Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The second half of Cohen's birth story

I wasn't going to ever really share about what happened after Cohen was born, because in the end everything was ok, and I didn't feel like I needed to dwell on it. But it is the first part of the long, sad story I need to tell about what happened this summer.

In dental school, we all have to spend a week or two shadowing the oral surgeons at the hospital. These are NOT the surgeons who take out wisdom teeth all day. These surgeons are the ones removing cancerous tumours, performing jaw surgery for ortho cases, etc. Your experience varies widely depending on what the schedule is like, which surgeons are around, which residents are around, and what emergencies and cases are coming in. For my rotation, I was really lucky and got to see so much. One of the things I watched was a huge implant case. The patient was a larger middle aged man who was getting the second half of his implants placed. I think they were placing eight this day, and they had placed another eight a few months before. It was a big case. The man was under IV sedation, and I was standing by his waist on the opposite side of the surgeon, trying to see as much as I could. All of a sudden a few minutes into the surgery, the patient started to get really red and swollen, and his vitals started going crazy. I remember watching the blood pressure go down, down, down, until the lower number was under 30. The surgeon started barking orders, yelling to get another blood pressure cuff, to get another surgeon. The room was suddenly full of staff, and I truly thought this patient was going to die. I had never seen anything like this before. I backed out of the room so that the staff could get to the patient better, but really because I didn't want to watch someone die. He didn't die. It was an allergic reaction to the sedative, and he sat in the recovery for hours with ice covering his body.

Years later, I had just gone through labour and delivered a healthy 6 lb baby boy. The doctor was waiting for the placenta to come out, and it wouldn't come. After 45 minutes, the doctor said she had to go and get it. So she put her hands in and pulled it out, but I started bleeding like crazy when it came out. All of a sudden the room was filled with staff, and the doctor was barking orders. One nurse was trying to get an IV in, but she couldn't get it. Other nurses came in the try to help her. The doctor had her hands inside trying to stop the bleed. It was so painful, and I felt so grey. I looked at Jon holding Cohen, and we looked deep into each other's eyes. Later, we told each other that we both thought this might be it for me. I felt at peace because I knew Jon and Cohen would be fine together. Things were so blurry, but eventually they got an IV in. My wrist was covered in bruises afterwards from their efforts. The doctor was able to stop the bleed with the help of IV drugs. It was so much more painful than the actual childbirth. I lost 2 litres of blood. Later the resident came to talk to me. He told me I had a placental abruption, where the placenta adheres to the wall and then has to tear to get off, resulting in a bleed.

So when I got pregnant again, my family doctor immediately referred me to a fetal maternal medicine specialist. This is the person above the OBGYN who deals with more complicated cases. I was booked with her at 12 weeks so she could determine if the placental abruption was going to be a problem this time. Mom came with me since we had just bought the practice so Jon needed to be at the clinic. After going over the chart from Newfoundland, and doing a full ultrasound, she found that there would be no issues. She decided to do my 20 week ultrasound herself, just to be thorough, but she told us that I would probably have a normal pregnancy, and carry the baby to full term. She printed off a bunch of pictures for me to show Jon. I couldn't believe how much the fetus looked like a real baby at 12 weeks. I was expecting a little peanut, but instead the pictures show I beautiful baby. the specialist thought that maybe I would have a retained placenta because the last doctor had to be so rough last time to get the bleeding to stop. She said that maybe they would have to remove my placenta surgically this time, but it would be totally fine, no worries. She also did the nuchal test that helps to determine if the fetus will have Down's syndrome. The baby looked great, and she was so nice, and we were so happy....

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