Thursday, 30 August 2012

Pregnancy and birth story - Part II

Okay, part 2 - where were we?  Oh right ... I was crying :)

Typically of how life goes, the day after we were informed that I had a potentially fatal pregnancy complication - and the OB who I should "urgently" consult with was not available until after the weekend - was the day we were moving to a new condo.  I had been packing all week, trying to keep the heavy work to the absolute minimum, which meant that after I filled a box I called my boyfriend over to shift it the four feet out of the kitchen to the "box collection area" in the living room (it was a small place, there was little "shifting" required!)

We only had my brother to help - fortunately he has the ability to be more productive than 5 men put together, but it was definitely a lot for my husband to handle.  We also have the dog - the very neurotic dog who hates moving with a violent passion and does whatever he possibly can to communicate that deep loathing (barking nonstop, sitting on top of/in front of suitcases and boxes, walking very slowly in front of you to prevent you from getting out the door with said suitcase/box - or at least prevent you from getting out the door without tripping and risking serious injury!)

The simple matter of what to do with the dog while they were trying to move things was a logistical nightmare.  I alternated between holding him on a leash and locking him in the bathroom.  The latter was a terrible choice because he would bark and scratch frantically at the doorframe and the linoleum, trying to escape to prevent us from leaving him.  The former also stank on ice, because I was also the designated door opener/holder (we'd bought doorstops at the dollar store.  Don't do that, okay kids?  They fit under the door quite nicely, but completely failed to hold it - just slid docilely along the floor while the door slowly closed.  You could practically hear them saying "I'm the door stop.  I'm here to stop the door.  Oh, you want to close, door?  Hmm.  Well, I'm not really expensive enough to stop you.  I'm like an underpaid bodyguard - do you think I'm going to leap immediately into the path of that bullet if there's $1700 a week in it for me?  I'll tell you what I WILL do.  I'm just going to slow you down very slightly so that everyone can see that I know what I'm designed to do and yet, just can't be bothered.")  Every try carrying a 100 lb sofa through a tiny narrow doorway and equally narrow hallway while your 8-months pregnant girlfriend tries to take up as little space as possible while also warding off the panicked, hyper leaping dog who seems to be trying to get up ONTO the sofa even as you cart it out?  Yeah, I don't recommend it.  It was funny to me, but I had to save the laughter for when the boys were well down the hallway, or else I would have been in mortal danger.

Inevitably I found myself trying to hurry things along.  I reasoned carefully before I picked up a box:  "Okay, this is sort of light-to-medium-heavy, so I'll just half pick it up and half shuffle this one.  But this one's light - we'll just quickly pop that over to the car...." then I'd try to pass my husband in the hallway and he'd grab the box away from me, his expression scolding, and I'd mock pout and return to the rapidly (but not quite rapidly enough for me) emptying condo.


Why am I telling you about this?  Let me back up a tiny bit more.  In the year we'd been living together my soon-to-be-husband was also completing his university degree, job-hunting, and dealing with a very unexpected pregnancy.  The combined workload was so much stress for my boy that he ended up developing a case of shingles in late March.  And after much arguing about what we were capable of (me, pregnant, and him, at school) and what kind of jobs he was looking for, we finally came to make a simple vow:  "We will not be greedy".  He wouldn't pursue jobs that were big money but possibly a level up from his current experience and education, because not getting the job also meant he wasn't getting any other job from that company for at least a year while his 'rejected application' made it's way through their hiring cycle.  He wouldn't take on a massive course load because finishing something 3 months ahead of schedule wasn't worth the risk of NOT finishing it - or worse, failing a course.  And we would just take every pregnancy milestone as calmly and happily as humanly possible.

The weekend after we moved I got a call at 8 am on Monday morning from the OB to whom my case had been referred.  They asked me to come in an hour later to see the OB, adding rather cryptically that I had been a last-minute addition to the schedule 'given my case'.

My heart was pounding as I went into the office and met the OB, who was a tanned, lean woman with very velvety brown eyes, and looking into them I felt my heart rate normalize a little.
She held the closed file in her hands and leaned forward in the small exam room.  "Okay, so first thing - you need to be in a hospital.  The reality of this condition is that if you go into labour and these vessels rupture, your baby can bleed out in less than 5 minutes."  (Let me interject that the OB was wonderfully calm.  Somehow she managed to impart the intense urgency of the situation without scaring me to death, and allowed the decision to feel like something I made while fully informed, not blind with terror.)
She continued, "Now, I can deliver your baby right now.  We can do a test and check on the baby's lung development and if we're assured they will function outside the womb, we deliver as soon as tomorrow."  I don't think I replied immediately to this statement.  The only thing I remember distinctly is that my lips had instantaneously gone completely numb - such a strange sensation.
"But we can also wait and see, but either way you need to be in the hospital.  Right now.  Are you all right with being admitted today?  It's right across the street."

