Pascal’s Birth Story III

Pascal’s Birth Story Part III
WARNING: This post has a lot of personal medical based details that you may not want to read about…it’s about childbirth so prepare you mind accordingly if you want to continue reading. Also, the pictures of me are terrible, so you better be very thankful i’m willing to post them :)

IMG_3369IMG_3377At 9:00 pm, September 11, I was hooked up to a pitocin and magnesium IV’s and induced for labor with a cervical catheter. I don’t really know much about it except that it takes a woman who isn’t remotely in labor and forces their cervix to dilate with a balloon and it’s an odd feeling. The catheter was in place for 6 hours before my water broke, which was a very interesting experience in bed. The nurse kept increasing the pitocin to increase my contractions and I was in a lot of pain, she even had to ask the doctor for permission to increase it above the normal “level” or something like that. My body was being forced from 0 to 60 very quickly (it felt that way, but really this was going to be a long process) She had to back off the pitocin because the contractions were coming very quickly but they couldn’t get my cervix to dilate past 5 cm for many hours. They knew labor could take days and they doctors were constantly watching Pascal and I, especially his heart rate. I got an epidural because even though back when I thought my life would be normal (what is normal anyways!?) I thought I would do natural childbirth. In my situation I had to get one because there was a very likely possibility I would need a C-section and if they waited too long I would have to be put under. I was so thankful the epidural went smoothly and didn’t even really hurt…contractions were a breeze after that! The worst part was the magnesium making me very hot on certain parts of my body, like the bottoms of my feet. To stop the burning sensation Patient husband put chilled washcloths on them. I was starting to get bad headaches because my blood pressure was sustained at a high level. A few hours after my water broke the doctor re-checked my cervix and saw that the sack had re-sealed and had to re-break my water. She found meconium which was the first sign that Pascal was in distress. Around 6:00 pm on September 12 Pascal’s heart rate wasn’t returning to a safe level very well after my contractions, so after trying for 22 hours to labor, they immediately gave up and started prepping me for a c-section. Michael got his scrubs on and as soon as the doctor arrived I went into surgery at 7:00 pm September 12.

The moment they pushed me through the operating room doors began the period of most fear for me throughout the whole ordeal. The thought of being sliced open while awake terrified me, but not enough to want to be put under and not see Pascal right after he was born. I opened my eyes only one time from the door to recovery, and that was to look at the baby boy I carried for only 7 months placed next to my face for 5 seconds before being whisked away. When they started laying the tape on my belly I blurted outloud in a shaky voice “I lift my eyes unto the hills, where does my help come from, my help come from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” because that psalm was coursing through my head that whole day. I needed my creators help because I was beside myself with fear. I bear gripped patient husband’s hand the whole time and would not let go for the world. The anesthesiologist sat at my shoulder the whole time and when I felt sharp pain instead of tugging I would let her know and she gave me more drugs. I was extremely nauseous and so was giving anti nausea meds the whole time as well. I forced patient husband to talk to me the entire time because I couldn’t think about what was happening to me without freaking out. We talked non stop about where we were going to take Pascal hiking when he grew into a mobile little boy. We talked about going to my cabin, and hiking in Kentucky, on the Manistee river trail. We talked about our hopes for our adventures with him, and when there was a minute lull in the convo I barked at him to keep talking. He obliged :) It seemed like it took forever but the whole process once I was numb was maybe 15 minutes. At 7:45 on September 12, 2012 my son Pascal was born at 3 lbs 8.6 oz and was 16.5 inches long. Patient husband got to look at him coming out and praise be to God, Pascal waited to scream until they sucked the meconium out of his mouth. IMG_3379

His little lungs worked perfectly from the moment he was born and never once stopped since then. This single medical victory was the best possible outcome for Pascal and brought me the biggest relief. He had 10 fingers and toes and was perfect and wholly formed in every way. I got to just glance at him before he was taken away and I was brought to a recovery area. My body suddenly got extremely cold and I had major chills. They covered me in numerous warm blankets, even around my head to warm me back up….I looked pretty ridiculous :)

IMG_3385After about an hour of recovery I was wheeled to the ISCU to see my son on the little open air table, laid out with all his cords attached already, and all I could do was poke his little body with my finger. I was too drugged up to cry, but I so wanted to hold him. After that it was back to my room on the high risk floor for another 24 hours of magnesium torture before I would be allowed to come back down and hold my son for the first time. During this time I was sad for certain, but my world was very hazy because I had many foreign things coursing through my veins. I had to get more BP meds because my BP just wouldn’t go down. Preeclampsia as seen in Downton Abbey, can still escalate and effect the woman even after the placenta is gone, which is why I had to have anti seizure meds (the magnesium) for 24 hours and still continued on BP meds (i had to stay on them for a month). The magnesium makes you unable to walk, and definitely unable to hold a premature baby safely, and so I waited. During that time I know I said hello to both our parents, and I pumped breastmilk as soon as I possibly could…within a couple hours of giving birth.

