Sunday, October 3, 2010
Baby Joe's Birth Story Part Four
I have finally finished Joe's birth story! It is really detailed, but that is because I wrote it that way so I can remember those details to put in Joe's baby book that I will someday hopefully get to! There are probably a ton of misspellings and I'm sure my grammar is atrocious, so I hope it's not too painful to read!
Here is Part One, Part Two and Part Three
The evening that Joe was born we relaxed and watched the Chiefs v. Packers game. (They won! First win of the season!) The rest of the night did not go so well. First of all I did NOT sleep at all. I got maybe 15 minutes of sleep the whole night. For one thing, they had put the little heart beat monitor thingy on my toe instead of my finger since I was sleeping and so it wouldn’t get in the way of breast feeding. Well the darn thing kept falling of my toe and setting off an alarm. Ryan would get up and put it back on but the alarm still kept going off. Unfortunately the nurses that night would let the alarm sound for about 10-15 minutes before they’d come in and shut it off. It was very annoying!
The night nurses I had the previous nights were awesome but this particular shift was not good. One nurse took Joe to get weighed in the middle of the night and when she came back she expressed her concern that she thought he had lost too much weight. Uh, thanks lady- now I can’t sleep because I’m afraid my kid is starving to death.
When I asked one of the other nurses to make sure I was awake every two hours to breastfeed she said she would, but if I didn’t feel like nursing I could always have them give him formula. The breastfeeding consultant warned me this could happen- most of the nurses were very supportive about breastfeeding, but some nurses would push the formula because they didn’t want to take the time to help first time mothers. I was annoyed beyond belief and made it quite clear that no formula would be used unless it was medically necessary. My Christian charity was running low with these nurses.
Another nurse came in while I was breastfeeding and I asked her to make sure Joe was latched on well because my nipples were really starting to hurt. She didn’t bother to look and said, “Oh everyone gets cracked nipples.” Again I was super annoyed because everywhere I had read stated that if the baby was latched on correctly the nipple shouldn’t hurt. I figured out later that my nipples were going to be somewhat sore since I had never breastfed before, but the fact she didn’t even help angered me.
Between 3:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. I felt really uneasy. Joe was in his bassinet across the room and I was still on bed rest so I couldn’t get up to bring him closer to me. I could have had Ryan wheel him closer but he was asleep and I knew he needed his rest. I sat there for an hour looking across the room at my son and I was just completely overwhelmed. I almost felt like there was a spiritual battle going on in the room. It frightened me in some ways, so I spent the hour praying.
I started to notice that I was wheezing. It wasn’t anything too serious, but it was annoying. I called for a nurse to come in. Of course it took forever for someone to come in and they said they’d send someone from respiratory in to check me. After what seemed like forever a man from respiratory came in and brought this little plastic thing with a tube. I was to breathe into the tube and keep a little ball floating between two lines. It was to help me deep breathe to take care of the wheezing. I’ve always had problems with deep breathing, so this exercise was very difficult for me. They wanted me to practice 10 times in an hour.
Finally it was around 6:00 a.m. and my mom came to visit. Later that morning Ryan’s parents and my dad came by to say good bye. I tried to take a nap but I just couldn’t get to sleep. The doctor had come by while all our parents were there and let me know I would be taken off the magnesium and I was officially off bed rest. I was beyond relieved to hear this news!
I had to have the nurses and Ryan help me out of bed. I hated feeling so helpless. I felt really weak getting out of bed, but it wasn’t too bad. I made it to the rocking chair a few feet from my hospital bed with no problems. I was so grateful to get out of bed. The best part of getting out of bed: taking a shower!!! Ryan had to help me, but it was so refreshing to bathe- it was Friday and the last shower I had taken was Tuesday morning. I still had to carry around my catheter which by that time I had dubbed my “pot of gold.”
It was a great feeling getting unhooked from the things on my calves and from the mag IV. I was being freed from my shackles!
I spent the rest of the day in the rocking chair. I chatted with mom, cuddled with Joe and watched TV. The nurses kept taking my blood pressure every hour and it was still sky high. The doctor told me that it could take up to 6 weeks before my blood pressure to go down. The nurses kept asking me if I had a headache or nausea and I didn’t. I felt fine and the high blood pressure was starting to discourage me. People from the lab had to come every 2 hours to draw my blood to check the mag levels in my system. This was annoying since I have crappy veins and it would take forever for them to find a good vein.
Later that afternoon my brother came to visit. We had a nice visit. When he left to go back home my mom left as well. About 20 minutes later I had a hormonal breakdown. I could tell it was hormones because I just started bawling for no reason. An overwhelming sense of exhaustion and emotions just came flooding over me. I knew exactly what was happening so I actually started laughing.
