Monday, March 02, 2009

Birth Story, Part 1

Okay, I REALLY am horrible at this blog thing. But I'll try to come to my happy conclusion with this post. I guess Stick-It, now known to the world as DS#3, will have to get used to having things done long after the fact.

Okay, I don’t have my glasses or contacts. We manage to get my DF, who is en route, on the phone. He reverses direction, goes to my house, grabs my glasses, contacts, CAMERAS (yeah Dad!) and half-packed bag (yes, I know, Mom, thanks for being such a nudge!), and brings all with him. DF arrives, different people are buzzing in and out of my room, and I keep watching the clock. I’m signing papers and don’t even know what I’m signing at this point. New baby classes? No thanks. Breastfeeding class? No thanks again, I remember how to do that. I’m thanking my lucky stars I didn’t have to throw a tantrum – when doing the NSTs and OB visits and every other medical situation with this pregnancy, I made it clear that I would not walk into L&D 4. The room that I delivered my stillborn son, Jimmy, in, where I held him and said “goodbye” before I could say “hello”. Bad enough that I had NSTs in the same room where Dr. Grandpa told me Jimmy’s heart had stopped. I would not have tolerated L&D 4, Dr. A-Hole being on for the delivery and not Dr. Fav, or both. So, I try to focus on the fact that neither of these things is occurring. But there’s still no Dr. Fav. I want to see this man. I want to have him tell me what is going on. I don’t know these midwives, and since they’re not doing the surgery, thanks but you’re not Dr. Fav so I don’t really want to listen to you. I just want this baby out of me because I'm getting the feeling that it isn’t safe in there anymore.

Dr. Fav finally shows, smiling, providing answers. He explains that the baby is fine but the lack of growth is a concern. With Stick-It being as far along as he is and having scheduled a c-section for the following Friday, he would prefer to deliver Stick-It now. His only concern with a 36 week, 6 day old baby is the maturity of the lungs. He reassures me that a neonatologist is on hand for the delivery. He does not think that Stick-It will need the services of the hospital's Level 2 NICU, but it is there if needed. I’m praying at this point that he’s right. DM points out my cough, which is bronchitis and for which I was supposed to begin antibiotics today. He tells her that part of the meds I’m getting will be an antibiotic, so that won’t be a problem.

Dr. Fav leaves and my parents step out to give me and DH a moment alone. I look at DH and get weepy. We hold hands and I tell him I love him, and to tell DS#1 and DS#2 how much I love them. He starts to tear up and says I can tell them myself. Now I’m getting pissed. I again say “Tell the boys I love them.” He tells me not to talk like that. I love the man, but Je$u$ C^r*(st, could he please just say, “Okay, honey, I’ll tell them, but everything’s going to be fine.” I pointedly tell him that I need him to promise me. He finally does.

We decided the minute the stick turned blue that my DM would be there for the birth. She's been there for all deliveries but the arrival of DS#1 and is great in medical situations; as an OB/GYN nurse for years and the daughter of an OB/GYN, she should be. When we knew Stick-It was breech and would most likely be a c-section, there was little discussion. DH does NOT handle that stuff well – he can’t watch CSI’s opening credits without gagging. And I need someone to be my voice in these situations - who better than my DM?

Then it’s time. The anesthesiologist comes in. Funny guy. Tells me a few jokes, goes over everything. He walks out. DM, who, with DF, is back in the room, tells me he’s a good one. The butterflies pick up. My knees are shaking. Then the nurse, a very nice woman who tells me she’ll be accompanying me to the OR, tells me to get up out of bed so I can walk into the OR. What?!? You have to be wheeled out of the hospital in a wheelchair but I have to walk down the hall, hauling my IV pole with me with one hand while my other hand desperately tries to keep the back of this piece of cloth that you amusingly think covers my massive girth closed so my ass isn’t hanging out for all to see? In booties that I’m going to trip over any second? On knees that are threatening to not hold me up? Oh, and the best part – here come two firemen down the hall. They’re doing the fire safety inspection or something like that. How do I know? Because the nurse mentions it as we walk out in front of them. I hear my name being called, loudly. By one of them. Because I KNOW them! Both! They were students at our school, in a program in my division. I turn, and the other guy says, “Wow! Good luck!” Yep, hope my ass is still covered…

