Because why even have a blog if you can’t write chatty posts while stuck in the hospital?

April 7, 2013 | 75 comments

The rooms here are gorgeous. It’s like being at a hotel where they stab you with needles.

I’m sitting in my hospital room and have about 18 hours to kill until anything noteworthy occurs, so I thought I’d do a brain dump of updates for those of you playing along at home (if one more crazy thing happens I half expect to hear someone shout, “BINGO!”).

Here’s what’s new:

– As I mentioned on Twitter, I had The Insane-O Vein Procedure on Friday, but did NOT get a filter. The doctor realized that my lumbar veins are huge, so there’s no point in putting a filter in that one main vein — my heart and lungs still wouldn’t be protected, since clots could just go through the other veins. So it’ll be a filter-less delivery.

– Unfortunately this realization occurred after the tube with the filter was down right by my heart, so I underwent the entire procedure.

– Here is my verdict on whether or not the filter placement procedure is “no big deal”: LIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ahem. Allow me to explain: If you are not nine months pregnant while having it done, I’d imagine that it is indeed no sweat. But here’s how it goes when you are nine months pregnant:

They took me into a huge surgical room that was stocked with equipment like it was a NASA control center. I had to lie completely flat on a narrow board. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? But wait! Remember that I am 38 weeks pregnant and my breathing is already compromised from pulmonary embolisms. So when I lie completely flat on my back, the result is that I feel like I am suffocating (and, in fact, I kind of am). Then they put oxygen tubes in my nose. Logically, I knew that this would help me get air; but when you have foreign objects in your nose, your body has a physiological reaction of thinking that you’re being prevented from breathing. So more signals from my body that basically said, “HEEEEEELP! YOU ARE SUFFOCATING TO DEATH!!!!!!”

And then it got worse.

Because they had to go in through my neck, they took a large roll of tarp-like paper and covered the entire area around the entry point, leaving only a hole where they’d do the incision. You know what part of my anatomy is included in the “entire area” around the entry point? My freaking face. They put a circular bar above my head for the paper to rest on so it wouldn’t touch my face, then covered me to the top of my head, leaving only a small opening where I could see out. It was like being zipped into a body bag.

So now I had: 1) a heavy baby basically sitting on top of my 2) already-compromised lungs, 3) my hands were immobilized by my side, 4) foreign objects stuffed in my nose, and 5) my head was covered by a tarp that was just inches away from my face. Did I mention that I’m 6) very claustrophobic?

The result? Total freak-out.

Now, for all of you who’d been praying for me, this is one of the many ways I believe that your prayers worked: As I whined about mentioned, this procedure was supposed to be done in a hospital with no labor and deliver facility, which means they would refuse to give me any sedation whatsoever. At the very last minute (last minute as in 6:00 PM the day before the procedure), a bunch of craziness played out that moved it to being with a new doctor at my usual hospital. These folks were much more comfortable with everything since this is where my OB is, and so they had no problem giving me plenty of sedation.

The drugs didn’t knock me out, but they made me feel like it was just delightful to be suffocating to death. If I hadn’t had them, I am certain that I would have had a full-on panic attack. It was truly one of the most terrifying moments of my life.

Hospital bling, part 1

– The night before the procedure we were watching One Man Army, a reality show where men compete in various tests of strength and endurance to see who has the most elite warrior skills. There was a challenge where the guys had to use a hacksaw to get out of a small box while it was filling with cold water. The hacksaw part wasn’t hard; the test was to see if they could keep their wits about them even while it felt like they were drowning in a coffin.

I commented to Joe that I’d like to try that sometime (in safe conditions like the reality show contestants were in, obviously). Sort of like how some people like to undertake physical challenges that test their limits like marathons and mountain climbing and all that other stuff that cannot be done from a desk chair and therefore I know nothing about, I sometimes I like to test myself psychologically. Like, I always thought it would be interesting to be water-boarded for a couple of minutes. I wondered if I would be able to reason my way out of any suffering, and I’d be all like, “See, I’m chill! I used the power of LOGIC to tell myself that there is no real danger here and I’m not really drowning, so therefore I’m juuuuuuuust fine.”

I got my opportunity to have a small taste of all that on Friday during the procedure, and now I know: I would be the biggest, most hysterical, freaking-out wimp in the world in any of those situations. If it is even possible to keep calm when you have multiple physiological indicators screaming at out that you’re suffocating, it is far, far beyond my capacities.

– Anyway. What else?

– I’m reading In the Heart of the Sea, the ultimate book for making you say no matter what your life circumstances, “Well. It could be worse.”

– I’m here in the hospital a day early so that I can be on IV heparin (blood thinners).

