Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Leon's birth story

Someone told me that I should write Leon's birth story before I start to forget about it. I cannot for a moment believe that one very dramatic life changing day (or two!) could every be erased from my memory. I still remember everything I did that day. I even know what I ate for snack that day, because I took a photo of it. I remember what I wore, and except for
the part where I was so tired and zonked off to lala land, I was fully aware of everything.

Our birth story would start on a Tuesday morning (Oct.11) during my 35th week check up with my lovely Obstetrician. My blood pressure was routinely checked all throughout my pregnancy and I would always fall on the lower bracket. It would be around 90/60 or 100/70. To our surprise that day, my BP was waaaaay high. Alarmingly high for me. It was 140/90! I wasn't alarmed or anything, my doctor was really calm. She just told me to go to the Labor and Delivery room so that I could be given some oral medication and so that my blood pressure could be monitored for a few hours. I was also given a urine test just to make sure that there was no protein in my urine. We went to the L&D and I stayed there for a couple of hours with Mr. G who already took a morning leave from work just to be with me.

Before I was discharged, we found out that I had no protein in my urine... That was a good sign. However, I was given Aldomet (Methyldopa) to take every 8 hours just to regulate my BP. My OB instructed me to take my BP regularly. It should be around the range of 120's. She also told me the signs of high BP which are headaches, blurred vision, and abdominal pain. I was also told that I could start walking around but being sure that I still get enough rest every hour. After being on and off bed rest for the past 5 months, this was such a relief!

I devoted the entire afternoon and the whole day after that in the mall and just spent time with my mom. I also used a wrist blood pressure monitor to check my BP every few hours. Phew! I had an entire day of normal readings!

October 13 came and my mom and I heard mass together in the morning and had a hearty lunch at the French Baker. After a couple of hours, we went to Shangrila Mall which is just beside their condo. It was around 230 pm when I felt a small prick of pain in my temple. We decided to sit down and rest and have some snack at La Creperie. I had some crepes and a Coke. After eating, I decided to take my BP reading... it was a whooooping 150/90! I sent a message to my doctor and she told me to take one medicine immediately and have someone drive me to the hospital and go straight directly to L&D.

I called up Mr. G and told him to leave the office immediately and pick me up from my mom's house to be brought to the hospital. While waiting for Mr. G at my parents' place, I took a shower just to freshen up myself and used my favorite bath calmers, the L'Occitane Verbena range... My mom's bathroom is like a spa!

After I took a shower, I checked my BP hoping that the bath had relaxed me enough... To my surprise, my BP was around the 170's range. My mom and dad decided to be the one to take me to the hospital instead. Fortunately, Mr. G was already at the lobby and we didn't need to bother my parents anymore with that. The time it took Mr. G to leave his office and get to my parents was a whopping record of 30mins. It's amazing that there was no mid day traffic. We got to the L&D 15mins after.

As I was admitted to L&D, the BP monitoring machine was immediately attached to me. The readings for the next hours were around 120's to 140's. The machine took my BP every 5mins. At around 4pm, I was given an IE and I was already 1cm dilated. Still not much to actually say that my labor was starting. My doctor called me and told me that we would deliver today. She was concerned about my hypertension and the effects of it with the baby. I was transferred to the birthing suite shortly and prepped for labor. I was given an IV drip of oxytocin to kick start the labor process. Around 5pm, Mr. G left me to go get our hospital bag from the house.

Around 6pm, my contractions started coming in intensely but I found it bearable. I had the best hospital staff watching over me and telling me stories on what to expect. I was also watching reruns of Gossip Girl on TV that made the waiting more entertaining.

My family came to visit around 7pm. This was also the time that I was told that I'll be given 2 doses of Magnesium Sulfate that would be injected on my buttocks to make sure that I wouldn't have convulsions due to my high blood pressure. I had no idea what those were and how difficult those doses would be. Had I known earlier the effects, I would have protested.