I spent the rest of the evening relaxing with my new little family. The night nurses that came in were awesome. I found out one of them went to our church. Ryan and I spent the evening watching TV and enjoying alone time.
Later that night the lab people came to draw my blood and it took an hour for them to find a good vein and draw blood. The guy had to call in someone else to get the blood drawn and she actually got in on her first try! I wasn’t too terribly annoyed because the nurse came in and kept us company.
I got more sleep than I did the night before, however I started wheezing really bad again. It got so bad I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I am absolutely terrified of the feeling of not being able to breathe so I started to panic. The nurses responded quickly and helped me to calm down while someone from respiratory came in (the same guy as the night before) to give me a breathing treatment which really helped. They also put me on a little bit of oxygen which also helped. It turns out I had the beginning signs of pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs.) They told me to keep practicing on the breathing tube thingy they had given me the night before to fight off the wheezing.
On Saturday morning Ryan’s parents came back to the hospital. They had been by our house to drop off our new bed. They stayed for awhile. After they left an x-ray tech came up to my room to take a chest x-ray. The doctor looked at it soon afterwards and said the pulmonary edema was going away. I also got my catheter taken out. By then all the fluids I had accumulated during pregnancy and through the IV were being flushed out of my system so I was constantly peeing. Suddenly the catheter seemed kind of convenient, but of course I was glad to get rid of it. I was completely shackle free- no more IV’s, calf thingies, or a catheter!
Soon after Ryan’s parents left one of the deacons from our church came by to visit us. His daughter had been one of our night nurses. We were really happy that we were starting to get to know the people from our church.
I had another breakdown early that afternoon. I could see the worry and concern every time the nurses came in to check my blood pressure. They would voice their frustration that none of the blood pressure medicine they were giving me seemed to be working. I started getting scared. I had never in my life had any sort of health problem and here I was with dangerously high blood pressure. Usually with pre-eclampsia the blood pressure stabilizes when the baby is born, but not with me. They informed me that I could have high blood pressure for up to 6 weeks after Joe was born. I didn’t know if I would have any long-term effects from this. I was so frustrated because I felt fine but my blood pressure kept remaining sky high. I hate it when things are out of my control. I tried to relax, go to my happy place, and pray, but nothing seemed to work.
On top of being scared about my high blood pressure, I was getting stir-crazy. I had been confined to my room since Tuesday night with the exception of being wheeled to surgery. Yes, I was off bed rest, but I wanted to rest as much as I could and every time I did have the energy to get up and walk the halls I had a visitor or had to be assessed by the nurses.
All this was wearing on me and so when my mom called to ask how I was doing I broke down. I wanted more than anything to go home, be healthy and bond with my son. I felt like I couldn’t properly take care of Joe since I was so sick with hypertension. I felt worthless as a mother. I felt like I couldn’t bond with him since I was so concerned I would die or something from this high blood pressure. (Overly dramatic, I know, but that is how I was starting to feel at the time.) Of course talking with my mom made me feel much better.
Later that afternoon my best friend Ashlee came to visit again. We watched TV and she got some cuddle time with Joe. She left to go eat supper and Ryan and I got our special dinner that the hospital provided. It was steak, green beans, baked potato, salad, a roll and cheesecake. It was delicious, but the mag was still messing with my digestive system so I didn’t get to fully enjoy it.
Ashlee came back later and was a welcome distraction to the nurses getting very concerned about my high blood pressure. I had been on two different kinds of blood pressure medicines and nothing was working. At one point they had to administer a gel cap sublingually- they poked the gel cap and poured the liquid under my tongue. I had to keep the liquid under my tongue without swallowing. The gel cap liquid tasted nasty and it was so hard to not swallow since my mouth filled up with spit very quickly! I had to do that twice and guess what- it didn’t work!
At one point when I breastfed Joe I noticed an area on my breast that was super hard. When I expressed- out came milk! My milk had come in in just two days! As much as I was freaking out about my blood pressure I was so thankful that breastfeeding was going well.
The nurses came in and suggested that perhaps one reason my blood pressure was so sky high was because I was so tired. I wasn’t sleeping well at night because of nursing Joe and every time I tried to nap during the day I was interrupted by a nurse coming in to give me meds or to take my blood pressure, or the staff from dietary would come in to give me my meal. My doctor suggested I take a sleeping pill and have the nurses take care of Joe and finger feed him from my milk that I would pump. I did not want to send Joe away for the night- it just didn’t feel right. But I decided to go ahead and follow his suggestion. I figured the faster I got better the sooner we could get out of there and I could better take care of Joe.
The nurse came in with the pump and warned me that since I had a c-section and since it had only been 2 days since Joe was born I would probably only pump a tiny bit of colostrums. She was quite surprised when my lovely white milk came pouring into the container.
