a message from parma

No not Parma Ohio, Parma Italia stupid.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I am back

the little Nigeelah

Against all predictions, I went into labor unknowingly two weeks early. In the afternoon of August 8th, my water broke on the B43 bus going from Flatbush and Empire Aves in Brooklyn to Greenpoint. I felt some pain but thought it was nothing. I decided to just go home and see what happens. By the time I got off at my stop the pain got worse and I felt like I was peeing my pants. I decided to drop my laundry off, feed the cat and go to the hospital and have myself checked out. I did not think I was in labor since I just had a stress test that morning and everything check out fine.

By the time I got to labor and delivery triage at Brooklyn Hospital the pain got worse and yucky green stuff was coming out of me. Labor and delivery triage is the first step in the maternity journey at Brooklyn Hospital. It was crowded and busy and I became anxious, irritated and snippy insisting on seeing a doctor immediately. I still did not think I was in labor at the time. Sometimes ignorance is a good thing. Luck was on my side, because I think I got the last bed in triage but still had to wait hours to see a doctor. In a panic, I called Z several times asking him to meet me at the hospital.

When I finally saw a doctor he acted like nothing was happening. He told me that my body was preparing for labor and that I would probably go home. The nurses hooked me up to a fetal monitor, took blood and urine as well as other vitals then left me alone wondering what the hell was going on. I began pacing unable to forget the pain; I managed to throw those breathing exercises out the window along with any relaxation techniques I eagerly read about months earlier. Hospital rules did not allow Z to be with me in triage, which of course infuriated him and upset me. So here we were later in the night waiting to see a doctor not knowing what was happening to me. Was I having a baby or what?

The doctor finally saw me after waiting for over four hours and told me that although I was dilated only one centimeter, they would probably admit me into delivery. The nurse told me that there were so many women in labor that all the doctors were busy helping everyone else and to just be patient. The nurses and staff seemed generally annoyed and apathetic as the evening wore on so this wonderful moment in my life was not so wonderful as my anxiety and pain increased as the time slowly moved on…

Finally, around 11 pm, I was admitted into delivery with Z (exhausted from working a long hard hot day) vigilantly by my side. I kept asking for something for the pain and was told several times that it would be just a moment and the nurse would come to give me something. I wanted my epidural as soon as humanly possible. But it was only talk to keep me quiet. I was poked and jabbed throughout the night, as no one was able to find a decent vein to administer medication and fluids. My arms looked worse than any street junkie’s.

My labor was not progressing fast enough for Dr. Bareddy. She told me that there was a possibility that I would need a C-section and still with no pain medication I had to sign a bunch of papers probably relieving the hospital of any responsibility if anything awful should happen. By 4 am, I was only dilated 4 cm and the baby’s heart rate was slowing down and since she has swallowed muconium or in more blunt terms her own poop the doctor’s were growing concerned. It was decided by the two attending physicians that they or I could not wait any longer so I was rushed into the operating room for a C-section. With the promise of an epidural and Z completely exhausted by my side, I was finally going to have a baby.

Words cannot describe what transpired next. I was formally introduced to the anesthesiologist who asked the same fifty questions I had answered since 5 pm when I was admitted into triage and then the surgeon who assured me everything would be fine and it would be over before I knew it. blah blah blah

I finally got my epidural and other lovely drugs and was cut open still awake to witness the entire operation. I could hear and see everything around me. They do put a sheet in front of your face so that you don’t actually see the operation. It still freaks me out when I think about it but the baby arrived at 4:40 am and was rushed to the NICU. I was meagerly assured by her faint cries then wheeled into recovery hooked to a morphine drip shaking uncontrollably and totally freaked out.

It only gets better from there….

To make a long story short. Nigeelah stayed in NICU for one week hooked up to monitors, fluids and incubated and I stayed in the maternity ward for only 3 days. I actually saw my regular Dr. the next day and he told me I could stay at least another day since I had a low-grade fever and in severe pain but then I was abruptly asked to leave earlier than intended since there was a shortage of beds and many women were waiting on gurneys in the hallways of the Maternity ward. The Dr.s kept saying they had never seen such an increase in deliveries. I guess it was the extreme heat or full moon but the hospital was filled to capacity with women giving birth. Although I had a low-grade fever and was in severe pain, I managed to get into a taxi and get home to my filthy unkempt apartment alone and scared of whatever was to come next.

With a bag full of pills and a slash through my abdomen I crawled into bed still totally freaked out. I was home but with no baby. Z was great even better than I had ever expected. He helped as much as he could in between 12-hour shifts at work and other responsibilities. I survived the next few days through the weekend and actually felt a bit better by Monday when I had to get my staples out and see Nigeelah.

After waiting forever to see a doctor to remove my staples in ambulatory care I went up to the NICU to feed Nigeelah. I was pleasantly surprised when they told me I could take her home that day but panicked since I had not had a chance to clean my apartment and prepare for Nigeelah’s arrival.

All I have to say is thank god for doula’s. The greatest gift I got from my mother and stepmother for this pregnancy was 30 hours of post-partum doula time. I had done some research and found several doulas whose primary duty was to care for mommy and baby.

Doula’s cook, clean, shop, change baby, and generally do whatever is needed to make baby and mommy comfortable. Z has also been the best partner and daddy anyone could ask for. He is a natural. I have never seen him so efficient and happy as he is taking care of Nigeelah. I feel so lucky to have him and the baby in my life.

I still have the occasional panic attack and brief moments of anxiety but the hospital psychiatrist increased my antidepressant dosage and I am actually feeling better.

So that is the long and the short of it for now… stay tuned for more adventures that are my life in the big city.

I haven’t even mentioned the rumors and fuss flowing through the village upon mine and Nigeelah’s arrival…

My babies

Z and the little Nigeelah