Gert called the doctor in the morning. Surprisingly, he had already scheduled her to come to the Labor & Delivery ward at the hospital at 10:00. Around 11:00, Gert was examined. She was dilated 1 cm and 60% effaced. A pill was provided that was supposed to thin the cervix further. Another exam was promised for 3:00 PM. At that exam, not much had changed. Gert was informed that often a second pill is needed. So a 7:00 PM exam was promised. At 7:00, Gert was a little more effaced and dilated and it was determined that she could be induced at that point. It wasn’t long after Gert took the drug that she felt her contractions intensify. They also occurred more rapidly. As the evening wore on, however, things began to change. Gert’s blood pressure went sky-high. When she was on her back, Beetle‘s heart rate went way down. When Gert was on her right side, she was in extreme pain. This continued until after 10:00. I was sent to retrieve the body pillow so Gert could try to become more comfortable. While I was away, she and the doctor agreed to start pain medication. Regardless, she continued to be in pain. Around midnight the doctor consulted with Gert about her options. After considering all the options, she decided on the Cesarian Section.
A touch after 1:00 AM, Gert’s operation began. Mom and Carol waited in Gert’s room. I was in the OR with Gert. She was cold. It didn’t take too long before Beetle appeared. Those who know me know that I can easily become queasy with blood and guts. Surprisingly, all was fine. Watching Beetle appear was a spectacular sight! This was at 1:24 AM. She was immediately taken to an alcove in the OR to be cleaned, suctioned, monitored, etc. All the while the doctors worked at putting Gert back together. She did a wonderful job. I was eager for Beetle to be presented to Gert. We knew it was only going to be brief for Gert needed to be suctured and then taken to recovery, but nevertheless, she was able to see her for a moment. I followed Beetle. She was weighed (7 pounds, 3 ounces) and then we took her to see Mom and Carol.
From there she was taken to the nursery. We had been told that it would be about an hour after the operation before Beetle was reunited with Gert. It was more like two hours and that was rough on everybody. Beetle cried under the heat lamp in the nursery as she was inspected by the nurse. It was obvious she wanted to be with Gert. Gert was sore and tired. She had had a spinal and was still numb from that. The rule that seemed to be in effect was that when Gert could move her toes, Beetle would be brought to her. I kept running back and forth between my two girls. I took video of Beetle to show Gert. Eventually Beetle was brought into the recovery room. The pairing of Gert and Beetle was so natural. Gert still had to remain flat on her back due to the medicine she was on, but the bonding began right away.
We then transferred from the Labor & Delivery ward to the Maternity ward. Mom and Carol had left. Gert was wiped out. After getting settled in, the baby was taken back to the nursery so Gert could get so much needed rest. I went home. It was now 5:00 AM.
Gert called me around 8:00. Beetle was already back to her for her feeding. Thus began the severe exhaustion that we have both felt ever since. It took me a bit to get going. Once I got to the hospital, we began our lives as parents. Beetle had a really good day. Newborns sleep a lot. But holding your own child in your arms is most precious. Gert and I relished in our joy and even acknowledged our wedding anniversary. Gert had lots of visitors: family, friends, and medical personnel. Mom and baby were doing very well. I don’t think our eyes left Beetle all day. That evening I went back home to get some sleep, but Beetle had other thoughts.
I had a meeting Wednesday morning that kept me from getting to the hospital until early afternoon. Poor Gert. Beetle had kept her awake all night and feeding was not going well all of a sudden. Gert was pretty upset. Feeding struggles continued. About 4:00, the lactation consultant appeared. This lady went above and beyond to put Gert at ease. She spent considerable time helping, answering, showing, etc. Gert and Beetle. Gert was much more at ease after this nurse’s visit. On top of all that, she made an extra visit later on to check up on both of the girls. As Wednesday ended, things were looking very good for the Owens family.
Things were really looking up on Thursday. Gert and Beetle were bonding very well. Family visited every day. Beautiful flowers adorned the hospital room. Beetle was doing well and had had a good night of sleep and feeding. Gert, Beetle, and I were very much looking forward to everyone coming home Friday and starting home life. Gert was still sore from the operation, but doing well. She was up and about, was able to shower, and get into some of her own clothes rather than the gowns that exposed her backside. Everything really was progressing nicely.
Thursday produced a very interesting occurance. Frank and I had been discussing Governor McGreevey’s visit to the area for the last few days. The governor had just signed a budget that ballooned 16%, but was coming to Millville to sign a law to cap sepending of municipalities and school boards to 2.5%. Hardly seems fair, particularly when there is $200 million of undesignated pork in that budget and $2 billion of the revenue would be raised by bonding the state into future debt. Sigh . . . anyhow, the governor was in town.
