With every storm, comes a rainbow

Meet Shannon…

Labor Day weekend of 2015 my husband and I found out I was pregnant. This was extremely exciting as I had suffered a miscarriage in March that same year. That weekend I enjoyed my last glass of wine for the next 9 months. I had promised myself I would be ultra-careful with this pregnancy- I was that borderline crazy pregnant lady when it came to “the rules”.

Weeks passed and the morning sickness got worse. It became increasingly difficult to hide my pregnancy from friends. The previous pregnancy we had told many people early on in our excitement and found it excruciatingly painful to go back and tell them there would be no baby.

My husband and I waited until 14 weeks to announce to the world we would be expecting Baby S in early May. It seemed like the world was as excited as we were.

I have to admit, being pregnant during the holidays was nice. I could eat all I wanted without regret. At first I was gaining weight nice and steady, then suddenly, very quickly. I had thought too quickly but assumed it was due to holiday gluttony. The holidays passed and I continued my extreme weight gain.  The “experts” recommend a pound a week and I was averaging 3-5 pounds a week despite how healthy I ate. I chalked it up to just being one of those people who gain crazy weight when pregnant.

When my 3rd trimester began I noticed each time I saw the Dr they would comment about my blood pressure, but it was never a big focus. She didn’t seem concerned so I wasn’t concerned. Weeks pressed on, high blood pressure kept being recorded, but just under the red flag range. I became EXTREMELY swollen; I couldn’t wear my wedding ring or the larger fake one I bought. My shoes did not fit at all and I ended up having to buy slip on sneakers that were 2 sizes larger than my regular shoes and I had to start wearing compression socks. This made quite the statement at work.

Eventually I was sent for a urine and blood test for preeclampsia. My numbers came back in the normal range so once again it became a nonissue.

At around week 36 the Dr said if my blood pressure stayed consistently high she was thinking of inducing me.

Week 37 came, high blood pressure once again! She asked me to come back a few days later and she would see about getting me into the hospital by Tuesday night. This didn’t bother me, I had my house professionally scrubbed, I had completed my nesting (much to my husband’s chagrin) and all of the baby clothing was washed and ready!  For the next few days all I ate were pineapples and eggplant. I sat on a yoga ball and my husband and I kept “busy”. I would have tried walking but I was more swollen than a tick on a dog. Just trying to stand up or hold something was a major physical feat of strength.

Tuesday night came and I was admitted. A final weigh in revealed a total weight gain of 62 pounds! A final urine test proved that I was finally under the medical definition of preeclampsia. I was given cervidil and told to get a good night’s sleep. 6 am came and the nurses said things were looking good. They told me to shower and get a small snack. I’m hooked up to an IV of potocin and told that I won’t feel anything for a while, to kick back and relax. I tell my husband to go grab breakfast and I enjoy what is probably my last moment of quiet, ever.

For anyone who has never been induced, it isn’t pleasant. What’s worse, the nurses didn’t think I was dilating quickly enough so I got to experience a Foley Bulb.  What’s even better is my water broke right before they put it in! Long story short, it was extremely painful.

During my childbirth classes I was given techniques to help relieve the pain of contractions- they all included not being bed ridden. Being that I was attached to an IV line and had my Foley friend down below I am now unable to move – and that’s when my contractions began! Over the course of the next few hours my contractions start coming closer and closer and become increasingly more intense. I am sweating and writhing in pain, but stop holding the little fan I brought because I can’t handle holding it up and breathing through the contractions. My husband offers to hold it for me – he’s so sweet right? Just wait. While in the middle of contractions he starts spraying me in the face with the fan’s mister. I “calmly” ask him to stop and he tells me he “thinks” it would be refreshing. The face I gave him can best be described as the angry face emoji.

Things progress quickly. I am now having contractions about every 1-2 minutes and they are excruciating. It doesn’t help that I haven’t dilated much – like less than 3 cm. So, I call in the big guns. The epidural. This is where things spiraled out of control.

Initially I told my husband to go grab some lunch. I had actually just gotten off the phone with my mother telling her there was nothing to report. My husband decided to hang back until after the epidural just to make sure I was all set. The doctor comes in and with little to no issues I am given an epidural. Within a few minutes I feel it kick in and start to relax. Now, a friend who gave birth a few months before told me all about her epidural and how it only numbs you from your knees to your ribs. Well, I was definitely numb, but all the way to my toes! I could not move. At all.

Things start moving at rapid pace at this point. I notice the nurses chatting excitedly. I’m given something in my IV – they still don’t appear happy. My bed is laid flat and I am given an oxygen mask. I notice my husband is pushed away from the bed and I see new faces appear in my room. Before I know it my bed is surrounded by nurses and they are all at a standstill. I am terrified. The only thing I can muster up to ask, “is the baby ok?” – no one answers.  Suddenly another new face appears “Hello I am Dr. So-and-so. I am the resident surgeon. I don’t like the numbers I see here. You’re going into the O.R.” And just like that he’s gone. (I am later told that my blood pressure plummeted and so did the baby’s heart rate)

Have you ever seen a video of a bee hive? That’s what my room turned into. Everyone was doing something. I was rushed to sign some forms. Told to drink something, which I immediately threw up. Then, as if she manifested from thin air, my OB just appears in the room. This conversation takes place:

OB: (looking at everyone) So, what’s going on?

Me: Apparently I’m having a C-section.

OB: Ok, I’ll cancel the rest of my day.

In one quick moment my OB left to scrub up and became my hero.

 As I’m rushed into the OR I can feel myself getting weak. My husband is brought in right before they begin. We are both obviously terrified and hold on to each other. The anesthesiologist stands by me and walks me through what is happening on the other side of the curtain. I hear “ok, you’ll feel a big push and your baby will be here!” I hold my breath and wait. What was probably moments felt like forever but then I hear the first cries of my son. My husband and I weep with joy together. My son is cleaned, weighed, measured and sent over to me. The nurse lets me give him kisses and then escorts my husband and son out of the room. I lay there while the Dr and her team finish the procedure. I am wheeled out to recovery and eventually take my son and nurse him for the first time. It was truly magical. I give my husband the ok to call my parents and start telling our friends. My parents are shocked to hear their grandson is already here since I spoke with my mother about an hour earlier.

The rest of my stay at the hospital was pretty standard which was nice after such a roller coaster of a delivery. I have had surgery before, but let me tell you, a C-section is a completely different ball game.  Recovery was tough but thankfully my hospital had a top notch postpartum team who helped get me on the mend.

The day my child came into the world was a crash course in parenthood.  Things can fall apart quickly.  You may need to sacrifice yourself for your child’s well-being – be it physically, mentally or socially. Everything now revolved around this new little human and making sure he was healthy and content.  As terrifying as my son’s birth was – if I had to go through it again to ensure the safety of my child I would in a heartbeat.   

 

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