Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hell in a Handbasket: The Birth Story, Part I

E and I had the coolest birthplan ever. It wasn't a birthplan in any physical sense. We never wrote shit down or talked about it at any great length, but we both had a vision of how Le Fetus would get here, and I can assure you that it involved minimal medical intervention.

Ah, best laid plans. Slippery fellows.

As we get further from the days of Evan's birth, those days are losing their heiniousity in my mind. Heiniousity. Like that word? Yeah, you like it.

So I decided to post the story before it becomes happily distorted in my memory to something flowery and cliche, "but it was all worth it" style. As if being worth it makes it any less shiteous.

As I posted earlier, E became suddenly and severely preeclamptic at 35 weeks - she was as swollen as Violet Beauregarde at the end, poor thing. Evan (who should still be Le Fetus, dammit) was measuring big for her gestational age, and none of the battery of OBs who looked at her on the ultrasound were concerned about her readiness for New York City air. We followed the OB's advice and started the induction process.

The cervix softening drugs did their job, and when she was 100% effaced and 1 cm dilated, they put in the Foley catheter. What is a Foley catheter, you ask? Well, it is mostly a balloon! A fun little water balloon! Who doesn't love a water balloon??

Well this water balloon is a little different. Instead of preparing for a fun antic by filling up your balloon at the sink faucet, you stick this balloon up your vagina and into your cervix and then fill it up with a syringe. Instead of tossing it out your window at an unassuming passerby for a silly trick, you lie there and wait for it to force open your nethers until it slips out and lays limply between your legs.

Essentially, instead of getting your shirt wet, it pries open your cervix to 3 centimeters.

Good times. Anyway, Foley did it's jobby job and then pitocin was introduced and E's uterus was off and running.

36 hours later, E was getting rolled in for a section. E, as I may have mentioned before, swore up and down and backwards that she'd never get sectioned, that she'd push that baby out come hell or high water. I swear that had she been floating on an inner tube in Satan's flooded basement, she would still be pushing. But after 24 hours at 3 centimeters, her cervix began to swell, and poor E had no choice.

At that point, though, we were both ready to throw in the towel. E didn't want to be sectioned because she thought of labor as something she could do while standing, sitting up, or generally changing position. But because she was preeclamptic, her body was attached to approximately 29 machines (really), most of which involved catheters. She was also on magnesium sulphate throughout to prevent seizures from the preeclampsia. Magnesium sulphate produces a similar effect on the mind and body as the stupefy spell, as I understand it.

Poor girl was going no where.

She was a total champion laboring with all that shit attached to her, though. Had things gone differently, she could totally have pushed the baby out, I know it.

Anyhizzy, the section is where things got ugly.

We had a little pep talk right before they took her in.

We're gonna meet the baby, we said, smiling dumbly at each other. Tonight we'll have a baby in our pimped out L&D room. Yay.

So they prepped her for surgery, then brought me in. I sat right next to her head, behind the sheet that kept her from seeing her abdomen sliced open.

She was way drugged. The shit they pumped into her epidural on top of the mag made her Loopy Mcloopified, and not in the funny or good way. When they started cutting, she started moaning. They kept cutting, and she started screaming.

Bottom line: her epidural had slipped, and she had a window of feeling across the right side of her abdomen.

They gave her nitrous oxide to calm her, as she was distressed and tearing at her IVs. The nitrous, drugging her further, had the opposite effect. She started crying about the baby, asking me over and over what's wrong with the baby, what's wrong with the baby. It took them 3 hours to section her because her abdominal muscles were so tight. I felt like I was in a horror movie.

When they finally pulled out the sweetest little fetus, E was beyond reason. I didn't feel like I was soothing her at all, so I left her momentarily to go see our baby, and things got worse from there. I thought once the baby was out that E's pain would be over, but I had forgotten about the placenta, and the pulling of the abdominals to sew her back together. She was screaming while I met our baby for the first time.

