Monday, June 4, 2012

Pre-eclampsia, a Long Induction, and a C-section. Welcome to the world, Baby Lucie!

Welcome to the world, Lucie Elizabeth! *possible TMI... Lucie's Birth Story
On Tuesday, January 17th, I started having contractions at 2:30 pm, as I worked my on-call position subbing at the day care. I just ignored them for the most part,until 3:30, when they began to hurt, so I mentioned it to the head teacher in the room, who alerted one of the directors, who found someone to cover for me. At this point, I still thought i'd be safe to drive, but after thinking about it a few minutes, I decided to text my dad and brother who worked reasonably close to the day care to see if either of them could pick me up from work and give me a ride home. I figured that Jon and I could pick my car up the next day after my non-stress test at the hospital, if I felt any better. 

The next day, the contractions continued, but they were still not 5 minutes apart or less. We went to my non-stress test appointment, the contractions weren't really noticeable, but I still wasn't feeling well, so I didn't pick up my car. I would end up having my dad and Jonathan go to pick it up together later that night.

In the meantime, on Wednesday, Jonathan got an email about a job interview in Farmingdale. I was super excited for him, but I wasn't feeling well, so i asked him to take the Thursday interview, but at 2 pm, so if I was sick while he was at the interview, my mom would be getting out of work soon, and could have driven me to ths hospital, if need be. 

Thursday came, Jonathan and I went to Panera Bread for lunch, to celebrate the fact he was going on an interview. I was very excited for him, but I wasn't so excited that I could ignore the cramping and the headache that would not go away. The headache had been around since Wednesday afternoon. Jon asked if I thought the contractions were far enough apart that I could hold out until after his interview, and I agreed that they were. According to the Lamaze instructor, I had at least 5 hours of contractions to go from that point. 

Jon went to his interview. While he was gone, I updated my written birth plan and medical history sheet. I had gotten sick of repeating my surgical history every single time I entered L&D triage, so I thought presenting the nurses there with a printed copy of that, and every other thing I've ever had would make things easier. I also had a medication list.

The birth plan was updated to reflect things I learned from Lamaze Class, mostly. I was open to systemic pain relief, or a spinal, if absolutely necessary, but no epidural. The epidural would have had to be inserted right near my herniated disks, which would cause the risk of me not getting any pain relief at all. I outlined that I wanted Jonathan with me at all times during the birth, and I wanted to be able to wear my own clothes once admitted (with the exception of during surgeries, should any be required, per hospital policy).

I printed 3 copies of the birth plan. I gave 2 to Jonathan, and I kept one to give to the nurses upon admission to L&D triage area. When I arrived, the contractions werent regular... they were anywhere from 6-10 minutes apart. I was dilated "a pinky fingertip" which was "half a cm, maybe?" according to the resident. I was hooked up to the non-stress test. I mentioned I had a headache. I was given tylenol. The headache didn't budge. In the meantime, the doctors noticed my elephant feet. They decided to test again for pre-eclampsia. The blood tests came back fine, but my urine had "trace amounts" of protein in it. 

Dr. Hsu, the chairman of the OB/GYN department at NUMC came in then, to tell me about his decision to admit me to the L&D area. He counselled me on pre-term babies, but then added, "As of midnight tonight, you're 37 weeks, which is considered term. New York State wants all doctors to counsel women to try to keep their babies in until 39 weeks, but if you have the pre-eclampsia, the only thing that will make it better is to deliver your baby."

At this point, I thought that I would end up having a c-section the very next morning, but since Nassau University Medical Center prides itself on its low c-section rate, I was going to be allowed to attempt to deliver naturally, albeit with some medicinal coaxing. This made me very happy, since this was the reason I chose to birth at Nassau University Medical Center. I knew that if they recommended a c-section, it was the best decision for myself and my baby, and that there were no other agendas besides good health for all.

First, they had to relieve my headache, though. Tylenol did nothing for me. Percoset allowed me to sleep, because it made the pain in my lower back from the contractions go away, but the headache remained. At about 4 or 5 am Friday, I was given Staidol. What a trip! I felt like I was on every ride at the amusement park at once. The room was spinning, and I was hallucinating. I screamed, I was confused, I thought it was drugs, but I wasn't sure. I also thought that someone tried to trick me by giving me this medicine, so they could take my baby away. It was horrific, but my headache disappeared. I decided that I would rather deal with a headache next time rather than take Staidol again, but it was important for the doctors to know how bad my headache was. Finding out what lengths it took to relieve the pain gave them an indication.

