Last weekend we had some pretty simple plans. Friday after work we went on our weekly lunch date for thai food. I saved most of mine since we had a doctors appointment right after. The plan was food, doc, drop Dill at the brewery for his guy time, and I would go home and clean and eat. Saturday was supposed to be more cleaning and going to see Thor.
Life however, had other plans….
Went to the doctor, did the pee in a cup thing the weight, the blood pressure… the blood pressure again.. then again.. then the doctor came in to talk to me.
“Go to the hospital. Your blood pressure is really high. We’ve made it pretty far guys, but now is the time. Get your bags from home later, get there as soon as you can. Right now.”
I got tunnel vision, and couldn’t hear anything anymore. I wanted to cry, I looked at Dill and told him he was now in charge of hearing everything.
We rushed to the hospital where I was checked in and they started inducing labor. Dill ran home to get our bags, and we texted our family to let them know what was happening.
What followed was a blur of pain and waiting. Early labor felt like cramps. Then they did a foley bulb (Google it. Then NEVER EVER EVER GET ONE). Then another foley bulb. It did nothing. (Funny aside, before I got the bulb, our friend Matt texted to tell us that if Kristin were here, she would tell me to kick the nuts of anyone who suggested a foley bulb. Of course, we didn’t see that text until after it was done!) Just more pain, more severe cramps. I was HUNGRY (remember how I saved my lunch? Yea. They don’t let you eat when you’re in labor.)
I listened to a lot of roller derby using it as my focal point during contractions which were now about 2 minutes apart. I would try to count the scores in my head, focus on what the announcers were saying. During game breaks Dill and I paced the halls. We were the only people in the labor ward for most of the time. Two other couples came and went while we were there. My parents were amazing and fetched food for Dill, though by late Saturday I asked them to eat it outside the room, since I was faint from hunger.
In the meantime, Dill got food poisoning. So he was alternating between coaching me in labor and throwing up in the bathroom. I contemplating calling a friend who I knew was a doula in case he didn’t get better since I didn’t want to go through birth all by myself!
By Sunday, I asked my Doctor if today could be the day. My birth plan was going out the window. (I wanted an all natural experience, but by this point contractions were a minute apart, my cervix wasn’t even close to being dilated enough, and I was blacking out from pain.) Dill was having to hold me up on the birthing ball and when we walked since I was collapsing at points. Finally after four pm I asked for the epidural. I just couldn’t keep going on no sleep and no food. Afterwards I took a half hour nap, and tried to go again.
At this point the doctor warned me that we were most likely looking at a c-section. It wasn’t at all what I wanted, but I knew I couldn’t stay in labor limbo forever.
In the meantime, the storms rolled in. Thunder, lightning, and as they strapped me to a table in the OR (Seriously, it looks like they’re setting you up for execution) the lights flickered. As Dill came in to join me the tornado sirens went off. Fitting for the daughter of one!
I can’t even describe how scared I was. I was terrified that I would feel them cutting me, or that the baby wouldn’t survive the procedure. When they pulled her out I felt my hips lift off the table, while they exclaimed what a big baby she was. I heard one short cry, then another, while I started bawling and yelling “Is she alive? She’s alive??”
I got my first glimpse of her when they were cleaning her up. The flap from the sheet covering me was in the way and Dill kept trying to move it so I cold see. Her eyes were wide open and she was grabbing everything in sight. The nurses, the towels, she even made a go at the pair of scissors they used to cut her cord. Dill went over with her and got to touch and hold her, then he finally brought her to me.
See the bloody scissors? That’s what she made a grab for.
Clutching a towel
Finally, finally, finally my daughter.
It took forever for them to stitch me up. I was jealous that Dill got to hold and talk to Evelyn so much. I couldn’t take my eyes off her, but I was also so uncomfortable! I kept begging for them to unstrap my arms, or at least take the blood pressure cuff off! My hands and wrists were twitching and I felt like I couldn’t control them. (probably why they kept them strapped!)
Dill also admitted later that during all of this, he peeked over the curtain at what was going on. I’m glad I couldn’t see it, as apparently they take parts of you out, lay them on you, inspect them, seal them up and then put them back! He assures me that I’m beautiful on the inside, and now he has had visual proof.
Recovery was a blur. I was trying and trying to force feeling back into my legs so that they would let me up out of bed. No matter how many times I assured them that I would be fine, they still made me wait until morning to walk on my own.
Upstairs we went to postpartum, where Dill slept for the first time in days. I attempted to, but I was woken every hour for blood pressure and incision checks. I was also brought my baby over and over again so that she could nurse.
The next few days were a mix of wanting to get the heck out of the hospital and being terrified of taking our baby home. We were both inspected, poked and prodded over and over again. Friends came to visit and brought us food and relief that the outside world still existed.
Meanwhile, I couldn’t believe how much PAIN I was in! I had understood in the abstract that a c-section was major surgery, but wow. There are no words for how much it hurts. I’ve been through surgery before, but this recovery has been something entirely other. Perhaps because I’m less concerned with taking care of myself, and more concerned with my baby.
Every few minutes, I would pull myself out of bed (not easy when you aren’t supposed to use your ab muscles) shuffle over and make sure she was breathing.
Going home was a shock to my system. I don’t know that I can describe it. Just that she screamed for the first 2 hours she was here, I had to sit down and just stare at a wall to decompress while Dill calmed her down, and that it was the first time I felt completely disconnected from her.
After that though, I have felt nothing but love. Even when I should be frustrated, I just love her and am so thankful that she’s here. I’ve broken down in tears thanking my husband for going through this with me. The IUIS, the surgery, the IVFs, everything was worth it for her. Going through all those fertility treatments definitely strengthened our marriage. We were there for each other through some pretty severe ups and downs.
I’ve become a baby hog. I cuddle her all the time and at the first twitch or squirm I want to grab her from whoever is holding her. I love the feeling of her curled up against me, cuddled into my neck or sleeping on my lap, holding my finger with her hand.
Thank you as well to everyone who has followed along with this blog and listened to me ramble incessantly about IVF. It is, at times, a very isolating thing to go through, and it’s good to dump my feelings to a computer screen and know there are others out there reading along!
I’m using the baby time to make some progress on the book. Evelyn gives her opinion on swatches sometimes, by either grabbing it away from me or giving it the side eye. Not sure what exactly the translation is for her opinions, but I’m confident she has strong ones!
Next blog should have some sneak peeks at the new book!