home mom didn't come easy but I knew it was what I had to do. I had to be there for my kids...both of them. As the years have gone by, I don't regret that decision one bit. I've been able to attend field trips, special lunches, help in the school and be there for both girls in every way I could.
This pic was the first pic of Kacey ever taken. Notice how blue/grey she is! She wasn't breathing!

This pic of Kacey was taken the day we left the hospital. She had the prettiest color!

When Kacey was diagnosed with diabetes, I went though all those emotions all over again. Only this time, I didn't have the burden of a job hanging over my head. I was able to care for Kacey in every way without the stress of that. Not many parents are fortunate enough to be home with their kids when they are little and I was blessed to be home for 9 years! When Kacey started back to school in Sept, I felt like I needed to be close by so I ended up volunteering just about every day. This really sparked my "teaching fire" again and made me want to be back in the classroom. I felt more alive than I had in years! I mentioned this to one of the other teachers and she suggested me being a substitute. I tossed the idea around and then made the decision to go to the substitute training class. After taking the class, I knew thats what I wanted!

Well, today I got my photo ID badge and had my fingerprints done for the background check. It's official! I'm so excited :) Next Wed and Thurs are my first days in the classroom. I shadow a teacher both days. I already know the teacher ;) so I'm going to pop in on her tomorrow and let her know! This job is ideal for me...I will still have the flexibility to work whatever days I want and yet still have that time with the girls when they need me.

Life is really good right now! :)

5 comments:

Caitlin Nichols said...

Wow, that's awesome Jill! This is pretty exciting!

Jill said...

Thanks Caitlin! I'm so excited :) I can work at any of the schools in G-town but I told them I just wanted Kacey's school for now. I figured if I'm gonna be up at her school all the time, why not be paid for it ;) How's Hawaii life? Your Mom and Dad doing good?

Talk to ya soon!

Cara said...

I'm so glad for you. :) I know all about the "teaching fire". I miss the classroom sooo much. I was at church in my Sunday school (Wednesday school????) tonight. I love my kids and it makes me miss teaching!

Lynnea said...

Oh how wonderful. It's always a blessing to feel alive like that!! And to be in Kacey's school..AND get paid....you hit the jackpot!

Also..one of my girls was born with a cord wrapped around her neck twice and her belly once. Thankfully I delivered her fast...she was still whisked away.... but she went on to have reflux and "gagging" issues. She would vomit nearly every time I nursed, and at least once a day for the first two years. I remember that time being hard, but man it's nothing in comparison to diabetes!

Jill said...

Lynnea~ Kacey had reflux too!! Wow I wonder if that stems from something like the cord being wrapped? And you know...come to think of it...Kacey has "issues" with anything being around her neck. OMG! I never thought about that! She wont wear any shirts or sweaters that have high neck. She wont wear necklaces and the only way I got her to wear her diabetes necklace was to put it on a longer chain. Shes got a bracelet now :) LOL that all probably stems back to birth! She also had colic :( So she puked and cried alot! LOL that was my deciding factor when I was asked "Don't you wanna try for a boy?" Haha! No thanks! Then she had problems with febrile seizures til she was about 3. Whew! Then we were hit with diabetes :( So call me selfish, but I'm thankful I didn't have anymore. I'm lucky to have her and Kayleigh so my baby days are over ;) I laugh though because I had them young and now many of my friends are hitting their 30's and just having kids and I have one in high school and one 1/2 way through elementary school and by the time they both graduate I will only be 41!