After Pascal’s Birth

IMG_1208Keeping with being a statistic (3-5 % of pregnant woman develop preeclamsia), two days after having Pascal, I was fortunate enough to be part of the 7% of women who get Endometritis…or an infected uterus. Granted, my chances were greatly increased by the long labor/ruptured membranes before having the surgery, but still, those are small percentages, people!. I was just getting to the point of being able to walk around a little, and even got my Patient husband to help me get in a shower that I hadn’t had in days. While showering I got a sudden migraine which I was very surprised by because I hadn’t had them for almost my entire pregnancy. These are like windows to the health of my body, I almost always get them when i’m sick. I told my nurse this, and coupled with my overly tender suture sight they just watched me a little more closely. All of the sudden midday I started having major chills, so much so that I could barely move I was so tensed from trying to stay warm. I got a bunch of blankets but it didn’t help at all. Trying to get up to pee when you feel like your insides are going to fall out from surgery and being overcome by the chills makes for a very harrowing 10 ft journey. I know I looked awful and I really felt like I was going to die. My temperature was starting to go over 102 degrees, so they quickly put me on a double round of IV antibiotics every 8 hours to help clear the infection. Only two hours after the first round my fever came back with a vengeance, and i’m not kidding you the ONE time these entire 9 odd days I was in the hospital that Patient husband left me alone for more than 5 minutes I couldn’t even move my body to push the call button for the nurse to help me go pee (this is important, because with a C-section you can’t have a bursting bladder because it puts a lot of pressure on the sutures and causes even more pain). After getting to the “i’m bursting point” I finally find a way to barely push the button and two nurses have to help me to the bathroom. It’s hard to describe how crazy this all looked and felt, but I was basically convulsing, being held up by two women and crying in pain as i tried to walk to the bathroom while patient husband walks back in and they both glare at him “why did you leave her!”….poor guy can’t catch a break. I wanted to be covered in a thousand warmed blankets but they had to break my fever so I had to lay there blanketless getting pumped full of more antibiotics until it broke. A few hours later they tested my blood for infection, which by the way is a horrible test and hurt like the dickens, and found it was in my blood too. I thought I could go home the next day, but I had to stay two additional days in the hospital to get yet another type of antibiotic making my hospital stay a grand total of 11 days! Patient husband hadn’t been to work all that time so he had to go back, and the last night my mom came in and stayed with me. I was pretty distraught that I had to go on so many antibiotics, but was reassured by every doctor and neonatologist that the small amount in my breastmilk was fine for Pascal and infact, it’s better to give him breastmilk with a few traces of antibiotics than to give him formula. Breastmilk was medicine to him, and the wonderful doctors were very helpful in reassuring me that I was the only one who could give him the most healing thing for him. I had to go home on 2 blood pressure medications for a month or so, taking my bloodpressure multiple times a day and reporting back to the doctors.

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Throughout all this ordeal i was still diligently pumping for Pascal and visited him everyday when I could. I was still very unsure of myself around him and in the ISCU. When you first become a mother to a preemie in ISCU (NICU) it’s a very strange feeling of separation from your child. It did’t seem like he was mine….the environment with so many rules that I didn’t understand yet, with so many monitors going off. I was kind of scared to touch him or do anything in that room. I was overwhelmed by all the small and sick babies around me, most, if not all in worse condition than Pascal. There is an unspoken rule there that you just do not mention any other child than your own, but it’s hard not to observe the fear on parent’s faces, and watch the nurses as they run from monitor to monitor, performing different tasks on different children in order to maintain their life. The “scariest” time for me in the ISCU was really just the first week Pascal was there. I constantly checked on his weight that he was gaining (of course he lost some before gaining back), his IV was frequently failing and they had to re-do it, and ended up using up all of his good veins to the point of not being able to put an IV in anymore. The time they tried about 5 times to re-IV him I was there, thinking I was strong enough to watch the whole time, but I wasn’t. In the end they couldn’t get his IV in and the neonatologist said that he should be ok without it, he would just get in increased feeding amount. I think I was just hormonal, overwhelmed by the number of times they had to poke him and make him cry, and sad that I waited for 2 hours without being able to hold him in the end, but I balled all the way back to my room very aware that my child was feeble and that I could do nothing for him, not even hold him when he was crying. He ended up being fine without the IV which was a huge blessing. The only other medical issue he encountered was jaundice, which is totally expected, so he had to have UV light therapy a few times..bili lights they call it..to get his bilirubin levels down. This just mean’t I really couldn’t hold him, and he had to wear adorable little black eye covers and be sunbathed all day with no clothes on to cover his tiny chicken legs. The period of time that he was so small seemed to be gone in the blink of an eye. Every time I held him he was swaddled up tight with my favorite blue hat on (I have an unhealthy love for that hat, probably because of all the memories it holds) and by the time I held him unswaddled he was plumped up…so ity bity Pascal disappeared before my eyes. Truly though, he gained weight like a champ (Go boobmilk!), and the doctors were continually pleased by his growth and health. This made my time as an ISCU mom fairly easy compared to most moms, and I am so very thankful, and humbled by that fact.

IMG_1193The night before I left the hospital my mom took care of me, and as a bit of comic relief in this whole story, we were chatting as she pushed me in my wheelchair back to our room, when I observe that a certain set of windows didn’t look familiar to me in the hallway…we keep going anyways, and when she pushes me into my room there is a pregnant woman in my bed! We quickly look at the room number and we are on the wrong floor! hahaha. We dart out and laugh our way back to the elevator. We were on autopilot and mostly everything (except those nursery windows..ha) looked the same. I bet that woman was like “what the heck!?”. We got a good laugh out of it afterward.
Leaving the hospital was a very sad time for me, but I was also happy to be out of that place. Eating hospital food for 11 days is a mild form of torture, and those inclined beds are NOT comfortable after a while no matter how many pillows you have. I was sad to leave Pascal and be miles away instead of floors, but I was ready to rest and recover at home so I could be strong enough to be by his side for as many hours a day as I could stand it.
I’ll write a few posts about my ISCU experience as I watched my little man grow and got my first lessons in mommyhood from a team of beautiful nurses.

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