Sunday, March 06, 2011

Lucy's Story

Being pregnant was an experience I'll remember fondly forever, and thankfully I wasn't super uncomfortable nor did I face serious complications.  With all that said I was feeling like I would be pregnant forever as Lucy wasn't progressing towards the exit.  My patience might have been higher if each week that we went to the OB that the "signs that things are drawing near" were increasing, but alas we were the same week after week.  

I was pretty excited on Friday when the nurse from Dr. K's office called and said that it was time to think about scheduling an induction.  My original hope for the birth experience was to go into labor, make the phone call to Jas "it's time" and then do the frantic drive to the hospital.  However, at that moment my thoughts were "heck yeah, let's book it!"  Then, more efficiently than a hair appointment we had a date on 3/1 to check into the hospital to get the ball rolling on the Lucy Arrival Project.  Of course, the appointment was tentative in the even she decided to come early.  Bwahahaha

We opted to keep the induction appointment to ourselves as we didn't want to tell folks anything that wasn't for sure and honestly, we wanted to be a duo during the birth process and not have people in the lobby.  So, we enjoyed our "last weekend" together.  We went out for date night, we got all the laundry done, we changed the bedding, we sat around and waited.

Monday we both went to work ramped up and still knowing that there was a chance that Dr. Kristen would tell us we had to wait.  But at 2:30 I called the hospital to find out if we had an appointment and what time to arrive.  The gal seemed shocked that I was "at work" and needed to tell my people I was going to be out.  (They knew, just not when.)  We were told to check in at 5am but to call at 4am to make sure they had room for us.  Mothers in actual labor trump those in the high desire of labor.

I knew that I would sleep terribly that night and sadly that was the case.  It took me ages to get tired (anxious anyone?) and I was still on the 90 minute pee schedule.  However at 3:00 when the alarm went off I had lots of energy for a shower and downed a little food.  Jason confessed on the drive in that he was relieved NOT to be doing the frantic drive through town with a laboring wife in the passenger seat, also, traffic at 4:30 am in Seattle is lovely!

We checked in and were taken back to our room.  After the IV was inserted and we filled out lots and lots of paperwork the induction drug was added to my IV (at about 5:30 am).  Then the exciting process of waiting began.  We sat through multiple shift changes and met no less than 8 different nurses (all of whom expected to be remembered - right.)  Dr. K arrived on scene at noonish and did a check (this involves climbing inside me and pushing on everything in my person with all her might.)  We were told that we had progressed "a little" but that Lucy was still at station -2.  (remember, the order is -2, -1, 0, +1, +2 and OUT)  She, the doctor, was going back to the office and would come back after 5 and check us again.  So, we waited.  Becky dropped by and provided Jas some relief, he was able to zip out and find some diet coke and use the bathroom.  There was a bathroom in my room, but as all "output" was measured he wasn't to hip on the idea of having to move the "output measurement device". 

One little segue about pee.  Until a catheter is provided it is an ordeal when the pregnant lady needs to pee.  It involves multiple hands to unplug the IV, unplug the monitors, hold the back of your gown so as not to moon I-405, and then roll slowly to the loo.  Getting hooked back up is also an event, Jas had it down to a science in short order.

It was nice to be able to monitor Lucy's heartbeat and then later on the contractions.  But for the longest time I would ask, 'is that a contraction?' and the response I would get is "no, you're flat lined."  Seriously people, 'you're flat lined' is not a term anyone wants to hear when they're in the hospital - even in the context of contractions." 

At 6 we were checked again and Lucy had progressed to station -1 and I had dilated some.  Dr. K said she was pleased and would be back to check again later.  Grrrr. But, she was able to break my water (which felt like I was wetting the bed, and then every time I moved or sneezed more fluid was released.  ICKY.)  The up side is that I finally started to have contractions in earnest and we used the breathing techniques to get through them.  Once I was able to show the nurse that I had had "5 good contractions" in a row then they would call the anesthesiologist (try spelling that one without looking it up.)  He finally arrived on scene and made the world better with his magic needle.  Getting it wasn't painful, but sitting up, yoga style on the bed was nothing short of awful. 

Once the drugs were flowing the relief was quick.  The catheter inserted meant the end of our bathroom breaks.  (that was the only time I had really been allowed out of jail -- bed.)  I was able to shut my eyes and sleep for about an hour.  I hope Jason rested too, but we both agreed that mostly the waiting was boring. 

One of the nurses came to do a check of my progress.  This is a lot less uncomfortable when you are numb from the boobs down.  She couldn't feel the babies position and called in a tall woman who is the nurse with the smallest hands. She too crawled up inside and announced without fanfare, "that baby isn't coming out.  She's at -2 or higher again.  You're going to have surgery." 

Dr. K came back at around 8:30 and checked me again.  In spite of all the progress we had made she was in agreement with Nurse Tiny Hands of the Big Mouth.  In our state of tiredness, after having  been up for 19 hours with the prospect of another 24 before something big would happen we accepted the idea of a c-section with relative ease.  That isn't to say it wasn't a scary idea.  We both shared, after the fact, that we were nervous and scared but that we were being brave for each other.  How sweet are we?

