Thursday, September 18, 2014

And in my weakness

Today I talk about the one down side of this birth. 
While I was blessed with a beautiful and healthy baby on Tuesday night, 9/9, the enormity of that blessing is not lost on me, I had a rather scary after effect of giving birth to a big baby. 
Here is what happened. 

After less than 3 hours of birthing, I was feeling pretty good. Even the next day, I was walking around the hospital, trying to keep my legs moving and alleviate some boredom. The next day, Thursday, I woke with some soreness in my pelvis and upper legs. Nothing crazy, I just attributed it to the fact that I had just used to muscles so intensely 36 hours ago. And like after a hard workout, they say you feel it most 2 days later. I was discharged Thursday morning with just some muscle soreness. 
However as the day went on, the soreness intensified. And by Friday morning, I could barely get out of a chair, much less walk a few steps to get to the bathroom. Any movement that required my pelvis (which is most movements) was incredibly, immobilizingly painful. I could not understand what was happening. 
So the first thing we did is what every doctor hates: I googled my symptoms. It took us through a variety of terrifying scenarios. We knew we should probably seek some actual medical advice/intervention. It took most of the the day Friday, but I finally called my doctors office. Of course the office was closed. But I could have the doctor paged if I wanted. I didn't. 

My brain does this thing where I am terrified of over reacting. I need to be "strong" and tough things out without complaining. There's a history behind it. It is enormously ridiculous. The very idea of calling and asking for intervention brought me to tears, far more than the pain did.  I have realized in retrospect if I saw this happening to anyone else but me, I would demand that they seek medical help. (And yes, Bill had been encouraging me to do so. Sadly he also knows that pushing  me too hard to do anything exacts the opposite response)

Luckily, The next day my sister, my mother in law and sister in law came over to visit the new baby. And were more than a little disturbed that I couldn't move and that I hadn't actually spoken to any medical professional. My mother in law didn't want to leave until she knew I had spoken to my doctor. Finally I called. And had the doctor paged. And he called me back pretty quickly. 

I told him what was happening. Practically in tears (which he later told me freaked him out more than anything cause he had never seen me complain or cry, not even during child birth ) and went through many questions and symptoms with me to narrow down the issue. It became clear quickly that somehow my pelvis was injured (probably due to the speed of delivery ). Possibly separated. 

He gave me a prescription for pain and we scheduled an x ray for my pelvis. 

And so for a few days, between an engineer and a therapist, we problem solved, cause that's what we do, on how to get me around the house, much less to the x ray and dr appt. Bill has been awesome through this. Taking extra time off and always making sure I am comfortable and have what I need. And very patient through a stressful time. Those around me who knew have been incredibly supportive. And in that I am blessed.  some amazing friends helped out tremendously with meals, giving us a wheelchair to borrow, visiting, and performing other seemingly minor tasks, that were otherwise impossible for us. 

And somehow after talking to my doctor, asking for help became slightly easier. I stopped freaking out about being weak. And got into "how do we get through this" mode. 

It also helped when we got some answers. There was a possible minor separation in the pelvis, it was not obvious on the xray, and usually they are. He said maybe very minor. But that even if it was major, nothing different could be done to heal it. Just time. He then assured me that it should get better sooner rather than later. 

He explained that it was probably baby coming so fast and furiously. There was almost no time for my ligaments to properly expand. A little damage happened, and then like a bruise, it took a day or so for swelling to start. The swelling then hit my nerves. Thus creating the pain. 

And he was right. Every day I have slowly gotten better. It started with just being able to transfer from the wheelchair to the toilet with less or without pain. Then I could take one or two steps without crazy pain. The most exciting thing was managing in the kitchen on my own. 

Now I can walk around without any assistance. I am off of any pain medication. I still have a limp and/or Frankenstein walk, but I can walk. And I am told that I can expect a full recovery. And if not, we will look at some pt. 

Now, I realize things could have been so much worse. I have heard horror stories of horrible injuries to babies during birth. Or blood clots or bleeding out in mommas. Or actual severe pelvic injuries. 
And I am very lucky. But it was very scary. 

And I have learned that in weakness/ brokenness I am strong. Not because I am tough, but because I have to reach out to those around me. Because those are the times when God does his greatest work in humbling me and changing my perspective and growing me. 

And in the end I have a beautiful and healthy baby girl. And I will be back to normal at some point. 

