Since I didn’t hardly post during my pregnancy with Azèlie (okay, make that at ALL), I figured I’d finally explain everything that went down. During it all, I didn’t have the time or heart to keep people updated, although it probably would have been easier to follow for the readers. So, I apologize in advance if this is incoherent.
I thought I had a pretty rough pregnancy with Caidoc, and by some accounts, I did. The whole nine months I was violently ill (let’s just say “morning sickness” doesn’t even begin to describe it, nor is it exclusive to “the morning” as one is led to believe) and I suffered intense mood swings. But I had no idea that I was going to find myself wishing my second pregnancy was as “easy” as Caidoc’s pregnancy. I was determined to have a successful VBAC with this baby. Caidoc’s labor resulted in a very emotionally devastating c-section and recovery. I was bound and determined to do everything in my power to avoid a c-section this time around. My husband, Chris, and my doula were well aware of my decision and promised to help make that happen, unless of course, the baby was in life threatening circumstances. I went into my second pregnancy very optimistic.
Needless to say, I was hoping I wouldn’t get too sick the second time around, and I didn’t! Right after three months, I stopped getting morning sickness and I was really positive and happy (as happy as a largely pregnant woman can be 🙂 ) during most of the pregnancy. The positive attitude was probably in part ruled by working out everyday, and completely ignoring the rising numbers on the scale. It was a much different experience than with Caidoc.
That all changed on April 7th.
That afternoon I had been feeling strange. I was 36 weeks and wanting the baby OUT of me, you mamas know what I mean! But this was different than the normal “fed up” with pregnancy feeling. My back was really hurting and it was difficult to move. Since I didn’t know what it felt like for labor to come on unassisted, I was sure this was it! I started panicking, thinking “it’s too early for her to come!” I tried to sit down and relax to try and stop what I thought were fairly easy contractions. I had been out for a walk with Caidoc and thought “maybe I just did too much” . By 3 pm, I was sure it was labor. The right side of my body was not responding to my brain and I had started vomiting.
Chris came home by 4 pm to take care of Caidoc who was getting slightly worried at my condition. I was able to lay down on my left side, if I tried to lay down on my right side I would start shaking all over and vomiting uncontrollably. So I laid on my left side, scared to move, counting contractions. A few hours passed like that.
By 7:45 pm, I begged Chris to call our doula. We told her all about my pain and the vomiting. She was confused by my description of, “it feels like one big contraction” since the process didn’t sound quite like normal labor but she tried to give us advice. From my description of the pain, she thought it was possible that the baby was not in the correct position, and that I should try to move her. I told her that I had been trying to move the baby with various things, being on all fours, being in the shower, etc. Since none of those techniques had worked and only made the pain worse, I stopped. The only thing that seemed to relieve anything was laying very, very still. We called my midwives who were sure that I was just dehydrated and told me to just try and drink as much water as I could. So, we decided to try and go along with the birth plan, which was to stay at home as long as possible.
At 8 pm I had another big convulsing episode after which I was sobbing and begging to go to the hospital. So we called my brother who immediately headed over. When he arrived at 8:45 pm he cheerfully asked how I was doing. I told him this labor thing was “no joke” and that we owed our mom “big time”. I was feeling a little better, and thought, “maybe I am making a big deal out of nothing, women go through this all the time” I was embarrassed that I wasn’t handling the pain very well. We decided my brother could go home, and I would try and wait it out longer. I fell asleep around 10 pm.
10:30 pm rolls around. I woke up because I couldn’t even move the left side of my body side anymore, let alone the right side. I was completely immobile and felt tears starting to roll down my cheeks from the pain. I couldn’t even poke Chris awake. I sobbed silently to myself for what felt like years until I finally managed to croak loud enough to wake Chris up. He tried to get me out of bed but I just collapsed on the floor. He called our doula in a panic and she headed over. Our doula arrived at 11:40 and helped lift me into her car to go to the hospital. We were calling my family to update them since they were on vacation which is why we had our doula come get me in the first place (we didn’t want to bother my brother again, poor guy!).
We arrived at the hospital and a wheelchair was brought out to me since I could not stand or walk on my own. We get rushed to the birth center to get checked out. I remember on our way down the halls a jolly old man sitting in the lobby called out, “Good luck mama! You got this girl!” I wanted to say thanks, but I just threw up everywhere instead. In the birth center the nurses and midwives were very calm, telling me that it was clearly dehydration causing all the pain and contractions. My doula and I were skeptical, but I was in no position to argue since I could barely focus enough to listen to what they were saying. They put me on an IV at 1:45 am. At 1:55 am I start vomiting and shaking uncontrollably, and this time it doesn’t stop. The midwife rushed in and tells my doula she is ordering an ultrasound because she wants to make sure my c-section scar isn’t rupturing from the inside.
At 2:10 am I get an ultrasound, which I have to lie on my back for. Since I couldn’t straightening out my back to lie down I was tied and held down my the nurses so the ultrasound technician can take a look at my uterus and ovaries all while shaking violently. Fifteen minutes later the ultrasound is done and…nothing. I am not dilated, my cervix is thick, the baby is doing great. The midwife just looked at me and said, ” I just don’t know what could possibly be going on.” I teared up, while the nurse rolled me back over to me left side, “how could they not know what’s going on?” I thought, “this is their JOB!” I started crying because I was so tired and in so much pain. The thought that this wasn’t labor, and that no one had no idea how to fix it was devastating. This was the worst pain I had ever experienced in my life and there was no end in sight.
