Friday, February 25, 2011

The Long Over-due Story of the Under-due Birth, Part One.

This post may contain some TMI moments. Be ye therefore warned. (I won't feel offended if you skip it.)

It all began late in September. . . .

After my Monday appointment I had been told that I had mild preeclampsia and was told that I needed to be on modified bedrest. I didn't have to stay in bed all the time, but I needed to take it as easy as possible, so I arranged to borrow a computer from my place of employment so I could work at home for the foreseeable future, just as a precaution.

Thursday night we went to our prenatal class at the hospital, where we saw pictures of newborns and how they tend to look weird at first. My feet were swollen again. Still. Swollen feet was pretty much the norm in those last few weeks of pregnancy, but sitting in the hard plastic chairs in the classroom at the hospital tended to aggravate things.

Fortunately, the class got out about an hour early. The nurse who was teaching the class excused us and then said, "Next week we'll definitely take the whole time, though, because we'll be talking about breastfeeding, so be prepared." Thinking back on it now, I find this funny. Maybe if we'd been able to make it to that last class, it would have saved a lot of tears and frustration later on. Oh, well.

It was good that we got home early, though, because it meant that we had more time to set up the crib. We had originally purchased a crib from IKEA only to discover while trying to assemble it that the construction and design were sorely lacking in anything resembling common sense. The holes drilled for the pegs which attached the slats of the bottom of the bed to the frame were too small for the pegs actually to go in all the way, no matter how hard or how long we hammered away at them, so back to the store it went. We ordered a different crib off Amazon, but unfortunately cribs don't arrive in two days like all our other Prime orders do, so we had been waiting a bit for it to get there. It had finally arrived that afternoon and we were eager to get it set up so we could start getting the rest of the room ready.

I wasn't aware of it at the time, but Shallow Man told me later that he should've realized something was going on because I was acting really weird and out of it while we were putting the crib up. All I know is that it was taking longer than we thought it would (what furniture assembly doesn't?), that Shallow Man was getting grouchy (he tends to do that with furniture assembly that includes a lot of nuts and bolts in difficult-to-reach spots), and that I was tired and my feet felt like they were about to acquire their own zip code. So once we got the bed itself put together we decided that we would wait until the next evening to figure out exactly where in the room we wanted to (or could; it was a bit bigger than we'd thought) put it. This meant we also would wait until the next day to put the mattress and sheets in it. We also left all the packaging lying on the living room floor because we didn't want to haul it out to the dumpster in the dark.

The next morning, Friday, I stumbled over the boxes on my way out the door for my doctor's appointment. Shallow Man had already left for work (his co-worker drove him, as we only have the one car), and my appointment was at 8:50 so neither of us had had a chance to clean up at all.

I was scheduled for my 36-week appointment that morning and was told to arrive 10 minutes early so I could have my non-stress test before the appointment (by this point, because of the gestational diabetes I was having two NSTs a week). After waiting for about 40 minutes and seeing patient after patient arrive and get called back without my name being called, I checked with the receptionist. She explained that the doctor I was there to see had been called to the hospital to help with a c-section for a woman delivering twins, so they were a bit backed up, and would I be okay with seeing the nurse practitioner instead? I said that was fine, and sat back down to try and slog through some more of "North and South" (the miniseries is SO much better than the book). Finally my favorite nurse called me in for the NST, which went great. Everything was looking normal and the little guy was still healthy and active.

Then they took me over to the nurses' station to get my blood pressure. Based on the last few appointments and the new bedrest-ish issue, I was expecting it to be a little high, but nothing major. I was staring at the wall across from me when the monitor beeped.

"Oh, my." The nurse's eyebrows nearly hit the ceiling. I looked over at the display and then stared at the top number, which was 150. I couldn't even look at the bottom number.

"Well," the nurse said after a moment. "We'll try it again in a minute to make sure. But if it's that high, we need to send you to labor and delivery."

Of course this announcement helped my blood pressure calm down. Riiiiight. The next measurement was 161 over something like 96. Definitely panicking now, the first thought that came to me was "But I can't go to labor and delivery! I haven't packed my hospital bag yet!" (I had made a schedule to accomplish the last few tasks needed to welcome a baby with the goal of being ready by the time I hit 37 weeks. Packing the hospital bags was scheduled for Saturday. Of course.) I had to work hard to pay attention as the nurse explained that the hospital would check me and depending on their results I would either be put on full bedrest or go home with a baby. She gave me a hug and wished me luck, and I went out to the waiting room to call Shallow Man.

