Clark’s story: Part I Getting Clark here

The lead-up and birth of baby Clark

First of all, bear with me. The past two weeks have been so full of ups and downs and misinformation and miscommunication and miracles and curveballs.  I will attempt to give a shortened version that still allows for complete understanding. You could also totally decide not to read my blog, so there’s that option as well. Exercise your rights, people. Anyway…

I cannot believe it has been almost 2 weeks ago when I met with my OB for my 36 week check up. At that check-up she mentioned that we could validate inducing me the following week at 37 weeks due to my fluid levels if they continued to be very elevated. I asked her what was considered “very elevated,” and she said usually an amniotic fluid index of at least 28cm. The previous week, my levels had only been 24cm, which meant that although I was more comfortable and not having as much difficulty breathing, it also meant that I could not qualify for early induction. And I was done with this pregnancy:  so much stress, so little relief. If we induced at 37 weeks, my OB didn’t see the need for a c-section.

At the MFM appointment that afternoon my levels were 29cm. I felt relieved. This baby would be here the following week. The MFM doctor measured the head circumference and said it was too large to “reasonably” consider a vaginal delivery. He said that he would talk to my OB about this in his report. He said that he couldn’t find much information on possible syndromes because Clark didn’t meet enough criteria to clearly fall in line with any particular syndrome. He reiterated that his head shape was very odd and large and that the mild ventriculomegaly may require a shunt shortly after birth. You know, all the warm fuzzy stuff that has endeared MFM to me so much. 🙄

The following morning a physician from the MFM clinic called and said that he needed to connect me to a social worker to tour the NICU. I asked why and he said that with Clark’s medical needs “he will never qualify for the ‘regular nursery, and we offer the tour to make the NICU seem less scary.” He said that I would be able to see Clark probably 12 hours after my c-section delivery, but that I would only see him for short time immediately following birth, and that I wouldn’t be permitted to hold him due to the cold temps in the OR. I lost it. We had not decided for sure on a c-section, none of Clark’s imaging indicated a direct admit to NICU, and being told I couldn’t hold my baby for almost a whole day devastated me. After frantically calling my OB and my husband and playing phone tag all day, it was decided I would have a scheduled c-section the following week, and that Clark would only go to the NICU if he was unstable and not “just for monitoring.”

The following Tuesday, December 5th, we were admitted for the c-section. My nurse told me that the NICU staff would be present because he was probably getting admitted. I asked why and she gave me stupid MFM’s line of “with his diagnosis blah blah blah,” and “for observation.” Done. I decided right then and there that if I wanted to control anything with this birth and Clark’s care that I was going to have to be a bitch. I told them under no circumstances would he be admitted unless he was compromised, and that if they thought they could admit him for “observation,” I would make their jobs extremely difficult for them. The nurse left in a hurry, and I called my OB’s office. She happened to drop by 3 minutes later, and we discussed it again. Again she said he would not go unless there were issues.

Right before my c-section, they bolused me with fluid to combat low blood pressures from the epidural. Unfortunately, it didn’t work, the epidural hit too high, I felt like I couldn’t breathe, had a panic attack, and almost lost consciousness. My lungs felt as if they were squished to nothing, I could not oxygenate, and I was losing it. I told them I needed to sit up right now, and they said I couldn’t– that I was too numb and the epidural had hit a little too high. SO, I grabbed the edges of the table and sat halfway up before they freaked out , held me down, and rapidly began bolusing me with more fluid. “You can’t sit up! Your pressure is really low, that’s why you feel short of breath. You’re actually breathing ok, your sats are fine, Beka.” “How low?! I cannot breathe, it feels like an elephant is sitting on my lungs. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe!” “It’s not reading, yet. We’re fixing it.” Cold rags were put all over my face and slowly the pressure on my lungs eased. “Wait, we have a pressure, finally. It’s about 70/30. It’s coming up.” I apologized for freaking out like a basic bitch, and they said I actually turned green so they knew it was a legit pressure issue. They also said they had never seen someone actually able to fight epidural-induced paralysis and sit up. Fight or flight, people. I was fighting AND flighting. Crisis was averted, screen went up, and Ben came into the room. I told him I almost died, and we laughed like idiots because life is weird. About 3 minutes later, Clark was born and I heard my doctor say, “She totally could have had this baby vaginally…his foot doesn’t look too bad.” I heard nothing. No crying–nothing. I asked why he wasn’t crying and my doctor kept saying everything was fine. He began to cry and was taken into the next door assessment room. My doc said he was in a ton of fluid. I told them they better measure all my fluid and be very impressed with it because it had been so terrible to deal with throughout this pregnancy. Final total was about 2800ml of free fluid not to count the lap pads and towels used as well. Normal levels are between 800-1000mls. I’m an overachiever. As soon as they closed me up, they took me to that next door room to see baby. The NICU doctor said his APGAR was 7 and 7 and he required a little oxygen, so he needed to go the NICU. Damnit. Oh well. What was I going to do? Anyway she also said she didn’t think his head looked weird at all, and didn’t think he had a clubfoot either. More on that later.

I was able to hold him for a few minutes, and then they took me to recovery where I was given 50mcg Fentanyl to hold me over until my Dilaudid pump was hooked up. Here’s where the real shit happened. There were issues “with pharmacy” and “with finding a pump.” It took over an hour for my pump to be set up. My spinal had been reversed (I had full use and strength of my legs), and I had no pain meds during this time. It was agony. I could feel my the full range of my incision burning, and it was excruciating. It took about 2-3 hours to catch up to my pain before I felt more normal again. If I hadn’t been in such pain, I would have killed everyone in my immediate vicinity. Count yourselves lucky, bitches.

Finally get moved to mother/baby unit and I send Ben to be with Clark. I was told I would be able to see him late that evening, but that he would have to stay overnight. I asked if he was able to eat anything. “No. We’re giving him fluids though.” Probably protocol, but I went back to my room and demanded a breast pump. I had previously asked for one about 3 times and everyone kept forgetting to bring it, or were “looking into it.” I’m telling you, at this point I was back in bitch-mode. I told them if they unhooked my IV, I would just walk home to get my pump since it would probably be faster. Son of gun, I had one delivered to my room 5 minutes later. Go figure. And then, because it was shift-change, God granted me the sweetest nurse. Because he knew I was going to need her.

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