Friday, September 28, 2007

What a long strange trip

Today marks a year ago that I had a D&E. I thought of that as I was feeding my healthy, perfect 6 and a half week old boy this morning. I am so grateful that I am almost moved to tears each time I think about it.

Samuel Ross was born 8/14/07 at 2:23am. We went to a doctor's appointment on Monday, 8/13, and she ruptured my membranes, and then said she wanted to do a non stress test just as a formality because I had had high blood pressures in the last week. We thought nothing of it, and went into the room, which was now quite familiar to me. Sam didn't move around much, but he had been earlier that morning, so I didn't really worry about it. I was just waiting to be allowed to go. They came in and checked the readout several times, and then a lady with an ultrasound machine came in, and said she was going to check my amniotic fluid levels. We were joking about how I was ready to have this baby, so she'd better find bad results! About halfway through the reading, she said "I think you are going to get your wish!" We were stunned. No real danger to the baby, he just needed to come out sooner rather than later. My husband drove me to the hospital across the street, where they checked me in, and then he left to go take the dogs to the kennel, and finish packing my bag. I think I checked in about 11:00 am. I was changed into a gown, and a resident came in to check my amniotic fluid levels again. He agreed that they were low, and that we should induce. Everyone left, and I called my family to let them know that I was going to be induced soon. I turned on the TV, and my favorite movie, "Easy Rider", was on, which rocked! I thought about how I would tell Sam about all of this some day. I couldn't believe that I was going to meet him soon, and of course, I was contemplating what that would mean exactly. Our lives were never going to be the same, and I couldn't wait. They came in about 1pm and inserted miso~~ something to get me dilating. They told me they would check my cervix in 4 hours to see how dilated I was. I didn't really feel much, Mike came back with my bag, and we watched tv for a while. We were too excited to sleep. A doctor came in and explained the process to me, and felt my belly to see if he could determine how big the baby would be. I was starving at this point, I had eaten a bagel at about 7 that morning. They wouldn't let me eat anything but popsicles, and they brought me a grape one, it was the best popsicle I had ever had!
After 4 hours, (about 5pm), they checked my cervix, and it had dilated to 3 cm. This was good, but not really a lot of progress, although she said it was very, very soft, which was a good sign. They inserted another. About 30 minutes later, contractions started. They started out not too bad, but then progressed quickly to very painful, with less than a minute between them. I stuck it out for 4 hours, and then they asked if I was ready for an epidural, as my blood pressure was spiking because of the pain. I was about 5 cm then.
The anestesiologist(sic) came in, explained the epidural to me, and had me lean over the side of the bed. The contractions were coming so hard and strong, I had one while he was inserting the needle, and had to be still. I was using the breathing exercises I learned in the childbirth classes, and they really worked. I couldn't have done it without them. Mike was great also, wiping a wet washcloth on my head and neck during contractions. At any rate, the epidural kicked in right away, and the pain was gone, thank God! However, my blood pressure plummetted. Mike said he looked at the screen, and it said 10 over 24. They started scurrying around, and I heard one of the doctors say "Get the anestheiologist STAT!" I remember thinking that sounded like something I had heard on MASH. He came rushing in, and they gave me an ephedrine shot to get me going again. I heard her tell him that my bp wasn't coming up. He stood on the other side of the bed, talking to me, telling me about health care in Africa, about how they have doctors there that take a course for 6 weeks, and then travel around the region. I think he was trying to distract me, and see if I was dying at the same time. Mike had left the room, he was so scared. My bp did start to come up gradually, the doctor stayed in there for quite a while afterwards to keep an eye on me. They gave me oxygen. They gave me a shot to stop my contractions, because they were coming so hard and fast, but the shot didn't work. They were concerned about the baby, and attached an internal monitor to his head, and one to the inside of my uterus, to try and track how hard the contractions were.
They started coming in every 30 minutes or so to have me turn to the other side. I needed their help, because I couldn't feel my legs, due to the epidural. It was kind of a pain. I asked them why they kept turning me, and they said it was to "keep the baby happy". The doctor explained to me that the contractions were coming so fast that he didn't have time to recover between them, and that they were monitoring him to see how his heart rate was doing. I said, "if we need to do a c section, that is fine with me, his well being is the important thing". She said that it was definitely a possibility, but they wanted to monitor him for a bit more. Finally, at 1:30am, she came in and said "the baby is sporadically okay, and sporadically not okay, I would feel better if we just went ahead and got him out". We said okay, when? And she said, "Now". They brought scrubs for Mike. She said there was another lady down the hall that was going to need a c section, and they wanted to get me in first, so they wheeled me out before Mike was even changed. His blood sugar was going low, so he was trying to eat something. I kept asking him to bring my glasses with him, which he did.
They wheeled me into an operating room, lifted me onto the table, and there was a place to lay my arms out. I was shaking like crazy, and kind of in a dream like state. There was a curtain in front of my face, and the anesthesiologist was to my right. Mike came in, I was so glad to see him. He stood to my left. They worked for a while, we just kept saying how we couldn't wait to meet him. Finally, I heard a lady say "I know, you are going to be angry at me for pulling you out here, I see that face." And I knew that we were getting ready to see him. Mike said, "I just saw a hand just above the curtain!" Also, I knew he must be okay, because she was talking about him making facial expressions. Just a little bit later, we heard him cry. We both cried when we heard it. Then, they held him in front of the curtain so we could see him. That was the most wondrous moment in my entire life. Mike went over to where they were weighing him and assessing him, and he took pictures. After they were done, he carried Sam back up to my head to show him to me. The anestheiolgist took a picture of him lying right by my face.
They closed me up, and took us to a recovery room. As the epidural wore off, I was finally allowed to hold my son, and look into his eyes. Wow. Words cannot do that moment justice. We tried breastfeeding, neither of us really knew what was going on, but it was nice to feel him nuzzle. They then wheeled me down to a hospital room. We arrived there about 5 am.

They wheeled the bassinet in right behind us, and I remember thinking, Wait! don't leave him with us, we don't know what we're doing! He slept a while, and we did too. The lactation consultant came in and he had just woken up, and was crying. We told her we didn't know what to do, and she said "did you check his diaper?" We hadn't even thought of that! She checked it, it was dirty, and Mike changed his first diaper!

Sam is now 7 weeks old, I can't believe how the time flew. I wish like everything that I could stay home with him, but Mike is going to, and I am now back to work full time. It is hard to adjust to seeing him for only a few hours a day, and it is hard to be at work when I'm up every night with him, but it is well worth it. He usually eats around 11 or midnight, then wakes up again around 2, then not until 6. So, he doesn't really get up that often, and hopefully when he reaches 3 months, it might be even less often.

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