My husband was on call and had surgery scheduled that day, so he scrambled to reschedule everyone and hand off his call duties. Meanwhile, his Mom, who lives 20 minutes away, came to keep me company (as she had every day of my incarceration, I mean, hospitalization.) We cried and prayed and chatted nervously as I was transported down to Pre-Op holding and prepared for surgery.
My hubby arrived shortly before I received my epidural, still dressed in scrubs. You can have your McDreamy. My heart leaps when I think about how relieved I was to see him round the corner into my room.
A few minutes later, my Mom, Dad, sister and niece arrived. (They had a 2 hour drive.) I was rolled back to the OR around 12:40 and the babies were delivered at 1:05 (K), 1:06 (R) and 1:08 (P).
I laughed and chatted through the entire delivery. There were a dozen medical personnel in the room, including 2 OBs. A friend of ours, who is an anesthesiologist even popped in to chat between the delivery of the boys! (If you think I am kidding we have it all on video.) The babies were smaller than we expected, ranging from 2lb6oz to 3lb3oz, but Apgar scores were great and everyone was deemed healthy.
The babies were whisked off to the NICU and I was sent to recovery. Daddy got a kick out of interviewing me while I was loaded on pain meds in recovery. In an eery bit of foreshadowing, the last video clip records me saying, “It was a breeze!” Daddy says, “Can I quote you on that later? Having triplets is a breeze?” The video concludes with my response, “No, I said delivery was a breeze. I have no idea what happens afterwards.”
Seven hours later we would find out.
While I slept, Daddy & both sets of grandparents visited the babies in the NICU. My family then traveled back home and my husband left the hospital briefly with his parents for dinner. He was still wearing his scrubs, so the plan was to go buy some clothes at a nearby mall after dinner. Interestingly, after dinner he just had this feeling that even though I was just sleeping, he really should be back at my bedside. He returned to the hospital around 7:30pm.
At 8:00, I woke up and was excited to watch the finale of American Idol. :-) (For 8 weeks, TV had been one of my primary sources of entertainment.) Just as the show started, I felt very strange and turned to my husband and said, “I cannot breathe. I feel all this pressure, like an elephant is standing on my chest.”
He called a nurse, who took my pulse ox, it was in the 80s and falling. I started gurgling. I was put on oxygen, yet my pulse ox was still falling into the 70s. I was seriously ill.
This is where my memory of that night ends, but my husband has filled me in on the rest of the story. The nurse called a Hospitalist, who instructed her to send me to chest X-Ray. My husband disagreed with the call. He knew my situation was critical and I would not survive a trip to X-Ray. I needed help immediately. He stepped back and tried to be objective. If this were his patient, not his wife, what would he do?
He ran out into the hall and found an OB from the group I had seen. He informed him that I was very ill and he thought what I really needed was an ICU bed, not an X-ray. The OB agreed. A team was called to emergently intubate me (there was not even time for anesthesia). He was asked to leave the room and stood outside my door as security guarded the room.
This moment is now a huge part of my husband’s testimony. He is a gifted surgeon. He is very good at what he does. He has devoted the last 15 years of his life to medicine. He is terrific under pressure. He understood how dire the situation was. For all intents and purposes, he had saved my life by being there and recognizing that the on call physician was making the wrong call. His wife was critically ill. This was his stomping ground, yet he was rendered completely out of control.
more to come