Giving birth gets complicated

First off, let me say right off the top that the pictures that I’m going to post here will not be posted on Facebook. I love all the notes and words of encouragement, but I’m still a little leery of posting these pictures on someone else’s website. Maybe when he’s older, I’ll post more pictures of him on Facebook, but until then — this will be the spot to get Michael news.

With that out of the way, I’m finally on the eve of being discharged from the hospital. I had to spend 4 days here, which were not boring at all — in fact, I think Trinity wishes they had been more boring. It’s been an eventful New Year’s holiday for us.

So, without further adieu, Michael Christian Powells was born at 9:37 p.m. on Jan. 1, 2010, at 3 pounds, 7 ounces and 16 inches long, with his eyes wide open. You may be wondering why he was born so small, but the fact that his eyes were wide open surprised me the most, really. But I will explain everything, if you have the patience to actually read through it all.

I went into the hospital New Year’s Eve afternoon for another non-stress test, but what I hadn’t told Trinity was that I’d woken up that morning thinking, “watch. they’re going to tell me I can’t go home anymore and induce me tonight.” Usually when I think such things, they don’t actually happen. Little did we know… Anyway, Trinity had picked me up from our house for the test on a break from work and was going to go back to work while I was at the test, then pick me back up when I was done.  Trinity got me into the hospital room and left me there for the test, but as I started the test and the results from a 24-hour urine test came back, it became evident that I was not going home anytime soon. The test showed a lot of protein in my urine, which meant my pregnancy-induced hypertension had progressed to severe pre-eclampsia. So they began inducing me that night, which is apparently a long process. Suffice it to say, there was one procedure that took all night, then they began administering pitocin, the medication that triggers contraction, the next morning.

I hadn’t planned on getting an epidural, but was not opposed to it if the pain got really bad. The beginning contractions were hardly anything, and even the stronger ones were only slightly uncomfortable. However, my doctor did recommend I get an epidural since I was eclamptic. He also gave me a medication to prevent seizures, magnesium sulfate, which really did a number on me and Michael. By about 6 or 7 p.m. on New Year’s Day, I was having really strong contractions for a good half hour or so, but I wasn’t dilating more than 3 centimeters. The magnesium sulfate seemed to be affecting Michael, so the recommendation was made for me to have a C-section (which I had really, really not wanted to do). As all the baby classes say, a successful birth is a healthy baby, so that was the goal.

And, Michael is healthy, but for the lingering effects of the magnesium sulfate. The medication is apparently a muscle relaxer, so it relaxed his digestive system so much that he’s not eating much — yet. He apparently had a good day today in the NICU. He’s beautifully complete, however — 10 fingers, 10 toes, and everything else in between, plus he’s breathing well and even peers at us curiously whenever we’re around. In fact, we can take him home as soon as he can eat as much as the NICU doctor deems satisfactory.

However, that wasn’t the end of the drama this weekend. So I had the C-section and was groggy as you can believe most of that night and the next morning. We had visitors, and I was able to eat a little most of that day, but the nurses kept bugging me to use an oxygen mask or to wear the little things in my nostrils. I felt fine, so I kept taking it off, making the sensors keeping track of me go off continually. Turned out I was not completely fine — the pre-eclampsia had really scattered my system, sending fluid everywhere, including my lungs, so I was not oxygenating the way I should have been. I was really more in pain from the stitches (and sneezing and coughing I was doing from the fluid in my lungs, apparently). I ended up in the CCU — coronary care unit — after getting a CT scan to make sure I didn’t have a pulmonary embolism. Since then, I’ve also gotten three chest X-rays, to make sure everything was still good. They gave me something to make the fluid come out in my urine, and finally, finally, finally I no longer have to wear a catheter, an IV or that thing that keeps track of my heart rate and oxygen levels. (Catheters are apparently not unusual when giving birth, especially with an epidural, but the difference with me is — I got the catheter before the epidural. Ouch.)

So here’s what you wanted!

Trinity, if you couldn’t tell, is incredibly happy. His eyes disappear when he smiles big. Michael, on the other hand, seems to be looking up at him with a “who are you?” look on his face.

