The parts in bold are the parts that I wrote. The non-bold parts are notes that my mom wrote while we were at the hospital.
Bonnie – Me
Tony – Husband
Ilán - Baby
Vicki – Mom
Katherine – Best Friend
Dr. Curtis/“Curtis” for short – OB/GYN (as well as regular doctor and pediatrician)
Dr. Curtis appt. This appointment was scheduled earlier in the week and its purpose was to talk about how far the toxemia/pre-eclampsia had gone, including results from the 24-hour urine collection I’d done a few days before. Curtis conferred with a hospital doctor as to if Bonnie should be admitted and induced today (Friday) or tomorrow. Turned out to be today mainly due to protein in my urine and high blood pressure but also due to other symptoms I’d been having for a couple weeks, including rapid weight gain (I think I gained six pounds the week I was induced and it was all from water and salt retention, not food), headaches, swelling, lower back pain, and slight pain in the upper right abdominal area. Bonnie and Tony went home to meet with Vicki. Vicki packed her car with everyone’s hospital stuff which we’d finished packing and set out the night before, just in case. Tony took Excel (one of our dogs – the other was being watched by our friend who was also house-sitting) to Grandma’s, picked up Katherine on his way back home, and all four left for Evergreen Hospital at noon.
Parked, went to admitting, and about 15 minutes later (it felt like HOURS) were led to room #2148. Nurse Sue came in, had Bonnie remove all clothing and put on a lovely hospital gown. Sue left and didn’t come back for about a half hour. When Sue did come back, Bonnie got into bed and Sue put monitors on Bonnie, took some vitals, and put a heparin lock on Bonnie’s right arm and started a saline IV drip. I remember her (I think it was her) saying something about how bad it was to be doing an induction when I was only 1cm dilated. Real fucking encouraging… This also reminds me that at my doctor appointment that morning, Dr. Curtis did a membrane sweep in hopes of speeding up the dilation process, but I later found out it didn’t do any good.
Sue wrote notes, Bonnie broke down with emotion. So many tears and sobs. I’m not really sure what set this off. I think I kinda realized that it was really happening now, and I’m sure it also had a lot to do with getting the heparin lock. I’d never been in the hospital before, and I was terrified of getting an IV because I have a huge phobia of that kinda thing. Katherine and I were asked to leave (by Bonnie) and in about 10 minutes, Tony told us that Bonnie would like a turkey/cheese sandwich on white bread with lots of mayo. I don’t know what cheered me up, but I think it was probably Tony telling me that I needed to eat so I’d have energy for labor. Katherine went to the hospital’s cafeteria but one part had gross food and the so-called deli was closed. This was really annoying to me, and I got mad. Why was the deli closed on a weekday afternoon?! Katherine went to find QFC to buy food but it seems we took the scenic route and ended up far away at an old-school Albertson’s. The store had pre-made sandwiches but none that were to Bonnie’s specifications. The deli person made a sandwich, I bought a sandwich, Frito’s, and plain chips (which were Bonnie’s request), and a Pepsi. Katherine bought three big Hershey bars. Took the scenic route back to the hospital. There truly was a QFC about a minute away from the hospital, but apparently they went in completely the wrong direction :P
Bonnie ate half of the sandwich (I figured I should eat more but I have a pretty severe vomit phobia and was afraid I’d throw up due to medication or labor or something and didn’t want to be throwing up a bunch of food), the nurse suggested we hide the chips so Dr. Curtis wouldn’t see them (I hadn’t even opened the bag, I didn’t want them anymore anyway). Sue asked Bonnie many health-related questions and put Bonnie’s answers in on a computer. Sue did a knee reflex test and some other bend-the-foot/ankle thing (this is when they push your ankle/foot back and see if it bounces back against the push – if it does, it’s called “clonus”). Both tests were positive for pre-eclampsia (because clonus and hyperreflexia are symptoms of pre-e).
Now it is 5:30p.m. Pitocin was started an hour ago and Sue just came in to up the dose (which is to happen every hour – to some point (15)). Tony is trying to sleep, Katherine is reading a book, I am writing and crocheting and Bonnie is resting as comfortably as possible. There is a 1972-73 DVD of The New Price Is Right playing. Pretty funny stuff. I was able to focus on this for awhile – it was funny to see Bob Barker so long ago still looking so old, and to see the hilarious prizes they gave away, and also that in the first few episodes, there were only women contestants. I really did find this funny but I remember not laughing much because my headache was so bad and I was so tired but unable to sleep.
OB/GYN came in. Asked a bunch of questions. Bonnie wants to sleep. Bonnie asked about drugs to dry up milk since she will be bottle feeding. OB/GYN says they try to discourage those drugs. This pissed me off but I was too tired to fight about it, but I remember thinking “Oh, okay, I’ll just deal with the horrible pain of swollen breasts, and just let my boobs leak forever.” However, this didn’t end up happening. I had no breast pain at all and they quickly stopped leaking, which leads me to believe I probably would’ve had a pretty hard time breastfeeding. Katherine put a Gilmore Girls DVD in. I was unable to focus at this point. Tony slept through the OB/GYN visit.
