Emergency c/s under general anesthesia for Chorioamnionitis
Here is the full birth story (John made it home for mid-tour leave from Iraq about a week before her birth):
Sunday December 14, 2008, I began having contractions around 3 a.m. that were spaced around 5 minutes apart. I tried to go back to sleep to no avail, so I got up and got in the bathtub hoping to ease the discomfort. Nothing seemed to work, so I got back in bed and just waited it out. Later that evening John and I decided to go to L&D and see if there was any progress. The Wednesday prior at my 38 week appointment, I was dilated to maybe a ?fingertip? according to my doctor. After they examined me in L&D I was about 1-2 cms. They sent me home to wait for my contractions to get more painful or closer together.
Monday December 15, 2008, I was in a lot more pain throughout the early morning. I did not get any sleep and decided to see if my OB would see me in his office so we would not have to drive all the way to L&D again. When I got there he said I was still maybe 1-2. I was almost in tears at points because the contractions were so intense, but no closer together. I had a prenatal massage scheduled for that morning that I almost cancelled but decided to go in the hopes it would relax me a little. That was the best thing EVER! During the massage and afterwards, my contractions completely eased off. I could feel the tightening, but no pain during them for several hours.
Later that afternoon when I got home, I started to get the chills and took a bath because it was really cold outside. Then it occurred to me that I might have a fever. I took my temp and got 101.9 and we were off to L&D again. After the exam the doctor said I was around 2.5 dilated, and baby looked great on the monitors. They then sent me home and told me to take Tylenol.
Tuesday December 16, 2008, I woke up early morning again with a ton of contractions around 3 to 4 minutes apart but still the same intensity. BUT I had horrible chills. I felt like I was rocking the bed. I decided to get up and take a bath to try to warm up and I took some Tylenol, phenergan, and tried to drink some water. After my bath I got really nauseated and threw up. I decided to take my temperature again and got 103.5! Off to L&D again!
This time as soon as they hooked me up to the monitors, I knew something was wrong. Baby's heart rate was around the 200s. The doctor seemed really concerned and immediately admitted me. During the exam I had not made any progress. They put me on fluids, and continually monitored the baby. Later that evening my fever broke (I sweated through all the linens? gross!) and the baby?s heart rate dropped to a better level. They said if my fever stayed down they would talk about augmenting on Wednesday. They also did an amnio to make sure the baby?s fluid was not infected, and then they flu-tested me and took all kinds of blood. I was in a quarantine room, and it was weird that everyone who came in wore masks and gloves. I remember them telling me that the ventilation in the room was designed so that the air did not filter to the rest of the hospital. John and I got some laughs out of that. The rest of the night was pretty uneventful, and the next day is where all the fun began.
Wednesday December 17, 2008, they had been able to keep my fever at bay, but not gone completely. At 8:30 am they entered the pill to ripen my cervix (Cytotec) some more since I had not had any progress but was having regular contractions. Somewhere in here, a doctor checked me and told me afterwards that he stripped my membranes. No wonder it hurt terribly. John was not happy. At 1:00 pm they started the pitocin. The contractions got a little more intense, but nothing unbearable. At 2:30 pm I was 100% effaced so the doctor decided to break my water. I immediately went to about 4 cms and the pain was tremendous, especially to my right side and around the right side of my back. At 3:00 pm they allowed me to get the epidural. It gave me some relief but never took effect on my right side or right side of my back. The next few hours were pretty much a blur of pain and DH telling me to breath. They gave me several doses of the epidural but it never took effect, although my legs were completely gone. Around 12 am I started throwing up because of the pain and was losing my mind because I had not made any further progress. The doctor decided to do a C/S. I was ready for anything; I just wanted to be out of pain.
They finally took me to the back and gave me so much epidural medicine that the anesthesiologist had to call and get a second opinion. Meanwhile, they told John to suit up and someone would be back to get him. Something in that time period changed, though I'm not sure and there was suddenly a strong sense of urgency. They kept asking me in between contractions if I could feel them pinching my belly and I could. There was a lot of commotion, and then the anesthesiologist told me I was going under general. I remember looking up at him in his eyes and begging for him to call John and tell him what was going on. The last thing I remember is him grabbing the phone and telling the nurse's stand that I was going under general. As it turns out, John never knew. I was so upset because he could not be there, and I was scared to death. Everything was going very wrong. I went out like a light.
Sylvia Joleigh was born at 3:18 am on Thursday December 18, 2008 at 39 weeks on the dot. She was 8 lbs. and 19 inches long. I wasn?t really able to enjoy her at first because I felt so weak and I had the shakes so bad. They were uncontrollable. John was wonderful though. I knew he was really worried about me, but he took great care of her during that time period. My friend Carmen was there with him and she told me later that they brought Sylvia out to him and he was so confused. He thought he was getting ready to go back wih me and he kept asking, "Where is my wife? Where is my wife?" We were sent to postpartum and I thought everything was going well until the nurse noticed that my baby girl was grunting constantly. I thought it was just normal baby stuff, but they took her temp and it was low. Her blood sugar was also extremely low (around 35). And that?s when they made the call to put her in NICU. I think that maybe she ended up with the same infection I had. They did so many tests (on her and me) and they all came back negative. No flu, no cold, no nothing; just an elevated white blood count. But they decided to keep her and run a full course of antibiotics. It was heartbreaking to me to see her with an IV in her head and oxygen on. I have never cried so much in my life. I couldn?t stand having to leave her every day.
Finally on Sunday they released me from the hospital and we stayed in a hotel across the road until they released Sylvia on Tuesday. The best Christmas present ever! She is breastfeeding like a champ and doesn?t seem to have any problems. And in between that time John's command denied a Red Cross request for an emergency leave extension (but that?s in a whole other post).
So it was a very long, painful, and emotional, process but totally worth it when I look into my little girl?s eyes, or watch her while she sleeps.
"Sylvia" was after John's late grandmother. We had been trying very hard to have her for a year and a half, so I am fairly sure of when we concieved, and the next morning we received word that his grandmother had passed. The circle of life. "Jo" is his mom's middle name, and "Leigh" is my mom's... so that's how we got Sylvia Joleigh. Sylvia is originally a Latin name, and was also a Goddess of the Forest who was mother to Romulus and Remus (the founders of Rome).
The most disturbing thing to me about the whole thing is that nobody told me anything. This is some of what I found out after the fact, once I read my medical records in 2010:
-I had an infection called Chorioamnionitis. Some of the signs are high fever, increased fetal and/or maternal heart rate, uterine sensitivity, extremely ineffective contractions, excessive bleeding after birth
-The baby was posterior and asynclitic
-One of the worst things you can do with a mother who has Chorio is rupture membranes if they haven?t been ruptured. I also should have never let them rupture my membranes since she was posterior.
-Sylvia had to be resuscitated at birth
-I lost over 800 cc of blood