I walk into the OR with the nice nurse helping me maneuver the IV pole. I am directed to walk around the table, which I’m then helped onto. The nice nurse helps me lean forward as the anesthesiologist starts drawing on my back and washing it with very, very cold stuff. Then I hear someone say, "Well, look at you. Change of plans today, huh?" It’s one of my favorite nurses, the L&D nurse who advised me against aversion, who'd been there for a number of my NSTs, and who would have been there today for my 1:00 NST. “Yep,” is all I can croak out; I’m still on the verge of tears, and trying to remain calm, which is very difficult in a room so cold it could double as a meat locker when you’re being told to lean forward so a nice man can stick a really long needle in your back. DM isn’t here yet. They keep telling me they won’t start without her, but she's not here.

Now more doctors and nurses. I’m lying down. I have an anesthetist, another very nice young woman, at my head with a mask and they’ll all putting different monitoring devices on me. Now the drapes are up and Dr. Fav is asking if I can feel the really cold stuff and I can’t anymore. Or the pinch on my stomach. It's weird. I can feel the tug and pull, but not any other sensation. Finally, just as he starts to cut in, DM is next to my head. She starts to talk to me in one ear, telling me to focus on her. My only job at this point is to breath, which is unique – my other pregnancies were all vaginal deliveries.

Dr. Fav announces that they have … a butt. Exactly that way. “We have a butt.” I feel tugging and pulling, and it takes effort to remove Stick-It. They need lots of pressure. He's finally out and the nurse carries him to the table, the neonatologist bending over him. He’s not crying. He’s limp. I try not to panic, but the tears start because… he looks just like Jimmy. My DM tells me he’s okay. I tell her to go over, to be with him. I start to pray, let him breath, let him breath. I ask Jimmy to help him, to not have our hearts broken again, to be with him. The neonatologist comes over and tells me he’s okay, and we hear a weak cry coming from the table. The cry gets stronger, but he’s little, so much more than either of his big brothers. The neonatologist tells us that he swallowed some amniotic fluid, but she reassures us that he’s fine – his first Apgar was 4 and his second is now 8. DM and I are now crying. They bring him over next to me so I can see him and kiss him. Then they take him out the door, and usher my mother out.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Ultrasound

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008… a day that will live in infamy (sorry, FDR). Had an early morning ultrasound scheduled. Was still PO’d at the tech for not telling me the weight last week. I mean, if you’re supposed to do a BPP (biophysical profile) every week, don’t you think the weight might be important?!?!

So, in I go. Everything looks fine. She’s measuring and calibrating. Heart rate is still in the mid-120s, something I need to know for the NST I have later that afternoon. Stick-It looks fine. His cord is NOT around his neck, the first question I have asked every tech at every u/s during this pregnancy. Then, the last question: "so, how much does he weigh?" Her response? "About 6 lb., 7 oz."

What the F#@&!?!?!?!

I, as calmly as possible, say, "Gee, he was 6 lb., 9 oz. TWO weeks ago. Are you sure that’s right?"

She responds, "I didn’t tell you that." "Yes, you did." She checks her computer. "Well, you know, ultrasounds can be off by half a pound. Everything looks fine."

Really, sweetheart?!?! Well, this ain’t your kid, your pregnancy, and you haven’t lost the previous two, have you?!?!

I leave the office, calmly, and immediately dial my mother. "Mom, he’s 6 lb., 7 oz. He was 6 lb., 9 oz. If I were still your patient (the OB/GYNs my mother worked for were my docs in my teens and 20s), what would you tell me to do?" Her advice? "Go to the doctor’s office right now and tell them you need to see someone. They need to review your reports right away." Good, that's what I was going to do anyway, but somehow having my mother-slash-the nurse-slash-the OB doc's daughter tell me to do it backs up my decision.