When I came to in the L&D room I'd been admitted to, there were several nurses, the resident, and the chairman of OB/GYN standing there. They again counselled me on birth before 39 weeks, and the risks associated with it. They also told me that pre-eclampsia can turn into eclampsia, which is a seizure disorder. The only way to avoid this is to have the baby, so they wanted to induce.

I was both grateful and horrified. I wanted to be able to have the baby naturally, well, as natural as possible. I didn't want to have a surgery. That was my plan. However, I was in the worst pain I'd ever felt. The doctors told me that it could take 3 days to induce. First, they would have to use a pill insert called "Cytotec," which is a synthetic version of Prostaglandin. The pill would be inserted manually, by a doctor, right onto my cervix. Then, once the cervix was soft enough, I could be given the pitocin. 

I would also have to be on IV magnesium sulfate until 24 hours after delivery.

I was put on a schedule, I could eat every four hours. 2 hours before and 2 hours after I would eat, I would have the Cytotec inserted, and be checked for progression. By Friday evening, I was having contractions, so after dinner, I wasn't given any cytotec, nor was I given Pitocin, athough I know I heard talk of Pitocin. I was still only 1-2 cm. I had a panic attack, screaming that I wanted a C-Section. I was in so much pain from a catheter that was adult sized in my tiny baby sized bladder, and I couldn't get comfortable, and every time I had a contraction, the tube pinched. The nurses were kind enough to replace the catheter with a child sized one, which was much more comfortable. I told Jonathan, "I'm sick, because of the baby being inside me. The quicker she gets out, the quicker I get better." Jonathan told me I was a wuss, and that if he were a woman, he could go through labor 10 times better than me. I had to laugh, because when he had only 2 of his wisdom teeth pulled, he was a mushy baby. But then, even the laughing hurt me.

Saturday morning, I was told that I was still only 1-2 cm. A third dose of cytotec was administered. Jon started talking about the fact he wanted to go down to the coffee shop for some cereal. I'd thrown up water at around 6 am, so they didn't deliver a food tray, which I could have shared with Jonathan. Then, the nurse came in, and started moving the fetal monitor around. They could find her heartbeat, but little wiggle worm kept moving, and when I had a contraction, her heart rate would drop. Jonathan waited about 30 minutes, but doctors still hadn't come in to say anything, so he went down for breakfast, after I yelled at him that if he missed the birth of his daughter, I'd never forgive him. 

While Jonathan was at breakfast, the anesthesiologist came in to introduce himself, and basically ask why I didn't want any epidurals. I told him I had herniated discs at L4-L5, but if a C-Section was necessary, I was open to spinal block or general anesthesia. 

The anesthesiologist on duty the day prior had also come in to introduce himself, so I didn't think much of this.

Then, another 1/2 hour later, the pediatrician comes in and starts asking about my request to feed the baby Similac, and asks if the formula I brought was ready-to-feed or powder... since I was going to have a C-Section, and the baby would be delivered soon. I said, "Oh, wow, they hadn't told me it was definite about the section yet." 

So then, Jonathan gets back from breakfast, and two doctors and two nurses come in to my labor, delivery, recovery room. One of them says, "Well, the tracing shows the baby is minimal reactive, as I'm sure you're aware, and at this point, you are only dilated to not even 2 cm. To continue this lengthy induction..." I cut the doctor off at this point, and said, "Get her out healthy, I want the c-section." Jonathan was okay with the C-section at that point, because he recognized it was the last resort.

I called my mom and Jonathan's mom and we told them to come to the hospital. Previously, I hadn't wanted people to come to the hospital, since I didn't want people waiting around for hours, but since we knew that they would be doing the c-section within the hour, I didn't think they'd have to wait too long. 

Jonathan put on the scrubs I'd bought him for Chr*stmas. The shirt had "I'm the Dad" embroidered over the pocket. He held my glasses in his pocket, since I couldn't wear them during the surgery. I was wheeled into the operating room, and made to sit on a table, where the spinal would be administered. Jonathan was outside waiting at this point. My parents caught a glimpse of him as he put a mask on before heading into the OR. He wasn't allowed to come in until I was numb and the drape was up. 

The spinal was very odd. I had to drink an anti-nausea medication. Then, I received a series of shots in my spine which numbed from my ribcage down to my toes. My diaphragm was partially numb, but I could still breathe. Then, they laid me down, and I got really nauseaus. I turned my head sideways, but the anesthesiologist told me to turn the other way (so I didn't puke on his equipment). He got me a basin to puke in and cleaned me up. Ironically, I had thrown up the anti-nausea medicine. Then, Jonathan was allowed to enter. I was a bit groggy, but then I got nauseaus again. He held the basin in front of me, and cleaned up the puke from my face. I don't know why, but that made me love him more, and know that he would be a great dad. 