Dr. Curtis came in. Guy took blood in case a match is needed later. They figured I’d need a blood transfusion because I was severely anemic (but for the record, I ended up just barely escaping a transfusion). Curtis talked, asked questions. Suggested increasing Pitocin every half hour or so until midnight. If no progress by then, stop Pitocin, start Morphine so Bonnie can sleep. Nurse Sue suggested Bonnie eat again at midnight, then sleep. I was okay with that because I was hungry and thought it might help me sleep. Keep in mind that I hadn’t slept more than two hours the night before, and only a few hours each night the night or two before that because I was so uncomfortable from the pregnancy and Braxton-Hicks and cuz I was just done with it all. Curtis said he’d like to start Pitocin again in the morning, maybe around 7a.m. Sounds like Curtis will be here until at least midnight to watch for progress.
Cathy, Dale and Michol (Tony’s mom, step-dad, and brother) stopped by with food/drink for Tony and a Frosty for Bonnie. Actually, no one ever gave me a Frosty. I think Tony had one but I think they forgot mine, and this made me really mad but I didn’t say anything. Bonnie did not want visitors at that time so they only stayed about 15 minutes, most of the time in the hallway. I was in a horrible mood and really didn’t want to see anyone. I heard Cathy ask Tony if she could just come say hi to me and he said no and she said “Oh, it’s okay, she’ll be fine” and came in and gave me a hug and said something. I didn’t say anything back. I wanted to scream. We will call them if progress is made. They will be back tomorrow, phone call or not.
Dr. Curtis and the OB/GYN (Porter) have been in the hall, discussing things over a computer. Bonnie was going to be the first person Curtis delivered to have their baby delivered by him but a lady gave birth this morning who was in the same situation. Bonnie is #2 :(
Nurse Sue (per Curtis) just ordered a “type and cross” for two units of blood.
Nurse Sue off, Nurse Candace on. Poor Bonnie looks so pitiful. SO tired. Vicki has been rubbing Bonnie’s lower legs and feet. Bonnie has been almost constantly moving her legs and feet - sort of a restless syndrome kind of thing. She does this sometimes when she is sick, too. That’s true, I definitely do that when I’m sick. I don’t know why, but it’s really frustrating because it feels like I can’t control it. Nurse Sue said that maybe it’s a sort of coping mechanism.
Bonnie’s fingers are puffy – due to IV fluids? Bonnie has been having decent contractions according to the monitor printouts but she says they don’t feel any stronger than those she’s been having the past couple of weeks. “Fake contractions,” she’s called them. Yes! No one believed me! I kept telling them that they were Braxton-Hicks, not real contractions. Not that I’d had real contractions before, so I had nothing to compare them to, but I just knew, especially considering they’d been happening extremely frequently for the last couple weeks. Once in awhile, Baby would push really hard on the contraction belt monitor and they’d be like “Oh, that was a strong contraction!” and I’d be like “No, it wasn’t! It was just the baby!” but they were convinced they were contractions. My Braxton-Hicks contractions were mostly felt in my back, and would cause my stomach to tighten up a little. This is exactly what I felt at this point at the hospital, too. Hopefully at midnight, hospital staff will let Bonnie sleep.
Don’t know how the four of us would have survived without text messaging – it’s a great way for people to share info! I was still texting at this point. I remember texting Sarah (turtleohs on LiveJournal) a lot.
So far Bonnie has been able to get up and use the bathroom. She’s connected to many things but they travel with her (had to take the blood pressure cuff off every time though). And getting up caused me to have to see the IV tubes and I hated that because it creeps the hell out of me. Hopefully she won’t have to endure a catheter (although I knew I would have to if I ended up getting an epidural).
About 11:30p.m, Bonnie asked that Katherine, Nurse Candace and I leave the room so Bonnie could use the bathroom. Something transpired between 11:30 and 12:30 – don’t have much detail – but Bonnie had one really strong, lengthy contraction that scared the hell out of her. Maybe Bonnie can fill in more info here… As for more info…I still to this day don’t know what happened. I just remember that it felt, placement wise, the exact same as all my other Braxton-Hicks contractions, but it was about 100 times stronger and lasted forever. I ended up on my hands and knees, arching my back, and moving back and forth until it went away. I was scared because I knew this wasn’t a real contraction and thought “If this is a bad Braxton-Hicks, how bad is a bad real contraction going to be?!”
Nurse Candace paged Dr. Curtis and he showed up about midnight…spent 10-15 minutes in the room. I saw Nurse Candace bring in linens (don’t know if it was sheets, towels, or what). I don’t know what she was bringing, probably just more towels for the bathroom or something.
