Friday, February 6, 2015

Bear Gets Born: a birth story rewrite

You can read the original posts here and here.


You know those birth stories that you hear about where nothing goes as you expected it to?   Well that is exactly how everything leading up to and including Bears' birth went.  I don't share this too often with people because I know our story is not typical by any means.  You see it took us 2 years and more fertility drugs than I'd like to admit to get pregnant with Bear.  Even that was a fluke.  So I was not shocked in the least when he decided to make his sorta dramatic entry into the world 6 weeks early while Hubby was stepping out the door for an eight month deployment.  

I woke up the morning of July 3rd with a headache that just wouldn't quit.  Something lead me to take my blood pressure.  it was 140/110.  Not good.  I called the labor and delivery on post.  They said that my bp cuff is "infamously wrong,"  (it wasn't) and that all I needed was a hot shower and a nap.  But that to be on the safe side she suggested that I come in later that day to get it checked out as it was likely nothing.  I took a quick shower, took care of the pups, snapped the picture below and stepped out the door to head in to get checked out.

last belly pic

On the way I called a rather irritated Hubby to tell him I was heading (once again) in to labor and delivery because of my headache and high blood pressure.  He would meet me there when he could as they were waiting to be released for the long 4th of July weekend.  I showed up at L&D and went though the standard urine collection, temperature, BP taken and baby monitoring.  The found the same results that my cuff had said.  My BP was in fact high.  A little while later, shortly after hubby had arrived, the doctor came in to talk to me.  She said that there was High levels of protein in my urine (indication of possible labor), coupled with my high BP could mean I have preeclampsia.  She needed to do a urine collection.  The on post hospital would be closed minimally staffed the next day, so they admitted me overnight for a 12 hour collection.

The next morning the doctor comes in to talk to me while Hubby is on his way to meet me.  She tells me that the protein in my urine is "through the roof" and that my BP was steadily rising.  She added that I will likely deliver this baby within the next few days.  The on post hospital is not equipped for that so I needed to be transferred and and she needed to make a few calls to get that to happen.  In the mean time several nursed would "prep" me for the move.   What I can only describe as a gaggle of nurses rushed into my room in a tizzy.  Almost all at once they start working.  One nurse is taking my clothes off while another in hooking up my IV.  This nurse is putting in a catheter and that nurse if giving me a shot a steroid shot in the ass.  The final nurse is asking me all sorts of questions as she was filling out paperwork.  This is just half of what was done but within 5 minutes they all left.  In walks hubby.  He asks "you OK" because (I quote!) " I have a strange shocked look on my face,"  Why no no I'm not OK.  Warn a person about what you will be doing BEFORE you do it.  It's not really smart to stress out a pregnant lady with already high blood pressure.  

At any rate I got transferred to the new hospital without any issues.  The Doctor said what I had already known, I in fact had preeclampsia.  HE was going to give me another steroid shot the following day to help with the babies lungs and also put me on a magnesium drip for 48+ hours.  The Mag drip helps with brain development.  He added that the Mag drip would make me feel like I had the worst flu of my life.  That "IF I made it 48 hours we would take it from there."  When the baby would come was antibody's guess however he thought it unlikely I would make it until full term based off my stats.  The doctor put it in very realistic terms... He wanted to keep the baby in my incubator (read my belly) until the one down the hall was a better option.  Until then we wait.
Somewhere around 30 hours on the Mag drip nurses kept mention how good I looked.  Truth be told I felt fine.  A little bit of body aches but good.  I chalked it all up to being on complete bed rest for days.  somewhere around 38-40 hours on the Mag drip is when things started to go south.  Hubby headed home to take care of the dogs and I had called my dad to update him on what was going on.  It was then that I noticed that just my forearms were feeling warm.  I tell the nurse and she says its normal to feel warm.  I suck it up.  

A couple hours later I was calling Hubby to come help me as I felt like my arms were on fire.  The only way I could possibly describe how it felt was as if someone had sliced my forearms open and lit them on fire.  Just the forearms nothing else.  The doctors and nurses have never head of this before.  They were bright red, extremely warm to the touch, and very very painful.  Several nurses calls to the doctor to see if there was something that could be done.  They ended up keeping me on the Mag drip but gave me pain medicine.  It barely took the edge off with the help of ice packs placed just so.  This was to date the longest most painful night of my life.

Morning came and with just one hour until I hit my 48 hour mark.  The nurses told me that the doctor would be in to see me first.  He was 4 painful hours later than expected.  The main problem going on throughout all of this is that when pain medicine wore off my BP would spike and I would start getting mild to moderate random contractions.   Once the doctor arrived he reviewed my charts and we discussed the plan.  

