This entire month has been consumed with the drama surrounding the birth of little Sparrow. Here are details that I (kate) posted on the pregnancy website I blog for:
Just a really brief update for you! As some of you know we were planning a home birth for the birth of our baby, who is due May 21. We ended up finding out on Tuesday this week that I have a condition called obstetric cholestasis and therefore were advised to go in to hospital for induction. I have spent the last several days in hospital and have had quite the experience which I will share later when I have more energy and time. For the time being, I wanted to let you know what’s happening in brief. I’ve been giving several low doses of an induction gel so as to stimulate dilation gently. The hope has been to allow my body time to take over so I can progress with a natural labour and not be forced into a more unnatural situation that is brought on by a drip. My body has been very slow to respond, as is expected since it’s early days still and baby isn’t “ready” to come out yet. We’ve been blessed with a fantastic team at the hospital and my amazing midwife, Jacqui, has been by our side every step of the way. Though it’s been a rough several days with so many decisions and uncertainties, we’ve felt peace amid the change of plans and fears of both the health of myself and the baby. We are glad that our wish for a gentle approach to induction has been honoured. Please keep us in your thoughts… and if you’re the praying type, please pray. Thanks so much! Baby will be here soon.
I have been stuck in the hospital for eight days. This is definitely not the entry into the world we envisioned for our first child, but such things you can’t really plan. After four days of gentle induction my body didn’t respond and we opted for a c-section. It was the last thing we wanted but due to the uncontrollable nature of my condition, we didn’t really have a choice. Waiting weeks for natural birth didn’t seem like the safest choice.
On Mother’s Day, May 13, we went into the surgical room and met our daughter at 2:33pm. It was a very quick and crazy experience. Many people rushing around, each doing a specific task; many wonderful ladies making sure I was comfortable and understanding everything that was going on. When I first heard our baby cry, I immediately cried. Then I saw her when they lifted her over the surgical drape. Seeing her was equally amazing but also very strange because it’s someone you’ve been waiting 9 months to meet, yet when you see them, they are a stranger, and it’s surreal to think they are yours. From the surgical table I watched Noah help clean the baby off. It was hard to be laying there unable to be near our baby but I had to let that go and just accept the situation I was in. And regardless, I was very happy for Noah to be able to participate in everything. He was absolutely beaming. We named her Sparrow. She was 8 lbs. 11 oz.
After spending an hour in recovery, they took us up to a private room, where we planned to spend the next several days. But that didn’t happen.
That evening, out of nowhere, I had two seizures, was rolled to ICU and heavily sedated. Noah told me later that the doctors and nurses were trying to put IVs and lines in me but I kept ripping them out. I got blood all over his shirt and all over my pillow from home that the medical team ended up throwing away. I was foaming at the mouth, and had breathing tubes placed into my nose and throat. I don’t remember much from that whole ordeal except the first few seconds of the first seizure and once when I sort of woke up in the middle of sedation. I remember trying to rip my oxygen mask off. But apparently I was also ripping off everything they were trying to hook me up to and stretched and writhed in ways that I definitely shouldn’t, given my post-surgery condition! Yes, I am quite sore! I came out of sedation Monday mid morning and was under 48 hour observations with tests, wires, drips, etc. I had a nurse watching me every moment. Sleep has been hard with constant tests and monitoring. I’m quite the mystery here as to what caused the seizures. There are a number of theories floating around, but I won’t get into details of that.
The staff have been lovely, helpful, kind… and I am so appreciative. Though we are very tired of being checked on constantly. We just want a sense of normalcy and privacy now. But while here, I am the talk of Christchurch Women’s Hospital. Every day a new person comes by to say hello and check on me. (Noah told me that the night of the seizures about tons of staff filled our room and were involved in helping me.) Just while typing this, an anesthetist who helped keep me down during my episode came by to say hello.
Noah has been amazing and coping well though I gave him quite a fright during the seizures. He said I wasn’t acting myself and he didn’t know the whole time if I would make it out of the seizures with permanent damages or not—the doctors weren’t sure what my outcome would be and ran several tests on me while I was sedated. So, when I came out of sedation and tested out normal, he was so relieved. I remember looking up at him and he was crying when he saw me wake up. We are so thankful he was staying with me the night I had the seizures. I don’t know what would be the outcome had I been alone.
