Thursday, September 18, 2014

Baby, OH Baby!

SUPER LONG POST....sorry....

Matius Lee McWhirter

Who would have thought that such a tiny little boy could affect our life so drastically. I have only written one sentence and I'm already crying! I'm sure the crash of hormones isn't helping! I can't sleep as I sit here and listen to Evan snore away on the most uncomfortable couch known to man. He is SO tired from taking care of me and baby. So, I just want to take a moment here and give dad his glory. Yes, I did a lot of hard work to get this baby here, but he is doing equally as much in other ways. I couldn't do it without him and I think, too often, dads are overlooked. So, Evan and all you other dads out there, keep up the great work! You've only been at it for a few days but you are such a good daddy and Matius and I are so lucky to have you in our lives. (Side note....I keep wanting to say Shamus. My mom thought it would be a great idea to call the baby Shamus inutero since we didn't know if it was a boy or a everyone still calls him that ugh!!!)

Ok so on to the story everyone has been waiting for. I have so many people asking what happened and why we had to have him so suddenly....well, here it goes......

Baby Shamus was due October 15, 2014. I have shared our previous story on loss, I guess it's only natural that I would share this it didn't go as planned either!

I have been struggling with my blood pressure since I entered into my 20s. Both parents have it, my grandparents have it, it seems to be inevitable that I would have issues too. Well, it was always a concern of ours when we did get pregnant because my mom also had a lot of pregnancy complications with us three girls. Everything seemed to be going fine until about the time I went to El Paso to visit my favorite Texas family in May. :) I started swelling really badly and couldn't wear my rings (I actually kind of panicked and had to use vitamin e oil to get them off!!!). This was just the beginning of a very long journey for me. For those of you that know me, you know it's hard for me to slow down. I am constantly on the go working on the next thing. So, being slowed down by swelling just wasn't going to fly for me. I ended up taking a teaching job at Katy High School and started managing our HOA community in July. I  left my job in HR to take July and August off to get ready for all these new adventures, but sadly, my swelling just kept getting worse. My doctor was monitoring it and never seemed too concerned because my blood pressure was doing ok. Around August time however, my blood pressure started to rise more and more every time I went to the doctor. It was usually high on the initial take so they would make me go lay in the room on my left side for five minutes and then take it again. It always went down so they didn't worry about it. Well, my swelling go so bad, I had one pair of shoes that fit me my brown Tieks (Thanks to a good friend for giving them to me after her pregnancy!). I'm a shoe girl so this was a struggle for me!!! Wearing black clothes with brown not usually ok.

Sausage feet with Shrek toes. lol

I had pregnancy induced carpal tunnel in both hands and couldn't grasp anything! I could hardly write a sentence! In August, I started my first week of teaching at Katy High School and my feet swelled even more! They were so bad, they burned and felt like they were going to explode. I filled up two roaster pans with ice water and put them under my desk then dunked my feet in. Around this time my doctor suggest those really sexy diabetic compression hose...

You know you want a pair...or two. ;)

I bought two pairs and wore them religiously. It was quite entertaining watching me get them on I'm sure. Evan kept saying he was going to take a video and put it on youtube...haha. Thankfully he never did. Even with these cute socks, I couldn't keep the swelling under control. The socks came up to my knees and by the end of the day, the water pooled around my knees. I had some serious muffin tops! :) All through this however,  my BP remained pretty consistent. I went to the doctor on September 3, 2014 and had some high blood pressure and apparently some trace amounts of protein in my pee (a sign of preeclampsia which my mom had with all three of us girls. I have been on preeclampsia watch since my first doctor's appointment.) As I was making my next Dr. appt, the nurse came up to me and handed me a thick envelope with all my maternity history for this pregnancy in it and said "this is just in case the baby decides to come early and you end up at a hospital other than this one..." That kind of freaked me out a lot because I had never heard of that happening! So I went home and read ALL the notes in the packet. Come to find out, they had put "Pre-Term Labor Watch" in there...I guess they didn't tell me because they were afraid I would freak out...I wouldn't have, it would have been nice to know but whatever. I put it in the back of my mind because I was feeling fine...  up until September 8, 2014....when all the drama started! :)

