Saturday, August 14, 2010

Quick update: Road to recovery

It has been an interesting two weeks. Baby Ryan is perfect. He's an absolute doll. He eats well, sleeps well, smiles when mommy says, "I bet I can make you smile," (he also smiles when he's sleeping and when he's pooping...basically, he smiles often :) ) and he's just perfect.

Mommy, on the other hand, has been less than perfect. We were released from the hospital on Sat, July 31 and that following Tuesday, I began getting sick. Once or twice a day, I would get sick. I had a terrible nagging pain in my upper stomach that would not go away. It was worse immediately after nursing Ryan. Although it would subside at times (rare times), it never completely went away.

It is the same pain that I've had for years (going back to college). It had been pretty manageable during recent years- only flaring up once or twice a year and even during those times the pain was manageable.

During pregnancy, I never experienced the pain. It was wonderful!

But just after Ryan was born, the pain returned and with a vengeance. The pain was so constant and miserable that it began making me physically ill. I also had zero appetite (just ask Jill, she and Denny were to bring us Thai food for dinner Sunday night and I canceled on them. I NEVER cancel Thai food!). After several days of vomiting, I broke down and saw the doctor on Sunday. She put me on antispasmotic (?) medication, thinking it was a spastic biliary duct (which is a good thought since that's one of the conditions the surgeon mentioned to me several years ago when he was treating me for the same pain). The medication is a category 3 lactation medication so I was able to still nurse (they actually used to give the medication directly to infants with Colic, but stopped using it for that purpose when other, better medications hit the market I guess).

Even on the maximum dose, that medication didn't seem to help much. The pain remained constant and I continued getting sick once or twice a day. I also wasn't eating (which isn't good for a breast feeding mom).

Yesterday was my breaking point. It was the second day in a row that I woke up and immediately got sick. I didn't even get out of bed before I was vomiting everywhere. Miserable.

Even though I didn't want to involve yet another physician, I had to call Dr T since I was still under his care for a few more weeks (until my 6 weeks post partum check up). He immediately referred me to GI and within an hour I was sitting in Dr. A's office (I personally know Dr. A and he's wonderful!). A STAT CT scan, two IVs, 2 medications, and a EGD (scope down the throat into the stomach) later I was diagnosed with a very significant duodenal ulcer.

They filled me up with fluids since I was so dehydrated, gave me medication for the ulcer and I left the hospital at 7:30pm last night. It was the first night since coming home from the hospital after delivery that I felt like ME.

I'm carrying a huge amount of guilt right now because I haven't been 100% for Ryan and Hubs. The pain knocked me down and I hate that it took two weeks to get some resolution. But, I'm feeling much better this morning (fingers crossed it keeps up!) and I cannot wait to be the mom that Ryan deserves all of the time.

We're getting his newborn pictures taken today and I'm so excited because I know how much everyone is dying to see more pics of my baby :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

15 days ago....

I weighed 246 lbs (yauzers).

Today I weigh 214 lbs...

The ONLY benefit of all of that fluid...quick weight loss!

I'm only 12 lbs heavier than I was when we got pregnant.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Maximum swelling

Just for fun, here is a video Craig took just before I got my epidural. If you listen carefully, you can hear the lisp I acquired due to maximum swelling when I say the word "ass." It sounded more like "ath."

Here is a pic of me on Tuesday evening (24 hours before delivery). The fluids hadn't started yet, so this was how minimally swollen I was...

And, here is a pic of me 3 days post partum. See how swollen I still was after 3 days?

It doesn't matter, though. I'd do it all again if it means I get another Ryan Jamison to love on :)

Part III

From the time we agreed upon the c-section until birth was almost 2 hours. Honestly, it could have been another 24 hours and I could have cared less. I was so relieved to finally be able to focus on the baby that I was on cloud nine.

Earlier in the evening, a good friend of mine from work, Debbie, came to the hospital. Debbie works part time in Labor & Delivery @ Memorial and having her there meant the world to me. She's very knowledgeable and a calming presence. She was my patient advocate, especially when it came to remember to ask for the ASP in my epi :)

Things really began to pick up once the c-section decision was final. Hubs was handed a pair of scrubs to change into and nurses and other staff were going over what was about to happen. I would be prepped in my l&d room and then wheeled into the nearby operating room. Hubs would stay behind in the l&d room until I was just about ready for the section, then he would be escorted into the room to be by my side during the birth.

