RECOVERY AT UCSF
Our time recovering in the hospital was intense. I remained on IV medication the first couple of days to treat the pain.
I had nausea and vomiting the first night. The second day the nurses gave me an anti-nausea medicine called Compazine. Little did we all know I was allergic. After taking it I had uncontrollable shivers. I wanted to crawl out of my skin. I threw off my blankets and told the nurses I needed to get out of the room, out of my bed. I couldn't move my legs from the epidural. I felt so claustrophobic, trapped, and my body was shaking violently. I was convulsing on the bed for hours. Technicians came in for ultrasounds and echo-cardiograms. They pushed on my belly with an ultrasound wand where I had just had surgery. I was in hell.
The allergic reaction set our recovery back a full day. On day 3 I started eating solid foods and the team weaned me off of the IV meds, giving me oral medication.
With only one IV connection left in my arm, and the epidural gone, Doctors and nurses reminded me of the importance of staying on top of the oral pain pills. Eric made a chart on the white board noting exact times for my next rounds of medication. As nighttime came, a new nurse arrived. I sat in my bed paging her every 2 hours throughout the night. I was in tears, the pain was so bad. The nurse couldn't get it under control, so I asked to talk to the Doctor. I spent about 6 -7 hours enduring a sharp stabbing in my stomach where my incision was located. I kept paging the nurse for more medication. Finally at 7 a.m. the Doctor came in to talk with me.
An X-ray showed I had a lot of excess fluid backed up into my lungs. I had to do breathing exercises. I asked the Doctor to change my pain medication and he said no. A new nurse came in for the day shift named Kayla. I will never forget her. She saw the condition I was in and brought my medication, to the minute of each hour that I needed it, bringing me back up to speed and out of my hell. At the end of this day, when I was feeling much better, Kayla encouraged me to dangle my feet to the side of the bed and try standing up. I'd been sitting in a bed for four days now. Standing up felt amazing, I shuffled around the room like a penguin, walking.
From there, things got better. The next day I was able to shower and take a wheelchair outside into the garden. On our final day in the hospital I was encouraged to take walks. I wasn't able to stand up straight because it felt like I was stretching my incision in my stomach. Each step became easier the more I moved. A pharmacist delivered eight bottles of medicine for my hospital release. Finally we were discharged and on our way to The Family House.
RECOVERY AT THE FAMILY HOUSE
The Family House was the best experience for us. A brand new building, we had a tiny room with just a bed and dresser. There were common areas for sitting, a kitchen for our food, a game room and more. Eric and I easily fell into a routine. He worked in the sitting room each morning while I relaxed with coffee. We went out once a day, exploring San Francisco in my wheelchair. We had several follow up appointments at the hospital, each time hearing how great baby was doing.
Care packages and cards poured in. They made my day! While we did our best to keep ourselves busy, we had a sense of loneliness and missed our kids like crazy. The Saturday before Mother's Day we Face-Timed the girls and Delaney said to me, "We are going on an airplane to see you." I thought she was joking. But Eric and his parents had coordinated for them to surprise me for Mother's Day. It was just what I needed! The girls thought my wheelchair was the coolest and they loved sleeping in our room. It was an adventure.
The following week, we had a checkup at the hospital. Because recovery was going so well and there weren't signs of preterm labor, we were free to go home. In the airport I sat, waiting for Eric to check our luggage and felt overwhelmed with emotion. I felt panicked, nauseated and like I wanted to cry. I was apprehensive about leaving my "safe place" and we'd been through so much in such a short amount of time. I kept thinking about how going home would be great but different. I couldn't be the mom I needed to be.
RECOVERY AT HOME
The second I saw my daughters, and their smiles, my fears were eased. Eric's mom continued to stay with us since I was on a modified bed rest. My parents also came in town to help. I was able to walk around the house but had to ride the scooter at Target and the grocery store. (Embarrassing to say the least. Each time I backed up in my scooter it made a loud "BEEP BEEP BEEP").
I rested at least once a day. I had appointments with my perinatal specialist and my OBGYN each week to check baby.
After a couple weeks of being home my non-stress tests indicated I was having mild contractions. The Doctors weren't concerned because I couldn't feel them. One morning Eric was out of town on business and I woke up with awful stomach cramps. I realized I was having contractions. I could hardly move. I called my Doctor and she increased a medication for the baby called Nifedapine to help contractions subside. It worked. I continued to be careful. Little did I know that following week our baby would arrive.