Gabriel was born on Friday, August 30th 2013 at 9:47 AM. He was 6 lbs 9 oz and 20″ long.
The labor and birth were not that bad, compared to my horrible recovery.
At my 38 week appointment I was 1 cm dialated. It was the first time I had been checked for it and it was very unpleasant. The next day I had a few slightly painful contractions for under an hour. Then nothing more except braxton-hicks contractions until the following Tuesday night. Then I had some more slightly painful contractions, 10 minutes apart for a little over an hour. At my appointment the next day I was 3 cm dialated. The doctor asked if I wanted her to try to start labor so she stripped my membranes. Very very unpleasant. I had bloody mucus from then until I went in to give birth. I started having contractions that night but they were erratic. Some had 20 min between them, some had 3 min between them. They were lasting about 45 seconds. They stopped while I slept that night and started up again early the next afternoon. I knew that I would end up going to the hospital sometime that day, I just didn’t know when.
The “when” turned out to be almost 10 pm. They were starting to get a little more painful and were an average of 5 minutes apart, lasting a little over a minute, and had been for an hour by then. The pain wasn’t too bad then. I had been afraid of having to ride to the hospital in horrible pain. These were mild. When we got there we were shown into a triage room in the labor and delivery floor. They hooked me up to the monitors and checked my cervix. It was only about 3 1/2, possibly 4. After 45 minutes on the monitor, they said they would check on my progress again in two hours and that I could get up and walk if I wanted. I said I did so just when the nurse was putting some slipper socks on me, my water broke. I felt a warm wet gush between my legs. I knew then that I wasn’t going home until the baby was born.
I’m glad my water broke at the hospital because it was a lot and it kept gushing out up until delivery. It wasn’t pleasant. So after my water broke, they moved me to a labor room. It was room #1. The nurse asked me a bunch of questions while they monitored me some more and then told me that the doctor (midwife actually) would check my progress in an hour or so and that I could get an epidural then if I wanted (they had asked my pain management preferences). The nurse would be in every half hour to take my vitals and monitor the contractions and baby for a bit. They said I could walk around the halls or the room or use the rocking chair (glider). I chose to sit in the rocking chair. After about an hour, the contractions started getting more painful and more frequent. I had been reading and eventually was unable to concentrate anymore. When the nurse came back I asked about getting an epidural soon and she said she would check with the midwife.
The midwife said okay and the nurse asked if I wanted it then or wanted to wait some. She said a woman had just come in who was 5 cm and was probably going to want an epidural from how she was acting (or something like that) and said that it could be a bit of a wait if I didn’t want it right then. They were getting pretty painful although not unbearable but I didn’t want to risk them getting worse and unable to get an epidural for an hour or more. I said yes.
The guy was up to the room in about 5 minutes. I was more scared of getting the epidural than of any other part of childbirth (except for being scared of it not working or doing damage to me or being unable to get one…). It didn’t help that a few minutes before I started shaking. He put the epidural in without any problems and it started working very quickly. I continued shaking for over an hour at least. I had thought it would be able to get some rest once I got the epidural, or play games or browse the web on my phone or something but the shaking was so bad. At this point it was about 3 am. I found the second part of American Wedding on tv and started watching that while Joe got some sleep. After that was over I watched something called Ace of Cakes. Then around 5:30 am there was several Full House episodes on in a row. Next came cartoons (Spongebob and Fairly Odd Parents). By then, I was 10 cm dialated but I was having no urge to push. In fact, I was having no feelings at all in my legs and couldn’t really lift them off the bed. A couple hours earlier I had been feeling some contractions near my right hip but had stopped feeling them. They gave me an hour to see if my contractions caused the baby to drop more.
I guess they did because it was eventually time to push. I ended up pushing for an hour 45 min, without ever feeling a desire to push. I felt nothing down there. I ended up with a tear and a small episiotomy and the baby ended up falling out me of without even a final push. They put him on my stomach and wiped him off some. Then they moved him to my chest as the doctor stitched me up. They brought me some crackers and orange juice. I could only have clear liquids during labor. I had had some chicken broth and two things of jello. After a couple hours it was time to move me to the recovery room. They usually take you up in a wheelchair but I still could not move my legs at all. They discovered that the epidural was set on a unusually high setting. It was over 24 hours before I could walk.
