Sunday, February 19, 2012

My Birth Story, Part 2

If you haven't done so yet, please read Part 1 HERE. Please bear with me on this. I know it's not exact, but I got quite a bit of information from my husband and mother after-the-fact.

The afternoon of April 14, I was admitted, yet again. When I asked what the reason was for the rushed admission and immediate delivery, the nurse told me I was at 7+ protein and an induction would normally have been performed at 5+. I was in danger of complete kidney failure. Just prior to my admission, I weighed 160 pounds. Prior to that, the most I had gained was 15 pounds and had only been 135 pre-pregnancy. After they hooked me up to IV fluids, I have no clue how much weight I gained. It was enough, though, that I ballooned up. I felt puffy all over. My fingers turned into fat little sausages. This certainly didn't help my blood pressure. Seeing those numbers climb up to 190/90 was very difficult knowing there wasn't anything I could do about it. All I could do was lie in bed and hope everything would work out. I called Hubby, knowing it was his last day for the workweek. I told him not to worry but when he got cleaned up, I wanted my hospital bag and a few other things from home. When he arrived around 8:00 p.m., I relayed all the information I had been given. I was being given Cervadil starting at midnight to help soften and dilate my cervix and induction was scheduled at 8:00 a.m. He wanted to stay, but I urged him home. If I needed him, I would call and he would have plenty of time to get to the hospital.

Midnight started the Cervadil. By 3 a.m. I was contracting every 5 minutes and the nurses called the doctor. He chose to stop Cervadil and allow my contractions to stop, mainly because he didn't want to make a trip to the hospital at 3 a.m. At 8 a.m. my "birth team" arrived: Hubby, Mom, and MIL. Induction with Pitocin was begun. I got placed on magnesium sulfate to help control my blood pressure. One side effect of mag is weakening of muscle tone and strength. Great combination with Pitocin! As the day progresses, my Pit was increased to overcome the magnesium and help labor along more. Contractions were starting to become excruciating after about 2 hours of Pit. By about 11 a.m. (maybe noon, I can't recall exactly as everything was beginning to blur and get fuzzy for me), I was dilated to 2 cm, still at 0 station, and about 80% effaced. My blood pressure was getting out of control now though. They had given me such a high dosage of magnesium that I had no reflexive response. Why was that bad? If I had no reflexes and they continued pushing magnesium, breathing and other involuntary muscle actions could stop. Magnesium level was lowered at this point until I regained my reflexes. This meant my blood pressure was rising again.

By 1 p.m. I was being given an epidural. Both for pain control and, as an added side effect, to lower my blood pressure. The last I had seen, my blood pressure was reading around 195/110. Sadly, that was not the highest. My highest reading (according to my hubby) was "something"/200! As the anesthesiologist was placing the epidural, I started to vomit and my water broke. Thank goodness Hubby was allowed to stay with me, otherwise I would have fallen to the floor! At that point I also had the expected reaction to the epidural: My blood pressure came down. The unfortunate part is that it kept going down. My blood pressure bottomed out at something around 60/20. I still remember the anesthetist talking to my nurse, Robin, and saying, "Just give her 1 mL of this every time her blood pressure drops." The nurse was concerned about overdose and asked if there was an upper limit to how many times to dose me. The anesthetist said he'd never had it be a problem before.

I get to see an OBGYN at this point. He was my doctor's partner, but I'd never met him before. He checked my dilation, pulled off a glove, then introduced himself! LOL. (I seriously had this fear before even heading to the hospital. But it made me laugh amidst the craziness!) I was dilated to about 3 cm. After the injection of the med the anesthetist prescribed, my blood pressure spiked severely. Again, they initiate magnesium and turn me on my left side. Up to that point, I could feel Fuss's feet firmly planted in the middle of my ribcage. I knew she was progressing and she was comfortable, so despite the discomfort I was in, I was determined to allow her to come in her own time. Until the next drop in my blood pressure when her heart rate all but vanished from the monitor. Robin (who became my personal nurse after the first 3 hours) flipped! She ran out of the room, grabbed the doctor, and started to unplug me from all the IV's and monitors...until Fuss's heart rate came back, and was strong, steady, and normal. I know that shortly afterward I passed out momentarily as my BP continued dropping. At several points during the course of this, I also had to have new IV's placed because my vessels kept rupturing.

