Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Story of Isaac: Continuing Chapters

I have to say that things were pretty much an ugly blur from then on out.  When Isaac came out, he had a ton of fluid in his lungs due to lack of compression from no labor, and/or lungs not being fully ready.  He ended up with "wet lungs" and was transferred to the NICU.  My husband advocated for me to see him before he left for the NICU so they let me see him for a moment before he left.  My husband spent the night shuttling between baby Isaac and me.  I didn't even get to see Isaac again or hold him until the next day at around 2:30, a full 18 hours after he was born.

This did not make me happy.  At the time I did not realize what rough shape I was in myself.  I had been hooked up to a magnesium drip for the blood pressure, and the next day was told that there was protein in my urine, thereby confirming my diagnosis of full-blown preeclampsia.

Because of the magnesium IV and it being a hard drug on your body, I was not allowed to be wheeled down to the NICU without a nurse present.  No biggie, I told the nurse.  When could she go with me?

"We don't usually allow the "mag moms" to go down to the NICU.  We don't normally have enough nurse staff to go with them for regular trips."

Excusez-moi?  Did I hear her right?  They were not going to let me go see my own baby that I had birthed in terror and confusion the night before, whose cries I had heard only for a moment, whose little face had been held up to my own for a mere few seconds, and who was down in the NICU without ever having been held by his mother, because of a nurse schedule?!

Tears started rolling down my face.  I'm an emotional person at best, and this was not my best.

"Well, you better figure out a schedule.  Because I'm going to go.  You can't keep me from my baby.  That's barbaric.  I just want to go once.  I haven't seen him since I had him!"

At 2:30, the nurse and my husband wheeled me down to the NICU for Isaac's feeding.  I had butterflies seeing him for the first time.  My poor little baby with his little IV because his blood sugar kept dropping.  His breathing was better, though.  And he was much better off than most of the other babies in the NICU.  I finally got to hold him and feed him.  I was a mess though.  Hormones, pain, general traumatic ordeal, whatever, I think I cried the whole time.

Isaac stayed in the NICU for 3 days and we stayed in the hospital for four total.  I was in a lot of pain from the C section, but was hanging tough.  I was on the magnesium for a little more than 24 hours and could go to the NICU whenever I wanted after the IV came out.

After we got released from the hospital the first few days home were a blur too.  I was so dopey and had lost so much blood I pretty much slept the whole time while my mom and husband took care of Isaac.  I did feel bad about that, but it wasn't like I could physically fight through it.  I just sighed and felt bad and went back to sleep.

Little did I know that's how my life itself would feel for the next year or so.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Story of Isaac: Part 2

"Hey, can I call you back?  I'm in the middle of something."

I almost didn't call him right away.  I really didn't think it was that serious.

"I just wanted to let you know that my blood pressure was a little high, so I'm headed to the hospital to have it monitored."

"Oh.  Do I need to come down there?"

"I don't think so.  It's probably no big deal, just be in the hospital for a minute and get it checked out."

"I'll come down."

"Well don't rush.  It's really not a big deal."

I found a fairly good parking spot and went on into the hospital.  A blessed rush of cool air.  It was the last day of summer, but apparently Virginia hadn't gotten the memo.  It was as hot as ever.

I made my way to admissions, and was directed to Labor and Delivery.  I tried to explain that I wasn't actually having the baby.  Just a minor blood pressure issue.  Just a little monitoring.  No big deal.

"Are you dizzy?  We can get you a wheelchair."

"No, not at all!  I feel great!  I'll walk up to Labor and Delivery!  It will be good for my blood pressure!"

After getting lost with a dear little old volunteer (bless her heart) we finally found our way up to L & D.  I asked for some water because I was parched.  They took my blood pressure.  It was rising.  I got hooked up to a machine that took my blood pressure every so often.  They strapped on an abdomen monitor.  Baby was looking good, but I was starting to get nervous.  I don't like hospitals, and with all this equipment, shit was starting to get real.

I texted my friend Andrea, but didn't call anyone.  I didn't want to scare anyone or make things seem more dramatic than they were.

Then the dreaded words:  "We need to get an IV started."

Well if my blood pressure was up before, it was definitely rising now.  I don't mind shots but needles going into my veins gives me the heeby jeebies.

I made it through that but then they needed another dreaded thing:  blood.  They were unable to get it through my IV, the bastards, so they had to draw it from my elbow.  I wasn't feeling too great after all these procedures, and my blood pressure was still rising.  By then I was really getting worked up.

