Tuesday, October 11, 2011

So thankful.....

Most of you, though not all of you are aware that Zain developed jaundice a few days after his birth. At first I wasn't worried about it at all, since Yasmine had jaundice and the dr's in Canada never even tested her levels, they just told me to feed her constantly and that she would get rid of it through her urine and stools. So I never thought much of it until we went to our 4 day after birth dr's appointment. The dr seemed pretty concerned and wanted to take Zain's blood. He told me to be prepared to have Zain admitted to the hospital for 3 days to undergo photo therapy. I still wasn't worried, but I guess that is my own ignorance of jaundice and how it works.

We received a phone call about 2 hours later stating that Zain's levels were high and that we should admit him. The dr. isn't the one who phoned, it was the lab technician and she didn't say it was an emergency. We called a few friends who have been through this here and Junayd and I decided to bring Zain in the morning, and that I would continue nursing him frequently and put him in sunlight in the morning.

What Junayd and I weren't told, was that jaundice can take on a more serious case in second born babies whose blood type matches the mothers. Zain and I were both A+, and apparently it's a physiological reaction. This was NOT specified to us nor were we told it was urgent to take him in that night.

When we finally were admitted, they took blood from Zain again and his levels had risen 4 points over night. He had to be fitted with an IV and start 24/7 photo therapy. It was heartwrenching. I was already experiencing mild postpartum depression (just crying at the drop of a hat), which I never experienced after Yasmine's birth, even with the death of my mother.  Zain was such a trooper and the nurses made me leave when they inserted the IV. I guess mothers can get a little frantic seeing that, and I know I would have probably freaked out. I had an iv for both Yasmine's and Zain's birth and it was painful and uncomfortable. I could hear him crying, and I sat with Yasmine  on the other side of the room, I had to try and remain stoic for her, because I didn't want to freak her out.  She was with us the whole day, as both my in-laws were working. And Junayd and I didn't want her to get scared seeing us both so worried.

Finally we were brought to our private room and waiting for us there was this cold, hard table, that my baby had to lay on in a diaper, all alone. The bottom was glass and there was a light underneath and a light over top. The kicker, was when they fitted Zain with baby cotton goggles that he had to wear the whole time as to not hurt his eyes. When they put him in this bed, he cried so hard and I couldn't do much to soothe him other than sing to him and hold his hand. Seeing him in this "bed" made my knees buckle and I had to go to the bathroom and cry so that Yasmine wouldn't be worried. It was hard to control my emotions.

The worst news was yet to come when the dr. came by to our room and told us if Zain't levels didn't go down 4 points he would need a blood transfusion. This was when all hell broke loose and I could not even control my tears at this point. What kind of blood would they get for my child? I was in a developing country where I didn't know their practices and principles on blood testing. The dr.s told us if we wanted a friend to donate we would need to be prepared for the worst and have the blood ready to go in the 3 hours we had until the test would be retaken. After crying and freaking out and literally getting on my knees to pray, Junayd and I went into action. I got on the phone and called my bestest girlfriend here in Hyderabad Tracy. I needed someone to coordinate stuff at the hospital, and get on the phone to our friends to find a+ candidates who could donate blood for Zain. We were told no relatives could donate due to some reason with jaundice. Junayd's manager from him work came over as soon as he heard the news from Junayd and both of them were on the phone to friends. Tracy was the the hospital almost minutes after I told her the news.

When I moved to India I had no idea the group of friends I would make here and how importnat they would all become at this very moment. 2 of my friends, Helen and Robyn and one of their husband's, Terrence rushed to the blood bank who were a+ to get screened and tested and 2 of Junayd's friends were on their way to the blood bank as well. In the meantime, Junayd and his friend Navneet rushed to the blood bank to coordinate the possible candidates there. Tracy pretty much took control at the hospital and frantically was the middle man between Junayd and the dr's and nurses at the hospital making sure all the info was given to the blood bank and also was on the phone with friends searching for a+ blood.

One of my friends Kris, who has 2 of her own children rushed to the hospital with snacks and toys for Yasmine.  I had prepared nothing because I thought Junayd would just take Yasmine home. We did not anticipate this news. Kris had brought a portable dvd player with Dora, blocks for her to play with, yogurt and fruit and snacks for us in the hospital. Tracy had also rushed home and got diapers for Yasmine and Zain, her breast pump (in case he did get the transfusion) and toothbrushes and body wash for me, because I was not leaving that hospital for one second.
I just don't know what I would have done without these wonderful women. The ones who went to the blood bank and the ones who came to the hospital to help and hold my hand. It was overwhelming. I never thought I'd meet and make such great friends here, and it was in this time of need that I really saw how special these women are.
My mother-in-law was also there and sat by my side throughout this as well, and the next day she came with a whole slew of food for us for lunch and dinner. It was extremely thoughtful, but I also know that she suffered alongside us as well.

The hardest part was calling my family and telling them the news, because I knew they were aching for Junayd and I, and wanted to be here to help us through it. My dad remained calm and kept me calm and my sister cried with me and allowed me to feel the pain I was feeling.  I never thought I'd feel the way I felt when my mother died, but this was almost worse. Seeing your own child who was only 5 days old go through this pain, and possibly have a blood transfusion was agonizing.

The best news of the day came around 930pm, when we were told that Zain's levels went down 4 points and that he would not need the blood transfusion. It was the best news I could have heard.  I immediately called Junayd who was still at the blood bank and told him the great news! We were all so relieved.

