It’s been a long week. Since I last posted, there has been so much that has happened. Some good, some bad. I’ll see what I can do to write it all down.
Tuesday night, February 15th, at 41 weeks 2 days pregnant, I was admitted into the hospital for the beginning of an induction. My cervix was not dilated very far, so they gave me some drugs to help that. They usually give 3 doses of that. After 2 doses, I was dilated to 4 and was starting to have contractions. So they didn’t give me the third dose and broke my water. This was somewhere around 3:45 that morning. I had a lot more contractions and I asked for my epidural. That finally came after some painful contractions. My epidural didn’t end up working. I then got horrible contraction pain and the most painful hip pain ever. Chuck had me try to breathe through them, but could tell I was bordering panic mode and couldn’t handle these much longer.
Now I know people that go through horrible labors without drugs. But this wasn’t my plan. From day one, I just knew that I wanted drugs when they would give them to me. So to have to be in that much pain when I wasn’t expecting it, was horrible I my mind.
So I ended up getting another epidural. This one worked. Then the doctor came to check on me. She said that since my contractions were around a minute apart I should be much further along (dilated much further). I was only about a 6, possibly a 7, but I should have been a 10 and pushing by this point. Also, Madeline’s heart rate wasn’t recovering as well as they would like after the contractions. She had also pooped already (which is something they want to be sure the NICU people are there for after birth to be sure everything is ok with her). So all of this added up to me needing a C-Section. I was honestly just happy to get her out of me at this point after so much pain.
So they prep me for surgery and get Chuck ready with some scrubs and wheel me down. In about a half hour from the time they made the decision for a C-Section, they had delivered my beautiful baby girl. I got to see her before they took her away to be cleaned up and then they sent Chuck upstairs with her.
This is where it gets interesting. They couldn’t get my uterus to contract/harden after the surgery. I was awake for this whole thing. They asked me if I wanted to be put under and I told them I would stay awake. Little did I know at the time, this is probably what saved my uterus. I made sure they called Chuck to tell him what was going on since they wouldn’t let him come back to the OR to be with me. All they told him was that there was a lot of bleeding. And left him to worry about why his wife wasn’t coming back for over 2 hours while he was holding and meeting his new little girl
They spent over an hour trying to get my uterus to harden. I also had uterine hemorrhaging and lost probably 2 liters of blood. They (being the two doctors working on me) told me that I may need a hysterectomy at some point during this. I didn’t realize the severity of all of this (thankfully) and figured that just meant I wouldn’t have any more kids. I didn’t realize that this meant I may need a hysterectomy to save my life which is always a scary thing after losing so much blood.
Then, after maxing out 4 different drugs to try to get my uterus to harden and the doctors being probably moments away from a hysterectomy, my uterus started to harden. Like I said, being awake probably saved my uterus. Had I been put under, the drugs used for that would have relaxed all my muscles, making it even harder, or impossible for my uterus to harden. So they finally stitched me back up and brought me back to a very happy Chuck. He had his wife back and knew she was ok and his new baby girl. I was so happy to see Madeline and still didn’t realize how close I had been to possibly dying or having a hysterectomy. This is a picture of me after my surgery when I got to hold my baby girl.
I was asking all sorts of things during surgery. When could I breastfeed my baby? Would it be a problem feeding her that I was gone so long? Would she be ok if they didn’t hurry up? Would they bottle feed her and then she wouldn’t breastfeed if I didn’t get to her soon? Could I still have more kids safely? Somehow, these were the things I was thinking about at the time.
After this happy moment, they found out I had really high blood pressure and determined I had post partum preeclampsia. So they put me on magnesium sulfate. This is to prevent seizures. It is an awful drug that makes to feel woozy and hot all over. It’s no fun having this pumped into your system. I was also on a new pain medication that I could press a button when I wanted it.
