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Canyon’s Eyes



Holding Canyon

Last night they kicked me out of the hospital. I really think that I needed another day in the hospital because I am in so much pain, but the insurance company gives you three days for a c-section and you are out the door!
It was emotional leaving. The nurses made me a card and a diaper tower and came to say goodbye. The discharge papers had the saddest saying ever, “Discharged Without Baby.” Ugh.
We went down to hang out with Canyon for a few hours. He has progressed to breathing without the tube and it was fun to see his nose. Then the nurse dressed him up in a little hat and t-shirt and let me hold him!



He is very, very light! They let me take the little t-shirt home. I am not ashamed to say that I snuggle with it.


Best Hopeful Story I Have Heard Yet!

I have been hearing from so many friends and friends of friends about success stories of babies born around the same time as Canyon. They all help me so much! This one came from my Aunt Debby and it makes me really hopeful…

I have to tell you about when my husband was born. Now remember this was almost 60 years ago, before there were such things as neonatal hospital stays. He was born July 11 at home and was so small they put him in a cigar box and kept him on the woodstove door to keep him warm. They didn’t even fill out his birth certificate until the 16th of July (Which would be my birthday 4 years later.) Look how big he turned out with out all the gizmos and gadgets to help Canyon grow into a big strong boy.

Here’s Canyon in his Batman blinders and his first pacifier!


Canyon Jay Viets-Strel

Plans change fast here in the hospital. At 6:30pm I sat down with my doctor and mapped out the plan to keep me in the hospital for 5 more weeks. By 7:30pm I started going into labor.

Canyon Jay Viets-Strel was born at 4:06am on February 21st, 2009. He was almost 2.5 months early! He is 2lbs, 12.8 ounces. He has curly blond hair. He is tiny. He is adorable. He will be in the hospital until at least the end of April.




I will write out the full story later. I had a rough C-section and lost a great deal of blood so I have been having a rocky recovery. John is here with me in the hospital and I am slowly getting up and around. We take me in the wheel chair to visit Canyon. I will post some video soon!

Please keeps us in your thoughts and prayers. It is hard to see your baby in a little incubator. I just want to hold him!


I Present To You…The Potty Chair!

So. The first 8 days in the hospital were 100% bed rest. And if you eat and drink in bed there are a few natural functions that follow, also in bed. Yes, the dreaded bed pan. Oh the humiliation and discomfort of a bed pan. I have emotionally scarring stories that I just don’t think I am ready to share yet and you know what, you probably don’t need to hear them. Just know that they are there.
But on Day 9 I got permission for this…the greatest thing ever…the Portable Commode!


I call it the Potty Chair because when I sit on it my feet don’t touch the ground and swing them like a 4 year old.
Oh the freedom it provides! It means that I am allowed to get up and walk the few feet to the chair whenever I want. And from the chair I can look out the window and see the skyline of Chicago. The night time view is the best but I can’t seem to get a good picture of it.

My next goal is to stick it out long enough to get approval for the occasional seated shower. I am still on the washcloth bath plan. Once a day they set me up in bed with 2 pans of water, wash cloths, towels and my bucket of bath products. I like to pretend that I am a mermaid on a rock, sunning myself as I bathe. Yes I know mermaids live in water and don’t really bathe but the imagery works for me, OK? I never get to wash my hair. They washed my hair on Day 3. It’s Day 13. Yep. It’s a total pain for them to wash my hair so I haven’t asked. They have to unplug everything from the bed, roll me away from all electrical outlets and then set up the pan system to wash and rinse while I lay awkwardly over the side. I am reaching the point where I will need to ask for them to do it once it’s not so busy on the floor. They have been slammed for the last few days which is great if you want to be left alone to smuggle in your dog but sucks if you need a nurse to take 45 minutes out of her day to wash your head.

After bath time I lean back on a chair while they give me clean sheets and pillowcases. That’s the best time of day here-sliding into a clean bed with a clean body.


Reunited And It Feels So Good

For eleven days we tried to go through official channels to get a Lilo visit. Denied. It was breaking my heart. I felt bad because the nurses would catch me crying and knew it was about Lilo. It got to the point where I couldn’t look at photos of her, talk about her or think about her without sobbing hysterically.

So tonight was the night. John tried a duffle bag, a carry on suitcase and finally settled on the big black suitcase. He did a trial run around the house and then waited for my call. I got sick tonight and almost backed out but then at 10pm the nurse said she would see me again at midnight. “So I won’t see you until Midnight? Unless I call, right? Midnight?” “Yes, midnight.” They were super busy with new patients so odds were good no one would stop by my room to check in.

Awesome. John and Lilo got in the car and were here by 10:30.




For about 50 minutes Lilo and I snuggled, talked, gave each other kisses. It was perfect. I got to explain what was happening and she got to see that I was alright. I know it had to be confusing for her because John would come home from our visits smelling like me. He started bringing home my t-shirts and pillowcases so that Lilo could sleep on them. The fact that Lilo would sleep on my clothes to be closer to me just destroyed me.

It was time to go. She wanted to stay with me. But she got back in.
She took it like a trooper.

Now I need to flip over my white blanket to hide the dog hair!

I feel so much better now. Now that we know how to do it we will try again in a few days.


