HOW BABIES ARE MADE10/30/08
Ohhh, shit. What a couple months, huh?
As I briefly mentioned in my last blog post, and Drew has mentioned numerous times in his, we had a baby a couple weeks ago. October 12th, to be exact. Unfortunately, the baby was due on November 22nd, so obviously everything didn't go as planned.
(SIDE NOTE: I have been getting emails from people like I DIDN'T KNOW YOU WERE HAVING A BABY! and OH, I MUST HAVE MISSED THE BLOG POST WHERE YOU MENTIONED YOU WERE PREGNANT! No, nobody missed anything. I never mentioned it. The thing with being pregnant is that A) You never really know how it is gonna turn out ie. a miscarriage or whatever and B) Even if it goes well, it fucking sucks ass and is not fun at all. I figured I would wait until the whole shebang was done before mentioning it on here, cause a blog post about having a miscarriage or some other horrible thing, or a blog about how totally shitty I felt just wouldn't really be that fun to read on a site that is supposed to be funny. When you summarize something after the fact, it is easier to divorce yourself from the drama of it all, and just cut to the good parts, you dig? So, let's move on to the rest of this summary, OK?)
HOW BABIES ARE MADE, THE LONGEST BLOG POST IN THE WORLD
Anyway, back in February or March I found out I was pregnant, which wasn't a total surprise since I wasn't using any birth control or anything, and I also have sex. I felt like total ass almost immediately. I only had morning sickness for a couple days, but it was bad enough that I almost threw in the towel right then. I had never been so sick to my stomach in my life. Nauseous to the fucking bone, dude. Props to the ladies who put up with that for weeks or months or the whole duration. Like I said, I was catatonic with nausea for two or three days, and I was seriously doubting my choice to have a kid... thankfully, that all sorted itself out pretty quickly. Before every morning sickness cure you could purchase on the internet arrived at my house, even. (At least now I have an untapped stockpile of nausea cures, just in case!)
About to fucking ralph in Walgreens, sadly about as good as I was going to look until the end of the baby-making nightmare.
Once that passed, I had a pretty uneventful few months. Aside from how quickly I was piling on weight, I felt totally normal. I really started packing on weight fast, though. It was terrible. I didn't fit into my jeans almost immediately, and every time I would go to the doctor I would get scolded about it. NO SHIT, I KNOW THAT A 2 MONTH OLD FETUS DOESN'T WEIGH 15 POUNDS, DOCTOR, BUT THANKS FOR TALKING TO ME LIKE AN IDIOT. I wasn't even pigging out or anything (yet), certainly not enough to gain as much as I was. It was pretty clear to me that I was retaining all the water in Ohio.
MY FUCKING FEET
I continued feeling normal, yet soaking and retaining all the moisture in the atmosphere until mid-July. That is when I was hit by The Swellening. We were travelling to visit some family of mine up north, and on the drive back, I noticed my shoes were too tight. This was distressing. The worst part of it was, it would pit when I pressed on my ankles and stuff. If you are not familiar with the term "pitting edema", I invite you to do a Google image search of it. Those fat feet with the dents in them? That is what I got, out of nowhere. Frat boys could've done body shots outta my foot pits. This was the worst thing that happened during my pregnancy (aside from the grand finale, which we will get to), since I LIKE my feet. They are skinny guys, with the veins and toe knuckles and shit poking out, and my toes are real long and skinny and whatnot. Not really model feet, but they have a certain quality to them that I've always liked. Then, out of nowhere, cankles and really fucking fat, bloated feet.
At subsequent doctor's visits, I would get weighed and scolded, my pee checked, my blood pressure checked, and then they would ask HOW ARE YOU? and I would say I AM FINE, BUT MY FEET ARE ALL FUCKED UP. Then the doctor would say OH YES THEY ARE. (poke poke) THAT IS A SYMPTOM, SEE YOU IN TWO WEEKS.
