Friday, March 20, 2009

4.5 months very detailed birth story

Um hi. Yeah, it's been a while. I'm a total slacker on the blogging but I've been busy! I finally managed to type out my birth story. I had journaled everything while in the hospital so it took this long to type everything out!

It's super long and detailed, but I wanted people to know the gory details of a c-section birth - AND the recovery!

Late Thursday morning I got a call from the OB telling me my platelet counts were going down and they wanted to deliver me today rather than tomorrow. We get to the hospital around 1:30pm or so, and I am quickly taken to a room. I figured nothing would happen for at least a few hours, since I had eaten breakfast at 10am and they wanted my stomach empty for about 8 hours. However at around 2pm they mentioned something about starting in an hour.

They give me an alka seltzer to settle my stomach (yeah right) and Brian changes into his scrubs. They then put these pads around my legs which supposedly would prevent blood clots by massaging my legs and keeping blood circulating. Believe me, it’s not nearly as good as it sounds. The anesthesiologist (Dr. Friedman) asks if I can walk to the OR down the hall, so he and the nurse help me get over there. As I walk in I’m amazed at how clinical it all is. I know that sounds stupid, since we’re in a hospital and this is a surgery, but considering birth is supposed to be so natural and instinctual, this seemed weird. The room was cold and I started shaking a bit. There were so many people doing so many things, that I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing. Thankfully the anesthesiologist was really concerned about me and talked me through everything. He and the nurse helped me up on the table and he started prepping the spinal and gave me an oxygen tube. I could feel him painting on the numbing agent and he told me exactly what he was doing. He warned me the needle was coming, and said I would feel burning and tingling, which I did. Pretty soon my whole lower body was warm and tingly, then I felt nothing. It is a very strange feeling. I get myself adjusted on the table and the shaking gets worse. A lot worse. But it’s only from the chest up. The nurse said that is normal and due to the cold and the spinal.

Brian comes in and holds my hand (as it shakes uncontrollably) and they pull the drape up so I see nothing. Dr. F keeps asking me how I’m feeling, and other than the shaking I feel OK. The other doctors have arrived and suddenly I feel pulling in my abdomen. I really don’t know what is going on, but I feel pressure and pulling. Soon, I hear someone say “here’s a bottom” and before I know it I hear a cry. Baby A is born, and it’s a girl! Katharine Allison is here! For one brief second I see this amazing little baby covered in vernix appear above the drape and I gasp. This is our daughter! I barely have time to process that before they whisk her away to clean her off. Less than one minute later we have another baby! Daniel Owen arrives one minute after his sister. We also get a fast peek at him over the drape, and then he’s off to be cleaned and measured. I wish I could hold him but I know he needs to get examined. The rest of the surgery goes relatively quickly, though I still have no idea what they’re doing. Soon enough though, the babies are cleaned off and they bring each to my chest so we can see them up close. They look beautiful and perfect! To our surprise, Kate is chunkier than Danny, which goes against the ultrasound measurements. Katharine Allison was born at 3:59pm at 5lbs 8 oz and 16 inches. Daniel Owen was born at 4:00pm at 5lb 0 oz and 18 inches. After giving each baby an all too short kiss, they get wheeled away again, back to the nursery.

Brian soon departs for the nursery to check the babies, and they finish up with me. At this point I still have no feeling in my lower body but they need to get me off the table and into a bed. So somehow they manage to turn me over to my side, and I swear, I feel like I’m floating on air. I have no idea what is supporting me below, but it must be something. I somehow make it back to the bed, and they tell me that because of my continued blood pressure issues and to prevent seizures, they’re putting me on magnesium sulfate. I had heard horror stories about this drug and was so glad I didn’t have to get it during my pregnancy. I never thought about the possibility of needing it post partum. Basically, it makes you feel like a zombie. It causes extreme lethargy, hot flashes and headaches. They added the magnesium sulfate (along with pitocin) to my IV. This is in addition to the morphine drip, a catheter, and the aforementioned leg massages things. I was told I was basically a prisoner to the bed until I was off the magnesium. It made sense because I truly couldn’t move on that stuff.

Because of my restrictions, I couldn’t get into the nursery that night to see the babies, so I relied on Brian to go check on them and bring me back updates. He was so amazing to me during this whole time, from making sure I was comfortable, to relaying information to me, to keeping everyone else informed and out of my way if I needed to rest. The babies were doing well, but needed to stay in the Special Care nursery because they were having some breathing troubles and needed extra oxygen.

Thursday night was pretty bad for me. After my time in recovery I was taken to a regular room and got to see my parents and in-laws. After everyone left I kept getting checked out. My mouth was so unbelievably dry, so I was allowed ice chips which were a godsend. I also started feeling very itchy in my face and eventually all over, which was a s/e of the morphine. They could give me Benadryl, which would make me even groggier. Yet even between the painkillers, the mag, and the Benadryl, I couldn’t truly sleep – I just felt completely lethargic. It was also hard to sleep with nurses coming in every hour to check my BP, my catheter, my reflexes, and my belly (they just cut it open and yanked out 2 babies so guess what – it HURTS when you press on it!) Plus, the Benadryl wasn’t helping the itching, so I got another drug (Nubian) which helped but not completely. I was also itchy on my legs from the pads all over me. They started getting sweaty and were just annoying from the constant pulsating. But I knew they had to stay on til I got off the magnesium.

After a terribly long and sleepless night (and mind you, I STILL hadn‘t seen my babies since I delivered) I saw Dr. Adibi from my OB practice in the morning. He said because of my blood pressure he wanted to keep me on the magnesium til about 5 that day (total of 24 hours). I was really really hoping I could get off it that morning so I could see the babies, so that news was so disappointing. As soon as I left I started crying because I felt cheated out of spending time with my babies. Every mother wants to be with her child, and I was chained to the bed while they were in the Special Care nursery. I was denied the basic right of bonding with my babies right away, and I was worried I would never feel that bond. I was jealous of every mom who got to be with their baby right away. They couldn’t bring the babies to me because of all the tubes and monitors, but a sneaky nurse who heard about my crying found a way to sneak them out of the nursery and into my room so I could hold each of them for a minute. She wasn’t supposed to do that, but I so needed that and I was utterly grateful to her.

Finally, at 5pm, they took me off the mag. They took out the catheter and I was allowed out of bed. I put on my robe and hopped into a wheelchair, because come hell or high water, I was going to see my babies. They looked so tiny and fragile hooked up to all the monitors, but they were beautiful.

Everything else about Kate and Danny in the NICU and Danny being transferred to CHOP is a whole other story.

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