About midday, a nurse asked us if we would be willing to meet with the hospital’s PR guy. He came in and explained that Governor McGreevey was coming to the hospital and would we be interested in meeting him. We signed the releases to do so and waited patiently for his arrival. Frank came to visit Gert after having attended an earlier meeting with the governor. Apparently during the Q&A time Frank questioned the governor about the budget. The video of this made it to NJN’s broadcast that evening and photographs were featured in the newspapers on Friday. We explained that McGreevey was coming to see Beetle and Gert. A little bit later sure enough the governor appeared. This was just a photo-op thing, but he recognized Frank right off the bat. We were all on our best behavior. All but McGreevey that is. I was pretty scraggily. I hadn’t shaved in a few days and was bundled up in cold clothes because the AC in the hospital was normally like a morgue . . . except for this day. The governor, trying to be cute, asked why Gert looked better than I did. Hee hee . . . NOT. He was pleasant with Gert and Beetle. We had several photographs taken and then everyone left. On his way out, he said his stupid line again to me, “How come your wife looks better than you?” Even Gert was of the mind I should have kicked him out the door. Anyhow, we will be getting official photos at some point from the governor. The important thing about all this is that the governor sought out our little girl. Isn’t that special?
Gert called me first thing in the morning and explained there were some problems. Beetle’s urine was crystallized which indicated that she was not getting enough liquid. Yet she fed constantly. Gert’s milk was coming in, but was not full and rich just yet. All of a sudden the doctors were recommending supplementing the feeding with formula. Gert was unnerved by this for we had not wanted to use formula. We were able to speak with the doctor directly about this. After some time we understood that this was not nearly as serious as it had initially sounded and was not uncommon to happen either. Beetle had also decreased from 7 pounds, 3 ounces to 6 pounds, 8 ounces. Although not the 10% loss everyone speaks about, apparently they were looking for Beetle to have gained weight by then. Gert’s blood pressure, understandably, was heightened. This was also a concern of the doctors. Becuase of all this, it was decided not to have the girls come home on Friday, but rather extend the “vacation” until Saturday.
As the day progressed, things tended to get better. One nurse wanted to know how well Beetle was doing before she left at 7:00 PM, that she took her to be weighed. Already she had gained three ounces! There was some some crystallization of urine, but it was not as pronounced as it had been. Unfortunately, Gert’s blood pressure was still elevated. She was put on medication to treat that. It was agreed that Beetle would go to the nursery that evening so Gert could get some much needed rest.
The pediatrician and OB/GYN both came in early to check Beetle and Gert. Beetle was doing very well. Gert’s blood pressure was still elevated. Before she was to be discharged, the OB wanted to discuss blood pressure medicine with Gert’s GP. He was not available so a nephrologist was called in. Everyone thought he was kind of weird, but I didn’t see a problem with him. He prescribed yet another blood pressure medicine and asked to see Gert next week. Just another billable. Anyhow, once he was done, the OB came in and consulted with Gert. All seemed to be under control and he signed the discharged papers. It was then we prepared Beetle for her “official” hospital photograph. Dressed in the special outfit Gert had purchased long ago, Beetle looked adorable for her picture. It was not long after the photographs that we were in the car (after I struggled with the straps to the car seat) and I was cursing all the dangerous drivers who dared put our daughter in harm’s way. We made it home in one piece and then began settling into the comforts of home. ‘Nado appeared to see what was up. I made sure she recieved lots of lovin’ too.
Gert and I are tired. My poor wife never gets a chance to get caught up. She did a fairly good nap in which did her well. We eventually went to bed.
The baby does not sleep! Holy smokes! All night long we were up with Beetle. Beetle’s cries tend to indicate one of three things: dirty diaper, need for food, gas that needs to be burped out. She had a clean diaper, Gert had fed her non-stop. We could not get her burped. The damn formula introduces a lot of air to Beetle. A frantic phone call to the doctor at three or four in the morning after Beetle had cried for over an hour straight didn’t produce much help. Gert had given Beetle some of the Lil Tummies drops. That and a little more formula seemed to get enough movement in her belly to finally burp. Thankfully. We woke up exhausted just a little bit later.
We have tried to keep Beetle awake more today so she will be sleepy at night. Feeding is going very well. We even took Beetle for a short stroll tonight in the neighborhood. Beetle had more visitors today. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long into the visit from Granny and Poppy that I nodded off. 🙁 We put Beetle into the Papasan (vibrating chair) today. She seemed to like it.
This whole news item is a good indication of how much computing I will be getting. I was working on this last night, as I had promised my sister there would be new information up on Saturday. Well, Beetle’s needs kept interrupting this and finally it was all lost. I began again today in the morning and it has taken me until late at night to get it completed. My daughter needs her father and I am more than happy to oblige. 🙂