Torgesen Family Times

{We are trying to enjoy and record the moments that make life special}
Related Posts with Thumbnails

Alex’s Birth Story, part three


Part two of Alex’s Birth Story and Part one.



Denial. Stupid. Tragic. I don’t know why I did this.  I was doubting myself and my body. I just froze. 


The day he was born, a Monday, I was having lunch with co-workers and somebody asked me if “I was ready” for seemingly the 10 millionth time.  Like, did we have the crib ready, did I wash all of the baby clothes, did I pack my bags yet (The answers were no, no and no). 


But, that day was different.  I always would say, no, not yet.  Another way people asked if I was ready yet, was in the level of excitement for meeting this new little person “Are you ready yet”, and I would always say No, I’m willing to wait.  I was still ~6 weeks from my due date at this point.


In some ways, I was scared shitless about having a baby. I wondered if I was going to be a good Mother, was it going to be painful labor, this/that.  I wasn’t “ready” for all that quite yet.


Then, all of a sudden – I was ready.  Somebody asked me at lunchtime if I was “ready”.


I just knew it, but didn’t know how.


I could not imagine how I was going to get through 6 more weeks like this, let alone another few days.


I said “yes” to the question – flat out, no hesitation.   I was done.  I did not know how I was going to go any farther. 


I didn’t tell anyone except my boss that I had to leave early that day and I drove myself to the Doctors office and nervously waited to be called. The nurse, Rochelle, came and called my name and took me back to the room.  They took my weight (which had gone up 15-20 lbs. in ~ 2 days)quickly and took me back to a room.  Since this was not a normally scheduled visit, she just asked what was happening.  I told her about the puffiness, the not peeing, the weight gain and the blood pressure reading at the store.  She took my Blood Pressure at that point and it was 150/110.  Not good. 


“Whoa! Lay down” she said. “We’ll take it in 5 minutes”.   Try to just breathe and relax.


Took it again in 5 minutes – the same 150/110.


Now time for the pee test – This is where you get to pee in a cup every time you see the OB for them to check for kidney function.  The scale is from 0-4 and normal people should be zero). I was a 4+ that day.  That meant my blood pressure was so high, that protein was leaking through my kidneys into my urine.  Not good. 


“Can you walk over to the hospital – or do you want to be escorted”? She asked.  I thought, well – I had driven myself there, I had walked all the way in here by myself, I can surely walk over to the maternity ward myself.  So, I did.  But, I had left my cell phone in the car (out of battery anyway) and she told me not to stop at my car but to go directly to the maternity ward on the other side of the hospital. 


Once I got there I was really getting nervous.  I told the nurse I had to call my husband, since he wasn’t with me and things were getting scary. I remember he asked “do you want me to come?” when I said they were admitting me to the hospital. “YES!” I said. Why would you even ask me that?  Your 7 1/2 month pregnant wife is telling you that she is being admitted to the hospital – the only thing to say is “I’ll be there as quickly as I can”.  He must have heard the desperation and fear in my voice since he arrived about 45 minutes later (very quick drive from Renton to Kirkland at that time of day).


He walked into the room I was in and there were 3 nurses and two doctors in the room.  I think this is where he knew this was serious.


They told him what was happening, that I had severe pre-eclampsia and that they were going to try to help, but this was a very bad thing.  I was very sick. They also wanted to have an ultrasound so they could make sure our baby was OK. Things were happening fast.  I remember the nurse scrambling to do things as fast as the doctor would tell her to do this and that.  At one point, she told her to do start an IV line and had to leave to go see another patient, but the nurse was still getting my name and all the computer stuff done.  The doctor came back after a bit and kinda yelled at her to just get the IV started.  At this point, she dropped everything to just get the IV in.  But, I was so puffy she could not do it. 


They decided to call in the anesthesia resident to do the IV, since she was supposed to be good at doing fine needle work (ha ha!).  She came in and introduced herself and put in the IV.  She made the “joke” that she would probably be seeing me later for a c-section. 


I said “What?  I don’t want a c-section.” 


I was totally dumbfounded. 


I’m sure, looking back, every doctor and nurse probably knew I was going to have a c-section, or maybe they thought that with some drugs, they would be able to keep me under control for a little longer.  The fact was, I did not know this and to be joking told by the anesthesia resident was not cool. 


I was given Magnesium Sulfate, Labetalol and a steroid shot to potentially mature his lungs (usually they want 24 hours after shot is given for baby to be born, we did not know how much time we had, but it was given anyways).  Magnesium sulfate is commonly used in pre-eclampsia, it relaxes muscle contractions and blood vessel contractions, and makes you feel awful.  It is also used to prevent seizure, which is no longer pre-eclampsia, but full on eclampsia at that point. It first makes you very hot, you feel hot, but you know you are not.  It makes your muscles all feel so slow and you can’t react to things at your normal pace, very drugged.  Since it was given to me, it was also given to our baby.  For babies, it makes them listless and floppy when they are born.  But, since they are then born, it wears off fairly soon after birth. 


Labetalol is a medication for high blood pressure.  I was given some starting dose (maybe 20 mg) and the doctor told her to double the dose every ten minutes if I didn’t get to a certain BP point, up to a maximum dose.  I was already hooked up to a blood pressure cuff that took my BP like every minute, one of those automatic ones.  My blood pressure was high, like 190/110.  Scary high.