I was wedged in between the pediatric team who were roughly rubbing her and clapping on her tiny body with a plastic cup. She looked wonderful to my untrained eye, pinking up quickly, crying her tiny bird cry, so mad. But the peds team frowned disapprovingly at her.

She's grunting, they said.

Of course she's grunting, you're smacking the shit out of her, I said.

No, no, frown frown, you don't understand, it's a medical term, they said.

I know that babies full of magnesium sulfate often grunt when they're born, please don't take her away, I said.

She needs to go to the transitional nursery. Don't worry, she'll be back with you within 8 hours, they said.

And our baby was taken away. At the time, I was preoccupied with E. I was on the other side of the sheet now, and I could see the nurses holding her legs down, and the surgeon sweating, white as a sheet. E's moans filled the room. I sat down on a chair in the corner until a nurse escorted me out.

Part II, in which our baby lives in the NICU, to come.


Meg said...

Holy Crap.

owl said...

fuck, that is horrendous.

i am not sure it could ever be happily distorted....I am a little scared about part II......for you not me.

R said...

OMG. that's horrible. That's so scary. I'm so sorry.

the injector said...

a bunch of holy somethings...that was real hard to read; i cannot imagine even going through 5 minutes of what you and E and E experienced.
glad you are all home and doing well.
bravo for getting through it all.

starrhillgirl said...

Fuck, fuck, fuck, y'all.
Bravo is right.

Anonymous said...

Fuck, fuck, fuck...that's horrid for you ladies to have to endure...i'm so sorry...


vee said...

Fucking hell! Bad bad stuff. So sorry.

Anonymous said...

Bloody hell (literally I'm sure). Didn't they offer her general anesthesia as the section progressed?

Melody said...

Absolutely. Heinous. I wish we could have known what hell you guys were in so that we could have been sending the good mojo. I don't think it works retroactively. :(

Gia said...

Urghhhh....But just look at that sweet face...So worth it!

Aunt Becky said...

Oh fucking shit.

Wordgirl said...


Wow, I'm hoping that by the time I actually conceive I've managed to wipe any and all memory of reading this from my brain -- no offense meant but that is truly one of the most terrifying birth stories I've read.

I'm so sorry it went that way -- I can't even think of the right words.

Gorgeous, gorgeous outcome though.

Shannon - from the boards said...

WOW (jaw still dropped) I am so sorry you and especially E had to endure that - thank god for a beautiful little Evan who I know is worth it, but DAMN ... I had a C and DAMN that just sucks beyond -good luck getting over that!!!

amy said...

i can't fathom what you guys experienced. i don't understand why they didn't knock her out immediately rather than giving gas. the whole situation sounds like a nightmarish trainwreck, thank god you are all ok. can't wait to see more pics of the babe, she's adorable!

indigoscot said...

om-fucking-gawd! that's THE scariest birth story i have ever heard, no lie. :( so sorry you had to go through that...!!!

Lizzie said...

My god(dess).

bleu said...

I am so so sorry for what E and you and Evan went through. I too swore I would never be sectioned and ended up with no choice. I also ended up over drugged and seriously endangered by an ass.
I still did not suffer near what E did.
Please know that it is not fair or right and it takes time to heal. Please know I am here should she ever need to talk, any of you.
Please also know that one regret I have is not pursuing sanctions against the jerk who over drugged me not one but 3 times. I didn't at the time because, as I know he knew, I had a brand new baby and had other priorities at the time. I wish I had.
I am so glad you are all home safe now.

Much much love.

Travelher said...

OMG and FUCK. That story gave me chills and tears.
So Sorry...

I'm in NYC, too.
What hospital were you in (if you don't mind)?
You can email me privately if you don't want to post.

travelher at g mail dot com

Gia said...

Hey guys,
Just wanted to check in with you and see how you all were doing ....How Evan is growing like a peach!!!
POST PICS!!!!! we miss you over on teh TTC broads