I wasn't the least bit nervous. I was excited. I was ecstatic. I was elated.

Our family was sent to the lobby to anxiously await the news that we have a baby!

It took a little longer than anticipated to finally get back into the OR because there was some minor confusion over which anesthesiologist/nurse anesthetist would assist during the procedure. Apparently there was a cool surgical case about to happen and I honestly think they were flipping coins to see who got to attend the cool case and who got to sit in on my boring ol' c-section.

Once anesthesia was set to go, we were gravy.

The OR was much smaller than I had anticipated and it was chuck full of people. Everyone introduced themselves to me as I was wheeled in on the bed. Everyone was smiling and very friendly. For the procedure, I had to be transferred from my bed onto the OR table. I laid my arms across my chest, they rolled my entire body onto my left side, slid a board under me, then lifted me off the bed and onto the table.

Anesthesia began giving me the more heavy doses of drugs through the epi b/c I was still able to move my toes (and that made me a little nervous). After a few minutes, I was completely numb from the chest down. I couldn't feel anything.

Dr. T told me that he was going to do a "cut test" to ensure I couldn't feel anything and then the procedure would begin. I remember thinking, "where's Craig?!" I guess I passed the cut test b/c next thing I remember they were announcing the time to begin the procedure.

Finally Craig walked through the door and came to my side. I don't remember too much of what we talked about. What I do remember is the singing. I was so stinking excited and mood in the OR was so fun that I started singing "(You're) Having My Baby." I think Craig almost died from embarrassment :)...."I'm having your baby, what a lovely way of saying how much I love you."

My teeth chattered and my body was shaking uncontrollably, both from excitement as well as the anesthesia. Singing took my mind off of what was happening below the hanging gown.

Within a few minutes of Craig arriving, it was time to have this baby.

A few seconds of silence was broken by the all important question, "Daddy, do you want to announce the sex?" Craig's face lit up with excitement. He looked down at me and smiled. And with that, he stood up off the stool, leaned over the drape, waited a few seconds, then looked down at me and so proudly announced,

"It's a BOY!"

A BOY! "It's a boy! We have a boy!"

Craig leaned over and kissed me and then the tears began.

We have a boy. A precious baby boy.

Dr. T lifted Ryan over the drape so I could lay eyes on our beautiful baby.

My body stopped shaking and my BP immediately normalized. My heart was so content at that very moment. We have a boy.

Then Dr. T asked, "time of birth?" and the nurse replied, "9:56pm."

The next few minutes, while exciting and memorable, were also slightly anxious. The baby cried (yeah!) but he was described as "floppy" and "gray/blue" so he was immediately put on oxygen in the OR. He was briefly checked over and they decided he needed to be closely monitored in the nursery. The staff was very good about explaining everything to us. They said although he's breathing OK, he needs a little extra attention and they would be taking him away for a little while. Dr. T was especially great at this time. He calls me his "worry wort" and knows that constant communication helps relieve my anxiety. He assured me that the baby was going to be fine and once I'm done in the OR, I'll get to see him and love on him.

Before they whisked away the baby, they wrapped him up and brought him over to me. I got to kiss my baby for the first time at 10:09 pm on July 28, 2010. I'll never, ever forget that moment.

Tears streamed down my face as my baby and my husband left the OR and headed towards the nursery.

Dr T finished up with me in about 45 minutes. I was then transferred from the OR table back into my bed and wheeled into my l&d room. I laid there in the bed taking it all in and wondering how the baby was doing. Was he OK? When could I see him? There were numerous staff members shuffling in and out of the room, taking my vitals, checking my stats. But where was my baby?

It would be almost 3 hours before I got to hold my son for the first time.

In the meantime, Craig returned to my l&d room, sans the baby who was still being tended to in the nursery. We hugged and cried. "We have a baby!" We shared a few intimate moments before the grandparents joined us in the room.

My parents and Craig's parents walked in, looking around the room for the baby. It was difficult to explain that everything is OK, but the baby is in the nursery getting some extra attention. Obviously, everyone was expecting to see and hold the baby.

But then the moment everyone had been waiting for-- is it a boy or a girl??

It's a boy!

I loved announcing, "It's a boy!" It was so exciting and totally worth the wait!!

