Wednesday, August 02, 2006

One year ago today...

A year ago today my day had started just like the 34 days before it. 6:30am blood pressure check and temp check. Everything was fine so I dozed a bit until breakfast and rounds.

Maternal Fetal Medicine was first. Dr. Jakel, the doctor who performed my amnio came by while David was in the bathroom getting ready for work. How am I doing? Fine. Still leaking clear fluid? Yes. Crampy? No. ... pressing on my uterus... Does this hurt? No. Okay! Well, see you tomorrow!

7:30 Breakfast. The same thing as every morning. Two eggs, scrambled. Yogurt, this morning strawberry. Grits with butter. One piece of bacon. Decaf coffee. Orange juice.

My OB came by as I was eating. How am I feeling? Fine. Still leaking clear fluid? Yes. Any soreness? No. ...pressing on my uterus... Any tenderness? No. Any questions? Yes. (and I asked a bunch of questions about labor and delivery that I don't remember too clearly)

I finished my breakfast, kissed my husband goodbye, and settled in for another day of trying to pass time with TV, internet, crosswords, magazines, eating the pounds of food they brought me. I had just started to let myself breath again. I was so close to 28 weeks that I started to feel more comfortable thinking about my baby's chances at survival and life outside of the antepartum unit.

Just the day before, one of the perinatologists had commented that I had lasted so long without any amniotic fluid was nothing short of a miracle... that I had carried a baby with no chance of survival through the worst odds to a point that she had a pretty good chance. When he left my room, I cried happy, happy tears.

So I had started to feel that I could have visitors without melting into a emotional mess. That Monday my friend Andrea visited for the first time. She came after lunch, around 1 pm and stayed a couple of hours. During the middle of her visit, I started to feel very tired and agitated. I found myself wishing she would leave- totally unlike me! I usually love the gossip and drama she provides me but that day, I just wanted to rest.

Finally, when she had gone, I was feeling a little crampy but nothing too unusual- like stretching aches low on my abdomen. So I tried to take a nap on my left side but the cramps stayed. When I woke up, I tried to catch up on my water intake since I had fallen behind during my visit.

At around 6pm, my dinner was delivered. It was turkey sausages, lima beans, rice. I opened the container and felt like I was going to hurl. Strange.

Then I got up to use the bathroom. When I wiped, I thought I saw something... I wiped again and there it was, the smallest speck of discoloration. I started shaking. I made it back to my bed and called the nurse (my favorite one was working that day). When my nurse, Tina, came to my room, I told her about what I had seen in the bathroom. She asked if I had saved it for her but of course I hadn't. Tina took my temperature. Slightly elevated at 99.0. Next time, she said, save it.

About fifteen minutes later, I leaked some fluid and got up to check my bed pad. It was no longer clear fluid. I went to the bathroom again. When I wiped again, there was a larger amount of the stuff I had seen before. I saved it and called Tina. It was now shift change. Tina came to my room and I showed her what was on my bed pad and what I had from the bathroom. She took my temp again. It was 100.4. I asked her if I was infected, she replied that it was time for me to have a baby and that she was sending me to labor and delivery.

I asked if we could wait til my husband got there first. Tina asked how long it would take. Then I made the call I had been dreading. It wasn't the call that you see in the movies of the pregnant woman excitedly calling her husband to tell him "It's time!" I was crying in fear. I told David that he needed to come to the hospital, I was infected and they were taking me to L&D.

This is where things start to get a little fuzzy. I have no idea how long it took David to get to the hospital. Probably ten minutes but it felt like forever. I remember him walking into the room and I could see the look of terror in his eyes. Because I had not allowed anyone to tell me statistics or much information about infection or PROM, I had no idea how dangerous this was not only for the baby, but also for me. David knew. And when I saw his face, I knew too.

Tina brought the wheelchair and they took me to a room in L&D. By this time I was having contractions... they were about 3-4 minutes apart. The nurse checked me when I arrived and said I was 100% effaced and a fingertip dilated. (and I had only felt mild contractions for about an hour) I was given an IV and a liter of fluids followed by two antibiotics. My temp had reached 101.

8:00 pm An internal exam revealed I dilated to 4 cm. I had not been in much pain at all.

8:30 pm Epidural time. I was not in much pain but opted for the epidural because I didn't know what to expect. I was then hooked up to the pitocin and they tried to speed me up. I started to have more frequent contractions and it seemed as if the epidural was not working. I could still feel everything that I could feel before. I tried to time the contractions but I am apparently really bad at that because I could never follow through. Best I could estimate was about 1 minute apart.

Margaret's heart rate kept decelerating on the monitor and it really freaked both David and me out. At one point, he went to go get a nurse and she told him that she was monitoring from the nurses station and that everything was okay. They had called the anesthesiologist to up my epidural medication, though, because I was maxed out and still able to move my legs.

At around 9:45 pm, I started feeling like I needed to push. So I called the nurse. She told me NOT to push because they had to move me to a surgery L&D room since Margaret was going to need special care. It took them FOREVER to get that room ready... well it seemed like it anyway.

Finally they moved me to the new room and I immediately asked if I could push.... no, not yet! Not pushing is torture. Buddy, my new anesthesiologist, asked if I was still hurting and I told him I was. He asked me if I wanted something in my IV for the pain. I did and I finally started to feel less pain. My fever was approaching 103.

At 10:15, it was time to push. I pushed the first time and the nurse said I was doing it wrong, that I need to hold my breath. (never got to take those birthing classes) Second push, I held my breath and urinated on the doctor. Haha. Third push, Margaret was coming out. They let her head come out and then told me not to push anymore. It was very important to clear her airways of possible infection from my uterus before she took her first breath. Finally, I was told to push again and Margaret was born. It was 10:38 pm.

She cried the tiniest cry I had ever heard. The next thing I heard was that she was two pounds and fifteen ounces. Very big for her gestational age. My exact reply was, "Rock on!" My excuse is that Buddy had given me some other medicine when the doc started peeling my placenta from my uterus and I was really out of it.

I asked if I could see Margaret and they told me that I had to wait. David, though, had gone back to see her. Finally, the neonatologist said I could be brought to the back and they took me around to see her. Her head was the smallest I had ever seen and she had a mop of dark wavy hair. Someone asked if I wanted to touch her and I asked "Can I?" I felt almost like an intruder in the room with the doctors and nurses and her being bagged. But I touched the hair on her head and told her hello. I felt totally lost.

I had no idea what the future would hold. Did I give my sweet baby my infection? Would she be okay? Would she be OKAY?!

Fast forward one very hard year later. She is beautiful and smart and the love of my life. She is better than okay.


tiffany said...

Okay I'm totally bawling now!! That was beautiful. -Tiff

Amanda said...

You made me cry! Isn't it amazing to look back and see how far they have come?! What a little miracle! As Tiff said, that was beautiful!

Vicki said...


I just got your Blog from your Mom and of course I am at work and also crying. You should write a book. I am serious.

Much love,

Aunt Vicki