This is Michael in his NICU incubator. As I recovered from the C-section and subsequent respiratory problems, one of the nurses was so kind as to take photos of him and print them out, with a few cute little messages printed on them. This is the picture we’ve been keeping in a frame in our post-partum room.

So we’re all doing fine, even Michael. My day nurse today said it best — most women are by the book with their pregnancies, I just happened to follow the book of “What Could Happen.”  However, if you’ve got some extra time as you pray, spare one for him, please. We’d like for him to get bigger and come home.

15 thoughts on “Giving birth gets complicated

  1. Mike

    Hi Darleene, congrats, and welcome, you and Trinity, to the parenting club! Maria and I will absolutely be sending good thoughts your way and offering plenty of prayers that little Michael (fantastic name, btw) gets big fast! Just as important, we’ll be thinking of you as you recover as well! Take care…

  2. Tammy Abbott

    Oh Darleene and Trinity,
    Michael is so beautiful! You have been so blessed. I can’t tell you how happy I am for you. And I’m happy that you are doing better Darleene. I had a c-section as well (36 hours of labor and the same dilation) it was awful.. but Rachel was born full term. I just couldn’t give birth.
    So to know that your complications have been handled and you are going home is really good. You’ll be sore and that’s not fun, but you’ll recover and be as good as new.
    I will be praying that everything continues to go well with you and I will be praying the Michael will grow as fast and strong as he can so he can join you and Trinity as soon as possible.
    Again, I am really happy for you and that things ended up well. It sounds like you really went through the ringer and it was a very scary time…
    Take care of yourself while you have a little extra time as the nurses are taking care of the baby. That will help you a lot.
    And we will all be looking forward to hearing more news about how you all are doing.
    Love to you all,

  3. jacqui

    Glad to hear the worst is over…of wait…you just had a baby. Maybe it’s the beginning. BWAHAHAHAHAH!!!! Just kidding. He’s so adorable and yes the smile under Trinity’s mask is pretty darn apparent. You should get as much sleep as possible while MCP is at the hospital. It will help you heal much quicker. A month from now this will all be a blur and you’ll say oh hell yeah I’d do this again. Thank god for selective memory. Anyway he’s beautiful and will be home before you know it.
    Take care of yourself and hugs to Trinity.

  4. Belinda

    OH. MY. GOSH!!!

    If I could only make that text bigger to emphasize how excited I am, but for now you’ll have to imagine me shrieking at my loudest tone.

    Is Michael not the cutest baby?!!! And Trinity looks so happy! Wish I could see a photo of Mom & baby, but hey … next time, right?


    Now I just have to figure out when I can take off so I can come to LA to squeeze all of you!!! :D

  5. Lisa Hanchana

    Congratulations on your little precious of joy. I can see that he already has your big beautiful eyes. Wow, after reading your blog I may never ever want to give birth; such a scary thought for me (its like squeezing a watermelon out of a grape). I am so glad to hear that you and precious Michael are doing well. What a beautiful blog! Congratulations again to you and Trinity! I can’t wait to see his pictures growing up, he is going to be one handsome kid!

  6. Sheila

    Congratulations on Baby Michael’s arrival. I know this is not how you intended him to arrive, but having both mom and baby safe is paramount. I had my son at 36 wks via emergency c-section, and then he had a short stay in the NICU as well. It’s a roller coaster ride to say the least, but by far the nurse’s are essential to your survival as a new mother. Just know he is in the best hands possible. Take Care of your self and catch up on your sleep now :)

  7. olivia

    major major major congratulations on having the baby AND being flexible with your plans to ultimately have a successful birth. so wonderful to see his little face. now take care of yourself so you can heal.

  8. Jen

    Hi new mom-I saw the link to your very dramatic story on LA Observed.
    First, congratulations! And of course I’ll be happy to spare a couple of prayers for you & your new son. He’s absolutely lovely. What a wonderful start for 2010-this put a big smile on my face. All the best to you and your young family.

  9. kimi evans

    Congratulations!!! I’m glad that he came out with all the right parts!!! Now he just needs to get bigger…been praying for him! I’m sure he’s excited to be out in the real world, checkin’ things out. :) Hope you’re getting the rest that you need, while enjoying your new little blessing!!! :D

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