Sunday, August 27, 2006

Birth Story or Buy One Get One Free My Ass - I Paid For Them Both

Came to hospital on Tuesday evening around 7pm. Immediately was put on Magnesium Sulfate for the preeclampsia. This drug is IV and was horrible. Side effects include blurred vision, nausea, disorientation and muscle relaxation (including the uterus, which is not a good thing when you are trying to induce labor). My blood pressure kept going up. I had a catheter and they were checking my fluid output which was steadily decreasing. My kidneys and liver were not functioning properly, also part of preeclampsia.

They checked my cervix and I was 1 cm. So they gave me this medication to help ripen my cervix overnight. So I spent the night with the cervix medication and the Magnesium and penicillin (in case of strep B) IV and catheter, while a nurse sat by my bed side monitoring me. I continued to have contractions as I had been having for the past month or two. Not too painful except that each contraction caused the babies' heads to push on my bladder/catheter which was excrutiating.

Throughout the night they checked my cervix and it wasn't changing. In the morning they started the Pitocin IV to help increase the strength of the contractions. Because I was on the Magnesium the Pitocin wasn't working as it typically should. The two medications were fighting each other. The contractions became closer together and eventually were continuous, but not strong enough to cause dilation. So I was in constant pain for hours. They finally lowered the dosage and then turned off the Magnesium for a couple of hours to see if it would work better with it off for a little while. Contractions increased and I began to get sharp pains in my left rib/lung with each contraction which made it difficult to breathe. Magnesium came back on. They gave me Demerol to help with the pain. That made me sleep for about two hours. My legs swelled like balloons from the preeclampsia. Ernie kept rubbing them to help me get some circulation and pain relief. My hips and back hurt too. Some of this was also from being confined to the bed for so long. Ernie was really great. I know he was freaked out too. My parents were there the whole time as well lending their support. The three of them were able to go home for lunch and dinner seeing as we live across the street from the hospital (which turns out to be very fortunate).

After 9 hours like this they checked my cervix and it was 2 cm. Nothing had really changed.

By this time it was 8pm Wednesday. Dr gave me three options: 1. Stop the Pitocin and do another night with the Cervical ripening medication and start Pitocin again in the morning to see if the labor would progress more quickly with another round. 2. Break the waters and see if that would start things to move along. 3. C-section.

One of the other issues besides the fact that the labor was not progressing was that my fluid output had gone from a normal range of around 300ml per hour to 20 - 30 ml per hour. My kidneys were almost not functioning and the Dr was not ready to let them go for more than 3 hours at this level before performing a c-section. So this needed to be taken into consideration when looking at our three options.

The other issue to consider was the fact that I was in excrutiating pain and hysterically crying. There was no way that I would physically be able to go another round for 24 hours and then still be able to push the babies out. I was also loopy from all of the drugs and hadn't eaten or drank anything in more than 24 hours.

We had to decide on the c-section. Ernie was not convinced and quizzed the Dr for 30 minutes about options. The nurses, the Dr and my parents all tried to explain to him that this was the best option to protect my health. Then they left us alone for 15 minutes while I told him that there was no other way as far as I was concerned. That there was nothing else that I could do. I was done. It wasn't what I wanted. Wasn't my ideal birth experience, but I was sick and I felt sicker than I had ever felt in my life. I knew there was no way I would be able to even go another hour in the pain I was in.

By 8:30 they had me in the OR and were prepping me. Ernie instructed my doctor "You are supposed to be the best, so do a good job. Make a little incision." He then went outside to have a smoke and call his mom. He was so nervous.

They had me on the table and gave me the spinal block. Luckily for me now my memory of these events is pretty fuzzy because of all of the drugs in my system and the general exhaustion and system slow down from the preeclampsia. I do know that it hurt like a bitch.

They brought Ernie into the OR about 20 minutes later. He had his iPod and little iPod speakers. He played some classical music during the procedure (I know he will kill me for not knowing what it was, I think Bach). He had what he calls the "Buck Shakes" that you get when deer hunting. Basically his entire body was tremmoring and he couldn't get a breath or relax. He sat by my head and tried to joke with the Anesthesiologist, who was thankfully a fabulous gay guy.

I remember asking the Anesthesiologist when they were going to start and he said "honey they are already through 2 layers" and I was like "oh". Then I got sharp pains up my neck and in my chest and I kept asking him if I were having a heart attack or stroke and he kept saying "it's normal, it's normal. I have your vitals on screen here. You're fine". Of course I didn't believe him. Ernie will have to tell the story from here on in because I don't really remember much else. He kept giving me more and more drugs to shut me up and calm me down. I know he gave me Morphine at one point. And by the end of the procedure I was out like a light.

They found a fibroid had been causing the pain in my rib/lung. Apparently it had been deteriorating or something where the blood supply gets cut off and it begins to die off. The babies were pushing on it and it was in turn pushing into my ribs. The Dr decided that it's condition was bad enough to warrant an extraction, even though it is something they never do during a c-section because of the risk of bleeding. I remember smelling the burning while they cauterized it. Gross. I guess that was while I was going under. Ernie had already left with the nurse and the babies to the nursery.

Ernie told me later that the Dr told him afterwards that they had trouble getting the uterus to shrink and to stop bleeding because of the effects of the Magnesium, and had had to give me a few injections of something directly into the uterus to help it to contract. They also had some trouble controlling the bleeding of the fibroid which is why they had to cauterize it. But in the end I lost a lot of blood but was OK.

I guess I came out of the OR about an hour after the babies were born. They brought me back to my room and then brought the babies down to us a few hours later. Their APGAR scores were in the high 9s, so they were healthy and doing well. That was a big relief.

I got to try to feed them at about 12:30 am. They went back to the nursery around 1:30 and Ernie went home to get some sleep. I was monitored every hour throughout the night, blood was drawn, pressure checked, fluid measured, etc. I was still on the Magnesium and the Pitocin, one to help the preeclampsia and one to help the uterus to continue to contract. Needless to say I got little sleep.

The next morning they turned off the Pitocin. We had the babies on and off in the room with us all day. We had a few visitors. My parents were there for a while. I was basically out of it. I was still in Labor and Delivery, they hadn't moved me to the Maternity ward yet because they needed to monitor me closely.

That night (Thursday) they turned off the Magnesium at around 10pm. They finally removed the catheter as my fluid output was back up into the hundreds. I was moved to the Maternity floor at 1:30am. They made me try to walk after almost 72 hours confined to bed and with my incision - talk about pain! That night was very uncomfortable in the new room and I didn't really sleep at all.

That is the end of the birth story. I guess the rest is the hospital/recovery story. I don't know if I have the energy or wherewithal to get it down right now.

We all go home tomorrow - Yay!

1 comment:

ally said...

Congratulations! I loved getting back from my honeymoon and seeing the news. I thought of you often wondering if the boys had made their grand arrival yet - so glad everyone's okay. Congrats again!