I remember agreeing to be admitted, and she pushed to her feet, and it was like someone had hit the play button twice and everything had sped up to double time.  This woman was filling in for the regular OB who was on holidays, and as she went out front to consult with the office manager you could sense that she was wishing for the comfort of her own office and her own staff.  A polite, slightly deferential tone crept into her voice as she said "We need to get this woman into the hospital, as soon as possible.  Can you call over please and make the arrangements?  I assume you have access to the right channels for this - if not I can make the call - can you let me know?"  My heart rate had accelerated again, and I was starting to feel like I needed to sit down.

Truthfully though?  Despite the numb lips, racing heart, and the spots flashing at the edges of my vision, a part of me was thinking - what the heck kind of craziness is this?  I don't need a hospital.  And the baby does NOT need to come early.  This is insane.  I am just going to go home and go to bed and everything will be fine.

The OB looked back over, then abruptly took my purse away from me, hefting it in her hands to check the weight.  "Okay, Stefanie is going to take care of you now.  You can go home and gather up some things but I want you to be careful.  NO heavy lifting.  Your husband does Everything.  I'm not even happy about the weight of this purse right now."  She handed it back to me and I carefully slipped it back over my shoulder, trying to do so in the most ergonomic, non-womb-impacting way.

Then she looked me in the eyes and said "You know what I tell my patients?  We will not be greedy."

Well.

I was going to the hospital.

15 minutes later I was home, making lists.  The boy came in and heard the story and started offering the same arguments my panicked brain had come up with.  "You don't need to be in the hospital.  Just go to bed.  They are just trying to avoid a lawsuit, that's all, and all you need is to take it easy.  We've just moved. We haven't even unpacked.  The dog will have a meltdown!  You can't go!"

I looked at him and said "Honey, you know that won't work.  This whole weekend I did WAY too much, I know it.  And the OB said my purse was too heavy - and that's the smallest purse I own!  We can't afford to take any risks."

He just looked at me, unconvinced.

"Honey, she actually said the words - 'we will not be greedy' - " and as I watched his expression changed immediately from faintly militant to resigned.

"What time do you need to be at the hospital?"**

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

** Now, while he did say this, leaving the story there makes him sound almost preternaturally calm, so let me add one little story to put this into perspective :)

Before we went to the hospital I googled "what to bring for a hospital stay" and decided we needed to go shopping - I needed socks and Junior mints and trail mix, and we needed a lock for my laptop, and other myriad things to make the stay a little easier.

We went to the mall.  Because the OB had said those magical words I felt completely confident that we were doing the right thing, so I chattered happily about the appointment, how dramatic it felt.

He got a coffee from Starbucks and had about five sips before tossing it out, complaining "It is way too strong.  I don't handle caffeine very well."

I mentioned how the OB had said "I can deliver the baby as soon as this afternoon." 

He described how the coffee had been way too hot and too sweet.  "I can feel my heart racing from all the sugar."

I talked about how the baby might have the same birthday as my sister (a week from that day).

He said "I don't know why they put skylights all over the mall.  The sunlight is way too hot.  I'm sweating in here.  It's like a greenhouse."

I said "I mean, it seems really soon, but we were only expecting to wait another 7 weeks anyway.  That time would have flown by."

He said "I think I need to eat something.  I don't feel well - I think my blood sugar is crashing.  I don't think I've eaten all day - except for lunch."

I looked at him and laughed.  "You ate lunch like 20 minutes ago!"

"It's the coffee, I'm telling you, I don't handle caffeine well on an empty stomach," he protested.

"Your stomach isn't empty!" I proclaimed as we grabbed a bottle of all-natural, hypoallergenic laundry detergent.  "Now listen, you need to wash all the baby clothes we have - and the baby blankets, using THIS detergent, before the baby is born.  Okay?"

He stared uncomprehendingly at the bottle.  "What?  It is way too loud in here.  I can't even hear you talking!"

[Are you starting to figure out what I was so clueless about?]

It wasn't until he started complaining that we were walking too fast - "I can't even breathe!  That coffee was way too strong!" that I actually looked at him closely.  Very belatedly I realized that his face was grey, and indeed, very sweaty.