Now it’s 12:55a.m. (officially 11/15/08). Bonnie has had Ambien, half a sandwich and a banana. She is standing eating the banana. She’s in good, cheery spirits. Tony and Bonnie will sleep on the “day bed,” Katherine on the hospital bed, and Vicki on the recliner. I was in good spirits because I thought I might actually sleep with the Ambien, and because I got to sleep next to Tony. That hospital bed was so damn uncomfortable. Also, I think I’d been given another shot of Fentanyl (a narcotic that was to help my anxiety and headache – they’d been giving it to me quite often, and it was the only thing that gave me any true relief. I still remember how it made me feel. I could feel the cold of it going in through my IV, and then immediately I would feel light-headed and dizzy and a little silly, almost as if I was drunk or high (not that I’d know what it’s like to feel either of those… :P). I was so surprised at how quickly the effects were felt, as I’d never had drugs via an IV before). Goodnight. A more productive day tomorrow!
Dr. Curtis woke Bonnie (and the rest of us) up at 6:15a.m. I think I’d gotten maybe 4-5 hours of restless sleep. A guy drew some blood from Bonnie. He admired her tattoos (as did everyone who drew my blood, took my blood pressure, etc.) and said he has a lot of ink himself. Vitals were taken, Bonnie was hooked back up to all the monitors. Now it is 7:15a.m. and Bonnie took more Tylenol for headache. Tony went back to sleep, Katherine tried to sleep in the recliner, I got dressed and sat next to Bonnie.
New nurse, RoseAnna, did an “assessment” which is a more thorough vitals recording than the one earlier this morning.
Upped Pitocin to 7 (of 15)
Cindy (my mom’s sister) stopped by with my phone charger, and a really cute handmade baby sweater and hat (knit) that she’d made. Cindy and I scouted around for an in-hospital coffee/deli place but none are open on weekends. Cindy drove us to Starbucks and QFC. Then we sat in the building across from the building Bonnie is in and chatted. Cindy left at 10:15a.m. Now I need to go back to QFC to get sustenance for Tony and Katherine. Bonnie’s Pitocin is now at 10.
I got back from QFC at 11a.m. Bonnie and Tony are resting together on the hospital bed, Pitocin is now at 11, and I think the magnesium may have been started in my absence (it had not). Katherine is sitting on the day bed, DSing. I started watching Made Of Honor on my iPod.
Bonnie got up to use the bathroom. Bonnie’s headache is pretty bad and she is a bit nauseous. My headache was from not sleeping and from the pre-eclampsia, so it was way worse than any headache I’d ever had. Nurse RoseAnna and intern girl came in. Turned the Pitocin up to 12. Bonnie ate lemon Jell-O. Bonnie says the magnesium has not been started yet. Dr. Curtis saw patients at his office between 9a.m.-noon so hopefully he will be here soon to figure out what’s to happen next.
Nurse RoseAnna took Bonnie’s temperature, tested her reflexes and took her BP. I didn’t hear the results of any of the above.
Nurse RoseAnna came in at 12:25p.m. and increased the amount of fluid in Bonnie’s drip. She said that after the last time Bonnie went to the bathroom, Baby’s baseline increased (heartbeat has been in the 170s range instead of 120s-160s). Bonnie had lime Jell-O. Gross. But I was surprised they were letting me eat at all, and I wasn’t going to complain about it because ice chips just don’t cut it :P Nurse RoseAnna had called Dr. Curtis with all this info and he said to increase fluids.
A “charge nurse” came in and turned the Pitocin drip off as Baby’s heartbeat is elevated. Nurse is calling Dr. Curtis. Heartbeat very quickly went down to 150s/low 160s.
Dr. Curtis came in. He said Bonnie’s urine looks much better since the fluids were upped. Bonnie said “Why thank you.” I tend to make jokes when I’m nervous. Curtis is checking “down there” to see if there has been progress and to see if it is time to break the membranes. Head is too high up right now. Not a good time to break membranes. Still only one centimeter dilated and -3 head position. This made me incredibly sad, because I knew from day one that I wanted to avoid a C-section at all costs but after all this, I figured I’d end up having one, and not making progress with dilation was not a good sign. Reflexes and that other foot thing (clonus) are stronger, per Curtis. BP is up a bit. “Need magnesium to protect you and Baby,” Curtis said.
Bonnie had more Tylenol – headache is at a 4 on the 1-10 scale (after the Tylenol). Curtis is going to check with Dr. Pfeiffer (hospitalist…?) to see what course to take. “Not in emergency mode” and “Don’t need to do a C-section yet” Curtis said. Curtis asked Bonnie if she is emotionally ready for a C-section if Pfeiffer and Curtis (and she and Tony) agree that’s the best option at this point. I do not remember what I said. I don’t remember what I was feeling at that point. As I said earlier, I figured I’d end up with one, but I did not want one. Baby’s head is not coming down – maybe Bonnie’s body just won’t allow it. Sometimes that isn’t known until a section is done. “Bottom line is ‘happy baby’” Curtis said.
For now, no Pitocin, starting the magnesium. Curtis and Pfeiffer went out of the room to confer. Time is now 1:25p.m.