It took a couple of hours, but everything was a blur:  the monitor kept going off, the doctor coming in and telling me I had gestational hypertension and that my baby would be delivered no later than the next morning, blood pressure rising, rising, rising, nurse telling me I could have a stroke or a seizure, doctor telling me I needed an emergency c-section tonight, where is your husband, we can't wait on him, we need a new consent form, this is the anesthesiologist, the medicine to bring down your blood pressure isn't working, calling my husband, telling him to hurry, please, (I had previously called and told him that the baby was coming in the morning and to get a haircut), making sure I was getting my c-section, we need to do this now, your blood pressure is 221/112, telling them I needed a shower, feeling like I was going to faint or throw up or both, my husband finally getting there, seeing him in blue scrubs, them walking me to the bathroom because I couldn't go alone with my condition, walking me to the operating room.

The operating room.

I remember feeling so incredibly relieved I was there because I had this huge fear that the c-section wouldn't work out and that I would be forced to give birth naturally.

I hopped up on the table and got my epidural.  Probably the worst part of the whole procedure.  I kept jumping and they kept moving the needle in my back, making my right leg jump around.  Weirdest feeling ever.  I was scared but feeling in good hands.  My doctor was sitting in a corner of the operating room, mask over her face, cool as a cucumber.

Then I laid back and got ready for my baby to be born.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Story of Isaac:  Part 1

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"Your blood pressure's a little high.  Did you just get off work?  Rush over here?"  

"Yeah," I told the nurse at the OB/GYN office.  "I'm sure that's what it is."  

After all, my blood pressure has always been excellent, despite my propensity for eating pickles by the half-jar.  OK, maybe sometimes a whole jar.  And despite my ever-looming anxiety, just the week before, at my 37 week checkup, my blood pressure had been a very good 118/76.

A quick recheck revealed that my blood pressure was still elevated.

"I'll check it again after your appointment.  We'll see."

At this point I was not worried.  In fact, I was probably as relaxed as I had ever been throughout the entire pregnancy.  Just two weeks before, at my 36 week checkup, I was told that my baby was measuring large, and that a c-section was recommended.

This was music to my ears.  The entire pregnancy had seen me riddled with anxiety, and on top of that, I was definitely too posh to push.  Uh uh, no way, outta your mind, hell would freeze over before I would push my baby out.  Skip the drama.  Get my hair braided, a facial, and a mani-pedi, and show up at the hospital for surgery looking fresh and ready.  I had done my research, found a doctor willing to do an elective c section, and then found out my baby was going to be too big to push out anyway.  It was a huge sigh of relief.

My appointment was routine.  38 weeks, and I was looking good.  C section was scheduled for the following Tuesday, September 27, 2011.  I was not dilated or effaced, which I took as a good sign.  Isaac was snug as a bug.  No early labor for me!  No chance of Isaac making a surprise appearance and ruining my careful plans.  Not to mention my lady parts.  I figured I would go home, get some pizza, clean up, and rest while I could.

"Dr. Niang?  Her blood pressure was a little high a minute ago.  I'm going to check it again."

Me:  "What happens if it's still high?"

"You go to the hospital," no-nonsense Dr. Niang, in her Parisian accent.

Two blood pressure measurements later, Dr. Niang made the call.

"Go to the hospital.  They will monitor your blood pressure there and see if they can get it down.  I will be by to check on you later."


Welcome to my blog!  For those moms out there who are struggling with postpartum depression like I am, I hope that this blog provides some useful insight.  I had previously struggled with waiting to write some of my thoughts down because sometimes, when we are in the thick of things, it is hard to know where to start.  But I think that if I just start by telling my story I will eventually catch up with myself  :)

You may recognize the name of my blog as a song by Five for Fighting, "Chances Are."  There are a few reasons that I chose this song as an inspiration for my blog name.  First of all, it's simply one of my favorite songs!  Secondly, for whatever reason, when my son, Isaac, was a very small baby, this song soothed him.  I would play it and sing it to him very softly while he was going to sleep, and it often (not always!) settled him down.  Finally, I think that the song can easily be related to postpartum depression.  In particular, the line "Nothing lasts forever, no matter how it feels today" truly speaks to me.  It's something I repeat to myself often when I am feeling extremely down and out.  Chances are, I will make it out of postpartum depression, and no matter what, there is no better bet than the love of my son.

Again, welcome.  My hope is that just one person will read and relate to this, and possibly feel just a bit better.