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Friday, October 19, 2012

...her first hour...

(Disclaimer: this is a lengthy story. It is a story of/for Miss M in case I never get the chance to tell her myself.)

I've told this story many times. Chances are, if you are reading this, you have already heard the story, which could make for a boring read. But for me, retelling this story, and now putting it in print is therapeutic.

To say that I was a healthy pregnant person would be, well, a big fat lie.  Because, I was not.  But, who knows how their bodies will react to pregnancy before you are actually pregnant, and actually live through the birth of your child, and sometimes even the actual birth of your child doesn't mean that you have actually survived the full experience.

My pregnancy with Merrick started out eventful.  We I had been trying for a while (I am pretty sure Dave was just along for the ride, not really realizing that a baby was the end goal) and I had all but given up.  On Mother's day of 2005 I sat in church and cried because I had truly believed I was pregnant, but found out that morning I was not.  And, I gave up.  I had decided that at almost 30 years old, I had passed my opportunity.  I mean, who gets their dreams crushed on Mother's Day, right?  I figured it was a sign, and went about life.  And 1 month later, I saw that extra little line on that test that had answered my prayers.  I was gonna be a mama, and I could not have been happier.  (Side note:  fast forward about 2 years and 5 months and the reaction to the second pink line was not quite the same, but that's a completely different post, which will be entitled, "thank God for intervention.")

I was super excited and began reading everything I could get my hands on about my baby.  But at 8 weeks I found myself in the emergency room holding the hand of my best friend Katie, hearing the doctor say that it was probable I would lose my baby, then crying when I saw the little flicker on the monitor.  And then at 12 weeks, I was back in the doctor's office, this time holding the hand of my sister, and seeing that sweet little baby of mine bouncing off of my uterine walls and being completely in awe at how she had gone from a flicker to a baby in 4 weeks.   (All because apparently this girl's body doesn't understand that one of the perks to pregnancy is, well, you know!)

Despite feeling like I was going to throw up non-stop for a super long time, everything was going great.  We found out that we were having a baby girl around 20 weeks, and then, about a week later, I began retaining water.  Normal, right?  Apparently not so much, but nothing to worry about quite yet.  Bring on the kick counts, and flip flops cause my feet were not so much fitting in to any other shoes that I owned.  I passed my 3 hour glucose test and continued to gain large amounts of unexplainable weight, and every time my doctor reassured me that I was doing nothing wrong.

Merrick's due date was February 15, 2006.  I had a routine doctor's appointment on January 16th.  That day, I was put on bed rest, because I was really swollen.  So, I explained that I HAD to tie up some loose ends at work the next day, but I promised I would only stay a couple of hours and go home. That night I went home, made sure my bags were packed, (just in case), and proceeded to head in to work the next morning.

I was sitting at my desk working when the phone rang.  The called ID somehow identified that it was my doctor, and I remember thinking, that's weird, I am supposed to be at home, why are they calling me at work?  That phone call literally changed my life.  My doctor had called to tell me that I had to get to the hospital immediately.  HUH???  I was not due for 4 weeks, and I didn't have my stuff, and I didn't know where my husband was, and WHY DO I NEED TO BE AT THE HOSPITAL IN AN HOUR????  Apparently I was spilling protein in my urine.  UMMM, WHAT?  So, I did what any other girl would do.  I cried.  And one of my very good friends drove me to the hospital while I repeatedly called my husband, who was not answering, and I got checked in to the hospital.

Apparently, I had preeclampsia.  I didn't have high blood pressure, but I had all of the other symptoms. We had a biophysical of the baby, who was perfectly healthy with tons of hair, and continual monitoring of my blood and urine, and a plan was put in to place.  At approximately 6:00pm on January 17th, I began a 48 hour slow induction.

48 hours of labor.  Awesome.  No food, hairy legs, and well, labor.  (The very nice nurse brought me a razor so I didn't need to bring this baby in to the world with hairy legs!!!)  And, they even let me eat jello and chicken broth, and Dave gave me a bath and my mom blow dried my hair.  It was kind of like the spa, but it wasn't.  And the only thing keeping me going through the hourly blood draws was the monitor that showed my baby girls beating heart.