"Okay, let's go eat something," I agreed, and we walked as quickly as his protesting lungs would allow us to a pancake house located at the front entrance of the mall.

Once we were seated and the waitress was bringing a massive order of food and orange juice - "STAT!" - I tried to help.

"I know it's scary, but I promise, it'll be okay."

"I don't know what you're talking about.  I was just hungry.  My blood sugar was crashing.  I told you.  I don't handle caffeine well."

"Okay, honey."


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All right, there apparently will be a part 3 - and probably part 4 - before the story is done.  If anyone is reading this, please know I'm not writing all of this because I think you'll love reading this in all its excruciating detail - I'm trying to record it while I still remember everything!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Losing the ability to talk to other people….


So I took Anu down to the 2nd floor terrace of our condo for his afternoon constitutional.  A few weeks ago we had a mortifying incident where he escaped from me and proceeded to go bonkers over a kid with a small bicycle who was fooling around on the terrace.  Not at the kid, at the bike.  But it went on forever – even after the kid dropped it Anu kept circling the bike and barking at it like he suspected it of being a particularly malevolent, sentient-type bike that was just.about.to.display its true colours – y’know, like picking itself back off the ground and attacking me, the kid, and Lior … very proactive of him, really.

I couldn’t get him to stop barking and come back to me no matter what - and I am not exaggerating when I say I think ten minutes went by with me hugging the kid’s shoulders (he was terrified, poor thing) while trying to say sternly and authoritatively – “Anu, no.  Stop.  Down.  Sit.  Come.  Leave it.  Go play.  Stop.  Down….”

I know it was a long time because in the end we were rescued by a woman who lived on the THIRD floor, heard the ruckus, looked out, and correctly interpreted we needed help.  The second she walked out Anu abandoned the bicycle and ran up to her, tail wagging.  Very careless of him.  I swear the bicycle wheel had just started to turn on its own and there he goes, turning his back on it ….

Anyway, the incident was both embarrassing and incredibly frustrating, and is always at the forefront of my mind when we go out to … promenade (my husband and I are always coming up with new euphemisms because Anu keeps learning the old ones and our painfully casual conversations when he gets home from work about whether or not Anu has “had an adventure in the wilds today?” prompt an excited, deafening round of barks).  So today it was the first thing I thought of as I snapped on the lead and Anu excitedly twirled around Lior and I on his way to the elevator.

[Now let me just back up a bit and say that just this morning I was thinking about the fact that I’m doing DARN GOOD at this at-home-mama thing.  I’m out and about and I haven’t once screeched at at my husband for having NO IDEA how hard I work at home.  I think I’m still interesting and engaged in the world, at least a little.  All those things people say about women who go out in public with spit up on their shirts and can't stop themselves from cutting up other people's food into bite-sized pieces ... lies, all lies.  I have got this shit DOWN!  Y'know what they say about pride, right?  Yeah.  I was pretty proud of me until about an hour ago.]

So today we head out to the terrace and I see two young boys who appear to be having a wrestling match on the opposite end of the green.  I look down at Anu, who looks a little too interested in joining in as the referee of said match, and tell him, “Nope, sorry pal, you’ll have to stay on your lead for now.”

We start walking around the opposite side of the terrace.  Anu keeps dropping his ball in my path and cocking his head at me like “Hey, this is how we play, remember?  What’s your deal, lady?”

“Nope, you’re staying on lead.  There are kids on this terrace.  And you know kids,” I continue, conversationally, feeling lighthearted and witty – “It’s all fun and games, and then out of nowhere, one of them pulls out a bicycle.”

Anu shakes his head, looking very unimpressed by this absurd thought, and goes to “waltz” with some flowers.

At this point another woman comes bounding (literally, bounding) out the door of the terrace with her dog, who is off leash.

Now for the non-dog owners out there, having your dog ON a leash in a leash-free area means that your dog is NOT good with other dogs, to the point that it may be dangerous.  The woman, observing Anu’s state of captivity (or rather, the nearly taut length of leash disappearing into the bushes where Anu is still “interacting naturally”) immediately leaps to the conclusion that Anu is one of those unfriendly dogs and says “Oh, sorry,” and reaches for her dog to put him back onto the lead she has in her hand.

“Oh no,” I hasten to reassure her.  “No, it’s fine.  He’s fine.  I just … I thought there was a bicycle.”

