Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Madeline's Birth Story

As you all know, we had our c-section scheduled for July 11th (today!! haha). Last Friday, I was supposed to have a pre-op appointment with the anesthesiologist so we could talk about the surgery and what my options would be for anesthesia.

Well, I roll out of bed Friday morning and I'm standing up brushing my teeth when I start feeling something very alarming and very unwelcome. I rush into the bathroom and sure enough, there is blood everywhere. I try to stay calm and I call my doctors, who immediately order me to Labor & Delivery at the hospital. I send Steve a text, toss a few more things into my hospital bag, and head on in.

First time holding Miss Maddie

Luckily, my bleeding had slowed down by the time I get checked into L&D so they were able to downgrade me from an emergency situation. My doctors had some pretty lengthy consultations with the high risk doctors, and they decided that it wasn't worth the risk to try to keep me in the hospital until Wednesday. The stars had aligned pretty much as perfectly as they could for it being the wrong day - I hadn't eaten anything yet, my doctors were all in town and available, and I had gotten a decent night of sleep after about a week of insomnia. And it wasn't the middle of the night! They scheduled me for the next available operating room slot and told me that the surgery would be between 4:00 and 5:00.  Holy cow folks, we're having a baby!

My doctor came in and said that although she reviewed the plan that the high risk doctor had outlined (a high incision, definite hysterectomy), she really wanted to go in through a classic c-section incision and see what was going on. I'm not gonna lie, I was very nervous about the situation. I envisioned her cutting right into the placenta and causing a hemorrhage. I was also especially nervous after talking to the anesthesiologist and he was very reluctant to do a general anesthesia right off the bat. He wanted to do a spinal, which is the step in between an epidural and general anesthesia. Did I really want to be awake for this???


They didn't come in and get me for anesthesia until after 5:30 and by then, we were getting pretty antsy. Then they get me into the OR and I start getting terrified! There were SO many people in there and everyone looked so serious and kind of nervous. The anesthesiologist gets the spinal in, and my legs start going numb almost immediately. More people come in the room, including a couple who were just there "observing". Awesome. I'm hooked up to what feels like every contraption in the hospital, and they have an IV port ready to go in case they need to move to general anesthesia. They bring Steve in, get the drape up, triple check the anesthesia, and it's show time.

Well, the problems for me started almost immediately. The drape is RIGHT in my face (with Anna's c-section, it was down near my rib cage), I start to get claustrophobic and the spinal made it impossible for me to feel like I could get a good deep breath. I start having a panic attack and I get overwhelmed by nausea. I start gagging but can't move my stomach muscles, so they start pumping tons of anti-nausea medicine into me and upped my oxygen flow. The anesthesiology tech was stroking my forehead and telling me that everything was going to be okay, and she kept cold cloths coming to my neck and face.

Proud poppa!

At some point, Steve hears a "pop", and blood starts gushing down over the side of the table and all over my doctor's shoes. Steve starts internally freaking out but keeps calm so I don't get upset. All in all, the doctors think I lost about 700 cc's of blood. They had a Cell Saver machine going trying to recycle some of my blood back into me, and luckily they were able to get whatever it was sewn off so I stopped bleeding, and I was able to avoid a transfusion. They monitored my platelet counts pretty closely while I was in the hospital and they seemed like they were getting replenished pretty steadily, so I am happy that we were able to skip the transfusions!!

Apparently Madeline was pretty cozy in there and it took them a while to get her out. She came out squalling and I loved hearing her tiny squawks. They get her cleaned up, we take some pictures even though I'm a bleary pukey teary mess, and the doctors continue with the surgery. The room is silent for a minute, and then I hear my doctor announce that the accreta was minimal and that she was going to save the uterus. The whole room is stunned, ourselves included - we ALL saw that last ultrasound and every single person in that room was convinced that we were doing a hysterectomy that day. I am in the middle of my second panic attack and not really focusing on anything except getting some more of that anti-nausea medicine!!

I know you guys have already seen this picture but I felt like this post needed a surgery picture!

At this point in the surgery, I am unbelievably exhausted. I don't know if it was all the medicine they had pumped into me, or just straight-out exhaustion, but I can barely keep my eyes open. I doze off for a while and Steve has to step out of the room for some fresh air. Even when I wake up, I'm so tired that I can't even talk to answer any questions...I just manage to shake or nod my head.

All in all the surgery lasted for about an hour and a half. I was in the recovery room for quite some time and then they moved me to my room...where I made the unpleasant discovery that the anesthesiologist had forbidden any narcotics or "real" painkillers until I could bear weight on my legs, which wouldn't be until the next day!! The nurse informed me that I "only" had three more hours until I could get my next dose of anti-inflammatory, but luckily they relented when I started crying and Steve went out to talk to them.

Loving my sleepy new roommate - she joined us on Sunday!
My surgery story was a great conversation starter with pretty much every new nurse shift change. Apparently my name had been written ALL over the L&D notes and we had multiple nurses hear my name, make the connection, and say, "Ohhhh!!!! Are you the girl that ended up not having to have the hysterectomy??" My ability to see the humor in the "celebrity" situation depended heavily on how well the pain medications were working at the time, haha, but really all the nurses were very sweet and they would all say how happy they were for me that the surgery turned out the way that it did.

Overall, the recovery has been easier than my first c-section. I took advantage of Madeline being in the NICU to sleep as much as I could (I wasn't able to see her for over 12 hours!), and I made extra sure to stay on top of the pain meds schedule. I have been in some pain since I have been home, but it's been a good reminder to not push it too hard and to take it easy.

In conclusion, the surgery was pretty much nothing like we expected, but I am so happy that my doctor trusted her gut and went with her surgery plan. We are thrilled to have our healthy little girl with us and we are also thrilled that this is all over!!


Lisa Elaine said...

What an awesome alternative to the other plan- wow! I have to tell you that Ben had been praying you would not have to have a hysterectomy when I told him about the situation- he was stoked to find out how it went down lol. So happy for you that it's all over and you can move forward.

Atlanta, Food and Love said...

For a bleary pukey teary mess you look pretty freaking good! So happy for your family of 4!

Kelly said...

I almost started crying when I read your first paragraph. I have placenta previa and that has been my biggest fear these past few weeks. I am so thrilled for you and your little family and glad to hear that everything went smoothly. Kudos to your doctor for doing a good job too!