There was a lot of pulling sensations and rocking sensations while the C-Section was being performed. I kept asking them to straighten my left leg, because it had been slightly bent when it was numbed. My leg was straight, but I still felt it was in the same position. I felt really cold, like I'd gone outside naked in the snow to make snow angels. The anesthesiologist put a plastic sheet over me, and had a shop vac looking contraption pump warm air over me. That was heavenly. 

At 11:43 am, they said, "It's a girl!" Lucie was brought over to the warmer immediately. Jonathan had been told to let the pediatricians do their thing for a few minutes before going to check on her. I asked what color her hair was, and the pediatrician said that it looked red, but they were still cleaning her up, and she was still covered in amniotic fluid and blood. The pediatrician's initial analysis of redhead was enough for me. I asked if we could make a phone call. I had tucked my iPhone in Jonathan's pocket prior to being whisked off to the O.R., and I just really wanted to call his grandma and tell her that it was a redhead! We knew how important it would be to her. So, we called her as the doctors began to put my organs back inside and sew me up. I realized then that I hadn't heard her cry yet, and I said, "Why isn't she crying?" That was the scariest realization... but then when she heard her momma ask for her cry, Lucie did just that. She didn't scream, she just whimpered a bit. Then, Jonathan went over and took a photo of Lucie while she was still on the warmer, and then came back to where I was, and showed me the photo on the LCD screen. Then, they let him hold her, and he brought her close to me, so that I could see her. I wanted to touch her pretty head, and her hands, but I had my arm strapped down still, and the doctors were still putting humpty dumpty back together again. 

Then, we called everyone who was in the waiting room on my cell phone to tell them she'd been born. I taught Jonathan how to use my phone to text the photo of Lucie to everyone who I knew could text, and whose cells were programmed in my phone (my arms were still strapped down at this point, so I couldn't do it myself). Then, the doctors told Jonathan they were finishing up on me and he'd have to leave so they could maneuver me around. 

They would have to bring Lucie to the NICU for a minimum of 15 minutes, because she was a little groggy since I'd been on the magnesium sulfate for the pre-eclampsia. I asked Jonathan to go find out where the baby was at that point. 

Jonathan must have found all the relatives in the lobby, and he was able to point out Baby Lucie in the nursery to them all. I was wheeled back into recovery, where they told me I'd have to stay for 24 hours, since I had to be on the magnesium sulfate. 

First, my mom came back, then Jonathan, and his mom, and Jonathan's brother, James, who had picked up Grandma Kathryn, so she could see the baby. 

After they all left, my sister and brother came up, and at that point, they brought the baby to the recovery area with me, and handed her right to me. I was in awe. She was so tiny. I had no idea how I could love anything so tiny with so much of a muchness! I wanted to hold her and kiss her and cuddle her forever. But, then, I saw Jonathan. He wanted to hold her. I could tell. He just didn't want to take her away from me, so he didn't ask. It was actually kind of sweet. I asked if he wanted to hold her, and he very quietly and very shyly said, "Yes." 

And, so, I reluctantly turned her over. Jonathan held her, and then Susi held her, and had to have a ton of photos taken, and then Mike asked me if I trusted him to hold her. I told him that he'd better not drop her. He was trying to be all macho, but he was a little misty eyed. I don't think he's ever seen, let alone held, a baby so tiny. 

Lucie Elizabeth weighed in at 5 lbs. 13.8 oz. at birth, and she is 18 1/2 inches long. My sister had accidentally bought a preemie outfit for the baby... but God has a way of these things working out. That outfit was in my diaper bag which was brought to the nursery. When the nurses handed the baby over to me, she was wearing that outfit, and wrapped in purple flannel blankets we'd received as a gift from my best friend, Tricia. 

When my mom heard that Susi and Mike got to hold the baby, of course, my dad and her had to come back up to hold Lucie themselves. 

Since I'm stuck in the recovery room until noon tomorrow, when I'll be assigned a room, and there is more than one person in here, Jonathan had to leave at the end of visiting hours. Since I am hooked up to an IV, Catheter, blood pressure cuff, etc., and am unable to get out of bed, I had to send Lucie to the nursery. If I can't retrieve the formula to feed her from the fridge, or get the water to warm her bottle, I can't effectively care for her. Plus, I'm still in a lot of pain, and with the pain medications, I can't take care of her on my own right now. It sucks to admit that, but it's the truth. Once I'm in my own room tomorrow, things should be better.

I really absolutely can't wait to shower! I also hope they'll remove my IV completely when they take me off the magnesium sulfate drip.

Originally posted here:

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