The woman looks at me quizzically and then looks towards the other end of the terrace, where the boys now appear to be engaged in a cartwheeling contest.  Not a bicycle wheel in sight.  Her face, when she turns back to me, is both kind and concerned.  The sort of look I’d expect to give someone I run into at the mall who is dressed in slippers and a bathrobe.

“No, I just thought … You know, that there might be a bicycle.  Someday.  Soon.  Or maybe hidden, but – there could always be a bicycle, right?”  My voice gets a little high at the end, and I can feel desperation creeping in.  Anu got it.  Anu knew what I was talking about, and yet even he’s no help, sitting there, looking polite and friendly and not at all like a psychotic dog who suspects that all small objects with wheels harbor capabilities for acts of mass destruction, which is kept in check only by furious non-stop barking, by Him, Anu, mankind’s only protection from the evil bicycles.

She gives me a rather tense smile, then calls her dog.  “Sammy.  Sammy!”  Then again, urgently – “SAMMY!  HERE!  NOW!”

She snaps the leash back on and heads back off the terrace without looking back. 

I *barely* suppress the urge to say “Was it something I said?”

Friday, 3 August 2012

Pregnancy story (to be followed by birth story) - Part I

I had my daughter 11 weeks ago now via planned c-section.  I refuse to use the word "elective" even though that's the box they checked on the form at the hospital, because it sounds frivolous and implies that I had a choice - I did not!  I was there at the birth of my sister's firstborn, a homebirth so perfect that the midwives kept exclaiming afterwards "I wish we'd taped that!  I want to show that to every woman considering homebirth because THAT is how it's supposed to go!"
I knew before I got pregnant that I wanted to have a birth at home, and even managed to get my highly skeptical husband on board with the idea (well, at least, he grudgingly said, "Well, since you're the one HAVING the baby, I guess you should have the say in how it happens" - hmmm, simple truth for the doctors and hospitals to take to heart, huh?)
But ... my homebirth was not to be.

We're - Pregnant!

I knew to the day when I got pregnant and had my first symptoms less than four days later.  I was in my office having a very important meeting with an accountant when I was suddenly swamped with a wave of dizziness that almost knocked me over.  That night I had the same sensation while talking to my husband (boyfriend, at the time) - this time it was so strong that I ended up sitting abruptly on the floor in the middle of the sentence.  My boyfriend said one word - "Pregnant?" and I scoffed at him (not because I thought he was wrong but because I didn't know I WANTED to be pregnant until that first wave of dizziness that afternoon, and suddenly I wanted it so badly I couldn't bear to say "yes" and then be disappointed.  Also, he has this incredibly irritating ability to be right on the money about some things - things he knows absolutely nothing about - and I try to ignore that ability as much as possible - y'know, to keep his head the correct size).

The entire theme for this whole pregnancy was going to turn out to be "don't judge other people" - something I wouldn't start to see until much later.  And this was going to be my first lesson in that.  I'd read stories about women who took a pregnancy test too early and then got a negative result.  I had been so scornful of those women - "How hard can it be to read the instructions!  And wait a few days, for pity's sake, before taking it, just to be sure!"

Well, what do you know, I did the same damn thing.  Turns out it's really easy to do, even if you're smart and read the instructions and understand why they tell you to wait - because you're really excited and anxious and you can't even begin to predict the start of your next cycle because they've been all over the place for your entire life.

So - I got my negative result - beat myself up sideways for thinking two dizzy spells = pregnancy, and went outside and walked my dog in the park while I tried not to cry (failed, so was very grateful I didn't run into anybody!)  I told my boyfriend, "nope, not pregnant" and tried not to cry while he looked vastly relieved and tried not to look it (we both failed).

Still, for the next week or too I felt odd - to the point that I was voluntarily foregoing my morning coffee, which for me was a dramatic sacrifice.  Then one Saturday morning I work up early because I *HAD* to clean the entire house and organize every closet, and when I was down I showered off all the grit and grime and dog hair and drove straight to the pharmacy for another test - this time I sprang for the pricier one that also indicated how many weeks along the pregnancy was.

The next morning I woke up very early and took the test.  Then I walked very slowly into the bedroom and woke up my soundly sleeping boyfriend to show him the results in the window - "Pregnant" it said in the lower left hand corner; "three weeks" floated in the top right hand corner.  The second I saw that he'd read it and woken up enough to understand it (poor guy!) I burst into tears, and he just folded me up into a hug and held me for a long time, saying "it's going to be okay" over and over again.  

