Since we didn't know when baby Bear was going to arrive Hubby didn't want to put the dogs in a kennel until absolutely needed. (read: cheap) Instead he drove back and forth from the hospital to take care of the dogs. He spent the days at the hospital with me and the evenings/early mornings at home.
The rest of July 4th was spent laying in bed, playing cards with hubby and watching tv. It was pretty uneventful. The biggest disappointment in being moved to a big fancy state of the art hospital was just how terrible the food was. I thought the food at the army hospital was ok but this stuff was gross. I would have been lucky to identify the main protein. Half the time I couldn't. I ended up not eating half of the things on the tray. It didn't help that I was on a low sodium diet there. At any rate it was just a bunch of waiting around.
On July 5th, I would get checked on by a nurse every 3 hours like normal. I also had lab techs taking blood every 4-6 hours to check the mag levels in my system. My blood pressure was slowly rising despite the medication. The nurses would comment on just how good I looked when then came in. Truth be told the mag drip didn't seem all that bad. At 24 hours in I was feeling just a touch sore. Like the body aches you get with the flu. I chalked it up to being on bed rest for two days pregnant. Like complete bed rest. The kind where you can't even get out of be to use the rest room. Hello catheter! TMI I know sorry. I forgot to mention it but that was one of the lovely things done during the onslaught of nurses at the military hospital. Again another thing you don't need to be surprised with while 6 other things are going on. Sorry back to July 5th...
The evening rolled around and hubby left for the night to take care of the dogs. He would be back in the morning. My dad called me and asked how I was doing. I gave him an update and we chatted for a bit. I noticed that my forearms were a bit warm and getting increasingly uncomfortable. When I got off the phone with him I mentioned it to the next nurse that came in. This was at about 7pm. The nurse said that it was likely the mag drip and that it was normal to feel warm. She turned on the fan and went on her way. By 9pm the pain was getting worse. A burning sensation started on just the top of my forearms. Movement was becoming more and more painful. I text hubby and let him know whats going on. He asked if I wanted him to come back to the hospital. I told him I could deal with the pain and I would see him in the morning but that I wanted him to come a bit earlier than he was planning to.
As time went on the pain only got worse. The mag drip was delivering a massive punch. So much for my delusional thought that I would get away with it not bothering me. By 11pm I was in so much pain I asked if there was anything that could be done. The poor nurse had no clue what to do so she grabbed the head nurse. I baffled her too. Just forearm pain is not anything she ever heard about. She called the doctor and he lowered the dosage on the mag drip. I'd love to say that was the end of it but it wasn't.
I text hubby and asked him to come back. I had to make it to 5am which would mark the end of the 48 hours I would be on the medicine. I could then come off of it and we would wait and see what happened from there.
Hubby arrived at about 12:30AM, July 6th. He walked in, said I looked pretty bad, then told me that my forearms looked like a firetruck and thought it would be smart to touch them. He said I felt like I was burning up. It honestly felt like someone had cracked open my forearm lengthwise and lit it on fire. The pain had me practically in tears. I don't cry but this was getting to me. There was little that could be done to make it better but to get off the medicine and the doctor said that wasn't going to happen until later that morning. Everything else felt fine but my arms. Hubby came up with the idea to use ice packs. The nurse brought me two and that is how I spent the next several hours. The ice packs made it somewhat tolerable. At 1am they came in because my blood pressure began to spike. They upped the checks of my BP to every 15 minutes. Over the next hour I would set the alarm off on the machine every single time it checked my BP. They came back in to ask me how my pain was doing. The doctor finally put me on pain medication for the forearm pain I was feeling. With the BP still high they had me lay on my side. This made keeping the ice packs on my arms difficult.
I was in the home stretch though so I sucked up the pain and prayed for time to pass faster. I only had to make it to 5am.
Or so I thought.
5am was when the doctor was supposed to be doing rounds. He didn't show up until 9am. four extra painful hours on this damn medicine. I was almost to tears when my doctor showed up. since I was put on the pain medicine every time it wore off and the pain started to get worse my BP would spike again.
