Sunday, January 1, 2023

Our Little Bean is One Month Old

Our Year of the Tiger baby all ready for his second ever car trip.

Well, it's now been a really, really long time since I last wrote here! I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season and is having a good start to their new year. For the past few weeks, K and I have been completely absorbed in learning to be parents to our newest family member. 

As some of you may have seen on my Instagram stories, our little bean ("LB") arrived roughly a month ago - at 37 weeks and 5 days - after I was officially diagnosed with gestational hypertension the week before. That particular diagnosis can lead to a recommendation to induce at 37 weeks, which was what my OB-GYN also recommended, so off to the hospital we went just after Thanksgiving. It ended up being a bit of an adventure, something I think it's safe to say no one really wants from their labor and delivery. 

My induction took around 30 hours before it was time to push, then ended with an urgent c-section not long after due to fetal distress. Thankfully, LB turned out perfectly healthy, and he's been that way since. 

I was recovering well and fairly quickly from surgery, but the night before my original discharge date (after the standard three nights in the postpartum unit, including the night I delivered) my blood pressure started climbing up again. It escalated into postpartum preeclampsia, and before my blood pressure ever crossed into the 170s systolic and before I ever experienced any of the additional "red flag" symptoms of preeclampsia outside of the high blood pressure, I was sent back to labor and delivery for a 24-hour magnesium drip.

Afterwards, my blood pressure proved somewhat resistant to being stabilized, and my doctors would not discharge me until that was accomplished. Including the time it took to administer and recover from the magnesium drip, I ended up staying a total of seven extra nights in the hospital. LB was able to stay in the hospital with me throughout, though his doctors had declared him fully ready for discharge even before the day we were originally meant to go home. Once the doctors adjusted me up to the correct doses of blood pressure medication that I could continue taking at home to keep my blood pressure stable at reasonably healthy numbers (mostly under 140 systolic and 90 diastolic), LB and I were finally able to go home. 

I went into the birth with absolutely no expectations about how it should go, and with no particular wishes or hopes except for a healthy baby and mom at the end. I'd hoped being open-minded and flexible about labor and delivery would mean I'd be immune to being particularly unhappy or disappointed about how things went. If it weren't for the preeclampsia, I think I'd have felt relatively alright, after having a few weeks to process and get over the initial "baby blues" hormone fluctuations. The preeclampsia and extended hospital stay really did a number on me emotionally, which was exacerbated by my not really being able to sleep throughout my time at the hospital. I'm definitely still trying to come to terms with what happened. 

My extended hospitalization also put K through the wringer emotionally and physically. Because the need for induction at 37 weeks had come as a surprise, we hadn't had time to fully prepare the apartment for the baby. So K would come and spend the day with LB and I at the hospital until I was ready to try and sleep, then he needed go home to do extra work unpacking and setting up the new baby gear or supplies we'd been ordering. (It wouldn't have been possible for him to sleep at the hospital while we were in the postpartum unit, given how uncomfortable the chairs for the patient's support person were and how often nurses needed to come in and wake me up in the middle of the night for medication or blood pressure monitoring.) 

In truth, I think I should be grateful that my medical team were so cautious with my health. My main preference throughout my pregnancy was that I wanted my OB-GYN to be cautious and conservative with my and LB's health, and that's pretty much exactly what I got. 

The more typical postpartum preeclampsia story is probably that the patient initially gets discharged at the expected time, only to return to the hospital and be readmitted barely a few days later, after the increased blood pressure (often at numbers higher and therefore more dangerous than I ever saw throughout my hospitalization) brought about other symptoms that couldn't be ignored. They only released me after they were extremely certain my blood pressure was stable, so I haven't had anything to get stressed about on that front since discharge. Unfortunately, I'm finding that knowing objectively that my doctors did everything I would want from a medical judgment point of view doesn't necessarily make the subjective experience of my hospitalization that much easier. 

I'll try to blog as often as I can in the coming months. At the moment, shopping for clothes and accessories is the last thing on my mind, so I think I'd mostly be writing about parenting and my lingering feelings about the end of my pregnancy in the short term. (Those may not be the most cheerful topics, as these first months of life with a newborn are quite difficult!)

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to hear from anyone who might be reading! Please feel free to leave a comment or question.