Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Induction and Arrival of One Miss Ellie

Continued from here

The surgeon's office called and set an appointment for me to be seen the following Wednesday. With any luck, our daughter would be here on September 10th.

We arrived at the hospital early on the morning of the 10th, even though I was only dilated to 1 and hardly effaced, the doctor thought some prostaglandin gel might speed things up.

It didn't, really. By 2 that afternoon, nothing had changed so they started me on Pitocin. The baby was super high (I think she just wasn't ready yet). I walked and walked around the halls, all the while trailing my IV bag of Pit - this was not how I had envisioned this birth.

Every so often they would crank up the dose of pitocin. By 5 p.m. it was as high as it could go, and, though they weren't painful, my contractions were every 2 minutes.

The doctor was going to send me home and have me come back to try again on Monday. He checked me once more and she had finally dropped. He broke my water then - there was no going back. All our children had been born 2 hours after my water had been broken, so I was anticipating holding her very soon.

But it was not to be. I was so sure she'd be born before September 11th, but at midnight I was only dilated to a 4. I asked for an epidural. I'd had it and was in a lot of pain. Alot of unproductive pain. I slept for an hour or two and was awakened by the realization that the epidural was no longer working. The anesthetist was called in because I was suffering so badly. They checked me and I was finally dilated to a 7. This is where I know I would've died had I been a pioneer woman on the plains. Zero childbirth pain threshold.

I paged Sarah, my wonderful friend and doula (I know they are there to help you through the pain, not an epidural, but she had been through this much with us and she deserved to see the birth. Besides, I was only numb from the birth canal down). My uterus was completely awake and irritated with me - who did I think I was having a baby before it was ready? Sarah really helped me through it. It felt like an hour of pushing, but it was really only 5 or 6 pushes and the very large, very purple Ellie had arrived (for about the first 5 minutes she was Sophie, then we decided Ellie suited her better). I held her briefly before the nurse took her and rubbed her briskly. I was never so happy to hear a cry in my life! She had taken over 20 hours to get here, all the others - no more than 6.

I felt so good I wanted to go home later that day. They kept us at the hospital for 48 hours because I had once tested positive for strep B and they just wanted to observe her. Good thing, because her bilirubin levels ended up being very high by the time we left. We brought her back for another test the next day. They were high enough that we had to put her under the bili lights. They basically look like an old Samsonite suitcase turned into a baby tanning bed.

It was all to no avail, the next day her bili levels were so high she had to be admitted to the hospital. They put her under their hi-tech lights. She was so dehydrated it took 6 or more tries to place an IV. It ended up being on her head and believe it or not, at just 2 days old she reached up and pulled it out. It took another 2 hours hours to get one placed on her foot. We were there just over 1 1/2 days. My mom was so helpful through everything. She even stayed overnight at the hospital so I could rest and continue to recover.

We kept up the bili lights at home for an additional three days, and my mom took the night shift. It was just about impossible to keep the blindfold on Ellie, she'd squirm until it came off and we'd have to wrestle it back on.

While she was at the hospital, we had my surgery consult and found out that my type of cancer is very curable, but that my thyroid had to come out. He scheduled me for his next surgery date - three weeks out. When we met the surgeon, he looked somewhat mountain man-ish. His hair was out to here and he may have even had some facial hair, but when he talked about how careful he would be during the surgery to preserve my parathyroids (which are embedded in your thyroid but are responsible for the calcium levels in your body) and my voice, I felt a little more confident in him.

He explained that while I was under, he'd send a frozen section to pathology to confirm the cancer diagnosis and then remove the whole thing if it was positive.

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