Ashlee and I watched the movie Frequency on TV as I pumped. I didn’t get a lot out, but enough to last a couple of feedings so I could get some rest. While we were hanging out and chatting we could hear a lady in the next room screaming in labor and the nurses coaching her.
Ashlee left to go to her hotel room and I stood by Joe’s bassinet to kiss him goodnight before Ryan would wheel him to the nurses’ station. As I was waiting for the nurses to take him I could hear one of them on the phone asking, “How far apart are your contractions?” and a few seconds later, “OK, go ahead and come to labor and delivery.” After the nurse came and got Joe I broke down once again. First I felt horrible for leaving my son. I felt like I was abandoning him. It broke my heart to think that he would be without me and his daddy. And I wasn’t handling having had a c-section very well. I was jealous of that lady who we could hear screaming through the walls and for the woman who had just called in to the nurses station. I was being so selfish because I was resentful that I didn’t get those experiences. I was getting mad at myself for being so selfish and unreasonable. Thankfully Ryan made me feel better and before I knew it, the sleeping pill the nurses had given me had taken effect and I drifted off to a good night’s sleep.
The next morning Ryan got up to go to Mass and Ashlee came to visit. We had a good chat and she left before Ryan got back. This was one of the first times that I had alone time with Joe. For the first time I could just sit and stare and talk to him. I examined his little toes and hands and ears. This whole thing had happened so fast that I didn’t get a chance to really feel like a mother until that moment.
Ryan came back from church and told me that one of the parishioners who we didn’t know had come up to him asking if I had had the baby since I wasn’t with him at church. He also told me that he asked Fr. Kevin if someone could bring me communion later.
My doctor came in and said I would either be going home later that day or the next morning. That was some great news- the end was in sight! After he left Ryan and I took a nap. When we woke up a lady from our church brought me communion. Before she left Fr. Kevin came to visit. I felt 110% better after I received the Precious Body of Jesus. The nurse came in and said that if my blood pressure had lowered that I would more than likely be released since the last few blood pressure readings she had taken were lower than they had been, thanks to my new medicine Procardia. Well the prospect of maybe going home that day must have excited me because my blood pressure shot up again.
Instead of breaking down and freaking out like I usually did, I felt at peace. I knew more than likely there would be only one more day of being in the hospital. I focused on the positive aspects of my birthing experience. I knew I had tried as long as possible to make the induction work. I was lucky to have gotten to hold my son minutes after I was wheeled back into my room after surgery. I was lucky that breastfeeding was going very well for Joe and me. I was lucky to be blessed with such wonderful nurses and a doctor that was very caring and supportive. I was lucky that I was recovering well from the c-section. Most of all, I was so blessed to have a healthy baby. He was two weeks early and in the womb when Lord only knows how long I was plagued with high blood pressure and it didn’t affect him at all. He wasn’t losing a lot of weight, he had passed his hearing test, and even though he was a little jaundice it wasn’t anything that required treatment.
I finally had the energy to get up and get dressed. It was such a great feeling to get out of that hospital gown- I was feeling more like a human. Ryan and I walked the halls and even though my legs felt like jello, it was nice to get moving. We went outside and sat on some benches that were right next to a waterfall/pond garden. The sun was setting, there was a slight breeze and the temperature was about 75 degrees- simply perfect. Just getting outside did wonders for my soul.
Later that evening my mom came back to visit. She was going to help us get home and stay with us a couple days to help in our adjustment to being new parents. When she got there she asked the nurse if I would be going home later that night and she said that it depended on what the doctor said. I told the nurse that I would be OK staying another night. As much as I wanted to get out of there I knew it was important for me to be a little healthier.
The night nurse that night was also a parishioner of our church. We were really getting to know more and more people from St. Peter’s!
I pumped again that night to have the nurses finger feed him and to get another full night’s rest. I pumped A LOT more than the night before- plenty to keep him fed throughout the night. However, around 4:00 a.m. the nurse came in and said he wouldn’t take the finger feeds. He wanted me. He eagerly took my breast and my heart flooded with emotion- he really needed and loved me.
Monday morning finally came. It was Labor Day. The doctor came in while I was brushing my teeth. “It looks like someone is ready to get out of here!” he said. He gave me the go ahead to be released that day. PRAISE GOD!
The nurses helped us give Joe a bath. That was nerve wracking! We dressed him in his going home outfit (a Chiefs outfit, of course!) And the nurse came in to give me discharge instructions. I was a little nervous about going home. What if my blood pressure got super high and I didn’t realize it because I wasn’t having any symptoms? Thankfully the Procardia they put me on seemed to be helping.
Before I knew it we were walking down the halls out to our van. The nurse checked our car seat and off we went. It was a beautiful day and I was so happy to be going home.
After 6 days in the hospital I wanted to kiss the ground when we got to our house. Instead, I kissed my husband and my son and I started in my adventure of being a new mother!