A bunch of firsts

July 28, 2008 § 2 Comments

This weekend marked a bunch of firsts for myself and my family. First off, I got some nasty stomach bug and at around 3am Saturday morning started to show signs of it. The doctors that cared for me just called it the generic “viral gastroenteritis“. In other words, they have no idea of how I got this virus or what exactly caused it. They kept drawing blood to do more labs which is no fun for someone with my elusive veins- let along my elusive dehydrated veins. I don’t know if any of you have ever landed in the ER or been admitted to the hospital for rehydration, but if you have you’ll have a frame of reference for what I’m going to say. In the ER, I got 2 liters of fluids and 1 liter of sugar water. After that, I was still dehydrated. So, they kept pumping my body with fluids but I was still dehydrated. I think, in total, I received about 5 liters of fluids before we started having more serious talks.

I ended up staying at the hospital overnight. Another first. I’ve never been sick enough to land in a hospital overnight. This will take remembering when asked those formal questions: Have you ever been admitted to the hospital? Now, I’ll have to say, Yes. Before, I could reply, No, to all those routine health questions. Now, it’ll be different. I’ve been hospitalized. A first. So, the doctors decided to admit me for further care because I was still so dehydrated. All along, they were checking the baby and baby 2.0 was fine, other than being dehydrated and reacting to what my body was going through.

Through all of this, my midwife stayed with me. She was there all day long. She was the first I called when I couldn’t stop… um, emptying my stomach, and she came over to check on me. She recommended we go to the ER to get fluids and such and came to the hospital to check in with us. She was on-call for me all day. As soon as she’d start to leave, I’d call again to see what she thought of what the doctors had told me, and she’d pivot back to help. I have to say it was really reassuring to have her around. She didn’t butt in, but she’d wait until the med staff were gone to give me advice. She wanted me/us to make the requests. And really she wasn’t telling me what to do. I had my doubts about things and she’d advise me saying, “this is a very good thing” (in the case of being watched overnight) or, “you can refuse this, although I’m not telling you that you should or shouldn’t”. It was really empowering. I did feel bullyied by these two young residents (I won’t go into how rude they were just because I’m not giving them or the experience more energy) and it was great to stand up for myself knowing that I was within reason, medically. It was really interesting seeing the kind of treatment I got from the medical staff. While appropriate, it was still detached. I’m sure they have their reasons. It was such a stark contrast to my midwife who would hug me and kiss my forehead and hold my hand while talking to me. I doubt the hospitals lawyers would ever allow for that! 🙂 Our midwife left the hospital between 10 and 11 pm, knowing I was getting better. She told us to call her during the night if we needed anything and to let her know what was happening.

So, back to the firsts. Bilingual papi and I spent the night at the hospital together. Me in a labor and delivery bed and he in a cot with one bar intersecting his chest and another his legs. Not the getaway we’d ever hoped for. This was our first night away from our toddler. Not his, but ours, together. It was forced and I was too tired and weak to worry.

Bilingual baby had her first slumber party. She spent the night with our friends (who we are endebted to for life) who live up the street. They have two kids of their own and they quickly took the bear in. (At this point in my retelling of this story, I am overcome with gratitude and think I’ll postpone this part until I can recount it without falling apart. In the hospital, I rested on how lucky we are to have the friends we have with the hearts they have. To say we are blessed falls short.) Needless to say, bilingual baby was fine. She missed us but that is to be expected. She knew that something was off and went with the flow (as much as she could).

At about 3am, I was starting to feel better. My fever was going down and my blood pressure was returning to normal. I was strapped onto the fetal heart monitor which recorded a much calmer baby. They did reassure me that no harm had come to the baby. Since it was in my stomach, the virus didn’t pass into the baby’s home. Amazing how the body works. I did get antibiotics so my midwife has me on 3 capsules twice a day of probiotics for the next 3 months, instead of my preventative 2 caps a day. I have no dietary restrictions and no bed rest. In other words, I just need to take ‘er easy.

I learned a lot while being in the hospital. For one, unless medically necessary, I would never want to birth there! It’s definitely not for me. The level of care was great but, again, the bedside manners were not as great as you can get with a midwife. (By the way, the residents I didn’t care for were both women.) I was listened to but not heard. Any of the medical staff that would come in would immediately look at the monitors and the sheets of paper being fed out of them. Only then would I get a glazed look in my direction as they asked me how I was. The nurse that took care of me, Cheyenne, was great, and the doctor, Dr. Ira Berstein, though we only saw him for a little bit, was a human being.

That’s all for now. I still have some things to share. Like how bilingual baby responded to our return home and our efforts to return to “normal”. For now, I need to take my probiotics, drink a lot of water and relax.

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