The next several posts were written once Gummi Bear was a week old. The dates posted are done more to keep track of where we were in the fun saga of the past week.
Gummi Bear’s official eviction notice was set for the eighth of April. We were told to get to the hospital early and be ready to go for the average of eighteen hours. We might be earlier or later, but everything else about Gummi Bear had been average, so we were thinking long haul. I nabbed coffee and breakfast on our way out and lucky I did, as it would be my last solid food until Saturday. At the hospital, we went straight to L&D registration and the Bald One got his coach badge before heading to our room for the next day. The gentleman manning the sign-in desk for coaches and visitors noticed that we had bags this time and congratulated us before wishing us the best. After a month of visiting once a week, we had become familiar faces. Our room was pretty comfortable and within forty minutes, I had pitocin running in my veins at low levels and we were still barely anywhere. The Bald One and I alternately napped and read the paper as time trickled by to lunch and our first real progress check and my doctor.
My doctor wanted to get things moving by breaking the water. I was offered an epi immediately, but wanted to see what it would feel like. With the water out of the way, that wasn’t the case and I was paging for drugs about fifteen minutes in. Our RN hooked me up with the fluids fast and we started the countdown to drugs. By the time we were ready for the epidural to be inserted and I was told “now, don’t move” I was at the stage where the peak of the contraction came with a wave of nausea. The timing of “don’t move” also just happened to be at one of these peaks as my blood pressure cuff goes off for another round of monitoring. I did luck out and have the epi work on the first try, so I was blissfully unaware for my next check. We’d progressed from barely ready to about halfway to push. I was able to try to doze again and even get through some of my reader feed online.
Please note: My computer was on during much of the day. This doesn’t mean I was playing around on the internet, chatting it up on Facebook and writing this blog post. It was more of an easy way for me to play music in the room instead of digging out my headphones and plugging in my iPod.
My doctor came back after her last office appointment for the day and passed on the best wishes from the office staff for a quick labor. After checking my progress, she told me given averages and where I was, I’d likely be holding my daughter by midnight. Since we didn’t think I’d make it to my induction date, I’m skeptical but cling to a bit of hope. About this time TAB showed up with lunch for the Bald One and to catch me up on the latest office gossip. Another dear friend and coworker, APop, joined us a few hours later and we generally chatted as time started to fly by. The two ladies ran off to pick up dinner before things closed, leaving the Bald One and I for a bit. At this point, the ladies returned and I lost all track of time. The three of them tell me I was pretty out of it most of the time only to tune in, make some intelligent comment and tune out. I remember being reassured by the chatter in the room and the background noise of the television. I’ll never quite listen to Surfin’ Bird quite the same way again.
Medically, there is one fun development going on here. Despite my fluid intake being pushed via IV, my fluid output had dwindled to next to nothing. Pooling under my skin is a few bags worth of fluid and it is sitting there. This is both good and bad, as it should continue to be processed through but I need this fluid both for the induction meds and the possibility of surgery. The blame is initially placed on the poor IV placement in my left arm. Every time I move it, the vein rolls and the tube gets blocked momentarily and sets off an alarm. This eventually got to the point the nurses showed us how to check the line for kinks and reset the system ourselves. In an attempt to see if we can stop this problem, the evening nurse and an anesthetist take a stab (literally) at my right arm. Those all fail, and we stick with the original.
Midnight comes and goes and I’m halfway through the promised attempt of two hours to labor down. My body is ready, but Gummi Bear isn’t in position so the doctor, my nurse and I (not that I had much say) decided to give my body a couple hours to try to get her there. This fails and when my doctor comes in at 1am, I’m given two options – continue attempting to labor down and see if it works despite being at the maximum time usually spent on such an endeavor or a Caesarian delivery. The doctor favors surgery, grudgingly. I agree and things are spun in to motion almost immediately to prep me for the operating room. My girlfriends are sent off to the waiting room, the Bald One is taken outside to talk about what to expect and I’m prepped for what’s next.
I’m wheeled off to the OR and preparations are continuing while the Bald One is getting gowned and ready outside. He’s gone from nervous to concerned over me and the decisions he might have to make. I don’t learn this until later, but the few moments in the hall are apparently agony. Meanwhile, I’m being entertained by the pain-numbing cocktail missing one tiny spot on my abdomen. This results in several adjustments to the cocktail and me losing feeling in my arms during surgery. Hilarious in retrospect, not so fun then. I was also freezing, to the point my teeth were chattering the entire time. I remember checking in with the Bald One, once they brought him in and got him set up. I was worried about him, more than I was worried about myself. I had people taking care of me and he had nobody.
The next thing I remember is hearing her cries and our doctor saying we’ve got ourselves a big girl. I hear the crying move, figuring they’re passing her off to the neonatal doctor for her check up and then the Bald One is invited over to look and take pictures. While he’s gone, the neonatal doctor reassures me that everything is fine, she’s got a good set of lungs and is a big girl at 8,3 and 20 inches. Moments pass and he returns with tears in his eyes. The nurses hand him a bundled baby and everything else goes away. The Bald One is staring in amazement at the little thing he’s holding. I say something and her head turns to me in recognition which is just astounding. He almost doesn’t want to give her up, but she has to go to the nursery. I tell him to follow her, as I’m in good hands and no longer scared out of my mind.
While he’s off at the nursery, the nurses and crew finish cleaning me up and putting me back together. I can’t feel anything and it’s all quite surreal. I get wheeled back to my new room – one that isn’t postpartum due to no room available – and moved in to the new bed. The Bald One reappears, asking if TAB and AvP can join us to say good night. I get hugs, a bit of tears and send them off to see my girl before they head to bed. The Bald One returns after seeing them out and the nurse directs him to the bed. I’m reassured I’ll get to hold my girl once she’s had her temperature stabilized and the nursery can release her. Until then, I should sleep. I think that isn’t even possible as I fall into unconsciousness.