They had to take me upstairs on a stretcher. The recovery rooms were on a different floor. After a little bit, the nurse asked me if I wanted to try walking to the bathroom. I still couldn’t really feel my legs. I gave it a try and managed to stand but couldn’t take a step. When I stood, blood poured out of me and went everywhere. It was a huge mess. I tried using a bedpan next but couldn’t use my bladder muscles. So she had to use a catheter. They had cathed me a couple times during labor after the epidural.
Not long after, I felt a huge gush from between my legs, almost like when my water had broken. I think we pressed the button for the nurse and she came and after lifting up the blankets I saw that my hospital gown was drenched in blood between my legs. I guess it kept coming after that off and on. My blood pressure started dropping and at one point there was about 5 nurses in the room and the midwife and they eventually called in the doctor too. I guess my uterus wasn’t contracting properly and was full of clots. The midwife had to reach her hand up there and remove them. It was very very miserable and if I hadn’t still been pretty numb from the epidural I don’t know how I could have gotten through it. I ended up needing oxygen and felt really cold, dizzy, nauseous, and out of it. They had to take the baby out of the room by then because of what was going on. They gave me a shot in the thigh and some more pitocin to make my uterus contract. I forgot to mention that after the epidural, they started me on pitocin because even with the more painful contractions I hadn’t really dialated more. They also by standard give pitocin after delivery.
At some point during all this, Gabe breastfeed but after the hemorrhage, whenever I held him I started feeling bad again and had to have Joe or the nurse take him. I think it was due to my uterus contracting. They did a blood test to see if I needed a transfusion but even though it was low decided not to. Normally babies stay in the room all the time but they asked if we wanted him taken to the nursery and we said yes partly because I still wasn’t feeling well but also because he had been spitting up and we didn’t want anything to happen to him while we were asleep.
I started feeling very anxious and bad in the late evening. They checked my blood again and decided to go ahead with a transfusion since I was feeling so bad. They also gave me an Ambien. By that point I had been awake since 9 am Thursday and it was after midnight Friday (so it was Saturday I guess). I took the Ambien and was told it would probably be several hours till I got the transfusion but it ended up only being a half hour.
I started this entry on September 12th and it’s now October 1st. I haven’t been able to continue until now because of horrible postpartum anxiety and depression.
They gave me one bag of blood. They were considering giving me another but wanted to wait and see what my blood count was the next day. I slept off and on after that during the night. They brought Gabe in to breastfeed once and brought him back into our room in the morning. Sometime during that day the nurse became concerned because of his spitting up. The pediatrician took him back to the nursery and he wasn’t keeping down breastmilk or the formula they tried. He had to go to the NICU and would not be able to come home with us Sunday. He ended up not coming home till Wednesday (it was Saturday he was taken to the NICU).
The hospital let us stay overnight for free on Sunday since he was in the NICU. We could have possibly have stayed another night, but I wanted to get home. I started pumping the day they took him to the NICU and they sent a pump home with us.
On Sunday night we watched the fireworks show from our hospital room window before going down to visit Gabe. We had an excellent view of them. Our room had a riverside view and the fireworks were set off on City Island, which was nearby.
We went home Monday afternoon. I should have realized something was wrong with me when I was relieved instead of sad that he wasn’t going home with us. I was still very weak and wasn’t looking forward to taking care of him.
Joe went back to work the next day since I didn’t really need him at home because the baby wasn’t there and felt he should save his time off until then. He only had 4 days worth of PTO (Monday he had off anyway because it was Labor Day). The hospital called that day and told us we could bring Gabe home the next day.
I think it was that night that I started feeling bad anxiety. It came and went for the first few days but then eventually became constant. I felt panicked at the thought of taking care of the baby. Trying to breastfeed him made it worse and after a day of him being home I decided I would just pump instead. That lasted another day until that made the anxiety worse too and I had to stop. I had been set on breastfeeding or pumping if he was unable to latch for some reason. I wasn’t upset at having to stop, instead I felt relief. For a little bit. Then it was back to anxious. If I wasn’t feeling anxious, I was feeling numb which after a few days turned to sad sometimes then to all the time.
He had to go see his doctor two days after he came home (routine visit). His doctor is also my doctor so I waited until seeing her to do something about my emotions and my inability to care for the baby. She asked how I was doing and I told her. My staring into space instead of helping with the baby was probably a big clue too. She told Joe that until I was better, he would have to stay home to take care of the baby. She put me back on Prozac and told me to make my own appointment ASAP.