Then, the next best moment....the name revelation:

I could not wait to FINALLY announce the baby's name! It's a special name because my mom and my grandfather's middle name is Jami(e)son. We've known since day 1 that the baby's middle name would be Jamison and we quickly picked out Ryan for the boy. So for nine long months, I waited for this moment to share with my mom the baby's name.

There is a story behind the spelling of Jamison, but I'll leave that for another day :)

After the hugs and tears subsided, the family made their way to the nursery to see baby Ryan.

After several minutes, they returned and I bombarded them with questions: Is he OK? Who does he look like? Does he have hair? What color are his eyes? When can I hold him?

Remember, I hadn't really seen my baby yet.

The next set of visitors, Jennie, Matt, and Katie, came into the room, again, expecting to see a baby. We explained the situation, announced the sex and the name to them, and they took off towards the nursery.

Craig got to be with Ryan in the nursery, making sure he was in good hands.

As the hours went by, everyone eventually called it a night and left the hospital. The long-awaited-much-anticipated birth of baby Ryan had come and gone.

And then....around 12:30am, they brought me my baby for the first time. Just Craig and I and baby Ryan were in the room. After nearly 9 months, I finally got to hold and love on Ryan from the outside :)

To be continued...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Part II

We arrived at the hospital at 6pm and got settled into the labor and delivery room. I was immediately hooked up the BP machine, which was set to check my BP every 15 minutes. The first few readings were high (no big surprises there), but the longer I laid there after getting settled, the BP came down a little bit.

They hooked me up to external monitors and we were all *VERY* surprised to see that I was apparently having regular contractions every 5 minutes. No one was more surprised than me. I could feel my stomach getting hard, but it wasn't really painful, just uncomfortable.

Within a few minutes, Kelly, the night nurse, came in to start my IV. (P.S. LOVE KELLY!) This is where the fun really began. I was so swollen that Kelly couldn't find a vein to place the IV. She tried my left hand, my left arm, my right hand, my right arm...she placed and replaced the turnicate, tying it tighter in an attempt to raise a few veins. No such luck. After 15-20 minutes, she finally placed the IV in my right arm, in the elbow crease where they normally draw blood. She commented that that is basically the worst place to put an IV, but there were no other options. She told me that subsequent nurses would come in and question the placement site, but she said to tell them to try and find another suitable place and when they can't find one, they'll agree that she had no other choice.

Sure enough, almost every nurse after her that came and went over the next 3 days questioned why I had the IV in that location. I politely told them that Kelly did her best and if they wanted to try and find a better place, they could feel free to do so. Nearly all of them tried, and each one of them failed :) Turns out Kelly knew what she was doing afterall ;)

The problem with this placement is that once they started the pitocin, I couldn't bend my arm. At. All. When I did, the pit drip would stop and an alarm on the IV machine would sound. This happened every 20 minutes or so for over 24 hours. It drove me crazy. It drove hubs crazy. It drove the nurses crazy. But there wasn't anything we could do about it. I would be asleep during the night and the alarm would sound. It eventually got to the point where I would let the alarm sound for 10 mins or so before I summoned the nurse to fix it. She would have to come in and reset the drip. I felt badly that this happened so frequently, so I became accustomed to the noise in an attempt to not disturb the nurses very often.

If you saw me in the days leading up to the delivery, you knew how awful swollen I was, despite having been on strict bed rest. Now imagine me in the hospital hooked up to IV fluids. My skin was so tight that just moving around in the bed was a challenge. My legs were giant nubs. I had no knees, no ankles, and my feet were swallowing my toes. My arms and hands swelled, as did my face, nose, cheeks, lips, and tongue. It was ridiculous. (6 days after delivery I went back to T's office to have my staples removed and Angela said to me, "Oh my God! You're so skinny!" It had been so long since I hadn't swollen that people who didn't know me very well never realized just how swollen I had become. I was so swollen that when I lost the fluid and was back down to a size 16/18, she thought I was skinny!)

I had my IV set and I was resting pretty comfortably when Dr T came in to start the induction about 8pm. I opted for the balloon induction because it seemed more "natural" (if there is such a thing as a natural induction) and it is more effective than the traditional cervadil route. With a balloon induction, a woman can grow to 5 cm dilated within 4-5 hours. The way the induction works is this: a foley cath is strung through the cervix. A balloon is placed on the inside of the cervix and filled with saline so the balloon grows to about 5 cm. A second balloon sits on the outside of the cervix and is also inflated with saline. The idea is that the two balloons apply pressure to the cervix, eventually thinning it out and dialating it to 5cm. Once this happens, the internal cervical balloon falls out b/c the cervical opening is bigger than the balloon. Like I said, this normally happens within just a few hours.

