Tuesday, August 2, 2005

a Gaz is born

It all began with contractions, a very sleepless night, and some vomiting.

I had gotten used to always being warm because, well, I was hugely pregnant. On July 31st, a Sunday, I was especially miserable. I felt weird, I was throwing up, and I couldn't pee to save my life. Turns out I likely had a urinary tract infection, but I didn't know it at the time. I spent most of the night lying on the couch (the better to race to the bathroom)and groaning.

Monday morning my contractions were getting more regular, so after consulting with one of the doctors in my OB's office I went to the hospital. The checked me out, found that I had a fever, was dehydrated, and Gaz's heartbeat was elevated. I was scheduled to check in to the hospital the next evening for induction (1 week past due + my high blood pressure = a nice, unnatural induced labor, apparently), so they admitted me early. I was given plenty of IV fluids and, when that alone did not relieve my fever, antibiotics. Then came the pitocin and breaking my bag-of-waters, the latter of which revealed meconium stained fluid--Gaz had crapped fetal crap, which usually happens when the baby is distressed. I was told that they would try to keep her from crying at first and I wouldn't be able to see her immediately after birth, as she would need to be examined by some special doctors who would suction her lungs to make sure she didnt' breathe any crap in. I was upset, but you can't really argue with wanting to make sure the baby is healthy.

Hours passed and the pitocin contractions on top of back labor were killing me, despite trying all the tricks we knew (back massage, changing positions, birth ball). How much had I progressed? A grand total of half a centimeter beyond where I was dialated when I first got to the triage floor. Enter the epidural. Yes Mr. Anesthesiologist, the epidural I said I didn't want four hours earlier. I can't describe the pain, but every woman who has ever been unmedicated while getting pitocin knows what I mean. Now we're into Monday afternoon and now I can finally doze a little off and on. I'm a complete mess, covered in sticky green amniotic fluid underneath my thin hospital blanket. I'm cold and I'm hot and I sometimes get IV bags changed or more antibiotics or someone checks my progress.

At 11:00 or so Monday night I was at 7 cm. When I hadn't gone beyond that point around 4 or 5 Tuesday morning, my doctor suggested that it might be time for a Cesarian. We could continue with the pitocin, but there was no guarantee that it would make anything happen and there was no guarantee that Gaz's vitals would continue to stay as good as they were. By this point I had had my epidural refueled twice, and the last dose had all but made my legs comepletely useless. If my labor did manage to progress, I would have had a seriously hard time pushing. Considering how messed up things had been up to this point with my blood pressure, the infection, the dehydration, and Gaz passing meconium, I opted for the quickest route to getting Gaz out of my uterine bastille. Mark was upset--I might have been upset if I hadn't been so exhausted--but we talked through why this was the lesser of who knows how many evils.

I was wheeled out of my room to get prepped and Mark and my mom got all our stuff organized. He was going to be with me in the OR and Mom settled into the waiting room with our luggage and accoutrements. I did get to see him don his fancy biohazard suit thing, and I had him stuff his pockets with our camera and my spectacles.

I was transferred to a very tiny table in the very cold OR. I couldn't help everyone move me, my legs being like unto giant pieces of cooked spaghetti, but I giggled along with my nurse when my legs kept falling off the table. They were finally wrapped in blankets and strapped down, then my IVs were sorted out and both my arms were strapped down. I asked if I was being restrained so I didn't slap Mark, and was told that it was to make sure I didn't try to "help." I still wonder how many women try to "help."

Mark finally was brought in to sit by my head. I don't remember what we talked about now, but we might have made references to the final episode of Coupling. I could feel things happening, but couldn't feel any pain.

At 6:11 AM on the morning of Tuesday, August 2nd, Gaz came out and didn't care what the doctors wanted--she announced to us all that she was out and breathing. She also peed all the way out, apparently. She was moved nearby to be suctioned and cleaned up. I had told Mark that as soon as he was able to, he had to go greet her for the both of us and so he did, taking pictures and helping give her her first bath.

I, meanwhile, was getting very sleepy and losing a lot of blood. There were a nurse and an anesthesiologist by my head who were trying to start another line on my right arm. I guess someone finally decided that I might need some blood and they better be ready. They blew a vein in my right hand and bruised the hell out of my inner arm before getting a catheter set in the bend of my elbow. It turns out that I didn't need any blood, of course.

Mark brought Gaz over to see me when she was at last all clean and swaddled. He even held her over by my hand so she could hold one of my fingers. It was then, as I was laying there looking lovingly at my precious daughter that I felt I had to throw up. I turned my head the other way, toward the nurse, and barfed up this foul-tasting stuff I had been given earlier that was supposed to neutralize my stomach acid and keep me from throwing up. It tasted no better for it's having been in my stomach for an hour or so.

I finally got to hold Gaz in the recovery room. I was so exhausted I kept almost falling asleep with her in my arms. But I was finally able to give her a good look and give her her first shot at nursing (after she first had to be given a certain amount of formula to combat low blood sugar, as apparently is often the case with large babies).

It took us forever to be allowed up onto the postnatal floor since the anesthesiologists had to debate what painkiller I was going to be allowed to have in light of my blood loss (I ended up with Fentanyl), but we eventually got to go rest, all of us together.