Let's start with the day before - on Thursday I went into the OB...
- I went into the OB's office for a Non-Stress Test. Miss M was terribly agitated and kept kicking up a storm. For a full hour she kicked and fussed in there. So much, that the NST results were invalid. Who knew you could be TOO active on that test?
- The odd NST results meant that my OB was required to do a biophysical profile, to rule out any issues. Their US lab was full, so I did the ultrasound at my Perinatologist's office (in the same building).
- The Peri's tech found that she had 'Low Fluid', which led to questions about when I ate last. YOU KNOW when they ask that question that things are headed downhill pretty fast... My Peri's office had measured my fluid levels on Monday at ~12 cm, and on Thursday they were 2.5 cm. That's a HUGE drop - anything below 5 is considered bad. It was discussed whether I had a rupture, or if my Lovenox wasn't doing the job anymore and the placenta was failing. Either way, baby was now better out than in.
- "Severe Oligohydramnios" aka "Low Fluid" led to me sitting in L&D getting assigned to a room by 2:30 PM.
- C-section was scheduled for 7AM the following morning!
Note: if it weren't for the Lovenox, I'd have had the C-section that very night. Seriously.
Friday: OR Prep 5 AM
After a sleepless night, waking every hour on the hour thinking "it's time!", I finally was relieved to see it REALLY WAS 5AM. I got up, refreshed myself a bit, and met a shocked nurse coming through my door with a wheelchair. I think she was surprised I was up. :)
They wheeled me over to a teensy-tiny room in the OR/C-Section prep area, where I was poked and prodded a bit more for fun. Hubby arrived about that time...
BTW - did you know they have started shaving people again prior to a C? Yep. I bitched about it the whole time too - the nurse bitched right along with me! After about the 3rd time I got pinched by the clippers I told her to bugger off, and if anyone complained to tell them I refused treatment. :) She liked the idea, so I only got a mini-shave. Ha!
The anesthesiologist and the NA showed up - that makes 5 in the tiny room...
The Epidural prep was going well until he put in the fluid... Suddenly I felt like I was drowning, but it was on the inside. My ears were stopped up, and the pressure in my head was incredible. I couldn't think straight. I thought I was dying. Really. I told those gathered what was going on, but everyone just stood there watching me, saying "It will be over in 2 seconds", over and over for what seemed like an eternity. I started crying, I really thought I was going to die. This went on for several minutes, I don't really know how many.
During this fiasco my OB's partner (the one doing my C-Section was someone else from her practice, I hadn't met him). He walks in, takes in the situation, and excuses himself saying that the room is too crowded. I remember moaning something about the "clown car being full".
At some point the pressure subsided some, and I tried to get an answer from the Anesthesiologist about what the FUCK had just happened. He didn't have an answer, just kept telling me I'd be fine. I even explained that I wanted a scientific discussion, it's then that I realized he wasn't simply being patronizing, "There, there Sweetie, It's OK", he really didn't know. HOW is it he didn't know? I think I might have scared him. He made a pretty quick exit about then.
Stitches vs. Staples:
When the drama was over the OB came back in - we'll call him Dick M. He introduced himself around, asked me if I had any questions... I asked him if he'd use Stitches vs. Staples to close me. He asked why, and I said, "They did a study...", which is where he rudely cut me off, told me "NO! There is no study. THEY have done no study!" I sat there dumfounded while he agreed to do stiches if he had an assistant that was trained. Then he left. WTF?
Luckily, I don't need to like the man, I just have to know that he can do the job. I knew he could, and happen to know someone else that had him do their C-Section too. Ugh.
They wheeled me into the OR, prepped me. Everything went well until they extracted Miss M. She cried a short cry. They took her past my head to another part of the room, but they didn't show her to me. Because she was turning blue. Note the blue-ish cast in this photo...
She wasn't able to breathe, and her lungs collapsed if they weren't bagging her. She was put on C-Pap and quickly took on a normal pink hue. Then she couldn't cry due to the C-Pap pressure. The room was way too quiet - everyone was tense.
My husband went to her - he took several photos... He kept telling me, "They are working on her, but she's OK." I couldn't quite see her, just the movement of people around her out of the corner of my eye. It was so hard.
C-Section The Pain:
Somewhere around this time I started feeling pain from the C-Section in progress. The pain was raidiating up into my back and shoulders. It was getting worse. I was grunting and breathing hard.
The Nurse Anesthesia lady told me she needed to give me a shot in the arm. To which I replied, "I'm numb from the chest down! Can't you find a spot that's numb?". This got me reprimanded from the OB, and I quote, "You are having a C-Section and you are worried about a little stick?". To which I replied, "I can't do anything about the C-Section, so I'm entitled to whing about SOMETHING!". We didn't get on, can you tell?
I can hear you all now... WTF - Dawn, did you actually argue with the man that had cut you open? Yep. I sure did. While still open. I'm fiesty, maybe not brite, but I'm fiesty. HA!
SO, she stuck me in the arm. Fuckin' A Dude - that hurt.
