May 16, 2013

One Year Ago Today

So… ah… yeah, we are a little behind in blogging. An entire year behind. Our last blog post was also the day our daughter, Abigail Juliette, was born. Thinking about our last blog post being Roger’s story of Abigail’s birth, I realized I have not written my story down. I am worried if I do not write it down I will forget details or possibly forget it completely. And when Abi asks me in the future how she was born I will not be able to tell her. So I am going to attempt, one year later, to tell my story of her birth.

On Wednesday, May 16, 2012, I woke up around 6:00 am and as usual the first thing I did was go to the restroom and there was blood on the toilet paper. Periodically during my stay at the hospital when I would get up to go to the restroom there would be spots of blood when I wiped, sometimes a little more, but it never continued to bleed. So I figured this time was the same. Since I really wanted to get to full term (36 weeks) and my scheduled caesarean section, I really hoped it was nothing. As I sat back in the hospital bed I felt blood flow. I did not even try to look myself as I couldn't see past my belly for some time now. I remember thinking, “It will probably stop.” I called the nurse as I had to do every time I saw blood even if it was just spots. I texted Roger to let him know just in case. She checked my pad and said there was some but we would wait a bit to see if it stopped. Almost immediately I felt flow again. So I called her back. She said she was calling my OB. It seemed like every time I thought about it I would feel blood flow again. The feeling of blood under me drove me a bit crazy. I did not like the feeling of sitting in the wetness especially blood. Roger and I were texting back and forth about whether he should start heading to the hospital. I think my uncertainty was because I really wanted to make it to full term. It seemed like not very much time went by and blood flowed so many times I finally remember sighing deeply and thinking, “Okay, this is probably it.” My OB arrived and without hesitating much after she asked me what happened she said it was time. I remember thinking, “Wait, don’t you want to wait a little bit to see if stops?”, but knew in my gut it was time. I texted my sister I was going to have the c-section. The nurses began to prep me for the OR. Roger was on his way. We did not know if he would make it in time, but someone assured me they would wait for him. The OR team arrived and put an IV in my arm just in case they needed it even though I had one in the other arm already. I remember discussing with them if they really needed to give me two. I really hate IVs especially after 26 days in the hospital and having to get a new one every few days. They took me to the OR in the hospital bed and moved me over to the surgical table. They told me to sit on the table facing the wall. One OR nurse stood in front of me to help me while they inserted the spinal block. I thought it was weird to sit up while blood was flowing out of me still. But I did what they said of course. I was very nervous about the spinal block. Spinal blocks and epidurals freak me completely out. Just the thought of where they put them scares me. I think I told the anesthesiologist I was nervous about it. He talked me through it as he did it. I pretty much immediately started feeling numbness and when they told me to lay back I thought, “How can I if I am numb below my waist.” But of course I was able to lay back.

A lot of stuff started happening and I couldn’t really see much. Dr. Miller and Dr. April came and talked to me by my head. I felt good they were there and confident about them taking care of me and Abigail. There was so much going on but time felt like it was flying. I started to feel very nervous, almost sick to my stomach. I remember thinking I just wanted it to be over. Hurry up and get this over with. I had previously told Dr. Miller during check-ups that I wanted to know everything that was going on during the c-section. But I felt so sick and didn’t want to know anything. I just wanted it to be over. So I got the nerve to speak up and said, “Dr. Miller?” And she said, “Yes?” To which I responded, “I know I said before I wanted to know everything that was happening, but I changed my mind.” Everyone in the OR laughed, including me. I did not know Dr. Miller had begun trying to find Abigail’s heart beat as the other prep was happening. All of a sudden I hear her say something about the heart beat and then I hear, “This is happening now.” All of a sudden a drape was put up right at my face it seemed. And I swear in less than one minute I heard a baby cry. I remember being surprised by it then I just started crying. I felt like I was shaking the whole table with my crying but I am sure I just felt that way. I know stuff was still going on below and I could tell the baby was taken to the side but I could not see anything. I don’t remember if they told me anything about Abigail but I think they did ask me her name. Then a NICU nurse, Priscilla, appeared beside my head on the right side with Abigail all swaddled up in those striped blankets you always see babies in at hospitals. She said something to me like, “Here’s your beautiful daughter. Give her a kiss.” Priscilla’s angelic face and excitement about Abigail made me feel so good. Then she shoved Abigail’s face at my face and I kissed her. She told me they were taking her straight to the NICU. I asked her if my husband Roger was going with them and she confirmed that he was right outside the door waiting and he would be with Abigail. I am sure with everything that just happened, the emergency c-section, the abrupt birth, and the separation of myself and my baby, caused me to feel very overwhelmed. I started trying to breathe deeply and slowly to get my nerves in check and try to calm myself. I guess it was fairly loud because Dr. Miller asked me from the other side of the drape if I was okay. I told her, "I think I am just nervous." She asked me if I wanted anything to help and I told her I did not know. She probably signaled the anesthesiologist because he appeared next to my head on the right side and began talking to me in such a calm way. It really helped me be able to make a decision and I let him go ahead and give me something.