– It’s evidently quite a remarkable thing to have a patient on heparin in labor and delivery. The L&D nurses keep having to run over to other parts of the hospital to get supplies, since it’s rare that anyone would ever want a woman’s blood thinned any time near childbirth.

Hospital bling, part 2

– When the nurse finished getting me set up, she paused before leaving and said, “I’m so sad for you that nobody’s here with you!” I got some comments along those lines when I was in the hospital for the pulmonary embolisms too: I was here for quite a few days, and was alone the majority of the time. It was all fine with me. I didn’t watch TV either. I was totally happy to read and lie around in silence by myself. This isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time?

– We’ll stop blood thinners tomorrow (Monday) morning, and then we’ll induce labor. I’ll have to be totally immobile since I’ll need these crazy boot things on my legs to try to prevent clots from forming, so THE EPIDURAL HAD BETTER WORK THIS TIME (I thought the Epidural Fates might be able to hear me better if I used caps lock there).

I’ll post updates as I’m able, probably on Twitter first. St. Michael the Archangel is my patron for the year, so I trust that he’ll have my back. Thanks again for all your prayers and support!


  1. Colleen Martin

    Oh Jen, I’m so glad you were able to get some medication to help that horrible procedure. Your baby better be the perfect child or he’s going to hear a lot of “do you have any idea what you put me through?” Can’t wait to hear the happy baby news!

  2. Claire

    Praying that everything goes OK, Jennifer, and look forward to “meeting” a new Fulwiler on Conversion Diary!!

  3. Kira

    I’m sorry, I know this just reveals the smallness of my soul, but I envy you your hours of solitude in the hospital. In. the. hospital. I’m just repeating that for my own sake so I can see how stupid a thing that is to say.
    I will pray for you, and work on my small souledness, I promise.

  4. Amelia

    Prayers for you! I would be having a major panic attack during that insane vein procedure as well. So, since they didn’t put the filter in, was the whole procedure for naught?? That would be awful!

  5. Gina

    Arrgh, that sounds awful! Thank God you came through it okay! And God bless sedatives. πŸ˜‰

  6. Bonnie

    I know what you mean about being in the hospital alone. Everyone thinks it must be awful not to have people there, but in all honesty, last time I was in the hospital (broke my ankle falling down the stairs and needed surgery) I just wanted everyone to go home so I could REST. You will have enough to do with the new baby and all the chaos at home in the next few weeks (with it being tax time to boot) so right now you probably could close your eyes and easily imagine you’re at a Club Med (no kids allowed!) for a couple of days. You’re in my prayers and know that on this Divine Mercy Sunday, it’s all about “Jesus, I trust in you.” He really has you in His hands.

    • Danielle M.

      Oh I hear you!! With my 4th induction, I told my DH not to show up until I called him, I knew we had hours ahead of us, and I knew he loved to tell me (from looking at the monitor) when I was having a big contraction, as if I didn’t know. It all drove me nuts. I had a successful epidural, a good book, some music I enjoyed and a few hours of peace before I called him. Ignore the nurses (I did), sometimes it is nice to have some solitude. Prayers for you through all of this and looking forward to happy baby news.

  7. oni

    Enjoyed reading this, I can somehow relate – pregnant in the hospital with other health issues, to the point now that I think I am Nosocomephobia!

    You are in my prayers.

  8. Amanda

    Lots of love and prayers headed your way! You yell at those Epidural Fates all you want =)

  9. elizabethe

    Oh, Jen, I have been praying for you non-stop.

    I have the same reaction to being in the hospital for pregnancy and recovery, woohoo, alone time!

    In fact, for my first baby, beloved family came to visit and I was like “get these people out of here! It stressed me out so much.

  10. Julie

    I have been praying for you and will continue to do so! Given everything you went through on Friday, I hope your delivery is extra boring/uneventful. (As much as it can be for someone in your situation!)

  11. Considerer

    Sounds like awesome fun. At least you have your devoted audience here willing you on, sending prayers and best wishes and waiting with bated breath for good news. Loving the bling – keep being fabulous.

  12. Jeanmarie

    Praying for you, new baby and the entire Fulwiler family!

  13. Angela

    I’ve been praying for you all week, as I had my 5th C-section on Good Friday. Not something I ever look forward to, but at least nobody tried to cover my face!!! I can’t believe that you are reading In the Heart of the Sea right now, though; it’s sitting on my shelf but I keep putting it off because after reading the first few pages, I think I need to feel a little more fortified to tackle the rest of it! Before I went into the hospital I ended up stocking my Kindle with nerdy books about books instead. Because I am a weenie.