Let me tell you more about the magnesium sulfate injections... I was so happy now to find another mom who encountered the same thing as I did and was actually able to put it in words. Here's how it feels... straight from her article.

The Side Effects of Magnesium Sulfate
I once talked with another woman who had been on “the Mag” she described it as feeling like hot jello…what a perfect description.

The “official” side effect says “feelings of warmth”…um yea…not quite. Try feelings of being on fire from the inside out…your throat is hot, your eyeballs are hot, every internal organ you have is hot…you can feel every part of your body…and guess what, they’re all fiery hot.

What’s next? “Perspiration, flushing”…seriously who writes these things? Someone who has never had this medication, and obviously, never experienced the side effects of magnesium sulfate.

Both times I was on this medication I immediately became so hot I was ripping off covers, hospital gown, everything…and I didn’t care who was in the room…modesty became a luxury. The AC had to be set so low my husband could barely stand to be in the room, I had extra fans on me at all times, ice chips, and cold wash cloths everywhere.

How about “lethargy”, this one kind of pisses me off. Lethargy implies that you don’t really have the desire to do anything. With magnesium sulfate it is more like you don’t have the capability to do anything.

Since this medication is used for seizures, one of its’ main effects is to depress the central nervous system. That means, in part, that it prevents you from being able to use your muscles normally.

And we are not talking, the fun…”I’ve had a few too many drinks and my muscles aren’t working right”…we are talking “I feel like I’m nearly paralyzed and every movement takes more thought and effort than I can muster”.

During the worst of it, I was so weak I could barely lift my head off the pillow. I could not press the buttons on the side of the bed…you know the ones that lift your head or feet. I could not move to turn myself over in bed. Good times.

What about the side effects of magnesium sulfate that they don’t tell you about…like…oh, say…double vision, yep you can forget trying to take your mind off your torment by watching TV or reading something…unless you enjoy seeing 2 of everything.

How about…difficulty articulating your thoughts and slurred speech…yep, just like being drunk, only minus the fun part.

Difficulty swallowing, and that constant feeling like everything is stuck in your throat. During my hospitalizations my intake of food was limited to 3 or 4 orange popsicles…yes, the whole time, not per day.

Ok, I’m getting tired of hearing myself complain…suffice it to say that magnesium sulfate is no walk in the park.

Just to clarify though, I wasn't given magnesium sulfate to control my labor. I was given it to avoid the effect of the extremely high blood pressure at 7ish, my readings were around 160's - 170's. And ooooh the lucky me, during the final dose of my magnesium sulfate, my in-laws were around to see me through all that. The way ugly, sweaty, flushed, confused, and to top it all off, I was seriously vomiting hot gooey gastric juice that was burning my insides.

After around 1030, I fell into a coma like slumber, still the effect of the magnesium sulfate. The contractions that I was feeling felt like feather touches compared to the murder that "the mag" effects have done.

October 14, at around 1:20am I was awaken by my favorite resident, who is my childhood friend. She gently told me that my obstetrician was on her way and that I was going to be prepped for an emergency cesarean operation coz the baby's heartbeat was slowing down, my BP was 200's and I was barely 4cm.

It took a quick, very nerve wracking, 15mins to prep me, bring me to the operating room, had my spinal block anesthesia, and finally, another 10mins to deliver our sweet baby Leon to the world at 1:49am! That quick! I was awake the whole time I was undergoing the surgery. I remember the feeling of choking on my tongue, needing oxygen to help me breathe, and feeling some little sensation of tugging and light light pressure on my belly as we were delivering. The feeling was overwhelming! I was no longer nervous though. I was relieved. His screams were music to my ears. His cute, round and cheeky face, gave meaning to my life.

Shortly after giving birth, they cleaned my little angel and showed him to me. It was overwhelming. I felt joy. I felt scared. I felt extreme happiness... the kind that could burst your heart. And then, I slept for hours. Seriously, his face was the last thing I saw before the meds kicked me back to lala land.

One day young Leon

My crepe the afternoon of Oct. 13

My 5-month water lover

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