As the summer progressed, so did the swelling in my feet. First my sneakers and shoes wouldn't fit. Then my soft ballet flats. Soon, I was wearing Croc flipflops all the time, which is quite a blow to the self-esteem of someone who likes nice shoes a whole fucking lot. Then, the Croc flipflops wouldn't fit. Unfortunately, this coincided with two of my friends getting married, and a wedding that typically goes along with such a thing. Drew and I made a trip around town trying to find a pair of shoes, ANY PAIR OF SHOES, that would fit my feet. Sadly, we did not find any. I wasn't even being picky. The sad end of the day was when I tried on a pair of size 10 wide orthopedic old lady shoes (I usually wear an 8 or so)... they went on, but it looked like someone baked a loaf of bread in my grandmother's shoes, my waterlogged feet spilling over the tops of them. I started hysterically laughing in DSW, and couldn't stop for the life of me. The disgusting visual, and the frustration of trying to find something to squish my feet into had broken my brain. Drew just looked on sadly.
Luckily, a day or so later, I found a pair of size 10 wide Crocs. I had no idea they made such abortions of shoes, but they did, and they saved my ass just in time for the wedding. I almost had to go barefoot. I went to the wedding, and then had to leave early, after my feet swelled more than they had been, and the size 10 wide Crocs did not fit, either.
At this point, I would go home from my daily activities, wrap my feet as tightly as possible in Ace bandages, put my feet on the wall with my legs at right angles from the rest of me, and vibrate my feet with a Hitachi Magic Wand. This made the swelling go down about 20 percent for an hour or so. Sometimes I would soak my feet in salts and stuff. This didn't do anything at all.
This foot situation sucked so fucking bad that, I realize as I am typing this, I totally have amnesia about the disfiguring acne I got while knocked up. Funny how that happens!
THE SHIT HITS THE FAN
Anyway... moving this story forward... I went in to my doctor's appointment at the beginning of October, and it started off as usual. Sort of. First off, they weighed me. I had gained 14 pounds. In two weeks. Which is pretty much impossible to do when you can barely eat from the person inside you who is shoving your guts out of the way. I couldn't even have more than half a hamburger at this point, because there just wasn't that much room in me anymore. Then they checked my pee, and my pee was ALLLL FUCKED UP. When they check your pee at a prenatal visit, they are checking it for protein, which is a symptom of preeclampsia. The protein in the urine is a sign of kidney damage. I had all kinds of protein in my urine. Then, they checked my blood pressure, and it was super high, which was especially disconcerting since my blood pressure is usually really really low, so it had taken a mega-leap.
The doctor came in after the nurse had all these heinous test results, did a quick ultrasound, and told me that the baby was breach, and that I was getting admitted to the hospital immediately for pre-ecclampsia, and I would be getting a c-section within the next couple days. That really fucked my plans up for the day, to say the least.
They brought a wheelchair to the exam room, and wheeled me down miles of corridors to the next building over, and admitted me to the antenatal floor, which is the most depressing place on earth. It is basically the floor of the hospital where ladies sit in teeny little rooms for days and days, or weeks, or months, until whatever heinous problem they have causes them to have some kind of harrowing childbirth experience. Not very cheerful, and mindnumbingly boring.
Nobody ever told me what was going on, but I kind of pieced it together by asking questions to the battalion of nurses who came in every hour on the hour to check on me, and the doctors who always came at, like, 5 in the morning to wake me up. Basically, I was 33 weeks pregnant at the time, which isn't really a hot time to have a baby. And I had preeclampsia, which is not a real cool disease to have. Preeclampsia advances and eventually becomes eclampsia, which is like preeclampsia, but with seizures and cerebral hemmorage, and it pretty much the main cause of maternal death in the first world. Their game plan was to watch me like a hawk, and once it started looking like I was cruising toward the danger zone, they would get that baby out. The recurring phrase I heard over and over from the nurses and doctors was THE ONLY CURE FOR PREECLAMPSIA IS TO HAVE THE BABY. So, they intended to bring me to the bleeding edge in order to keep the baby in as long as possible, then whip her out when I started goign south. FUN TIMES.
The process of tracking my preeclampsia went as follows: Every 2 hours, someone would come in and take my blood pressure. Then, someone else would come in and look at my feet, poke them a little, and check my reflexes three or four times a day. I would get bloodwork drawn a couple times a day, which involved me getting poked twice as many times, because I kept getting more and more swollen as my hospital stay progressed, and all my veins seemingly disappeared. Every morning I would also have to get hooked up to the fetal monitor, to make sure the baby wasn't getting all fucked up, and every couple days they would do another ultrasound. (At one point, the baby moved back to regular presentation instead of being breach, so I was going to be able to have her regular-style instead of needing the c-section.) In addition, 24 hours a day, I was subjected to the Pee Hat.