She hit the max dose and must have told us so.  They were going to send us for the Ultrasound now. It was a totally different ultrasound than we had previously at the 20 week appointment.  No oohhhing and aahhing about all the baby parts on the monitor.  No smiling happy parents.  No annoying questions about what they were looking at and why.




No questions.


I remember thinking – is my baby OK? Tell me something! But, I didn’t ask and they didn’t say anything either.  They are probably not supposed to say much, as they are not the doctor.  I found out later that the ultrasound was to check out our baby.   I was very very sick, but what was he like?  What size was he?  They predicted that he was 5 lbs. 10 oz.,  I think. Healthy size for that far along, I was told.  A normal baby weight for 34 weeks, I was told, was 3-4 lbs.  So, he was a big boy. 


We came back to my room and the OB doctor was there shortly after.  I was very very sick and our baby boy was still OK.  There is no treatment for pre-eclampsia except delivery.  Since this was my first baby, and I was only ~1 cm, I did not have the time to take to induce delivery.  She recommended a c-section.  There were a couple other doctors there and probably a few nurses, as well.  What I do remember is them standing in a line in front of me, and down the line – they all said “I concur”. 


I concur, I concur, I concur, I concur. 


I asked why can’t I just be given some more blood pressure medication and they said that I was given enough to “tank a horse” and I reached the maximum dose, but it still did not lower my BP enough.


We looked at each other and said OK. 


I was in total shock I think at this point, drugged up shock.  I was hazy from the medication, but I knew what was going on.  My thinking was a little slow, as was my speech (it takes muscles to talk), but I knew what was being asked and I knew what my answer was.  This was not what I was expecting – at all.


My OB said that there was someone in the surgery suite now and I was next.  I was getting prepped for surgery.  It was maybe 45 minutes before I would go in.  The nurse asked if we had anything we brought with us and we said no.  She made suggestions of what to do.  Make necessary calls and is there anyone who can get you a camera.  We made calls to my Mom, who said immediately that she was coming up.  Things were happening so fast, we didn’t really have any time to call until that point.  We also called Becky, a friend and labor/delivery nurse.  We also called another friend, Annette, who we asked to break into our house and get our camera and bring it to us.  She brought us our camera just in time.


I was wheeled in the operating room and given a spinal block for the surgery.  The curtain was up and it was happening.  Lance was by my side. We asked about how long it would take, and they surprised us by saying just a few minutes. 


There was some tugging and pulling, just like you would think it would feel like.  No pain, though. 


And before we knew it – he was born.  He was born at 7:50PM at night, less than 4 hours after I went to my doctors office.   He was 5 lbs. and 2 oz. and 19” long, a big boy for 34 weeks along.  He didn’t really cry, maybe one little cry not much else.  He was taken over to a table where I couldn’t see what was happening and Lance went over to be by him.  We had talked about how Lance was going to stay with him that night, where ever he went.  And he did.


IMG_1214 blog


IMG_1213 blog


IMG_1212 blog


The doctors were telling me things, like… he’s doing OK, he’s breathing OK, he’s peeing (everyone cheered when that happened, I guess it was straight up in the air!), we’re cleaning him up, we’re helping him breathe a little bit. 


They had him wrapped up, they asked if we wanted a picture together before he went up to the NICU, yes of course (they knew me so well!).  And then Lance got to carry him out of the OR and up to the NICU.  I got to see him for a total of about 1 minute (or less) that night. 


I remember trying to smile in this picture.  I consciously wanted to be “happy” and thought about when our baby would look at this picture, he would want his Mama to be “happy”.  But, inside I was (in shock) crushed.  I didn’t know what was going to happen and in the mind of this new mother, my mind went the whole way.  The whole way meaning, that I was going to die or worse yet, he was going to die.  I could feel all the overwhelming feelings and had to keep reminding myself to take it one second, one minute, one hour at a time.  This hadn’t happened yet.  But, as I’ve learned from being a Mama now for 5 years, is that this “mind all the way” thing happens all the time.  I see the kids do something dangerous and my mind goes the whole way, their arm is going to be chopped off, they will fall into the water and hit their head, they will break a leg, etc.  But, that day was for sure the strongest of these “whole way” thinkings, still is.


IMG_1217 blog


Outside the OR doors was my Mom and Becky, waiting for me.  They had seen Lance and our baby boy (yet un-named) go up to the NICU and were glad to hear he was 5 lbs. 


To be continued…


Jackie said...

You're amazing attention to detail is incredible. I remember how painful this experience was for you and it brought me back to our traumatic delivery a few days after yours. I remember seeing you in the NICU although at that time I didn't know you yet. It was such a sad place, I hope to never have to do that again. I'm so happy we both got to have a "do-over" so to say and experience a more peaceful delivery the second time. I am also very happy you all made it through this difficult time as only a memory and not life long troubles.

JOLT said...

Happy birthday Alex and happy birthday Mama! I don't know if there is much consolation, but knowing how well things turned out with Alex as a 34 weeker gave me huge comfort when my water broke at 34 weeks and I knew my boys would be born imminently. Thanks for sharing Allison, I had tears in my eyes reading this.