Saturday, 13 June 2015

Bub's Arrival

I finally have some interwebs access!!  I have escaped from the NICU to spend the night with the Moose in a motel.  Of course I am sleep deprived and need to pump some milk, but I will get through as much of the birth story as I can.  And I will change from past to present tense without thinking about it because I am that kind of tired. 


Monday, May 25th.  We wake up to SNOW!!!  Lots of it!!  As I do every morning I hop on the scales, and oh shit, I gained 2-3 kg overnight.  But SNOW!!  Work is cancelled for the Moose, my midwife is running late for our appointment (up to her elbows in vag AGAIN!), so we head out to play.

That is the Moose on his cross country skis.  I followed him around (getting the only pair of shoes that fit my massive feet soaked) and enjoyed the wonderful sensation of visual disturbances on account of the effect of snow on my sky rocketing blood pressure.  Think little blinky bright worms flashing in your eyes.  But only when I am out in the snow, and though I know deep down that this is going to be it (visual disturbances + sudden weight gain = bad things), I choose to be in denial.  All the same, I text the midwife to make sure she is still coming, once she finds her way out of someone's whoo-ha.

So the midwife comes, blood pressure is 160/100 and ++ protein in urine, so after a chat with the consultant we drive through the snow and rain to get to the hospital.  On the way down we choose a name (finally...although the middle name is still up in the air).  At the hospital they have no idea who I am or why I am there (the midwife probably did call ahead).  After much sitting around, I am finally admitted with a bp of 150/106.  My reflexes are pathologically brisk (according to my discharge report they are "pathologicaly brisk" but more on that later), a clonus is present ("pressent"), and my PCR is high.  I also have the oh so sexy pitting edema up to mid shin.  Bloods are normal.  Labetelol is doubled.  I am admitted in what will eventually become the fifth circle of hell to me.  The growth ultrasound I have scheduled for Tuesday is cancelled back home and rescheduled at the hospital.  I spend the rest of the evening having my blood pressure taken and being asked about headaches, visual disturbances, and tummy aches.  Every 4-6 hours.  The Moose heads to a hotel. 

Around this point I became a human pincushion.  A midwife and a student midwife struggled to draw blood from my arms.  Not sure why, I am usually an easy draw (and happy to let the students have a go).  I blame the pre-eclampsia.  They finally get it, and then later with another set of midwives comes the iv access thing.  The student midwife (who will become my favorite midwife) looks on as the other tries and fails three times to put an iv in either of my hands.  I have rolly veins and valves, apparently.  They try to flush the valves away with saline, but mostly fail.  I should mention that this (all of it) hurts like hell and I am gritting my teeth and trying to not show the pain.  Reinforcements are finally called in and the midwife who has since taken over my care manages to get an iv in with one go (hooray!).  In my right hand, which sucks a bit.  Later, at about 10 or 11pm, all three midwives come to my bed with something in hand and a "guess what we have for you!!".  Turns out it is a shot of steroids to the ass!!  My new midwife, I found out later, had to fight to get them for me (the docs were going to wait until morning).

Tuesday, 26th May

Ultrasound!  We find out the baby has hair.  And also has stopped growing.  As we wait for the docs to come around and say it, I tell the Moose that we will be having this baby in a day or two.  We both agree that it is good that we have agreed on a name!  The docs come back in the afternoon, and a c-section is scheduled for Wednesday morning.  I sign all the c-section papers and more anesthesiology papers and lord knows what else.  Then I get to play with med students while the Moose goes out to grab a bite for dinner.  I enjoy this immensely because I am such a nerd, and anyway we make jokes about curry and I get to horrify two young men with stories about bad periods and I get to explain to them medical stuff about pre-eclampsia and small babies (all that internetting finally pays off!!).  Dinner is disgusting and I think it is meant to be mac and cheese.  But I eat it all because as of 2am, I have to fast.  No food, no water.  I get the Moose to sneak me a cookie from Subway. 

And then I get my hospital sinus headache.  I ask my favorite midwife for panadol when she does my blood pressure.  She disappears and comes back with the doctor.  Who grills me down about the headache.  I seriously felt like a criminal at the police station, or a naughty school kid in the principals office.  But it turns out that my blood pressure has just sky rocketed again, despite the increased dose of meds.  Bugger.  The doc disappears to consult the senior doc.  They both come back, and guess what, bubs is being evicted now.  The bad cop doctor stuffs another iv access thing into my left hand, flushes out the valves like a boss and has that thing jammed in pretty quick.  The midwives look on impressed.  More bloods are taken.  Turns out some of them are starting to go in a not so good direction.  Not sure on this, but I know that my platelets, though starting out high, are starting to drop.

Anyway, I am handed over to the midwives, who (according to my new midwife) were running around in a panic to get me ready (though they seemed calm enough to me).  I get moved to the delivery suite, given a sexy backless gown, and get what will become the bane of my existence (apart from the placenta) for the next 26 hours: the magnesium drip.  At first it is hot, and the sensation of lying on a really warm electric blanket spreads over my entire (ENTIRE) body.  When the loading dose had been given and I was put on the maintenance dose, that feeling went away, and I honestly felt alright (that feeling wouldn't last).  I was put on monitors, including one that automatically took my blood pressure every 5 minutes (everytime it started to inflate I had to quick relax my arm).  I got a catheter inserted (I thought it would be worse than it was), and of course I got shaved.  The Moose got dressed in scrubs (I asked if we could keep them to play doctor, but they said no) and was put in charge of the most important task of all: holding my chapstick.  When the theatre (operating room...don't know why they call it a theatre) was ready, we headed out.  It was fecking cold in the hallways, and naturally we stopped to chat with the anesthetists forever. 

