The Wednesday before Anika was born, we went to our OB for a check-up. Some of you may have seen my thread about protein in my urine, and she wanted to keep an eye on that. The whole week I had been dealing with the runs, heartburn, sluggishness, swelling: I was feeling pretty lousy. Anyway, at my appointment my levels had gone up significantly, so they wanted to us to go to a clinic for a blood draw. As we were checking out, they said "wait...go to the hospital. You'll get the results tonight that way." So we went home, got a snack (thank goodness), and headed to the hospital thinking we were in for a long couple hours of waiting. hah. True!
It took a couple hours for the blood and urine tests to get back, and then I heard the nurse on the phone saying "wait, that can't be right. Run it again." So we waited another long time, and then one of the nurses came in and told us that we were not going home that night, and that my midwife was probably going to want to induce me. We were both in shock, and I started to cry: we were not ready, but we were excited and jittery that we would be having our little girl so soon. My midwife came and looked very serious, and she told us to get ready to have a lot of our birth plan taken away. My protein levels were above 7000 (and I think they're supposed to stay under 600?). That meant that they would need to give me Cervadril to get things going, and in the meantime I would have to be put on Magnesium Sulphate to prevent me from the possibility of having seizures. Unfortunately, that stuff makes you feel REALLY lousy: headaches, woozy, out of it - AKA no getting up and walking around, no birthing tub, no yoga ball, no going to the bathroom....(catheter). Oh, and I had tested GBS+ that afternoon, so I had to have an IV put in for antibiotics. sigh... The good news was that I was already 90% effaced, bad news: 0cm dilated.
They put the Cervadril in at midnight, and at around 4:30 in the morning I started having contractions. By midmorning I was breathing through them and feeling positive, and then my water broke. Yay! I'm so glad I got to have this small glimmer of actual labor without drugs. Unfortunately, when my water broke the contractions effectively stopped. But I had gotten myself to 2cm dilated during that time. My OB came in and said they needed to give me Pitocin to get things moving, and since my BP was pretty high she did not want me to be feeling the pain or it would go up more. So: epidural. Which means they wanted to put in an internal fetal monitor and contraction monitor. Ugh, more cables coming out of me. When they were putting in the epidural, the nurse kept pulling on the fetal monitor because that gave her a better read. I kept telling her it HURT, but i guess they didn't really register it. Later I found out the monitor was hooked into my cervix instead of the baby's head. I will always wonder if that kept me from dilating. The epidural made my blood pressure drop to 80/something and I threw up, then it kicked in and I finally slept.
Since my water had broken they didn't want to do any more cervical checks (fine by me..they were no fun), so they just kept monitoring my contractions overnight and upping the dose of Pitocin. By the next morning I was STILL 2cm dilated, and now I was 60% effaced (again...fetal monitor hooked into cervix and pulling every time I rolled over?) At this point we started asking if a c-section was a good move, but our OB said that as long as mama and baby stayed stable then vaginal delivery was still safer. So we pushed on. At around 12-1pm, though, my kidneys starting shutting down and I wasn't putting out much pee. That's when my OB came in and said she highly recommended a c-section at that point. I started to cry, but we trust her very much and she knows how much we wanted to do things naturally. She is usually very light-hearted and friendly, and she was very serious, so we knew it was nothing to take lightly. She said that unfortunately at this point a c-section was kind of risky because the Magnesium would make it harder to stop the bleeding. Pitocin is what they use to stop the bleeding, and I had also not been responding much to that (I was at the highest dosage). That meant that I was at a higher risk for hemorrhage. She said they have back-up medicine for this, but it came across clear that this was the last thing to try. I then somehow mustered up the courage to ask her if that meant that I would die if the backup medicine didn't work. She said no, that they would do a hysterectomy as a next step.
I honestly don't know how I emotionally got through the next couple hours, but my mom and my hubby definitely carried me through (and poor Carlyle, over the phone, from across the country). I was a wreck: terrified. It was like I was moving through time in a fog because I didn't want to go through with the surgery, but I knew that it was what we had to do. The staff was fantastic: they explained everything that I would feel so I would know that it was normal, and my hubby was right there with his face inches from mine. I asked him to talk to me, I didn't care about what, and he told me about our beautiful fishing trips together, and then I think he talked to me about meeting our daughter. At some point the OB said "ok, we're about one minute from her being born," and my hubby stood up to see. This was one of the hardest moments for me because I was focused back on the surgery and hubby's face wasn't right there, and I was so scared for the baby, but then I heard her cry and it was just the most beautiful sound in the world. They set up mirrors so that hubby and I could watch them clean her off (I was pretty out of it, but I remember), and she was so beautiful!!! Meanwhile they continued to work on the surgery, and it was good to be distracted by our beautiful girl. Then the anesthesiologist told me that they had to give me a shot because the Pitocin was not stopping the bleeding. This was a very scary moment for both of us, but in a few minutes the OB said "you guys are gonna be FINE." phew!!! I was really woozy at this point from all the drugs, but I remember them telling me they were putting my daughter in my arms, and I was SO scared to drop her (off the bed) because I was so out of it, but they said they were there to spot me. I got to introduce her to my mom in the hall, and when we got in recovery the nurse helped us nurse her for the first time. I struggled to keep my eyes open, but I remember her eyes were open and alert and she nursed like a pro. I am SO glad that we got this moment from our birth plan, and really we got the truly important things, so we are so happy.
We had to stay in the hospital for the next five days, and boy were we tested as parents. If anybody is worried about being a good parent, I can only say that instinct kicked in for us and we became growling mama and papa bears. Her temperature dropped slightly a few times in the first 24 hours, and there was talk of her going to the NICU if it dropped again. Stress #1. They were concerned about her grunting while she breathed during the first few hours, too, but that went away. By the third night, she had lost 11.5% of her body weight and at 4:30 in the morning a resident woke us up to tell us we should really consider supplementing her with formula. I don't know how we stayed coherent, but we reasoned through this and they gave us more time before pushing again. Hubby started keeping a log of our feeding/pumping schedule, and we were able to prove that my milk was coming in. Yay! She was just so sluggish the first couple days because she was also on the Magnesium for so long, and she did not want to wake up to nurse. Eventually she started to catch on and by Wednesday she had actually gained an ounce. By Wednesday, we were starting to get really frustrated because the staff kept waking us up every 10-30 minutes and all three of us were EXHAUSTED. To make things worse, JUST after talking about letting us go home, her temperature dropped by 1/10 of a degree below the limit and they were thinking of taking her to the NICU and putting her on IV antibiotics. We bristled and fumed and they let us take her home. It was scary to insist, but it really felt like the right thing to do. So far so good, and she just has to stay healthy and strong.
So on Wednesday we got to come home, and I was just weeping openly with relief. We're settling into a rhythm, and last night we actually got lots of sleep. We still have to wake her up every three hours to feed, since she'll just sleep through, but in the day she's starting to wake herself and demand food. Also, she has passed her birth weight. Yay! I had no clue that this would be the way that our girl would come into the world, but again we have what is truly important, and we have our eyes set on keeping that constant. For a few days I thought I would never want to get pregnant again, but that's fading and I know that I will want to have another baby some day in the next couple years. We are very grateful for modern medicine as it helped us conceive our child and it helped get her and me safely through her birth. If you got through this, thank you for reading.
Edited by Tear78 - 7/29/11 at 12:51pm