“No matter what you’ve been through
Here you are
No matter if you think you’re falling apart
It’s gonna be okay!”
-The Piano Guys, It’s Gonna Be Okay
Nick and I were dropped off in the labor and delivery room and the nurse from postpartum left. We sat down on the couch and waited forever for someone to come in. I eventually put my head in his lap and of course as soon as I did a nurse walked in! She thought it was weird that I chose to be on the couch, but I wasn’t about to climb into that bed any sooner than I had to. We had been in that room 20 minutes before anyone came in. That was 20 minutes that I wasn’t in that incredibly uncomfortable bed!
She got my IV set up and so began my first round of medication. Nick had gone back to our other room to gather some things to keep him entertained while we waited out the rest of my pregnancy. While he was gone the high risk doctor that I saw earlier came in to talk to me. The first round of medication had helped for a little bit, but my blood pressure climbed right back up and they needed to try another dose. She told me it wasn’t looking good that I’d still be pregnant by morning. I asked her how soon they would deliver since I had eaten breakfast and now had to fast until I either delivered or died of starvation! She said the earliest they would deliver was 5pm which was still roughly 7 hours away. I asked her if I was going to be put on magnesium and she told me they wouldn’t do that again until it was time to deliver. What a relief, but still discouraging knowing there was still another round waiting for me. I asked her if she would be the one to do the delivery and she told me that since she only works at McKay-Dee one day a week she was hesitant to do the delivery. Where it was a c-section, she didn’t want to do it and then never see me again. When I asked who the doctor was that would deliver it was someone I hadn’t yet met. And when I asked who the doctor would be that evening it was also someone I hadn’t met. Of course. Just my luck.
After she left, Nick went back to Logan for a few hours to shower and get some fresh clothes and I wiped away a never ending stream of tears as I thought about how miserable my pregnancy was and how the only thing I wanted in all that misery was the one thing I wasn’t going to get. I really struggled to accept the idea that anyone other than my doctor would deliver. I felt like everything I went through would have been so much easier with that safety net. Instead I constantly had that impending doom hanging over me reminding me that not only did I get to go through all that misery, but I would also be greeted in the OR by a bunch of strangers.
Of course the doctor from Maternal Fetal Medicine came walking in again a little while later and could tell I had been crying. She assumed my tears were stemmed from the prospect of needing to deliver and having a premature baby, which for any normal pregnant mother that would have been the case. But since I’m anything but normal, that was probably the furthest thing from my mind. Instead, through my grief and sorrow, I was mourning the loss of my doctor. I finally had to accept that this was the end. I wasn’t going back to Logan. He wasn’t going to deliver. It was time to put it behind me and move on.
The high risk doctor came in to tell me she felt good about my response to the second dose of medicine. She didn’t think I would end up delivering the baby that day after all, but she didn’t want to let me eat anything just yet because she wanted to make sure nothing changed. I felt discouraged at that news. Either let me eat or deliver the baby, but don’t make me continue to suffer. I felt nauseas and weak and I had no idea how much longer I’d have to go without eating.
Eventually my sister and niece strolled in from Arizona. Remember how I said they were coming to visit to help me get a handle on my miserable pregnant life? Well, the week their trip was planned couldn’t have been better timing. They were able to take my girls back to my house and have them the whole week they visited. It helped relieve so much of my mom guilt knowing my girls were sleeping in their own beds and having a relatively normal experience in all the chaos of what our lives had become. Plus they did so much for me in getting my house put back together. I will forever be thankful for their service!
Around the time Nick got back to the hospital was the time my sister and niece took my girls and headed to Logan. At some point my blood pressure had crept back up and a third round of medication was pushed through my IV. This time it had improved my blood pressure to the point it was back to normal. The other two rounds of medication had brought my blood pressure down from the threshold that said I needed to deliver, but it still remained higher than normal. Now every time the pressure cuff went off I found myself rolling my eyes that the readings were so good and I still couldn’t eat anything. I felt so sick to my stomach there were times I had to keep my eyes closed so as not to throw up.
Finally around 8pm the nurse got permission for me to have a popsicle. She told me she still didn’t feel comfortable with me eating anything so this was the best she could do and then I was right back to a strict no food or drink diet. It’s amazing how quickly I feel better after a glucose boost. It didn’t satisfy my hunger, but at least it helped with the nausea and feeling weak and faint.
I started hoping my blood pressure would climb back up. I was so tired of the run around. So done with the pressure cuff. I wanted all of it behind me. My blood pressure had been good, but still I wasn’t allowed to eat anything so it was time to be done. I felt frustrated each time it read normal, but eventually it started creeping up. And before I knew it I had reached that magic threshold. Anything above 160/105 and I was headed to the OR. They weren’t going to push anymore medication after that third round. I was so relieved when I hit that threshold and the nurse said she was headed to get the paperwork for me to have a baby. Finally the end was in sight.