Cannot rupture membranes while Baby’s head is so far up. May do a balloon thing (Bonnie can tell more) which may make dilation go up. (Balloon thing = foley catheter, which is where they put this tube with a bulb thing on the end inside of you and fill it with water, and the pressure is supposed to help the cervix dilate. It’s not mentioned in my mom’s notes, probably because she wasn’t in the room, but I did end up getting one of these. The insertion wasn’t too bad, but after it had been in for awhile, one of the doctors (Pfeiffer, I think) told me he was going to pull on it to see if my cervix would give and it would come out. When he pulled on it, it hurt SO much. I was seriously screaming and yelling for him to stop. It must have sounded like I was being violated or something, but oh my god, that was worse than the blood draws and IVs and Braxton-Hicks. I don’t know why it hurt so bad and finally he stopped and I remember just bawling and bawling and not being able to stop. It didn’t hurt after he stopped pulling, but I was just too emotional to deal with that pain and couldn’t quickly recover). If not, Pfeiffer won’t make Bonnie go through six more hours of what she’s been going through. I think he said “six hours” because that’s how long they were going to leave the foley in for.
I’m worried but Bonnie seems pretty calm. She just wants it to be over with. I was plenty worried but numb (emotionally) at the same time. None of this felt real and I was scared and I think I was blocking the fear by just making myself numb.
Starting the magnesium-sulfate. Bonnie is having more tasty lemon Jell-O and she is starting to feel the initial effects of the mag-sulfate…hot flashes, wooziness. Just said to Curtis that it feels like she can’t breathe. Curtis said it’s normal – makes it harder to take a deep breath. It was such a weird feeling, and for someone who already has bad anxiety and panic attacks, feeling like you can’t breathe is very scary.
Between 2p.m. and 8p.m., Katherine and I were in the waiting room, not Bonnie’s room. I was just too overwhelmed to have anyone but Tony in the room. Normally I’m not like that and normally I want my mom with me when I’m feeling bad. It’s not that I didn’t want her there, it’s just that I really couldn’t tell how I felt or what I wanted and I just wanted to focus on one person, and that was Tony. Every so often, Tony would text us to come see them. Katherine had to go home cuz she works tomorrow. This bummed me out cuz I wanted her to be there for the birth. Around 8:30p.m, Bonnie had her second and last dose of Ambien so she could hopefully sleep until midnight. I don’t know what was happening at midnight…maybe they had put the foley in and were going to take it out then?
Dr. Curtis ruptured the membranes. Bonnie was very emotional. I’m not sure why. Probably because I wanted this to happen on its own. Nurse is trying to tell Bonnie that a vaginal birth will be much easier on her in the long run. I can’t imagine I was arguing that. I wanted a vaginal birth all along. Bonnie said something about “how can she be expected to do this with the headache and all she’s been through already.” I was becoming increasingly worried about trying to go through labor and pushing on so little sleep and such a terrible headache. I truly hadn’t slept more than maybe 12 hours in the past 3-4 days, and I do not do well at all on little sleep. I was barely functioning as it was, and I wasn’t doing anything but lying there. Once Bonnie has recovered a bit from this latest procedure, Nurse will help clean her up in the bathroom. I think Dr. Curtis said he’d be back in an hour. Bonnie got a shot of _____ for headache. I’m assuming this was a shot of Fentanyl, but I don’t know.
Bonnie is amazed at how much fluid has and continues to come out. Fluid has all been clear (yay!).
Bonnie got up to pee and get cleaned up. She had a “real contraction.” Not a hard one but it felt different because it was “real.” I KNEW that what I was feeling before were Braxton-Hicks! This was completely different. It was much lower, like right above my pelvis, and mostly in front, not in the back like the Braxton-Hicks were. Bonnie’s spirits are pretty light right now. Good to see her smile. Nurse Candace is VERY good! I think I was in better spirits because I actually felt like something was happening. And yes, Candace made all the difference. She was so comforting and had a sense of humor and talked to me like a person and a friend instead of a patient. She showed me photos of her husband and son at a Mariners game and we talked about how Tony and I were excited for the time when we’d be able to do that with our son. She was also able to talk me through contractions. Looking back, this makes me realize that having a doula probably would’ve been a huge help to me. Not that Tony wasn’t help enough, but I’m such a paranoid person that having someone talk me through it was great.
Curtis came in to check dilation. Still 4.5cm. I don’t know when I’d made that progress, but I think it was with the foley balloon. Curtis will now put in “IUPC” (Intrauterine Pressure Catheter). Tube will go beside Baby’s head and will monitor the contractions. Bonnie will not need to wear the uncomfortable tummy monitor thing anymore. This made me happy because that damn contraction belt was horribly painful to me because it has a little button on the underside and it just dug into my fat stomach. It left huge indents on me.
Had another “real” contraction. IUPC insertion was a bit painful but Bonnie did well.
Curtis left, said he’ll give that about an hour to work.
5.5cm, 100% thinned. Curtis can feel a little more of Baby’s head, Pitocin is up to 24 (I thought 15 was tops). Curtis had told me that 15 was tops, too, but he said that’s not always the case. I was getting more and more frustrated every time I saw the number increase on the screen with nothing happening. Eventually the contractions started. Contractions are strong and Bonnie moans louder and longer. As I mentioned earlier, these were NOTHING like the Braxton-Hicks that all the doctors were so convinced were real contractions. These were similar to period cramps in placement but waaayyyyy more painful, and nothing I was doing was helping. At this point I still had the option of moving around, getting in the bath tub, etc., but I just didn’t have it in me to do anything but lie there. I was an emotional wreck. Tony was so great. He held my hand and talked to me and he was the only thing that kept me going.
