Here I am, 36 weeks pregnant. The last couple of days I have been feeling some discomfort (shhhhh...down there), and by yesterday I realized it wasn't going away. So I tried to get an appt with the Dr here, but they didn't have any availability, so they referred me to the Army hospital ER. I was dreading going in, but knew I needed to take care of whatever this was before I need to push out this baby.
Dave and the kids dropped me off and they went to dinner. I go in alone to the ER, and it's set up more like an urgent care. Everyone is super nice and no one criticized that I was planning a home birth at all. In fact, all were pretty fascinated and seemed to think it was cool (like they'd never met a home birthing mama). So, the Dr does an exam. It's not a external hemmorroid or a cyst, but an abscess. One that may need a surgeon. So they call in a surgeon. Yes, it's an peri-rectal abscess, and it needs surgery. Not just outpatient surgery, but the kind they need to put you under for (YIPPEE!).
Since I am pregnant and had eaten lunch (5 hours before), it was decided they'd give me a spinal block for the operation. The difference of the spinal vs epidural was explained. The spinal is stronger, but shorter in duration and uses less drugs overall vs the epidural that has more of a drug cocktail so they have additional control over how much the Mom feels and they can leave it in for a longer period of time.
They took me up to Labor and Delivery to monitor the baby and get lab work done. The L&D is really nice and the nurses were great. It was decided I would stay overnight for monitoring since it was already 7pm, so this birthing suite was to be my room. I called Dave and told him to take the kids home and I'd let him know when the surgery was done. I had to take off my jewelry, including my nose ring which is a huge bummer since now I will have to have it re-pierced due to quick healing :(
I have to tell you, at this point I was relieved that I would not have do deal with a simple (and very painful) lancing procedure done in office. However, I was facing basically having a standard labor and delivery procedure done on me while I was pregnant. I know that though it's typically "safe", but there are side effects. I know that those drugs do not leave the baby completely unharmed and untouched. But I also knew that I needed this taken care of or there would be no home birth or happy delivery for me. The pain would be far too great at that time.
I snapped this beauty right before they took me up to L&D. This is as good as I've looked for the last 2 days, haha. You won't be seeing any more of me for a while.
The surgical team was fantastic; chatting and always keeping me informed of what was going on. They got me into the cold (AND VERY WHITE) operating room and transferred me to the skinny operating table/bed while they prepped the spinal. I don't think I've every felt so alone or so fearful of something in my life. I was worried for the baby, but mostly I was taking it all in as if it wasn't me. I figured if I needed to go through this, I would do my best to learn and take it all in so I could relate to the Mom's who choose or have no choice to deliver their babies in an operating room. I was trying to process what this would be like for a Mom that has no choice but to have a C-section or even one that desired an epidural. For me, the surgical team was almost loving. No one was brusque, they were all supportive of how I was feeling and they were really reassuring. Once again, I kept thinking of the Mamas and stories I've heard of how afraid they were and how the staff was uncaring of their feelings. How they weren't part of the process, but were outside of what the staff felt was important. It was sobering for me. I'm so very thankful that I'm not prone to panic attacks, because I would have had one while I sat there waiting for those needles.
The first shot they gave me was lidocaine into my spine. This was very painful, but the pain was big enough for me to breath through (for me this is easier than the little pricking pains that come from smaller procedures). Then I was numb in that spot and they went ahead and injected the spinal block. Within second I could feel the warmth and tingling in my bum. Then it moved into my feet and then finally into my legs. The whole time someone was in front of me gently holding my shoulders to not only keep me still but to make sure I didn't fall off the table. They had me sit up for about 6 minutes so the drugs would pool in my bottom area for the operation. Then it was time to lay down.
The lack of sensation was bizarre. I could not help them lay my body down. I could move my arms and shoulders, but that's it. They had to adjust my legs, hips and belly area to where they wanted it. After a certain period of time, the tingling gave way to a complete heaviness in my lower body. I would try to wiggle my toes and move my legs and nothing happened. My brain had no control. *I* had no control. I hated it. Once again, I had to focus and not have a complete mental breakdown from my inability to have control over my body...it was not easy. You're essentially paralyzed. I lay there, thankful the baby was moving around so well, thankful that there were these drugs that ensured I could have this abscess properly cleaned out and dealt with, while at the same time feeling baffled that someone could CHOOSE this lack of control in order to avoid labor pain.
Right before the procedure started, they gave me Fentanyl. I started itching soon afterward. I'm not sure if that drug was necessary or not, but in future, if I had a choice, this one would not be on my OK list. I didn't stop itching for about 4-5 more hours. The procedure went well, only lasting about 40 minutes to an hour. I was taking it all in as I was laying there. I chatted with the anesthesiologist, and asked questions. I listed to the surgeons as they were working. I kept track of my blood pressure readings. (The worst reading we got was just after they did the spinal 152/101...yeah I was more than a little stressed). And then we were done.
