Sunday, April 14, 2013

They Dropped Me Off (Part 3)

We pulled up to the front entrance and Chanah got out of her car. We had followed behind her in ours, so I looked at Bryan before getting out and he gave me a little smile.

Chanah told me to wait right in the front for her and Bryan to return so we could get registered. I stood there by a lonely piano, looking out at the hospitals front windows and ran all the different scenarios through my head. Was this my fault? How could I fix it? What kind of control did I have to get through this and still be a whole person after?

When Bryan and Chanah met me, we went straight up to Triage. Chanah explained the process and I kept shaking with nervousness while Bryan was strong and silent. I filled out the necessary information and we were escorted to a tiny room with a curtain for a door. I was told to strip down and they'd take care of me.
I was hooked up to a series of gadgets and monitored over the next two or three hours. It was definitely pre-eclampsia, we would definitely be staying and we would be delivering that baby sooner rather than later.

We got into a room, settled in as much as possible, I was poked and prodded and attached to magnesium (which is awful) and soon the doctors came in to check me and get a game plan. Cervix was soft but closed. We were no where near ready to start labor and this translated to only one thing, lots of medical intervention. The one thing I wanted to avoid would now be my reality.

The doctors plan was to use Cervadil, a "mild" cervix softener that would help to dilate my cervix. It's inserted into the cervix and stays there for twelve hours. At this point, it was 10:00pm. Our midwife had left and it was just Bryan and I. I kept shaking. Its common for me to get nervous and start to shiver, but I was so scared that I was having full on shakes, and Bryan would talk to me to calm me down. We got dozed off for a while until things got really got started. 

I don't remember a whole lot about the Cervadil process. All I know is that I started to have intense contractions, one right after the other, often double peaking. I remember that instead of my normal contraction hum, I was saying to Bryan, "Nooooo." over and over again. I remember hearing myself say that I couldn't do it, they were too strong too fast. Bryan would talk me through it and another one would come. Apparently, I had a very strong reaction to the Cervadil which was not the norm for the medicine and the nurses said it could have been a "strong batch." 

I wasn't the only one having a negative reaction to the Cervadil, unfortunately, Shepherd was too. I wasn't aware enough at the time to know, but after I would have one of the crazy contractions, Shepherd's heart rate would dip and take a while to recover - he was having a hard time too. We barely reached the three hour mark when the doctor came in to take out the medicine. I had dilated to a one. They decided to let Shepherd and I rest for about an hour before they used a non-medicinal approach that would help me open to a four. 

Bright and early Sunday morning, they inserted a balloon (THREE TIMES) into my cervix and filled it with a saline solution. Bryan said that he got frustrated that it took so many times because it was obviously causing me a lot of pain. The Foley Balloon would act as the babies head to put pressure on the cervix and get it to dilate. At the end of the balloon, they tied a rubber strap and at the end of that strap was a bag of saline solution. The saline bag was putting tension on the balloon to really get it to sit on my cervix. When the time was right, meaning my cervix had opened it a four, it would pop out right out on its own. 

My contractions returned to a normal pattern and we got to rest in between them. In the morning, I begged for food because I was getting a migraine. They took pity on me and gave me some fruit, yogurt and an Motrin to knock the migraine out. I was able to sleep off and on that whole day and visit with Bryan's mom, Sylvia, my mom and sisters. 

The balloon popped out sometime that evening... Bryan guesses sometime after 4:30pm. Then, it was all about the Pitocin. Every half hour then increased the dose by two grams. After resting for some more time, at about 10:00 pm, my sisters and Bryan helped to get me into different positions to labor. Earlier, when I was ballooning it up and laboring, we had christian music playing. We needed a change of pace and some new energy so we put on Maroon 5. I changed positions a billion times, got on a birthing ball, did some squats, rocked my pelvis, everything. I was surrounded by people dedicated to making this birth happen, and I hoped to have our baby before the 7:00am shift change Monday morning.

