CONTRIBUTED BY ALEXIS BRIDLEY
Alexis is contributing a series of posts about prenatal care, Labor & Delivery, and postnatal care at 121 -the Brian Allgood Army Community Hospital (BAACH) – in Yongsan, Korea. This is the second post in that installment. You can also read about her perspectives on prenatal care; next week she’ll discuss postnatal care at this facility.
During my twice weekly NST’s, it was noted that my blood pressure was slowly rising. At my appointment on Wednesday, Dr. Dengler suggested we do blood work to make sure my liver enzymes were within normal range. I had an NST scheduled for Friday morning. We decided that should the blood work come back abnormal or if my blood pressure was really high, we would induce Friday rather than wait through the weekend for my scheduled induction date on Monday.
Friday morning I packed my bag and the babies’ bag as I was pretty sure today was going to be THE day. I went in super early (0730) for my NST. My blood pressure was high and blood work from Wednesday indicated my liver enzymes were rising. Given that I was already 37 weeks and 4 days, we decided to induce. I waddled over from the NST/observation room into the delivering room. From there, an IV was started for fluids and later Pitocin. We did a quick ultrasound to check on the babies’ positions to confirm Baby A was still head down (she was). From there, they contacted pediatrics to inform them we would be starting induction within a few hours and to have two teams on standby. Dr. Dengler came in to check and see if I was dilated (a whooping 1 cm) and then started the induction process. From there, I was left to relax.
In the labor/delivery room there was a small TV with a few different channels – nothing too exciting. Although I couldn’t enjoy any food, hubby was super thankful I packed him a bag of snacks. There is a small vending machine outside the unit, as well as a cafeteria downstairs. The cafeteria has limited hours (especially on weekends) so his only other option for food was outside the hospital. I was provided a “liquid lunch” by the hospital – I ate the jello.
After a few hours and some medical encouragement, the contractions started to increase. It was at that time anesthesiology came in to discuss pain management/epidural. Dr. Dengler suggested I get the epidural sooner rather than later to avoid any potential need for complete sedation should an emergency happen and I require a cesarean section. I agreed. The epidural process was a lot smoother than I thought it would be and the pain relief was almost instant. I think I might have proposed to the anesthesiology team, as I distinctly remember feeling the best I had in about four months!
From here things got pretty boring for about 10 hours. We had some water breaking and some slow progressing (7 cm) but otherwise, nothing too exciting. Then, around 2300, my contractions started spacing out. We upped the Pitocin but Baby A’s heart rate started dropping with each new contraction. We monitored for an hour. At that point, I had stopped progressing and Baby A’s heart rate continued to drop. We discussed options: continue with induction or c-section. Dr. Dengler discussed the pros and cons of each option, and we ultimately decided the c-section was the safest route for all three of us.
Around 0030 hubby suited up for the OR. I did have to sign additional paper work as I was now having surgery. I was excited, nervous, and exhausted all at once. I remember the OR being FREEZING. I remember being transferred to a TINY table – I was convinced I would roll off (and might have expressed this concern a time or two).
I also had THE MOST amazing anesthesiologist ever! Seriously. I wish I could remember his name. He could tell I was nervous (especially since hubby couldn’t be in the room until after the initial prep was complete) and he talked to me the entire way through. Finally hubby came in and everything was ready to go. Dr. Dengler was amazing and told me everything she was about to do. I remember the tugging and pressure were a lot more intense than I imagined. I remember thinking something had to be wrong.
And then, at 0110 on November 16th, I heard the first cry and everything melted away. They held up Lila (Baby A) for a second before passing her off to the peds team. Then a minute later, I heard Wes (Baby B) cry. Nearly 37 weeks of worry and I could finally breathe easy.
Both babies were transported out of the OR and back to the WICU for cleaning and stats while they finished my c-section. Ryan, my husband, went back with the babies. I remember feeling really anxious at this point because I just wanted to be with my babies. Again, my amazing anesthesiologist talked me through it and I drifted off to sleep.
After surgery I was taken to the recovery area. This was a large open room with approximately 10 beds or so. Since it was around 3am, I was the only person in there. They offered to bring both babies to me in attempt to breastfeed, but after a 16-hour labor and a c-section ending around 3am, I just wanted to rest. Ryan was able to come and visit me in recovery and give me the stats (Lila: 5lbs 14oz, 19 in; Wes: 5lbs 4oz, 19.5 in) and tell me they were both perfect. The nurses also taught Ryan how to change diapers, swaddle, and feed/burp while I was in surgery. To say that was a relief for him was a huge understatement.
Stay tuned – next week I’ll talk about my experience with postnatal care at 121.
Have you delivered a baby (or two) at 121? What were your experiences? If you have anything to add to this conversation, please don’t hesitate to do so in the comments – we’d love to hear your perspective – or answer your questions!
All photos in this article were taken with permission of the staff on the Labor & Delivery unit of 121. Many thanks for their cooperation in this project!