After all that, they decided I needed a blood transfusion. My hemoglobin was 7.7 one evening. Had my hemoglobin been around 7 I would probably have been ok without a transfusion. But the next day it was down to 6.6. Had I not been going home to take care of a baby, I may not have needed the transfusion. But after losing so much blood, they thought this was going to be best for me or I might have been too weak to do anything and it takes a long time for your body to produce more blood. So, in went another IV and in went the blood. After the transfusion, my hemoglobin was up to 9.3. The next morning 9.6. This was very good. Things were looking like I might go home soon.
Then my blood pressure went up again and they didn’t like the results my liver was giving. So the decision was made to put me on another dose of magnesium sulfate. I got to experience all the effects of the mag on this round since I wasn’t on other pain killers. It was even more awful than I remembered from the first time.
My blood pressure was still a little high throughout the day even while I was on the blood pressure meds. The last BP I took was the one that sent me home. I was so happy. Chuck needs to keep checking my BP throughout the day at home and I needed to go to the doctor for a checkup. They reassessed my dosage of my BP meds and adjusted them slightly. As long as things are going well, they will hopefully start weening me off them at my 6 week post partum appointment. I am hoping I will only be on this for a couple months and not for my lifetime. My blood pressure was usually 111/70-something. I was up in the 165 or 155/90s or 100 range. I learned this isn’t very good at all.
But they sent me home and the wheels started turning while Chuck and his mom (who had been at the hospital with us during the day to keep Chuck company) started packing up everything we we had accumulated over our 7 day stay at the hospital and we were ready to go before anyone could change their mind.
During all of this, I was breastfeeding every few hours. We did bring Madeline to the nursery a couple nights for a few hours so we could get some much needed rest. My dear husband was so wonderful and patient and would feed her some formula or anything I pumped after feeding her. My milk wasn’t in until the day before we left the hospital or so and Chuck was a trooper feeding her from a little cup. She would lap it up like a little kitten. It was time consuming and inefficient, but he continued to do it. We wanted to make sure she wasn’t confused by bottle feeding and this is what they recommended to feed her and make breastfeeding work.
It was so nice to get home and sleep in our own bed. I have instructions to take it easy for a while. My body has been through a lot and we don’t want me to overexert myself unnecessarily. So I have been sequestered to the upstairs level of our house and have been feeding Maddie, eating, napping…lather, rinse, repeat really. I went to the doctor today for a checkup and things are looking good. They did adjust my meds a little and want to see me in two more weeks for a follow up to see how the adjusted meds are working. Everyone at the clinic knows me now and has heard all I had been through. I don’t think this type of thing happens very often. It’s not really the reason I want them to know me, but it’s nice to know they all care.
There you have it. It’s been a rough go, but Madeline is worth every moment of what I went through. She’s the sweetest little baby. I can’t believe I carried her inside me and I get to keep her. I don’t even mind being up in the middle of the night because I get to look at her sweet, snuggly face. I am definitely in love! And Chuck couldn’t be happier, either. He is so good with her and I love seeing him hold her and play with her. He’s the best dad and the best husband. He has been so supportive through everything and I know I wouldn’t have been able to make it through all of this without him.
I also know that God really had a plan. I have never believed this more than I did through this event. He made sure I can still have more children, my pain hasn’t been too bad and I am slowly on the mend. I am so happy that I was in a hospital for this event. I know I wouldn’t have had the outcome I did had I chosen to have a birth at home or chosen not to go to a hospital.
Thank you to everyone for your thoughts, prayers, visits, emails, text messages….it was so nice to hear from everyone and know how loved I am.
I will leave you with some pictures. I am working on getting the hundreds (yes, hundreds) of pictures we have of Madeline posted online in our gallery and I will post them soon. I need to get them sorted and moved around.
Madeline Rachel Hays * born February 16, 2011 * 7 pounds, 1 ounce * 20 3/4 inches long
She looks just like me! My mom brought a picture of Chuck and I when we were babies and we had to take a picture (and show everyone) how much Maddie looks like me!
We love you, Madeline. Welcome to the world!