Friday, June 3, 2011

Never how I planned

I am still learning the lessons in humility and acceptance that have come with infertility and pregnancy complications. It's been difficult. I had a plan. We'd get pregnant after a month or two (see? I wasn't being unreasonable - I didn't expect it on the first try or anything! Ha!). I'd have an easy pregnancy. I would give birth unmedicated and on the baby's schedule. Not so much, as I should've learned by now! When I talk about the birth, people say to focus on the fact that we're both here and healthy. I know that's the important thing, I truly do, but I have mourned for the birth experience I wanted. But hey, I didn't have the conception experience I wanted, so maybe I should've known! :)

On April 26th, I had my 39 week appointment with the obstetrician. No more midwives for me with the hypertension! I had some mild contractions on a timeable basis during the weekend, but by that Tuesday they had stopped. I had previously measured at 1.5 cm dialation but didn't feel like the baby was in any hurry. It turns out, it wasn't, but my body wasn't handling the late stages of pregnancy well.

My blood pressure was higher than it had been even when I was hospitalized earlier in the month. Ironically, the doctor who saw me was the one who I hated as my gynecologist and caused me to leave the practice. I only went back because I wanted the Alternative Birthing Center, requiring a practice with several midwives. She had the same shitty bedside manner I remembered. :) I was told to get my ass immediately to the hospital. I even was told to bypass triage and tell them I was to get a labor room immediately.

So I ended up in Labor Room 5, the exact kind of impersonal, uncomfortable, highly "medical" labor room I had wanted to avoid. I was told I was to be confined to bed but could go to the bathroom myself if my blood pressure stabilized a bit. They started me on magnesium citrate, which is an awful, awful medication. I also started another medication to bring the blood pressure down, and pitocin to get the show on the road.

It really took a while to start feeling the contractions from the pitocin. I had probably been in the labor room for 5-6 hours at that time. The doctor broke my water that night and things started moving from there. So I learned that labor hurts! I was unable to do any of the positions I had studied to help with labor and powered through it confined to bed. One nice thing that happened was one of the midwives spent most of the night with us, helping me through the contractions. I felt like I could handle the pain enough to make this happen.

Until I made no progress in dialation after the entire night of contractions. It was the first time labor would make me feel more hopeless and inadequate than I ever had before. I broke and asked for the epidural at the advice of the nurse.

The relief was welcome! I was able to send Rob home to shower and take care of the dogs, since I was only at 3 cm and he had come to the doctor appointment right from a 12 hour shift. Poor guy was sleeping between my contractions all night. :)

When I was checked again after the morning, I was shocked to learn I was 9 cm and close to pushing time! My spirits lifted. Finally - to meet this baby! Rob wasn't back but was close, so at least I wasn't alone! My family were waiting downstairs and I felt like it couldn't be long!

Wrong again! I pushed for 3 hours. It turns out the baby wasn't quite in the right position - it was face-up (or, more pleasantly, "sunnyside up") and slightly askew. Although I was pushing well and apparently you could see the top of the crown, I wasn't making progress. I could see the nurses and doctors whispering and exchanging looks, so I knew it wasn't going well.

The doctor then gave me a choice: I could keep pushing, and maybe the baby would break free. But I would have to accept the possibility of an emergency c-section. In an emeregency section, the incision is vertical, causing all kinds of recovery problems and ruling out future vaginal deliveries. Or I could opt for a non-emergency c-section. This would give them time to prepare and do the bikini cut, a more forgiving incision and leaving open the possibility of avoiding a section with future children. The baby had never shown signs of distress, so I still had the choice.

What a choice. The thing I didn't want most out of this delivery was on the table...but was obviously the better choice for me and the baby.

So I ended up on the operating table in the most surreal experience, splayed out like on the cross on the other side of a big curtain. There were probably 10 people in the operating room (all very nice and comforting, at least). I was so exhausted and feeling the effects of the magnesium, which was trippy and caused eye issues.

But a happy ending! They asked Rob to tell us all what the baby was. I'll never forget his reaction: happy crying as he said "It's a beautiful baby girl."

April Lynn was born at 5:02 PM on April 27, 2011. She weighed 8 lbs 1 oz and was 21 inches long. Her cry was strong and beautiful. The only ill effects of the ordeal were a serious friction burn on her forehead (which is still healing) and a low body temperature due to the magnesium.

It's torture to not be able to see her as they checked her out and Rob cut the cord. It's so strange to feel them pulling and tugging behind the curtain. But she was here! I was able to talk to everyone and get the updates. She then went upstairs with Rob while I was stitched up.

So that was it, really! We were able to both do skin-to-skin with her in the recovery room, and I was able to try nursing for the first time. They extended visiting time a bit for my family to be able to visit in our new room upstairs for a bit. It was magical to see everyone's reactions. :)

We spent 4 days in the hospital before heading on on May 1st. The next chapter of our lives had started!

So what's new?

I am an awful blogger. I was pouting about the issues I had in my previously easy pregnancy and didn't feel like talking about it, honestly. What a brat. :) But you might be able to imagine that things are completely different from my last post!

The picture is my last official bump picture of being pregnant! We took it the weekend before I had the baby - I was 39 weeks in the picture. At that time, I had been on modified bedrest for almost 3 weeks. At my 36 week appointment, my blood pressure went above the borderline level where it had been and went into the danger zone. I was told to go right to the triage unit of the hospital.

Thankfully, it was the first appointment in a while that Rob attended with me. I was so happy to not be alone. We were scared, that's for sure. My blood pressure went up and down a bit in triage and there was a trace of protein in my urine (a sign of pre-eclampsia), so I was admitted.

I spent two nights in the hospital under observation. There was talk of putting me on medication and hints of inducing me then, at 36 weeks and 3-4 days, but in the end the doctors decided I could go home. However, my working days were over for a while! It was quite a surprise but a relief in the end.

It was wonderful and amazing how my husband, family, and friends rallied to take care of me! Rob was so great in picking up the slack around the house. My parents came by every weekend to clean and do the little projects it seemed as if we had plenty of time to do before the baby until the scare. And we got lovely home-cooked meals from several generous and talented people. :) My blood pressure was down a bit in my 37 and 38 week appointments. So I waited...