Monday, November 19, 2012

9 more weeks. I can do it. I think.

So. Because the FFN is still negative and cervix is still closed there is really no reason to subject myself to bed rest. I can go to work as long as I feel like it, which is really just incredibly frustrating because I just don't know what each day will bring. If I go on family leave now I can get sick leave donated. Chances are I'm not going to get 9 weeks worth, let alone what I would need after the baby is born. But, if I keep trying to go to work and ending up at home or the hospital in the middle of the day, it will just be missed work and I won't get paid. I guess I'm just going to have to play it by ear and hope I can ignore these effing contractions for a few more weeks. I keep joking that when I want to go into labor I will certainly know what I need to do.

In other news, the holidays are becoming increasingly difficult. Flower of course wants to spend them with her bio-mom, which is so not happening, for a variety of reasons. I think we are also dealing with some trauma anniversary of hers because some of her behavior just seems like she is in pure survival mode. We ended up inviting some family friends with a large family (5 kids ages 10-22) to come have dinner at our house because their stove is broken and I am unable to cook anything more strenuous than boxed mac and cheese. The problem with that plan is that Flower recently stole a cell phone from one of the kids and they are feuding over it. I hated to put her in a position where she would feel judged and uncomfortable, but we aren't going to stop being friends and she will have to deal with it at some point. Usually when they are together they manage to get along so I'm hoping we can distract everyone with some fun outdoor games and we can avoid a major explosion. I guess we will see.

The other issue is that Sunshine, the 6 year old, is beginning to mimic almost all of Flower's worst behaviors. The last two days in a row she has been a screaming, raging mess. This is really, really unlike her. I don't know if she is just internalizing the stress of having a sick mom and hurting older sister, or if something worse is going on.

*Edited to add*

I had to stop typing because Flower came in from the backyard and then the Professor brought sunshine home from daycare. Sunshine seems much better today and was pretty well behaved for her, just some whining and enough defiance to cause some raised voices. Flower asked again about seeing her bio-mom today (I had already told her no) and fell apart when I said it wasn't happening. For a moment there I thought we were going to have a repeat of the night she was Baker Acted, but she managed to calm down and fell asleep. I have a feeling the holidays are going to be very, very rough. Poor Sunshine. I didn't realize that adopting a child with a traumatic background might very well ruin the holidays for her for life. I don't know that it would have changed my mind, but I feel really bad about taking that from her.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bed Rest, again.

Yesterday I was sure I was just overreacting, but at the same time was convinced something was wrong. I've been having mild period-like cramps for about 3 days. Since that is one of the common warning signs of pre-term labor in women without an irritable uterus, I was making note of it. Yesterday I started feeling more consistently crampy, along with the feeling that the baby had dropped and was pushing against my cervix. I wasn't having more contractions than usual but felt "off" enough that I decided to go to the hospital.

The nurse at labor and delivery who answered the phone was not willing to entertain the idea that I knew what I was talking about and insisted I follow the stupid protocol of drinking a ton of water and laying down for an hour. This may work with a normal pregnancy with early contractions, but with an irritable uterus drinking a lot of water is guaranteed to speed up and intensify the contractions. I didn't argue, though, because I was worried if I showed up not having frequent contractions they would just send me home without checking my cervix or fetal fibronectin. So I pretty much intentionally made the contractions worse. Stupid, I know, but that seems to be the price of dealing with the high risk hospital here. They are still entrenched in the idea that pregnant women are clueless about their bodies and must be guided to do the right thing. It aggravates the shit out of me and makes me long for a midwife and home birth.

So I waddled to the L&D triage with a very full bladder and one pissed off uterus. Because of this the contractions, which were disorganized, weak, and 7 minutes or more apart, became very regular, very strong, and 3 minutes apart. I didn't have the pills I was given to slow contractions with me at work so they gave me the first one at the hospital (vistril). After an hour with no change they gave me a shot of terbutaline and checked the cervix (still long and closed) and fetal fibronectin (still negative). Those last two were really what I wanted to know so I was happy that they were comfortable sending me home to rest after the terbutaline shot.

Unfortunately, because this was the third and worst episode at the hospital, I am now on bed rest until I see my doctor again. I'm not sure what she will want to do because I still have the cramps and my uterus is back to being easily irritated into contractions. I had a couple of weeks there where I was even able to run without setting them off, but now just standing will do it.

The only bright spot is that I am now at 30 weeks so the danger to the baby is not as great (still significant, though) and I only have a few more weeks of worrying about it. I am kind of hoping they tell me to stay home because I can now get sick leave donated, but only for extended absences. This pattern of missing a day of work every other week is wreaking havoc on my budget. I need to be all the way on or all the way off.

I do believe someone, somewhere, has cursed me that I may live in interesting times. Never a dull moment.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Post adoption services

First of all - it is high time that I came up with pseudonyms for everyone. I have always had trouble coming up with clever nick names so I've been using initials, but I find that to be pretty annoying and it's not very anonymous. So, I've given it some more thought and here is what I came up with.

