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>Birth: The Final Installment

Both babies are on their little mat in the sun “napping” so I have a few minutes to wrap this tale up. Maybe.

So Nicole returns to the hospital in record time, which made me feel a lot better. Suddenly, the nurse who was sorta ignoring me was all over me, touching my knee, answering my questions and showing a good deal more concern than she did or me before. (I asked her for ice chips about three times and she never brought them. And I was her only patient at the time.) Then more doctors started coming in. They added up my symptoms and came up with a big fat We have No Idea what is going on. One doctor came in to report my blood work results. She said that all of my tests looked fine except one. That “bad” test showed that my platelet levels were low. And that my kidneys were only functioning at 75 percent. What? And that there was still a lot of blood I my urine. My blood pressure was rising high and my heart rate was still low. And an alarm kept going off because I wasn’t breathing enough.

At this point it is around 9:00 am and I still had not seem the babies. We asked them to be brought to us and we were informed that they can only come into recovery to feed. The doctors said I was not going to get out of recovery any time soon, which really unnerved me. I said that the babies hadn’t been fed since 2 in the morning so bring them now. I was so tired (I had now been up for more than 24 hours) and weak from the surgery that I barely remember it. But I do remember being VERY emotional and hormonal.

I meet with kidney specialists, my ob, other obs, urologists and residents. I was wheeled down to have a kidney sonogram performed by a woman with absolutely no sympathy for the fact that I just had surgery, so jerking my body around to get a better angle hurt a lot. The radiologist told me that my left kidney was dilated, but other than that all looked ok.

So the doctors were no closer to figuring out what is wrong with me. Kidney failure was bantered about, toxemia (a type of pre eclampsia) and something about a piece of my kidney dying off. To this day they still don’t know what was/is wrong. But my blood levels stabilized and my urine slowly become less bloody, so that was a good thing.

I had a full on break down sometime in the late afternoon while still in recovery. I had been there for over 12 hours and asked for the babies to come. They said yes, but a half hour went by and no babies. Then 45 minutes. We asked again and we were told they were too busy to bring us our babies. At that point I lost it. I just started crying and shaking and not making any sense. That snapped the nurse into a higher sense of urgency. She called the nursery again and arranged for an immediate delivery of babies, as long as Nicole would go and help them. So Nicole leaves and two minutes later, people come in to take me to a sonogram. I flipped again. I couldn’t believe that I was not going to see them. Meanwhile, who was feeding them? I told them NO BOTTLES.

Nicole wheeled them in just as I was about to be wheeled out. Given that I was I hysterics, they let me stay with the babies for a few minutes. How nice of them. It seemed unnatural that I wasn’t allowed to spend time with them. Especially since when they were with me, all of my vital signs started to even out.

I was moved to a regular room (finally) around 6 pm. I was so grateful to be down the hall from my babies, who were in the nursery. We put our names on the list for a private room, but we were told that there wouldn’t be one available. So we settled into a very cramped shared room, and no sooner than I started to breastfeed the babies, a nurse came in and said a private room just became available. Nicole literally ran down the hall with all of our stuff and within a half hour, we settled into our new giant room, complete with a hospital bed for Nicole to sleep in and our very own bathroom.

To this day, the doctors still aren’t sure what happened that day. My doctor said she would probably call it toxemia, but she wasn’t happy with that because it isn’t a neat fit with the symptoms. I chalked it up to the trauma of surgery (hand surgery too) and the epidural and all the top offs and all of the other meds pumped into my body. How could that not affect me? It was just bizarre, because I had for the most part a pregnancy free of traumas and bed rest and issues. To get pre-eclampsia or toxemia after the babies are born just seems weird. Also, I don’t discount the theory that my bladder was traumatized accidentally in the surgery. But the doctor said nothing happened to it during the C Section. So I guess we may never know. Once again, I am a medical mystery (the lovely pyogenic granuloma was Mystery No. 1).

I am still blown away that we were allowed to check out of the hospital on Sunday. But in the end I was happy to recover at home, even with still having blood in my urine and a not quite functioning kidney. I am happy to say that the pain of the C Section is long gone at this point, but now I am dealing with some seriously painful shoulder/arm pain.

Pictured above is Madeline with me after (after her first bath) and Avery with Nicole (after her first bath). In fun news, Avery lost her belly button stub last night and proudly joins her sister in the outtie club. Maybe that changes over time and becomes an innie.

>The Birth Story Part I

So this is the start of the story of the birth of Madeline and Avery. It is too long to be written in an interesting way. But I wanted to get it out because the details were already getting fuzzy.