So, down one flight I go. I do not call DH, who will not handle bad news at all well. I figure I’ll wait until I know more, then if I need to, I’ll call him. I go to the counter, explain the situation, ask when Dr. Fav is in. Not until 9:00 a.m. is the response. It’s only 7:45 a.m. I ask if another doctor is available, and am told they’ll have one of the nurse midwives review my reports. They apparently call upstairs, because the next thing I know is that the u/s tech is in the waiting room telling me that she’s brought down both reports, which are now being reviewed, and someone will speak with me shortly. Gee, thanks, but I have the impression that 1) you aren’t too pleased that I have questioned you, and 2) you are now concerned that you missed something.

My name is called, and I meet with N., one of the nurse midwives. She tells me that Stick-It is okay, but there is some concern that his growth rate that was so great is no longer. She mentions that Dr. S. over in the hospital doing a section (I have no clue who Dr. S. is), and that K., another nurse-midwife, will meet me in L&D. They want to just run some tests, and possibly do an amnio to check for lung maturity. She hands me the two u/s reports, telling me to take them with me to L&D, as it will be faster than them faxing them over. I am still in a fog. I’m now apologizing to N. for appearing to be a worrywart, and explain that we had lost Jimmy four years ago this coming Monday, and that I just am being cautious. It doesn’t dawn on me and she is describing procedures that indicate their concern as well. Instead, I am just relieved that they are taking my concern seriously and not putting me off like their tech seemed to. I ask N. to please let Dr. Fav know I’m here and what’s going on. N. reassures me that he will be informed the minute he comes in the door. I cling to this thought, as I somehow know that Dr. Fav wants this baby to be born alive and healthy as much as we do. Being the granddaughter of an OB/GYN and the daughter of an OB/GYN nurse, I can tell you that most of them do mourn the losses their patients experience. Then again, from dealing with all the different docs during the last five years, I can also say that Dr. Fav is one in a million and really does care.

Back to my car to get my personal bag. I have a bag filled with work stuff, a personal bag with my calendar and phone numbers, and another bag with various odds and ends. I call home, but realize that at 8:10 a.m., DH is at the bus stop with DS#2. I call his cell, and tell him that I need him to come to the hospital, that everything’s okay, but they want to run some tests in L&D based on his u/s weights. I call my mother back and am more straightforward: "Mom, I need you to come to the hospital now. They want to run more tests." I get weepy for a moment then realize that I am within 100 yards of the hospital with Stick-It still kicking; we have a chance that he’ll be fine. The last call? To my office, of course. M., the part-timer, is the only one in, as E., my counterpart, has taken yet another day off. My boss isn’t coming in today, so it’s just M. and the other Dean. I tell M. that I should be in at some point, but they’re sending me into L&D for more tests, as Stick-It’s weight seems off from the u/s. She wishes me good luck and tells me to call when I know more. I am now in the main door of the hospital.

Into the elevator, and pressing the button for the L&D floor. Open the unsealed envelope containing the two u/s reports. Hey, they're my records, right, so I can review them if I want. Even to my untrained eye, something is not right. Stick-It’s abdominal circumference is smaller, his weight is down (and they’ve circled it on the report from today), and many of his measurements are only days ahead of the previous reports, despite being 14 days apart. Now I get weepy again, and sense the worry rising in my throat. Take a deep breath and wipe my eyes, reassure myself that we’ll both be fine. I report to L&D, and the woman at the desk who I have dealt with so often when checking in for my NSTs thinks I’m there for another NST. I tell her what N. told me, and she calls in. She then hands me my file to bring onto the unit, which I find interesting. I am taken to L&D Room 8, and hooked up for what I think is another NST. Stick-It is moving around as usual and his heart rate is good. My BP and pulse, on the other hand, as at all time highs: 130/73 and 91 respectively. Normal for me is 90/60 and 60. And the parade starts into my room: DH, looking gray and nervous; my mom, smiling, telling me that everything is going to be okay; a variety of medical personnel. One of the other nurses I’ve had before for an NST appears. Having been for 11 previous NSTs, I’ve gotten to meet a number of the nurses. Seeing their faces calms me down. M., another nurse who used to work with my mom pops her head in to say hi.

