It all went wonky, and facebook nearly crashed.
They told us it would be over and done by 8.30, that we’d be back on the ward in time for lunch.
They didn’t count on the epidural needle piercing my spinal fluid and wearing off. I’m pretty sure when they did the “pinch test” and I yelped there was some shocked faces on the other side of the curtain. My obstetrician and the anesthetist had an argument about how much I could actually feel. My obstetrician won and i got more drugs. They wore off really fast, and by the time they were putting me back together again I was feeling something very close to pain. And nausea. More drugs for both, and then the shaking started. Nothing fixes that.
Oliver was with us the whole time. He laid on my chest in theatre, snuffling and looking slightly off centre (again, the drugs), and I got a splitting headache. I asked them to give him to Matt because my head was really hurting. Everyone in the room suddenly knew what had happened. The Civilized c-section was out the window, the complications were starting already. They told me in recovery that they were anticipating the dreaded headache, but that it could be fixed with a blood patch. The blood patch failed. I opted out of trying for a second blood patch. I pretty much didn’t trust them anymore.
By the time we were on the ward and I was making calls my body was rebelling. My pain management pump wasn’t working, I was in serious pain. And dizzy. And still shaking. They gave me a double dose, and the pain stopped.
I thought someone was standing by my bed. There was nobody there. A giant spider ran over the curtain. There were fireworks in the next ‘room’, so bright my head was throbbing. There was no noise, I thought that was odd.
It was 2am when I realized I’d been hallucinating. Id also been sweating so much that the sheets were wet. The nurses thought id spilt my water, I figured I must have. My mind was nowhere near where it should have been. My epidural line fell out of my back. It was meant to be plugging the leak in my spinal fluid. Oliver was in the SCN, having his blood sugars monitored. Thank-god, because I couldn’t have cared for him, even if I wanted too!
By Thursday morning I was in agony. I tried to visit Ollie, but could only stay and hold him for five minutes before the pain and pressure took over and I was in tears. I felt so guilty, leaving him in that room with all those other babies, his tiny hand splinted with the drip line. But I physically couldn’t be upright for a second longer. If i could have, I would have run back to my bed on the ward. The relief when I lay down was indescribable. Then the tears fell again. I cried my heart out. Civilized this was not. This was supposed to be where I got my good birth experience. The experience where my baby lived, was on the ward with me and where I was feeling every part the proud new mum.
I was bed-bound, in hospital for 6 days. The half hour drive home from the hospital was excruciating. I was mentally begging my husband to run red lights, so I could just get home and lie down. The pressure I felt in my head had me seeing spots, my ears were ringing and this awful pounding pain through my eyes. This was the best I’d been since the surgery.
Oliver was breastfed. For 6 days. Then my milk turned to water and his weight fell through the floor. The peadiatrician and the lactation consultants agreed that the sheer volume of painkillers I’d been taking (Fentanyl,Oxycontin, Endone, Tramadol, to name the more constant ones!) had striped my milk, and left my baby starving. There went the chances of breastfeeding my preemie newborn! We started him on a bottle of formula that afternoon, and by the following day Oliver was consistently drinking 60mls, every three hours like clockwork.
By day ten (day four at home), I had weaned myself down to 10ml of Oxycontin, with just paracetamol to cover my pain from my headaches. I’ve since been drug free, although there have been the occasional flare ups that have me reaching for water and painkillers (not the oxy!), Fast.
Oliver still isnt’ back to his birth weight, though he is gaining, slowly. We’ve just realised that the action of sucking wears him out completely, so any caloric intake he has, is basically used up just in his efforts at feeding. We’ve moved him onto a teat with two holes, instead of the newborn one hole and he’s gone from drinking 20ml in half an hour to drinking a full 90ml bottle in 20 minutes. And then he stays awake!
Getting him here turned into a nightmare. I had the most wonderful doctors, and nurses looking after me the entire time I was in hospital, and even since we’ve been home I’ve received phone calls from the pain management team, checking how I’m doing. I couldn’t have asked for a better team, but wow. Never again, is all I can say.
Ollie makes it worth it though.
I am so blessed.