The Pee Hat was the method in which they tracked the protein in my urine. I was given a sheet every day that had a column for how much I was drinking, and a column for how much I was peeing out. I would enter in every glass of water, soda, juice or whatever. Then, when I had to pee, I put this white plastic top hat looking thing in the toilet and peed in that. Then I would have to pour the pee into a giant jug, and someone would pick the pee-filled jug up every day. Then, they would test it and see exactly how much protein I was leaking everyday, and how quickly I was getting worse.
A couple times, they told me I would have a day off from the Pee Hat, then they would check my blood pressure or something, do a little TSK TSK and then bring the motherfucking jug back.
At one point early in my stay, they outfitted me in these white velcro legwarmers that would inflate and deflate over and over and over and over. They were supposed to bring down the swelling in my legs and feet (the swelling, at this point, had moved halfway up my thighs, and you could feel the ridge where it ended). Unfortunately, all these things did was press a bunch of fluid around my hips, so when I got out of bed, it felt like I had inflatable shorts on. Seriously, I felt like I was holding a beach ball between my thighs, and it made moving around impossible.
The horrible swelling in my feet, the legwarmer pumping apparatus, and my feet upon returning home, so you can see what they are supposed to look like.
Also worth mentioning is hospital food... I mean, I know it is bad, I knew that going it. But, shit, dude. The stuff they had was TERRIBLE. The only time I ate any of it was breakfast, cause they would bring cereal and juice and a muffin, and you can't really fuck that up, and when they would have mashed potatoes. When they would bring your tray, they would sheepishly stand in the doorway, and plaintively call out, "Nutrtion!..." They knew that shit wasn't food. It was just a bunch of plastic bowls filled with bland, overcooked calories. Drew brought me all my meals, either Wendy's from the basement of the hospital, or he would venture out to get something with vegetables in it, or get french food from the place near our house when he would go shower. Thank god.
THE SHIT REALLY REALLY HITS THE FAN
After being in the hospital for a week, things started to go all bowl-shaped. I started having more protein in my Pee Hat, and I started having horrifying blood pressures. Like, they would wake me up at three in the morning, test my blood pressure, and it would be 170/120 or something ridiculous like that. That is when they started taking my blood pressure every hour, sometimes even more than that. They started giving me shit about having too many guests, and instead of one doctor waking me up at 5 in the morning, it would be a team of 5 or 6. The doctors from the NICU started visiting me to warn me about how fucked up my baby might be, and tell me about all the heinous stuff they were gonna have to do to her. The anesthesiologist came by to talk to me about how my epidural out give me spinal headaches and whatnot, and make me sign forms so they would be taken care of should they have to whisk me to Labor and Delivery on short notice.
Every single time someone would come by to check on me, they would ask the same thing-- ARE YOU HAVING ANY HEADACHES, VISION DISTURBANCES, OR UPPER ABDOMINAL PAIN? At first, I wasn't, but at the end of the week, I started getting a little bit of a headache. It felt like I had a crick in my neck at first, so I thought it was from laying in bed for 168 hours or some shit. Then it started getting worse, and I told the doctors, and I guess that was that. They wheeled me down to Labor and Delivery within an hour or so.
Since I had the ultrasound a day or two before showing that the kid was head down, they opted to do an induction instead of just going for a c-section. They started me out with some Cervadil, which is some piece of cardboard looking doodad with a loooooong string that they wrap around the doodad like a spool of thread, and then shove all the way up your hidey-hole. I am not afraid of getting vagina checks and whatnot, and I have never had problems getting exams, but for some reason having people stick their hands up there to assess your cervix is pretty much the most painful thing ever. Wow. So, they shoved that thing up there, which is supposed to get your junk ready to be induced, and then they stuck me with a catheter, which topped the cervical exams in sheer horror. I had to just lay there, suck it up, and let some nurse shove a catheter in my peehole.
They tell you that you do not notice the catheter once it is in there, but that is a total fucking lie. If anyone tells you that, they are lying to you. I felt that fucking catheter every second it was in there, and every time a nurse would come in to check me out, they would bump my pee bag (God, this is the most humiliating story ever), and I would want to punch them in the fucking face. Finally, someone taped the tube running to the pee bag to my leg, which helped a little bit in the nurse-bumping-it department, but then, whenever I would move my leg, it would feel like I was rippng my own peehole out. The only good part of the catheter was that I drank and drank and drank and drank, and never once had to go to the bathroom. Also, no Pee Hat. The catheter-snagging nurses had to track that shit.
