I was in active labor for six hours. I could feel G's head descending, but since I wasn't allowed to move, there wasn't much I could do to help the process. The pitocin caused my blood pressure to increase, so they began giving me doses of labetelol trying to bring it back down quickly. It worked just a little too well, because when my blood pressure dropped, the baby's did too, which was unsafe for him.
I am not sure how high or low my blood pressure actually was at this point... they had permanently turned the screen away from me, and they seemed to just be going from turning on the bp cuff to giving shots into my IV. Eventually the doctor and hospital CMP came in and told us that we needed to prepare for an emergency C-section. I asked for a moment with Stuart, then the anesthesiologist came in to place the epidural.
My contractions were so close together that the tech couldn't wait for a break to place it, so I gripped onto Stuart's arms for dear life and tried to hold still. It's funny what fear can do, because I had been shaking uncontrollably, but my terror of having it put in wrong superceded the pain. Even still, they misplaced it the first time & had to do it again (my heart sank when he said the word "again" after he got it in).
After not sleeping, or not sleeping well for almost two days, I was exhausted & the only thing keeping me awake was the pain. Once that wave of anesthetic hit, I couldn't feel anything from my diaphragm down, and my whole body & brain just closed down. Which scared Stuart, who thought something had gone wrong - I was able to mumble, "I'm ok" before they put me onto a gurney & wheeled me to the OR.
One of the most vivid things I remember from the C-section is that the warm blanket they had put across my arms fell off, and my arm was cold. When I tried to take off my oxygen mask, they wouldn't pay attention to what I was saying & just held it back to my mouth. I didn't feel any part of the surgery, except for an odd sensation like when your foot is so numb that you poke it & don't feel the outside sensation, but you can still feel the muscle move.
Stuart & Mom barely had time to get back there before Grant was delivered. I actually didn't know Stuart was there until afterward when I asked the anesthesiologist where my husband was & he pointed to my right hand. My brain was so focused on just waiting to hear the baby's first cry - and it never came. There was this odd grunting sound, and then they announced his delivery, but he didn't cry because there was too much fluid in his lungs & he was in distress. I would later learn that he scored a 3 out of 10 on his APGAR test, and that they had to do a lot of work on him to get the color into his skin. Mom took a picture of Stuart standing over the warming bed, and you can still see the finger marks where they were massaging him.
Meanwhile, they stitched me up, which I could only describe the feeling as "like a bunch of people were trying to catch fish with their bare hands in my stomach". Not quite sure what was actually going on, but that's what it was like. They took me back to my room via the NICU, pushing my bed next to Grant's for a few minutes. I didn't have my glasses on, so I couldn't see him, and he was in a warming bed, so I couldn't touch him either.
They brought me back to L&D, where I got to see all of the family and they went home to sleep. For the next 12 hours, I was under observation to make sure there were no complications from the preeclampsia, like hemorrhaging or seizures. I was moved back to the antepartum ward, and finally made my first attempt to get up on Sunday. It was so strange to feel so weak - this was the first surgery I'd ever had, and between the pain & the meds, I felt like my legs were just sewn on to my body by the cesarean scar.
Finally, on Sunday, over 24 hours after the delivery, I got to visit NICU in a wheel chair. It felt so unreal. I'd had friends whose babies had been in the NICU, but I never thought I would become one of them. There I was, staring through the little plastic door of the warming bed at my baby, wondering if it was ok to touch him. Since I wasn't able to stand, they let Stuart change his diaper, then they lifted the cover off the bed and maneuvered all of G's cords around so I could hold him for the very first time.
We celebrated G's 1st birthday yesterday. He is a hysterical, smart, full of life little boy. I call him my "handful & heart full". My relationship with him has been a journey of it's own, and I'm so glad that S has been right there with us. We love him like crazy, and his laugh can light up even our worst days.
This post is dedicated to two of my many wonderful nurse technicians, a group of amazing women with lots of patience & dedication. To Zdenka, who claimed, "She's mine" when I got back to antepartum - it made me feel pretty good that I was a patient worth fighting over! And to Lauren, who came down to NICU for my blood pressure check & brought my pain meds because you knew I was sitting with G. Your compassion is what makes you a true nurse!