In retrospect I don't know if he was reassuring me or himself, but it worked (for me!)

9 Weeks - Testing

At 9 weeks I went in for a CVS as I carry a major genetic disease.  I knew somewhere deep down that the baby was a girl, and she was just fine, but my boyfriend wanted a little more reassurance than "I know in my heart" so off to the hospital I went.  This was my first experience having any kind of procedure in a hospital, and I remember thinking "This is so clinical.  Hmmm.  I'm sure glad I won't have to be in the hospital again!  Yay homebirth!"

The doctors told me it would be about a 3 week wait for results, which meant we were scheduled to hear back on December 24th.  I kept asking about holidays - "when do they take holidays?  How long are they off?" - terrified because I was sure they'd all be skipping merrily off to have a great old Christmas & New Year while I shivered in a ball on the sofa, chewing my nails and twitching, waiting for the phone to ring.

The day after the procedure the doctor called me and let me know that they'd gotten a rather small sample size and that they had to "grow it" before testing it or the results would be inconclusive.  She apologized, because that would add another 3 weeks to the delay for results.

I hung up the phone and cried.

All I wanted to do was be HAPPY about the pregnancy!  To take "before" belly shots and pretend to have food cravings and wander through the baby section at the stores, feeling all the baby blankets for softness and welling up at the incredibly tininess of the little outfits.  Now she was telling me that I had to wait until the middle of January?  Six weeks?

Two weeks later I was at work and realized my phone was beeping.  I checked it and it said I had missed a call from a number I didn't recognize.  I took the phone into the bathroom with me (yep, I do that! sorry kids!) and was in the middle of trying to figure out who it was from when it rang again.  I fumbled with it and almost dropped it into the toilet while answering (then almost hung up the call after answering it!).

It was the doctor.  Inexplicably she had results already - a week earlier than originally projected (to this day I have no idea how the got results so quickly).  All was fine - we were having a girl and there was absolutely nothing to worry about.

20 Weeks - Worrying

The pregnancy progressed normally.  Despite a lot of stress at home (boyfriend was still a student and wasn't expecting to finish school until 2 months before my due date - unplanned pregnancy was pretty scary for him!) I was doing really well.  I didn't even have morning sickness or anything, unless you count a peculiar aversion to anything with noodles that lasted for the first half of the pregnancy.  Anything I ate - pasta, soup, even my beloved pad thai - if it contained noodles, especially long, skinny noodles, it was a no-go for me (I shouldn't complain, all I had to do was stop eating noodles, but somehow I kept feeling the urge to test it -- "hmm, can I eat ... pad sew?  Let's try.  Um, nope, that's not a happy thing for me.  Scratch pad sew off the list.  Hey, what about macaroni and cheese?")

At 20 weeks I went for our routine obstetrical detail ultrasound and the ultrasound tech spent a lot of time saying "hmm" and going back for second and third glances.  Finally she let me know that the placenta was a lot more low-lying than they would like, a marginal previa, and that very likely I would have to be back again at 31 or 32 weeks to check again.  Odds were pretty good everything would move up the way it was supposed to and I'd get to have that homebirth I wanted.

I went home and woke up my boyfriend to tell him (the u/s had been scheduled for the ungodly hour of 7:15 am on a Saturday).  I ended up in tears (hmm, I'm starting to notice a trend here.  Truly, I am not THAT much of a leaky faucet, I just cried at all the points that are worth relaying for this story!)

"I'm gonna have to have a c-section!!" I sobbed.  

He was deeply unimpressed.  "Didn't you say the u/s tech said that it was a 95% chance things would go back to normal?"  

-- hiccup -- "Ye- yes, but ..." 

"Then let's just wait and see, okay?"

31 Weeks - Scared

I went for the followup scan and this time my boyfriend came with me. He'd finished exams the day before, and sleep deprivation and euphoria/relief combined to make him willing to come along, even though this scan was also set for 7:15 am.  I had been told I was allowed to reschedule the exam if I wanted, but as I'd learned the last time, it wasn't that terrible.  The hospital was quiet and empty at that time (well, the medical imaging department was, anyway) and the techs were relaxed, able to give you a lot of time and attention.  As it would turn out this was very lucky, as we needed to have a very fresh pair of eyes on the screen that morning.

The u/s tech was named Janet.  She invited me in, and told my boyfriend that he could come in after a few minutes for the "guided tour" of the baby.