IMG_3395IMG_4405I remember getting just a few tiny drops of colostrom and it hurt and that the nurses and everyone were just so supportive and cheered me on, getting bottles for me, and telling me to save every drop because they had syringes in the ISCU to get them. By the grace of God I got about 10 ml the of pure liquid gold colostrum the first time I pumped and despite getting drops most times after that for a couple days before my milk came it, he only needed very minimal supplementation. I remember my amazing patient husband gently tapping the pump pieces to get out any drops lingering inside and carrying the bottles down to the ISCU like they were precious jewels because he knew to me they were, and to Pascal they were life giving and healing. I pumped 9 to 12 times a day diligently because I was determined to do everything I possibly could to give Pascal my antibodies….it was all I could do for him from my bed two floors away besides pray.

I remember really wanting to eat, but having to wait for that too, and I remember getting too many pain meds at once and having that “room is literally spinning like crazy” feeling for the first time in my life. All this delayed me from seeing my son, and toward the end of my magnesium torture period I was getting really emotional as the epidural and everything wore off. I know I cried a lot, and I made patient husband play a christian radio station on the ipad so I could just think about those songs. I remember crying so many times that “I just want to hold him”, and “he should still be in my belly, why isn’t he in my belly”. I know a lot of this was regular postpartum blues, and the hormone craziness that occurs when a child leaves your womb, but I was also heartbroken. I didn’t have any time to actually think about what was happening to me and i was genuinely sad that my pregnancy was over. I wasn’t worried about Pascal, I knew he was well taken care of and didn’t even need breathing assistance…no, I was most sad for my empty and sutured womb.

Most women loath the last 9 weeks of pregnancy, and I know I would have been right there with them. I would have complained about insomnia, and being giant, and swollen feet (though I had plenty enough of that already), and “get this baby out of me”, but the thing is, I didn’t have that chance. I didn’t get to have my baby shower, Pascal was born the week before that was planned back home in Michigan. I didn’t get the anticipation of “is that a contraction? when will my baby come…today, tomorrow?” In an almost selfish way, after my son was born prematurely, I cried for myself. I cried that I didn’t get to feel his kicks when he filled my womb to the max, and point to people that “this is definitely his foot sticking out right here”. I hear being 9 months pregnant is overrated, but it’s actually not. Babies need 9 entire months to grow inside a woman. They need the last moments to have fully formed lungs and brains, and to get all the immunities your body gives them to prepare them to enter the world. They need to be bundled and warm inside that tight space very close to your heart, and you need them too. I was mourning my bonding time with him that was cut short and was to be replaced by hospital visits in a hard chair watching him grow inside a warm box meant to imitate me. I was bitter. I wanted to hold him RIGHT NOW. and I was bitter. This is taken from web MD: the 7th to 9th month of pregnancy, “fat begins to be deposited on your baby, baby’s brain is developing rapidly at this time, the lungs may still be immature…your baby continues to grow and mature, your baby’s reflexes coordinate so they can blink, close the eyes, turn the head, grasp firmly, and respond to sounds, light, and touch…”" Well, Pascal didn’t get that, for some reason my body revolted against me, and I was mad. Not only was he gone, but I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed him all day, or hold him for more than short periods, and I hadn’t even held him in my arms and it was 22 hours after he was stolen from me. Maybe if I had been prepared mentally earlier in my pregnancy I wouldn’t have felt so jilted, but the fact was I hadn’t. The second best moment of my life was kangarooing with Pascal the first time after those long 26 or so hours, and if you remember I wrote about that as my first post “This is not the beginning”…because I wanted to start there. The next few days were a huge adjustment for me as I was still trapped in a hospital, not able to walk, trying to be a new mom in such a sterile hands off way. The story continues as I stayed another five days in the hospital with Patient husband facing another setback and processing everything that just happened.

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One comment on “Pascal’s Birth Story III

  1. You are just amazing.

    Also, I physically blanched when I read that they REBROKE your water. I mena, I know that isn’t the point of the story, or even the big news of the story, but…gracious. :)

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