Monday, July 14, 2014

Our Birthing Story, Part 2

I didn't mean to leave everyone hanging with the end of the last post, but that was the best spot to end it.  Yes, she stabilized, but no, that wasn't the end of it . . .

At some point, and I don't remember what happened first or how long it took, but once Rebecca stabilized, coherent and functional, the staff agreed to move my girls from Labor & Delivery to the Mother-Baby Unit “just down the hall”.   Rebecca quickly discovered it hurt way to much to sit in the wheelchair that they provided, so they agreed to let her walk and even guide her own IV stand, while I wheeled Eilonwy along in her fancy Army-hospital-issue bassinet, which I don't think I've taken any pictures of yet . . . come to think of it, I don't really remember how we transferred Rebecca and her IV stand, Eilonwy in her basinet and our meager luggage all in one trip, but we took a nice long walk from one side of the wing to the other and settled into a smaller room in the mother baby unit. Unfortunately, Rebecca left a small trail of blood and once we arrived she suffered through more poking and prodding and IVs and even a blood transfusion at the hands of Nurse (Lt) L. and Dr F (one of the team who stabilized her during her post partum hemorrage induced hypotensive shock), while I fed Eilonwy, changed her, swaddled her and we settled in for the night.

At some point in the wee hours of the morning, after changing a few bloody sheets, chucks and pads and even a blood bag, Dr. F. decided to move Rebecca to a room closer to the front desk . . . I guess to be closer to the nurses and doctors, so we gathered up Eilonwy and all our baby gear and moved again; this time Rebecca stayed in bed.

We spent the rest of the night in that room, under almost constant monitoring of Rebecca's vitals and drainage (I stopped counting after a the third chuck and second set of sheets).  Dr. F. even performed a manual . . . umm . . . purge of the bloody tissue in Rebecca's uterus, which she begged her to stop.  After the second unit of blood was done and seemed to have no effect, Dr. F decided that Rebecca would be moved to the Progressive Care Unit, downstairs (Rebecca compared it to a step-down ward or recovery room) where they could better monitor her conditions.

The details of the early morning of 9 July are something of a blur, as much because of fatigue as psychological shock.  Around 7AM, Rebecca asked me to go home and check on the kitty; the staff asked me to wait to leave until after shift change, when Dr N. (who had met us at L&D, Sunday night when we arrived) would take over care of Rebecca from Dr F.  There was a quick changeover huddle and Dr N. opted to do his own exam of Rebecca, so I decided to head home for an hour to check on Bugsy and the house . . . I should have stuck around . . .

I was at home for less than 20 minutes of a 45 minute visit with Bugsy, nominally to check his litter and food and water and fur, when I got a rather abrupt call from an unidentified Georga cell phone number.  It was the Mother Baby Unit at Winn and they were saying that Rebecca was being taken into surgery. I skipped brewing fresh coffee and went straight back to the hospital, arriving just in time to help them do an emergency surgery interview (consent forms, medication, allergy and surgical history) for Rebecca and wheel her out of her mother-baby sanctuary room, a full 26 hours before she was scheduled to leave.  Removing her, they left an empty space in that room that was never properly filled.

The next several hours that I spent with Eilonwy in that mostly empty room are another empty blur in my memory; I fed her, burped her, changed her, dressed her, swaddled her, cuddled her, read to her. In a hospital ward labeled “Mother Baby Unit,” we were in the only room without a bed and a mother; it became our “daddy daughter room.” Even now, I don't remember what else happened to us, until one of the medics told me Rebecca was out of surgery, in the Post Anasthesia Care Unit (the Army loves its acronyms) and would be transferred to the Progressive Care Unit once she stabilized. I left Eilonwy at the front desk in the care of the nurses and SSG C. guided me to the third floor.  He showed me where to go when the time came, right to the room that was already reserved for her and we returned to the fourth floor, he to his rounds and me to my daddy-daughter room with my baby to wait for word on momma.  That day, I only made it home twice to feed, water, and generally reassure Bugsy that mommy would be home soon. I never thought she wouldn't make it back.

No, I'm not inserting another dramatic pause here, I'm trying to remember what happened when, because I didn't exactly take great notes at the time.

I think it was mid afternoon when Dr. N. came up from the PCU to tell me that Rebecca was ready for me--Me, not any other visitors, that part seemed pretty clear--and what had happened to her in surgery:  part of the placenta had remained attached to the uterine wall, hemorrhaging blood, it resisted a D&C and he had to . . . well, I'll let her share her own details later.  

So I left Eilonwy with her part-time babysitters on the Nurse staff and went down to see Rebecca.  She was pale, exhausted, puffed up from something she called thirdspacing (ask her about it later, all I understood was fluid retention) and beautifully, gloriously ALIVE!  I helped her move around a bit so the Nurses, one of whom was fittingly, literally, a Miracle (Ma'am, if this gets to you, I'm sorry for breaking your privacy, but it just fit), could clean her up a bit and change her bedding and they gave us a few minutes to discuss her medical situation and more importantly her daughter.

When I got back upstairs an hour or so later, the staff was happy to see me, ecstatic to hear the Rebecca was doing better (better than bleeding out is definitely better) and generally beside themselves about how cute and precious and adorable and I forgot all the other words they used, little Iley (since so many people were having trouble pronouncing or even spelling Eilonwy, we went public with our first nickname for her on day 1) was for them and how happy they were to look after her while I was gone.  So I gave them another opportunity not much later when I went home to take care of Bugsy, brew some coffee and grab a shower before returning to the hospital to spend a calm, mostly stress free night with my beautiful two day old baby girl, knowing that her mother was safe and sound, somewhere below us less than 30 feet away.


  1. Oh dear what a scarey few days I'm glad Rebecca is still strong and recovering and glad Rebecca and your daughter is as perfect as she can be....waiting for the next installment

  2. Wow what an experience! I am so glad that Rebecca is okay!

  3. Damn what a scary situation you both had to indure. Becca you are amazing and a very strong person. I would never doubt with everything you have been through that you would kick this one to. Jason you are an amazing husband!! You both are going to be wonderful amazing parents to your precious miracle daughter!! You have both fought a long fight to get her and no two people deserve it more than you to

  4. Wow that sounds just terrifying! I'm so glad Rebecca is okay and I hope that was the end of the dramatic portion of the story!

  5. Oh my, at least this part ended with Rebecca being stable, but I too, am eager for Part 3- and sending hugs to all of you

  6. Oh my gosh. I was thinking that with all the bleeding that maybe the whole placenta hadn't been delivered. What a scary, scary time for you. I'm so glad Rebecca is doing better and that you and baby E are also feeling better.


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