Our Family:

K, age 6, AKA Sunshine

M, age 15, AKA Flower (Rose was a bad choice, I can't say why)

S, Hubby, AKA Professor (this is a joke on his personality, poor guy)

Dragon - currently a very feisty bump.

Ok - so now that I have that - and will probably change it again, back to my post.


I can't say enough good things about the post adoption support we have found. The original agency we adopted through, the one contracted with the state that handles all the adoptions, is absolutely horrible. It took over a year just to get a home study. Matching didn't take a crazy amount of time but the support and information we were promised never appeared. We were given lots of inaccurate information about Flower, we were promised records and explanations we never got, and we were promised tons of services that we never received. We went through 4 case workers in the 7 months it took to adopt her, 2 of those months were without any case worker at all. The therapist that was supposed to keep seeing her at home for 6 months after placement never showed up. We never got her records from California or got to talk to previous caregivers. I never complained because things were going pretty well and we just didn't think we needed all those things.

Now that the honeymoon period is over and we are in crisis, I am incredibly grateful that yet another agency is sub-contracted to handle post adoption support. They have been amazing. We now have an in home family therapist who can come to the house, a referral for a full psychological evaluation - which I have asked for repeatedly and never gotten, we are in the process of getting a different individual therapist for Flower that also comes to the house, and she will be able to see an actual psychiatrist instead of an nurse practitioner. We also have a case manager who can take Flower out to do things she enjoys and is willing to set up supervised visits with her biomom, taking me and the Professor out of that equation. I think that will make a huge difference because we can avoid the whole battle over when and how she sees her mom and siblings. I'm sure Flower will still argue that she should see her mom whenever she wants, but it will take a great deal of strain off of us, and if biomom is not being reliable the visits won't interfere with our plans. I'm not 100% sure the visiting thing will work out, but it gives me a lot more hope. Professor has only taken Flower on one visit and pretty much refuses to do it again, so all of the burden is on me, which right now is just not sustainable. I'm much less stressed knowing there are alternatives.

Things are looking hopeful. I'm sure we will still have lots of hurdles to overcome. The family therapist has mentioned residential treatment more than once. I'm really hoping it won't come to that because Flower doesn't need more separation, but at least there are now several more people in her corner, trying to get some workable solutions. School is becoming a big issue so the timing for intervention is very good. She came within a hair of being suspended and put on probation the other day. Once she starts down that road it's a pretty quick trip to an alternative school (basically reform school), and I just don't see that going well.

I really appreciate all the support and sympathy, please keep you fingers crossed that things will continue to improve.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Some things are better, some things are worse

Baby is still good. The fetal fibronectin came back negative again and last cervix check was good. I am limited to light office work but not on bed rest. The instructions I have are for "irritable contractions" and say to take the meds, lay down and wait 40 minutes. If they get worse I get another trip to L&D but we are mostly sure the baby will not be coming early. Mom will just be really uncomfortable and constantly freaked out. Very restful, no?

The situation with M (lets call her Rose) has gotten worse. Last Friday she got really angry so she broke a mug and cut her foot with the shards. Hubby (aka Baldy) got the shards away from her and told me to call the new therapist, who had wanted to know if she did any more self-injury. The therapist told us that we had to take her to the ER for evaluation. I REALLY did not want to resort to hospitalization. The last time she was hospitalized she lost her adoptive home (the people that kept all of her sisters). I think she went straight from inpatient back into foster care. She sees the hospital as the place where people send their kids when they are too much trouble and the parents don't want them anymore. But the therapist was right, we could not let her hurt herself. Baldy (I know, I'll come up with something better) took her to the hospital and after talking to her the staff admitted her to the behavioral health unit under a Baker act. For those not in my state that is a 72 hour involuntary commitment for psychiatric evaluation. We spent almost all day Saturday with her and was told she could go home Saturday night. The doctor got her confused with someone else and thought he had to get DCF clearance to release her, so she didn't actually get to go home until Sunday afternoon. Since then she has been pretty manic, pretty angry, and very defiant, but she hasn't hurt herself. We have a bunch of appointments to try to get to the bottom of this but I'm seeing a pretty rough road ahead.

Work is the only thing that is actually good news right now, surprisingly. 25 people lost their jobs yesterday in my division. I was not one of them. Not only did I not lose my job, I was given a permanent, benefited position!!!!!!!!!! I have sick leave!!!! And vacation!!!!!!! And healthcare if my husband loses his!!!!!!!! Best of all, I am now eligible to receive sick leave donations!!!!!! I won't be able to accrue enough leave to have any maternity leave, but if I get enough donations I can have 6 weeks paid leave. I won't have to wipe out my savings account. We may even be able to buy a new car.

What a crazy week this has been and it is far from over. I have some more to say about Rose but I'm not going to have time to finish this post so I'll update again when I get a chance.