I posted on Facebook on the morning of the 8th (Monday) about a fire drill during my third period study hall with 85+ kiddos. Talk about stressful. I think this is where it all started really. The weekend before I had felt pretty crummy but when you are 34/35 weeks preggo I think that kind of goes with the territory so I didn't worry too much about it. We just had a lazy weekend and I finished up the baby's room (Thank goodness!!!) So Monday, during my 4th period class we had just come in from outside during the fire drill. I was having some vision problems but thought that it was due to being outside and my eyes were still trying to readjust. You know when you stare at a bright light for too long and you have a lingering light in your eyes for a bit? That's what I felt like I was seeing. After about 15 minutes, however, it hadn't gotten any better. I was trying to blink it away all while trying to go through a worksheet with my kids. It got to the point that I couldn't read the page anymore because I couldn't see or focus on the words. I had another teacher call the nurse to come take my blood pressure as I knew this was a bad sign. The nurse came and took my BP right in the middle of class (I'm sure my kids were freaked out) and it was 158/98 (way too high. 120/80 is normal and anything over 140/90 during pregnancy is bad) She sent me home and strongly encouraged me to see my doctor. I tried and tried to call but couldn't get through. I called Evan and told him I was going to go to the hospital and not to panic but he needed to come pick me up. He informed me that he was on the other campus and would have to wait for the bus to get there to get him then get back to his would take him a while. At this point, I knew I needed to get there fast so I called my friend Patina and she came to get me. Then came the issue of insurance and where to go..., my insurance would cover me at one hospital (Memorial Hermann) where my Dr had admitting privileges but her office was at another hospital (Methodist West). I didn't want to get to the hospital and not be able to see my doctor or have to pay out of network so trying to figure out where to go and what to do was kind of stressful. I called and was told to go to Methodist West (best decision EVER).

Once I got to the ER, they took my BP and it was at 168/111. They told me that they called my doctor and I would be taken up to labor and delivery to get checked out. At this point, I was still pretty calm....just waiting on Evan to show up. As they were taking me to triage, the nurse was telling me about the hospital and where things were located for when I delivered here. I very kindly told her that I would be having my baby at Memorial Hermann...haha. Anyway, my doctor showed up really quickly and took my BP several more times during which time Evan showed up. (There was a lady in active labor about to deliver her baby right across from me about traumatizing. The hospital was so full she had to deliver in triage. AH!) My doctor looked at Evan and I very seriously and then thought for a second and said "I think we're going to have to deliver this baby today." MY. HEART. DROPPED. And then my mind started racing and I started panicking. "I am only 35 weeks pregnant. This is NOT good," I thought. I was prepared to be put on bed rest but I was NOT prepared to have a baby. We didn't even have our hospital bags packed!!! I looked at the doctor and said "Are you sure? Can't we get my BP down? Can I talk you out of this?" She looked at me very sweetly and said "No, you can't talk me out of it. I'm afraid with your blood pressure throwing so high and so consistently that we are running a serious risk of stroke or seizure. We need to get you on a magnesium drip. At this point, you are preeclamptic and the only cure is to get the baby out. After 34 weeks, it is safer for the baby to come out than stay in." Of course, I was all concerned about the baby and what would happen being born so early which is when she told me the baby would inevitably have NICU time but would more than likely be just fine. Well.....I didn't have a choice. So, we would be having a baby soon! AGH.... At this point they had started me on an IV and Magnesium drip (to prevent me from stroking or having a seizure) along with blood pressure medicine. The nurse informed us that they would start the induction that night (Monday 9/8/14) and that we would probably have baby on Tuesday. Evan went home and grabbed some things since we were now here for the long haul. (Friends, if you or your wife are pregnant, PACK YOUR BAGS EARLY!!! Having to explain to your husband what you need is not an easy task...especially when your mind is not in the right place). They quickly found me a room to move me out of Triage (I got a room before the lady in labor did!) and get me comfortable so they could try to get my BP down.

