Perpetual Plan B

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Worst C-Section I Ever Had

Okay, to be fair, it's actually the only c-section I've had. But, I'm pretty sure it would qualify for a rotten one. Here are MOST of the gory details:

Austin was due in September (8th or 9th, I can't remember now) 2004. It was a lousy pregnancy, like the others, with lots of throwing up, visits to the Perinatologist (for the Big C and Little E problems and to rule out physical abnormalities and watch the cysts on his brain).

One thing that made this pregnancy stand out from the others was the added bonus of having pneumonia twice. I was pretty sure I was going to have to resort to Depends eventually (please don't ask me to explain why).

A month before he was due, we decided to hurry and paint my bedroom. I was so tired that when I woke up in the middle of the night, I had to drag myself to the bathroom. I actually ended up getting rug burns on my stomach because it was so huge and dragged on the carpet. Isn't that sad!
We had just found out a week or so before that Austin was breech so we were looking at a possible c-section.

I went to the doctor on Monday the 16th of August (3 weeks before he was due) to talk about trying to turn him, but the number one reason to not turn them is if the placenta is in the front. It is too dangerous and that's where my placenta was (of course). (I was actually relieved to not have to make that decision for fear I would make the wrong choice and hurt the baby.) When he checked me, I was already at a 3 1/2 and also the cord was prolapsed (in the opening of the uterus), which is dangerous if your water breaks because it can compress the cord and cut off the oxygen. Also, the baby was getting really big for his age and the doctor was worried about that.

I had enough medical problems that he called the hospital to see about admitting me but they said I couldn't go up because they were too full. Also, he said I had eaten too recently for a c-section. So, he stripped my membranes and sent me home, saying that if I went into labor to just show up at the hospital, not call first so they wouldn't try to discourage me from coming in. He also said to call him in the morning if I didn't go into labor first and then he would try to fit me into the schedule.

Well, I did end up going into labor that started really slow and painless, but by the time I got Hal motivated to take me in, I was having really hard contractions every 5 minutes. They ran around fast at the hospital trying to get us ready and the anesthesiologist (it took an hour before he could get started) for some reason had a hard time with the epidural and I went numb all over and went into anaphylactic shock. My tongue started to swell up and I couldn't talk (this had happened before, so I knew exactly what was going on and wasn't happy). He then had to inject me with a lot of Benadryl to counteract the drug I was allergic to. Anyway, he finally got me all fixed up and the nurses came in and said my doctor went out of town and it would be another hour before he would get in and they were going to inject me with something to slow down the contractions. (Why did he strip my membranes and then go out of town? I have no idea.) Anyway, he finally showed up and they started the c‑section.

I was really loopy by now from all the different drugs. I remember I kept hearing myself saying really stupid things, but I couldn't really stop myself from saying them. After they got Austin's feet out, the doctors started acting funny and finally someone said "Get the forceps." and I said "You're not supposed to have to use forceps with a c‑section." Then he said "You just had a really big contraction and we can't get the baby's head out. I'm going to have to make a really big cut in your uterus." So he basically sliced it in two (with a vertical cut called a “j” cut) and got Austin out. (So, it would be safe to say I've earned my flabby stomach with both a horizontal AND a vertical cut. My poor abs don't really have a chance, do they?)

I kept asking what the baby's apgars were and everyone kept ignoring me. I finally found out later that they didn't want me to panic because his first number was a 1, which is practically dead. He ended up staying the first night in the ICU because of this, but seemed to do better later. I was really loopy on whatever medicine they gave me and quite out of it, which is probably a blessing. If I were coherent I would have kept on the doctors and nurses until I had answers for all of my questions (and having gone through major medical problems with other babies I knew all the right questions to ask). I did grill the doctor about it later and he said Austin was without oxygen for about 5 minutes. He'd checked the cord blood and it looked fine so I shouldn't worry. It wasn't until he was about two and talking normally that I agreed that he was fine. He talked really late, so I was worried. Now we can't get him to be quiet.

During the c-section I kept saying to the anesthesiologist, "Hey guy standing at my head, I can't remember your name, but my shoulder hurts. Will you push on it?" And I kept saying stuff to the doctors like, "C‑sections are bad." and "I'm glad you are good doctors." I said to the one assisting, "Hey, I think you are my cousin's doctor." He asked me what her name was and I said, "I don't remember. It's not really important."