At 9am the doctor said I would go off the mag drip. I was relieved. I had survived the dreaded mag drip. It would be another hour and 6 more reminders from me to the nurses until the mag drip was stopped. I didn't instantly feel better but slowly the pain got better. The pain meds were working better now that the medicine was no longer being pumped into my system.
Since I had not dilated at all he wanted to give me some medicine to soften my cervix. In addition he also put me on Potocin to help things along. He added that once he finished rounds and they had the medicine going he would come back to see how I was doing.
The doctor said that it would be a few hours until the baby would be here (possibly the following day), he had the time now to run home and figure out what to do with the dogs. I called and got them into a kennel in the center of town while the nurses started to set things up.
While he was gone my doctor came back to check where I was at and see if I had made any progress. I had not progressed as much as he would have liked so he decided to break my water to help move things along. It was at this point that the nurse I had asked the doctor if I could shower. She had noticed I was still in the gown from the army hospital from 2 days earlier. He agreed and said a hot shower could help but that he didn't want me out of bed too long because of my blood pressure.
The shower was interesting. I had to get up and walk for the first time in days. My legs felt weak but i walked very slowly to the bathroom. A nurse taped up the hand that had the IV in a bag so I was down to one hand and still hooked up to everything. Oh and my water had just been broke so there was that too. The shower was a pain in the ass. almost more trouble than it was worth. I felt better after washing my body and rinsing my hair (it was too frustrating to attempt to wash it), but the shower itself was not well thought out. The shower was set up so that when you were sitting on the bench, your left side was to the curtain. it was my Right hand that was wrapped up because of the iv. They wanted me to try to keep my hand out of the water/shower as much as possible. I did my best and called it a day.
Hubby was back and helped me put on a new hospital gown and to help me brush out my hair. Note to self: Teach hubby how to brush a girls hair if we ever have a daughter. I got frustrated and ended up doing it myself and even managed to get into a bun. He helped me to the bed and it was time to wait for the contractions to get more intense.
Once I was back in bed my nurse told me that IV needed to changed. She moved it to my left hand. My right hand over time started to swell. I was told this is normal.
At 6:45PM the doctor came back to check on me. All sorts of alarms were going off periodically. I know one was for my Blood pressure which had just insanely high. The others I am not sure about. He did an exam and found that I was only 3cm dilated and not as far along as he had hoped. In addition the baby was not tolerating contraction well. He recommended that we do a cesarean sooner rather than later. The doctor thought it was smarter to give the NICU a baby that was not stressed out as it was unlikely that I would deliver vaginally even if I did make it to the point of pushing. An emergency c section would be likely if we went that route. After little to no sleep that night, coupled with the pain from the mag drip and the worsening pain from the contractions I was done. I had used up all my energy and strength dealing with the mag drip. I took the doctors advice and at 7:45 I was being wheeled down to the OR.
Before I went in the anesthesiologist's assistant was asking me questions I did not know the answers too. Especially not when I was in the middle of a contraction. This women was luck I didn't punch her cause at some points over the next hour I really wanted to.
"When was the last time you ate" She asked. Hubby calls out "1600 on July 5." "No I need to hear her say it." "What he said" I snap back.
"When was the last time your Blood Pressure was taken?" The nurse answers this time. "its 182/121 taken at 1945." "No No I need her to tell me." So I repeat exactly what the nurse said. This goes on for 10 minutes. I mean really how on earth am I going to be able to answer half of these. Hell I didn't even realize it was the evening until I got out of the surgery and back to the room after the delivery.
They wheel me into the OR and have me move over to the table. I was sitting up and they told me to hunch my back and not to move. They were going to do a block instead of doing an epidural. I have to say I love my nurse who had been with me the past several hours. The anesthesiologist's assistant was still going nuts asking questions. She needed to get a direct line to my IV. The nurse showed her what she needed but she still was not happy. She starts to look at my right hand and wants the nurse to try to put an IV back into my right hand which was now swollen so bad I my fingers looked like over stuffed sausages. Thankfully my nurse told her that what she showed her was just fine. The anesthesiologist agreed.
