So, enter the vacuum. This was the first time I had this particular experience and it might not have been so bad if my epidural had not worn off so much. Owww again.
The sudden swarm of activity in the room was much different than my previous deliveries. With my other babies, only Tim, me, my doctor, delivery nurse and a baby nurse were present. This time, we also started with a respiratory therapist and a few extra nurses that I think came with the vacuum.
Once the vacuum was ready, I pushed twice and out came baby- ready or not. Dr Smith laid baby face down on my stomach, but didn't tell us the gender. He let us turn her over to find out together. Not knowing the gender ahead of time really added some fun anticipation and extra surprise! I'm glad we waited! Tim helped me flip her over and we saw she was a she. Yay! He was right. I was wrong. (He loves when I admit that!)
Eliza Tess Prestwich
born 7/28/10, 17:17, 7 lbs 7 oz, 19.5 inches
Tim cut the cord and a nurse came to get baby to weigh & check her. That's when Dr Smith told me to push again to deliver the placenta. Dang placenta. That's always when the fun begins.
For my nurse friends: Here's where we get to use our fun vocabulary words like methergen, Cytotec, plasma extender and 16 gauge needles.
Out came the placenta, promptly followed by the horrible sensation of vast amounts of blood also leaving my body. That is not something you ever get used to. The more the nurses kneaded my stomach, the more gushing I felt. At this point the swarm of activity escalated. Things were going dark on my end, but there were more people coming in the room bringing all sorts of things. I remember telling Tim to go over with the baby. I knew they were going to poke more holes in me and I didn't want him right there. I remember looking over to the bassinet and seeing Tim holding Eliza while he and the RT looked at me with horrified faces. I'm pretty sure the RT doesn't normally see that kind of blood in his daily routine. He beat it out of there as fast as he could.
At some point Tim brought Eliza over by my head all wrapped up cute. I will never forget the peace I felt as I looked into those alert, beautiful dark eyes looking at me. I knew it would turn out ok.
Here's where I was in and out of consciousness for a while. It is a strange feeling to have so many people working on you while you have no control over what is happening and can't participate in the process. I had to have faith in them and in Heavenly Father that things would work out the way they were supposed to.
My sweet nurse, Jessica, was on my right hand side. I could hear her asking if I was still there over and over. Occasionally I could whisper to her or nod. On the left was the anesthesiologist asking me questions, but I couldn't turn my head to respond. Tim later told me they brought the anesthesiologist in to place an IV for plasma extender. My veins had collapsed and the nurse couldn't get an IV in. There was blood all over my hand from a failed attempt. Unfortunately, Tim had a direct view of that mishap.
In my haze, I would catch words here and there. One thing that stood out was the word "Vycril." I heard Dr Smith ask for more of it a few times. I knew that wasn't good. From my days as a dental assistant, I know Vycril is suture material. Tim later asked how many stitches I had. Dr Smith told him he didn't count them. He said it was more like hemming a dress- you just keep going until it's done. He did, however, tell us that he used 6 feet of Vycril. I'm barely over five feet tall. You do the math.
Through all the trauma, Tim was right there. He held my baby where I could see her (when my eyes were open). He didn't leave when things got so bloody. He is amazing. I can't imagine the situation reversed and having to watch him go through something like that. For me, it was much easier to be on my end, except for seeing the fear and concern in his eyes. That was hard for me to feel like I was making him suffer. I mostly didn't want him to have to tell his girls that mommy wasn't ever coming home. I love my family so much and I am so glad I am here with them!
The next thing I remember was the room slowly coming back into focus and I was shaking. I was shaking so hard that it took me at least 45 minutes to stop. Between the epidural, cold IVs of who-knows-what, and good old fashioned shock, my body couldn't stop. I had piles of warm blankets and I was concentrating on breathing deeply through the giant oxygen mask. My jaw was sore from clenching my teeth in an attempt to hold still.
Around this time (I think) I sent Tim out with Eliza to meet her sisters and Grandma Barb and Papa Gary. The picture at the top of my blog was taken when they met for the first time. Lydia was quick to point out that she was right- the baby was a girl. She was was SO SURE!
So much happened during that crazy delivery, that it took Jessica and hour to chart everything. While I was shaking, she was next to me typing like a mad woman. I lost 1480 cc's of blood during delivery. Tim said Dr Smith was covered with blood from the shoulders down. We traumatized more than one nurse. They offered to pass around a collection plate to contribute to a vasectomy so we wouldn't try this again! I was Jessica's last patient before she left for a two week vacation and I think she more than earned it. If you remember, during labor she asked my about my previous deliveries and I told her that my bleeding had gotten worse each time. She was so prepared with all the right medicines and supplies so we had what we needed in the room ahead of time. I know that these amazing professionals saved my life! I would never have survived a home birth. I definitely wouldn't have made it as a pioneer!
