I’m sitting in my hospital room and have about 18 hours to kill until anything noteworthy occurs, so I thought I’d do a brain dump of updates for those of you playing along at home (if one more crazy thing happens I half expect to hear someone shout, “BINGO!”).
Here’s what’s new:
– As I mentioned on Twitter, I had The Insane-O Vein Procedure on Friday, but did NOT get a filter. The doctor realized that my lumbar veins are huge, so there’s no point in putting a filter in that one main vein — my heart and lungs still wouldn’t be protected, since clots could just go through the other veins. So it’ll be a filter-less delivery.
– Unfortunately this realization occurred after the tube with the filter was down right by my heart, so I underwent the entire procedure.
– Here is my verdict on whether or not the filter placement procedure is “no big deal”: LIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
– Ahem. Allow me to explain: If you are not nine months pregnant while having it done, I’d imagine that it is indeed no sweat. But here’s how it goes when you are nine months pregnant:
They took me into a huge surgical room that was stocked with equipment like it was a NASA control center. I had to lie completely flat on a narrow board. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? But wait! Remember that I am 38 weeks pregnant and my breathing is already compromised from pulmonary embolisms. So when I lie completely flat on my back, the result is that I feel like I am suffocating (and, in fact, I kind of am). Then they put oxygen tubes in my nose. Logically, I knew that this would help me get air; but when you have foreign objects in your nose, your body has a physiological reaction of thinking that you’re being prevented from breathing. So more signals from my body that basically said, “HEEEEEELP! YOU ARE SUFFOCATING TO DEATH!!!!!!”
And then it got worse.
Because they had to go in through my neck, they took a large roll of tarp-like paper and covered the entire area around the entry point, leaving only a hole where they’d do the incision. You know what part of my anatomy is included in the “entire area” around the entry point? My freaking face. They put a circular bar above my head for the paper to rest on so it wouldn’t touch my face, then covered me to the top of my head, leaving only a small opening where I could see out. It was like being zipped into a body bag.
So now I had: 1) a heavy baby basically sitting on top of my 2) already-compromised lungs, 3) my hands were immobilized by my side, 4) foreign objects stuffed in my nose, and 5) my head was covered by a tarp that was just inches away from my face. Did I mention that I’m 6) very claustrophobic?
The result? Total freak-out.
Now, for all of you who’d been praying for me, this is one of the many ways I believe that your prayers worked: As I
whined about mentioned, this procedure was supposed to be done in a hospital with no labor and deliver facility, which means they would refuse to give me any sedation whatsoever. At the very last minute (last minute as in 6:00 PM the day before the procedure), a bunch of craziness played out that moved it to being with a new doctor at my usual hospital. These folks were much more comfortable with everything since this is where my OB is, and so they had no problem giving me plenty of sedation.
The drugs didn’t knock me out, but they made me feel like it was just delightful to be suffocating to death. If I hadn’t had them, I am certain that I would have had a full-on panic attack. It was truly one of the most terrifying moments of my life.
– The night before the procedure we were watching One Man Army, a reality show where men compete in various tests of strength and endurance to see who has the most elite warrior skills. There was a challenge where the guys had to use a hacksaw to get out of a small box while it was filling with cold water. The hacksaw part wasn’t hard; the test was to see if they could keep their wits about them even while it felt like they were drowning in a coffin.
I commented to Joe that I’d like to try that sometime (in safe conditions like the reality show contestants were in, obviously). Sort of like how some people like to undertake physical challenges that test their limits like marathons and mountain climbing and all that other stuff that cannot be done from a desk chair and therefore I know nothing about, I sometimes I like to test myself psychologically. Like, I always thought it would be interesting to be water-boarded for a couple of minutes. I wondered if I would be able to reason my way out of any suffering, and I’d be all like, “See, I’m chill! I used the power of LOGIC to tell myself that there is no real danger here and I’m not really drowning, so therefore I’m juuuuuuuust fine.”
I got my opportunity to have a small taste of all that on Friday during the procedure, and now I know: I would be the biggest, most hysterical, freaking-out wimp in the world in any of those situations. If it is even possible to keep calm when you have multiple physiological indicators screaming at out that you’re suffocating, it is far, far beyond my capacities.
– Anyway. What else?
– I’m reading In the Heart of the Sea, the ultimate book for making you say no matter what your life circumstances, “Well. It could be worse.”
– I’m here in the hospital a day early so that I can be on IV heparin (blood thinners).
– It’s evidently quite a remarkable thing to have a patient on heparin in labor and delivery. The L&D nurses keep having to run over to other parts of the hospital to get supplies, since it’s rare that anyone would ever want a woman’s blood thinned any time near childbirth.
– When the nurse finished getting me set up, she paused before leaving and said, “I’m so sad for you that nobody’s here with you!” I got some comments along those lines when I was in the hospital for the pulmonary embolisms too: I was here for quite a few days, and was alone the majority of the time. It was all fine with me. I didn’t watch TV either. I was totally happy to read and lie around in silence by myself. This isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time?
– We’ll stop blood thinners tomorrow (Monday) morning, and then we’ll induce labor. I’ll have to be totally immobile since I’ll need these crazy boot things on my legs to try to prevent clots from forming, so THE EPIDURAL HAD BETTER WORK THIS TIME (I thought the Epidural Fates might be able to hear me better if I used caps lock there).