She then decided to start with the block as soon as a contraction starts. The nurse is telling me to breath and not move. To keep my shoulder hunched that it was almost over. It ends and she says she needs to do it again. Now I am not sure if the pain from the contraction helped me or made the experience worse. The thought of someone messing around with your spine freaked me out enough. Oh and Needled Hello I'm freaked! Throw in the fact that I was in intense pain from a contraction and couldn't move and the thought was too much for me. a few minutes and two contractions later I was laying on the table with my arms stretched out, a blue curtain in my face and that damn assistant still pissing me off.
I could feel the pressure of the contraction but not the pain of it. The Assistant started to pinch my swollen hand asking me if feeling of the pinch on my hand was similar to that on my hip. At that time it basically was. She repeats doing this over and over. The Anesthesiologist finally steps in when she sees that I am getting angry with the assistant. She tells her to go get something. She starts asking me if I can wiggle my toes. I could. A minute later she asks how about now. I said that i had pins and needles in my feet. This whole time i could feel someone prepping and cleaning my belly. The doctor was washing up I heard someone say just before he walks in. The anesthesiologist asks me what I can feel on my thighs. I said I can feel pressure but like someone was pinching me. I hear her tell the assistant to get the gas ready just in case. She was holding the mask near my face when she asks again about but this time about my stomach. I said I felt pressure but no pain. The doctor begins and I feel all sorts of pressure. Then pulling and tugging.
Hubby is brought in to sit by my head. He could see what was going on. He tells me later that is smelled just like processing a deer. "warm iron." Lovely. shortly after he came in I hear the doctor ask for a clamp and I start to freak out. To keep myself calm I begin thinking of whatever song popped into my mind. Um somehow "Cruise" by Florida Georgia Line and "crash my party" by Luke Bryan blended together in my head. then toss in "amazing grace" and it was one weird mash up of a song in my head. Regardless it kept me calm.
One last mass pressure and he was out. They held him over the curtain for a second just enough for me to get a peak that he was bright red and crying. They passed him off to the NICU team for evaluation while they closed me up.
Bear was handed to hubby all wrapped up. He looks at Bear say "Yup he's mine" shows him to me and then hands him to the NICU nurse. Let me say that hubby never questioned that Bear was his it was just the first thought that came to his mind since I was watching some "who's the father" talk show before being wheeled down to delivery. He added later that The 'yup hes mine" comment was also because all the boys in his family look exactly alike. even his two nephews. Bear fits right in.
He was 4lbs and 17 inches long at birth. He was tiny.
When they finished closing me up I switched beds and was brought back to the room. I was hooked up to a morphine drip and told to rest. My nurse told me that as soon as the numbness went away I could pump milk for the first time and then rest some more. I asked when I could go down to see the baby and she said a bit later tonight. She took my BP before she left an it was back down to normal.
I pumped for the first time and got very little but obviously it just doesn't happen instantly.
Later that night they wheel me down to see him. I wasn't allowed to touch him just yet though.
The following two day I spent pumping and recovering. I was still not allowed out of bed.
The baby's doctor came in to update us on his progress daily. He was doing well. He didn't need any oxygen but he did need a feeding tube. He was placed in a humidified incubator to keep his body temperature up and to keep him from losing moisture.
At three days postpartum I was finally taken off bed rest. The catch was I was only allowed to get up to go to the bathroom or to the wheelchair for when I went down to the NICU. On the third day I was finally able to touch him in the incubator. He was tiny and had very little fat on him.
The forth day the nurses let me hold him for the first time. He had dropped weight at this point and was only 3lbs 12oz. I held him briefly and had to put him back in.
At day 5 postpartum we went home without him. It was an extremely sad day. However I think it was the best thing for my recovery. I could barely walk at the hospital which doesn't do well for the recovery process. This was all because of fear that my BP would spike again. It was somewhat warranted because I was at stroke level upon delivery. Once I got home I had to walk and move more. I couldn't just sit in bed all day. Things needed to get done. The more I moved the better I got.
We traveled the hour + drive once a day to see him in the NICU and drop off whatever milk I had pumped.
At day 13 he was moved into the open air "crib" The one full term babies are in. He also had his feeding tube removed.
When he was 14 days old we arrived to find out he had passed the car seat test and was ready for the "sleep in." This is where we would stay overnight at the hospital with him make sure he was eating well and that we we were able to take care of him. Happily the next day (15 days old) he came home with us.