The doctor that was going to deliver came in to chat with me. In the conversation I made sure she knew I wanted a tubal ligation and she was surprised because it was her understanding that I didn’t want one. What? Where did that come from? I assured her I did and she emphasized all the risks of having one while strongly suggesting other alternatives of birth control. Thanks, but I want the tubal ligation. Are you sure? Yes, I’m sure. And so she agreed.
When the nurse came back in I told her I still had a shirt on under my gown and I needed a new gown to put on because the one I was in didn’t stay closed. She went and got me a new gown and helped me over to the bathroom since I was hooked up to an IV. She started to undress me and I quickly asked her what her plan was because I wasn’t okay with what was happening. Thankfully she got called away and I hurried and shut the bathroom door and proceeded to get undressed by my grown adult self! Why she thought it was okay to start stripping me down is beyond me. I get that it’s something they probably do all the time, but I don’t. I’m way too conservative to let anyone be up in my business simply because they do it for a living and don’t think twice about it. It just isn’t going to happen.
After I was in a new gown I climbed back into bed while a few nurses got everything ready for me to be moved into the OR. The nurse that had been with me all day handed me two pills and some sort of brown poison as far as I was concerned. She told me to use the drink like a shot to swallow down the two pills. I asked her what it was for and she said to prevent nausea. I told her I was pretty sure I would puke it back up so she got me a puke bag just in case. I sat there for a while with it in my hands trying to convince myself I could take it and telling myself if I was in Logan I wouldn’t be doing this right now. Three pregnancies and this was the first time I had to take such a thing. And I should have protested since nausea medication never does anything for me. But I choked it down and through deep breathing and minor dry heaving, I kept it down.
Finally it was time to move to the OR. They asked me if I wanted to walk which seemed a little crazy considering I was there for high blood pressure, was only allowed to walk to the bathroom for the past 8 days, and was back on magnesium, but ultimately I didn’t want to walk because I felt too vulnerable in a hospital gown with nothing on underneath. I’m not positive how it was decided, but I was transported to the OR on my bed. A wheelchair seemed much more practical, but I wasn’t the one wheeling me around so it made no difference to me. They parked the bed right outside the operating room doors and I walked the rest of the way.
I climbed up on the table as instructed. The anesthesiologist untied my gown and flared it open. He had me sit on the table with my legs straight out in front of me (not hanging off the side, but straight on the table) and told me to curl into a ball without bending my legs. Sure, because that’s easy. I felt so much anxiety because I was expecting a spinal block and how it was done with my last delivery was very different. With the spinal block I laid down on my left side and curled into a ball. Sitting up made me feel so much more insecure and more open for pain. I couldn’t curl up into a fetal position and hide my face. I was just open and exposed and had to take the pain—not like a man, but like a mom giving birth! Then come to find out, I wasn’t getting a spinal block, but an epidural. I had never had one before and so my anxiety climbed even more. I felt scared. I knew what to expect from a spinal block, but I had no idea how much an epidural would hurt and I didn’t feel like I could really brace myself sitting up.
When the anesthesiologist wiped my back to clean it I wasn’t expecting his touch, which was wet and cold, and I jumped. Thank goodness it was only a wipe and not the needle! A nurse handed me a pillow and told me to hug into it. Then the pain came. I’ve never witnessed anyone receiving an epidural so I don’t exactly know what goes on, but whatever it is, it isn’t pleasant. There was pain, followed by more pain and the nurses telling me he’s almost done, followed by fluid running down my back, and then it was done.
I was told to lie down on my back and my gown was lifted to place a catheter. I could still feel everything and since my only experience was a spinal block, I felt panicked that I wasn’t numb yet. When I had a spinal block I went numb almost instantly from the chest down to my toes. With the epidural I could still feel my legs and every touch the nurse made to clean me off to place the catheter made me jump. I could feel it all and I had expressed that I could still feel my legs, but nobody seemed concerned. And then I heard the nurse say that I was flinching with every touch, but still nobody seemed concerned. And then the puking began.
I told the nurse I felt like I was going to throw up, turned my head and out came that brown poison they made me drink; all over the floor. A bag was handed to me and I continued to throw up at least seven more times; all while my lower half was completely exposed and about 10 other people standing around watching me. It was humiliating.
