Friday, September 19, 2008

TMI-Bloody Details

In keeping with my new blogging perspective, that is, to treat it purely as my journal to document all the details of my life, first and foremost for me-I am going to be sordidly candid at times. From here on out 'TMI' will indicate a post that may not be suitable for all readers. If you're interested, then by all means-read on. But if you are merely a casual observer who may not care for the bloody, gory, intimate details of my life, just skip the TMI posts. Thus we begin.

I wish I had done this a week ago today, which was when I had Fiona. Recount and document the details of the procedures that brought her into the world. That account may have been more dramatic, bordering on hysteria so it may be a good thing I have had time to let things settle. This time differed so much from the other 2 that I wanted to have an honest account in case I consider this again in the future. Not that I want to talk myself out of it, but I want to accurately remember how it went.

We got to the hospital at 7:30 am to have the amniocentesis performed. We ended up waiting a few hours and eventually had it done mid-morning. My recollection was that it was uncomfortable with maybe a stick of pain, but better than i had imagined it. This time it was pretty uncomfortable. I think an intern or resident practiced on me under the direction of a Dr. It was more painful than I remembered, but bearable. Just a little hand-wrenching and wincing. We waited for 2 hours for the results. I went into the procedure with very high hopes. I was confident that she was going to be ready and my instincts would be confirmed. Upon drawing the fluid, they gave me little room for hope. Based upon the cloudiness of the fluid they doubted she was mature. I spent two hours feeling very disappointed and trying to tally lists of good reasons to wait another week. When they came in and pronounced her not only ready, but very ready, I was elated!
Next up was the ever-delightful urinary catheter. Again, I barely remembered this from the past. No big deal. This time is was SO uncomfortable. The placement wasn't fun, but once it was in, it was so annoying. I had this urgent need to pee, but could not release my bladder because no matter what you tell yourself, you feel like your wetting yourself in bed. Hence, a burning and urgent absolute need for your body to rid itself of urine. So I talked and talked myself into it and intermittently relieved the pain. We were waiting for Timm to come back and I was counting the minutes of torture to my bladder. Once he was ready I got up to walk into the operating room. (a strange experience-) Walking down the hall, past several rooms of other patients, holding a bag of my own urine and trying to hold the back of my gown closed. As I stood up a steady trickle ran down my legs. It seems the amnio might have caused my water to break, something I've never experienced. So now I'm walking down the hall, gowned and hatted, urine in hand, exposure imminent with fluids running down my legs. Lovely.
I walk into the operating room and hoist myself onto the table. The anesthesiologist started her work. I was going to get a spinal again, which is what I had with Bella. After much poking and prodding, sticking and stabbing, she pronounced that she couldn't get the spinal and would have to do an epidural. Disappointing, but by that time I was just happy to get any anesthetic. She still had to inject several different sites and I was getting weary of the multiple stabs wounds to the back.
Onto surgery itself. This is where it gets good.
They lay me down on the table and prep the area and I keep waiting for Timm to come in and join me. They start the surgery and Timm in still not there. This makes me nervous. I smell an unsettling burning smell, which is in fact my flesh as they cauterize it. They put some alcohol strips under my nose to block the smell and help suppress nausea. Still Timm is not in there and I keep asking for him. I am not completely at ease until he is there holding my hand and reassuring me. Just his presence has an enormous calming effect on me. Eventually he comes in, and he sits at my head holding my hand. It doesn't seem to be long before I am feeling more than I would like. I am used to the disconcerting tugging and pressure during the surgery, where I usually try and divert my attention so as not to think of what barbaric thing they are doing to my body. This was different. I winced and cried out 'I felt that!' The anesthesiologist was at my head administering more drugs to further numb me, but the pain was faster than she. It came on fast, hurting more and more with each second, or stroke of hand as it may be. I can still remember that it felt like it was on the upper left side of my abdomen, and it felt like cutting, or even sawing. I don't know what they were doing, but I could feel it. Like, really feel it. I was exclaiming 'I can feel it! I can still feel it! It's getting worse! It's getting worse!' as tears started streaming down my face. They paused to wait for the anesthesia to catch up so they could continue, but I wanted them to continue. They asked if I wanted to be put out, but that was too scary, so again, I told them to go on. Then it was unbearable and terrifying so they gave me a gas mask. I was relieved but scared. This was different than times previous. This felt more frenzied, and I was feeling panic that something was wrong. They assured me they were close to getting her out, and I was quickly disoriented. I didn't want the gas for that reason, but it was necessary. Very soon I was foggy and slow and distantly heard the steady beep of monitors and machines. I was reassured to hear that they were still even, but the loudest sound was my own voice in my head like a narrator doing a voice-over. The doctors asked me questions which I attempted to answer by slight nods and feeble squeezes of Timm's hand. Still afraid that something was going wrong, I kept up a mantra in my head of 'Please save me. Save my baby. Please save me. Save my baby.' I kept squeezing Timm's hand to let him know I was aware and okay since that was my only way to communicate. Soon they were done and waved Fiona in front of me but she was blocked by the drape so I missed a glimpse and had to rely on Timm's description. She let out a shrill raptor cry that made me smile and cry a bit with relief. They left the gas on while they sewed me back up and soon enough I was wheeled into the recovery room. All was well enough since I was still doped with the epidural.
Cut to recovery. This again, was so much more painful than the past. I was asking for pain medication as often as I was permitted to take it and still marvelling at the pain that remained. The morphine they initially give you intravenously for pain relief has the horrible side-effect of itchiness which rivals the pain for it's discomfort. It is intense and all-consuming for about 24 hours before it starts to fade. Between the pain, the constant agonizing scratching, and nurses checking your vitals every hour there is little chance of actual sleep.
I had to fast after midnight and my surgery wasn't until 3:30. They don't even allow gum, mints, hard candy- Then after surgery you can only have clear liquids until you are able to pass gas. This consisted of popsicles, jello, broth and drinks. Not so bad at first as I satisfied my insatiable thirst with multiple popsicles, but 2 days later I was getting mad. From Thursday night until Sunday morning I subsisted on popsicles and jello. Call me a baby, but it was really frustrating. I announced my accomplishment to the nurse with glee and demanded that she order me a regular breakfast.
The most painful thing to do was hoist myself to the edge of the bed, swing my legs over and brace myself to stretch my abdomen and stand. Another difference this time was that I was largely alone for my recovery in the hospital. In the past Timm stayed with me nearly night and day and helped me with all the little functions I couldn't perform, which were many. I felt so stupid calling the nurses repeatedly for idiotic requests such as 'Could you hand me that?' or 'Could you refill this please?','could you move this table?' I'm pretty sure they thought them idiotic requests as well.
This time I didn't bother to put on any makeup or make any attempt to get ready. Even though it was difficult a shower did sound appealing and they wanted me to take one to wash the incision site before removing the dressing. The only problem was there was no hot water. They told me just to let it run for 20 minutes first. No luck. They were quite insistent that I shower so I stepped in and merely thrust my belly under the cold stream and tried to lather it up. They called maintenance and they supposedly fixed the problem. A day later they made me shower again so clean the site and after 30 minutes, it was tepid at best. Repeat stomach thrust lather. Yuck.
The first day at home I forgot to fill my prescriptions so I hadn't taken any pain medication since morning. By evening I was in serious pain. I woke from a nap and tried to call out to Timm for help, but could barely utter a feeble cry for the pain in my stomach. Slowly I crawled out of bed and made my way to the kitchen for dinner. I sat at the table, unable to eat for the pain and started crying as it worsened. From then on I kept a vigilant watch to make sure I didn't lapse in my medications and try to catch up again. Each day the pain lessened and I could see the light a the end.
Despite feeling grotesque I resolved not to get ready at home, not to go out and do errands, not to visit others. To take advantage of all of the help I had, to focus on my recovery and taking care of little Fi. This has served me well this week following her birth. Today I was forced to get ready and go a few places however- I had to take Fi to the doctor, go the grocery store and the drug store for diapers. After dinner we went to Rita's Water Ice and then I cleaned the kitchen a bit. After about 20+ minutes of wiping and sweeping, my back was aching from compensating for my stomach muscles, I was having cramps I haven't had since I left the hospital, my incision site was burning, and my fully engorged breasts were heavy and aching. I think I will continue to take it easy for a little while longer. Starting tomorrow I have Shell for a week, then a week on my own before Nana comes. I need to take advantage of this net week before I have to go it alone for the first time.
I can't believe it, but this experience has made me consider the possibility of a VBAC if I do have one more child. I'm pretty sure it is actually impossible for me to have a vaginal delivery, but I am afraid that my body can't handle this a fourth time. How many times can they cut the same site, the same flesh?
Now I have a comprehensive record of what this birth was like, should years from now I decide there's one more baby to be had. It's not easy. I'm glad it's over. I'm so glad she's here.