The pain didn't decrease, it got way worse. More Epidural was applied... no use. More - the full syringe (9 unit) to be exact. No help. The pain was unending and growing stronger so that I came up off the table . Something was added to my IV and I suddenly became cross-eyed and couldn't focus. Didn't help the pain... Just F'ed up my vision.
Unfortunately, that was the EXACT moment they chose to bring Miss M for me to see for the 1st and only time for 12 hours. I couldn't see her.
Damn. Still makes me cry.
I panicked a bit... I couldn't focus my eyes. I could only squint and close one eye to stop the double-vision. Doing this I could just make out a hat, a small pink-ish chin, a C-Pap, and a blanket. I couldn't see my baby's face. I started repeating louder and louder that I couldn't see her... I could touch her, so I knew she was there, but I think it will haunt me forever that I was affraid I'd never see her alive again - I thought I could be missing my one chance.
I'm sitting here in tears, just remembering.
They took her away after waiting for a minute to see if my vision would clear... It didn't, and they had to get her to better life support soon. A mask was put over my face...
I woke up from a nice little dream... I didn't remember where I was for a few minutes... I was still in the OR, but it was much quiter - just a few people were there finishing up my stitches.
I felt odly at peace for a few moments. I thanked the NA for knocking me out. I had been so wound up with fear and pain and stress that I needed the brain break she gave me. Can't say enough nice things about that. Oh, and Bonus! Dr Dick M. was gone too...
They wheeled me in to the Recovery Room alone. Hubby and Miss M were off to the NICU and I was totally alone.
Before this, I had felt that with Jim's C-Section delivery that I'd missed out on a lot. I could see him in the warmer next to my bed in recovery, but didn't get to try to nurse him, I didn't get to hold him, the nurse essentially kept him occupied with this and that until it was time to be wheeled to our room. There was no bonding, but could see him.
This was so much worse... I wasn't sure where exactly they'd taken her. I wasn't sure how bad off she was. I hadn't seen her. I couldn't hold her. And yet, on this special level of hell... I could hear and see all 3 of the other ladies in recovery as they ooh'd and ahh'd over their new little ones. I could see their partners hover and coo.
I cried off and on most of the time I was in recovery. My nurse was rotated between the 3 patients... She kept coming by asking me, "Why are you crying, are you in pain?". I told her finally, and I sobbed harder. She pulled my privacy curtains, but I could still hear the first breastfeeding instructions being given to each Mom. I got to hear each major and many minor celebrations of new life.
I had no-one, and I was deeply depressed.
Sometime later my husband arrived - he was torn about what to do. He needed to be with M, they needed parental consent for some procedures. But he was super-worried about me. I kept crying, and I kept refusing to look at the pictures of Miss M.
Thinking about it later, I realized he probably thought I was scared to see her, and he was thinking that the pictures would help. He didn't understand that I couldn't look. It hurt too much to think about her. Just when I'd stop crying I'd remember that she was missing and I'd start all over again. I left my husband with no way to help, and I'm sorry for that. I didn't have any way to help me either...
Hubby left again and quickly came back with the Neonatologist in tow. I was given a rundown of Miss M's situation. Her condition was stable, but that she was suffering from Respiratory Distress - she was on C-Pap and a small amount of oxygen. He said that when they tried to take her off her lung would collapse. They were going to do X-Rays because she was breathing too hard and too fast - they needed to check for other lung complications.
A side note here to tell you that the Neonatologist was surprised that I didn't look scared, and I seemed to have some pretty detailed questions about her care. It is directly a credit to you all... for sharing all of the stories of all the NICU experiences. You guys shared your reality, and by putting it out there you helped me immensely... I knew what we were up against. I had facts, I wasn't terrified of the unknown - I knew something about the possible paths this would take.
A short while later, while I was still in recovery, the Neonatologist came back to tell us that her X-Rays were clear but her CO2 was 80% - way too high. High is 50%, and she was at dangerous levels. She was going into Repsiratory Failure.
He wanted to do an umbilical line to get a blood gas, which is a more acurate measure of Co2. Also, the umbilical line would provide them much-needed access to her. The X-Rays also needed to be repeated soon to watch for air collecting outside her lungs.
I sent hubby off to be with her - they would need authorization for some of the tests.
I cried more... I broke down and asked for my mother, but I was refused. I was told that Security concerns limited the number of persons allowed in recovery. It didn't matter that my support person wasn't there. My mother was within yelling distance, but she might as well have been on the moon. I cried quietly like a little lost child - secretly hoping that my Mommy would come find me.
A short time later I managed to move my legs and feet - aparently this is the ticket out of recovery. I was never so glad to leave a recovery room.
My reunion with my Mom was hard though... I wanted so much to tell her how I'd missed her. I wanted to cry and cry and have her hold me. I also knew that she wouldn't understand. She hadn't lived that hell with me. For her there had only been a couple of hours before she could see me - not a chasm the size of the Grand Canyon.
So, I delt with all the comings and goings and questions of nurses... I carried on bravely. It was distracting... It was passing time... I only had to make it 10 more hours before I could see my little girl. One day maybe I'll share this with my Mom... I wonder how she'll take it.
To be continued...