  14. MrsEWP

    This verse came to mind when you mentioned being alone in the hospital:

    “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1

    All of your heavenly friends surround you and are interceding for your endurance, perseverance, and peace — as are your Internet friends.

  15. Christine

    Scary stuff!
    Sounds like you did pretty well…considering.
    Glad that is over!
    Enjoy some peace and quiet.

  16. melissa

    I prayed for you during Divine Mercy Chaplet today for a safe delivery for you and your son. I will pray tomorrow that all goes well.

  17. Kyra

    Praying for you, and for safe delivery.

    Hah! I remember thinking the only good thing about being on hospital bedrest was the enormous amount of quiet reading time I got. A few days ago I went to the doctor’s on my own, without any of our munchkins, and I came home and remarked to my husband that going to have physical examinations alone was almost like a vacation. Life of an introvert with many small children- savour every alone moment.

  18. Cam

    I am so, so, so thankful that they could use the sedation, especially since they weren’t able to set the filter (because while that sedated is bad enough, unsedated?!?!?! I can’t even imagine).

    And I can totally relate to not minding being in the hospital. I was in the hospital for with a horrible “mystery” virus at eight months during my last pregnancy and while the virus was horrible I couldn’t help but enjoying the quietness to relax before the new baby arrived without having any other little ones around “helping.” And when things are particularly crazy I find myself thinking: “It was kind of nice being in the hospital that one time… when it was just so quiet… and people brought me food that I hadn’t made…” Which might just make me sound a little bit crazy!

    Anyways… Praying for you and your little one! And thank you for the update!

  19. Barbara MacLellan

    Dear Jen,
    I attended Divine Mercy today in our parish.Jesus I trust in you to bring healing and a miracle for Jen and a healthy wonderful baby boy to their family.Trust Trust Trust!!

  20. lisa

    We are praying very hard for you up here in North Texas.

  21. Suzanne

    I will pray for you.

  22. Andrea


  23. Paige Kellerman

    I was hyperventilating for you as I read this. I’ve had a c-section, twice, and every time they put me flat on my back and shove things up my nose, I want to roll off the table, freak out, and waddle as fast as I can to the door. Combine that with covering you with all that other stuff…yeah, you’re my hero. Praying for you, but I know you’re gonna do great!

  24. Mary C.

    After this evening’s Mass, I lit a candle & prayed for you in front of a statue of The Holy Family. I will contiue to pray for you & your family.

  25. Kyle

    Praying for you. Asking for the intercession of Emil Kapaun. Because Austin is sort of close to Wichita, Kansas ;). God bless you and that baby boy.

  26. Nurse Tammy

    I liked being in the hospital when I had my last baby…I work there and am friends with everyone…they would bring me gifts and drugs – life was so good, it was like a spa. After I got home, I really wanted to return to the hospital!

    I pray for a wonderfully uneventful delivery with a pink screaming Fulwiler joining our ranks and good job with handling this pregnancy as well as you have.

  27. Meika

    Well, the good news is that after that joke of a procedure, the birth should be a breeze! Good luck, Jen. Peace be with you and your bambino.

  28. Tiffany Conley

    I’m so grateful for women (and mothers) like you! Rest assured, you are not alone. He, of course, is with you… and so are the hundreds of us out here that may not post comments, but have you and baby “wonder” in our thoughts, hearts, and minds.

    Sweet dreams, precious lady. Tomorrow brings life and life abundantly!!! Hugs and warm wishes. Remember, our Daddy in Heaven and best friend is holding your hand and guiding those of your medical staff… hour by hour, minute by minute.

    You are in good hands.

  29. Carey

    You, the baby, and your family are in my prayers and have been for some time! God bless you!

  30. Catherine Post

    I brought you to the Divine Mercy – beautiful service – at the Sacramento Cathedral today, and then I brought you to Mass as well. I prayed for as painless a labor as possible; for little baby boy Fulwiler to be born in peace, and without your body throwing a clot; or having ANY kind of adventure, any at all. πŸ˜‰ And, I asked Jesus Christ to give you inner and outer rest, consolation, and safety during this difficult time, and for the weeks to come.

    I will pray for you tomorrow as well, Jennifer!

  31. Angela Bashaw

    I can not image what you have been through. I’m positive I would have freaked out too. The thought of them doing that without sedation kinda had me freaked out for you earlier this week. Anyway, prayers for you today and tomorrow as you deliver your next beautiful healthy bundle of joy!

  32. Karen

    This year because of Holy Week, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord will be celebrated April 8th, the day of your son’s birth. May our Blessed Mother keep you both protected under her mantle. Offering prayers for a safe delivery.

