Happy One Month Birthday, T-Bone!
Oh, where to begin?
Most of our readers have heard that we welcomed our sweet little daughter into our family on February 16th, in a way that we had not planned on. She weighed in at 7 pounds 8 ounces and was 19.5 inches long. She scored an 8 on her first APGAR test and a 9 on the second one (clearly, she is destined for great things). She is perfect.
When I was working as a nanny while I was pregnant, the three-year-old girl I took care of asked me what I was going to name my baby. I asked her what she thought I should name her, and she immediately gave me two options: Cleo and T-Bone. Those are the names of Clifford the Big Red Dog’s friends. I told Bee when I got home from work that day what our options were and we laughed pretty hard. We decided that T-Bone was the more appropriate female name if we had a girl. Since we don’t use real names on our blog our daughter will be referred to as T-Bone.
I had been under the care of a team of midwives throughout my picture perfect pregnancy and a home birth was looking like a sure thing. But sometimes you have to accept that a change in plans is for the best. Here’s the story.
My water started leaking Sunday night and by Tuesday evening there was still no sign of labor. I had been in touch with my midwives over those couple of days and we all decided that we needed to get things moving, since the risks to me and baby would get more serious the longer it took. They suggested a lemon verbena and castor oil cocktail that is generally very effective at jump starting contractions. I drank it down and two hours later, around 10pm, contractions started up. By 10:00 the next morning contractions were about 4 minutes apart so the midwives came over to get things set up for the delivery of our baby. They checked me and I appeared to be at 10cm, so it was just a waiting game at that point. However, by 5pm there was still no baby and when they checked me again it seemed that I was only at 6cm. By this time I was exhausted, having had no sleep since Monday night, and was dehydrated since I couldn’t keep anything down. We talked about our options and decided it was time to transfer to the hospital.
One of my worst nightmares while I was pregnant was having to get to the hospital during evening work traffic. We left the house at about 5:30pm, driven by our dear friend who had been with us most of the day, and were so thankful that traffic was unusually light. It was not a pleasant ride for me, since contractions were severe and coming about 2 minutes apart, as they had been for hours. We made it to the labor and delivery ward and the dear staff at Swedish didn’t even bother getting me registered before they started working on me. My midwife had called ahead, so they had a room ready for us and knew what to expect.
By this time I had been laboring for 20 hours without pain meds, which is longer than I had anticipated, and was in desperate need of some relief and rest. They got the epidural in as soon as they could and it appeared to be working for a little while. Then quite suddenly I had a horrible pain in my hip with each contraction. A few minutes later there was pain in my upper side/back as well. After pushing the button to up the dose of pain meds several times, the nurse called the anesthesiologist to adjust the epidural, which he successfully did. They had started me on pitocin to get things moving again, since I was still only at 6cm and 3 hours later I was only at 8cm, and had still had no sleep or food.
All throughout labor my midwives had been monitoring my blood pressure and baby’s heart rate to make sure all was well. When I got to the hospital they took my blood pressure and discovered that it was very high. My white blood cell count was elevated too, which suggested I was fighting an infection. The doctors suspected that I had preeclampsia (a life-threatening disorder that causes high blood pressure, brought on by pregnancy), which was later confirmed. The interesting thing is that I didn’t have any risk factors and had an ideal pregnancy. The onset of the preeclampsia was fast and severe in my case. I remember laying in the hospital bed, crying, and asking Bee how I got so sick, because I literally felt sick at this point.
One of the doctors came in to talk with us around 11pm and after discussing things Bee and I decided that a C-section was the best thing for me and baby. It was not an easy decision for me, since a C-section was the thing I had dreaded most while pregnant, but at this point I felt good about it. I didn’t want it, but I knew I needed it.
At 12:55am, on her due date, T-Bone made her entrance into the world. Bee likes to say that she was paid up until the 16th and she was going to stay in until then, dang it!
The surgery went smoothly and I seemed to be doing alright for the next 24 hours. Not great, but alright. My blood pressure had climbed to a dangerously high level, so I was on blood pressure medication and magnesium to prevent me from having a seizure or stroke, and was being pumped full of antiboitics to treat the infection.
Early Friday morning (about 28 hours after the surgery) I looked down at my stomach and noticed that my gown was soaked in blood. Fortunately my nurse was in the room and she sprang into action, applying pressure to my incision and calling for backup. Within minutes we had about 4 doctors and one more nurse in the room working on me, trying to stop the blood from gushing out of my incision. After their first attempts failed, they put staples in all the way across my incision, which did the trick.
It turns out that I also had HELLP syndrome, which often goes along with preeclampsia. Because of the HELLP I had liver damage and very low platelet count. Losing all that blood didn’t help.
So, I spent the next three days in the hospital, for a total of 5 days. By Sunday afternoon, T-Bone was declared infection free (they had been waiting on blood cultures) and I was well enough to go home. I looked like the walking wounded, having no color in my face, except for a faint yellow cast (probably because of the liver damage), but I was going home. One of the doctors told us that I would need to live like an invalid for about 3 weeks as I recovered. Bee and my mom will attest to the fact that I’m not a very good invalid. I don’t like to lay around and let everyone else do everything for me.
The next Thursday (4 days after the hospital) I went into the doctor’s office, because of an odd lump above my incision (which turned out to be a large blood clot that we’re still taking care of). Upon taking my blood pressure, they informed me that I would be admitted into the hospital. Apparently the blood pressure medication dose they had me on was not high enough and my blood pressure had gotten back up to an alarming level. They had me in the hospital with an IV and were pumping me full of magnesium as quickly as they could within an hour of seeing me in the clinic. Thankfully my mom had been staying with us, so she was with me and T-Bone until Bee arrived at the hospital. It was another very long night for Bee and I.
One of the great things about Swedish hospital is their hospitalists, which are doctors who work for the hospital and specialize in caring for patients there. The hospitalists who took care of me were phenomenal! I’m guessing that most of the time they never see their patients again after they are discharged, but in my case they did (they were surprised to see me). So I had the same team of doctors for both hospital stays, which was really nice.
By the next afternoon my blood pressure was stabilized and they let me go home, with an adjusted dose of medication.
I’m happy to report that I am now off my medication since my blood pressure has returned to normal. It’s been a long few weeks, and I’m feeling much better, but it will be several more weeks before I’m feeling great.
Today is T-Bone’s one month birthday. We celebrated by going to the pediatrician for her check-up. She weighs 9 pounds 1 ounce and is 21.75 inches long. As her doctor said, “She’s growing like a champ!” We love her, and she was worth it.