Thursday, January 4, 2018

Why You Should Eat Your Frozen Yogurt While You Still Can

Disclaimer- non-gory, but including excessively large amounts of maternity, labor, delivery, and baby information.

Baby Wide Awake at 3 am

When you’re going to have a baby, you hear many times about your “birthing plan”. This mystical plan is something cooked up by labor and delivery specialists who want to laugh at you thinking there’s anything about birthing a human that can be planned. My magical plan involved things like “no epidural” and “use of a tub in active labor”, which are hilarious now that I look back at the weirdest, most stressful, painful, and beautiful week of my life.

On Monday, I suddenly developed a thunder-clap headache, and after Tylenol and 5 hours, it hadn't budged. Fortunately, my mom was already in town and took my blood pressure with an old cuff I've inherited, and found that it was way too high. We were unsure of how accurate that old thing was, so we went to the Sanpete hospital to double check ("hospital" is a generous description). My blood pressure readings throughout the pregnancy and young adult life have always been impeccable, so it's a particular a point of pride. We get there, they put us in a maternity suite, and grab my vitals. Not only were they as high as the reading at home- they're worse. After monitoring me for a while, the on-call OB thought it would be prudent to get my levels down through an IV medication. After a while, my numbers looked great again, and they sent me home

Two hours later, my headache came back, we checked my pressure and called my dr in Provo who said to come up to the hospital there to be checked out overnight. Once at the hospital, they monitor me and order a battery of tests that decide I don't have preeclampsia. I'm told to essentially go home on bed rest and follow up at my appointment in 2 days. We leave on Wednesday for my Dr appointment with Jarom who was going to work right after. My mom and I had to kill a few hours in Provo afterwards, so we had a show time of Coco picked out to see, frozen yogurt, and non-active sitting in the plans for our day. We go into the office, the MA starts my vitals, then runs to get the dr. They're even worse than they were on Monday. The Dr checks it manually several times and finds that it's still high. We have a talk- my body was not ready for labor yet, but if we didn't induce, there was a small chance for seizure and possibly fatal risk to me and the baby. He said the labor would be long and terrible, and that I would have about a 1 in 5 chance for a c-section, but that it was safest for the baby.

Back at the maternity ward in Provo, at 10 in the morning, I settle in for the long haul. After 3 failed attempts to get the IV in (and lovely bruised forearms), I’m hooked up and ready to party. Good news is that because I’m still at least 12 hours away from the Pitocin, they’ll let me eat whatever I want, whenever I want. That gets old surprisingly fast, as I’m tied down to the monitors and IV line. Every time I get up to go to the restroom (which is often, I’m still 9 months pregnant after all), someone comes in later and comments on how long I was in there. Because they’re watching it on their little monitors. As the evening progresses, the contractions become increasingly more painful. By 6 pm, I was curled in a ball with my trays and trays of food surrounding me crying about missing Coco, my frozen yogurt, and my birthing tub. I WANTED THE TUB. But, because I was induced, no tub, no Coco, and no yogurt. The night crawled on, with time moving more slowly as things were more painful. The most fun thing about those little monitors is watching the contraction building, and knowing things were going to get terrible within seconds. Even before the Pitocin, I’d go through stretches where I’d barely have 30 seconds before another contraction would begin. At this point, the nurse, my mom, and Jarom would all be yelling some nonsense about breathing. How in the heck am I supposed to breathe when my body has turned into hot lava?? My Dr stopped by and reminds me to hold off on an epidural as long as possible to which I chuckle. “Epidural? Has he read my birth plan? I’m not getting an epidural, please”.

6 hours later, we start the Pitocin. Holy heaven, the Pitocin. Within 30 minutes, most of the contents of my trays and trays of food have been regurgitated because of the pain, and I can hardly string two words together. I ask for some pain killers and they give me some fentanyl, which works for about 20 minutes. I hold out for another 90 minutes. I get another dose. Another hour later, and another. It does nothing. By 4 am, my mom and Jarom told me I was getting an epidural, and I was getting the mother effing epidural. The needle didn’t freak me out, but trying to stay still through the contractions did. Once it was in, I felt a gradual increase in relief until I felt nothing at all. Loopy from the pain killers, and blissfully out of pain, I floated away on a cloud waking only to try to help my lower body be flipped every hour. By noon, I was semi-awake, watching the hypnotic waves of my contractions on the screen and thinking about how awful that would have felt if I could feel anything at all. Someone told me I was in transition, and I yawned and said “ok” and took another nap. I was awoken by a… weird feeling. I told my mom that I felt… odd. She flags down the nurse who lets me know that it’s go time. They try to flag down my dr (who’s at a Christmas party, and not hearing his phone ringing). Everyone in the room is nearing panic, and I’m just trying not to go back to sleep. I doze off anyway… Suddenly, the dr and about 40 other people are in the room simultaneously yelling at me to push. The whole scene was so hilarious to me that I burst out laughing. I try my best to push, which is surprisingly hard when you have no idea where your abdomen even is, and feel nothing but absolute exhaustion. I’d been going at this for over 27 hours after all. I give it my biggest effort of my life, and within 3-4 contractions, the baby is out of me!

There is nothing like the incredible moment your baby is born. I can’t even put it in words. Just, trust me.

As amazing as the epidural is, coming off the epidural is… less amazing. I had horrific shaking and suddenly everything hurt. The shaking was so bad that I couldn’t even hold the baby. They then ship you off out of the delivery room and into recovery- on another floor- and sitting in a wheelchair is about the worst thing ever. Once in recovery, the nurses pump you full of pain killers, and keep you happy and pampered.

Upon discharge, I was terrified and excited to take our new bundle home, but was warned we’d need to take her in for testing her bilirubin (baby girl was jaundiced as all getup). We got her tested- she needed the bili blanket. We put her under some tanning lights at home, she’s still jaundiced. They test her again, and her numbers are even higher and we have to take her back up to the hospital in Provo- the day after being discharged. We spend the night in the hospital again, and are able to go home the next afternoon. Two days later, she got very very lethargic, and more jaundiced. We take her into the ER in Sanpete, who calls Primary Children’s Hospital and orders some tests. They come back as abnormal and suddenly I was in an ambulance for 3 hours taking my baby up to Primary Children’s Hospital in the middle of a snowstorm being told there may be some heart defects. Fortunately, after a long night, everything was ruled out, the tests were reinterpreted and determined to be normal, and baby girl begins to clear the bilirubin on her own. At that point, we’d spend 6 out of the last 8 nights in hospitals for me and the baby and Jarom and I were done with it.

Having a new human is hard. It’s terrifying. It’s the most incredible thing I’ve ever been able to do.

Baby Finally Asleep around 4:30 am