May 27, 2013

Maggie's Birth Story

So writing Maggie's birth story down is SO SO SO overdue. But better late than never. 

Dear Miss Maggie Lynn,

I thought my birth experience would be like my moms, simple, easy, non-climactic (except for the fact that it was me entering this world). It’s taken me 28 years to realize even though she’s MY mom my body has never reacted like hers, I just got the curls and freckles, and everything else is all dad and grandma.
A lot of people have asked me “What happened, why the emergency C-section?” and I have to politely tell them, “I don’t know. I was heavily medicated and though I do remember some things reiterating it in chronological order would be confusing. I’ve tried telling people the story, and I’ve butchered it a lot, long awkward pauses and all.
Hindsight 20/20 and lots of research later, I would say that I understand a bit more about that day and what happened. Kinda.
THE DOCTORS OFFICE (TUESDAY 11/29/11)
Up until that day I had had a fairly easy pregnancy (something 1st time moms brag about). I woke up Tuesday morning stressed, your dad wouldn’t get out of bed, and I got frustrated at him, he also drove a little crazy to my doctors appointment, and I got frustrated at him. In the car I had a really bad nose bleed which is normal for a pregnancy at 36 weeks, but that just added to my stress.
This was suppose to be a NORMAL checkup. Once the nurse came in she told me I had to go get tested for HIV, which scared me until I realized that was normal procedure. She also told me I had a GBS infection that would be harmful to the baby, which apparently is also very normal. But it scared me a little also. THEN after all that the nurse took my blood pressure (BP). NOT GOOD ... She made me lie down and wait 10 minutes to see if it would go down with a 2nd reading ... it didn’t. I blamed it on all the aforementioned stresses, but those excuses weren’t cutting it with the nurse or doctor. It was high but not dangerously high. Dr. McElroy came in and explained some of my concerns, she measured my belly and punched on my uterus a little (I was 2cm dilated), she estimated you at 7lbs, then as casual as can be she said “I’m going to send you to the hospital for an hour of BP monitoring”. The blood rushed out of my face, and needless to say I was very worried. She had just said I was going to the hospital, THE HOSPITAL, where babies come from. I was at the edge of tears but I held it together, I had to use every muscle in my body to play it cool. I had to make myself become more frustrated than worried to keep from crying. Cause I would have cried ... a lot.
On the way to the hospital I called my work and told them I would be late, that I was going to the hospital for some monitoring. I couldn’t call your Aunt Jessi or your Grammy and Grandpa cause I would have cried. So I let your dad do that after we got to the hospital, he was so calm and collected. Besides being worried and frustrated, physically I felt fine.
AT THE HOSPITAL
Once we were at the hospital we went to the 2nd floor and checked in, just like me and your dad had learned in our hospital tour. I expected that because I was there to just be monitored for an hour that they would prop me up in the hallway somewhere with a BP machine ... I was wrong again. They showed me to a small room and had me strip down and put a robe on like I was about to give birth. I reminded the nurse that I was only going to be there an hour, but I wasn’t so sure by that time cause sending me to the HOSPITAL was definitely not going to make my BP go down.
Your dad updated your aunt and grandparents by text message about what was happening, but informed them that it wasn’t that big a deal and to not rush over to the hospital. Your Zint grandparents were out of town for work and just asked to be updated. Your Aunt Jessi freaked out and was about to cancel her work appointments. But nobody rushed to the hospital.
So for the next hour+ me and your dad sat in a room, listening to the BP machine take my blood pressure every 10 minutes, I had to lay on my left side and try not to worry or stress out, I ended up falling asleep, which I thought would help. I was hungry, and your dad was hungry. It was about that time that I wished I had a better breakfast than a granola bar and an OJ.
WHEN THINGS SPED UP
About an hour and a half later Nurse Katherine came back in, she said that she told Dr. McElroy my status, and that my blood pressure had gotten worse over the last hour, so they were admitting me into the hospital to HAVE A BABY. I later found out that I was officially admitted for severe preeclampsia and hypertension. That’s when things sped up and the phone calls started. I had your dad call his work and your Aunt Jessi, we had to send her to our house, cause we didn’t have anything for the hospital. It was November you were 4 weeks early I hadn’t packed much yet. I called my work and told them I wouldn’t be in for the rest of the year; I was going to HAVE A BABY.