The next hour or so are a bit of a blur. Shallow Man's angel co-worker brought him to the doctor's office to meet me, and then we drove the four blocks to the hospital together, but it meant that I didn't have to go into Labor and Delivery alone. While I waited for him to get to the doc's office, though, I stepped into the bathroom to calm down and keep myself from crying. Then I called my mother, and then I worried. In particular, I worried about my hospital bag and the face that the new camera Shallow Man had ordered was supposed to arrive that afternoon and nobody would be there to sign for it.

A very delayed flash of inspiration hit me. I called my sister, who lived in Springville at the time. Let me just say here that of all the angels there ever were, she is the most angelic and awesome. She packed up her two children and went over to our house, where, over the course of the next few hours, she did the dishes, picked up and threw away all of the packing materials from the crib, put the mattress in the crib, washed all of the baby clothes and sheets we had, put sheets in the crib, arranged for our camera to be delivered at our neighbor's house (she was headed to the Brad Paisley concert with her husband in Salt Lake later that day and couldn't wait for the camera herself), arranged for said neighbor to bring the camera to us at the hospital, and packed up a bag each for Shallow Man and I, and brought those and the car seat to the hospital.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . .

Shallow Man arrived at the doc's office, we drove to the hospital, and we got me signed in. They put us in the biggest labor and delivery room they had, with a wonderful view of Mount Timpanogos (and an average view of the Macey's parking lot) out of the huge windows. I was told to put on the oh-so-attractive hospital gown and then they hooked me up with the fetal monitors and the blood pressure machine, just like a non-stress test only oddly stressful.

The doctor eventually came in and explained that if I were earlier on in my pregnancy, this is where they would do another 24-hour urine test to see if it was serious preeclampsia, but at this point, waiting that long would be a bad idea, so induction it was. He also explained that eclampsia (which comes after pre-eclampsia, go figure) involves seizures, "so we have to put you on anti-seizure medication. If I didn't you could sue me for malpractice."

So I was introduced to the lovely world of magnesium sulfate.

"And with magnesium sulfate, the way we measure how it's working is by urine output, so . . ."

And that, my friends, is how I got a catheter hours before my epidural.

I was barely at a 1 when I came in because I was so early, so they had to put me on cytotec before they could even start pitocin. It was about noon when they got me hooked up to everything and started the induction. Shortly after that, they let me have lunch, which, miraculously, included french fries and a milkshake. I felt like I was in heaven for those short minutes, and decided that if labor could pre-empt GD like that, maybe it was even worth the catheter. (It wasn't. It might have been worth it if the nursing student hadn't had trouble on the first try. . . .)

My sister brought our hospital bags over, and I had fun talking with my 3-year-old nephew for a few minutes before they left. Our neighbor brought over the camera when it arrived, and Shallow Man had fun playing with his new gadget for a bit after I made him promise not to take too many pictures of me. I had called my mom to let her know what the story was and she had passed the word around to the rest of my family. A quick post on Facebook had alerted most of our friends, and all that was left was a quick text to my good friend Megan. "Looks like I can't make it to your baby shower tomorrow after all. . . ."

And then all that was left for the moment, really, was waiting. The doctor had cheerfully predicted that while it probably wouldn't be over before his shift ended at six, it probably wouldn't take too much longer after that. "You'll have a baby before tomorrow!"

So we settled in for what we thought would be not too very long of a wait. Oh, boy, were we wrong on that one.

Stay tuned for part two, coming soon!


Barb @ getupandplay said...

I love birth stories! I'm sorry you had to go through so much!

Tina said...

You can't stop there... seriously... I want to know what happened next!! I was 37 1/2 weeks with Cloey when I went in for my appointment and was told I was at a 7 and needed to go to the hospital. No bags packed, no car seat, my house was a mess and Tyler was at work with no car because his car was in the shop... sounds like similar stories to me. I had to actually call in to work and tell them I wasn't coming back in. Hee, hee!! I can't wait for part II.

Lost in Translation said...

You have inspired me to pack my hospital bag at 7 months pregnant. I'm sure Nate thanks you. *snirt*

Looking forward to part II. :)

Lost in Translation said...

That is to say, I am currently five months pregnant, and within two months, I shall have a hospital bag.

The thought of only having two months more to plan just sent me into a panic.

Breathe, Kristen!