Bonnie said she can’t take it anymore and wants an epidural. It’s so hard to see Bonnie so miserable and exhausted. I hated myself for this. I didn’t want an epidural – partially because I was terrified of getting one, and partially because I was hoping I could get by with narcotics. But, these weren’t just regular contractions, they were contractions from an induction, which are said to be worse, and I believe it! They got so bad so quickly and I was far too tired to cope properly.
There is another nurse here while Candace takes a break. She’s pissing Bonnie off. She kept telling me to breathe and I said something like “If it was that fucking easy, don’t you think I’d already be doing it?!” She asked if Bonnie is ready for epidural and Bonnie said yes.
Bonnie had to roll to her right side because Baby’s heartrate was down a bit.
Temp nurse started to prep for epidural. Oxygen mask is now on Bonnie. Some sort of monitor things have been put on her chest and hooked up to monitor. Nurse wanted to check Bonnie to see if she could feel a cord. Bonnie said Curtis has been the only one to do checks. Nurse called Curtis. He did exam. Anesthesiologist is being contacted. Pitocin has been stopped, contractions are lighter and Baby’s heartbeat isn’t varying as much. I remember being upset that the Pitocin had been stopped because they’d had it all the way up to 24 and I was afraid my progress was going to stop.
Curtis said cervix is paper thin.
Epidural is being given by Dr. Rodriguez (anesthesiologist). They let me lie on my side instead of sit up for the epidural which was great because I don’t know if I could’ve sit up just to sit, let alone to get poked in my back. I was surprised at myself for dealing with the epidural process so well. I guess that just shows how much pain I was in. I didn’t cry or anything. I held perfectly still and just let it happen.
There is a gap here between 5:45 and 8:45. I don’t know what was going on at that time, but I assume since I’d had the epidural, I was just going through contractions but not feeling much. I think in the end I got to 6.5cm dilated but just wasn’t going any farther.
Nurse Jennifer says there is bloody show which she says means dilation has been happening. However, she also said that Bonnie’s water broke…
Began prepping for C-section. More pokes, shots, blood taken, fancy outfits for me and Tony. There is nothing in my mom’s notes about the decision for a C-section being made. I was so out of it by this time that I don’t really recall what happened, but I do remember that I just continued to have contractions with no dilation progress, and Curtis did an exam and found that Baby’s head was still far up and he was coming down with his head turned sideways. I was running on no sleep, and I was all drugged up, and by this point I think I was asking for a C-section before they even wanted to give me one. I just couldn’t take it anymore, and they knew that, and they had little hope for a vaginal birth anyway once they found he was coming down with his head sideways and was still so far up.
Into operating room. Four nurses seemingly rushing things along. Dr. Curtis, surgeon and anesthesiologist. now in, too.
Going straight for a spinal tap. I remember they did this test on me to see if the epidural was working well enough to not do a spinal. They were either poking me with something or holding something cold on me, in the areas that should be numb, and then on the areas that shouldn’t be numb, to see how big of a difference there was in what I felt. Apparently I was feeling too much, so they decided they needed to do a spinal. Once again, they let me lie on my side, and once again, I handled it well. I barely felt the poke, just a lot of burning once the stuff started going in. And once again, I don’t know how in the hell I handled it so well because despite it not hurting much, it is (and was then, too) the thought of it that bothers me and I think if I had been more with it (not so tired, drugged, etc.) I would’ve freaked out.
The gap between this time (10:05a.m.) and the next time (10:55a.m.) is when the C-section was taking place. My mom was not writing anything down because she was taking pictures. So I guess I’ll fill in what I can remember – I was drugged, but not enough to not know what was going on.
I remember them telling me that I would feel lots of pressure but no pain. They were right. But the pressure was so extreme. It confused the hell out of me as to how it’s possible to feel something so strong but to not be able to feel pain. I remember thinking to myself that I needed to just tell myself that it was almost over so I needed to just stay calm. I remember squeezing Tony’s hand. I remember a nurse standing by me, telling me what was going on. I remember them telling me that I was going to feel a lot of pressure at one certain point and when I did, I got very nauseous and they brought me a bucket thing and put it beside my head and also put an oxygen mask on me. I don’t remember this, but Tony said that at that point, he was feeling nauseous too (he wasn’t watching the surgery or anything, but the mask he had to wear was bothering him, plus he was worried that if I got sick, he would too) so he went to sit away from me. A nurse thought he had moved cuz he was going to pass out, so she yelled at him to sit down, and he tried to tell her that he was fine but she yelled at him again, ha ha. Although I wasn’t aware of this until days later, it was actually a nurse who sat with me the rest of the time. I thought my mom had been with me, but as I said, she was taking pictures. And boy, did she get some amazing photos. So amazing, in fact, that I still haven’t been able to look at them all because I can’t stomach them. There are photos of me lying there, cut open, and you can see my insides. I’ve looked at a few where Ilán is being pulled out, and it is simply fascinating. I cannot thank her enough for taking these.