The operating room (forget theatre, I am not going to call it that) was really warm, and very crowded.  There was a team of 4 from the NICU, 3 doctors to cut me open, at least one nurse, 2 anesthetists and 1 anesthetic technician, my new midwife and favorite midwife (the third one who had been through all this had to stay behind), and a few students.  And everyone else in the hospital.  I was given a spinal block, and it was probably my least favorite part.  I had to sit with my back hunched, perfectly still, while they threaded a wee catheter in (I thought it was an injection, shows how well I was listening to the 3 anesthetists I had spoken to in the past day).  It hurt, I would cry out, they would ask where it hurt (uh, in my back?  Left or right?  uh, right??), they would adjust, it would move down, and then we would repeat the whole thing.  A day or so later I wondered what would have happened if there had been an earthquake while this whole thing was going on (and a day or so after that pleasant thought we had an earthquake).  So they finally got the drugs in, and I managed to get my legs back on the table as they started to go numb.  Then the nurse tilted the table to keep the weight of the ute off that vein, and I started to fall off, and of course couldn't move my legs!!  The nurse caught my legs anyway and put the things in the table to hold me up (probably should have done that before tilting the table!!).  The Moose, who is deathly afraid of needles, was now able to come into the room. 

Everyone introduced themselves (except me, I was busy trying to think of something witty to say like "I'm Tiggy, I am about to be diced up" but I couldn't come up with anything and someone else introduced me in a normal, boring way), and we got underway.  Almost before I knew what was happening.  Of course, I was fighting with the sheet they put up to block my view because it kept trying to suffocate me.  I had my left arm (magnesium arm) strapped to the table, but my right arm was left free, thankfully or I would have drown in sheet.  So I chatted with the Moose and midwives and anesthetists (I am hating typing that word right now), and felt like people were pulling and tugging apart my innards.  One of the docs started pushing down on my tummy, and then someone called out "Born now!" and bubs gave a brief but angry cry and I saw her being whisked over to the NICU team.  I couldn't really turn my head enough to see her, but she had cried a bit, so I was relieved and went back to chatting to the midwives, as the Moose went to go see Bubs.  A short time later they took Bubs away to the NICU.

Things are a bit blurry from here.  I remember someone saying that the umbilical cord snapped off the placenta and they had to scrape the placenta off the uterus (clingy evil thing), and someone asked if I wanted to keep it, to which I replied "only to stab it" and it was packaged up to be sent off to the lab.  Turns out it was 1/3 the size it should have been.  Bastard.  Anyway, the docs asked for the temp of the room to be turned down and one said he was about to pass out.  I asked if he could kindly not pass out into me, which I think startled him (did he forget I was there??).  So I was sewn up and taken back to the delivery suite to begin my 24 hours of hell.  The Moose went to the NICU and took the first pic of Bubs:
She was on CPAP for 6 hours to help with her breathing, and since then has been breathing on her own!!  Yay for that one round of steroids my midwife managed to get jabbed in my ass!  She weighed in at 1.08kg or about 2lbs 3oz, and no one measured her length because apparently that isn't important except to everyone who kept asking me later.  She got an umbilical line put in, and managed to pull it out on the first day, so got a picc line instead.  Here she is in her incubator without the CPAP:
She looks a bit more tiny here, but she is long...and camouflaged by a white nappy and having her legs hidden somehow...Anyway note the head of dark hair!!  The ultrasound totally pegged that, and her weight as well!!

Upcoming posts:
My 24 hours of hell (aka I manage to avoid ICU)
The fifth circle of hell (aka life in the post-natal ward)
Life in the NICU (aka my life as a dairy cow)

I will write these up and post them on the weekends when I escape the NICU and stay with the Moose in a motel.  Where there is interwebs and I can use the laptop instead of my phone!!  I have probably forgotten important bits from these two days, but I left my notes back at my room in the NICU.  Apologies for grammar issues and switching tenses and all sorts of other confusing and awkward things.  I was going to type all this up in my spare time in the NICU and copy and paste, but I was mistaken and there is no such thing as spare time!!  And if there is, it must be spent sleeping!!

Gotta go pump, my boobs might explode and I am an hour and a half late already!!


  1. Thanks for sharing your birth story! I'm impressed how you seem to have kept your sense of humour throughout the whole experience, although it must have been difficult and stressful. I bet that is good for both you and Bubs! love the photos of her. thinking of you as you continue to navigate NICU etc. My cord detached from placenta too...not sure why that happens, but you are the only other I've heard about it happening too. Take care!

    1. I've met another mom in the NICU that had the cord detach too! So there are at least 3 of us out there!!

  2. Wow, that's just incredible. I can't believe how together you seemed through all of this. You were 30 weeks when you had the C-section? Bubs is a little beauty and I'm so glad that she thrived. P.S. I think I'm getting my placenta encapsulated to combat postpartum depression, so if they asked me if I wanted to keep it I'd probably have said YES!

    1. 32 weeks when I had the c-section, 30 weeks for the diagnosis with mild pre-eclampsia. Bubs measured at 28 weeks due to growth restriction.

      I have a few placenta stories I heard at antenatal class that I used to gross out the NICU nurses (ruined at least one nurse's dinner!). To me it just seems like cannibalism and I don't think I could do it. I haven't even tasted my breast milk, which apparently many women do out of curiosity. Although I have squirted myself in the face so probably just a matter of time until I accidentally get a taste. I did threaten to use breast milk in the Moose's coffee...he didn't appreciate that, and I haven't had to make him any coffees since!