Saturday, December 5, 2009

"It's hard to hold a candle in the cold November Rain" - Guns & Roses

It has been over a month and boy where does a pregnant lady even begin to start? There have been highs and lows, almost soap opera-like lows, but I'm just happy to be warm in my bed right now as I begin to tell you the series of events that were November. It started with my glucose test, yet another ultra sound, my wonderful baby shower, a family filled Thanksgiving, 7 month photo shoot, and ended with me in a car accident, then not 24 hours after being released from the hospital, I was back because my father had an accident at work. All this while being 7 months pregnant.

Glucose & Ultrasound...
I had to get a glucose test. Did you know that you can't have eaten 2 hours prior to the test, then when you get to the lab, they give you this sugar drink that you have to drink as fast as you can. When you finish the drink, the countdown starts, and you need to stay there for a whole hour, and they won't let you leave. Luckily for me, my Glucose test came out fine in the end.

I also went back for a followup ultrasound and the liquid space in the baby's brain has grown from 1.2 to 1.3. They said there is no issue, but still I wonder if that's because the baby is growing, or because they do not want me to worry... During the ultrasound, I was able to get an image of the baby's face. He looks sleepy, and I think he has my Asian eyes. :)


November 15th, 2009 came along and it was time for the much anticipated baby shower. Many people came; far more than the 5 people I had predicted. My sister had done a great job with the venue and keeping the party classy. Some of the Asian themed parts of the party included:
  • hand-made origami cranes made by me and Steph
  • personalized fortune cookies with fortunes like, "Javier & Shirley thought it fitting, that you would do all the baby-sitting"
  • Chinese food
  • Cupcakes with origami crane decorations


My sister and I were trying to coordinate a family-filled Thanksgiving by inviting our extended family from the East Bay, as usual. Again, as usual, it was like pulling teeth trying to figure out if our East Bay family would be able to attend (everyone has differing schedules). As Thanksgiving got closer, they had decided to stay in the East Bay for the festivities. On the other hand, it seems as though out of the blue, Javier's brother called to say that he would be coming for Thanksgiving. When I told Javier, he was genuinely surprised and happiness filled his face. If my own family is difficult to get together, then his brother is usually even harder.
A few days before Thanksgiving, my mother called me to tell me that practically everyone from the East Bay would be coming for Thanksgiving... AND their dogs. The total count on Thanksgiving day was 12 people, one baby, and seven dogs.

I even went to Petsmart to buy a muzzle and a gate to keep Qori away from the other dogs and prevent him from snapping and kicking their butts. While at the pet store, the clerk was pressing me to let him help me to my car. I continued to refuse. I'm not disabled... just pregnant.


We've been really bad keeping up with the monthly photo shoots. So bad in fact that before this 7 month photoshoot, the last shoot we did was the 4 month photo shoot. This 7 month almost didn't happen either. I woke up very lethargic and felt like I could be getting a cold. Standing in the position in the photo for more than a minute made my arms and legs very tired. We pushed and persevered, and now I have the 7 month memory....

The very last day of November came and I was scheduled to commute an hour and a half away to the city of Vacaville for a presentation. I was still pretty lethargic but wrote it off as typical pregnancy symptoms. I even felt weird during my 15 minute morning commute to South San Francisco, but didn't think too much about it. I had lunch at work, and prepped myself to begin my drive to Vacaville. I made it about 40 minutes to Pinole, when I began to feel a little weird. It was all very fast. I was in the fast lane of the freeway and pulled one lane over as soon as I began to feel weird. My intention was to pull over a few lanes more and pull over on the right emergency lane of the freeway. Unfortunately, I did not have enough time. I had only pulled one lane over when I blacked out. I assume that I was only unconscious for a few seconds, but in those few seconds my car must have steered back into the fast lane and hit the concrete center divider wall. I have a vague recollection of hearing the impact, but that is all. When I came to I saw that my car was still moving along the fast lane but there was scraping noise. I thought the body of my car was scraping against the cement wall, so once again I tried to pull over to the right. There weren't too many cars near me so I went for it. I ended up in the triangle between the merging lane and the freeway. My car would not go any further. I called 911, Javier, and my boss.
It turned out the sound of the scraping was not the body of my car, which surprisingly was not so bad. It was my wheel which was practically separated from the rest of the vehicle. I had pushed it too far trying to get to the right lane, but lucky for me, I made it. In the picture below, the wheel appears to be attached... trust me, it's not.

