I went to the doctor for my weekly appointment on a Wednesday at 37 weeks and 5 day. When we got there my blood pressure was high, 140/100, so they sent us over to labor and delivery to be monitored. My pressure has been pretty good for the most part throughout the pregnancy, but the sudden spike was concerning to our doctor, especially because the diastolic (lower) number was over 100. After 4 hours of monitoring, my doctor decided the best course of action would be to induce labor. So I started cervadil that night, and then we started pitocin at noon on Thursday. I was on pitocin for almost 20 hours with no change, and the contractions never progressed into anything significant, so at 4 am on Friday, our doctor scheduled us for a c-section Friday morning at 8:00 a.m.. The main reason why pitocin did not work for me is that they probably were not able to give it to me at a high enough dosage to cause labor to start due to my blood pressure issues.
Throughout the whole time that we had been there, I had managed to stay calm and not freak out, because I knew that God would take care of us no matter what happened. However I was not prepared for the events to follow. From our childbirth DVDs we had watched, I was aware that it was possible to have hot spots with your epidural where it doesn’t work correctly. But I did not know it was possible for the anesthesiologist to not properly place a spinal block.
Everything moved really quickly when we got into the operating room. One thing that I think is awkward is having to walk into the operating room where a bunch of doctors are waiting on you, as if you are the main dish! I didn’t really have any problems getting the spinal, I have a pretty high tolerance for pain and it didn’t seem to bother me too much. It was a weird feeling that I didn’t like, but it wasn’t the worst pain ever. Once they inserted the spinal they moved pretty quickly. I kept waiting for it to kick in, but I never felt like I was completely numb. Alex came in and sat beside me, and the doctor made his first cut. It felt like getting a paper cut from a piece of cardboard. “Uh, am I supposed to feel that?!?” I knew that I could expect some pressure, but this was more than that. The last thing I remember is my doctor glancing over the drop cloth behind me to the anesthesiologist who said, “I got this”. The next thing I remember is having a really bad hallucination, and wondering at one point if I might be dying.
The anesthesiologist gave me a dose of Ketamine, a dissociative anaesthetic, which separate perception from sensation, into my I.V.. The next thing I remember the ceiling tiles beginning to spin, and then I moved through a quick progression of out of body scenes, feeling like I was in some sci-fi movie, feeling pain on occasion, hearing Alex say something to me, hearing a baby cry, and then being moved off the table. Alex later told me that I was wincing and moaning through the whole thing, and although it was psychologically traumatic for me, it was probably best that they did what they did or I would have really been in bad pain.
They didn’t keep me in recovery for too long, and they wheeled me past the nursery to see the baby, however I don’t really remember that at all. The first memory I have of seeing Will for the first time was on my mom’s camera. Once I got back to the room, they wheeled him in and I was able to hold him for the first time, while fighting off the shakes from all the drugs I was on and trying to process everything that had just happened.
I ended up getting a spinal headache later on Friday which made it extremely difficult to try to nurse or do anything. At one point I remember having four nurses around me helping me to nurse Will. Thankfully the headache went away pretty quickly and I didn’t need to have a blood patch done. My blood pressure, however, continued to be out of control for the next three days, and they sent us home on Monday with some medication to help me manage my blood pressure. We were in the hospital for a total of 6 days!
I wish that I could say it was smooth sailing from there on out, but less than two weeks later, I developed an infection. I woke up in the middle of the night with chills and a high fever. I felt better the next morning, but by that afternoon it had come back. So I had my father-in-law drive me to my doctors office where I had to sit and wait for over an hour to confirm that my incision was infected. So back to the hospital we went. Thankfully I was able to have my own room, and since it was just a room in the Women’s pavilion there were two beds, so Alex had an actual bed to sleep in. They also allowed us to bring the baby. (I can’t imagine that they would have not allowed it though) We were there for 3 nights until I could get a wound vac put in to help clear out the infection sooner. I went home with a wound vac and they arranged for home care nurses to come and dress the wound twice a week. The worst part of my entire experience was when the nurses came to change out the dressing with the wound vac. It had a very sticky tape that sealed it over the wound which was right around my bikini line. Every time they came, it was like having the bikini wax from hell. I have no idea how women get regular bikini waxes. I would die.
So that is the account of my first birth experience. I am now sitting in the hospital anticipating the birth of my second and third babies, and their story is already shaping up to be a unique one as well. Stay tuned for their birth story in the next month or so!