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I never thought I would be bitter about a birth when it resulted in a healthy baby, but it's been two weeks and I am still having a difficult time dealing with my feelings about everything.
That said, I'm going to try to write about it in hopes it will help sort through some of it.
The days before our section we were very excited for all the usual reasons. We wanted to see what she looked like, that she was healthy, and I was personally looking forward to being comfortable again. In recent weeks I had put on 20-30 lbs in water weight and it made life difficult. Having Paige was the ticket to happiness and freedom with my body again.
The night before my operation I noticed that I lost my plug (sorry men) and I told Eric there was a good chance I would go into labor within hours because that's how things went with Julie. Everyone went to bed, and I tried like usual but ended up coming out to the living room because it was easier to handle braxton hicks contractions sitting up than laying down for me. They began to become regular though around midnight and I started timing them. What do you know, I was in labor the night before my section. Perfect timing (God's timing) for the operation. This made me happy.
When we got to the hospital I was supposed to be second in line for the two scheduled sections that morning but once they got me on the monitors and saw I was having regular contractions and I was dialated to a 2, they bumped me up and said we would be having her within the hour. Yay! We called our parents and I sent a quick text to my sister.
The section itself was relatively quick once they finally got the spinal right (took 5 tries!) I got sick and had to deal with the struggle of trying to throw up when half your body is paralyzed, but then Eric finally came in the room and I immediately felt better. Paige came out and I cried happy tears but they quickly turned as I watched the nurses do her APGAR and noticed she wasn't breathing well and struggling. I remember my heart breaking as I watched them repeatedly lift her arms up and drop them lifelessly. She wasn't crying, but instead making this grunting noise. She had swallowed/inhaled maconium.
I was taken back to my room, and Eric stayed with her, a plan we had decided on months before in the chance something unexpected should happen.
4 hours. 4 horrible hours of not knowing if she would be okay. The nurses came in and tried giving me updates to 'prepare' me in case it was a worst case scenario. They said she was born with a hole in her lung and it was suffocating her. Then it wasn't a hole exactly but a bursted chamber from her trying to cough out the maconium. Blah blah blah. I kept asking to have her but they said they didn't want her to come to me until she stopped grunting. I remember my mom coming back after seeing her and showing me pictures to try to make me feel better but I could only get through the first two of seeing her all laid out with IV's and tubes running in and out of her before I broke down and said I didn't want to see them.
FINALLY they brought her to me. She latched right on. It was a quiet, joyful, and thouroughly humbling experience. As a Christian, this was another one of those moments where you feel God's hand on your shoulder. He may let me bend, but I won't break. Thank you Jesus.
So the aftermath.
My doctors were concerned with my swelling and lack of output so they started their aggressive treatments of flushing my body with bag after bag of fluids that would eventually lead us to the ER two days later. We spent a couple days in labor and delivery and I was ready to leave and get home to my kids.
I don't remember much from that day besides cluster feeding and trying to comfort Paige. That evening I started to have a hard time breathing. I had contracted a cold the preivious week that had settled in my chest and my incision made it difficult to cough out. I figured that was the problem. We had a follow up appointment the next morning for me and Paige at 8:30, but by 5 or 6 I was panting like I was out of breath just from sitting up. I woke up Eric and told him I needed to go to the emergency room. Everything else is pretty blurry.
I got to the ER and they put me on breathing treatment after breathing treatment, and talked to me like I was just another asthmatic having issues. After a couple hours of this with no real results they ordered a catscan. Next thing I knew I was admitted and in the ICU and Eric had to leave and take Paige home that night. I was beside myself having to be separated from them. I was tired and hungry and they wouldn't give me anything other than juice in case I needed to be intubated. I thought they were stupid for thinking that was a possibility. Ha.
Around 3am I woke up and started panicking again when I couldn't catch my breath. The doctors came in and gave me more adavan and another breathing treatment but I felt like I was drownding still. I knew Eric was tied down with Paige so I called my parents. I told my mom I wasn't getting better and I needed someone there with me. They said they would come, but they didn't. By the time they got there later that morning I was already unconscious. All I remember was coughing up blood and the room filling with people and that was it.
I woke up two days later with tubes in my throat and in a different hospital about 90 minutes away. My Dad and Eric were there. I have fleeting memories of knowing Eric was to my left and reaching out for his hand and hearing he and the doctors talk. I also have memories of asking for the doctors to clear my lungs and they would shove this long tube covered in plastic down my throat and then it would suck out fluid. Seriously? Who does that?
I was in ICU for 6 days. They moved me to labor and delivery and I could finally see Paige again on the 7th day. It was wonderful but horrible feeling like I was meeting her again for the first time. I was sent home the following evening.
Since being home I have had a hard time dealing with puting the pieces together of my 'birth story'. I am angry and feel like I had something stolen from me. I don't think the feeling of being breathless will ever be the same for me again. I am still coughing up blood and have a hard time getting around, a constant reminder of my frailty. I have also had a hard time keeping my production up for feeding Paige despite Eric's hard work while I was unconscious to keep my supply.
I don't feel like myself. I feel isolated in this, even though it affected so many people. I'm not okay and I don't know how to be okay. I'm just angry.
Thanks ladies. I am doing much better now. Lord knew how much help we were going to need. My husband's command exteneded his leave to 21 days and I have my MIL here until the 18th still. There's no way I could have coped with things without them home with me. I feel very blessed.