At some point, I got an epidural.  At some other point, they shot medicine in to my arm that I swear caught my vein on fire, I got 2 healthy doses of sleeping medication to make it through the nights, lots of  love, support and visitors, and then it was the morning of January 20th.  Game day!!!  Although, after all that time, I really hadn't made any progress.  So, we kept trudging on and at about 4 o'clock, my doctor began preparing us for the reality that a c-section was likely our best option.  Except that I had an awesome nurse who was not giving up on me, (like I had the ability to dilate my cervix) and made everyone else leave the room except my mom, turned the lights out, spread my legs WIDE open with some contraption, laid me on my side, and we waited.  But not long, because HOLY PRESSURE!!!

And in no time, I was dilated to a 9 and it was go time.  (Big surprise to Dave who walked in to go to the bathroom and walked out to hear, "We're at a 9!!!")  I am pretty sure he almost passed out.  I mean like, grab the side of the bed and hold on kind of almost pass out!

So, they prepped the room, got my doctor, I pushed a couple of times, and at 5:51 pm (almost exactly 48 hours after we began) a beautiful 6 pound 11 ounce baby girl with a head full of hair was placed on my chest.  I actually muttered something like "Wow, that's it?  I'm done?"

Except, I wasn't.  I was vaguely aware that my doctor had been hanging out down there between my legs for a while, but I had just had a baby!  And she was awesome!  And I was a MOM!  So what if my doctor was still hanging out down there, right?  So, remembering that you had to push your placenta out, I asked her if I needed to push some more.  She said no, asked how long it had been, and this is what I heard...

"We gotta go, how much of her epidural does she still have left?"
"It just ran out"
"We need to go.  We have to get her epidural going, now"

At this point, I think Dave and I were the only ones who had no idea what was going on or where I was going, but my baby was taken and handed over to her daddy, and off I went with my doctor and nurses down the hall, in to a room full of other doctors and nurses.  My nurse told me that everything was going to be OK, sweetly kissed me on my head, and stayed by my side.  I don't remember much about that hour, but there are things that I will never forget.  I clearly remember watching my body move in front of me with no feeling.  I remember them trying to find veins to type my blood but were struggling to find veins due to the swelling and blood loss.  I remember having an additional IV added while my arms were laid out straight to my side.  I remember the talking, but having no idea what was being said.  But most of all, I remember asking if they had given me medication to make me go to sleep, because I was struggling to stay awake and I was afraid that if I closed my eyes, I would never wake up to see that beautiful baby girl that I wanted to hold and love forever.  So, I prayed to God that if he would let me live through this, I would be the best mama that I could possibly be.

During that hour, I would later find out that they had given baby girl her bath, that she cried until they put her head under the faucet.  They had checked her out and she was perfectly healthy.  And I missed it.  I missed being able to see what everyone else got to see.  And you know what, I can't watch it.  I try, and I cry, I try again, I cry again.  It's been almost 7 years, and I can't watch it.  So, I don't try anymore.  Because there is something in this mom brain that brings me back to that time, and I can't handle it.  Because, what would that baby girl have done without her mama?

When I was rolled out of the operating room, I remember really questioning if I was alive or not.  My family and Dave's family and family friends were lining the halls, and there were criers, and at least one sobber.  It was kind of crazy, like I was passing by in a coffin and not a gurney.

We would later find out that I had a retained placenta that could not be manually delivered.  What should have been a 20 minute surgical removal turned in to an hour because it was just that stuck.  I lost a ton of blood and was nearing the point of needing a full hysterectomy, only an hour after I had just given birth.

I would also later learn that the event had so traumatized my husband, that future children were really not an option.

It also traumatized my doctor who cried as she talked to my family, because she hadn't had that experience in her 20 year career.

But, my baby girl and I were OK.  We had made it, and almost 7 years later, we are still going strong.

I wonder why it happened and worry that it may happen to my girls, and what if I am not around to warn their doctors?  But, I realize that there is nothing I can do about that now, so that's a worry I have to let go....until then.

Back together, where we needed to be


  1. I had heard bits and pieces of this story but not all of the details. I was hanging on every word. So glad you are both okay. Love.

  2. Great job recalling all of that! Wow! I am so thankful for you and this is a day I will remember as well. This was also the first day Jaime ever met Matt and as he walked out of the elevator she asked him why he wasn't in the room with you. Ha ha ha!

    I love you Bo!