During the placement of the balloons, my bed was raised very high, as Dr. T was standing when he placed the cath. I was very, very nervous b/c every time I had been checked thus far, my cervix was very high and "under the baby." I had my doubts that even Dr. T could find it in order to place the balloon. Between the speculum and his skill, Dr T was able to place the balloons. During the actual process, I was blasting Melissa Ethridge's "I Run for Life" on the stereo. It was my fight song as I called it. I needed something to distract me from the discomfort and nerves and what better song to distract you than one about fighting for life? I figured if women could go through more pain than I was enduring in order to fight for their lives, I could handle a balloon catheder when the end result was going to be a beautiful baby. Dr T and the nurses probably thought I was crazy, but I just laid there and sang, sang, sang. Within a few minutes, everything was in place and Dr T commented on how awesome I did :)

Now the waiting game began. We had a few visitors that night and then around midnight, Hubs and I called it a night.

About 2 am, I awakened because the contractions were becoming much stronger. (Even though I mentioned the pitocin drip above, that hadn't actually been started yet.) At this point, I knew I had a long journey still ahead of me. I knew that Bubs was still sitting "high" and if I didn't get rest, then delivery would be impossible. I asked for some medication to help with the pain and got IV Stadol. It took the edge off enough that I could sleep, although I could still feel each contraction.

Wednesday morning, Dr T made his rounds and of course that included checking in on his favorite patient. He seemed surprised to learn that the balloon hadn't fallen out during the night. I knew what this meant- he needed to check me (with the balloons still in place). OUCH. He went in, over the first balloon, felt the second one which was still inside the cervix. He tugged on it, pulling it about 3/4 of the way through the cervix, then decided I still wasn't dilated enough and he shoved it back in. (I'm sure he didn't actually *shove* it back in, but thats what it felt like anyway). At this point, he ordered the pitocin drip to get things moving along.

They also did some labs and poked around my body more. Turns out that I was hyperreflexive. Not a big deal (I thought) but come to find out, neurological symptoms such as hyperrflexia are indicative of eclampsia and can quickly lead to serious, serious problems. The hyperrflexia combined with my headache from a few days before were enough to really worry the good doctor and he immediately ordered a mag sulfate via IV. I could have cared less about the mag sulfate IV except that it meant I also needed to have a urine cath placed. I DID NOT WANT A URINE CATHEDER!

This is where things began to sour. I didn't realize it at the time, but the mag sulfate really altered my mood. I became very irritable and teary all of the time. In addition, the placement of the urine cath HURT and it continued to hurt for several hours. I had a constant burning senstation in my bladder and it was incredibly uncomfortable. I HATED it. I quickly grew to hate the idea of this mag sulfate.

The next several hours were a blur to me. I remember being very aggitated and upset (due to the cath). Every time a nurse walked in and asked if I needed anything, I would always reply something to the effect of , "yes, please take this stupid cath out of me." I'm pretty sure I was making everyone around me just as miseable as I had been. I didn't mean to do this- I blame the mag sulfate. I was also upset because I felt that the good doctor was just being overly cautious and ordered the mag sulfate as a precaution. I honestly didn't feel as though I needed it. But I had it and that was that.

Over the next few hours, I asked for the epidural a number of times. It wasn't because of the contractions. I needed it b/c the discomfort from the urine cath was driving me absolutely crazy and I wasn't enjoying this birth experience at all. I felt I had been very patient and understanding of all of the medical intervention I had endured thus far and I didn't feel that asking for the epi was asking for too much. The nurse on duty, though, kept stating that epis are reserved for when the contractions were closer together (like 3 mins apart). I don't care! I didn't want the epi for the contractions; I needed it to keep me from pulling this stupid, stupid cath out of my body!! Remember, by this point, I had THREE balloons "down there" all taking up space and (in my mind) keeping the baby from dropping b/c there was NO MORE ROOM DOWN THERE!

