Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Story of Elyse - Part Two

Once I was in the OR, I started to shake. It was cold and I was scared. Everything looked so much more serious than the tone of everything back in my room. I saw all the tools and screens and all I could think was to "just take everything a step at a time. The doctor has done this so many times and there was nothing to worry about. I was strong, the baby is strong." So they had me sitting up on the table with my legs hanging over. The anesthesiologist, was preping. I had heard the spinal was going to be the worst part, so I was really scared and nervous of all this "pain" about to come from the spinal. I had asked so many people to make sure Cole could be there for me through the spinal so that I would be okay. They said yes, and probably were wondering why I had even asked.

Everytime the anesthesiologist touched me, I jumped. Not a good sign. I didn't want to jump when he was actually sticking me with a needle! I explained my nerves to everyone. Also, I was worried I would do something stupid like fart. I mean, I was in one of those backless gowns, top of my bare butt open to the poor anesthesiologist. They were about to give me the numbing medicine for the spinal, and I had my doctor, a nurse, (Laura) and Cole all standing in front of me trying to distract me. Then the anesthesiologist warned me that I would feel a pinch and some pressure. Here was the moment.... and it was exactly as he said. It was a pinch and pressure. It was nothing. Getting IV's were much worse in my opinion. Then he again mentioned a little pressure for the spinal, so I clenched and felt a very small amount of pressure. I couldn't believe that was the most "painful" thing.

Once that was over, they had me lay on my back, arms out. They put a wedge under one of my hips, put a curtain up around my breasts and positioned my feet so the bottoms of my feet were touching. From there, the anesthesiologist sprayed something on me to check that the medicine was working. They put in the cathader, which btw was STILL uncomfortable,  I still was nervous it wouldn't take. But my dr reassured me that they wouldn't start unless they knew the spinal had worked. So the curtian is now up and I hear my dr say "can you feel this? I'm pinching you". I felt something, but nothing painful. I figured, maybe shes a light pincher? I later found out from cole that she was pinching me with plyers and if I felt it, I would have probably been screaming.

Also, since I had told my dr to not tell me what was going on, I had no idea what was going on. Cole told me right after the pinching, they sliced me right open. I was so oblivious to it all. From there, I could see Cole peeking over everyonce and awhile but he also kept me in the dark. During the time that they actually had me open, I was thinking they were still preping. I had no idea what it actually looked like to have a C section, thank goodness, and if you don't want to know either, avoid googling it. I made that mistake later on.

Cole was great. I was very nervous and the spinal was actually making me shake a lot. I could feel stuff going on around my stomach but it wasn't specific and it definitely didn't hurt at all. Everything just felt like touching, or tugging or pulling, but not in a painful way. I guess having a little one inside kicking you for a couple months gets you accustomed to that feeling. Cole told me stories of our lives to distract me. It was so helpful. With my memory having become SO terrible with the pregnancy, it was nice to hear stories to remind me of things like little things on our wedding day, past holidays, honeymoon, and the dogs. Then I hear, "you have a beautiful baby girl!"

As happy as I was about it, I tired to not 1. look, or 2. panic. Why would I panic? Well... I didn't hear her crying. It made me really nervous. Cole could see and he was smiling, but when he leaned toward me I said "I don't hear crying. Is she okay?" he reassured me that no one seemed nervous, or panicked or scared. She didn't cry, but the neonatologist was in the room and just standing back looking while the nurses were working on her. Another reason to not worry since he wasn't in there getting his hands dirty. I could barely see the top of her head through all the people. But I knew that I wasn't going anywhere since I was being put back together.

Originally, I was soo scared of the surgery that I asked Cole to stay with me through the WHOLE procedure and to not leave when the baby did. But once the baby was out, I told him to go ahead and go with Elyse. I was okay and we both wanted to know what was going on. They took Elyse to the NICU and Cole went with them. I was a little nervous (again) after Cole left because I then remembered that the longest part was them sewing me up, and I just let my main distraction walk out the door!! I guess I had to listen to the drs now. Thankfully they weren't talking about what was going on AT ALL! They were talking about the UW basketball team. Whew! Although I couldn't pitch in on the conversation because I didn't know much about the UW team, it was nice to be distracted anyways. Cole came back for the end and told me about our new little addition and how she was doing. I felt calm after Cole had updated me.

Once they were done, The curtain came down and I was rolled over to my room. As I had mentioned before, I haven't had surgery and was pretty impressed by everything. They had something under me that inflated and then moved me from the table to a bed, then that bed to my bed. They got me all settled, my dr came in to talk to me about how well the surgery went and some side effects I would feel with the medication. After what felt like an eternity, Cole came to the room and showed me pictures of Elyse. Then he was gone again!

I was so jealous that Cole was able to move around and see her. I felt completely fine (thank you meds) and wanted to jump out of bed and go, but I guess not being able to feel the bottom half of my body changes things. He came back to finally let me know that Elyse's transportation was here and they would bring her by really quick for me to see her before she was off. When I finally did see her, I was shocked. She was so small and I couldn't believe she had just come out of me. That my body (with Cole's help) was able to make something so amazing! Thats all the time I got before she had to leave though.

The whole experience was so surreal. After being in that room and that bed for 3 weeks pregnant, then returning and no longer having her there was just strange. I missed her already and was still in shock from everything. Needless to say, I did okay emotionally. Waiting to get out and see her, and finally being able to. I didn't break down a lot or cry too much. I was forewarned, and I knew what was coming and that all the decisions made were for her best interest. Those thoughts were calming.