So, I had like 12 or 18 hours or something with the Cervadil in there. I do not remember, exactly, because at this point my headache was so bad that they gave me two Oxycontins for it, and then a big shot of Phenergan into my IV (on top of the Magnesium Sulphate that they were IVing me with for the preeclampsia, which makes you groggy as hell), so I was knocked the fuck out. Sadly, all those drugs did nothing for the headache at all, I would wake up periodically, still in pain, then pass back out. It is a fucking massive headache that is not cured by two Oxycontins, let me tell you.
The next day, they added Pitocin to the cocktail running into my IV. I was kinda scared about getting it, I thought it would hit my vein and throw me into horrible contractions, but nothing really happened. So, the nurse came in later and turned the Pitocin up. Still nothing. A few hours later, they cranked it again. Nothing. This went on and on throughout they day, and eventually, my guts rumbled a touch... not painful, just kinda like I ate something bad and my intestines were protesting. That is as bad as it ever got. Eventually a doctor came in, and I brought up trying to get the show on the road, because at this point I couldn't even turn my head or talk to anyone without nearly blacking out from my headache. The doctor said that inductions take a lot longer if you are not at term, and that it could take another 24 hours to have the baby, and I balked and brought up just having the c-section. Oddly, he went right along with it, almost like he was waiting for me to ask for it. Almost immediately, they were passing out little hairnets to everyone, and suiting me up for the trip to the OR.
Please put on your hairnet in preparation for watching your wife get spilt open like a catfish...
Have I mentioned yet that my dear husband, Drew, was at the hospital this entire freaking time? Even when I was just passed out on drugs all day long, he was sitting there? He even slept on shitty chairs all night long, and only left the room to get food at the Wendy's in the basement, and once in awhile he would leave for an hour to go home and take a shower. For nearly two weeks, when all was said and done. You can't really beat that. The girl I was sharing a room with on the Antepartum floor never had anyone visit at all, so I felt a little guilty, even, about having such an awesome husband. Anyway, let's continue...
So, they took me to the OR, blocked my spine, did a little hydrolic tilt-job on the operating table to make sure the spinal block was spread out enough, and got to work. I always thought that getting abdominal surgery while awake would be pretty horrifying, but it wasn't that bad. Weird, yes. It was defintely weird. But I wasn't having fight or flight responses to it or anything. Maybe they gave me something extra in my IV. Who knows.
If you are wondering what it feels like to get a c-section, here is what I've come up with. Imagine you have a pair of jeans that is two or three sizes too small... Then, imagine that someone has tied you to a table, and is now trying to get those jeans on you. That is what it is like. You can feel stuff, but nothing bad. You are just kind of getting jostled around like someone is trying to stuff your fat butt into a pair of size 6 jeans. You feel shoves and pushes and stuff, like they are yanking the pants up and trying to jerk the zipper around. Not bad at all.
They were digging around in there, hacking their way to the center of my reproductive system, and suddenly, I hear the doctor say, OH, THERE'S HER BUTT. Yes, the baby decided on the way to the OR that she would go ahead and get back in the breach position. Now the doctor had to do some fancy cutting moves to get her out properly, cause apparently there are different incisions based on how the baby is sitting. I got the smiley face incision on the skin-n-flesh level, and in my uterus, but once they saw the butt, they had to modify their plan of action, so my uterus got an incision that looks like an anchor, since the breach incision is vertical. Double the incisions, which means I will never ever be able to have a kid in the normal fashion ever. Not that I am rushing to go through all this bullshit again. The double incision also meant that I lost a fucking river of blood. I couldn't see anything, but Drew looked like he was going to pass the fuck out or puke or something, and I kept chiding him and telling him to relax. Later, he told me he got some glimpses of what was going on, and it was like Doctor Octagon or some shit. All the doctors were completely covered in blood, rivers of blood flowing over the floor, buckets getting blood pumped into them, filling rapidly.
Then, my daughter was born in the most metal way possible, swept into the world on a churning rapid of blood.