But then things started to turn around. MONA walked through my door! Mona is a good family friend and a labor and delivery nurse. I had written a letter to the hospital asking that she be allowed to be my labor nurse when the time came (assuming she wasn't already working). She was given special permission to do this, however because I was induced and this baby was coming on a Wednesday, Mona wouldn't be able to attend the birth until after 6pm b/c she teaches nursing school in St. Louis on Wednesdays. I was incredibly disappointed that she wouldn't be there. But then, around noon, Mona came walking through the door! I about jumped out of the bed, balloons and catheders be damned!! A HUGE sense of relief came over me. Mona was able to finagle her way out of her afternoon duties at the nursing school (her students apparently loved me for cutting their day short!) and she raced to the hospital. Thank God for Mona.

Mona got the ball rolling on the epidural. I can't recall what time I got it, but that (of course) is a story too :) The nurse anesthetist that gave me the epi placed it without incident. I was actually pretty calm, leaning over towards Hubs, tapping out a song with my fingers on his back. Once it was placed, she told me that she was going to do a test injection and that if I heard ringing in my ears or got blurry vision that I needed to let her know. But, before she could inject me, I suddenly got tunnel hearing and I started seeing black spots. I told her about this and then the last thing I remember was telling Craig I couldn't hear very well...then I passed out. Apparently my BP bottomed out once the epi was placed and my body didn't like that very much.

I just wasn't winning the battle of the BP :) It was either too high or too low :)

The weirdest part of that whole situation was that I was only passed out for about 5 seconds, but when I came to, it felt like I had been asleep for 3 hours. In fact, I distinctly remember having an entire dream during that time. The first words I said were, "I just had the weirdest dream." The the nurse told me I had only been out a few seconds and I could have sworn I was out for longer. Then I asked the all important question, "but you got the epidural placed, right?!" OH yes, that was in place and working well.

For the next several hours, I felt great. Now that the pain and discomfort from the cath was gone, I felt like me again. I was laughing, joking, smiling...I was finally able to start enjoying the fact that within a few short hours, we would be meeting our baby for the first time!!

About 5pm, Dr T came in and removed the balloon cath. I still hadn't dilated much past 4 but fortuantely b/c I had the epidural, when he removed the balloon cath and it "popped," I didn't feel anything. Unfortunately I had begun to start running a fever, so they started IV antibiotics (if you're keeping track, that makes FOUR bags running through my IV...saline, pitocin, mag sulfate, and now an antibiotic). Can you imagine my swelling now?!! After he removed the induction cath, he broke my water (another "don't do" item marked off my birth plan :) ) and placed internal monitors since my BP was still running high, I started with a fever and I was still experiencing neurological symptoms (internal monitoring...another "don't do" item marked off my birth plan).

The plan was to wait a few more hours now that my water had been broken to see how much farther I would dilate. We also needed the baby to drop since Bubs was no where near the birth canal. At this point, I saw the writing on the c-section wall. At 36 weeks, Bubs was not ready to make his/her Earthly appearance. Of course Bubs hadn't dropped any. Bubs didn't want to come out. My heart, on the other hand, couldn't handle the pressure too much longer.

Within an hour or so of the water breaking, I started feeling badly. The BOLA injection from the epi was wearing off and I could feel the cath again. Mona checked me and I still wasn't dialating much so she upped the pitocin. I had a total emotional breakdown at that point. It had been over 24 hours since we started the induction and although I hadn't even pushed once, the cards were heavily stacked against me for a vaginal delivery. Between the excessive fluid, the high BP, the increasing fever, the stupid mag sulfate and accompanying cath, and the fact that the baby wasn't dropping, I hit a low.

I began to accept the inevitability of the c-section. And I was quicly becoming OK with that.

What focused me the most was that during this entire process, I hadn't been able to get excited about having a baby. Instead, I was focusing on making one decision after another when medical issues popped up. For 24 hours straight, we were focused on ME and I didn't want that. I wanted to focus on Bubs. I knew that if we just decided to do the c-section, I could spend the last hour or so before delivery getting excited about welcoming our baby into this world.

So then I started campaigning.

Every person that walked in the room was given explicit instructions by me to please let Dr. T know that I wanted a c-section. Every person. Mr. Janitor? Yes, please tell T of my wishes. Dietary lady wondering what I want for breakfast tomorrow? Yes, I'll take a bagel with cream cheese. Oh and please mention to Dr. T that I would like that c-section I've been avoiding for 36 weeks now. Thanks.