The Rage Subsides…

I was right, as soon as I fell asleep the dietician showed up. Luckily, it was the woman I met with when I was first diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I told her about the food options I was being given and how I felt that I was not being given the proper tools to fast track the baby or manage my health. I explained the carbs, high fructose corn syrup, lack of veggies, etc. She totally agreed with me and put on my chart that I could have my own food brought in. She also went through the hospital food options and reworked my meal plans to include more fruit, soy milk and vegetables. When we were discussing the horrors of the white bread/mayo/processed cheese sandwich that I was served every day she explained that the afternoon snack was hard because I couldn’t have turkey lunch meat which is what they usually serve. I said, “ummm, I have been fed turkey lunchmeat at least once a day for the first 8 days I was here.”
“What? Pregnant ladies can’t have lunch meat because of the listeria!”
I was all like, “That’s what I thought, but I assumed I was wrong because it was the hospital! In fact, I was given one just last night!” She couldn’t believe it and I told her to go have a look in the unit fridge. “I bet all the pregnant ladies are getting turkey.” (They were).

So she leaves and the head of the unit comes in and we go over what just happened. He also totally agreed and commended me on being proactive with my care. Awesome. Then my nurse comes back in and is apologetic for denying me my yogurt. But actually, the fact that she took the time to ask the dietician to come in to see me was great and worked out so well for me. She could have just gone on a power trip but instead she did have my best interest at heart and helped me out. She even went into the fridge and individually labeled my food with the labels from my chart so it was really clear what was mine! We have bonded now. And she sounds just like Ms. Swan on Mad TV. Before she sticks me with the needle she goes, “ooooh, here comes the prick!” And when I asked to take my wash cloth bath she says, “It’s time for washy washy!”

The rest of the day dragged on and on. There was some drama with the woman in the room next door who I call Madea-she is so loud and annoying and constantly buzzes for the nurses. Well she was being relocated (yay!) and was just giving everyone a hard time. I like it when the other patients are annoying because it makes me look even nicer.

I did have some kind of horrible reaction to dinner (note to self-do not order the hospital salmon) and spent a good chunk of the evening vomiting into a trash can and clutching my tummy in pain. Of course this sets off all kinds of labor/infection red flags but I was pretty sure it was just stress and salmon. Which it was because I feel fine now. Maybe I feel fine because of the awesomeness of my special, secret visitor who I will discuss in my next post!


Oh The Rage….

Let me preface this rant with a little background. Last night I had to deal with nurses who couldn’t do anything without completely illuminating the room (even though there is enough ambient light through the window to read by) so every few hours someone would knock on the door, turn on all the lights and proceed to poke and prod me. Most nurses manage to do this with enough skill that I barely notice them-not these ladies. Then they completely wake me again at 6am, followed by no less than 2 doctors and two students at 6:30am. Then I can’t go back to sleep and decide I might as well stick it out until breakfast at 7:30am.

Then my nurse for the day shows up and I have to control my urge to scream-it’s my least favorite of the women. Why is she my least favorite? Because one day she forgot me on the bed pan and I had to sit in pee for about ten minutes before I finally wiggled to the call button and got someone else. It was uncomfortable and humiliating and yes, I hold a grudge. So I get her for the next 8-12 hours. Fine. So she says my breakfast is here, but they need to adjust my insulin so she will wait to give it to me. Fine. Whatever. Thirty minutes later she brings the tray and tries to hand me the needle. I don’t shoot myself up, sorry. Then I ask nicely for my organic yogurt from the fridge and she refuses to bring it to me-stating my 2400 calorie diet. I said, “Yes I know I am on a 2400 calorie diet but I have talked to all of my doctors and got approval to keep some nutricious food in the fridge on the unit so I can actually eat something that is not white bread, cookies or processed cheese. She refuses, saying that I can only eat the hospital food. I try to stop myself from crying and explain that I have been told by no less than three doctors that this is cool and have not had a problem any day so far. She says, “NO. It’s for your own good. I will see if the dietician will see you.” And that was 45 minutes ago. I am so pissed I can barely breathe. My options today for breakfast would have allowed me to order french toast, pancakes-all kinds of high calorie, high carb crap. Instead I just asked for 1/2 cup of scrambled “egg” a box of Cheerios (60 calories) and a piece of wheat toast-planning on supplementing this with my yogurt. WTF?

I am tired, I am crabby, I am depressed, I can’t see my dog and I am trying to fast track a baby here on food I wouldn’t feed the dog I am not allowed to see. I calculated my servings of fruit and vegetables a day since being in the hospital. I get a banana in the morning, a 1/2 cup of vegetables for lunch and a 1/2 cup of vegetables for dinner. That is barely 3 servings of vegetables! And some days the vegetable option is CORN! CORN, people!

And you know what else they push up here on the old Prenatal Surveillance Unit? Ambien. The sleeping pill Ambien is on permanent order. I took it three times, assuming that the old hospital wouldn’t prescribe something that could be harmful to little unborn babies. Then I hallucinated one night (which was actually really, REALLY FUN) and thought I should do a little research. Ambien isn’t really approved for pregnant women. It’s not NOT approved, but nowhere did I see anybody post that it was a good idea. It’s kind of an unexplored wild card. So as much as I would LOVE to sedate myself into a glittery hallucinatory haze for the next umpteen weeks I would kind of like to not drug up poor little premature Canyon.

OK. Still hysterical. And while I am at it, they are supposed to help you wash your hair every 3 or 4 days. This is day 11 and they have washed my hair once. I might as well just give in to the dream of dread locks that I have had since college. And yesterday they didn’t even change my sheets or let me wash up! I am being charged a fortune to be a dirty, bed bound, nutritionally deprived prisoner.

ps-the only way I know what I look like is to take a picture. Nice.


It’s been over an hour since the dietician was called. I am going to just say fuck it and go to sleep. Which means they will show up 10 minutes from the time I actually am asleep…