So the night of June 18th 2011, Elyse Suni Van Gundy was born. She was 4lbs 13oz, and 18 3/4 inches long. She was born in Bellevue, Washington and transferred to UW Hospital in Seattle. After 2 weeks in the NICU, she was able to come home, where she is now :) Being loved

PS. Lastly, the most common question asked about the surgery has been "what was the most painful part?" To be honest, the most painful part was that after the cathader came out, and I had to pee for the first time without it, it was SOOOOO painful. I was upset that I wasn;t warned about this pain at all!!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Story of Elyse - Part One

So she's arrived!

Here's a little about how it went down and how shes been doing. Last I blogged, I was in the hospital, on bedrest. Busniess as usual, I was still on bedrest, the morning of Saturday June 18th. Felt a little drained and weak, but I assumed the effects of being in bed for three weeks were finally getting to me. My Dr came in and asked how I was as usual. I told her I felt fine, still leaking AF, and the only thing different was sometimes when I had to change my pad of AF, it was a little pink. The Dr said that was normal and if it continued to happen to let her know.

So about an hour later, I went downhill. I was starting to really feel sick and achy. Cole usually spends the morning with me on saturdays, then goes and run errands for the coming week, then comes back and spends the rest of the day with me. (yes, he's a very loving husband) So on this particular Saturday, he needed to go home, do laundry and get his hair cut. Just before he left the hospital, he knew I was starting to not feel well, and told me to let him know if there was anything I wanted. I just let him know I'd call him and let him know how I was doing. 

Once he left, I was still pretty miserable. The nurse came in to check on me, and I let her know how I was feeling and that I wasn't feeling great and it was getting worse. She told me that could be an infection, either with myself or the baby and that she needed to let my Dr know. I honestly didn't realize it could be effecting the baby since I had been sick a handful of times throughout my pregnancy, but I was glad the nurse was telling me and keeping me in the loop. After she had told the Dr, and I was put on an IV and NPO. I forgot what NPO stands for, but I know it meant I couldn't have any food or any drinks, not even water. This was a sign that they were thinking surgery.

The Dr comes to talk to me, and she does an exam. As suspected, the pinkish color in my pads was from dilating. There wasnt much, but I was about 1.5cm dilated and it would continue. My contractions were getting stronger (oh... did I mention I was having mild contractions throughout my whole bedrest?), there was no AF left, baby was breeched (definite c section), and my blood test came back saying I had an infection. Unfortunatley, the blood test can't tell us if it is just a cold for me, or if I was sick because of an infection in my uterus. So, knowing all this, it was best to have the c section that day.

Although my emotions have been up and down during the pregnancy, I felt that I would cry and the craziest things and have a heart of ice on others. This was one of those times I decided to cry. Nothing was really sad about the situation though. We were prepared that the baby would be early and in NICU, and we knew that everything that was being done was in the best interest of the baby.

But I felt like crying. I knew I needed to get it together and call Cole and let him know. But first, to get ahold of myself so that he didn't get freaked out by my crying. So I collected myself and called him. Once he said "Hey babe" on the phone, I did everything I could to fight back the crying, which came out as a shaky voice, which I am sure was WAY worse. Soo I let him know everything and that his little girl was coming today. He left the house so fast. He was a little sad I didnt tell him earlier that I was feeling worse and so he could have skipped a few errands to be there when the Dr was.

Once he got there, he too had to calm down and collect himself. He also had to tell our family about the change in plans....we waited a few hours before we did so that we knew as much info as possible. (and because we wanted to relax and not have our phones ring and beep like crazy) I have never had surgery before so this was a big deal in my mind. I wasn't sure if I had a high tolerance for pain or if I would pass out. I didn't really know what to expect as far as how "I would feel" throughout the process. Would I feel it? Would I not? Will I be dizzy? What kind of pain will I be in? Will I hear the baby scream? Will I get to see her? Will she be okay? Will Cole be able to be with me during the spinal? So many things were rushing in my mind and I know that no one could really answer those questions for me.

What I did know was that my c section would be around 7pm or 730pm, Cole could be there the whole way, I didn't want to know what was going on and when, I knew I would feel touching and pressure, and I knew my nurses pretty well for being there 3 weeks. I was extremely comfortable and confident in my Dr and even thought to myself that she was so extremely nice and I was so lucky to have a doctor that was so comforting. I knew that my baby would be named Elyse and I would soon be a mother.

As the time drew closer to when I was going to go into the OR, we were trying to stay calm and not let the nerves and excitment take over. We knew it was a busy day in Labor and Delivery but we really didn't think the most of it. Then our nurse told us some bad news. Due to the amount of recent pre term deliveries that day and the previous days, that they didn't have enough staffing to cover Elyse over the night. They would want her to have a nurse 1 on 1 if she has trouble breathing. So if she comes out with some trouble breathing, they will stablize her and then transport her to University of Washington Hospital. But if she comes out fine, then they would be able to leave her at Overlake. Unfortunately, they felt the chances of her staying at Overlake were slim and wanted us to be prepared.

This is when my emotions when to the ice hearted side. There was nothing I could do, and they were making the decisions based on Elyse's well being. So I signed the papers knowing I wouldn't get to be with my child for a few days after she was born. It should have been an extremely emotional and heartbreaking moment...which it was. But I was unable to so that. All I could think was "make sure she's okay!!! I just want her to be okay".

Finally, the time came. Cole was given his "dad suit", and I was given a gown and cap, moved to a wheelchair and brought into the OR. Never in my life had I been in one before and all I could think was "I'm coming out of this room without my baby, but still a mother".