Mona checked me routinely and felt that I was "kinda" starting to dialte more. NO! Please Mona, don't tell that to Dr. T. Tell him I'm stuck and that I want a c-section. PLEASE!

I honestly didn't know how with my BP problems, anyone would want me to endure a physical labor and delivery process. There is NO WAY my heart would handle that well.

About 8pm, T returned. He came walking into the room, checked me and then it was done. I was to have an immediate c-section. THANK GOD!

During the next hour, every weight of the world was off my shoulders. Every pain, discomfort, negative thought..everything was gone. I was SO EXCITED about focusing on Bubs that nothing else mattered. I could finally direct my attention where I wanted it to be this entire time: on our baby. And it felt wonderful.

To be continued...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

You get what you need, Part I

As the Rolling Stones once sang, “You can't always get what you want, But if you try sometimes well you just might find, You get what you need.”

The birth story. It’s a much different story that I thought I’d be telling, but you know what? I’m so OK with that.

Part I...

It all started on Tuesday, July 20, 2010. I had been checking my blood pressure several times a day at work because it seemed to be creeping up in recent days. Throughout the entire pregnancy, my BP had been PERFECT. In fact, my BP during pregnancy was better than my pre-pregnancy BP. Starting the week of the 19th, though, that all changed. And it changed quickly.

Tuesday morning, the nurse checking my BP was getting readings of 160+/90+. She took readings several times throughout the morning and it wasn’t coming down. She encouraged me to call Dr. T’s office. Although I was hesitant (you know me and doctors), I knew I what I had to do so I gave them a call.

Angela, his medical assistant, answered the phone. I gave her my BP readings and she said that he’s going to want to see me and that he’s probably going to put me on bed rest for the rest of the pregnancy. This drew a HUGE laugh from me. Me on bed rest for the next 5 weeks? Seriously? My laugh was quickly silenced by a concerned tone in Angela’s voice when she said, “sweetie, I’m not kidding.”

They told me to be in his office in 2 hours.

During the visit, T did in fact put me on bed rest. I asked for modified bed rest where I could work in the AM then head home after lunch and put my feet up in the PM. This was a no-go for the good doctor. He explained that between my quickly elevating BP and the increase in my swelling (if you can even imagine that), my heart was stressing and it needed a break. Badly. He went onto describe more serious complications of continued elevated BP, including seizures, internal organ failure, etc. Don’t you love it when doctors immediately jump to the worse case scenarios?? My heart was working a little overtime, but seizures and liver failure? I wasn’t buying it.

But, trusting Dr. T with everything I have, I immediately went home and started my bed rest. I was really upset. It’s not so much that I resisted the bed rest, it’s just that I never imagined I would have to make such drastic changes so early on. At this point, Bubs was still 5 weeks away from being born. Five weeks is a long time for a pregnant woman. I didn’t want to holed up in our house, confined to a couch or a bed for the next 5 weeks. How is any of that conducive to preparing for labor?

Until that point, I had been faithful at preparing my body for the inevitable labor and delivery. Each night I would spend 30-60 mins on the birthing ball, rocking back and forth, moving left to right doing exercises to open up my pelvis and stretch my hips. And those exercises worked too. I could tell a difference “down there” within just a few days after starting the exercise routine.

With that in mind, it was quite a blow to hear that I would now be confined to a semi-reclining position, which is in no way conducive to labor. I became frustrated that what I had imagined in a birth was being taken away from me.

The good news was that with bed rest, my chances for a vaginal delivery were good. If I could lose some of the excessive fluid and keep my BP in check, I could still have the delivery I planned. And the best rest seemed to be working. From Tues evening until Thurs morning, I lost 4.5 lbs of fluid. My BPs became more normal and I had ankles again! Things were definitely looking up.

I remained on faithful bed rest through the rest of the week and into the weekend. Then on Saturday afternoon, I got a terrible headache that I couldn’t shake. I increased my water intake and took a nap hoping that would help. I woke up with an even stronger headache than before. I took Tylenol and within 45 mins still had no relief. The BP readings on my home machine were elevated (despite having been on bed rest for 4 days) and I wasn’t feel well at all. I called my dad who came over and took my BP which had elevated to 160/100. I called Dr. T’s answering service and Dr H, as the on call physician, returned my call. He said it’s difficult to tell if the headache is pregnancy related or not, but said to give it another 30 mins and if the Tylenol didn’t help it go away then I needed to proceed to labor & delivery at the hospital to be monitored.