They started my induction on Monday night with the little pills that they stick up there...ouch. Lucky for me, I was already dilated 1/2 cm so, according to my Dr, my body was already starting to get prepared to have him. Sometime in the middle of the night, I started having contractions which was a good sign. My body was taking to being induced fairly well. I felt like complete sh*t because of the Magnesium. My doctors exact words as she was ordering them to give it me were "I'm so sorry, this is going to make you feel like sh*t." Tuesday morning the nurse came to check on me and at this point I'm having more frequent contractions. I sent Evan away to go get some breakfast for himself. Right after he left the doctor came in to "check" me with what looked like a knitting needle in her hand....I'll spare you the details but after she used it I said "um what was that?" She said "I just broke your water to speed things up a bit"-I freaked out a little and text Evan. He was a little upset at that point too! haha. I was then given the pitosin and informed that the Magnesium and Pitosin counteract each other and it would make for a long labor. Apparently when people go into preterm labor they give them magnesium to slow it down. As my contractions got a little more intense, they asked me if I was ready for my epidural (I wanted to have a natural birth with  no epidural but was shot down on that idea because apparently my blood pressure would go even higher with that amount of pain. I had no option as they were STILL struggling to get my BP under control. I said "sure might as well!" The anesthesiologist came in and did the epidural right away. I started to feel tingling in my feet but not much else. He was getting impatient so he upped my dosage and gave me three "enhancer" boosts. That knocked the pain RIGHT out! I have weird nerves or something. When I get a cavity filled, they give me like 6 shots of Novocain and I can STILL feel what they are doing!!! About three hours later I started feeling the contractions again. The anesthesiologist came in and gave me more  booster shots. The day progressed very slowly with my blood pressure hanging around 150/90. By around 4 pm I started calling the anesthesiologist again. I was dilated to a 6 and feeling the contractions again (and my blood pressure would go up when I could feel them just like the doctor said it would) he and my doctor came in and said "Michala, there are two ways to have a baby. We've tried the first way and it is not progressing fast enough. We need to move on to the next way. We need to prepare you for a c-section. My whole pregnancy, I was terrified of having a c-section. I know how much better and easier it is to recover from a vaginal birth and I know that it's so much better for baby. But at this point, my body was exhausted, I couldn't do any more. :( They prepped Evan and I for surgery and wheeled me back around 5 pm. Because my epidural was having issues, the anesthesiologist decided to just take it out and do a spinal block instead.....yea. Those SUCK. As soon as he gave it to me I started to feel sick. I went completely paralyzed from the neck down and felt like I was suffocating. I told the nurse behind me that I was going to be sick and they grabbed one of those puke trays. Whoever was holding it did a horrible job and I ended up puking all over myself.  Glamorous. I don't really remember much else from the surgery other than the nurse telling me I would feel like I had an elephant on my chest (which it did) and I started to panic because I felt like I was going to suffocate. They pulled little Matius out and said "It's a boy" at which point I said something like "cool, can I go to sleep now?" haha. I was soooooooo tired. They cleaned him off, handed him to Evan, I got to give him a quick kiss then they whisked him away to the NICU. I later woke up in my room with some pretty serious abdominal pain. I don't know what a vaginal birth recovery is like...but I will say that a C-Section is UNBELIEVABLY debilitating and painful. I have a pretty high pain tolerance and the pain brought me to tears on Tuesday night. Excruciating. I sit here now writing this and it is still very painful. You don't realize how much you use your abs until they are cut apart. Some of the simplest tasks (going to the bathroom, laughing, going from sitting to standing, etc) hurt SO badly. But, it was necessary. I now have a beautiful little baby boy and can honestly say that I would go through it all again for him. I kept asking the nurse that night if I could go see him but they wouldn't let me because I was still too unstable. They told me once I got off the magnesium that I could go. I didn't get to see him until 2:30 pm on Wednesday. Luckily, during this whole ordeal, he remained very stable and consistent.

There wasn't much going through my head during that long drawn out 24 hour period other than pain and omg I'm having this baby 5 weeks earlier than I had planned.  But the one thing that remained and stayed with me was a peace, knowing that we would be ok. Yes, I was worried, but I prayed and prayed and prayed that everything would work out. That peace was always there. So, thank you to all of you who were praying for us during what was the scariest 24 hours of our lives. We couldn't have done it without you! :) I apologize for the long post. I have had a lot of people ask what happened and this kind of serves as my journal to remember in years to come... :)

 And finally, some belly pictures of the whole process! :)

Taken 9/4/2014
two days postpartum
6 Days postpartum- WAY less swelling.

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