My appointment was set for Monday, with another doctor there, who put me on Xanax as needed, up to three times a day. It helped some. But I was unable to sleep by then even with Ambien. I would wake up during the middle of the night and be unable to get back to sleep. So I’d take more Ambien. Then get a few more hours. Then be awake. I was so sleep deprived and I wasn’t even taking care of the baby during the night. Or the day.
I was still doing bad and unable to sleep the following Monday so I called the OB’s office to see if they could do anything else. I got an appointment for Wednesday. He gave me Restoril to try and sleep and most importantly, gave me the number for a psychiatrist’s office. The Restoril didn’t keep me asleep though. I called the psych’s office right after my appointment and left a message. The OB had told me that it sometimes took up to 24 hours for them to return their call. The OB also upped my Prozac dosage from 20mg to 40mg.
The next morning I was in a panic because the Restoril hadn’t worked and I desperately needed sleep. I called the OB’s office and spoke to a nurse. He had told me to call if the Restoril didn’t work. She said she’d pass the message on and would call me back. The psych office called me but I missed the call because I didn’t realize my phone was on Do Not Disturb. I called back and left another message. They called me back again later and we set up an appointment for October 1st. Then, a half hour later, she called me back and said they had a cancellation for that afternoon at 3:30. I was so thankful. I think I concerned the scheduler with my taking more of more Ambien that you’re supposed to and how desperate for help I sounded.
I forgot to mention that Joe had to return to work that week so Gabe stayed with my parents for the week. And for the following week. And this past weekend since Joe worked twelve hour shifts. He gets Tuesday through Sunday off now and we’ll be picking up Gabe tomorrow.
Back to the psychiatrist. I had never seen a psychiatrist before. The place I went was actually part of a hospital (small building next to the main hospital) and had in-patient and partial in-patient treatment also. Over the past few weeks I had thought much about being voluntarily committed just to get some immediate help.
The psych visit went very well. She prescribed me Seroquel to help with sleep and switched me to Ativan instead of Xananx. She said to call the next day if the Seroquel didn’t help and we could try something else. Most of all, she made feel better about what was happening to me. She said it was because of hormones like the OB said, but also because of the birth and hemorrhage and NICU stay bringing up past life trauma, even though the past trauma was not of the same sort. But that what I experienced with his birth stripped down mental barriers I had in place against emotions of the past traumas. That week three was the worst postpartum hormone wise and that every week up until 8 weeks they would get a little better and would be normal by 8 weeks.
I did not enjoy my Seroquel experience. I did sleep slightly longer, but I still woke up a lot and had very vivid and weird dreams. I also felt more anxious the next day. I called the psych but she didn’t call me back until Monday morning. So I had to get through the weekend on my own. It was Ambien and another try with the Restoril.
Monday she called me back and said we could try Trazodone. I’d been on it before for Fibromyalgia but didn’t remember if it helped me sleep or what the dosage was. I was up for giving it another try. She said people take up to 300mg of it and to start with either 25 or 50mg of it.
I went with 50mg (also taking an Ativan and Ambien CR at bedtime with it). That first night I slept through until 8:30 am straight and then fell back asleep for a couple more hours. I hadn’t slept that long straight in years (I went to bed at 11:30). The next night I took a regular Ambien instead of the CR version and didn’t sleep for so long before waking up but I was able to fall back asleep easily when I did wake up. Since then I’ve played with the dosage and alternated taking regular Ambien and Ambien CR. Last night it was a regular Ambien and 125mg Trazodone (plus 0.25 of Ativan). I either need to call her to get more pills or keep it at 125mg until my next appointment with her Monday. 125mg worked well, but I’m curious if 150mg would be even better.
Saturday night I did not take my evening dose of Ativan (I had been taking it in the morning, around 5pm and at bedtime). I didn’t have any anxiety. I only took my bedtime dose Sunday and none so far today (will be taking my bedtime dose though) and feel pretty good. I even went by myself to the drug store yesterday. I never go to stores by myself for years. I always wait until Joe can go with me. But I wanted to get some hair dye and just went myself. No problems or anxiety. I think I probably should have been back on antidepressants for several years.
Next Monday is my next pysch appointment and next Thursday is my 6 week postpartum checkup with the OB. I still have pelvic pain and I will be sure to mention it if it’s not gone by then. I feel more ready to try taking care of the baby (during the day) and not panicking anymore at the thought of it.
The last four weeks have been hell and I have never experienced anything like the anxiety and depression I had, but I think the Prozac is really kicking in and getting sleep with the Trazodone helps a ton as well.