Anyway, after what felt like only two seconds, I heard “Do you want to see your baby boy?” and I was so out of it that I thought for some reason they were talking to someone else, or about someone else’s baby, so I said “No.” I guess they then got me to understand that it was mine they were talking about, and they showed him to me through a hole in the curtain thing that was in front of me. I remember being confused and feeling like he wasn’t mine. I watched them across the room getting his weight and whatnot. I saw my mom and Tony over there with him. After that, I remember my mom sitting with me while they finished the surgery (removing the placenta, etc.). I felt absolutely horrible. My mouth was incredibly dry and I was having trouble swallowing. I was more thirsty than I’ve ever been in my life and I just laid there wishing I could have something to drink. That, and wishing my entire lower half would stop shaking. I will never forget that shaking. It was constant, forceful, and uncontrollable. I’m not sure, but I think I was crying this whole time. My mom kept telling me how beautiful and perfect my son was, and all I could think about was the thirst and the shaking. Probably because I didn’t feel like I’d given birth to a baby. I didn’t really feel…anything.
Back in room. I cannot believe I was back in the room so quickly. He was born at 10:28a.m. It felt like I was in the operating room for hours afterwards. I do not remember going back to the room.
Tony and Ilán are in the nursery for about four hours (actually, it was only about 2-3 hours) – due to magnesium possibly making him tired (and also possibly giving him breathing problems). Tony tells me now that Ilán was upset the whole time in the nursery. He says he flailed his arms and legs around and was just totally pissed off. It breaks my heart to think that he was there, away from me, and couldn’t be comforted. What a horrible way to spend his first few hours in the world. But I’m very thankful that Tony was there with him instead of with me.
Cathy, Dale, Michol brought flowers.
Heard that Apgars were 8 and 9.
Bonnie has VERY low BP right now. I do not remember this happening, and I find it odd because the whole time I was there, I had high blood pressure from the pre-e.
Baby info: Born 11/16/08 at 10:28a.m., 7 pounds, 20” long, given Hepatitis B and Vitamin K shots and something in his eyes.
I brought Ilán from the nursery to Bonnie’s room. She oohed and aahed. She fed Ilán his first bottle at 2p.m. I barely remember this. I don’t remember the first time I held him. I don’t remember my reaction. I sort of remember feeding him a bottle. It was one of the pre-made Similac Advance ones. I do remember that he latched onto it right away without any problems. Nurse Jennifer gave Ilán his first bath, in the sink of Bonnie’s hospital room. I do remember this. He didn’t cry at all and I thought that was strange, and I also felt sad because I wanted to be the one to give him his first bath, and I wanted Tony to help.
Told that the cord was wrapped around his neck so even if… That is the last thing my mom wrote. What she was trying to say was that it turned out that the umbilical cord was wrapped around Ilán’s neck so even if we had gotten to the point of a vaginal delivery, it most likely would’ve ended up in an emergency C-section. I suppose this makes me feel a bit better about having a C-section, but it doesn’t change the emotions that came along with it.
Since my mom stopped writing after the C-section, I will try to fill in post-C-section stuff…
I don’t remember the order of anything. I remember at some point, they took the big covering off of my incision. I remember the nurse apologizing every time she took a piece of tape off because it was stuck to me really good and it hurt. The two bottom corners, right at my pelvis, ripped my skin and made me bleed. Initially, this didn’t hurt too bad, but after a little while, it started to kill. I was bawling. They had to get me ointment and ice packs. It hurt worse than getting tattooed. Like maybe getting tattooed over a sunburn or something. I don’t know why it hurt so much, but man, it was BAD.
I remember them making me try to get out of bed for the first time, just to stand up (I’d gotten a catheter when I’d gotten the epidural, so I hadn’t gotten up to go to the bathroom or anything). I barely made it to sitting on the edge of the bed when the room started spinning and I had to lie back down. Moving like that just irritated the ripped skin areas and put me in more pain and tears. I did eventually make it up and to the bathroom, and shortly after they removed the catheter. They did so while I was sitting on the toilet, and I remember it hurting quite a bit but I was glad to have it out. This reminds me that I don’t remember them removing the foley balloon. I think that once it got dilation started, it started to come out on its own, but I have no idea.
I remember that getting up and going to the bathroom sucked because I was STILL shaking. Standing up and trying to walk while shaking was hard. Getting up and down to the toilet while shaking was hard. My whole lower half was in pain, especially my lower stomach muscles, where the surgery had been done. Luckily Tony would go with me every single time and help me up and down. Peeing was also really hard. It was difficult to find the right muscles, and once I did, it hurt to use them. They gave me a squirty bottle that we’d fill with warm water before I peed and I’d squirt it onto myself to help the muscles relax. I was bleeding quite a bit (sucks that you bleed even after a C-section!) and had to put on a giant pad every time. One time when Tony and I were in the bathroom, I was peeing and felt a big clot come out, and when I looked into the toilet I freaked out because it was HUGE. I’d never had clots before and I got so scared, but the nurse told me it actually wasn’t huge compared to how big they can get after delivery, but I sure wish someone had warned me that this might happen! Jeez. I was also super, super swollen from all the fluids they'd given me.
