Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ellie's Birth Story

So, this is probably more information than anyone wants, or they already have it, but because this is as close as we come to journaling, I am going to write about all we went through to get Ellie here in hopes of having this to look back on some. I don't have as many details as Steve, because I was on some really good pain killers for much of the time leading up to Ellie's birth, but some of those details we'd rather forget anyway. As Steve already provided most birth pictures, I'll just add a few more from the time we were at the hospital.

Wednesday 11th August: The night before I'd started having some pain right at the top of my uterus behind my ribs, but ignored it and went to bed. The pain woke me up at 6:30 Wednesday morning and I dealt with it until Steve got up and we got ready because I had a doctor's appointment at 10:15 anyway. I refused to take anything by the time Steve and I were ready to do something about the pain because I was hoping the doctor would give me something and I was afraid I'd have to wait to take it if I'd just taken something else. We went to the doctor's office, and what a day to be behind schedule. I sat crying in the waiting room for an hour getting concerned looks from the nurses as they called other patients back. Finally a little after 11:00 we got called back and they put me in a nice quiet dark room with a recliner to wait for the physician's assistant instead of an exam room. By this time, I didn't know it, but my BP was 170 over 105 because of pain and being upset. (I only got more upset that we weren't seeing the doctor as he was supposed to be examining me and deciding whether or not we could induce... we found this out later). The nurse practitioner asked me some questions and told us to go to the ER just in case something was wrong. On the way out, the receptionist told us to ignore her and go to the delivery center as our doctor was there and he would be expecting us after she called him. On a funny note, when we told all that to the doctor, he told us that anyone who has even had sex recently gets sent up to the delivery center because the ER won't touch pregnant women...

Anyway, the doctor thought I probably had gallstones, and that because of my pain and BP, our only option was to deliver so that they could treat the gallstones with a special diet and in 4 weeks to surgery. Happy joy joy. But, ok, Ellie was coming! Then, they decided that perhaps the pain and BP spike were from pregnancy induced hypertension, which should go away after we deliver. Even better! A baby and no post-pregnancy surgery! So, they checked my cervix (worst pain of my life by the way) and found out (as I knew) that Ellie hadn't dropped and we were nowhere near ready to deliver, or even be induced. So I got a 12 hour round of medication to thin my cervix and get us ready to be induced the next morning. All the while they were doing periodic BP measurements and blood work to keep track of what was going inside with the pain as I was on nubain (spelling?) - BEST STUFF EVER. Basically, I got no sleep that night. But, I am highly susceptible to medications, so I was highly entertaining for Steve... You'd have to ask him about details, but I do remember at one point telling him that if I said something strange it was because I was no longer sure what he was really saying and what I was imagining as I slipped in and out of sleep. He told me to go to bed.

The next morning, around 6:00 AM another blood draw, followed by a not-so-happy looking doctor. He told us that they now thought I had toxemia. I may have the gallstones or hypertension as well (if you're going to go, go big!) but, I definitely had the toxemia. My platelets had dropped from 150,000+ to under 90,000 since I'd been admitted. As a result, we couldn't wait to induce, which didn't matter because I hadn't progressed AT ALL on the meds from the night before. If we waited, I would have clotting issues and be in danger. In fact, the last blood draw was simply to see if I had to get platelets before they could operate, and if not, then we were going into the OR as soon as possible. At this point, on little sleep, lots of drugs, in pain (I got to enjoy contractions ever since they gave me the drugs the night before), and now hearing I was going to have a C-section (and then have to come back after 4 weeks of special diet to have my gallbladder removed depending on the results of my ultrasound after the C-section) I lost it. The doctor apologized that things weren't going to our plan, and they gave us some time to wait for blood tests to come back.

Thank goodness for the Priesthood. I was so upset and just beyond what I could handle by that point. I asked Steve to give me a blessing, and when the nurses came back in they were totally thrown by how suddenly calm and accepting of the situation I was. I am so grateful for Steve and the fact that he is worthy to hold and exercise Priesthood powers.

So, my platelets were still around 90,000 so we didn't need any blood transfusions and they started getting us ready for surgery. Steve got scrubs and a chair to wait in till he could enter the OR. I was terrified that he couldn't be there with my while I got my epidural - I hate needles. But it was a little shot that hurt less than all of my many blood draws.

All I'll say about the C-section is that it was strange. I could feel pressure of everything going on, but no pain, and didn't even know when they'd started. The two anesthesiologists were so kind and comforting that I wasn't afraid at all after things got going. Steve was in there soon, then gone as the anesthesiologists sent him back to the room for the camera since we didn't know we could bring it in. Oh, it was really funny to hear the anesthesiologists warn Steve he might get queasy, and when responded that he'd done C-sections, they started talking about operating on cows. And continued this conversation (the two men were totally riveted and making jokes with Steve about it the whole time) the whole time. And after only about 10 minutes, Ellie was here. They gave Steve fair warning for pictures, and then we heard her. I had worried about how people say that the first time they see their child they are instantly bonded, I just couldn't imagine that. But when I first heard her cry, nothing else mattered. Not the awful past couple of days, or the surgery, nothing, but that she was here and healthy.

They moved the curtain around me so I could watch them clean her up, and then Steve brought her over so we could spend a few minutes as a new family. Then, he was off to the room with (still unnamed) Ellie and our doctor spent about an hour closing me up. I have to admit, the last 24 hours or so had been so crazy that I slept off and on through the rest of surgery. Then back to the room to get to hold our baby girl for the first time.

We had a list of names, and two complete names and one half name we really liked, but I realized the full names we had didn't work and that our half name - Ellie was what she should be. I was worried as we'd talked about middle names for Ellie a number of times and never liked one, but we both noticed Jaylin on our list, and it took us all of about 30 seconds to name her.

The only other interesting things to mention are that Ellie was in no mood to be up and eating on her own those first few days. She wouldn't wake up for: PKU, shots, exams, lactation consultants, nurses, etc. Every once in a while she'd wake up hungry, which actually was great for me to recover, but she was down to 6 lbs 7 oz on Sunday morning, so we had to give her some formula whenever she would be willing to eat and start waking her up to feed her for a while. Funny thing is, she's so stubborn the only way we could wake her up to feed her was to strip her down to her diaper and wait for her to wake up from being cold... And yet, even eating so little, our pediatrician gave her the "pooper or the year award" because she had (and still has) so many dirty diapers in that first 24 hours. So funny.

All of our nurses were great, and we had a couple that I remember especially (even though we had a ton of them being there for 5 days) because they were so especially kind. Jen and Mom came to visit the day she was born, our friend Annie D. came the next day and brought us some really cute clothes, and Dad and Kerry came on Saturday. Reva also arrived that day and came and saw Ellie before heading to our house to rest up before staying to help us with Ellie for a week. We are so grateful she came to help out! We were also visited before Ellie arrived by two men from a Richland ward.

Oh, and we found out later that the toxemia caused all the problems, so no more surgeries for a while we hope! There are other things I could add about recovery and such, but I figure I can forget some of those details so that I want to have more kids... lol Dad said that my Grandmother always talked about how childbirth was the worst pain you'd ever experience and the quickest you'd ever forget. I already agree. Although I've gotten lots of comments about how ridiculously quickly I've healed up. My biggest issue for the last week or so has simply been wanting to be able to do things I'm not allowed to until 6 weeks after surgery. Oh well, Steve and I agree, even when Ellie is inconsolably fussy - Ellie is worth all of it.

Thanks to my great Visiting Teaching partner Laurie H and her kids for welcoming us home with this cute sign when we brought Ellie home Sunday the 15th.

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