The doctor did not think it was good for neither myself or the baby to continue on this way.  We made the decision to induce labor and see what happens.  It was few more hours until the mag drip was turned off and even a few hours after that, you know when the contractions started kicking in, that my arms began to feel better.

Labor was not progressing as we had expected so my water was broken in an effort to move things along.  My medicine was also upped.  All of this was to no avail.   Since machines were going off more and more frequently the doctor gave us our options.  I could continue to labor and IF I made it to the point of pushing I would have to do so in the operating room because I might need medical assistance and he didn't want to take any chances with either of our lives.  The other option was to have an elective c-section.  This option would give the NICU an unstressed baby.  One that would respond better to treatments according to our (yet to be born) baby's doctor.  While the doctor was willing to go along with whatever we wanted I knew that I was done.  I physically and mentally couldn't take anymore.  We decided on the elective c-section.

Within an hour I was taken off the various labor inducing drugs and wheeled down to the OR.  The most annoying spawn of Satan anesthesiologist assistant in the world starts asking me questions while I'm in the middle of contractions.  Others are calling out the answers but that wasn't good enough, no, she has to hear them from me.  Thank God for my wonderful nurse who was with me through out all of this.  She honestly kept me from knocking her out more than once.  

Once in the OR I transfer tables and they have me sitting up hunched over while the anesthesiologist puts in a block rather than an epidural.  Now I'm not sure if this helped me or not but I was still having some pretty strong contractions throughout all of it.  Being told to stay still mid contraction while someone is messing around with a needle in your spine is scary.  The contraction gave me something else to think about.  Again my nurse was fabulous and helped me though this.

I lay down and they began prepping me for the surgery.  That effing assistant starts to check if I am getting numb.  I wasn't.  Then I hear the doctor is almost done scrubbing in.  The anesthesiologist tells the assistant to get the mask ready and flowing while she jumps in.  With the mask inches from my face I began to quickly get numb.  Thankfully, I did not get knocked out for the delivery.

The doctor starts and all you can feel is some pressure and tugging.  No pain.  Shortly after this Hubby is brought in to sit near me.  He had a strange look on his face.  He later tells me that it reminded him "of field dressing a Deer.  You know, the strong iron smell."  Despite the strange analogy he is correct.  That strong iron smell will stay with me.  It was then that I start hearing medical words being tossed around.  You know like "clamp" and "suction."  Having witnessed a c-section before I start remembering what is going on on the other side of curtain.  I begin to panic a bit.  So I do what any normal human being does.  I sing songs in my head to calm me down.  Because you know this is totally normal... lol.  First song to pop into my head was "cruise" by Florida Georgia Line.  when I run out of those song lyrics in pops "crash my party" by Luke Bryan.  When I blank half way through in pops amazing grace.  So with a few minutes of this crazy song mash up going on in my head Bear was born.

They give me a peek of his head over the curtain and hand him off to the NICU team they had there for him.  After a few minutes of him getting checked out the hand this tiny 4 pound newborn wrapped up to Hubby.  In all of his wisdom he looks a Bear and says "yup, he's mine." Shows me Bear, then hands him back to the nurse.  Let me say there was no question in his mind that Bear was his.  This was more of a nod to the fact that his whole family looks like carbon copies of each other.  If you were to toss a newborn picture of Hubby, all of his brothers, both of Hubby's nephews, and Bear onto a table it would be hard to tell them apart.  It's a bit creepy how alike they all are.  At any rate one awkward comment and many stitches later I was back in my room recovering.

first picture

It was then that my BP returned to normal.  Bear was doing well in NICU but it would be a few more hours until I got to see him.  Another day until I got to touch him.  Even then it wasn't until I was put on partial bed rest before I got to hold him.  Bear being in the NICU gave me a different recovery than I had anticipated.  This was both a good and bad thing.  Good because the demands on me were less so I could recover.  Bad because my tiny newborn was not with me.  He was however exactly where he needed to be.  Thankfully he only needed about 2 weeks in the NICU.  This is not typical though.

At his lowest weight 3lbs, 12oz


Looking back on his birth story I know I made the right decisions for us and our situation.  I could have spend days wondering about all the shoulda, coulda, woulda's but in the end I do not regret the decisions we made.  I do know that if or when we do decide to have another child, Bear's birth and the circumstances around it will effect our decisions in terms of pregnancy and delivery.  How could they not?  For now though I will enjoy my healthy little 18 month.      

18 months old (21lbs)

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