I remember spending a lot of time just lying in bed and holding Ilán. He slept most of the time. They had a little crib thing for him in the room so he spent some time in there, like when Tony and I were both trying to sleep, or when he was being changed. I remember a nurse teaching Tony how to change his diaper because I was still too out of it and in too much pain to change them myself, and I remember being so sad that it wasn’t me teaching him. I resented the nurse for this even though I know she was just doing what she needed to do and what Tony needed her to do. This still makes me sad to this day. So many things happened that I wanted to do myself or that I wanted to teach Tony to do, but that I couldn’t because of the damn C-section and my shitty recovery.
I remember them removing the staples from my incision. This creeped me out in a big way, and it also didn’t feel good at all. I think I had 12 staples.
I remember getting ready to leave. I was up and walking at this point, but I had to move slowly. I’d hardly eaten anything so I ate some chicken noodle soup. We got Ilán dressed in a onesie, fleece pants and a fleece hoodie, all of which were way too big for him even though they were newborn size. A nurse came and made sure he was in the carseat correctly. A nurse walked us to the car. They got the carseat in the car, and while I was standing there waiting for them to do that, I started feeling weak so I had to get in the car. The carseat was behind the front passenger seat, where I was sitting, which meant that I couldn’t lean my seat back. The minute I sat down, the areas of ripped skin started burning SO badly that the nurse had to run and get me ice packs. My mom was driving, and the minute we got out of the parking lot, I realized I was going to need to lean my seat back because sitting up was scrunching up the skin where the ripped skin was and was way too painful. So she pulled over and I got out and just started crying my eyes out. I told Tony that I wasn’t ready to go home yet because I still felt absolutely terrible and was scared that something was going to happen to me.
Well, I guess I should’ve trusted my instincts that something still wasn’t right, because the week we got home from the hospital, I ended up in the E.R…
I was still getting headaches, and one night, the pain had spread to my neck and my back and got to the point of being unbearable. We called the hospital’s nurse line, who told me to call my doctor (this was around 10p.m.), who called back and said he thought it was due to fluid loss in my spine causing a pressure imbalance between my spine and neck and that I’d need to go to the hospital and have them do some sort of injection in my spine. This, of course, freaked me out, not to mention was extremely frustrating because I’d gotten poked so many times at the hospital already and I thought I was done. So we go to the E.R. (my mom came to our house to watch Ilán so we didn’t have to bring him with us). My headache is so bad that it’s making me feel sick. I can’t turn my head because my neck hurts so bad. Of course there is a long waiting time, so I had to lie down in the waiting room forever. Finally they take us to a room. Some specialist eventually comes in and after asking a bunch of questions, disagrees that it’s the spine issue, and thinks it’s tension headaches or something.
As I lie there, my blood pressure keeps going up. It gets dangerously high. A nurse comes in and says they have to give me an IV. Pretty much my biggest fear, even after having two in the hospital. I ask her if she can give me a numbing shot in the injection site first, and she says no because that often makes the veins disappear and makes it so she’d have to poke me more than once trying to find a vein. I am so stressed and scared at this point that I lose it. I tell her that they numbed it for both IVs when I was in Labor and Delivery with no problems, and that I’d been poked “too many fucking times already” and I wasn’t going to let her give me an IV without a numbing shot. Then she proceeds to tell me that I need to calm down or I’m going to have a seizure because my blood pressure is so high. What a great thing to tell someone who a) is obviously terrified, and b) already has high blood pressure. She leaves to ask if she can give me a numbing shot. I remember looking in Tony’s eyes, crying so hard, and saying, “I’m done being nice. I’m just fucking done.” She comes back and says she can give me the shot, and hey, what do you know? My veins don’t disappear, and she only has to poke me once.
So they give me blood pressure medicine through the IV, and something that’s supposed to help my head/neck/back ache. They also ended up giving me something for my anxiety (Demerol?). Whatever it was, it made my chest feel tight and my whole upper body feel warm. It was very strange, but it felt good, and I was happy to have even just a little relief. Tony, however, was not feeling relief. He was having really bad anxiety because that nurse had mentioned a seizure and he was scared that I was going to have one, plus she had just set his nerves off. I kept telling him that I need him to be strong for me and that if he couldn’t calm down, I was going to have to have my mom and him switch places because I needed someone who could keep me calm. I felt so bad for him and for saying that, but I was scared outta my mind.
We were there for six or eight hours. Most of the time we were alone, with no nurses or doctors. We had no idea what was going on or what was wrong with me and kept having to push the button to get someone to come in and give us an update. In the end, I was sent home with blood pressure medicine, and…oxycodon – which was what I was already given when I went home from the hospital. I told them that that was stupid and that I didn’t want to be sent home with what I was already taking because obviously it wasn’t helping. But I guess there weren’t any other options.
