BSparl's Birthday: Part Three.
My last entry, about the birth of my daughter, was simply about her. About how she joined our family and how much we loved her even before we heard her cry. I didn't want to focus on all the diabetes crap because it paled in comparison to becoming her mom.
Diabetes was definitely in the mix of things. Of course, right? So here's the gist on how diabetes played into BSparl's birthday.
After she arrived and I was sewn back up, I don't remember a whole lot. I know I ended up in a recovery room in the labor and delivery department of Beth Israel, but how I got there is a mystery to me. As I was preparing to write this post, I had my head in my hands. Chris came over.
"What's the matter?"
"Dude. I clearly remember going into the operating room, and I remember all the moments about her birth, but I have no idea how I got into the recovery room. Did she come with us? Did they ever take her away from us? I think I was in a fog after the delivery."
So Chris filled me in on what my brain missed. Apparently, we all stayed in the operating room together. The nurses took BSparl at first to clean her off, but after that, she was with her mom and dad until we all left the OR. Chris told me that I was moved from the surgical table to a hospital bed, and BSparl was in a glass-walled bassinet on wheels. When the surgical team was finished putting me back together, I was wheeled down the hallway to the recovery room, and my baby followed.
I was completely in a fog, but Chris told me that the baby was removed from the recovery room for about 15 minutes so they could take her to the nursery and test her blood sugar. I remember when they returned - the nurse said that BSparl's blood sugar was 20 mg/dl. They seemed somewhat casual about that number (I guess a baby's blood sugar is most often close to 60 mg/dl, so 20 mg/dl wasn't enough to send them scrambling.) However, I wasn't able to wrap my head around that concept. I knew what 20 mg/dl felt like, and my heart broke. I know it's common for the babies of type 1 diabetics to have low blood sugar issues after birth, but still ...
"We can give her a bottle, or you guys can give her a bottle. Either way, she needs to have something."
The anesthesia was hitting me hard, and waves of nausea were taking over rational thought. I knew my blood sugar was fine (I'd been testing every 30 minutes or so since 6 am, and it was now about 10 am), but if my baby was having trouble, I wanted someone to feed her immediately.
I blinked. Or maybe dozed off due to the drugs. But when I came to, I saw Chris, sitting in a chair by my recovery bed, holding our daughter and giving her a bottle. "She's fine now. She'll be just fine," he said to me, not looking up but instead keeping his eyes locked on his child.
"Have they been testing her blood sugar?" I could see these little bandaids on her heels, proof positive of the blood sugar checks.
"They're going to check her again in a few minutes. Don't worry," Chris said.
They did - she was monitored steadily for the first 12 hours of her life. And after that initial post-birth low, her numbers held in the 68 mg/dl - 75 mg/dl for the rest of her hospital stay.
On my end of the diabetes stuff, the situation got a little tricky once I was back in my hospital room. After about an hour and a half in the recovery room (during which time Chris called all of our friends and family members to spread the good news about BSparl's safe arrival, and I opted not to talk to anyone for a bit because I kept throwing up into the handy bedpan - yum), Team Sparling was escorted back to the hospital room I'd been captive in for weeks. I was still hooked up to the insulin drip, the glucagon drip, and was being monitored by my own glucose meter at my discretion.
Problem was, my numbers started to bottom out. And I wasn't able to keep anything down, due to my body's reaction to the anesthesia. Some c-section ladies get "the shakes" after the spinal, but I didn't have that issue. I had "the pukes." I threw up - like a champ - about seven times in the hours following BSparl's birth, which the doctors said was normal but my blood sugars weren't digging it. I was stuck, for about three hours, at a blood sugar of 50 mg/dl. I tried to keep down some grape glucose tabs but they made their way back out, so we buzzed the nurses and asked for the dextrose drip to be turned up.
"Okay, we work off a sliding scale for this sort of thing, so we'll increase you to 20u of dextrose over the course of the next hour."
Even though I was still in the post-surgery fog, this wasn't a good plan to me.
"But I'm dropping. A lot. Like right now. Can't we truncate the time frame on that dextrose? Maybe get the 20u administered in the next 15 minutes? Instead of over the course of an hour?"
Nope. The sliding scale (bah) didn't call for that kind of action. The best they could do was to turn off the insulin drip for a little bit to help counteract the plummeting blood sugar. This scene played out for about three hours, with me calling for the nurses and asking for upped dextrose, watching my meter continuously throw out results under 60 mg/dl, and any attempts at glucose tabs or gel immediately evacuated by my body. BSparl was being cuddled by my husband and then my mother (my mom came up to the hospital for the surgery - I may have been having my daughter, but hers was having surgery, so she was nervous), so baby girl was safe. But I was stuck in the lows for hours. And by the time I was starting to come up, the insulin drip had been "off" for three hours, I had been dosed with a pile of dextrose over the course of those three hours, and my blood sugar was rising fast. (Why, oh why, couldn't they just quick dose me when I was low, instead of the sliding scale crap?)
It wasn't until about 7 pm that night that I was able to keep down some food. And it wasn't until about 12 pm that they let me remove the insulin drip and reconnect the Ping pump. My pump, once cranked beyond recognition in efforts to accommodate my third trimester insulin needs, was dialed down to a flat basal rate of 0.3u per hour and programmed with an insulin:carb ratio of 1:20. They err on the side of caution with lows, post-birth, because of the nausea, etc. And my body responded in kind, with blood sugars over 260 mg/dl for the next 48 hours.
"Oh, fabulous. I'm 300 mg/dl now. This is a far cry from the control I had just yesterday, right?" I asked my husband.
He was holding BSparl in our now-quiet hospital room, looking at all the hair on her head and her tiny features. I didn't want to wake her up. I just wanted to watch him hold her, seeing the bond between the two of them grow as I watched.
"She's still okay, right? Her blood sugars are okay? She's okay over there?"
BSparl whimpered and stretched a little bit, her little hands reaching. Her dad smiled.