Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2008 And Baby Makes Three

Baby was born on the Monday after Mother's Day in May, 2008. It was eventful and exciting but in a very calm sense. This was not a birth in the back of the car on the way to the hospital sort of situation.

The story starts on the previous Thursday when I was at a routine OB appointment having an ultrasound. During the course of the ultrasound, the tech noticed some early labor signs and notified the doctor. After the exam, I sat in a recliner for about 45 minutes with a fetal heart monitor and a contraction monitor strapped on my 33 1/2 week pregnant belly. During the course of those 45 minutes, I had about six contractions, a few that were significant enough to do a little of the deep breathing I had been practicing at our childbirth class for five weeks. Of course the Husband was sitting there in the early stages of panic, waiting for our child to pop out then and there. As it turns out, six contractions in under an hour is too many for 33 weeks. "Okay my darling, it's time to go to the hospital," the on-call doctor said in his middle eastern accent. He always called me things like sweetheart and my darling, which was a little strange but made me laugh inside and helped diffuse my anxiety. Fortunately, the hospital where we were planning to deliver was right around the corner from the doctor's office so I drove myself.

Once I was admitted, I was strapped into the monitors again and given some IV drugs to stop the contractions. Of course I wasn't remotely prepared to go to the hospital at that point so I had no suitcase or any of the things I would have wanted. We just sat and watched tv and waited. Baby was doing just dandy and the monitor showed a strong, consistent heart rate but the contractions still hadn't stopped so we moved on to a different drug. This one worked. I also had the first of two steroid shots to stimulate her lung development in the event of early delivery, and all I can say about that is "ouch." Over the next three days, I had numerous blood tests, lots of monitoring and watched a lot of tv. My parents were on the edge of their seats in Colorado, waiting for any indication that they should get on a plane. By Sunday, the doctor was saying that most likely I would deliver within the next two weeks and would be in the hospital until then. Aside from a roommate across a small hallway who watched tv on high volume and snored, also at high volume, it wasn't too bad.

Monday morning, I was expecting my doctor who had been out for the weekend. I remember him walking in and saying something like, "What happened here? I leave for a couple of days expecting to release you after the weekend and now I hear your blood work is all crazy." Over the weekend, each blood test revealed higher and higher counts of liver enzymes, showing that my liver wasn't functioning properly and indicating HELPP syndrome, similar to pre-eclampsia. The only way to stop it is to deliver the baby and it was progressing quickly. He told us that they needed to get the baby out before things got too bad. We asked if they would induce and when, and he explained that things were worsening too quickly and that a c-section was necessary. Again, we asked when that would happen. "I think in about an hour. So the nurse will be here soon to get you ready and I'll see you in the operating room." WTF?! An hour?? As in one hour?? I called my parents, told them to get on a plane, and five minutes later things were moving quickly. The bonus of all the craziness was that I didn't have much time to think about how our lives were about to change forever... in an hour.

Literally less than an hour later, I was on an operating table, numb from the waist down. The Husband sat next to my head, holding my hand, and before we knew it, the assisting doctor was singing "Happy Birthday" and my doctor was announcing "It's a girl! You have a daughter." Lots of crying, both us and her. A minute later, yet another doctor said, "Mom look over hear and see your baby girl," and there she was. Our baby.

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