Whoomp, there she is...
Luckily, she was bitching and screaming before they even got her all the way out. That was the first concern, cause it meant her lungs were working. Then they cleaned her up, showed her to me for a second, and then swept her off to the NICU. She scored an 8 on her APGAR, which is pretty good for a premature baby, so I wasn't too worried about her. I knew they were just gonna take her up there to get her set up in one of those premature baby rigs to be safe. She was screaming, her APGAR was alright, she looked like a baby and not like the baby from Eraserhead, so all was cool with me.
As suddenly as she was born, MY HEADACHE WAS TOTALLY GONE AND I FELT FINE. It was the most fucked up thing ever. As soon as they got me un-pregnant, I felt 85% better. It turned out they were totally right about the only cure for preeclampsia being to have the baby. It is almost like they were doctors who have dealt with that shit before.
Then, I started feeling a little shitty. Kinda woozy and nauseous. Kinda bad. Then I heard OK LET'S PUT HER UTERUS BACK IN, and I felt some really horrible shoves that seemed to displace every organ in my body. I dryheaved a little bit, then the anethesiologist gave me a shot of something awesome and that was that. I have no idea what it was, but it made it OK that I was present for the replacement of my internal organs. Then they sewed me up and ta-da!
I went back to my room, with my IV and my catheter and laid flat on my back for a while. My face was totally itchy, and I was so thirsty I thought I would die. Turns out, the itchy face was from all the narcotics, and the thirstyness, I think, was from losing almost all the fluids in my body. I laid there and ate ice cubes, and then the nurse came and put a bunch of Dilaudid in my IV and that was that, I was fucking out til the next day. I had to stay in my room for 24 hours before I got to go to the NICU, since I was still on a lot of IV meds, and then they moved me to the Postpartum floor for about another week. They yanked out my catheter before I moved. They stopped asking me about headaches and vision disturbances and abdominal pain, and started asking me whether or not I had farted yet. That was pretty much it.
Also worth mentioning is the fact that every day I woke up after the c-section, it looked like I lost another ten pounds. You can't really beat that. Now I just look like any other chick who had a kid two weeks ago, and I am pretty sure a little time on Weight Watchers will have me back in fighting shape.
Unfortunately, after I was discharged from the hospital, I came back again the same day, and every day after that, cause the kid was still holed up in the NICU... She did pretty well, though. She never needed oxygen or jaundice lights or any kind of intervention. She got an IV when she was admitted, but she had that removed pretty quickly. She was taken out of the incubator within a few days, and ate well enough and gained weight quick enough that she went home 6 days after I did.
And that was that (dusts off hands.)
THE TINIEST BABY IN THE WORLD
Yes, they decided it would be OK to give me a 4 pound baby to take care of. Pretty terrifying. Try to get any sleep at all when you have a baby smaller than a mens' tennis shoe making snorting noises next to you all night. I challenge you to not freak out and have to check every ten seconds that she has not died of smallness.
Also, I challenge you to find anything in the world for that baby to wear, and to find diapers that will fit her. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE, and if you find anything at all, you will be charged a premium. A little pack of tiny tiny diapers costs more than a regular pack of regular ones. Little mini pajamas cost twice as mucha s regular pajamas. Also, they make no onesies in tiny little sizes, so any shirts you put under the overpriced pajamas will fit like a dress, and spill out the neckhole. Just a warning, in case you are thinking about having your own premature baby.
Nona vs. Various Household Items, a Study in Her Smallness...
Nona Whomps Ass on a Box of Cereal.
That being said, I am starting to get used to handling her, and I barely notice her miniatureness anymore... She sleeps and shits all the time for the most part, and that sleep/shit schedule is only broken up by her pig-out sessions. Her smallness is less intimidating, and I getting used to it to the point that, when other people mention it, I am like OH REALLY? I've not had any other babies to speak of, just this one, so she is normal sized to me.
However, she is pretty much the cutest baby in the world. I am not trying brag or anything, I am just shocked because, truth be told, Drew and I are pretty weird looking motherfuckers. I wasn't really expecting her to be so pretty.
So, that's that. That is where I have been for the past month, and what I have been up to. This is also probably the longest blog I've ever written, so, if you've read this far, I salute you. Now, I have a lazy-ass baby to wake up in order to eat, so I will smell y'all later.