Over the next day Zain's levels came down slowly and after 2 nights in the hospital his levels came down so much that we were released in 2 days instead of 3. Those days and nights in the hospital were long, but Junayd, who took yasmine home at night came and spent the day with me and brought Yasmine and we made it as bearable as possible. Junayd was a rock and really came through for me and took over with Yasmine so I could be there for Zain. The only time he could come out of the light was bed was when I was nursing him. It was so hard not to cuddle him for hours, but I knew it was best for him to get as much of the light as possible.  The doctor said most babies don't even sleep much for the treatments and she thought Zain was amazing, because he slept a lot of the time. But if you know my husband....a real sleeper!! I didn't get much sleep because after every nursing session it took me a while to console him once he was back in that bed. And I didn't blame him...it looked extremely uncomfortable.

I'm so thankful it's all over, and I have him home with us and he is doing fantastic. We took him to the dr's today and there is no more signs of jaundice.

I'm also so thankful to everyone who helped out, it meant the world to Junayd and I and made this whole terrifying ordeal so much easier to deal with. I am so lucky to have such great caring friends and family. Also I am thankful to the wonderful nurses and doctors at Rainbow hospital who did everything they could to make this easier on Junayd and I and who took great care of our son.

I know the saying that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger....but I have enough strength now for a lifetime..I don't need anymore.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

He's here!! And all the nitty gritty details...

Zain Samuel Ahmed has arrived!! A little earlier than expected, but healthy nonetheless. Born at 532pm, on September 30th, weighing 7.2 pounds and 21 inches long.

Here's how it all went down.....

I have been keeping track of my blood pressure at home throughout most of my pregnancy, due to white coat syndrome (higher numbers at doctor's office) we thought in order to get the most accurate readings was to do it myself.  I emailed my doctor once a week with the results taken morning and night. On my last visit to the dr's, which was on September 28th, I told her that I was noticing my BP slowly moving up. She still didn't seem worried, and told me she'd check my urine for protein and check my blood for liver function and uric acid. They found protein in the urine, and it's a sign of pre-eclampsia. She wanted to wait until getting the blood work done but she told me if my blood pressure reached 100 (the bottom number) to come in immediately.

The next morning, when I checked it was 150/104 and when I checked it again 5 minutes later, expecting it to go down as it usually does, it was 150/110. I quickly emailed her, woke up my husband and told him to get ready to go to the hospital. My dr. emailed back immediately and said, pack a bag, we're inducing you today. And that my blood pressure was going up too quickly.

We arrived at the hospital, and they set me up and check my blood pressure, it had gone up to 160/120, so they put an iv in my hand and I was introduced  me to the anesthesiologist, who was WONDERFUL. She never stressed me out and she was extremely vigilant with a terrific bed side manner. I was worried but she constantly told me they would do everything possible to make sure they stabilized my BP. The drugs they gave me in the iv worked for about 30 minutes, then it shot back up again, and it took almost 4 hours to stabilize me. They even called in another anesthesiologist for a consultation. I was given magnesium sulphate which had the weirdest side effect. It made the entire inside of my body feel like it was on fire. It was the oddest feeling but went away quickly. Finally, my BP was stable and it stayed that way until I delivered Zain. But it was quite scary, and I could sense the tension from the anesthesiologists and my OB.

Meanwhile, my OB had started inserting some kind of tablet into my cervix to start the dilation process and to soften the cervix. So my labor started around 4pm on the 29th with minor contractions. They would check every 4 hours and keep re-inserting this tablet. After about 12 hours, and still only at a 1, feeling completely deflated I asked her about other means. My OB said this was the most natural way to induce me without giving me a harsher drug like pitocin. So I trusted her and let her continue to do what she thought was best.

Finally, around 11am on the 30th, I started to go into active labour and quickly dilated to a 4 in about an hour. I hadn't eaten anything since the day before at 2pm, so i was weak and tired. I was only allowed water and some fruit juice. By about 330pm I had reached 10cm, but this time I didn't have that urge to push like with Yasmine. But I started pushing anyway, and the OB (my actual OB was stuck at another part of town and couldn't get to the hospital because of political protests and agitations on the streets), told me that the baby hadn't come down and that I would need to really push to bring him down. After pushing for an hour, I was ready to faint. I was exhausted and the baby hadn't moved down. And I was in excruciating pain. I opted not to have the epidural, so I felt it ALL.  Another OB was asked to come help who had been in constant communication with my OB, and they told me they would give me a mild dose of pitocin to help bring the baby down. They needed to hurry to get him out because his heart rate was going down. I was freaking out. The thought of even 10 more minutes of contractions or pushing was putting me completely over the edge and I just wanted my baby to come safely. Thankfully Junayd was a great coach and motivator and really helped me focus and get through it.  I was exhausted, and I wanted to pain to be over. After about 15 minutes I had that urge to push that I remember having with Yasmine, and in about 3 pushes I finally delivered our baby. I didn't have to have an episiotomy nor did I tear, so no stitches at all!!

They quietly put the baby on my stomach, and Junayd and I looked at our baby and then looked at each other and said, "It's a boy." What a wonderful surprise.

All in all, it was a difficult and painful delivery, but absolutely rewarding. My first thoughts after the delivery was, thank God I do not have to do this again and thank God this is over!!  It was the most difficult thing i have ever done in my life and I am thankful for getting the chance to experience giving birth twice.

Here is a picture of our little prince. We are just so in love with him, and his big sister can't stop kissing him. My family is complete.