I am posting from the hospital, where the nurses are the BEST and nicest, and although I am tired of being here, I am glad they're watching over me.
Thursday morning, I had a check up at my obstetrician's office. I woke up late and hustled through a shower, having not even washed my hair. So it was Murphy's Law that he took one look at my scary-high blood pressure and sent me to the hospital to be induced -- do not pass Go, do not collect $200, do not go home and get your hospital bag or wash your hair first.
I checked in and they instantly (against my wishes) installed an IV. They wanted it there "just in case." (It was put in wrong or somehow compromised, because it inflated my hand in 2 days and I had to be IV'd on the OTHER side too -- and then that IV was in long enough that it had to come out before they were sure they were done with it. That's how long I've been in the hospital.)
They tried 2 12-hour torture sessions involving Cervodil. Cervodil, in case you are blithely innocent of its existence, is a 2" x 14"-ish kite-shaped affair made of medicine-impregnated cardboard and shoestring. (Yes, really.) It makes everyone sore. It made ME so sore that, after the first 12 hours, I begged them to find something else to try -- and after 8 hours of the 2nd dose, I asked them to contact my doctor NOW because it had to come out. He and I split the difference -- agreeing that it would come out in an hour or two instead of immediately. The only unpleasant nurse I had went on duty and ignored that order completely, ensuring that the second dose was in for just under 11 hours. As it turns out, my misery was justified: I am allergic to Cervodil.
So. Then to Cytotec. It is not approved by the FDA as an inducer of labor, so the doctor on duty -- not my normal doctor, as it was now the weekend -- did not want to continue it. 2 doses of Cytotec later, nothing much had happened other than contractions, but my blood pressure had skyrocketed. So the doctor on duty -- again, very sweet but NOT my doctor -- put me on magnesium sulfate, which they use to delay labor, to lower the BP. And Pitocin, which does nothing but induce contractions. Predictably, this did nothing for inducing labor. It also did nothing good for my blood pressure (maybe!) because it got to 210/112 before my doctor showed up on Monday and told me it was time to do a C to keep me healthy.
Three different anesthesiologists argued about whether or not it was okay to do an epidural or spinal with me, because of my genetic condition -- which made a bleed inside the spinal column, which could be permanently paralyzing, more probable than with the general population. This was balanced against general anesthesia, which is dangerous for anyone and more than usually so at my weight. We decided on a spinal.
During the C section, my blood pressure dropped precipitously to 90/60 (from 200/100ish). The baby was delivered limp and waxen, had to be resuscitated, and had an Apgar score of 2. He was taken to the NICU to be evaluated and was, fortunately, swift to recover (although the magnesium sulfate and BP drop has affected him, it's unlikely to cause anything permanent.)
The baby won't latch on to nurse (he is early, my breasts are fuller than he likes, and he's a "sleepy" baby because of the drugs) but feeds well with pumped or expressed milk, which has come in so well that the day nurse today yipped "God A-mighty" when she saw how much we are getting. We gave him formula to help move the bilirubin out of his system faster, because he's a little jaundiced.
They are watching me for high blood pressure tonight, because it crept back up after delivery, and are watching him for a dangerous increase of jaundice.
NOTHING here is as planned. I wanted a natural delivery, no formula, nursing, no drugs, absolutely no induction before baby was ready, and no C-section.
But, listen to me. I WOULD NOT CHANGE A THING. They saved my life. They saved my beautiful, healthy, already-smart, precious miracle child. They delivered our little son and I am totally at peace with everything that happened.
I had the good fortune of getting "unvarnished" advice from my friend Kate, a total super-mom by the way, who does all the "right" things with her toddler and newborn even as she jet-sets to conventions and publishes articles and grades graduate students' work and teaches. She advised me to "be reasonable." She said that if changes to the plan needed to happen, to welcome them.
Oh my God, thank you, Kate. Better advice was never given. At each step, I have been serenely confident and filled with trust and joy (and I have to admit, impatience -- boy, I wanted a shower, and to have the IV out, and to have the baby, and now, to go home. But still confident, serene, and joyous.)
This is my reward: