On Monday, April 27, I had my weekly appointments with the obgyn and the diabetes specialist at the obstetrics clinic. One of the two doctors told me : “Your blood pressure is high, but I think we’re okay for another week.” The other doctor said “I just checked your blood results and there are proteins in your urine. You have pre-eclampsia. Take your file and bring it to the third floor, you’re being admitted today.” She left the room so I could get dressed, and I just collapsed in tears in Julien’s arms. I was so terrified. I was only 35 weeks, it was too early for this baby to come! By the time I was admitted, they had me track every mililiter I drank and peed. I was barely peeing, retaining every drop. Baby was unusually large for a 35 week old baby, measuring around 8lbs. They were concerned with shoulder dystocia, which is common with babies of diabetic mothers. Baby was also breeched in a bad, transverse way. They said that if we attemped a vaginal delivery, chances were high that I would be one of those moms whose umbelical cord comes out dangling when her water breaks, which is dangerous for baby. They told me that they were shooting for a c-section on Friday, May 1. Holy crap.
On April 30th, one doctor came to see me around 11am and told me that my blood pressure was high but still manageable, and that it was better to keep baby baking in my ‘natural incubator’ (belly) as long as we could, and that the c-section wouldn’t happen the next day, that we would see on a day to day basis. At 2pm, the other doctor came in and said – Nope, your blood pressure is too high, we’re going to give you magnesium sulfate to bring down your blood pressure and protect your brain, and we’re doing the c-section RIGHT NOW, and you will have to go recover in intensive care after, because of the magnesium sulfate. Holy shit. She wasn’t even done her sentence that 5-6 medical professionals barge in with their IV’s and other things they needed to do to me. I burst crying and for once stood up for myself and said : “Woah, woah, woah. I need to call my husband, he needs to be here.” Julien was working, trying to finish everything in time for the next day’s possible c-section, although I had just told him that it wouldn’t be the net day after all.
Julien must have raced to the hospital, because as I had five or six nurses trying to insert IV’s into my stubborn veins, he walked in the room and gave me an encouraging look. It reassured me so much just to have him there next to me. One of the nurses went to get scrubs and instructed him to change into them. He came out of the washroom as that same nurse was shaving my vagina. (I was huuuuge and not expecting to be admitted. I was pretty hairy everywhere.) She asked if he had his camera. I said “For what? To take pictures of my vagina being shaved?” All the nurses errupted into laughter. I guess I can’t stop making jokes even when I’m freaking the fuck out.
They wheeled my bed into the pre-operation room, where we proceeded to wait. And wait. And wait. There were 2 emergency c-sections that needed to happen before mine. At some point the nurse looks at my magnesium sulfate IV and says: “Oh no!”. I’m thinking “What? Oh no? Am I going to die?” Apparently one of the nurses had set the magnesium sulfate drip thing too fast and I got it in 15 minutes instead of 30 minutes. Turns out it wasn’t a big deal and I didn’t die. That nurse that was taking care of me in the pre-op room was set to finish her shift at 3pm, and because they were so short staffed, ended up having to stay by my side until the whole thing was over, around midnight. She happened to be the lactation consultant at the hospital. She asked if I wanted her to attempt manually extracting milk from my boobs for baby, as they were expecting baby to have a blood sugar low after birth, as is typical of diabetic moms, and breastmilk is the best thing for them to recover from that. She showed Julien how to manually extract milk from the other boob. I’m laying there, a bunch of stuff dripping in my IV, freaking the fuck out with anxiety, with Julien and the lactation consultant squeezing milk out of me. At some point I also had a blood sugar low, so they added some sugar in my IV.
