Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Conclusion... Abby's Arrival

Background: Part 1Part 2

I have waited a long time to post this partially since I had some friends who were expecting and did not want to add another concern to their labor and delivery fears, and partially because it is a doozy of a story.

May 18th:   Unlike my first induction date, I actually slept pretty well the night before probably since I was still catching up on sleep from Sunday night and Monday's fiasco.  I can also imagine that my body was tired from carting around such a big baby.  Anyways, Wednesday's induction was very similar to Monday's except we were placed in a different room.  Both Ryan and I were excited to be in the room that had the towel shaped into a snake (it's the little things, people).  On came House Hunters, out came the crossword, and in dripped the Pitocin.   Time passed, food was ordered and eaten, ordered and eaten again.  Sometime after lunch the doctor came in to talk options since my body was in a standstill with the Pitocin.

Option 1:  C-Section (eeeek.... my worst nightmare, or so I thought!)
Option 2:  Break my water, which would hopefully start labor, but could also lead to a c-section
Option 3:  Start a slow leak of water, which would hopefully start labor, but could lead to a c-section but is also less risky than option 2
Option 4: Take an ultrasound to estimate the size of the baby and make a decision based upon that.  However, the further one is along in their pregnancy, the less reliable these estimates are

These options caused my head to hurt.  I hated being responsible for such a big decision (it really seemed like that at the time).  Option 2 and 3 had c-section risks and the doctor suggested an epidural to be ready, just in case and option 4 seemed to be so unscientific that it was a waste of time.  Ryan and I decided on option 3 with a little help from one of the nurses that we trusted.

So, within what seemed like very little time, a plan was set in motion.  The anesthesiologist was being called to preform the epidural.  At the time I was still thinking about delivering naturally, but obviously I wanted to be prepared in case a c-section was required.  Apparently when one breaks their water intentionally like this there is a chance that the umbilical cord could be in jeopardy.  Hence, the need for a c-section.    Anyways, I had an epidural with Ella, but I was in SOOOO much pain that I had NOOOO idea what was going on when it was administered.  Not the case with Abby.  I was fully aware and doing my thing: asking question after question after question (just like when I am at the dentist... they must dread when I have an appointment).  I remember being tense and slightly annoyed at Ryan, even though he was being an amazing support.   He hates the hospital and procedures, but I remember thinking, this is way worse for me than it is for you (although I understand it must be hard to feel so helpless watching someone you love go through all this).  Once the epidural was in place, the doctor caused a slow leak.  That was around 3 pm and he gave my body until 6 to make progress.  If not, a c-section was in my future.

Time passed.  I felt fine.  The epidural was doing its thing.  Contractions were happening, but they had been occurring all day.  When the doctor came in to check on me and to say goodbye since his shift had ended he noted that there was progress.  Yippee, no c-section!  On we would continue.

Fast forward till about 11 when things really got started.  I felt the need to push and push I did.  I pushed, and pushed, and pushed for an hour and 15 minutes, which was a lot better than the three hours I pushed with Ella.  I remember looking at my baby, waiting to hear the big announcement.  IT'S A GIRL!  Another beautiful baby girl... and then the name debate continued.  Kate.  Abigail.  Kate.  And she was named Kate.  Meanwhile, the staff was doing their thing, checking out the placenta, pushing on my belly (man, I HATE that the most), and checking me out.  I was not paying much attention since I was holding my newest love and making important decisions.  After a few minutes Kate was renamed Abigail Grace.   Perfect.

In the meantime, I remember hearing the delivery nurse say she felt something funny while pushing on my belly.  So, the doctor did an internal sweep and out came a rush of blood and more blood and more blood.  Instantly I was lying in a pile of clots.  Another internal sweep, more belly pushing and more blood.  This was not normal.  They gathered all the clots and called for a special scale and weighed the blood.  Apparently I lost 2 liters of blood and they were concerned.  They inserted three pills which would cause my uterus to "clamp down" and slow down the bleeding.  

I was only partially aware of what was going on at this time because I was still in awe over my baby girl.  The nurses came and measured and weighed her.... 11.2 pounds... WHAT?  That can't be.  They weighed her again.... again, 11.2 pounds and 22 3/4 inches.  After she had been bathed it was time to move to the room where I would be staying until I was discharged.  I stood up to get into the wheelchair and I felt faint... so very faint.  Not being one to complain, I remember barely being able to communicate that loudly enough for anyone to hear.  Again.  Finally, they got me oxygen and we were to remain in the delivery room longer to recover and they asked if I would like a blood transfusion.  After asking my questions, I realized I did not really want the transfusion.  It freaked me out.  However, I did not really know what I was in for by denying this option.

May 19 was a busy night in labor and in delivery, lots of babies were being born.  Personnel kept coming in and out of the room.  Finally at about 3:30 am, we were transferred upstairs where I could sleep.

Fast forward to May 21... discharge day....
In the morning before being discharged I was updated on my status.  Apparently I had a post partum hemorrage and that caused me to lose all that blood (think soda bottle).  The loss of blood caused my red blood cell count to drop dangerously low (that is your hermatocrit level) and my hermatocrit level continued to drop throughout my stay at the hospital.  As you know, your red blood cells carry oxygen to your body and a normal level is around 40.  I left the hospital at an 18.  The hospital staff told me I was going to be tired and that it would take 6-8 weeks for my blood count to go back to normal. One nurse told me that I would need a nap after walking up the stairs.  I did not believe her.  The option for a transfusion was still on the table.  Heck, they had blood waiting for me.

I had NO idea what I was in for.  Maybe I refused to really listen to what the nurses told me, maybe it was not clearly explained with enough stress, but a post partum hemorrage is no joke.  In fact, I could have died and I was not out of danger when I was discharged (I learned all this after the fact).   Ryan's aunt, an ER nurse, was horrified to learn that I was discharged with such a low hermatocrit.  If I had had any unusual bleeding after being discharged, I would have been in some serious, serious trouble.

Still clueless about the severity of what I just endured, I began life at home with a two year old and a newborn.  Tired does not even come close to how I felt.  It was not the bone tired one would expect with having a baby, it was the I physically can not move tired.  I remember stopping halfway up the stairs to take a breather.  Forget about carrying Abby or Ella anywhere, I did not have the strength. Those six weeks are a blur to me now.  It was all about getting through day by day.

And even though my recovery sucked, I have one amazing little girl as a result.

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