  33. Kaitlin @ More Like Mary

    I’m praying you get the best epidural that any woman has ever had. EVER!

  34. Kerry @ Brand New Catholic

    Oh Dear Lord! Please protect Jen and her sweet unborn baby tomorrow and please allow them both a safe and uncomplicated delivery. Jen, I will ask my dear husband who died so recently to intercede for you as well. Much love to you and the baby.

  35. Josee

    Jen, I’ll be praying for you and your baby boy, that you might have a painless and safe labour and delivery.

  36. Jane

    Prayers from South Carolina

  37. Anna Liesemeyer

    And suddenly all my major problems in life have shrunken to peas. I am sending you prayers from my whole little family and asking Mary to bring you comfort in the moments that seem unbearable. Hang in there Jen!

  38. Joy @ Caspara

    Just reading the part of having to lie flat on your back nine months pregnant had me freaking out for you. Wow. Seriously, just wow. I had a tooth cleaning at about that point with Baby #2, and it had me panicking.
    But I love your comment about In the Heart of the Sea!
    Praying for you!

  39. MemeGRL

    Oh my word. I totally lost track of the fact that This Is It and time to welcome that baby! Good luck with everything, wishing you amazing relief and drugs that are effective for all that might ail you.
    And God bless those sweet extroverts who don’t see your fabulous vacation from interaction for what it is.
    I am trying to imagine how that book is preparing you for labor, though. Whatever works for you. Peace and blessings to you, and praying for the small army of medical professionals you’ll see in the next few days!

  40. Allison

    Prayers from Alaska.

  41. Rakhi @ The Pitter Patter Diaries

    Oh, Jen! I’m amazed at your strength! I remember freaking out being somewhat restrained during my c-section, so I can’t imagine the horror of your procedure (and your lack of utter indignance upon the discovery that it was useless). Oh how blessed your children are by your love. And how blessed we are by your humorous accounts of your experiences! We will be praying for you guys tomorrow in full force! (Oh, and if you figure out a less painful way to get a few days to relax with good books and writing, let me know. Sounds heavenly, minus the IV drip.)

  42. Michele

    We’ll be praying for you, Jen!!! We’ve been praying for you and your baby every night but we’ll pray extra hard tonight πŸ™‚

  43. Catholic Grammie

    Jen, I’ve been praying for you and Baby. OMG – I would have been in a massive panic attack – they would have had to give me some really good drugs – God bless you! Praying St. Michael’s prayer of protection for you – what a wonderful patron to have this year! (mine is Mother Teresa) much love coming your way!

  44. Julie

    I’m sort of outraged that they did that whole procedure only to not place the filter. What??!! Praying for your smooth delivery tomorrow.

  45. Susan

    Praying that your delivery tomorrow is totally boring ad uneventful that you will be happy cuddling your new baby by evening!

  46. Susan

    Dear Jennifer, I will be praying constantly tomorrow for your safety and for the easy delivery of your newest miracle. Also for wisdom and divine guidance for your physicians as they help you in your recovery phase. Get some rest and focus on the presence of the angels and saints who are with you as you go through these challenges. In Him, Susan

  47. claudette

    Dear Jen,

    I’ll be praying for you to St. Hildegard all day today. Lots of love coming your way from a tiny island in the mediterannean.

  48. Jenny

    1. That baby had better be your family’s token priest or religious, for goodness sake.

    2. And the all risk bracelet? Priceless. Just what evvvvery 9 month preggers woman wants branded around her wrist. Vanity be gone…

    3. I would join you in lying quietly in a darkened room and reading all alone in a second…except then we wouldn’t be alone anymore. Introverted mothers of the world unite!

    • Jenny

      *fall risk

  49. Rebekka

    Those are some wild bracelets you’ve got! As a nurse I’m a little jealous of the “fall risk” one – you don’t always know the patients you meet in passing. We only use a name/ID bracelet here. Actually some of our patients could use a “flight risk” bracelet, too…

    Praying for a safe delivery for you and the munchkin!

    • Nurse Tammy

      Us nurses are a funny lot…I was analyzing her “fall risk” bracelet too. We also look at people’s veins.

  50. Erin

    Praying Jen{{}}

  51. Clara

    Praying for you!

    I am SO glad St Michael and your guardian angel rigged it so you got the meds for that scary vein procedure! Thank you St Michael! Major bummer they couldn’t put the filter in-but maybe that will be good: no removal is needed now.

    I am praying your delivery goes well, is uneventful and you and baby are safe and sound afterwards.