I woke up on Thursday May 31st in major pain. I had hand surgery the day before, and after the anesthesia finally wore off, my hand was throbbing like it never had before. The doctor prescribed me codeine and assured me that I could take it without harming the babies, but I was skeptical, as usual.

I pictured a day of convalescing on the couch. With the hand pain and my in general lethargic self, I couldn’t imagine doing anything. So imagine my horror when I lay down on the couch only to find that the cable was out, as well as the Internet. This is enough to push me over the edge on a regular day. And to make things worse, I couldn’t even search online for codeine/pregnancy horror stories.

So I called Nicole at work and asked her to do a search for me. We were on the phone for barely a minute when I felt a gush. I momentarily thought maybe I just lost control of my bladder. Fun. But when I got up and waddled to the bathroom more and more and more came out. I told Nicole my water just broke. Then I went about packing my bag again and waited for her to get home. I tried to call some people as I scurried around and get the phone tree working. I remember my SIL screaming.

We took a cab to the hospital (Nicole had one waiting downstairs) and checked in. I was put into a room and examined by the attending physician, who proclaimed me 4 cm dilated. Turns out, I was contracting but not feeling it. I was hooked up to all the monitors and had to lay on my back; not the most comfortable position for someone carrying all that extra weight. In addition, I had to keep my left hand elevated above my heart. For the entire labor. Good times.

My ob came in and said unless I deliver before 4 pm, she would not be delivering me. It was very disappointing, especially since we never did get around to the “end game” talk. It felt like being engaged to the same person for nine months and showing up on your wedding day to find a while new person.

Of course I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink, which was quite a challenge because I skipped dinner the night before and I didn’t eat breakfast yet that day. I was starving and SO thirsty but couldn’t have anything but ice chips. I asked what the difference was between eating ice chips and getting them to melt and just drinking the water. No dice. I also bribed everyone who came into the room to bring me chocolate milk. Also no luck.

Around noonish, I started feeling a lot more pain and pressure and got the epidural. Immediately I felt better…this weird sense of calmness kind of floats over you as your legs become heavy. I could sleep for hours. I never did quite fall asleep, but I was so relaxed. My mother and sister-in-law went out to get food and I tried to rest.

Despite the pain, I hadn’t made any progress. So by 3:30 the doctors added a pit drip to move things along. Immediately my contractions started coming faster and harder and even the epidural wasn’t masking the pain. I asked for a top off, which meant another internal exam, which concluded that I had gone from 4 cm to 9 cm in a short period of time. So things were moving.

During this entire day, I had to keep my hand elevated. I kept a biohazard bag filled with ice in it to alleviate the pain a little. The ice would melt and someone would go to the pantry and refill it. I still can’t believe I had hand surgery and then went into labor the next day.

By around 9:00 pm I was fully dilated, but Baby A was in the zero station. They wanted to see the baby in +2 before I started pushing. So we waited. And the pain got worse. And I got another top off. But after another internal, Baby A still wasn’t moving at all. In fact, she was still in the very same spot. So we waited some more. More internals. And still no progress.

At this point, there was all sorts of talk about C sections and pushing. My sister-in-law, who was with us, reminded me how awful her recovery was. My mother told me I should try for a vaginal delivery. Even a nurse came in and rubbed my hand and told me not to give up my dream of a vag. delivery. Everyone was pushing for what they thought was best, but I still had no idea what to wish for.

The thing is, after no food or drink all day (and most of the day before) and after all of the pain I was feeling and the pressure that kept coming in waves and the pain in my throbbing hand, I had no “dreams of delivery” anymore. I just wanted the babies to come out, and whatever was safest and best is what I would do. Nicole agreed, and countered I should at least try to push for a little while to rule out a vaginal delivery. What scared me about that was that during my last internal, the doctor asked me to push, and sensing this is my moment to show Just How Strong I could be, I pushed with all my might. I asked how that was and the doctor was not as generous with the compliments as I wanted. I wanted to hear; “You’ll push these babies out in record time.” Instead I heard “It was okay.” This panicked me, because I was giving it the old college try. If that wasn’t good enough, how would I possibly get through pushing?

Well, the decision was made for us, in a way. The doctor came in around 11:30 pm and determined that after being fully dilated for at least 2 hours, Baby A didn’t move at all. She has been in the same spot since I started labor, in fact. Since both babies were head down, he surmised that they were locking each other out of the birth canal. In addition, both were beginning to shows signs of distress (high heart rates) and I started getting a fever. The doctor asked for my permission to do a C Section and we agreed….

And then the drama starts. But I will have to continue with Part 2 later.

Pictured above is Nicole with Miss Avery and Avery and Madeline discovering the others’ presence.