Within 15 minutes the staff was in our room prepping me for the surgery.  I think by 9pm, Dr. Kristen was ready to get the show on the road so SHE could go home and go to sleep.  This is quite understandable, I'd rather have a rested doctor than a grumpy, sleepy one.

They handed Jason a space suit, rolled me down the hall to the big, white, cold room and within moments I was on a different bed. I do recall them asking me if I could help move myself over to the table, and will all confidence I said "sure" then I tried to move my legs and all I could do was laugh.   On the back end of that activity they had me on some kind of air mattress and the whole thing was moved back to my hospital bed.  It was pretty nifty.

At this point, with the added knock me out medicine I was seriously sleepy and doing the head bobs.  I know I was supposed to be hyper alert and ready to meet my baby, but I just wanted to shut my eyes.   When they started I knew there was a mirror somewhere and I could see the field of work reflected in the massive space lights over my body.  I didn't want to see it so I turned my attention to Jason who was planted at my left shoulder.  He had my hand and we eye locked..  I told him I didn't want to see, he said HE didn't want to see, so we made our own place right there.  It seemed like seconds (although Dr. K said later that it was harder than normal to remove Lucy) she pulled Lucy from my body.  Then we heard her say, "oh my, the cord is wrapped around the neck.  Not once, but twice!") 

Don't you just wish that you had the benefit of knowing, even after the fact, that every decision you make is the 100% right one?  I can't even put into words what could have happened had we insisted upon a vaginal birth.  The most likely scenario is that Lucy's vitals would have tanked and then we would have had an emergency surgery vs. the calm one that will be a pleasant memory.  The other scenario is less reassuring - that scenario involves us coming home without Lucy.  (horrors)

So, here's a huge understated whew, from Lucy's entire family:


Once in the world they moved Lucy to the baby clean up and care station that is (likely on purpose) placed over the mother's shoulder so she and the partner are now focused on the baby and not the seriously gross and nauseating activity that is going on in the mommy. 

Within moments (the entire process was 45 minutes from room to room) we were back in our labor room with Lucy.  The new dad helped with clean up and joy of joys the very first poop.  (I have a video, but don't know if I know how to post it.  I'll work on that.)

I was still numb but coming out of it and had the predicted body shivers.  I wasn't cold, but my body was shaking and really, no one seemed too worried about it.  I was covered in the blanket and then everybody was focused on Lucy.  That is ok, but it would have been nice to get a "oh honey, this is normal, it will pass in a moment" from a nurse. 

Jason did a valiant job of sharing his attention with the baby and his horizontal wife.  

We "recovered" for two hours and then were moved to the baby recovery side of the wing with Lucy.  At that point there was a lot of activity that I don't remember, vitals and heaven's knows what else.  At 2:30 or 3:00 the activity died down and we were able to "go to sleep."  This is a nice idea but they were checking me every hour and these checks are not something that can be done quietly or in the dark.  Finally at 5:00 am they said they wouldn't be back for 3 hours and we were thinking we'd get to sleep.  That's when I heard the back up beeps of a construction truck.  I think for the second time during our hospital stay I dropped the F-bomb  "You've got to be kidding me" (you find the appropriate location.)

Day one was a blur of the desire to eat, throwing up (which isn't fun after surgery) the need for sleep and enjoying our lovely daughter.  We agreed that it was a good idea to let Jason go home and sleep in our own bed that night.  The thinking was, one of us should be fresh and I couldn't leave.  The nurses were awesome about doing the things I couldn't while he was away, and he really was only gone from our room from 11pm to 7am.  Long enough to drive home, shower, fall into a coma, get up, hit starbucks and return.  By the time he returned I had rallied enough to get dressed in my own clothes and Lucy and I were hanging out (feeding) when he got back to start day two.

Dr. Kristen and I decided early on that unless Lucy needed attention that we would go home that day (after dinner.)  Another overnight in the hospital seemed nice, but our own home seemed nicer. 

We had visitors which made the day fly by and it was nice to see Grandma Georgia and the aunties come over for a quick meet and greet.  Grandma Georgia got to help with a nasty poopie diaper (gross).  As the 'patient' I was released from diaper duty while in the hospital.  But, I'm making up for it now.  Trust me...I'm in the poop.

We were given the list of prescriptions, pain meds and then a myriad of drugs to manage my own poop situation - softeners, gas reduction and laxatives.  Last night before we went to bed my sweet husband said to me those words that every wife wants to hear from the love of her life.  "Did you take your stool softener sweetie?" Er, yes, thank you for asking.

We are home, we are adjusting.  We are digging our time with Lucy.  (Time is not our own and this blog entry has taken 2 days to put together.)  We are taking pictures every day and we will continue to post.

Some day I will be back to commenting on important topics like the CRAZY antics of Charlie Sheen or marveling over our good luck that Lucy was born on Justin Bieber's birthday.  For a while, our world will be baby and I encourage you to hang in there. 

1 comment:

pnb_dave said...

"Whew!" indeed. Thank goodness for modern medicine and Dr. K!