michelle said...

Yikes. That's about all I have to say about that!

(and silly girl, you shouldn't have been out and about already...)

Anonymous said...

I just left the longest comment on record and it deleted it. FREAK!

Basically it was all de-ja-vu for me and I am so SO sorry you had to go through all that. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. The pain from both of mine still hold the record for the most vivid memories I have.

And yeah- I want to smack you for being out and about already. YOU NEED TO HEAL WOMAN! I am so glad Shell is there and can act in our stead. Let her be in service to you and take it easy. Your body just went through an amazing thing, give it some time to catch up. Love you.

Anonymous said...

Oh and what happened to the awesome videos? I neeeed to watch them again so I can take in all the cuteness and hear your sweet mamma talk!

rmt said...

Wow. I don't even know what to say. That sounds so painful! Really, is there anything besides a beautiful child that would we grow through all that for? I can't think of anything.

And seriously, ditto what Michelle and Hannah said: TAKE IT EASY! My goodness!

I hope that you are getting better every day!

charlotte said...

I'm so sorry that this time was so painful. And yeah, you need to take it easy :) Love you!

Melissa said...

oh my. I can't even imagine. I've been fortunate to have my two babies vaginally, so I have no idea what's like to be cut apart. Rest, please, you deserve it. Fiona is beautiful!

paws said...

"Yikes" is exactly what I was thinking.

An emergency C-section was the only thing that really scared me about delivery. Then I convinced myself that it wouldn't be so bad because I wouldn't feel anything anyway. Now you've got me worried again!

Oh well. I guess there's not a whole lot I can do about it, so there's not much use in worrying...

Denise said...

Oh dear--aren't you glad you're a week out! Every day should get better from here on. I'm relieved to know that Michelle is with you now. Enjoy your time together, and REST!

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