The midwife decides to give me a dose of morphine to see if that helps, so they plug that into my IV fluids but nothing happens I continued to shake. By this point my muscles were getting so sore from the convulsions that my limbs started to get stiff and I was losing control of even being able to move my head. At 2:40 am a second bag of IV fluids and another dose of morphine is given to me, but again…nothing. I remember the nurses and midwife being slightly disturbed that the morphine was having little no no effect on my condition. I stayed just shaking and dry heaving tied to a bed for awhile while by dear doula rubbed my back.
By 4:25 am a third dose of morphine was given to me and an second ultrasound was ordered. I had no idea what the midwives and nurses were doing during that time, but I guessed they were just hoping that I would stop shaking or the IV would hydrate me enough to stop the contractions and intense pain I was feeling. It was only later that I found out they were consulting with two different OB’s, the on-call urologist, and a surgeon from the radiology department.
After a much longer ultrasound, finally there was a lead. There was some kind of blockage of my right kidney. The baby had decided to position herself directly on my kidney, causing it to swell. I distinctly remember feeling an intense sense of relief even through a blinding amount of pain, because at least there was an ANSWER for all of this agony. So all that fluid they were pumping into me and telling me to drink? Exacerbating the situation immensely. I was not dehydrated, I was filling up with fluid from my swollen kidney that was putting pressure on all my other internal organs. By 5:20 am I was given a third dose of morphine and told I was going to see a specialist as soon as he got in in the morning, but as far as they could tell, I was either going to need a c-section, to get the baby to move, or a by-pass surgery in order to be able to move for the remainder of my pregnancy.
After being admitted into a room, and set up on a morphine drip, it was 5:40 am and after about 20 minutes of the morphine I only had occasional spasms. I still couldn’t move from laying on my left side, but it was a welcome relief to be untied from the bed. I could tell my poor doula was exhausted and stressed, and I’m sure I didn’t look too good either. I told her to go home but she refused to leave me alone. After conveying to Chris that I thought she should go home, he arranged for my sister-in-law to come so my doula could leave to go home (Chris was still at home with a sleeping Caidoc).
At 7 am my dear sister in law arrived and my doula went home. The morphine drip had really kicked in and I remember laying in the bed feeling like quite a bother to everyone and incredibly grateful for all their help, but other than that, I was just feeling very fuzzy. My doula told me later that I was still shaking during that time and still couldn’t sit up or go to the bathroom so I had a catheter placed. I don’t really remember any of that. Sometime during those morning hours I fell asleep.
My family had been contacted during all this time, but since they were on vacation we tried to up off bothering them for as long as possible. Of course, my mother came rushing back as soon as she heard I was in the hospital. She came right to the hospital and took over for my brother (who had taken over for my sister in law) while I was asleep (or incoherent, I don’t really remember). Once my mom got there I felt an emotional gasp of relief. Mom always knows best. She talked to the midwives, the urologist, and OB and knew all the right questions to ask. Mom knew I wanted a VBAC and discussed what other options I had than the c-section. She stayed with me all day. Whoever says a mother can’t possibly give enough attention to 11 children is wrong. I got 13 solo hours with my mom that day. There is always a silver lining.
That day was filled with questions and confusion and back-and-forth talk. Finally, we decided that I was going to have surgery, to drain my kidney so I could continue my pregnancy normally. I was assured by the radiologist, urologist, and midwives that it would bring an end to the insane pain I was experiencing. The surgeon who had to perform the surgery wasn’t able to see me till the next morning. I begged to go home that evening, around 8 pm and my mom made sure that it happened, much to the irritation of the midwives, who were sure I needed to stay on the morphine drip all night, and in retrospect, they were probably right. My drug induced determination was probably much to blame for the insistence (I was on as much morphine as they were allowed to give a pregnant woman). But we came to a compromise that I would take home several doses of pills, Oxycontin, Oxycodine, and morphine so I could try and rest for surgery the next day. My mom took me home, made sure Chris knew that I needed the drugs every hour and then went home to try and get as much sleep as possible. Probably she got next to none, because she was up at 4 am in order to take me into the hospital for surgery.
Mom arrived around 5:30 am and helped me hobble to the car. Needless to say, we are both really tired. Mom had spent most of the past two days either driving, sitting in a uncomfortable hospital chair, or tracking down different doctors to talk to. I had been having contractions and spasms all night. We got to the radiology department and waited in triage. I was so excited to have this tube placed at be DONE with the pain! I was worried about the amount of pressure the baby was under too. She had been setting off regular contractions for a couple days now and that couldn’t be easy on her, especially since there were a result of being under stress in the womb, not labor contractions.
The surgery was pretty short, but since they couldn’t put me under, I felt everything. There wasn’t too much pain, at least nothing compared to what I had been feeling lately, so that didn’t phase me. The feeling of something sliding into my back was nerve racking and strange. When I came out of surgery, the nurses explained how the tube would drain my right kidney into a bag strapped to my leg and should bring me back to normal, i.e, I should be able to stand, walk, and carry on my day without any side effects. I was very optimistic that this would solve the problem. A couple hours later, I was better. Not completely, but I was feeling like I could walk, as long as I had all the narcotics in my system and the contractions had finally stopped. I could feel when the drugs started to wear off because it felt like my abdomen was going to explode and my back was going to snap in half. So, with the doctors permission, Mom took me home because..
The worst was over.