Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Part I: Eila's Birth Story

Why the heck did you have a C-Section at 36 Weeks?

Hello World! What a whirlwind couple of days it has been. This time last week I was battling contractions at work. The following day I was in my doctor's office for my routine weekly visit. The ultrasound went well. Eila got 8/8 on her BPP. We discovered she was still breech. My doctor did a cervical check to discover I was 2cm and 70% effaced and started to talk about scheduling the delivery. Because my blood sugar had been running so well, we were targeting 39 weeks to schedule a C-Section. The truth was that my blood sugar had been more of a battle in the previous few nights. I would take insulin, eat dinner, check two hours after and be north of 200 mg/dL. I'd take more insulin to correct this number, check an hour later and be just as high. I'd give more insulin, which made me nervous about having too much in my system and going low in the middle of the night. So, I would stay up a few extra hours just to watch the number coast down. If it had happened once, I wouldn't have brought it up, but it was starting to be my nightly trend. So, I shared that with my doctor at my Tuesday visit and our discussion about scheduling turned into maybe tomorrow morning. She called my high-risk OB, with whom she has consulted during my entire pregnancy and left him a message. You see, uncontrolled blood sugar late in pregnancy can cause an increased risk of fetal demise (that's why they tend not to let Type 1 diabetics go past 39 weeks), and that's why the executive decision needed to be made about what was the safest next-step. Lucas and I left her office awaiting a phone call to find out, once and for all, if I was having surgery the very next day. That phone call came around 1:30PM on Tuesday that I needed to be at Germantown Methodist the next morning at 7:00A for a 9:30A C-Section. Don't eat after midnight. Take nighttime insulin. Don't take any in the morning...And just like that, we made phone calls to the appropriate people and each of us started to let the news sink in. Lucas' family came in town and stayed with us that night. Believe it or not, I got over 6 hours of sleep.

Surgery Day. How'd it go?

Surgery day was kind of a blur, as you might imagine. We woke up, took showers, made sure we had everything and Lucas got donuts for the nurses at Gibson's, breakfast for himself and we were on our way to the hospital. The admissions process was super-easy, and I was called back to my pre-op room pretty quickly. I was told to undress and put on the gown and socks. Two young nurses came in and started my IV. Quick and painless. Lucas was with me this whole time. My mom popped in to wish me luck before heading out to the waiting room. The nurse anesthetist came in to explain what his role was going to be and answer any questions. Finally, my doctor popped in and said hello and pumped me up for the big event. She really is the best. Next thing I know, I am being wheeled down to the operating room. Lucas has to stay behind while they prep me for surgery. This is his time to get his head right and put on his scrubs. In the operating room, it is freezing. There are about 602 people in there (exaggeration, barely). They sit me up on the operating table and tell me to scoot my bottom as far back to the edge as possible. My doctor requested a warm blanket for me because I had the chills. The nurse anesthetist explained to me everything he was doing. His name is Dwayne, and he was awesome. He started poking on my spine for a good place to stick. He said, "you're going to feel a little bee sting." It didn't hurt at all. Then he said, you're going to feel your bottom go numb then eventually your legs. They helped me get into the right position on the operating table because my butt and legs were tingling immediately. I also had the shakes, which I was assured was normal. The curtain went up in front of my face, and Lucas came into the room. I was preoccupied with wanting to ensure I was numb, so I was said, "hey, have y'all tested whether I can feel things?" My doctor responded, "girl, I have been clamping all over your stomach with the is metal thing." Oh, I guess I'm good then because I felt none of that. The next thing I know I feel pressure, which I was told I would feel. All I kept thinking (and saying out loud) was how weird this was. I asked Dwayne about what all the numbers on my monitor meant. I started to feel a more jostling pressure. The operation started at 9:30A promptly. By 9:35A, Dwayne was telling Lucas to get his camera ready. What?! You just started. By 9:38, Eila was here and quickly shown to me over the curtain before she was sent off for all of her checks. I told Lucas he could go watch. Obviously I stayed behind to be sewn up. There was still lots of jostling during this process as well. At one point, I started laughing at something, and my doctor had to tell me to stop because she was doing something in my muscles. Ew. I heard them shout out her weight - SIX,TWO. The next thing I know, a doctor is by my bedside in the operating room telling me that she needed to take the baby to the NICU for her breathing to be monitored. I just said, "whatever you need to do." Lucas followed me to the recovery room (same as my pre-op room where I was to stay for one hour without visitors. This might be the biggest blur of all. I remember chills. I remember nurses coming in and helping me roll from one bed to another and getting up to my big room. I remember telling Lucas to go tell everyone that it went okay, but I distinctly remember feeling awkward about the fact that there was no baby to come see yet. In this big room, I could have all of the visitors. They all came up to see me, and I think I explained how weird it was that there was a surgery, then there was a baby, then there wasn't. And I had no idea when I might see her. Slowly but surely, people tapered off. My parents, Lucas and his parents could go down to the NICU to see Eila, but I was not  allowed to until my catheter was removed around 5:30 that evening. For 7 long hours, I didn't see my baby. All I can tell you is that it felt strange...as strange as something can feel on pain medication. That night, I was wheeled down to see her. I could touch her but not hold her.

To summarize: The surgery itself was a breeze. The baby not being with me was not a breeze. If you asked me at the time, I would have told you I felt robbed of an experience of bonding with my baby, but obviously she needed a special kind of attention. It just took me a little while to absorb that.

So, what were Eila's issues?

Apparently, Eila did a good job of breathing immediately after being born until a couple of minutes later when her color started turning blue. They threw oxygen on her and took her to the NICU. It was explained to me that she is just "early", so her lungs did not have time to mature all the way. She needed to have some extra oxygen for an undetermined amount of time. I'll admit to you that I assumed it might be a matter of hours. So, I went to sleep sad and worried when she still hadn't been excused from the NICU. I want to tell you I was immediately smitten and so in love, but I just didn't get the chance. I knew I was excited about her being here and confused about her being gone. The intense love would come flooding in later... Stay Tuned.

Part II: The Aftermath: Pain, Hormones and Other Emotions.

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