Headache worsened so we made our way to the hospital. I was admitted for monitoring and my first BP reading was 176/108. That is crazy high. They took my BP every 15 minus for the next few hours and it remained high. I kept telling the nurse that if she just gave me medication to make the headache go away then I’m sure my BP would drop. I think the pain from the headache was causing my BP to elevate. She said they couldn’t give me anything for the headache until my BP was better controlled b/c with uncontrolled BP, they were limited in which headache meds I could receive. It was a vicious cycle!

They gave me oral medication to bring down my BP and a few hours later, it had normalized. Then they were able to give me oral medication for the headache and my blood work came back “as they would expect” for someone in my condition. I was just about to walk about of there without any further poking and prodding but then Holly, the nurse, came in and said that Dr. H wanted me to be checked “just to make sure” everything was OK. My birth plan is described in more detail below, but one of the conditions I had was to NOT be checked until it became medically necessary (no routine checks starting at 36 weeks for me…I have better things to do with my time!). I guess this time counted as “medically necessary.” Holly checked me and WAUZERS! It was NOT comfortable. She rooted around, dug up and down…eventually almost getting up onto the bed with me in an attempt to find my cervix. Apparently my cervix was amidst a game of Where’s Waldo and was no where to be found. Holly ‘thinks’ she felt it very high up and under the baby. She could barely reach it and in her estimation, I was not dilated at all. After that lovely exam was complete, I was sent on my way. Although I still had a dull headache by the time we left (the physical exam brought back much of the headache intensity…way to go!), I was feeling MUCH better than I had hours before. I left with a RX for BP medication (the second strongest dose a pregnant woman can take) and orders for STRICT bed rest.

Monday afternoon around 4:30pm, Dr. T’s nurse called me. She said that Dr. T just learned that I had been in the hospital over the weekend and he wanted to see me first thing Tuesday morning. I reminded her that I already had an appt scheduled with him for Wed and she said he’s insisting on seeing me Tuesday. *sigh*

Hubby cancelled his patients for Tuesday morning and we went in for our visit. We reviewed the visit to the hospital and then Dr. T started reviewing our options. Ultimately our options were to be induced that night or to wait until Friday to be induced.

Side note: I realize I never posted the actual details of my birth plan, but here were the highlights:
1) Get this baby out of me healthy and happy
2) I do NOT want to be induced
3) I do NOT want a C-Section
4) The end.

That was it (well, there may have something in there about not wanting to be checked routinely starting at 36 weeks, not wanting to have an episiotomy, not wanting to have internal monitoring, and a few other things, but those are the highlights).

Obviously, T’s recommendation of being induced was not a welcome thought for me. Hubby and I talked with him to find out if there any other options. Could I be admitted and closely monitored for my BP? He said that I was already on the second highest dose of BP medication and my in office BPs that morning were still running in the 160/90s. Not good. I had also started collecting more fluid (again) despite being on strict bed rest. By this point, in addition to my ankles, feet, knees and legs swelling, my face, tongue, and lips were swollen too. I now spoke with a lisp. My cheeks were puffy and you could really tell I was retaining crazy fluid.

With my elevated BP despite the medication plus my insane edema, T really started to lay things out for us. He detailed the complications that arise from consistently elevated BPs and swelling. This time, he wasn’t speaking in hypotheticals. He was talking about patients that have my same conditions and their inevitable fate. He expressed he knew I had done everything I could to control my BP, but at this point, it was out of my control. And I knew it, too. The only known way to reduce the pressure on my heart was to deliver the baby.

I love Dr. T. He really had worked with us to get the delivery we wanted and I suspect he even let us go father than he was medically comfortable with (to an extent). He commented that had he been on call Sat night when I went into the hospital, I could have had the baby then.

So, induction it was. We spent the afternoon running around preparing for the baby’s arrival. Remember, I had just turned 36 weeks. I barely had anything ready for the labor and delivery. Sure, the nursery was done. But that was about it. The house was a wreck. We didn’t have our hospital bags packed. I hadn’t off loaded ANY of my duties at work. I wasn’t at all prepared to have this baby. But, as I’m slowly learning, as a parent, things rarely play out the way you thought they would and you don’t always have time to prepare for them.

To be continued…