Sunday, March 17, 2013

Early Bird

Well, technically, the baby is not due for another couple weeks, but we met her last Saturday. I woke up with contractions around 3 on Friday morning, but figured since it was 3 weeks early and they weren't regular, it was probably a bout of false labor. So, I tried my best to rest and did a little bit of prep, putting the final touches on my hospital bag and birth plan. Then, I tried to ignore them. I'd had a doctor's appointment just the day before and she told me I was at 2 cm. We had an ultrasound on Friday morning to check out positioning and verify if the baby was indeed breech. She was. I did cancel my workout Friday morning since I was still having sporadic contractions. But, otherwise, we continued as though nothing was amiss.

We had friends coming in to stay the weekend with their two little girls and my sister just arrived Thursday afternoon to live in our basement for the time being. So, we went home and started preparing the house. I may have overdone it a little because the contractions picked up. After we came home from dinner, I called the OB to see when I should go to the hospital since we knew the baby was breech and I wanted to avoid a truly emergency situation if we did have to proceed with the c-section. She advised me to rest and hydrate and reassured me that our bodies typically repeat what they've done before, so I would probably go another 2 weeks. I did as she recommended and they seemed to relax somewhat. I was still hoping for a last minute flip. Our house guests arrived and we down-played the contractions, still preferring to think that they were false labor. We all headed to bed at a reasonable hour where I proceeded to get no sleep. I timed contractions and they went from 15 minute intervals to 10 minute intervals. Also, I was getting more back pain than I remembered with Ellie. According to the internet, that could have indicated false labor or real. Finally, I woke P at 1 am. He really didn't want to wake up since he had planned to go to the Shedd Aquarium with the girls the next day and knew he'd need all his strength. However, I got him up. He took the dogs down to my sister's room and nearly caused her to freak out. Then, we snuck out of the house and headed to the hospital halfway hoping that it wasn't a false alarm just so we could take the next day off.

We entered  through the emergency room entrance and headed up to the fourth floor where our time of arrival and my large belly made our purpose pretty evident. They showed us to a Labor Room around 1:30 am where the nurse, Tracey, checked us in – my pre-registration apparently had not been received/entered and I didn't have a copy on me. She did a physical examination, we discussed the baby's position, and then Tracey kicked into high gear once she determined that I was dilated to 6 cm and the contractions were 5 minutes apart. The doc showed up, we told him about the ultrasound positioning. He confirmed that we were going to do a c-section right then and went to put on his scrubs.  P got to don a nifty "space suit" with blue footies that barely covered his shoes. The nurse prepped me for surgery and then we headed to the OR around 2:15. A nice (skillful) Anesthesiologist administered a spinal block and we did a little more prep. I was grateful for the block since it made the contractions go away. The rubbery legs phenomenon was a little strange, but I really couldn't complain since the purpose was to block sensation. After that, things proceeded at a pretty fast clip. P came back, the doctor and midwife showed up. I heard the pediatrician, and then boom, we had a baby at 3:19. I found out her sex when P and the docs laughed because "she" had peed on me. Better than in me, I suppose :/ I had just talked to the pediatrician the night before about skin-to-skin immediately after delivery, so he diligently did her APGAR, confirmed she was stable, and then sent her over via one of the nurses. One thing that they don't mention is that your arms are tied down during surgery. So, the nurse patiently held the baby where she could make eye-contact with me after it became pretty clear that the position wasn't really conducive to nursing.

Afterwards, I was taken to a recovery room and baby went to the nursery to get her full battery of tests, warming, and shots/blood drawn. They brought her in and I was able to hold her as we were wheeled down to the maternity wing and our new (tiny) room. Never having had major surgery before, I didn't realize that you have to remain catheterized until all the anesthesia leaves your system. I had an IV attached for over 24 hours, and they won't put you on a solid diet until you pass gas. For the record, I am still on a liquid diet ;) Another thing not commonly discussed is that it hurts to laugh, cough, and sneeze when you have abdominal stitches. My brother-in-law literally brought me to tears when they visited.

We had truly excellent care while we were at the hospital. Our previous stay had been over Thanksgiving weekend, so we were prepared for a lack of information, combative nurses, and spotty communication. However, we had two nurses, Linda and Lori, who took fabulous care of us for the 36 hours after delivery. I'd hoped to get Lori for our second night, since we were already familiar and knew she was working. Instead, we were assigned a third nurse who was yanked off our ward over to NICU. Instead, I was assigned Dianne (who coincidentally had held Calista to my chest in OR) and Calista got Lori. This happened about 10, when I was trying to nurse Calista and get to sleep for the night. I was informed that since we had new nurses, we both had to be assessed again. I asked for a reprieve so we could get some sleep. However, they took Calista, who I assumed they would bring back in 20 minutes or so. After an hour, I called to request my assessment so that maybe we could avoid further interruptions that night once they brought her back. Around midnight, I finally got Calista to sleep and drifted off again. At one-thirty, my nurse came in and asked when I'd last fed her. I told her about two and a half hours prior and she told me I'd better get ready to feed her in the next half hour or so. When I questioned that (since this wasn't my first rodeo), she informed me that since Calista was so small and premature (technically full-term, btw), if she went more than 3 hours between feedings, her blood sugar could drop and she "might not wake up." That just plain pissed me off. I knew for a fact that 3 hours was not a big deal and did not appreciate the use of scare tactics to get me to comply. I took a deep breath preparing to launch into my tirade, at which point Calista woke up. I curtly told the nurse that it was a moot point now since she was awake and she got the message to skeedaddle. At the time, I was under the mistaken impression that this particular nurse was studying  to become a lactation consultant which made me especially riled up. I got so worked up it was nearly impossible to get any sleep that night. At that point, I decided that instead of the 3-4 days in the hospital that I'd planned, I'd leave the next day if the doctor approved it.

Monday went pretty slowly. I'd expected my doctor in the morning, since with Ellie and this hospital stay, that had been the case. However, we didn't see him until around 2. Before that, we were able to get newborn photos, talk to the lactation consultant, signed paperwork for the birth certificate and social security, and briefly talked to a lady who was offering assistance for families who needed it. After I was released by my doctor, we snagged my nurse who was a little harried since apparently it was nearly shift change. However, she helpfully stayed to get the paperwork in order and we were home by 4.

So far, Ellie has adjusted well. It helps that Aunt C is in residence and available to lend an extra hand when needed. Grandma B is also visiting from Texas, but unfortunately contracted the flu en route, so she has been quarantined with a pharmacy downstairs for the last couple of days. Hopefully, tomorrow, she will be well enough to rejoin us.

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