Sunday, November 13, 2016

Cat's birth story part 3: In which I think "almost dying" might not actually be a dramatization

Obligatory birth story disclaimer: Blood, gore, and way too many run-on sentences. Squeamish grammarians enter with caution.

In part 2, the baby was born in a very timely manner--about 40 minutes after we arrived at the hospital and less than 10 minutes after my doctor arrived to catch.

This is where my memories get even more fragmentary than they are re: the rest of labor/delivery but hey, I get to write this the way I remember it and I don't have to care if maybe there's a doctor's note somewhere that has better details, right?

Anyway, we now had the job of delivering the placenta and I started feeling more contractions much sooner this time around; possibly because of the whole thing where I was having Pitocin pumped into my veins much sooner than last time around.

I had the same crushing back pain as during labor, strong enough that I made the same loud moaning sound. And Dr. B informed me that a large clot had come out before the placenta.

"Do not talk to me about clots," I replied crossly. I was very impatient for everybody's least favorite stage of labor to be over.

At this crucial juncture, Scott's dad called to see if we'd called my mom yet to come and take care of Tad. He was very surprised when Scott informed him that his new granddaughter had already arrived.

(Notes for next time: 1) Tell Scott's dad to TEXT if he has something non-life-threatening to talk about. 2) Just go ahead and call my mom as soon as labor starts. I planned to have Scott call her once I got admitted lest labor turn out to be a false alarm, but then things happened so fast we clean forgot. In hindsight we could have called her and said, "Hey, make sure your bag is packed and start driving if you don't hear back from us in an hour or so.")

While Scott was talking to his dad, I pushed out another large clot and finally the placenta. I made sure to tell them I was planning to keep it so they could store and label it properly.

And then Dr. B started pressing down on my uterus to make sure it was firming up properly. And every time he did it was crushingly painful and I would moan some more. Also, every time he did that there was a big gush of blood.

After a couple rounds of this I asked "Seriously, are there any meds I can have for this?" and Dr. B said "Yes" tersely and ordered such-and-such amount of morphine plus a second round of Pitocin. (I always start worrying when Dr. B gets terse because normally he is SUPER chatty, as you might have noticed from my various anecdotes.)

Morphine doesn't do shit, just so y'all know. Though it did kind of help psychologically just to know that nobody wanted me to be in pain.

(Thing I have since learned: Apparently for a lot of people morphine is one of those drugs that doesn't actually relieve pain so much as it makes you kind of loopy so you don't care. Which might help explain the patchy memory thing.)

I was still holding the baby and kind of nursing her off and on. (Every time I moaned she would unlatch and cry, so we made quite the pair.) And I honestly don't remember much else except lots of uterus-mashing and gushes of blood until finally things slowed down. Dr. B stepped out for a while and I thought he had left kind of abruptly but then he came back, checked things over again, congratulated me, and said he'd be by on rounds later that day. Then he left for good.

One of the nurses started a bag of IV fluids that she said was the second one I'd had, plus the fluids accompanying the original dose of Pitocin. (I guess you can give that in a bag of fluids or by itself?) The fact that I don't remember the intermediate bag of fluids suggests that I might have been more out of it than I thought, but maybe I was just distracted. Nurse K of the relentless encouragement was the second nurse in the room and she kept periodically pressing on my uterus and then apologizing when I'd moan over it. (It still REALLY HURT.) I reassured her that I understood she was just doing her job but I was going to have to make noises about it anyway. At one point she got a little concerned about how much I was still bleeding and asked the other nurse if Dr. B was still in the hospital but he wasn't. As I recall they just kept an eye on things after that but it's possible they called in a resident and I just don't remember.

At some point Scott did call my mom to tell her the baby had arrived and she should come down and stay with Tad. I think that was about 12:30. That made me remember about Teresa's birthday so I asked Nurse K when the baby had been born. She said she thought 11:17 but neither Scott nor I thought that sounded right so she looked it up and it was actually 11:27. So about 3 hours after my water broke and just in time for Teresa to have a birthday buddy. :)

Around 1:30 Nurse K suggested that we should weigh the baby and so forth. So we did and she was only 7 lbs 8 ounces, which shocked me. I mean, Cat certainly seemed smaller than Tad but I figured my impressions of baby size were going to be a little off after 3 years.

Then the baby got handed off to Scott and Nurse K suggested that she could help me use a bedpan to make sure I was peeing and everything before we went to the postpartum floor. I tried to argue that I could totally walk to the bathroom but then sitting up made me feel so dizzy that I went with her plan. By the time I was done using the bedpan I had very nearly blacked out and had to lie back in bed with a cool cloth on my forehead, so Nurse K was definitely in the right there.

We stayed in L&D for a little while after that. I had a cup of ice chips that I'd gotten at one point during labor and we had apple juice boxes that I'd packed in case my blood sugar got low. (I don't think they even had time to test my blood sugar, labor went so quick.) While I was lying very still and cuddling the baby, Scott spoon-fed me ice chips and helped me drink out of juice boxes. It was quite sweet of him.

Eventually we did go down to the postpartum unit, though. Nurse K didn't think I could safely sit up long enough even for a wheelchair ride, so we ended up just wheeling me and the baby down in our bed (accompanied by my IV pole for the bag of fluids), and then carefully transferring us to the bed in my postpartum room.

Nurse K did a report to the postpartum nurse, and that was when I learned that I had lost 800 mL of blood, that I had gotten 3 doses of Pitocin, and that my blood pressure had at one point dropped to 90/50. I got the expected admonishments from the postpartum nurse to behave myself and not start hemorrhaging again or pass out or anything (and also to not under any circumstances try to get out of bed without buzzing for help first) and I promised to obey them.

There's a lot more I could write here (spoiler: did not do so great at behaving myself medically), but I think the "birth" part of the story is over so I'll wrap up and dump the rest in an optional epilogue. How about a baby picture to finish us off properly?

Probably cute enough to be worth it.

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