Saturday, February 6, 2010

My Story, the End of the Beginning

So we are at the hospital, two days short of 32 weeks. It's a brand new labor and delivery unit, and I am glad, what with my negative associations with the old unit. I walked up there, said who I was, and they let us in. I was rushed into one of those embarrassing hospital gowns, put on a gurney. Then I was surrounded by nurses trying to get me ready to go back, asking me questions, trying to stick an IV into my arm. The person trying to put in the IV was having trouble, because I could feel blood trickling down my arm. The anesthesiologist came in, and after ascertaining that this wasn't his first day on the job, he decided that general anesthesia would be the best route. He asked if I had eaten breakfast. I said yes. One of the nurses gave me some gawdawful thing to drink, and the next thing I know I had to go. Literally. But they wouldn't let me leave, they just put me on a bedpan. And wouldn't you know it, at embarrassing moment, in walks...Larry, my dad, Dr. Sadler, and about three other men! After that, I decided that nothing would ever embarrass me again.

A short time after that, I went into the operating room. Zane was born soon after. He was breech, and as a consequence he got more of the anesthesia than he needed. From what I was told, Zane had an Apgar of 1 when they got him out of me, and he either coded or they thought that he was going to code. Ten minutes later, Zane had an Apgar of 7 and they were wheeling him off to the NICU. Larry was waiting outside in the hall, and they let him take a picture of Zane before the nurses whisked him off.

I woke up a little later, I remember seeing Dr. Sadler, and after a little while they brought Larry back to me. I can remember him being there, and then I can remember that I couldn't exhale. I could inhale, but not exhale. I remember saying that I couldn't breathe and someone saying that if I couldn't breathe then I wouldn't be able to talk. I distinctly remember thinking "yes, that is true"...and then I passed out. Larry was whisked out of the room and a code ended up being called on me. Larry said that he had never seen that many people in the hallway of the hospital, but they were all there to help, just like they are trained to do.

I woke up again with three doctors arguing over me(if they had all been women, I might have thought of the Fates). I remember that one guy was bald, and he seemed to be a bit of a bully. He wanted me to go to an ICU for the night. He won. Once they got me down there people could come and visit me. I started freaking out a little about stupid stuff, now that the 'worst' was over. Larry offered to go back home and get some stuff, and I gave him a very long list, which he still has. I can also remember that I talked my fool head off, again, probably out of sheer relief.

People who have never stayed in a hospital are under the impression that it is a place of rest. It is not. Just when you actually start to sleep someone comes in and wakes you up to check your vitals. I also had someone coming in to make sure that my uterus contracted back into the right shape, which sort of hurts. And the nurse, who was from L&D, probably was a little peeved that she had to come to me, so she wasn't exactly gentle. Lucky for me I had a morphine drip!

I did not get to see Zane until the next day, and Larry wheeled me to the NICU. He wasn't in the first room, he was in the second. Which means that he wasn't AS bad as he could have been, but they still needed to keep a sharp eye on him. When I first saw him in the incubator with all the tubes and wires and his little chest laboring so hard to draw in air, I just started crying. It was explained to me that things weren't as bad as they looked, but it was still a shock.

The second night I got to stay in the L&D unit, and that was awesome--wood floors, lots of space, etc. If that room was the Hyatt, the room I had the next night was Motel 6. I grumbled about having to move--it would make sense for you to stay in one room your entire visit so you don't lose your stuff, etc. I would have gone home the day after Zane showed up, but I guess the hospital wanted to make sure that I didn't do anything else weird. After all, for at least the next couple of months I was a minor celebrity--everyone in the hospital knew me and Z as the double code that NEVER happens in L&D. But I had staying in hospitals(because of the no rest thing), so when Dr. Sadler showed up early on Monday and asked if I wanted to go home I was practically already packed.

Larry and I visited Zane every single day. We scrubbed in, got used to the bells and whistles, and did what the nurses told us(rule number one in a hospital: OBEY the nurse)There was a problem with the valve what is supposed to close between the lungs and the heard, but that was taken care of with medicine. He started breathing better. He had jaundice, so they put this little mask on him that looked like a pair of sunglasses and let the sun lamp take care of it. The nurses were kind, although there were a couple who seemed kind of cold, which is not who you want working with your baby. Zane got to come home about a month after he was born, when he hit five pounds and had passed all the health checks. The day before he came home, Zane was the 'star' of a presentation the hospital had set up for Premature Baby month. He was filmed for two newscasts, and I also spoke to a reporter for the Express-News. Zane slept through all the excitement. We had yet to learn that Zane IS the excitement.

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