So the last couple days have been insane, with little privacy. I am now in a recovery room in the main maternity ward and have to stay until Saturday. Noah is staying here as well and helping me look after baby Sparrow, which I am so grateful for, and all the nurse staff are helpful too. It will just be great to be home with our baby and back to our normal lives. It’s been a challenge this last week going through everything, and constantly being monitored, having my blood pressure taken, blood taken, taking meds, getting shots, getting my reflexes tested, etc. I just want to be better and back in a state of normalcy.
I think the hardest thing for me has been the drama before and after the birth of Sparrow because it’s taken away from the moment of her arrival. I was so tired and drugged up after the seizures that the last several days have been a blur. I am already forgetting the sequence of events over the last week and I have totally forgotten the first day with Sparrow because of the seizures that happened later that night. I cannot remember much of the first 12 hours we had with her. So now I am trying to enjoy each moment, kiss her like crazy, and take time to journal what I do remember from her birthday. She’s a delightful baby. Completely placid, sweet and soft. We are so grateful for her and can’t wait until she joins us at home!
Home Sweet Home
Here is my attempt at an update. I feel very skatter-brained as I type this out, so I apologize if it’s all over the place.
After 10 nights in the hospital, we are home. Though it was necessary for me to be in hospital for that long, the constant monitoring did not help me get much shut-eye, which has made recovery from surgery and my seizures quite slow. I am home but still exhausted as I am trying to catch up on so much loss of sleep, while also caring for baby and hosting parents who are visiting from out of the country.
This last 10 days are a blur in my mind, filled with many faces, procedures, medical terminologies, fearful situations, tears, challenges, etc. Thankfully my husband was able to stay with me the whole time. We so appreciated that he was able to stay given the circumstances we found ourselves in. I couldn’t have handled being alone every night.
Gosh, I honestly don’t even want to blog about what happened. It’s still too fresh. It’s something I want to move on from. It was so traumatic. But I have to give you an update… so here it is: I was the “star” of the hospital for those 10 days. Everyone knew my situation. At first I was “the girl with the dangerously high bile salt count” due to my obstetric cholestasis. Everyone seemed to want to meet me. Then I was “the girl who had two unexpected major seizures post-caesarian section”. It was a very rare scenario and caught everyone off guard. It was awful for me and it was awful for my husband. Because I’ve never had a seizure before and my body went crazy, it was taken very seriously. They sedated me and ran many tests. Brain scans. Nerve tests. Etc. They didn’t know if I went into seizures because of hemorrhaging somewhere due to the cholestasis or what. They finally narrowed it down to undetected eclampsia. So I was put on a heap of monitoring and magnesium sulfite to control the eclampsia and get my heart rate down. I was eventually taken into a recovery room after being in an isolated, 24-7 care room for a few days. It was good to get some more privacy and space. After several more days recovering there and being monitored (my blood pressure was super high), they released me to go home. That morning we found out that our car was stolen from the hospital parking lot (which has security monitoring it but no one saw it happen as it happened so it didn’t get noticed until morning when my husband went to the car. It was on the security footage though.) So we have no car. Thankfully a friend has lent us a car in the meantime. But yeah, this was an awful blow to us at the end of 10 really difficult days.
We are so happy to get back to normal life and adjust to our new home routine. She is doing well.
Adjusting to life at home has been harder than expected only because of the numerous compounding health issues that I’ve had to face. Sparrow has been an absolute dream baby. Her calm demeanor and patient spirit help to ease us into adding her into our daily routines, so we are beyond thankful for that. It’s me, mommy, who’s had a tough go with all the medical issues that have made my body quite weak and beaten down. My liver is recuperating from the obstetric cholestasis, my blood pressure is being kept under control with medication that we hope I can soon come off of, I am overly tired from so much loss of sleep the last two weeks from all the medical stuff I had to endure, and since being home I’ve developed a fever and headaches that have lasted the last three days from what we think to be blocked ducts. I just can’t seem to get a break. It’s one thing after another. On top of that my surgery site is slowly healing and still gives me pain here and there. Welcoming a baby into these circumstances makes it quite difficult to fully embrace the gift of new life in our little family. When you’re wiped out and mentally foggy from so many challenges and lack of sleep, each day is a challenge. I want to get better quickly and be back to my normal, active self. Every day still feels like a blur and I don’t want to miss out on remembering these early days with our daughter!
Thankfully our parents are here and able to offer lots of help with cooking all the meals, doing laundry, helping with baby, cleaning dishes, etc. It’s been wonderful so that I can rest and so that my husband doesn’t have to be burdened with doing everything himself either. I am praying this season of sickness is on its way out the door soon and that things will get back to normal so that we can just really enjoy Sparrow.