The next couple weeks are a total blur. Tony and I lived in our bedroom because I can barely get out of bed. Walking hurts. Peeing hurts. I’m still getting headaches. I’m having constant hold/cold/sweaty episodes. I wake up literally dripping in sweat. I’m showering multiple times a day to try to even out my temperature, even just temporarily. This is truly so bad that it’s making it impossible to function. I feel like I have the flu. (The only good thing about this issue was that I seemed to sweat out all the liquid I’d retained, because between that and not eating much while in the hospital or for the first couple weeks afterward, I went from 146 lbs the day I was induced to 118 just ten days after the delivery, and now I’m at 117, which is only six pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight). I go to the doctor because of this hot/cold/sweaty thing and he says it’s probably a mix of many things – high blood pressure, being off my regular medication (Zoloft), hormones, being anemic, etc. He tells me to try two things – drink Gatorade, and start back on the Zoloft and iron. I start back on a low dose of Zoloft but it makes me really nauseous, even with anti-nausea medicine, so I stop taking it. It takes about three weeks for these episodes to stop. Those three weeks were spent mostly in bed, feeding, changing, and sleeping with Ilán. Tony had to do a lot because I was physically and emotionally unable to do it myself. He was wonderful and didn’t make me feel bad for not being able to do it. He would bring me my medicine in bed, he’d bring me Jell-O and crackers (all I could stomach for quite awhile), and hold me while I cried. And cried and cried and cried. I’ve never cried so much in my life. I cried a lot because of how completely miserable I was.
And I cried because I didn’t feel like Ilán was mine. This was, and still is, the most difficult part of this whole ordeal. Because of the C-section, and being away from him afterwards, and being so out of it even when I was with him, made it feel like he wasn’t mine. I don’t feel like I was pregnant. I don’t feel like I had a C-section. I feel like this baby just appeared out of nowhere and was handed to me and now I have to take care of him. Obviously I know he is mine. I’m reminded of that every day by the stretch marks I got only in the last couple days of my pregnancy because of how quickly I was gaining weight, and by the big scar above my pelvis. But I still don’t feel like it’s true. I don’t feel connected with him. I don’t feel the love that I expected to feel. Don’t get me wrong – I love him in a way I’ve never loved before. But it’s just not what I expected. I don’t feel the overwhelming, heart-melting love that I feel for Tony. And I hate myself for that.
I know that a lot of this is also due to post-partum depression. The first few weeks, I thought the depression was mostly because of how rough I had it physically, but now that I’m healed physically, I realize that the depression is still there. I’m happy in my marriage and I’m happy that we had a baby and all that, but overall, I just feel sad. Well, sometimes I feel sad, and sometimes I just feel numb. I think feeling numb is actually worse than feeling sad. I’m considering going back to the counselor that Tony and I went to in the past, because I don’t want to feel this way and I don’t want Ilán to be affected by it in any way. I know it’s normal to feel a lot of what I’m feeling, but I also know that some of what I’m feeling is definitely from depression and not just hormones or “baby blues” and it shouldn’t be that way.
These first two months with a baby were not what the first two months should be like. I can’t remember half of what happened, both in the hospital and at home. I know I shouldn’t dwell on the hospital experience or the fact that I had C-section, but I can’t help it. It seems that what happened is exactly the opposite of what I wanted. I even had a birth plan written up, and the first two things on it were “I do not want an IV” and “I do not want a catheter.” I knew those things would go out the door when I found out I was being induced and when I got an epidural, but still. I didn’t even want an epidural let alone to be pumped full of stuff the entire time I was there. That’s not an exaggeration, either. I really was always having something put in me via IV whether it be fluids, magnesium, narcotics, etc. I went in being excited about the labor/delivery process and it went downhill so quickly and turned out to be a terrible experience. It’s not like I can just do it over again. It’s not like it’s something I can try until I get it right. And if anyone else tells me “Well, what’s important is that you got a healthy baby” one more time, I’m going to scream. Yes, I realize that. And of course that’s important. But that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t extremely traumatic for me or that I’m not hurting inside or that I’m not broken because I don’t feel like my son is my son.
I’m trying to take things one day at a time. It all just feels too overwhelming right now. Every feeding, every diaper, every time I have to get up with him in the middle of the night. Tony is such a great dad and a wonderful husband and I would be completely lost without him in this. My mom has also been there for me every step of the way and I am ever so grateful for that. Ilán is such a sweet baby. He has terrible acid reflux and he seems to be in pain all the time and is usually only happy if he’s being held completely upright. We are working with Dr. Curtis to get this fixed. He’s currently on two medications, but it’s still not helping enough. I hate that Ilán doesn’t know what it’s like to feel normal. I hate that he cries all the time because of it and I can’t soothe him.
About two weeks ago, he started smiling in response to things instead of just when he’s asleep, and I think that is what makes it all worthwhile. To see him happy for those short moments of time.