It has taken me some time to sit down to write this but here you go, typos and all…
On 10/10/11, I woke up feeling pretty awful. I was 6 days away from my scheduled cesarean date but I just knew that things weren’t right. I was dizzy, had a horrible headache, nauseous, and just plain ill. An odd coincidence was that hubs stayed home from work that day to help me out with things as all the kids were home and I wasn’t up to a day filled with them all by myself. Midday, I started to feel worse and took my blood pressure. What I knew all along was the case; my blood pressure was up… way up. I made that dreaded call to the doctor knowing that I was going to be sent in to the hospital at 1:30pm. I received a call back from the nurse with that news. We got the kids’ stuff together, my bag semi-packed, and brought the kids to my mom and my stepdaughter to a friend’s house. We were on the road at 3pm and arrived at the hospital shortly after 3:30pm.
I was checked in and my blood pressure was still high. I never had one that was even close to a normal reading. They called my doc and then ran some blood work. An hour later and they came back to say that my blood work was not showing signs of preeclampsia BUT my blood pressure was still cause for concern. I was 12 days away from my due date so they weren’t sure what to do with me (have to be 39 weeks typically for a cesarean unless there is a medical reason). It was now about 6pm and I was told to just relax and hang out while they contacted my doctor again. At this point, I figured that despite the high readings and irregular but consistent contractions, I was going to be sent home. I called my mom and told her I expected to be released soon even. I was resigned but not happy about leaving the hospital still pregnant.
About 7pm, I received some news though. Hubs went out to grab a drink and then came back in saying that they were going to do surgery that night at 8:30pm. I was shocked… and scared. My doctor was concerned about letting my blood pressure keep as it was. Adding that to the contractions and he wasn’t comfortable sending me home. I later found out that he contacted the Chief of Staff for the hospital to get permission to do the cesarean earlier than 39 weeks. (I love him!)
Things moved quickly from there. I called my mom asking for her to get my kids to me before I went in to surgery. They did all of the normal pre-op stuff… IV, rushed fluids because of lack of time, blood work, sign papers, epidural, sign more papers. The epidural was a major source of fear for me after the horrible experience of Joley’s birth. Thankfully, the Anesthesiologist was so kind and happened to be the same one I had talked to a few weeks prior at the direction of my doctor to explain the problems I had prior. She was patient and kind… and this time, my epidural did take.
My doctor came and set my mind at ease with his wonderful sense of humor and calm demeanor. He said that Jemma was ready and I needed to do this now. He felt that it was in my best interest to not be pregnant any more. I agreed!!!
The surgery was a bit more than I was expecting. As it turns out, I had a lot of scar tissue and I heard scissor snipping it away for (what seemed like) a long time. It wasn’t long but I was just wanting to hear my baby. My doctor kept me informed and told me what was going on. In addition to that issue, he also told me that it was a good thing I was getting a tubal because I would not be able to have any more babies with my ab muscles. He said they were “shot” and that he would do what he could to fix it. The scar tissue was apparently a hernia that covered my uterus and he repaired that as well. I basically had two surgeries at once. Hubs and my doctor talked sports and I waited anxiously for the birth of baby girl.
I finally heard that sweet sound of my baby’s cry and him saying that she is a girl. She was beautiful. I remember saying that she looked like Joley and she really did at birth and still does. My doctor told me that I have cysts on my ovaries to which I replied “I know” to the amusement of the nurse. I did know though and have for years despite my last physician not wanting to diagnose me with PCOS. My doctor told me he would look at that more at my 6 week appointment, did all he could to fix me up, completed my tubal, and then I was being sewn up. It seemed like ages.
Jemma was perfect. Born at 8:54pm, weighing 7lbs 8oz and was 18.5 inches long (although we later found that is not right). Her Apgar scores were 8 and 9. She cried but was content. Sadly, she had some issues with her blood sugar. It started at only 25 at first check. The nurse let me nurse her and checked again. It was only 30 so not enough to make them happy. Jemma was given a small amount of formula by the nurse and then it was checked again at which time it was 50. She no longer needed formula and I was given time to breastfeed. This was a very difficult time for me though. The nurse would not let me hold Jemma. I had to ask for her to let me hold her so my kids could see her. My parents were finally allowed to come in and see Jemma with my kids around 10pm I believe. I held her for only a few minutes in the first few hours of her life.
From there, things were okay. I was able to move much quicker than they expected and first thing the next morning, I asked to have my catheter removed so I could move around. My doctor came in to see me and I asked him and he allowed me to be free of everything. He sat me down to tell me how bad my abdomen looked and said that I will need to be on strict restrictions for 6 weeks in order to avoid further surgery to repair the hernia again.
I was breastfeeding every 2 hours and moving around well on my own. The nurses and my doctor will all surprised at that actually. I asked my doctor if I could go home on Wednesday morning. He called me at the hospital that day and said that as long as baby checks out, I could go. YES! My blood pressure was still up so I needed to monitor it. Jemma checked out fine (we had to watch her jaundice) and we were on our way by 1:30pm.
Jemma’s birth was an experience that was completely different than I expected due to the complications of my abdomen. But, I now have a memory of my baby’s birth that I missed with Joley. I heard her cry. I touched her. I remember her first feeding. I thank my doctor that he gave that back to me. She is absolutely perfect and I love her more than any words could express. I am so blessed.