Maggie, I don’t care how long 36 weeks is (it could have been 36 months) nothing can prepare you to bring another life into the world. Up until then I had called you Fetus (for laughs) and gotten fat (really fat), it hadn’t really really dawned on me that it was a tiny human that was kicking me from the inside.
I then called your Grammy, I told her the situation and she didn’t believe me at first, once I convinced her I was really at the hospital and that the nurse said they were going to induce me, your grammy and grandpa (who was now also on the line) got very very ecstatic. Their plan from there was to get in the car and rush the four hours back to DFW, stopping along the way to grab their camera from home. There really was no rush, I had a lot of time and medication to go through before they even started the induction.

Over the next hour or two, the nurses hooked me up to an IV of magnesium to bring my BP down, an IV of fluids cause I wasn’t going to be moving for 48ish hours (I later found out), a catheter, the BP machine, these weird sock things to keep my edema (swelling) down in my legs, my heart rate monitor and your monitor were belt-like bands around my tummy and I had several blood tests done. And to top it all off none of the nurses could stick me just once, I have small veins so I got stuck several several times. I quickly became fascinated with my big giant yellow “fall risk” bracelet, it told nurses that I was on medication that made it sure that I couldn’t get out of bed.
I got to call your great grandma next (the grandma you are named after), which was fun, cause she thought you'd be early and was excited to hear what the doctor said after my appointment that day. When I told her that she was right, that you were going to be early, I could feel the smugness through the phone. She asked me “how early did the doctor say?” She was kind of really surprised I was HAVING THE BABY the next day, nobody not even her thought you’d be a November baby. I still to this day blame your earliness on her crazy amazing Thanksgiving dinner.
Things get fuzzy here, and stay fuzzy for the next 36 hours. I can remember bits and pieces, and this is an account of what I can remember, I regain nonfuzziness about Thursday midday when they take me off the meds. Not only do I have a bad memory in general but Magnesium makes people sleepy loopy, AND high blood pressure causes your eyes to not focus really well (without my eyesight memories blur together), and I was sleepy. Don’t worry, I remember you.
I fell asleep several times on and off, Jessi showed up and set up her little camp, my Mom and Dad came and video taped me a little bit, everybody would just watch me sleep, leave to go eat and wait for my body to get ready to give birth. Nothing really happened for the rest of the day, we watched Glee that night, had lots of blood tests, we all laughed and made jokes, my nurse switched over from Katherine to nurse Gretchen (who has 6 dogs). Aunt Jessi, Grammy and Papa went to a nearby hotel to get showers and some rest. Nurse Gretchen gave me an Ambien that night, cause I need all my strength for you the next day. Your daddy slept next to me in the sleeper couch/chair thing. He needed his strength too.
11/30/11 BIRTHDAY OF MAGGIE
Nurses came in all night taking blood and checking our vitals. Nurse Gretchen said that they were going to start the Pitocin (consequently the contractions) at 3:30 in the morning, so that’s when everybody came back. I could have cared less; the Ambien was still taking affect. As far as I know, nothing really happened again till 7 in the morning, when the nurses switched over and the doctors started doing their “rounds”.
This is also around the time that my water broke. Honestly I thought my catheter fell out, so I sent your Aunt Jessi to tell the nurses of my unfortunate situation, the nurses looked at her confused cause “catheters don’t just fall out”. My water had broken. First-time mom mistake. Dr. McElroy came in later and broke my water again cause the first natural break didn’t work that well.
Your daddy was looking bad (he has never done well with depravity of sleep) and the contractions hadn’t really started yet, and I was still only 2cm dilated, it was going to be awhile. I wasn’t feeling anything. So, I sent your daddy home to grab some things, get a haircut, and clean up the house some. I don’t know what I was thinking, and I don’t know what your daddy was thinking listening to a half drugged woman in labor with his child. But nonetheless he left that morning for Cedar Hill (40 minutes away). 
I don’t know what time Nurses Rachelle and Nurse Priscilla decided to “up” the Pitocin but I did watch Regis and Kelly (@9) and I had started to watch the Wendy Williams show (@ 10). I do remember the contractions starting very soon after the Pitocin “upping” and since I couldn’t move, I could only lay on my left side, and everything I learned in my Lamaze class was that when dealing with pain you don’t just want to sit and think about it. So I opted for the epidural knowing the pain would get much worse really fast. The few contractions I felt weren’t that bad, they felt like a really bad cramp in my lower back. I now know that I was experiencing “back labor”.
The anesthesiologist came in about 30 minutes after I decided and they asked me a ton of questions about height and weight, they had me sit up and the doctor gave me the epidural drip in my back. Around this time they had started me on the GPS antibiotics and another antibiotic for another infection I had.
Grammy and your Aunt Jessi watched over me, putting cold rags on my face and watching our monitors beep, Grammy could tell me when a contraction was going to happen so she would warn me when one was coming, I still don’t think that helped much, it just made me more aware of the contractions, whereas they would have past without my knowledge. Your papa would come over and hold my hand every once in a while.

