To this day, I’m still getting used to the idea that I am now a mom and that I gave birth to a real live baby. Becoming a mother is the most surreal thing I have ever experienced. Maybe because I wasn’t quite ready for it and so this is my birth story….
I thought I was just getting really fat, really fast.
Then my mom, sister, and my sister’s husband came down for Memorial Weekend and my mom, who had not seen me for months, was very alarmed about my physical changes. I had swelling on my feet, face, arms, legs, everywhere! I totally thought I was just packing on the weight but my mom was convinced that something was not right and insisted that I go to the doctor. The day after Memorial Day, on May 27, I went to the hospital to get it checked out, not really thinking it was going to be anything serious, and plus I was in the area. While I was there, I was told I was dehydrated (we were just at Myrtle Beach for the weekend) and I got put on an IV.
I thought that would be the worse of it.
I overheard the nurse say that someone was having contractions already and I was thinking to myself “I am glad I am not that person”. But guess what? She was talking about me. Then they checked my blood pressure and it was elevated and this has never happened before. They checked it again and it was even higher. Then not 2 hours at being at the hospital, I get told that I am going to be induced and that I have to deliver my baby the next day because it seems I have preeclampsia. I was shocked at this point and I was kind of hysterical when I called Micah. I was not ready for this. That was the hardest thing, that I was not ready. I did not have time to prepare myself mentally to do this. I thought I still had 6 weeks left but I was getting told that I had to deliver my baby the next day?! I had not even read birthing books yet!
So, then I get taken over to labor and delivery and I get put on a catheter and then given magnesium sulfate through the IV. This helps prevent seizures and also this bought time for me to be given steroids so that Ruby’s lungs could be stronger when she was born. That magnesium stuff was awful! I felt like a rock/boulder that was just sinking to the bottom of a lake while on it. It relaxes the muscles and therefore you can’t really function so you are just tied down to a bed. My limbs felt so heavy, I could barely eat my jello while on that stuff. And what also stinks about being on the magnesium is that you can’t eat. If you are lucky the doctor will let you have liquids such as jello and juices. There was a total of 5 days at the hospital that I did not eat because I was on that magnesium twice. I don’t know how I survived just on IV fluids really…I tried my best to not think about food the whole time but of course that was all I could think about. I had to tell Micah not to eat in front of me.
The only good thing about the magnesium is that it may have helped lower my blood pressure because after a night and day being tied down to a bed, I get told I don’t have to get induced right then after all because my blood pressures were going down, although they were still considered elevated. But this also means I was going to be stuck at the hospital until I reached 37 weeks so that they can monitor me. As one of the nurses put it, I was not leaving there without a baby. I was only 34 weeks so that meant I was going to be staying at the hospital for 3 more weeks! I went to the hospital on a Tuesday and I was miserable by Friday.
Being stuck in a tiny room eating hospital food with slow internet is not my cup of tea. I missed my house so much. I was really hoping that they would put me on bed rest at home. And one of the doctors even got my hopes up on Saturday because she said that it was a possibility the way my blood pressures were improving. But then by Saturday night, I said goodbye to that idea because my blood pressures were rising again all throughout the day. I already knew what the doctor was going to tell me the next day and as Micah was dozing off to sleep on Saturday night, I almost expressed to him that I was probably going to get induced the next day or so but he looked so peaceful on his blow up bed that I didn’t want to worry him and so I let him just sleep instead, oblivious to the big events of the next day.
I was right.
Sunday morning, the doctor tells me that I was going to get induced that night. So, then I was brought back to labor and delivery and met my old pal, magnesium again. But this time, the magnesium experience was even worse. Apparently I got too much of it and it made me almost completely immobile and loopy. Thank goodness for the nurse because she realized that something was not right with me and reported it to the doctors and I was given calcium (potassium?) to counteract the magnesium’s effects but it was too late, I was in a complete weakened state. I remember not being able to hold myself up while they gave me the epidural. I was not sure how I was going to give birth in that state.
I was in and out of it consciously.
Especially when they gave me narcotics…it knocked me out and I started having bizarre visions. I hated it. I hated the feeling of not being in control, mentally and physically. I was not in an ideal state to be giving birth. As if that was not bad enough, the epidural did not really work. They may have given it to me too late. An hour or so after the epidural I was getting really close to 10 cm. The contractions were becoming so unbearably strong that all I wanted to do was push but the nurse told me to to try not to push yet because they had to get everything ready first. Suddenly, the room was filled with people, one of them being the midwife, and some other people who I was not sure what they were there for. They just all rushed in and then I was told to start pushing. That was all I wanted to do and push I did. With all of my might. Even though I was so weak, it was like I had this energy conserved that I was waiting to use for this very moment. I pushed twice or maybe 3 times (if that), and then she was out and it was a great feeling to have her out of my body.
But my blood pressure dropped deathly low.
In my loopy state, I heard the nurse panic a little and I heard her say my blood pressure was 60/40. I was too tired to panic or to react. I did not even register that I had just given birth. They put Ruby to my chest and I tried to look at her, but the room felt too bright. I opened my eyes to look at her and say a few words to her. Then I just laid there with my eyes closed and that was all I was capable of doing at that moment. I could not even really enjoy my first moment with my baby. They took her to NICU.
The next day, on a Tuesday, I left Labor and Delivery and went to another hospital room. I was not able to visit Ruby because the magnesium’s effects were still there and I could not really walk on my own. I felt so guilty not being able to see my baby. I kept asking Micah to take pictures of her for me. All I did was look at pictures of her in my bed although she was just in the other side of the hospital. That night, Micah took me over to NICU in a wheelchair and I visited her for the first time.
Seeing her there I cried. For so many reasons. She was beautiful. She was tiny and skinny but very much full of life. She was so healthy. I didn’t even get to see her with the CPAP because she was doing so well breathing on her own that she was only on it for less than a day. I was grateful. Grateful to family and friends for their prayers. Grateful to my Heavenly Father and Savior because I know they were watching over me and everything worked out. Not perfectly. Not painlessly. But it worked out and my baby and I were fine.
However, my trials and stay in the hospital were not over.
I was anemic. I lost so much blood and so I got a blood transfusion. Then I had a fever. So, I had to get antibiotics. And then my heart rate was abnormally high and so they had to do an EKG. And then they also did an x-ray to make sure I did not have pneumonia. I had so many physical problems all at once that kept me there. I was so ready to leave the hospital and go home to my own bed.I barely got any sleep the next 4 days that I was there. I was jittery. I could not fall asleep. There was so much going on my mind and my body was out of whack from all of the medications that they had given me.
They had to give me Ambien on Thursday evening, my last night there, because I did not sleep for 2 days. And for some comic relief, I had a funny side effect from the Ambien. It caused me to laugh like a lunatic. For no reason! I was worried that the nurse would walk in on this episode and then wheel me over to the psychiatric unit because I had lost it. But she didn’t and I just laughed myself to sleep. I guess my body thought I needed a really good laugh. They let me out finally the next morning, on a Friday. I felt like a freed woman. It was so strange to be outside and to feel the sun on my skin after 10 long days in the hospital.
***After a very long week of me and Micah going back and forth from home and the hospital, Ruby came home too, on Saturday, June 14. She weighed 4 pounds 1 ounces. ***