When it was finally my turn to go in the operating room, they wheeled my bed next to the operation table, and male doctors or nurses, I don’t remember, transfered me from the bed to the cold, hard operating table. There was a cushion under my butt. With my huge belly up in the air like that, and my head several inches below my waist level, I could barely breathe. I was taking short, shallow breaths, felt like crying and freaking out. I could see Julien through the glass window, but he wasn’t allowed in the OR until I had received my epidural. The anaesthesist had scared the hell out of me earlier by talking to me about the risks of administering epidurals to obese women. When he saw my back, I heard him say “Oh, that’s not so bad”. I had another doctor holding me in his arms, to make sure I stayed still. He was telling me how much he liked my tattoos. Julien said that he had tattoos himself, but I don’t remember seeing any. The anaesthesist successfully inserted the epidural and said “You’ll soon start to feel numb.” My legs were already completely numb by the time he said that sentence. What a freaky feeling. They strapped my wrists down at 90 degree angles to my body, which also felt so weird, and then Julien was finally able to come and be by my side. I heard one doctor say : “Oh we forgot to put that cushion back under her butt, do you want me to insert it?” Another doctor said “No, it’s okay, she already has a…. natural wedge.” I think that was a polite way to say I have a fat ass. I could breathe so much easier without the cushion though. Just having Julien there touching me helped calm me down quite a bit too. But I was still so scared!
I heard Julien say: “Do you hear him?” Me: “Who?” Julien: “The baby! They took him out!” I didn’t hear him. I was focussed on breathing and not panicking. A few seconds after that they asked Julien if he wanted to come see the baby and cut the cord. They told him to be careful to not slip on all the blood on the floor. A few seconds after that they placed baby Jerome on my chest. Julien and another doctor were holding him there in place, as I couldn’t because my hands were still strapped down. I looked at my baby’s tiny crying face and thought: “Wow, he’s beautiful. I can’t believe we made such a beautiful little human being!”
I know they told me previously that the closing me up procedures should take about one hour, but to me it felt like it lasted five minutes. Baby Jerome had to be taken to the NICU because his temperature was a little too low, and also he ended up indeed having a low blood sugar episode. I was wheeled downstairs into intensive care to recover. As my one-on-one intensive care nurse was pushing on my uterus, cleaning the blood out of my vagina, and seeing me fully naked, we were chit chatting, and turns out I went to school with her and knew exactly who she was. Gah. I hadn’t seen her in 20 years, so hopefully I don’t see her for another 20. That was a little embarrassing.
A lot of people say that the day their child(ren) were born was the most beautiful/best day of their whole life. For me, it was more like the scariest day of my life. I was honestly scared I was going to die right there, and terrified that something would go wrong with the baby. We stayed at the hospital for 11 days after baby’s birth. They wanted to make sure that Jerome was okay, since he was born at 35 weeks and 2 days. Everyone kept forgetting that he was a preemie, because he is so big! Then on day five, my c-section incision burst open. I bled all over the floor. That was scary.
I gained 101lbs during my pregnancy. 37lbs just during the last three weeks. In the long, hard, eleven days that we had to stay in the hospital after Jerome’s birth, I lost 65lbs of that. Holy water retention!
Today I am 15 days post-partum, and I am still recovering at home. Extra mural nurses come to our house every day to change my bandage and fabric strips they insert into my big gaping hole, aka shotgun wound as Julien calls it. I am extremely lucky to have my mother in law. She’s been coming every single day to help with chores and baby while I sleep and recover during the day. I take the night shift with baby. With feeding my sleepy baby and pumping breast milk, I get to sleep in 2 hour increments, if all goes according to plan. During the day between the extra mural nurse calls and visit, and other things, I get to sleep a couple of two hour increments since my awsome mother in law is here to help.
I have never had so little energy in my whole life. I can’t even explain it. Just walking from the car to the house and I’m positively drained. I can’t even lift my arms up.
But when I look at my son’s beautiful face, I know this is all worth it. I know I will eventually recover, my big belly hole will eventually close, and I will eventually get my energy back and will enjoy going for walks with my son in his stroller and I will get to enjoy the nice ‘almost summer’ temperatures we’ve been having. It’s hard to believe it was snowing on the day I was admitted in the hospital!