I've never considered myself lucky, but I've always felt like someone or something has been guiding me in life. That's why I love the Bible footprints story. There are many things that I am thankful for.
  1. The baby is perfectly fine
  2. I walked out of the wreck with barely a scratch on me (I didn't notice 3 scratches until 2 days later)
  3. No other cars were involved even though I was in the fast lane and I lost consciousness.
The police officer asked me if I had anything to drink, and had me to a test of following his finger with my eyes. Then Javier came to get me and drive me back home. After figuring out the details about towing my car, I checked myself into the hospital with my family. I felt so bad having put my family through so much stress. I was admitted to the labor and delivery department where the doctors checked on the status of the baby. He was rolling around perfectly fine. I imagined him in the womb saying, "Again!" after the accident. He was the only one conscious enough to know what actually happened.

After the baby was deemed in perfect health, and my blood work came through just fine, I was sent to the ER to try and see what had caused me to faint. My EKG came out fine, and the doctor was stumped. I saw worry in Javier's face; something could really be wrong with me. Was it my brain? The doctor was ready to release me when I mentioned that I had that funny feeling while reclined in my sister's car as she drove me to the hospital as well as when I was admitted to the hospital and the nurse laid me down to take my vitals.

He asked me to lay down on my back and he would be back in 10 minutes. When he came back, I was still feeling fine, so he began to speak of my release again. That's when it began, and I warned the doctor. He called the nurse to put me on the machines, but there wasn't enough time. I would black out any second, so he allowed me back into an upright position.

He apologized and told me that he would have me lay on my back again, this time hooked up to the machines. The feeling came back after a few minutes; the nurse had me lay on my left side, and I instantly felt better. She said, "it's the vena cava".

The baby was putting pressure on a major vein that supplies oxygen to the heart. In very rare cases, it causes blackouts. I looked it up online and think it's called supine hypotensive syndrome. I am so extra-sensitive that the baby caused me to blackout simply by sitting in my car while driving. The doctor joked that usually people blame the parents, but this is one case where we could blame the baby. I was admitted back to the labor and delivery department and kept overnight, sleeping only on my side.

In the morning I saw a prenatal specialist. Although he had all the paperwork from the night before, I guess he had to see it for himself. He had me lay on my back. The symptoms started in less than 10 minutes.

Before leaving, I was told to stay hydrated, wear loose clothing, sleep only on my side, avoid any reclined positions, have a little more caffeine in my diet, and finally not to drive. I emailed my job to let them know. I have been allowed to work from home for the rest of the pregnancy.


The night back from the hospital was very uncomfortable for me. I never noticed how much I laid on my back until I couldn't anymore. In the morning I was picking up the pieces of where I had left off before my accident. It hadn't even been 24 hours when my mother called me to check on me. She asked how I was, to which I responded that I was fine. She talked with me a bit, then it seemed out the blue she calmly said, "I just wanted to let you know that I am at the hospital again, your dad had an accident at work but his is here lucid and talking to me just fine."

"What?!!!!! What happened?" I literally felt my blood pressure rise and my heart rate go up.

"He was in the back of a truck tightening a load when a driver accidently got into the wrong truck because he was being rushed and took off, and your dad fell out of the back of the truck, hit his head and blacked out. He has a couple of staples in his head and some stitches on his elbow, and his body is aching, but he is OK."

Eventhough I couldn't drive anymore, I called Javier and we went back to the hospital. My dad seemed of low spirits when I walked into his room. However about an hour later, when the Vicodin fully kicked in, he began acting like his usual self. My dad, like me, would need to be kept in the hospital over night. He still had some bleeding in his brain that had to be monitored. However, my dad would recover and did not require surgery. Once we heard the good news, we were a little more relaxed. My dad and I spent less time in hospitals than the rest of the family. We were not accident prone types, so it was so odd that we dropped like flies within 24 hours of each other. I held up my hand, which still had my medical band on it, and placed in next to my father's..... for the memories.

The next day, my father was released from the hospital after confirming via CAT scan that the blood in his brain had completely disappeared. Now he is focusing on the latest topic: everything that his company had done wrong during the emergency. After the fall, they made him walk around instead of waiting for the ambulance, he had been admitted to the wrong clinic, then the wrong hospital, and the company never called my mother about the emergency, although they call all the time to ask my father to work overtime. After being released from the hospital, his company wanted him to come back to fill out paper work. He did not. Then he began getting conflicting calls from the company, the union, his lawyer, etc. The company wanted him to come for a follow-up appointment and not see his primary physician; the union wanted him to go see his primary physician. He decided not to go to the clinic.

We do not know what will happen next, but my father for the time being has the week off.

Meanwhile I had to hitch a ride to the hospital for my followup appointment. I needed to do even more blood work and need to get a shot because of my special blood type. Depending on other people for a car ride is going to be VERY hard for me. I've always been self-sufficient. Now the person at Petsmart doesn't seem so bad...