I finally felt settled enough to lay my head back down and the nurse continued to place the catheter, which I could still feel. Once it was placed I straightened my legs which I still had full use of, but they were slightly tingly now. Still I felt panicked that I could feel them at all and expressed once again that I didn’t think I was numb. Finally the anesthesiologist placed a cold, wet cloth on my arm and asked if I could feel it, then placed it on my stomach and I couldn’t feel it. That helped my anxiety realizing I was actually numb where I needed to be. Before that I was horrified at the thought that I’d be cut into and feel everything because I didn’t think the epidural was working. But then again that’s basically what ended up happening.
Before the doctor began the surgery she made me tell her what we were about to do. My tongue was numb and my mind felt unfocused, but I was eventually able to spit out “c-section and tubal ligation”. As the doctor began the surgery she started talking about how impressed she was with my previous scar. She said it was so thin and fine that she could hardly see where to cut. I wanted to give credit to my doctor, but my tongue was still numb and I didn’t feel comfortable talking. I knew I’d feel pressure and there’d be some pulling and tugging, but this time there was also a lot of pain and I didn’t feel like that was normal. It was unexpected that it was hurting so much and so I began to hyperventilate. I couldn’t breathe and I felt panicked and then I began to cry. And I felt so angry that all of this was happening knowing full well if my doctor was doing the delivery this experience would be going much differently. The anesthesiologist told the doctor I wasn’t comfortable and asked if I would like some pain meds. Yes, obviously. The doctor stopped what she was doing and he pushed meds through my IV. A minute or two later the pain was gone and I felt calm again and the doctor got back to work.
At 10:33pm it was announced that the baby was born. She was whisked off into another room and they never even gave me a glimpse of her. I couldn’t believe it. And Nick went with the baby and I was left all alone to complete the surgery. By now I was seeing double of everything so I was more comfortable with my eyes closed, but when my eyes were closed I felt really sleepy and that scared me. I didn’t want to fall asleep. And so I would force myself to open my eyes and keep them open as long as I could. And then another round of puking began.
Thankfully I started dry heaving first before anything actually came out so a nurse was able to get a puke bag to my mouth in time. But I felt frustrated the way the drape worked to keep me from seeing the surgery because it was different from what I knew and far less convenient. In Logan the drape hangs straight up like a curtain. In Ogden the drape was domed over me like a rainbow and I felt like I was peeking out of a little cave. And where it connected to be able to dome over me meant my hands were pinned underneath it because my arms had to be straight out away from my body. I didn’t realize I didn’t have access to my hands until I needed them and then I felt really annoyed that I couldn’t escape the never ending supply of blue sheet. But the anesthesiologist took the sheet down and pushed Zofran through my IV and I eventually stopped throwing up.
As the doctor was sewing me up she told me how impressed she was that I had very little scar tissue and how amazingly well my body seemed to heal from my past c-sections. She and the nurse also went on and on that they couldn’t believe how flat my stomach was and that I didn’t have a single stretch mark. I wanted to remind them that I had never been pregnant past 32 weeks and my laying down was deceiving, but I felt too tired to talk.
Once the surgery was complete they rolled me to one side and the epidural was removed, then rolled me to the other side for who knows what, and then moved me from the table to a bed. And then more puking began. And once I finally stopped throwing up I started to cry because I was so frustrated that I had thrown up so much during the surgery and that everything was so different from what I wanted and knew from my experience in Logan. But I felt like there was finally some proof that nausea medication does nothing for me. Two pills, a drink, and Zofran through my IV and I still threw up over and over again.
And then I was wheeled into a Post Op room where I waited for an hour. The doctor came in after the surgery and told me she felt like I had “mother’s intuition” for insisting on getting a tubal ligation. She told me my uterus was so thin she could see baby’s hair through it. She said had I gone into labor on my own it would have been bad news and she thought it was best that I didn’t have any more babies. After Shelby was born my doctor had said the same thing about my uterus being as thin as his t-shirt he had on under his scrubs, but he thought it was that way because my body was in distress and knew it needed to take matters into its own hands to get the baby out. Either way I never went into labor on my own with any of my pregnancies so it doesn’t really matter.
After she left the Neonatologist that was working on the baby came in to talk to me and Nick came in with him. He updated me on the baby and while he was talking to me I started throwing up yet again. Seriously? What is wrong with me? I was starving, but didn’t feel like I could keep anything down so the nurse brought me a Dum Dum sucker. Gee, thanks.
While waiting out my time in the post op room I could tell that the epidural was wearing off and I started to feel gradual pain. I had asked about pain meds, but wasn’t given any. I felt worried about that because I didn’t want my pain to get out of control, but for whatever reason they didn’t seem concerned. Once my time was up I was taken to see the baby. I was allowed 15 minutes with her while more doctors and nurses talked at me about her condition. And all I wanted was for everyone in the room to disappear and let me and Nick have a moment with our 2 pound 15 ounce babe that was born far too soon because her mom wasn't strong enough to stay pregnant any longer.
