Wednesday, February 27, 2013

When motherhood is weird

Oh hey guys! Guess what: I had a baby like a million years ago and then didn't post about it on this blog. And by "a million years" I mean "nearly three months." I've been in a bit of a haze since then, and have been trying to figure out how to succinctly explain the insanity that happened to us when I had the baby, and then three months disappeared, and we're piled under this deep snow in late winter, and I haven't updated since the summer.  Living up to my naaaaaaaaame!

So. Going back to where we left off, it turns out that the fibroids I had were insane, and the pain I was experiencing last summer was the fibroids getting unsustainably big and going through degeneration. (Oh hey! Apparently other women get hospitalized with narcotics for that stuff. I moved across the country and felt bad that I was so unhelpful in the process.) Other crazy stuff happened, like the sheer weight of fibroids + baby causing my ribs to pop out in painful ways, which made me my chiropractor's most complicated patient. I had a lot of health professionals tell me that they'd never seen a case as extreme as mine before, so that was fun.

Then, a little more than a month before the baby's due date, and two days after we had my baby shower (where we got the stuff we really needed, like the car seat) and set up the baby room, I went for my routine OBGYN appointment and found out that I had dangerously high blood pressure. I got sent straight to the hospital.

(Oh, and about two weeks before that, my parents and sister were in a bad car accident, which resulted in my father, whose respiratory system is very much a delicate balance, spending a week in ICU with pneumonia. So, my family spent about a week between hospitalizations and health crises. And the stress of that probably didn't help matters.)

I was initially admitted to the hospital with the intention that I'd only be there for a few days, as they got my blood pressure stabilized, and then I'd be sent home with medication and monitoring. But, before I could leave, they wanted to do an ultrasound, to make sure that the baby hadn't been affected. At the ultrasound (one of many ultrasounds where the tech freaked out because my fibroids looked unusual, and insisted that they couldn't be fibroids), we discovered that the placenta was touching one of the fibroids, causing the baby to have a growth restriction. She was in the third percentile for size, at that point. While the doctor assured me that she was healthy, and that small babies catch up, I freaked out. That was not good for my blood pressure.

So, armed with the knowledge that my high bp and my PUPPPS rash were the result of the placenta sending out warning signals through my body, we were given a night to decide whether to deliver immediately, or to wait a few days until the baby was 36 weeks old (with the hope she could avoid NICU). We decided to wait, and she was born a week later.

The c-section was insane. (Note: not only was she in the frank breech position, but fibroids were blocking the birth canal, and so c-section was the only option. Thank goodness for modern medicine.) Because of the enormity and the nature of the fibroids, there was a serious risk that I'd bleed out and need an emergency hysterectomy to save my life. There were also question about whether the growth restriction would cause problems for the baby. When they wheeled me into the Labour and Birth ward, the entire staff was standing around to greet me, looking nervous. The head nurse informed me that they'd be taking me to the regular OR, because the L&B operating room wasn't big enough for my complicated procedure.

"Don't worry; this is standard for our more complicated c-sections!" she reassured me.

When I got to the OR, the surgical staff was buzzing with excitement. "A baby!" one of them squealed. "We haven't had a baby born here in YEARS!"


My anesthesiologist periodically counted everyone in the room and asked, "Now, how many here need to be here, and how many are here to observe?" It was a circus. There were teams from more departments than I can even remember now. I do remember that we had pretty much all the residents from NICU, and a big team of staff and students from Respiratory Therapy. Someone brought in four units of blood, in case I needed a transfusion. Chris had to wait outside until I was prepped (actually, we had to ask permission for him to be there, because the regular OR doesn't normally do c-sections), and so I was suddenly alone, shivering on the table as they inserted the spinal block. I sang to myself the old hymn "Under His Wings" and repeated Psalm 91, and someone in the room marveled at the fact that I was so calm and still, in the midst of such insanity.

Everything went better than expected. My biggest fibroid had gone through some kind of liquid degeneration, and my OBGYN drained a whole gallon of fluid from it, on the operating table. That resulted in a bit of commotion. When the baby was born, she had a bit of trouble with her lung capacity, and that whole NICU team swarmed her, got her breathing and warm, and rushed her out of the room. Honestly, I didn't get to see the baby until she was a whole day old, because she was in NICU and I wasn't well enough to leave my bed.

I didn't get a hysterectomy, and I didn't end up getting a transfusion until two days later, when my hemoglobin levels were so low that I was fainting when I tried to stand. That transfusion was the best thing to happen to me (it even knocked my cold out of my system!).

We stayed in the hospital for a week after that, since the baby's pediatrician was worried about the fact that her head had been squished between my ribs and a fibroid, and thought that the sutures in her skull may have sealed prematurely, which would make it difficult for her brain to grow (if all sutures were sealed), or would cause skull shape deformity (if one of the sutures was sealed). We waited for a neurosurgeon to look at an x-ray of her head, and were then sent home with the reassurance that at least not ALL of her sutures were sealed. (The question still remains if one is sealed: the neurosurgeon ordered a CT scan of her head, and now we're waiting to find out if the baby has to have surgery when she's 8-9 months old.)

And that's the end of the dramatic part of our story. Now, I've been slowly recovering (the fibroids still give me some pain, as they shrink and degenerate), and the baby is growing and developing wonderfully. She's now big for her age, after a couple of months of crazy non-stop feedings. ("Small babies catch up. It's what they do best." - the OBGYN who saw her growth restriction. At least I already knew that they catch up by EATING LIKE MANIACS.)

Li'l E slept for 8 1/2 hours last night, and is napping again now, which is how I had the time to type up this whole blog post. We're enjoying being non-dramatic for a while. Now, if I could only get her to nap like this on a regular basis, so that I could get some writing done.


Anonymous said...

Oh wow, what a story. So glad to hear you and your baby are doing well.
--Random (kindly) stranger who reads your blog.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

Thanks, kindly stranger!

Psycgirl said...


Anonymous said...

i remember craziness from FB but this is even crazier. I am so glad that everything went well!!