June 4, 2010

The New Normal

cont'd from here


We thought I had the flu.

The shaking, and sweating. The vomiting and hot flashes.

We thought it was a really particularly awful stomach bug. 

But when I went to the doctor, I wasn't sick at all.

I was pregnant.

I don't know what it's like to have a normal pregnancy.

Because I get sick within hours of conception,

and the more pregnant I get, the sicker I become.

With my first pregnancy, I was put on modified bed rest starting at 20 weeks.

Luckily, I was working for a pediatric office at this time (gotta keep that health insurance), and they kept a really close eye on me.

Every day, I took a cocktail of pain medicines, anti-nausea drugs, and terbutaline.

Starting at 30 weeks, the nurses I worked with would weigh me and check my urine for spilled proteins daily, and they would check my blood pressure on the hour.

I was toxic, diabetic, and barely keeping myself out of the hospital.

At 36 weeks, the pediatricians I worked for sent me to the hospital. From the time I had come in that morning, til when I got back from lunch, I had swollen... considerably.  I gave my urine sample, and was herded across the street to the hospital.

I remember the pediatrician fighting with my ob/gyn, telling him the baby needed to come out now.

Instead, I got steroid shots, more terbutaline, and discharge papers. 

The next morning, at about 4am, the hospital called me back in.

Baby time. We were excited to be parents.

The nurses hooked me up to a bunch of machines, and started an antibiotic drip.

They looked at the contraction reading, and then at me.

"Did you feel that?" they demanded.

"What?" I asked.

They checked me. I was already dilated to a 5.

I was given an epidural in the hopes that it would slow labor down. I needed to stay in labor for at least 4 hours to get in two rounds of antibiotics.

It worked, and then it was time to push.

I pushed, and I pushed, and I pushed.

The first hour passed.

Then the second.

After the third hour, they told me to try and rest.

I don't really remember a whole lot of what happened next, because I was in and out of consciousness.

I remember my husband, begging me to try.

And the nurses, pushing down hard on my stomach, trying to help the baby get out.

I remember the sound of the scalpel, cutting through my flesh.

There hadn't been enough time to get me into an operating room, so the doctor sliced me open, an episiotomy that extended all the way to my rectum. Thaddeus was yanked out with forceps and rushed to the NICU, while another team of doctors tried to find where my bleeding was coming from. 

When I woke up, they told me I was done. No more babies...

It would be too dangerous, for the both of us.

After Thaddeus was born, I bled for nine weeks.

Passing clots the size of my fist.

It was my first baby.

So it was normal.

When I finally stopped bleeding, we thought we would get our life back....