  52. Laura Arender

    Praying for you today! I hope you have a completely uneventful delivery and a spa-like postpartum stay. πŸ™‚ Enjoy that sweet baby!

  53. Caroline M.

    You’re so tough! You may not feel like it, but I can tell that God is really holding you up and giving you extra (as in, super human) strength to go through all this. Shoot, I had a panic attack once when I needed blood drawn.

  54. Melissa H-K

    Praying praying praying praying . . .

  55. Stephanie

    I had to laugh when I read your comment: “I’m reading In the Heart of the Sea, the ultimate book for making you say no matter what your life circumstances, ‘Well. It could be worse.'”

    The truth is that I *REGULARLY* think that exact same thought when I read YOUR blog!!! I am 27 weeks pregnant with my third child in 4 years, had a brief (but Thank-God-nothing-came-of-it) placenta scare last month, and am managing a full-time job that sometimes feels like it sucks the life-blood out of me (I’m a large firm litigation attorney—meaning that, most of the time, my job actually involves sucking the life-blood (okay, or just the money) out of others, while my superiors roll their eyes at me, the ‘crazy Catholic girl’ who is ‘pregnant again’). But I’m healthy and my pregnancies have all been extremely low-risk with healthy babies to boot, so I have nothing to complain about!!!

    Sheesh, if even you can find a reason to say ‘it could be worse’ after that HORRIFIC-sounding procedure (and everything else), then, heck, I need to go to Confession and bow down and kiss the ground every day just to thank God for allowing me to wake up to another healthy day on Earth — or something — because I obviously don’t know the first thing about real problems!!! πŸ™‚

    Anyway, your post really did make me laugh. You are in my prayers, and I can’t wait to hear the good news when you welcome #6!!!! You are awesome, and I love, love, love your blog (and can’t wait for your book)!!! Thanks for always making me smile! πŸ™‚

  56. Sarah

    Well, darn, I guess the procedure wasn’t so easy after all. πŸ™ Although I can imagine the terror because a) I too am claustrophobic and b) I remember having these breathing attacks/issues when I was pregnant with my son. They never lasted long but oh my, it was sooo scary to feel like I was suffocating.

  57. Roxane B. Salonen

    Thinking of you in Fargo, sweet Jen. God be with you! I’m sorry you’ve been through so much but what a light you are! A true heroine!

  58. Karen Mahoney

    Praying hard for you Jennifer, that all goes well today and that you have very healthy delivery and recovery! God bless you sweetheart!

  59. Janet

    In your honor on the Annunciation, my 3 year old and I prayed for you and baby at noon mass.

  60. Becky

    I love your sense of humor, though I can only imagine what you are trying to hide from us. This is what humor is for though, right? Sanity relief!

    All joking aside, I’m praying for you and will especially tomorrow for a safe delivery for both you and little baby. Can’t wait to hear Part 2!

  61. Abigail Benjamin

    Some distracting news to chew over as you wait for the pitcon contractions to begin. Joel Olsteen quit–Christianity! So is Ya Ya going to become a Catholic now? I can’t believe it. You noticed the no “cross” thing and now he’s got 50 million dollars. So there is it, better than a book. “No cross” equals “no Faith.” You’re carrying your cross today.

    Happy Feast of the Annunciation!

  62. Abigail Benjamin

    Ahhh! Looks my “news” was an elaborate internet hoax. Sorry! Go back to being in pain with labor.

  63. priest's wife (@byzcathwife)

    wow- what a story! I’m sure this baby will have a special relationship with you- you’ve been through a LOT to have him/her

  64. Cheryl

    Saying a prayer for you and the baby! ((((HUGS))))

  65. Jenna@CaIllHerHappy

    Jen, you have an amazing way of making a situation that I would find terrifying into a delightful read. I think you have your head on just right!

    I’ve been thinking about you all day today and saying prayers. I hope you’re little guy is here as I am typing this πŸ™‚

  66. Bonnie

    Just saw on Twitter Jen says “Baby is here. Thank you so much for your prayers. Totally, utterly exhausted. Details after I rest. :-)” This was posted on Twitter at 3:58 pm. Hope all is well with everybody. Still praying for a swift easy recovery.

  67. KyCat

    Congratulations!! I’m so happy for you and your entire family!

  68. Kelly @ In the Sheepfold

    Just read your Twitter update! I’ve been praying for you off and on all day. Congrats!

  69. tlzita

    I’m surprised you haven’t been writing anything about fear of death, both what comes next for you and your family. It must be a concern given what you are going through right now.

  70. Kerrie

    Amazing blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers?
    I’m hoping to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on
    everything. Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress
    or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally confused .. Any ideas? Thank you!

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