Once my 15 minutes was up I was rolled to my room in postpartum and transferred into a different bed. Talk about painful. I asked again about pain meds and none were given to me. My new nurse came in and started talking about who knows what and going over all kinds of information. She checked my stats and pressed on my uterus. And I asked her about pain meds. She read the order and said there was only oral medication listed and since I had been throwing up so much she was worried I wouldn’t keep it down. I felt worried too since I didn’t feel like I could eat or drink anything at that point. So she told me she would call the doctor and see if she could get something ordered for my IV. And then she told me she needed me to get up and walk in the next 30 minutes. Um, I’m in a great deal of pain, haven’t had any medication to help control it, am still on magnesium, haven’t eaten anything all day, been puking all night, and you really think I’m going to roll out of this bed and walk around? She quickly became my least favorite person and unfortunately she was my nurse three nights in a row. She made up for it though two nights later when I had the worst pain in my shoulder and she figured out that it was gas from the c-section that had settled there. For real it was far more painful than my incision.
By 3:30 in the morning she finally came in with some pain medication that could be put through my IV and I cried myself to sleep after she left. I was in so much pain at that point I could hardly breathe and so relieved I finally got something to help control it. Five hours after my baby was delivered I was finally given some pain medication. FIVE HOURS! And all I could think was if I was in Logan this never would have happened.
Lucky for me I was sentenced to magnesium and strict bed rest for the next 24 hours after delivery. It was the same with my other two deliveries, but this time seemed worse. My vision was blurry all day and every time a nurse made me get out of bed and stand, I felt so weak. When they asked me if I wanted to try walking I had the worst fear I would fall over after just having major surgery and how awful that would be. I said no every time because I know how magnesium affects me and it didn’t seem safe to try to walk in addition to being sore from the surgery.
The magnesium was finally turned off after 24 hours and not a minute sooner and it wasn’t long before I felt human again. The night of my surgery was easily the worst night of my life as far as pain goes, but after I finally got pain medication which was only Motrin, my pain was managed the rest of the time. The nurses always commented how impressed they were that I never took anything stronger than Motrin. One nurse explained to me that they give all women Ibuprofen after giving birth. Motrin is a step above that. There was still a stronger option above Motrin and then Percocet which she said most women take two a day after having a c-section. But I honestly didn’t feel like I needed anything stronger than what I was taking. I’ve been blessed to bounce back quickly with all of my c-sections. After Shelby was born I went back to school a week later and this time I went back to work a week later for a training. Soreness from a c-section is nothing compared to seven months of throwing up and feeling like death. Once that goes away all I want is to get back into a routine again and feel like my life is back to normal.
It was two days after baby girl was born before we finally gave her a name. Nick wanted to talk about it sooner, but I wanted the magnesium to be out of my system before we decided because I felt torn between three names and wasn’t at all thrilled with Nick’s choice of middle name! She was always going to be Savannah even before we were pregnant. The third girl was always Savannah. Once we found out she was a girl we didn’t want to announce her name so we started calling her Stella. I love the name Stella too so I had hope that it would grow on Nick. And then Shiloh was a name we had always considered if we had four girls. Savannah, Stella, and Shiloh were equally matched for me, but Nick wanted Shiloh the most. And since I loved all three of them the same we decided to go with Shiloh. I wasn’t so sure how I felt about having a Shasta, Shelby, and Shiloh since it’s kind of a mouthful, but it is what it is. It wouldn’t matter what their names were, I’d still mix them up and call them by the wrong names and even throw in the dog’s name (which I intentionally do to Shasta because she is forever calling me dad)!
Shiloh Faye Hendricks
Born July 19, 2017 at 10:33pm
16 inches long
And the kicker in this whole traumatic experience is that the Neonatologist told Nick the night Shiloh was born that he thought she had stopped growing a week before she was born. I was admitted to the hospital and she was born 8 days later. In other words, all of this could have been avoided had they known she had stopped growing. But surely there’s something I’m supposed to learn from this whole experience. And although there were so many times I wanted to tap out, so many moments where I felt like everything was falling down around me, here I am. I’m still standing and I’m a stronger person having gone through everything I did. And looking back I can see countless blessing I received, especially during those times when I felt the most abandoned. I know my Heavenly Father had my wellbeing in His best interest. I know He knows my heart and my greatest desires and while this was the worst experience of my three deliveries, I feel the least traumatized by it. I’m so thankful to have my health back and know I’ll never go through any of that again that the whole experience almost seems like a bad dream. I’m thankful it’s the Lord’s will and not my own and hopefully someday I’ll be able to have a full understanding of why everything worked out the way that it did. In the meantime I’m just grateful for my husband and my three beautiful girls that I get to have for eternity. Life is good.