Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Baby III Week 19: Kinda like a birth story, minus the birth

19 Weeks

Craaaaaazy week guys... craziest week in any of my pregnancies yet. But harder the week, the better the post right? Who wants to hear "everything is great, I haven't gained an ounce anywhere other than my perfectly unmarked belly, I'm glowing, I'm radiating love and warm fuzzies." Gross. Or jealous... whatever...

I'm a little late with this one, we have to go back to not last Friday but the Friday before. On my 18 week post I shared that my back was hurting and I blamed a lack of back strengthening exercises. By Friday the pain was pretty serious. I've had normal pregnancy back pain, I've had sciatic nerve pain, this was not that. My midwife came over, tested my urine, no signs of kidney infection or protein in my urine so we decided I needed to rest, but she also wanted me to consider going in for some blood work... just in case. Lots of rest over the weekend, feeling better through Monday and Tuesday then progressively worse Wednesday, Thursday (officially 19 weeks), and by Friday I decided to go to the ER after daycare. My midwife did come once more that week to check everything again and all was clear, with just very trace amounts of protein in my urine, not enough to worry about.

We went to the ER not because I felt like there was an emergency so much, but because I can't easily close my daycare to go to a doctor. I knew if I went to the ER they could do everything, blood work, ultrasound, etc... but it would just be a long wait. Dude... I didn't even know.

7pm we sign into the ER at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. I'm sure most of you know how I feel about blood and I always swear every time I go into the ER someone will walk in bleeding everywhere... Eric always says it wont happen... but it always does. I'm standing at the front desk signing in and up walks a mom hold a kid with a bloody pillow or something against his head, stopping right next to me. Horrified, I look at Eric, who returns a "I can't believe it, it DOES always happen to you" look. Foreshadow of everything going wrong for the next 8 hours.

We wait for a short bit and hear a doctor say to another waiting pregnant girl, "you are over 16 weeks, you belong in labor and delivery, follow me." Sweet! I'm over 16 weeks too! Eric notifies a doctor and I get to head up to the "Family Birthing Center" where there is no wait. Eric and I take a moment to make fun of the awful Disney painting of Bambi getting fisted by Stromboli and head off to triage.

Turns out this doesn't mean I get to see a doctor sooner, this is more like going to jail and not passing Go and not collecting $200. I just have to sit up there and let radiation shoot into my baby's head for a while because if there is a preggo in the building, it must be monitored. All hail the machine that goes ping, right? Once they have covered their asses with that little printout I have to head back to the ER and start over.

Signing in again, this time I literally look at nothing other than things that I know are not going to bleed, like the paper and the desk and the floor. Someone has collapsed in the bathroom right by us. I'm in hospital phobic girl hell. I go through ER triage and by 9pm I'm in a gown in a room... nothing happens for 2 hours, unless you count Eric sleeping against the wall and me laying in horror, staring at the ceiling as I listen to paramedics talk about blood transfusions and injuries that I try very hard to not imagine.

For my worried daycare mom, Kelly! See! I'm all hooked up to monitors and wires and taking part in all that the miracle of medicine has to offer. There are no herbs or midwives or fire dancing in the forest. Just good old American medicine.

I knew the blood draw was coming so I thought I would be ready for it, but I never really know until I meet the person doing the draw. She wasn't nice, she didn't listen to me about what my "good" vein is, I felt like she took a long time. I did fine at my last 2 draws, but after this I felt like I was going to faint. I might have done ok, but I was in pain, I hadn't eaten for almost 7 hours, and I was really tired. My bp dropped from 130/80 to 90something/55. I somehow managed to pull myself out of it as I was just about to be wheeled to ultrasound.

The tech didn't let us see the screen and didn't really talk to us. We did get to confirm that there is only one little in there and it weighs about 10oz right now. My placenta, kidneys, bladder, gallbladder and everything else looked good. Blood work also came back good, so I was in the clear. 1am... exhausted, finally able to go home.

I don't know what exactly happened in the car. I think I was going back through the events in my head and the blood draw bothered me all over again. Let's pause for a lesson in fainting though...