I remember bits and pieces of these moments and have had to ask for clarification by my visitors to help me get the rest of it together. I remember at this point feeling like I could do this. It was late night Sunday, I was moving and grooving to get the baby to position himself better so that I could deliver vaginally. I had been on Pitocin for twenty-four hours and while I felt pain, I was handling it. I was breathing through it. I believed I could do it and more importantly, I was surrounded by people that believed I could do it, which truly makes all the difference in the world. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

All the Things I Didn't Do (Part 2)

As I walked to my phone to call my midwife and I touched my pregnant belly, I thought of all the things I hadn't done...

I hadn't taken maternity pictures.
I hadn't washed all of his little clothes.
I hadn't organized all his things.
I hadn't sent out my almost completely written thank you cards from the baby shower.
I hadn't cleaned the bathrooms, made extra meals or dealt with the animals.

I paced around the house listening to my midwife and feeling Shepherd kick. It went from easiest pregnancy ever: scheduled home birth; To a high risk non-negotiable hospital birth in seconds.

"It's too high, Megan. It won't come down on its own. We have to recalculate our thinking and do what is best for you. Take a shower, pack a bag for you, Bryan and the baby, and come to Fresno. I'll check you myself and we will go from there."

I agreed and we hung up. I stood with my phone in my hand and eyed my already halfway packed bag. Bryan asked me for details and I walked to the living room, sat down and started sobbing. Everything I had dreamed of, this warm, spiritual birthing experience was morphing into a nightmare. The worst part was there was nothing I could do to stop it.

I was scared. I was not ready for labor. My son, while head down for weeks, wasn't ready. Our "due date" was May 4 and it was only April 6. He was going to be a month early.

Would he be okay?
Would he have fingernails? Eyebrows? What about his lungs? His little heart?

Bryan hugged me. He said we would get through it. No matter what. We held each other close and felt our little boy kick between us. I went into the nursery and started a pile of things to bring for Shepherd. I looked at the tiny clothes, wondering what size he would end up being. I decided to pick a few options, just in case.

I text messaged my midwife and asked if I could take a shower or if we needed to high-tail it up there. She told me to relax, eat a little something, do something simple and manageable for a few days with my hair. She also wanted me to lay down on my left side for 5 to 10 minutes and then check my blood pressure again.
We had only text my mom and sisters at this point with very little details since we had so few, and by the time I got out of the shower, Kari was at my house. We sat on the couch and talked, then I slowly started to get ready. She told me things I should take and snapped a few last minute photos. Bryan left to deal with the dogs.

Kari braided my hair back as she told me it would all be okay. She reminded me I would just have a baby sooner rather than later. I laid down to rest and she prayed over me. Bryan got back and made us lunch, we said bye to Kari and hit the road to Fresno, silent and stunned.

The house my midwife owns is literally just a few confusing turns away from the hospital and after she confirmed what we already knew, we headed to the great unknown - Fresno Community Regional Hospital.

The Beginning (Part 1)

The Wednesday after Easter I woke up feeling a little funny. I figured that I was 'settling in' to the end of my pregnancy and continued working around the house.

Thursday, I went to Visalia with Bryan for an morning appointment and I had a really hard time waking up. I figured I was pushing way too hard and the stress of getting everything done was weighing on me. I needed to give myself a break.

Friday I took it really easy all day and went to Harris Ranch with Bryan to eat a yummy meal and rest, while still getting out of the house.

When we woke up Saturday and I was still exhausted, I knew something was up. I ate a little bit and we watched some of the Hunger Games on Netflix. I kept having this nagging feeling that something wasn't right and a little voice in my head popped up and turning to Bryan, I voiced it, "Babe, get me the blood pressure machine."

I checked it once and was shocked. I googled frantically. I took a walk around the house and checked it again. I googled more. It was a beautiful day and I went for a walk around our block. I came back, laid down, took a breather, and checked it again. Nope. This was it.
My swelling had turned into full blown pre-eclampsia and whether or not Shepherd and I were ready, our pregnancy was over.