Hal said something because I couldn't finish one of my sentences and I said "That sounded like my husband." and they said "It is your husband." and I said "Where is he?" and they said "Holding your hand." I said "I was wondering who was holding my hand." Anyway, they ended up tying my tubes because of my pregnancy history and now my very weak uterus. I had actually talked to my doctor about it before, so was not upset, but it has by far caused worse pain than the c‑section. I wish I had the presence of mind at the time to talk the doctor into taking out a little extra stomach flab. If I weren't on so many drugs I would have tried.

Well the next day was a pretty ordinary recovery until in the afternoon, when I asked my nurse if I could take off a bandage they had wrapped around my elbow. She got this funny look and started ripping it off my arm. I got looking and my forearm was swelled to about 3 times its normal size. They were supposed to take it off the night before and it was too tight, like a tourniquet. It did go down eventually, but then I started getting a rash.

A few hours later, my legs started to itch. I looked and they were covered with all sorts of funny zigzagged red sores with raised white centers. I called the nurse and she got more people to come and look. The sores grew bigger until I had a few really big hives on me that covered most of the surface area of my legs. No one knew what to do so they gave me lots more Benadryl and Prednisone too. I didn't think that was a good idea for the baby, but was in no position to argue too much because it really itched. I did take digital pictures of my legs, although I didn't know what I would do with them. (Maybe for evidence?)

One of the nurses said “You better find out what you are allergic to or you may end up in anaphylactic shock. Do you know what that is?” I said “Why yes, I do happen to know what that is.” So that night passed and I actually got some sleep, the only night I did sleep at the hospital.

The next day the baby ended up with bad jaundice, so he was stuffed in the little light box most of the day and night, poor thing. The nurses did say that he was a lot calmer than most babies are in there. One thing that made me mad is that they sent us home after only 3 days (mostly because of overcrowding I think). I tried to argue, but then realized that if they didn't want us there, they probably wouldn't take very good care of us.

The release hours are about 6 hours short of when I had him, so I was probably only there closer to 2 1/2 days. I really dislike insurance. The kicker is, too, that they told me I would have to rent lights to take home for the baby and that once we left the hospital his deductible would kick in and I would have to pay an extra 500 dollars that I wouldn't have had to if we could have stayed.

I could tell the pediatrician felt really badly about it. He kept telling me to stay in my pajamas for at least a week so if people came to visit they would know that we weren't doing very well. My doctor didn't even show up the second day. I don't think he dared face me.

Anyway, we survived it all. Austin stayed under the lights (which looked suspiciously like a suitcase with a heat lamp retrofitted into it) another 3 days, with us taking him back to the hospital every day to have his bilirubin checked.

I had a huge amount of pain for many more days, especially where my tubes were and all across my insides. My incision on the outside wasn't too bad, although looking at the staples reminded me of Hitler and his experiments on the human body. I felt so sorry for the Jewish people and having no pain meds. I couldn't really even get in and out of bed by myself. Once I got up in the morning I just stayed out of bed because it hurt too much to climb back in.

I kept thinking that Austin was so good and slept so much except at about 2:00 a.m. when he was wide awake and I finally figured out that my pain meds were keeping him sedated and wore off at night. So I quit them all, cold turkey and decided it was better that way. He still stayed a pretty calm baby.

The first week was a blur of pain, and I didn't even think to do anything to take care of his cord, etc. but his cord fell off quicker than the girls’ and actually healed up better too.

One highlight of Austin's first few weeks of life is when I was changing him on the makeshift little table that was set up in my bedroom, right next to my dresser. It was an actual card table because I couldn't bend down for a long time. I was changing his diaper and I guess when I took off the old one it felt freeing to him because he wet in a big stream that arched right into my open dresser drawer. The girls got a big kick out of that. It would have been a lot funnier to me if I didn't have to wash everything of mine that was in the drawer.

We were certainly blessed and watched over that's for sure. I was quite relieved that he is my last baby. I don't think I could live through that experience again. But he is sure worth everything I have had to go through. A very sweet little boy, even from the very beginning.

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