This is not what I look when I faint
Fainting, ie syncope, can be caused by lots of stuff like dehydration, blood sugar drop, etc. Vasovagal syncope is the most common type of fainting, and is in response to a trigger... like needles or snakes or in-laws. Blood pressure drops, depriving the vagus nerve of blood, and fainting occurs. Reflex anoxic seizures are when you stiffen and sometimes muscles spasm/limbs jerk in response to the lack of blood in the brain. My mom, brothers, and I all experience vasovagal syncope with various triggers, I think I'm the only one that has reflex anoxic seizures.

There's no set rules as to what will be a trigger for me, but I can usually tell if something will upset me and avoid the situation. I've become really good at this, Eric still struggles to navigate what will and will not bother me. Blood draws always bother me, but if things move smoothly and quickly I usually will not faint. Bloody movies bother me, but childbirth doesn't. Cesareans do not bother me but episiotomies do. If I'm in a situation where something might bother me but I'm relied upon to act, I'm fine. For vasovagal syncope to occur you have to have a drop in adrenaline, and in emergency situations adrenaline is usually pumping. This is why some moms can take their kid to the Dr. for stitches but don't feel sick until afterward... adrenaline has dropped.

My adrenaline must have been going in the hospital and now I had time for it to drop. I was also stuck in the car with my seat in a fully upright position because Milo's huge, still rear facing car seat is behind mine. When I felt my bp drop I couldn't lay down like I normally do and I started to panic. I told Eric I needed out of the car. We were on hwy 68 so if I laid on the ground I'd be in dirt and weeds so I tried to lay over Eric's lap. I was starting to black out and fighting it because I hate fainting, it's the worst feeling. I thought I was going to puke so I told Eric to get me out of the car. As soon as he opened the door I stepped out and collapsed. He caught me, but I landed weird on my foot. I wonder if the pain kept me from going out for long because I came to right away, complained about my twisted ankle, fixed it, and fainted again... totally out. I must have seized this time because my tongue hurt and I could taste a little blood. Awesome, I faint over blood and now I'm bleeding!

I'm exhausted when I get in the car. Soon I realize my back is excruciating. I barely make it to my parents door, I just want to lay down but when I try it's even more painful. My back has totally spasmed and I can't release any of the muscles. The seizure must have done this. If you have ever been on maxed pitocin and have had your uterus, back and thighs clench up and not ever really release, it was like that, only all in my back. I'm totally crying and I'm not a crier when it comes to pain. My mom tries to call a chiropractor that is a family friend and I call my midwife and try to speak between whimpers. She says get heat on it. I can't even lay down though and I'm afraid to get in the shower. My brother comes in and asks if I'm in labor and offers to microwave some ice packs, I hear my mom talking him out of it in the kitchen. You can't microwave ice packs.

I made up a mash-up of the fear-tension-pain labor cycle and the exhaustion cycle and started treating the situation methodically.

The fear-tension-pain cycle is when a woman is afraid of labor, tenses against the contractions, causing pain, causing more fear, more tension, more pain. The exhaustion cycle is when you are exhausted, your pain awareness increases and your body's ability to cope with pain decreases. You struggle to cope, which is more exhausting, further limiting you ability to release tension and increasing your perception of pain. I made a tension-pain-exhaustion cycle in my head and got to work on the tension. I did everything to relax into the pain... slowly it worked. It was insanely hard to do and seriously, if back labor is anything like that, props to any woman who lives through it because after only a few minutes whatever a nurse would have offered to do to make it stop, epidural, narcotics, human sacrifice... I would have happily gone with.

My mom offered to keep the kids over night and we headed home around 3am. In the morning I felt better. My midwife, Jill, is also a massage therapist and she came over to rub out my back. I was sure it would hurt and it didn't at all. She felt a bulge in my spine though... so next stop is the chiro for me. I've been taking tylenol, sleeping on a heating pad, and resting.  Ironically, just sitting here typing this is one of the worst things I could be doing right now. I think this was longer than my birth stories... only no cute baby at the end, unless you count the belly pics!

Unable to workout, I'm afraid to even weigh myself right now... but at my 19 week mark I was up to 188lbs, so 9lbs gained total. Not horrible I suppose.

Off to the ER! Woo!

Baby is about 6in long. Average weight is 8.5oz but my little mango is measured 10oz.

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