That’s all I remember. I woke up in recovery in what I thought was thirty minutes after the c-section. Boy was I wrong. It turns out it was many hours after Abigail was taken from the OR. I did not know this until the next day, but my placenta would not detach from the uterus and I had lost a lot of blood already. A balloon was inserted after the placenta was finally removed to help stop the bleeding. It finally stopped enough for them to be satisfied to take me to recovery then I was sent back to Labor & Delivery to be observed until the bleeding stopped completely and I was safe. If the bleeding did not stop with the balloon they would have removed my uterus to stop it. I was in and out of consciousness until they moved me to L&D. I remember seeing and talking to our neighbor Paul who was dropping of a gift but they thought he was a delivery guy and let him come into recovery. I asked him where Roger was and I guess he went to find him. I still did not know at this time that hours had passed since the c-section. I went back to the same room in L&D I was in each time I had a big bleed and was taken to the hospital. It was right across from the OR just in case I needed to go back in. Nurses were checking on me frequently. Between the bleeding of my uterus, the catheter, and the saline for the IV, I was surrounded by bags that nurses were checking often. They would lift up a bag and I could see blood or urine and wondered what was going on. They were always telling me stuff or asking me questions but I couldn’t understand much of what they were telling me. It was almost like I didn’t care. I knew I would be okay eventually and Abigail was in good hands. I had complete confidence everything was going to be okay. I could feel the tube from the balloon coming out of me and it always felt like it was coming out. I woke up once and looked up and saw bags of blood on the IV pole. That was quite a shock to see. I received a lot of pain medication that first day and night. I was so out of it. The next morning was more of the same in terms of nurses in and out checking bags of fluids. I received two more bags of blood and my OB explained my blood was still not how it should be from losing so much after the c-section. I do remember thinking, "This sucks. C-sections suck. I wouldn't wish this on my enemy." Maybe mine was worse because of the emergency and my placenta issues, but I hated the experience. By the end of the day, the doctors were satisfied with my blood and my uterus to move me to postpartum. Before moving me over, the nurse moving me noticed the time and took us to the NICU first so I could finally see Abigail. I only had a few minutes before visiting time
was over for the night and I was glad I got to see her. I think we were in the NICU for about five minutes before we had to leave. I think I saw her twice the next day and three times the fourth day. From then I saw her at every visiting time until I was discharged on Sunday night.

I remember being glad to finally get out of the hospital and that I was healthy enough to go home, but wondered how I was going to get to the hospital to see Abigail since I couldn’t drive for two weeks. Plus I was pumping every three hours and wanted to get my breast milk to the NICU for her. My dear friend Lana Joy drove me as often as I wanted and even came to the NICU and helped bottle feed Abi after I breastfed her. I started driving a week and a half later and went to the NICU every day myself and every other night with Roger. After a few restarts of the countdown to take Abigail home due to breathing and heart issues, we finally brought her home eighteen days after her birth.

It has been an amazing year. And it has gone by so fast. Everyone says it goes by fast. I realized a few weeks ago why it goes by so fast. The first six months were truly a complete blur of just trying to survive. All that was important during that time was getting sleep, eating and taking care of Abi 24-7. The first year goes by so fast because you really do not remember the first six months clearly. I do feel like things started getting a lot easier at six months. Yes, it got easier up to six months, but it was slow. Like by minutes easier. As Abigail could stay awake longer and longer between naps, it also got a lot more fun. She really is a lot of fun. I feel like we are always laughing. And we play a lot. Sometimes I think for a second I should be doing something productive like laundry or mopping, but since I am naturally lazy, I easily convince myself that stuff is not important and can wait. I am playing with my baby. I do feel so extremely blessed I get to stay home with her full time and Roger works from home. We all get to play a lot.