Saturday, October 20, 2007

A year ago today (Part III)

You can read Part I here.
You can read Part II here.

A year ago today I sat in a hospital bed all day, moving only to use the washroom. I had a battery of blood tests, was placed on a fetal monitor three times over the course of the day and ate some of the worst food ever (the vegetarian diet at the hospital? Beyond terrible. Seriously, it makes regular hospital food look like fine dining.) I read some my book, watched TV, listened to the sounds of the new mothers in the ward, and felt rather sorry for myself.

Not an interesting day to report, so instead we'll go back a bit in history. To what happened before these events.

We were quite lucky. When we decided to start a family, we got pregnant right away. That was just about where our luck ended.

At seven weeks we had our first scare. I ended up at the hospital with the fear that the pregnancy was ectopic after several days of sharp pains in my one side. An ultrasound revealed that it was some scar tissue from an appendectomy, but the seeds of unease were laid. I was learning, early on, just how scary this pregnancy business could be.

First there was the sickness. From early on I was sick, so very very sick, with morning all-day sickness. As time went on, it only got worse instead of better. What can I say of this time, except that it dragged on and on, punctuated only by the trips to the hospital when the dehydration became so severe that I was dizzy lying down, dizzy standing up, nearly passing out on 20 foot walk from bedroom to bathroom and back again. I did, though, learn several things during this time.

1) If you show up at the hospital pregnant looking like you are 16 (when you are nearly 30), with an absent husband (in Las Vegas on a business trip), nearly pass out at triage, and then end up in the hallway bathroom loudly dry heaving, when you open the door to the bathroom where two nurses will pretty well bodily carry you to a bed. Immediately.

2) When you show up a second time on a busy Friday night in the same downtown hospital, it pays to have a sister who used to work as an ER nurse before being promoted to ICU nurse (it's all about hierarchy). She will a) ensure that you not left lying in the hallway right next to the nurses station, because the nurse can't be bothered to move you because you are a patient who doesn't cause trouble and she doesn't want to "lose you" and not only get you moved by move you into a coveted private room and b) when she walks into your room and checks on you at 3 am only to find you have ended up with a nurse who doesn't respond to the call bell despite 30 minutes of trying because oh, say, the anti-nauseant drugs that are put up and 30 seconds later the infuser stops working, will immediately fix the problem, go out and give the nurse hell and then report her the next day. I'm not one for overriding the system, but I can't begin to describe how these two actions saved my sanity that night.

Ultimately, I lost nearly 15 pounds during the first part of my pregnancy. I ended up on Diclectin and was just starting to feel better when the final strike fell.

I ended up with a faulty gall bladder. Sexy, I know. A gall bladder so faulty that no amount of diet restrictions could control it. Small snacks of simple breads, rice, vegetables and fruits, and still I was having attacks nearly every other day. I was seen by a surgeon who recommended I have surgery to remove the offending organ. Said surgery of course came with a risk, described to me as:

"Hmm... you would be... let's see... 23-24 weeks at the time of the surgery. Well, you know that your baby would likely not survive if you were to go into preterm labour, a risk of the surgery. So, yes, that's a decision you'll have to make."

Gee, when you put it like that it's ever so simple a decision.

My obstetrician recommend the surgery, as she was afraid the attacks were going to cause me to go into preterm labour anyway. I wasn't gaining weight. It wasn't good for the baby. I do believe this was the rock and the hard place.

I arranged for the month off work that my surgeon and my obstetrician recommended, and I scheduled the surgery. I was terrified. As they put me to sleep I told the nurse over and over again to please take care of my baby, that she was a little girl, that we were going to name her (Peanut). Please take care of her, please take care of her, please take care of her.

I woke up and was put on a monitor to find the heartbeat. A very nosy medical student was fascinated with the whole process. "You mean she's 24 weeks pregnant? And she had surgery? Was it a keyhole cut? Oh, look! They made the incisions there, and there and there." She made the Grey's Anatomy interns look like bored slackers. For the first time since becoming pregnant I was openly rude to a medical professional and asked (less than politely) if they could just look for the damn heartbeat. Please.

In the end the Peanut and I were okay. It was a long recovery, but we had made it through with no apparent side effects. I started to eat again, and finally gained a bit of weight. I went back to work. We were just starting to become good at the pregnancy thing, her and I.

And then my water broke.


nomotherearth said...

Wow, you really didn't have an easy time, did you? I'm sure glad everything worked out okay.

Looking forward to the next installment.

slouching mom said...

What a ride. At least you made it through the surgery hurdle. That's amazing.

painted maypole said...

how scary!


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