They had to physically roll me back into the other bed, adjusting my body since I could do nothing for myself. The sudden movement left me very, very nauseated. What a bad feeling. I had to keep my eyes closed and really focus on not throwing up as they sped me down the hallways back to L&D for recovery. Well, maybe they weren't speeding, it just felt like I was on a six flags roller coaster.
They got me settled and then started monitoring baby girl again and taking my blood pressure. Once back in this room, it went down to 127/74, so yes, I do "white-coat" very easily. It was never again high for my stay there. Then the itching started. It was enough to drive me completely insane. My back, chest, arms were itching like crazy, and I had trouble staying still enough to not move the monitors for the baby. I couldn't feel the baby moving at all, even though she was. I was having light contractions every 2-4 minutes, but I couldn't feel those either. After an hour or so, I started feeling some tingling in my legs and feet. Another hour later I was able to move my legs just a bit, and then finally wiggle my toes. Once the feeling returned, the itching in those spots subsided. By 1:30am, 5 hours after my spinal block, I was able to get up and go to the bathroom and we took off all the monitors for nighttime.
I was feeling so thankful that I wasn't attempting to try and care for a newborn baby at this time while I recovering. My bum didn't hurt yet, but the rest of my body was not feeling too good. Trying to nurse and love on a baby while feeling tingly, groggy and itchy would have been really a frustration. Once again, I was thinking of the Mama's that do this (either willingly or unwillingly) and it's no wonder there are so many breastfeeding problems or recovery issues. I can't even imagine how it would be done well.
Before I settled down for the night, they gave me a Darvocet through the IV to help with pain relief. I think either I don't handle heavy meds well, or other people are okay with feeling super out of it. I could feel the med move up my one side, through my head and neck and then bad down the other side. This led to a long night of my feeling completely groggy, with a headache, dizziness and nausea, snatching 15-20 minutes at a time while feeling like a wasn't sleeping at all. I noticed that the baby was very active, even more so than normal. Her movements were a lot more jerky and aggressive than her normal behavior. I would lay there and talk to her and apply gentle pressure to the areas she was kicking so hard, hoping my voice would calm her a bit. At 5, we decided to try the meds again, thinking that maybe it was a fluke how bad I felt and if that didn't work, we could use an anti-nausea med. At 7, they brought me breakfast. It was pretty heavy, so I stuck with the milk and banana and part of a pancake...but then I got sick and threw up all of it. Then we tried the anti-nausea med. It helped a bit, but not enough.
They wanted to monitor the baby again for 20 minutes. Her heart rate is consistently in the 130's and 140's. But for this 20 minutes, it was about 115 and even as low as 108 and her movements were still incredibly active. We left the monitors on for about an hour, and about the same time I finally felt the drugs wearing off, her heart rate was back to her normal rate.
At that point, I asked for Tylenol and refused any more narcotics. I know it won't control the pain level as well, but I don't need any more loss of control in my life right now. I did go ahead and get a prescription for Percocet (for here at home) since I can cut them in half. I'm going to try a 1/2 pill at night before bed so I can experience the pain relief and see if they make me feel better than just the Tylenol.
Just before I was discharged, Dave and the kids got there. Then the surgeon showed Dave how to irrigate the "wound". This will need to be done for the next week. Ironic how we've avoided super gross issues for the most part through our nearly 12 years of marriage and here I am, having to have him deal with this blessed event. Ah, life is full of things we can't avoid I suppose.
So there is my experience with an embarrassing situation that gave me a small peak into what a "normal" hospital birth would look like for someone. The staff at the hospital was AMAZING. I couldn't have asked for a better experience that way. I did not meet even one person I didn't like. One nurse even grabbed me their packet for the birth certificate so it will be easier for me to file my baby's certificate with the State. Though I would never willingly have my baby in a hospital, I have to say that it makes me happy this hospital would be the one I'd have to deal with in the case of a transfer or if I needed additional birth assistance.
And so, there is my long, long story of how our Easter weekend is going. We will not be attended the Easter service since it is nearly impossible for me to sit and act normal. The Dr said I'll be pretty much totally healed in a week to 10 days thanks to the increased blood flow in my body from pregnancy. And then, we'll finally maybe be ready to have this baby. It has been a long haul and I'm looking forward to some peace.
Happy Resurrection Sunday to everyone. I hope your day is a wonderful one. For myself and my family, we're laying low ♥
Here are a couple of pics from this morning. Dave read the resurrection story from their Adventure Bible