Then K. appears and introduces herself. She tells me that they’ve reviewed the reports, and Stick-It is scoring 8 out of 8. Passing my NST will make it 10 for 10, and the NST looks good. Then she tells me that Dr. Fav is in, and is clearing his schedule, and that he’ll be over. They’ll be taking me in to be sectioned at 10:30 a.m.

HELLOOOOOOOOO?!?!?!?! No, you must be wrong, because I’m scheduled for next Friday to have this done at 9:00 a.m. I’m not ready NOW! I’m not packed. I’m supposed to be at work. Stick-It is only 36 weeks, 6 days. I don’t even have my damned glasses or my case for my contacts.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Things Bubble Over

Hard to believe it's been two weeks since my last post. My concerns regarding both my boss and DS#1 came to a head the next day. My boss got a ride in with the other Dean from our office suite, who was BS when they finally arrived at 9:30 a.m. It seems, according to his assistant, that my boss had agreed to have him pick her up at 8:30 a.m. However, when he arrived at her house, she wasn't ready, telling him to give her "a few minutes". Twenty minutes later, he was still waiting in his car for her; she didn't even have enough common decency to invite him in to wait for her. Most of the day was spent with her in meetings and giving me a list of stuff she needed immediately. I was able to get her everything she needed, and had had the smarts to phone her at 8:00 a.m. to remind her to bring in her external hard drive so that I could back up my computer files for her. The best part? This backup does not contain any of the forms or files that I personally created and used. Things like the office manual that she demanded I write up, despite that not being part of my job, I removed from those computer files to my personal thumb drive. She has a paper copy, but that's it. I even ended up staying late to back up my system Tuesday (1/29) and removing a bunch of personal computer files from my computer.

Which leads me to DS#1 and everything finally coming to a head with him. I got home late that Tuesday (luckily my Mom and Dad were available, and had picked up DS#2, brought him home, fed them dinner (which DH had already made before going to work), and they had had their baths. My Mom and Dad both commented on how out of sorts DS#1 seemed. When they left, DS#1 came in to talk to me, and ended up in tears, sobbing about a nightmare he'd had the night before that we'd lost this baby, that he didn't want me to have surgery, he didn't want me to have to be away from home for four nights, he was scared that something might happen to me, some kid at school had been teasing him about his "girlfriend", he had just switched to a bunch of new teachers and wasn't sure he would do as well as he'd done the previous two quarters, and so on. I just held him while he cried, trying my best to reassure him that we were doing everything we could to bring this baby home healthy and safe, and that I didn't want to be away from them either but they could call me and come visit me and the new baby every day, and we talked about school and the other kids. He finished having a good cry and went to bed.

I finished folding all the baby clothes I'd washed the day before, and the next morning, before my 7:20 a.m. ultrasound, I put them in the dresser in the baby's room. I also had all my toiletries gathered on the top shelf of our linen closet, and my two old nursing nightgowns, my nursing bras, and my granny panties already in my half packed suitcase. My mother's nagging for me to have my bag packed kept resonating in my head, but I figured I would:
- color my roots Wednesday night,
- finish out the week at work, telling folks know after my OB appointment on Thursday that I was only working three more days,
- DH and the boys and I would finish getting the house ready over the weekend,
- I'd schedule a bikini wax for Saturday,
- the following Thursday my mom, who convinced me NOT to work until the day before my scheduled C-section, would come over and help me finish getting the house ready,
- and finally, on the morning of Friday, February 8th, I would report at 7:00 a.m. for my scheduled 9:00 a.m. C-section.

What's that saying? Oh yeah... "the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry" or something like that, from Robert Burns "To A Mouse". Well, I now know EXACTLY what that means!