WHEN THINGS GOT SCARY

At this point I had lots of drugs running through my body. The magnesium, the fluids, 2 antibiotics, the Pitocin, the epidural, and I’m pretty sure there was some leftover Ambien involved. Not to mention the numerous machines that were monitoring you and me. I honestly don’t know what happened in the next few minutes or what caused it.
But after lots of research into the drugs and hearing other people’s stories, this is what I believed happened in those few moments:
There was some beeping on one of the machines we think this is where I lost oxygen, and you “weren’t taking the contractions very well” (from the doctor later), whatever the reason lots of nurses rushed in, sheets were thrown off of me, somebody gave you a monitor that screwed directly into the top of your head. Your grandpa Zint had to leave the room cause I was indisposed and Grammy and Aunt Jessi just stood back up against the wall. One of the nurses yelled “get a doctor any doctor on the floor”, another nurse in the hall said “we lost her” (later we find out that this could have meant several things, but your papaw who was in the hall took it as I had died) Your Aunt Jessi called your daddy she told him to come back, but not to rush, your aunt didn’t tell him how intense the situation seemed.
Your Aunt Jessi’s story and Grammy’s story might reveal more about those few minutes, but that’s the gist. I’ve pieced together some of your papaw’s story. But your Grammy called him (not knowing he had thought I had died) and told him I was ok. He had already called his mother and sister and now I know why he later was holding my hand so tightly afterward. (To clarify I never had a seizure, even tho I thought recently that is what happened.)
Anyways when I came to, people were shouting my name in a question “Crystal? Crystal?” and I noticed that there was a lot of nurses around. I didn’t know what had just happened but this is about the time that Grammy remembered to turn on the camera. So I have relived the next 15 minutes a lot.
Your dad was on the way back (I later found out he was way really speeding). Dr. McElroy came and explained that “THAT” couldn’t happen again and that I was going to be having a C-section. I just asked that we wait for your daddy. The nurses asked me lots of questions and your Aunt Jessi kept petting me and telling the nurse I was anemic (I’m not. But I was getting irritated). The nurses took my fingernail polish off, had me sign papers via finger prints, shaved me, removed my wedding ring, got your daddy’s scrubs out so that he could put them on quickly, and they gave me my wooden holding cross. As soon as your daddy walked onto the floor they wheeled me away.

