June 20, 2011

Labor, Delivery, and Ian Petty

On Friday of Memorial Day weekend I started having extreme pain in my stomach. At first I thought it was heart burn, but after a while I knew it was something more going on. I called my midwife in the middle of the night and we decided I should go into the hospital. A friend brought me in and after several hours they decided it was gall bladder related. My midwife suggested a low fat/no fat diet to get the pain under control and they sent me home. Through out the week, things were still not right. Despite my best attempt to avoid any food that could trigger the pain, by the end of the week I was still in a lot of pain and becoming more and more concerned.

Saturday, June 4, the pain was unbearable and I spiked a fever. Once again, I went back to the hospital and I was admitted that evening. This time my blood work had confirmed that I had developed HELLP Syndrome (a specific, more rare and more serious version of preeclampsia). My platelet count was low, my liver was enlarged and not working properly, and I had epigastric pain. The only cure is to have the baby, so we started inducing Saturday night.

By late Saturday any hope I had of a home birth was gone, and now my focus was to have a safe vaginal delivery. They started me on magnesium sulfate to prevent seizures and also put in a catheter, saying I was unable to leave the bed. I was also told I would not be able to eat or drink anything. They started me on Cervadil with the hopes of starting labor.

Sunday morning the OB that works with my mid wife (due to the high risk situation I was in I was no longer under the care of my midwife) came in to see me and made the really difficult situation better. I was able to have the catheter removed, was allowed to eat and drink and could now walk from the bed to the bathroom. They continued to draw blood every six hours to check all of my levels, which were progressively getting worse each time.

By mid-sunday I was started on Pitocin to encourage labor and I was moved to a new room. I was on Pitocin all day with no progress. My mid wife came in that evening and we tried a variety of things to get labor going, with no success. We decided to stop the Pitocin for the night and put in another Cervadil overnight. As my midwife was preparing to leave, I started having another really bad attack with the epigastric pain. It was intense. We decided to give me some Nubain to get me through the night. As soon as the medicine was in, I felt much better. It took the pain away and allowed me to sleep. It is a narcotic and knocked me out.

Monday morning I could tell things were not looking good. The entire attitude of the nurses and staff had changed, and I was nervous about being able to deliver vaginally. They started the pitocin again and I started having some contractions. Nothing regular, but contractions. My cervix was making some changes as well. We decided to use a foley ball to encourage my cervix to dilate. My chiropractor also came in to the hospital to do some adjustments that would help labor progress. At 6pm my midwife and the OB came in and were very discouraged. They said if I didn't have Ian by 6am the next day they were going to have to do a c-section. We decided to break my water and hope that would get things going. At this point I was willing to do whatever I needed to in order to have a vaginal birth.

Because my platelet counts were so low (in the 25,000 range), having a c-section was extremely risky. I would have to have general anesthesia and they would do a blood transfusion before they even started. The chances for bleeding out or developing a brain bleed were high. I was determined to avoid this.

They were able to break my water at 7pm, at which point I was dilated to 4. That started my contractions and they were now intense and regular, just as we were hoping. At 9:10pm (just over two hours from breaking my water) Ian was born. I was able to deliver Ian med free and without tearing.

It was amazing. Wonderful and joyful. Tony caught Ian and we were able to spend a few minutes enjoying this beautiful baby boy. He was laid on my chest, still attached to the pulsing placenta. Those few moments of getting to know my baby, savoring the victory that my body just won, and welcoming our son into the world were precious. And short lived.

Ian was brought to the NICU because he was having a hard time breathing and they were concerned about a rash as well as an enlarged stomach. Those issues all cleared up quickly and he was released from the NICU.

My platelet counts were still extremely low, but everything else was resolving itself.

I was able to go home on Wednesday (under strict orders to not be alone and to be extremely careful- any bump to the head could have resulted in a bleed).

Things were going well, but my milk still hadn't come in. Which is to be expected considering the trauma my body went through.

In the middle of the night Thursday (3:30am Friday morning) Ian had a really scary episode during which he appeared to not be breathing and other disturbing signs. We called 911 and went to the ER.

They did a spinal tap, put in a catheter, and took blood and urine samples. They started antibiotics and fluids. He was to be monitored for 48 hours. They did and EEG as well. All of the tests ended coming back negative. The best guess as to what happened is that he was dehydrated and undernourished (due to lack of my supply). We supplemented with formula friday night and I went home to rest. His blood sugar and output perked up to where it needed to be, and he was doing great.

We were sent home on Sunday and Ian is doing really well. My milk has come in and he is done with formula.

My mom came to help us for a few days, and when she left my dad and his wife came. They were extremely helpful. We were alone as a family on Tuesday and have been struggling since to work through everything. I am now working through postpartum depression, and things are tough.

We are working on getting me to a healthier place- until then we are taking it one minute at a time. I am so grateful for my son and our family. This has been an extremely challenging time for us. We are not through it yet, but I know we will get through it together. One day at a time.