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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Birth Story

My family looks at me crazy, and calls me crazy, when I say I enjoy being pregnant. Honestly, I do enjoy being pregnant. You know, during the ten or so minutes when I’m not nauseous, having terrible leg cramps, water-induced indigestion, and raging uncontrollable diabetes and preeclampsia. Oh yeah, and that horrifying bout of food poisoning that left me puking in the bathtub while simultaneously diarrhea-ing everywhere (it was quite traumatizing, seriously), and eventually landed me in the ER.

The fun stuff was feeling Baby move and kick and roll, and it was fun to see people get angry when I told them I had no idea what a rib kick felt like, because I was never kicked in the ribs. I was kicked in the cervix, though, a lot, by both Afton and Delaney. They’re jerks. But, it was also fun being fat, because when you’re pregnant, you always look cute no matter how gigantic you are, cause there’s a baby in there!

So, at about 6 months pregnant with Afton, I was put on modified bed rest because I developed diabetes fast and my blood pressure went up and neither felt like responding to conventional medicine or me yelling at myself. I swelled up like a dead, beached whale that had been in the sun for a good three days. Even my nose plumped up like a Christmas plum. I had a rib that was killing me, because it apparently couldn’t take the stress of my greatly enlarging body (it broke years earlier when I was victim to a hit-and-run beer bottle), and I couldn’t find a single comfortable position to exist in. Needless to say I was scheduled for induction at 36 weeks.

Induction sucked. For three whole days I laid in a hospital bed while nurses put little pills on strings up my hoo-haw every four hours and made me lay prone for an hour after each insertion. I stared out the window and watched a giant snowstorm hit the town and I was sad because I wanted to go drive and play in it.
Each day I wasn’t allowed to eat because no one knew when I would go into actual labor, until I begged the doctor every night and finally I was allowed a small meal at like…nine pm. Because my blood pressure was so high, I was constantly forced to lie on my side, but all the while I tried to explain that my contractions would actually occur if they let me lay on my back. My doctor almost quit and sent me home, but I put my heels in and said Hell no, I am NOT leaving this place without my kid!

I entered the hospital on the 8th of December, 2008, at six am, and at three pm on the 10th of December, labor finally began. The doctor had started giving me Pitocin earlier in the day and I knew it was going to be trouble because lying on my side was masking my true contractions. The moment the doctor came and broke my water I started having contractions almost every single minute and they were so intense they took the breath right out of me. I had told everyone I was going to do a natural birth, but in that instant I changed my mind and started begging for an epidural. I even forced my husband on a couple of occasions to find a nurse to check my progress so I could have my epidural.

I looooooooooove epidurals. It was great because it was inserted during a contraction, so I felt nothing. And then I really felt nothing. It was weird not being able to move my legs; they were like dead logs made of jello (jello because three days in the hospital made my already swollen-ness triple).

I was relaxed and ready to go, and by seven pm I was pushing. It was weird trying to push when you couldn’t really feel anything. And there were three people counting for me at the time, but they kept starting off from each other which messed up my pushing, which REALLY pissed me off. Like, I almost blew a gasket kind of pissed. I was moved into several different pushing positions and I was making progress; the doctor finally joined the group and could feel the head making way.

Things seemed to be going smoothly until all of a sudden I felt like I ripped in half. Through a fully working epidural I felt a pain unlike any I had ever felt before. I instantly started to freak out and cry and I was turned on my back. The doctor started asking questions but I couldn’t really answer them and he couldn’t figure what was going on, so they pulled the plug on my delivery and prepped for an emergency C-section.

Now, most of the next part comes in bits and pieces, and I am sure I don’t remember things as they may have actually occurred, but this is what it was like for me:

There were nurses running around everywhere, and the pain I was feeling was forcing me to push even harder, even though I was repeatedly told not to. I couldn’t help it. I am fairly certain I was screaming, but I do distinctly remember calling out Mommy, mommy, help me mommy, over and over again.

I was placed on the OR table and made to sit up, and then to hunch over, because my epidural was going to be replaced with a spinal. I felt absolutely nothing of that, but it was difficult for them and for me, because I kept trying to push, and scream.

Shaking uncontrollably, they laid me back on the table and prepped me for surgery. Within a few minutes I had the scariest experience of my entire life. I couldn’t breathe. I was suffocating, and I couldn’t get the words out to say I was suffocating because I had no breath to say it. I couldn’t focus on anything or anyone because I was panicking to the nth degree. I was certain I was dying. The anesthesiologist seemed to understand what I was trying to convey and held an air mask over my face while telling me I was fine and not to worry because I was breathing.

I think my doctor got Afton out in less than two minutes after I was placed on the table, but it felt like an hour. I couldn’t hear my daughter, but I could hear concern from the staff in the room. Afton was purple, and the cord was wrapped around her limbs multiple times. She had an Apgar of 3. I honestly had no idea what was going on, because I was still struggling violently to breathe. Finally I heard her cry, and relief came in a rushing wave. Rudy brought Afton over to me, but I couldn’t even look at her because I was still in too much distress. Her Apgar improved rapidly after that and most of the staff and my husband went out of the OR with the baby.

Slowly but surely I was finally able to breathe, and talk. The doctor told me he was uncertain of what exactly happened, but he believed my placenta was tearing. He sent pieces of it off to pathology, where it was confirmed to be such. He told me that feeling something so quickly probably saved my life. I have no idea, I can’t fathom it.

I was stitched up and taken to my room, where it was discovered my IV had corrupted. It took three nurses, two hours, twenty failed attempts, and a weird vein-finding light before the anesthesiologist had to be called in to get me a working IV. He was awesome, and got it on the first try, at the bottom of my thumb by my palm. I was so swollen my skin was damp, cracking, and a little weepy.

I was sooooooo over everything. Afton was jaundiced and almost not allowed to leave the hospital, but we finally got the OK on day three. A few weeks later I developed a super gross infection in my incision which had to be opened and drained three times. Yuck yuck yuck. But I had a beautiful baby girl and I was happy.

Thankfully, my pregnancy with Delaney was much smoother. I did develop diabetes again, but my blood pressure stayed in check, and I didn’t swell as much. I did, however, have an overabundance of amniotic fluid, which turned me into a pumpkin. I looked 40 weeks at 30 weeks and expanded from there. I had a scheduled C-section for 39 weeks, and I was terrified of it because of how poorly my first one went. I knew I couldn’t handle another breathing problem. So when I brought it up, I was reassured everything would be far better, and it lessened my anxiety, until we got to the OR and it took two people six attempts to get the spinal in place. My back is still messed up from that. The C-section itself went off without a hitch and I had my second daughter on May 13th, 2010. Delaney had some breathing problems and had to stay in recovery for a few extra hours while I was brought to my room. For the next 24 hours, I drifted in and out of a Benadryl-induced coma as the spinal gave me a crazy itchy reaction. I itched off almost all my skin; it was awful! Then, after I was sent home, I began retaining so much fluid I had to be put on Lasix, and after that my incision refused to fully close for almost two months. Annoying.

But I have two beautiful girls, and Baby #3 is on the way. Here’s to hoping for an even smoother experience this round!

Me at the beginning of my first pregnancy, and me after Afton was born.  I looked like John Goodman!
Me during labor with Afton.  You can see the terrible swelling, especially in my hand.
During my C-section with Delaney.  I'm smiling because I can freaking breathe!

Afton on the day of her birth and Delaney on the day of her birth.  I love my baybehs.

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