As ever the first part of the scan was quiet and tense.  I chattered about how I really wanted a home birth and was hoping the placenta had moved outta the way, and she smiled and nodded - and then abruptly she was less smiley.  I fell silent as she continued to move the wand around over a shadowy area that looked like nothing to me (I'd had several scans at this point and fancied myself at least a little aware of what they were looking at in terms of the baby, but she wasn't looking at the baby).  Then she excused herself and told me to to clean myself up and put on a hospital gown to pop over to the washroom, and told me to stop by "my hubby" on the way to let him know he'd be invited in very shortly.  I came back and she took even more scans and pictures before excusing herself to go get my boyfriend, and also check the computer to make sure that the scans had come through properly so that she could forward them to the doctor.

15 minutes later she came back, with my boyfriend in tow, and sat down without a word to give us our guided tour.  She was very thorough and sweet and calm, but I was incredibly tense.  My boyfriend could sense it, and finally asked the tech about the u/s.  "Did the - thing - you know - move out of the way?"

The tech looked torn.  She said, "I'm sorry, but I'm not able to say.  I'm not a doctor.  But I did send your scans to be reviewed, so your midwife can tell you in a couple of days."

My boyfriend pressed on.  "But can't you say if the - thing - moved?  You could see, right?  Because Jessica really wants to have a natural birth."

The tech looked very sad, pressing her lips together.  "I really can't say."

Then I realized that she was shaking her head, very slowly, from left to right, her expression tragically eloquent.

My boyfriend seemed to notice it too, and asked again - "Can she have a homebirth?"

She still didn't answer - not out loud - but her head kept shaking - "No."

We drove to Tim Hortons (why, I have no earthly idea) and I ordered a very large decaf coffee and a very large doughnut.  (Oh right, I remember why.  I was depressed and wanted a doughnut! I had been largely gluten-free for the last four years so this was a big crazy splurge for me!)

At this point I was sure I had placenta previa, so as I ate my doughnut, I read article after article on my phone while my boyfriend sat there patiently, listening to me read random sentences off random articles.  I think I posted something on Facebook about how "things don't work out anything close to the way you planned".  Concerned friends messaged me immediately "Is everything okay with the baby?" and gave me a much-needed kick in the pants.  I quickly updated the status "The baby is fine!  I am fine!" and emailed them back to explain what had happened.  I realized that we were incredibly lucky.  Up until that point there was nothing to indicate that anything was wrong and even though something wasn't 100% "normal" the baby was fine, I was fine, and I was in the care of some really excellent experts.  One truly spectacular friend emailed me a list of things that she thought were positive aspects of a c-section (while it's hard to find information on placenta previa that won't scare the pants offa you, it's even harder to find anyone posting about c-sections that isn't judgemental or determined to convince you NOT to have a section because if you DO have a section you obviously don't care if your child is sickly or brain damaged or what have you) which I read over and over again for the next week or two.

32 weeks - Referred

I had an appointment the following week with my midwife.  I went in fully expecting her to say "Well, you're in the 5% of women whose placenta does NOT move up and out of the way."

Instead she started with "I know you were really hoping for a homebirth - but it is just not in the cards for you for this pregnancy."

I sat still, my heart in my throat.

She continued, "what your scans showed was not placenta previa.  It is actually something called vasa previa with a ...."

She kept talking and I honestly don't know what else she said.  There was this dull humming in my ears, and only the occasional words broke through - "velamentous cord insertion" (what?) "c-section" - "hospital" - "referral" - "obstetrician" - "urgent".  All I could think about was that I needed to get out of there and get onto Google (such a bad idea, btw, there is a LOT of scary stuff out there about vasa previa).  I left and I was still in the fog, but I heard her tell me that while they (the midwives) would still be taking care of me, they'd also be referring me to an obstetrician, and that I should expect to have an appointment over the next few days.  She cautioned me against lifting heavy things, against stress, and against sex, and I wandered out the door.

Inexplicably I went to the store and bought soft white rolls, lettuce, roast turkey, and sweet mustard.  All I could think about was eating a giant sandwich - yes, I am definitely a carb addict - which worked out well since for me, coping with bad news usually involved a glass of wine or two - carbs were a nice pregnancy-safe substitution!  I came home with all my groceries, made myself a sandwich, and ate it without tasting it at all, then went into the bedroom to wake up my boyfriend (noticing a pattern here?  He's not a layabout, I swear, I just had a lot of very early appointments) with the news that yes, my homebirth had turned into a hospital c-section - and that we had reason to be worried now.

I imagine I cried :)

.... to be continued .....