OPERATING ROOM

Next I was in the operating room, they moved me onto the operating table. I asked where Dr. McElroy was because everybody in scrubs looks the same. She said she was there and there was a team of people from NICU for you and a team of nurses for me. They tied my hands down and I felt like Jesus Christ on the cross, I got to hold my wooden holding cross that a friend had given me years before. I saw your daddy and I cried a little bit, he looked so nervous and silly with the scrubs hat over his freshly shaved head. He stayed a good distance away and but held my hand.
I could feel the cold spinal in my back and I could feel lots of pulling and tugging as the doctor opened me up and pulled you out and then suddenly you were here, 11:47, I could hear you crying, which is the best sound in the world cause I knew you were healthy. I asked if you were a boy or girl. GIRL! I cried a lot. Your daddy kind of froze and a nurse took the camera from him and took your first photos. I asked him if you were a Maggie or a Julia. He finalized your name right then. YOUR WERE A MAGGIE. I remember saying how big you were but the baby scale in that OR was broken so I didn’t know that you were only 5lbs small till later. I remember insisting that someone tell me your Apgar score. They said you were a 7/9, which is great for a preemie. They brought you too me all wrapped up and bundled with a hat on, I smiled the best I could through my crying and drowsiness. They wheeled you off to NICU and I recall that your daddy almost passed out too cause he lied and said that he HAD eaten breakfast. But he did sit down in the OR.
Most of the pictures in the OR were taken by a nurse who took the camera away from your dad, he was a bit shocked.
I remember being asked if I wanted to go to sleep via drugs and I can remember asking if I would remember you and everything that had just happen. They said yes I wouldn’t forget that. So I fell asleep.

WHILE I WAS ASLEEP and RECOVERING

Your daddy got to tell everybody that you were a girl and show them pictures. We got that part on video camera. Your grandma Roznik was the first to see you in the NICU, followed by your Grammy. Papaw and Grammy went home and Aunt Jessi took a nap in the waiting room. Your Grandma Roznik bought you your first preemie girl’s clothes and some other little things. I do remember people coming in and out of my room but its very vague to me.
3ish HOURS AFTER 11:47
After talking with your daddy he said I was out for about 3 hours. The nurses woke me up and told me I needed to feed you. I remember having to move which was super painful and I might have cried a little. I was still stunned that I was a mom and really hadn’t seen you much yet. Your daddy showed me some pictures of you in the NICU and my head went into overdrive “BRING ME THE BABY, NOW!” How big were you? Were you healthy? Why were you still in NICU? Were you really a red head? I was so nervous and excited to meet you. Only your daddy and your Aunt Jessi were there. The room was so dark, but they wheeled you into the room and I cried so much. You were placed in my arms and I cried even more. I was holding my baby. I had a baby girl. I was super shocked. I stripped you down naked cause I wanted to see all of you, and I put you directly on my chest “skin to skin”. The nurses tried to teach us to breast-feed but we didn’t get it right away.
1st time I got to meet you.

That 1st night was hard. I was still super drugged and drowsy and your dad super tired, so you spent sometime in the nursery that night. They removed my magnesium meds the next day and moved us to the recovery wing of the hospital. I instantly started feeling better after I could brush my teeth and get a shower.
OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS
In total, we spent 2 nights in the L&D wing and 2 nights in the recovery wing. We had several visitors of family and friends. We dressed you up and put little bows and tutus on you, we paraded you around the hospital in your little clear rolly bassinet. Your daddy went back to work on Friday, and your Grammy stayed the final night in the hospital with us. You were doing great, besides a little jaundice and being tiny. The doctors were waiting on me and my blood pressure to level out before they released us. I was tired but my spirits were up and I was making jokes with the nurses, which helped get us out of there. I was finally released Saturday around 7ish.
Grammy drove us home on Saturday, December 3rd in a rainstorm, at night, while she was drowsy and her hand was stuck in a bag of granola. Also there is pizza, a shortage of lettuce at Wal-Mart, and a woman dressed all in black holding a black umbrella screaming “Sh*t”. But THAT is another story.
Since that day I have learned SO MUCH about being a mom. I gave you your 1st bath wrong and the tub collapsed on you. I put mine/your first diaper on backwards. When you finally got the hang of breast-feeding I cried audibly cause I had never been so proud of a 5lb human before. Generally your daddy and me nicknamed you our “trial-and-error baby”, we are still figuring it out everyday. Thank you so much for being a good baby.
I love you so much, you won’t understand how much until you have a baby one day. Trust me I love YOU the most.