And It will make whatever my fitness goals for next year that much sweeter. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Birth story

For 3 weeks my body had been ready to give birth. Being at least 3 cm dilated, 80% effaced and baby super low. For 3 weeks I insisted upon waiting for my body to flip the switch, imagining it would be any day. And it just wasn't coming. 
Finally , 2 days before my due date, my doctor invited me to come to the hospital the next day to have my water broken, knowing I still wanted to wait for nature to take it's course. He left it up to me. 

That next morning, after some quiet thought and prayer, told myself "what the hell. Let's do it" I knew we wouldn't use drugs unless necessary. So we called doctor up and he brought us in to have this baby! And my sweet Ben got to have his first sleepover at the neighbors. 

At 4:15pm, after being checked in and changed into the very attractive hospital robe, they broke my water. Which feels like nothing more than just checking dilation. They also informed me that I was already 5cm dilated at this point. Bill and I laughed and watched the monitors, and the clocks, guessing how long this would take. I optimistically guessed baby #2 would be born around 9pm. Bill guessed around midnight. The doctor came in several times to talk us through what to expect and to check in. 

We had an awesome nurse, Kate who was friendly, kind and explained everything that she was doing and tolerated my never ending list of questions with great patience and joy. Her shift ended at 7pm and verbalized her disappointment that she probably would not see the end of this birth. She loved the surprise of not knowing the gender or the name. 

About a half hour later, I started to note the contractions. And how quickly they were coming closer together. 10 minutes. Than 8. Then 7. Then 5 minutes. Then the intensity grew and I knew that we were getting somewhere. And fast. By 6:15 I had to stand and get out of the bed. They came to get me some sweet adult diapers so water wouldn't get all over the floor, since it had been broken and all 2 hours ago. I just needed to move my body differently in an attempt the relieve the intensity of the contractions. However, this probably had the opposite effect, due to gravity. Bill said it hasn't been more than 10 minutes when I asked for the nurse to come in and check my dilation. She came in, and I was now at 8 cm. she went and informed the doctor. Soon, the contractions were nearly unbearable, and were right on top of each other with virtually no relief, but I knew the end was near. 
Within another 10-15 minutes the nurse checked again, and I was at 10, and barely able to hold the baby in. The nurse then ran for the doctor. 

Luckily all of his stuff was set up, since they know his routine. And it seems as soon as he walked in and put his gloves on, that they were telling me to push. Kate and the doctor gave me directives, and after one big count to 10 push, they told me to stop. Doc asked me to look at him, which I was not happy about cause usually it's for him to check in and see how I am, and all I wanted was this baby to be out. To my surprise, what he wanted to show me was my baby's head. It was already out. The nurses all gasped, exclaiming how big the head was. 

After that we did some small pushes, doc explained that it was to get the shoulders out, which is the hardest part apparantly. After that it was 1, maybe to big count to 10 pushes, and baby was born.  No more than 5 minutes of pushing. And I swear to you, that there is no greater physical sensation of relief, than that last moment of push. When baby is out. 

Right then, I was waiting for someone, esp my husband, to tell me the gender. There was literally a minute of everyone looking at each other, seeing who was going to make the announcement. I think Bill was just bewildered for a moment. And finally, they told me that I had a little girl.  I was surprised, I really expected a boy, but in no way was I disappointed. I had a little girl. 

The official birth time was 7:01pm. Just at the end of Kate's shift. She stayed a little longer to help, which I was grateful for. And before she left, she asked, and was the first one to do so, what her name was. We told her "Jillian" with pride, and she gave me a hug, congratulated us, and went home. 

I got to hold and nurse my baby as soon as she was weighed and checked out. ( like 5 minutes later). It was wonderful. She did, however weigh in at 9 lbs 9 oz. on 9/9. (Glad she didn't wait until 9pm!) 

I could not have asked for labor to go any better or faster. 

However there were some unexpected consequences to that, of which I will write about in another post. But this is one of celebration.

In the next few hours, reasonable calling hours, Bill and I enjoyed the process of calling and telling everyone our news. Most of which were surprised, because they knew we had just gotten there a few hours before. 

We were also glad that we went in when we did. If we had waited another week, for my body to flip the switch, it's possible we would have had a 10 lb + baby. And that might have been far too large for my hips/pelvis. 

When we told Ben on the phone, over at our neighbors house, he apparantly ran over to the other kids, pumped his fists in the air and exclaimed "baby!"  And he has maintained his excitement over her since. He gives her hugs and kisses and pats her head so gently. He is such a sweet brother. 

And here is my baby girl today, a week later. 
Welcome to the world, Jillian Mary Burris. We are very happy to have you.