By 4:00 p.m. I was wearing down. The ups-and-downs of my blood pressure were taking a huge toll on me. It was either a headache or fainting and vomiting. That's when I felt Fuss's feet shift. It was only a slight shift. I figured I would try to shift her back by rolling over. That was until Robin started panicking because of my blood pressure and screamed at me to lie back on the left. Now, I had to deal with knowing Fuss was sitting at a 45 degree angle. I knew it was over at that point. knew. No one else did. After 5, I was still at a 3. Only 90% effaced. When my mother and mother-in-law went out to update the rest of the family again, Hubby and I discussed out options. He could see how exhausted I was. Not to mention, he couldn't stand watching them stick me with yet another needle. We spoke to the doctor and he decided to wait until 6 to check me again. After my next drop and feeling faint, my mom asked if I was prepared to do this. I told her, "I wish they'd just do the C-section and get it over with!" She told me I shouldn't talk like that.

At 6, the doctor came back. Still 3 cm. The doctor gave me the option of waiting another hour or doing a section. I chose to have the section. As they were preparing me for transport, Mom asked, "Are you okay? I know you didn't want this." I told her, "The most important thing is to get her here safely. I don't care how she gets here as long as she's safe and healthy."

They rolled me down to the operating room and Hubby got to go with me for my "semi-emergency c-section." I remember the sheet. The big, blue sheet between me and the doctor. Hubby was beside me on a stool. He held my hand the whole time and watched around the sheet, waiting to see the first glimpse of our daughter. The pressure was unbearable as the doctor pushed down on my pubic bone, but then I heard him say the head was out. I could hear the suction bulb. Hubby chuckled and said, "They pulled an arm out and she's waving her arm around like 'go away'! She's fine." Of course, I was waiting for that first cry. And when I heard it at 6:12 p.m. on April 15, the relief and joy I felt was unlike anything else. Aside from the fact that her Apgar score was 7 from lack of muscle tone, she was pink and had great lungs. Hubby followed her to the nursery while I was stitched up.

I spent the next 4 hours in the recovery room having difficulty coming out of the anesthesia. When I finally did, the nurses had to start a new IV. I was black-and-blue from my hands to my shoulders. My next IV was started just below my shoulder joint. Had that not worked, the last option would have been a central line into the jugular vein. Thankfully, after that, I was taken off the magnesium drip within 12 hours. I was also placed on a diuretic to drain the excess fluid and get my kidneys back to normal function again. By the time I went home, I had gone from 160 pounds pre-hospital (and gallons of IV fluids) down to 145 when I made it home! I wasn't able to see my daughter for 24 hours after she was born due to the problems I had.

I am glad things turned out as well as they did. She was only on oxygen for about 20 minutes after her birth and muscle tone recovered quickly. She has been a spunky little thing ever since! After this, I am terrified to have another child, but I want one. There is a chance I won't have a problem at all. Then there is the alternative....


  1. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope it is better if you have another one. I had some minor complications. I naturally have low blood pressure (100/65) and mine dropped when I had my epidural too. I was at 65/40 with a pulse over 160. I had to be placed on oxygen for an hour and remain on my left side. I wish every birth was safe and effortless like they are made out to be in movies and TV shows.

    1. My blood pressure is naturally low as well (around 100/70). I wish they were all easy and textbook births as well. Maybe one day they will be. And thanks for reading!

  2. Incredible story! So glad you were both okay. If you decide to have another, will you go with a scheduled c-section or try a VBAC? We also ended up with a section and will have to face that decision at some point (I hope!).

    1. We do hope to have another in the near future. I am going to try a VBAC as long as everything goes well. I was told I have a 50/50 chance of getting the severe pre-eclampsia again. I know I will be monitored very closely.