Jessica apologized that I wasn't out of recovery within an hour of delivery. I never knew that was a goal. I felt bad that we had reached the end of her shift (7pm) and she was still at work. Soon, my night nurse (Chris) came in to take over & we moved to the next phase of the adventure.
Stay tuned for "The worst recovery ever." (if I haven't totally grossed you out yet)
Tim's addition: Anyone whose delivered in the hospital can recognize the rhythmic thump..thump..thump.. of the baby's heart monitor. I held my breath and I think my heart waited as we listened and waited for Eliza's heart to start beating again after a contraction. I lived a lifetime in that moment...waiting. Her heart beat again and then again and then back up to the familiar thump..thump..thump.. the nurse wasted no time calling the Doctor back to our room. When he saw the heart beat drop and discovered Eliza was upside down he called for the vacuum. He apologized ahead of time, saying we had to for the baby. The Doc's and nurses faces showed concern, and the room was full of equipment and people and an unsettled feeling. I was not sure if everyone was worried abut the baby or Corrine. I was worried about both. Somehow I knew everything would be okay, but what did that even mean?
The Doc said okay here we go, we're going to have a boy and no bleeding! No such luck. Eliza came out slick as ...um.... she came out quick. But she didn't cry or scream and her face was blue for a few moments. When we looked at her to see she was a her I remember thinking how unimportant the gender seemed now, I just wanted my baby to breath and Corrine to be okay. She finally cried a little, I cut the cord, she was doing great, but that uneasy feeling just kept growing.
I heard the doctor say 2nd degree and 3rd degree tears, he asked to start the blood clotting drugs. Ah oh, we've been down this road before. The tension hung in the room. The doctor looked stressed and concerned. More shots, more doctor orders, more nurses running. I could hear the blood gushing out and slopping on the floor. I looked, and wondered how much blood a person could lose. Corrine told me to go take care of the baby. I just went but I wasn't sure if she'd just sent me away to protect me or to protect the baby.
It was a relief to see Eliza was wide eyed and mostly pink. Across the room Corrine's eyes were shut and she was white like her bed sheets. Eliza's nurse kept talking to me, but I was watching & listening Corrine. Corrine's nurse kept shouting at her, " Corrine are you still with us?" Sometimes Corrine would respond. One time when there was no response I wondered if Corrine's spirit would stay in the room or if she would be able to hear the nurse shouting to her. Would the nurses urging bring her back?
More blood, more orders, more nurses scrambling. Corrine was bleeding out of her left arm now while the nurses tried to get another IV started. They complained that her veins were diving and collapsing I thought "Stop that bleeding on her arm she needs her blood." They called someone who was a specialist to try the IV, meanwhile another nurse tried again and again-and was finally successful just as the specialist showed up.
Eliza was wrapped tightly in a blanket and I was holding her while pressed up against the wall watching. More blood, more orders, more nurses. The doctor had called for cross typing and 2 units right away and two on hold. He looked gruesome, his gown was covered in blood up to both shoulders and down the front to his legs and feet. The nurse was still calling out to Corrine, and I could not see Corrine respond at all. I was praying and still had hope when but when Corrine didn't respond that time a wave of terror fell over me. I was going to raise four girls alone, I was going to take a baby home without her mother, I felt cold, lonely and realized how much i depend on Corrine. I felt like Peter suddenly sinking into the sea, and the waves were about to bury my head.... Just then a thought popped into my mind, it would seem silly to some, so I won't tell it here. But I did it. Hoped returned.
Soon the situation began to improve. Corrine was moving. The nurses were pushing stuff into her through multiple tubes but were more relaxed. The doctor was sewing but wasn't shouting. He worked for a long time. While he was working I did ask him if he would spot me a few bucks to pay for a vasectomy...he looked at me with a puzzled look before he realized I was joking--he said we could pass a hat and everyone in the room would contribute (there were still 4 nurses in the room). We all laughed. Then he said, whatever we do, lets not do this again. I agreed.
Things were finally stabilizing, I took Eliza down the hall to show her to the Sisters and G-ma. I wanted to run out the door and leave the hospital right then. But I reminded myself that the trauma was over and everything was fine now. If I'd only known....