it's sunday -- exactly one week since i was released from the hospital. i've been using the anti-contraction medicine all week and it's been fairly effective. i feel awful though. no one ever told me that pregnancy feels this terrible.
finally on sunday night the contractions just got too bad. i tried taking the medicine and it just wasn't having an effect. i called the hospital and they told me to come up. we went up there, and they told me that i was going into labor. i was only 34 weeks and a few days, so i just barely missed the cutoff for delivering there. they needed to send me to the hospital that's over an hour away that's able to handle a preterm birth. they also had to start me on magnesium sulfate...used to try to stop labor just long enough to be able to get a steroid shot or two in. these steroid shots are supposed to help the lungs mature quickly so that hopefully the baby won't need too much respiratory support once it comes out. the midwife told me not to worry too much. she said that i'm not extremely preterm, and that boys tend to do better. jay and i looked at each other and said, "well i guess we're having a boy". we hadn't known up to that point...we didn't want to know because we were too scared. the midwife apologized profusely for spilling the beans.
thus started the ambulance ride from hell. of course we were in the middle of a really bad snow storm and the roads were terrible. jay called my mom from the hospital to tell her that we were going to a different hospital. he asked her if she wanted to come up too. i didn't know he was going to do this and didn't really want him to, but what's done is done. so my mom came right up to the hospital and she and jay followed behind the ambulance. the magnesium they started SUCKED. it made me so damn hot i thought i was about to jump out of my skin. my contractions were getting worse and worse, and i had to pee worse than ever before. it's amazing just how painful having to pee can be. it took over two hours to get to the hospital because the ambulance had to go so slowly because of the bad road conditions. i didn't think we were ever going to get there. when we did get there i begged them to let me go to the bathroom. they were shocked that my local hospital had started magnesium and not put a catheter in. thank you local hospital.
we met with the doctor when we got there and did all the usual shit....monitors, dilation check, etc etc. i was just in the very beginning stages of labor. several hours later when the staff came back on i had to have an ultrasound to see if they could find out why i had so much extra fluid. they told me that i was bigger than someone at 40 weeks because the polyhydramnios had gotten so bad. the doctor did the ultrasound and said that for some reason the baby wasn't swallowing the amniotic fluid like it was supposed to be. he said that it may be due to a cleft palate, but he couldn't tell. jay said that he could see the fluid shooting back out the baby's nose. thinking back, this makes me want to die from devastation. my poor son...was he suffering? was he in pain? he couldn't swallow.
i was feeling completely out of it from the magnesium. i had a horrible headache and i could barely keep my eyes open. the anethesiologist came in and went over all the different anesthesia options. i barely remember this. jay said that he couldn't believe they actually had me sign because i was barely coherent. a little while later they came in and stopped the magnesium because i had reached toxic levels in my blood. thanks guys. they also said that someone from the neonatal intensive care unit would come talk to us to tell us what to expect, but no one ever did. they also finally diagnosed me with preeclampsia. between my high blood pressure and elevated liver enzymes, they said that i had preeclampsia, and in order to try to prevent full blown eclampsia and seizures, they needed to start the magnesium again, but just at a very low level.
at about midnight the next day (now making it over 24 hours of labor), i stood up to try to readjust my position. after a couple minutes a nurse came rushing in -- she had seen out at the desk the baby's heart rate monitor go way down. a bunch of doctors stormed the room and within about 2 minutes they were breaking my water. i was dilated about 7 cm and had had no pain medicine as of yet. i'm a very small girl, and i was screaming in pain. it hurt so badly, and then he had to put the monitor directly on the baby's head and i thought that it was nearly going to kill me. after breaking my water the contractions started coming much faster and MUCH more painfully. i told them they better get me an epidural, and fast. the anesthesiologist came in and had me lie on my side. they didn't want me sitting up because that was when the baby's heart rate had decelerated. he tried the put the epidural in, i screamed in pain, it didn't work. he tried again, i screamed, it didn't work. on the fourth try he said he had gotten it. thank god. then he did something and i felt a shooting tingle down my leg. "oops, i missed again". fifth time was the charm. apparently i have very little space in between my vertebrae.
epidurals are awesome. i started laughing because it was the first time in months that i wasn't in excrutiating pain. it felt so good. finally, about 34 hours since i first went into the hospital they told me that i could start pushing. i worked so hard. i tried so hard and did everything they told me to do. at one point i looked over at jay and he looked like he was going to pass out. i asked if he was okay -- he said yes, but the nurse must have seen that he looked pretty pale, so she got him a chair. he recovered fairly quickly after that. i was exhausted. finally, the head came out, but then i knew the baby was stuck. he got to his shoulders and just stopped. i pushed and pushed with everything i had left in me, and he just wouldn't budge. the attending came in and said that he wanted to do a forceps delivery. i said this was fine, i just wanted the baby out. i was so worried about what all this trauma might be doing to him. the resident got the forceps and had no idea how to use them. then the attending had to tell him that he was holding them upside down. first day on the job? then, with one last push and the attending with the forceps, our son was born. our beautiful son. i started to cry. he looked so grey when he came out. he wasn't crying. i couldn't hear anything. the NICU staff had been there for the final moments of delivery and they immediately took him and started working on him. i couldn't hear anything. jay was over with them and i kept looking at him to see what was going on. why isn't he crying? is he okay? when can i see him? meanwhile, the doctors were trying to stitch me up, and the anesthesia was starting to wear off. i kept begging someone to tell me what was going on with my baby, but they just kept working on him. it felt like i was laying there for hours. FINALLY, the NICU docor brought him in to me and let me just barely see him. she held him up in front of me and said, "here is your baby, nice pink color". i smiled at him and said "hi baby", and i touched his little face. and then she whisked him away, up to the NICU.
they told jay that he could go up to the NICU in about an hour. he went up there and after a while came back down to tell me everything. the baby had to be intubated and was on a ventilator because he wasn't breathing when he came out. the doctor said he just didn't really seem interested in breathing. they think that he has mechonium (baby's first stool) aspiration, which is basically he swallowed shit and it got into his lungs. he doesn't have a cleft palate as was feared, but he has some other anomolies...a horseshoe shaped kidney (rather than two separate kidneys, only one that's shaped like a horseshoe), his feet are a little deformed, which may just be from the way he was positioned inside me...we don't know. all of this is too overwhelming. i don't know what's going on, but i start to cry. i just cried and cried because i was so scared for my little baby. i wanted to hold him.
they wheeled me into the room that i'd be staying in for the next few days. it's a private room. thank god. i don't think i could handle having a roommate that has a happy little baby with her. this isn't fair. i want to be with my son, i want to hold him.
holy shit i'm in pain. this is pretty awful. they tell me that i have fourth degree lacerations from the birth, which is apparently the deepest level. no wonder i hurt so badly. they tried to get me up to go to the bathroom, but i passed out just as i was getting to the toilet. jay said that i started shaking, which now looking back i'm afraid might have been the seizure they were trying to prevent. i vaguely remember coming to and just shaking violently. thanks assholes at local hospital for picking up on that preeclampsia...great job. your competence is impressive.
oh god, there's so much more to all this, but i can only endure so many painful memories in one night. i've been trying to get through at least until the day after birth, but it's just taking too much out of me for one night (actually, this post is more like 3 nights in the making). the rest of it's going to have to wait...
as of the end of this day 3 years ago, jay and i were parents to a baby boy in critically unstable condition in the NICU...4 lbs, 11 oz. his name is Charlie.