This post is a long time in the making- and is mainly for me, in order to write down and preserve what is quickly becoming a distant memory.
Once I hit the third trimester of my pregnancy and our midwife appointments were every 2 weeks, my blood pressure started creeping up. I’ve always been a 120/70 or lower type of girl- so when the numbers were 130+/80+ I kind of started to panic. Which then led to me having high blood pressure at the beginning of every. single. appointment., because I was so worked up about having high blood pressure that I would have high blood pressure- stupid white coat syndrome. Once I’d been at our appointments for awhile, and relaxed, my blood pressure would go back down. There were no other red flags (ie protein in my urine) that would have suggested pre-eclampsia, so I was allowed to continue on with my regular activities. Until our appointment on 11/8/12- where my blood pressure was 160+/90+ and didn’t go back down. We were told to go to labor and delivery immediately- luckily our midwife office is right next to the hospital so we didn’t have far to go. Of course this was the one appointment that we didn’t have our cell phones with us, and I hadn’t finished packing our hospital bag (even though our due date was 11/21/12). I got set up in a room to be monitored and immediately sent T home to get some things and a phone. By the time he got back, my blood pressure had returned to a nice low reading and they were sending me home to do a 24hr urine collection (you basically pee in a very large jug for 24hrs and bring all that in to the hospital to test for protein build up, which would indicate pre-eclampsia). I was instructed to not do anything the next day except put my feet up (and pee in a jug of course). Fun fun fun!! Luckily those results showed very little protein build up, so I was again allowed to continue on with my regular activities, but was advised to take it easy and keep my feet up as much as possible.
Fast forward a couple of weeks to my appointment right before B’s due date…and no baby. Not even a hint of a contraction (except lots of braxton hicks). I was less than a centimeter dilated and he hadn’t really descended into the birth canal yet. My blood pressure was still border line high, but the midwives weren’t concerned. I was pretty adamant about not being induced- I wanted to go into labor on my own and have B naturally as long as it was safe for both him and myself. The midwives were very accepting of that plan. I was scheduled for an ultrasound and a non-stress test the following week, and had high hopes that we wouldn’t need to go to that appointment because he would be coming before then, I was sure of it. Not to mention it was supposed to be a full moon! Bring on the baby!
Well, I made it to that appointment. 41 weeks pregnant. Still no indication that a baby was supposed to show up any time. It was a little fun responding with “last week” when people asked me my due date though. And thank goodness I wasn’t horribly uncomfortable or gigantically pregnant (I have a super long torso which helps, I think). I took this photo the day of that appointment:
|Not that giant! Phew|
The ultrasound and non-stress test showed B was doing great. But my blood pressure wasn’t. At this point, since I was now “over due”, the midwives were starting to bring up induction. I was still pretty adamant about not being induced, as long as I wasn’t endangering B. They agreed to let me do another 24hr urine test to rule out pre-eclampsia once more. So I went home with my giant jug once more. But I had a nagging feeling in my heart that maybe I should quit being so stubborn about this whole induction thing.
The next day, I met with one of the midwives after I dropped off my 24hr collection, and asked her what she would recommend if she were in my shoes. She said with very little hesitation that she would choose induction- and her reasons were these: The longer I waited to see if I would go into labor on my own, the more risk there would be to B- the placenta was getting old, and my blood pressure was continuing to go up. There would also be a great chance of a c-section the longer I waited, if B were to be in distress at any point during labor. They were OK with me waiting until 42 weeks, but at that point if I hadn’t gone into labor on my own they would induce me. I decided that, for B’s safety and to minimize the possibility of me having to have a c-section, I would go ahead with the induction. I actually felt relieved and really good about that decision.
That was Thursday, 11/29/12. We packed our bags and headed to the hospital that same evening. The midwives agreed to let me do as natural of an induction as possible- basically we wouldn’t break out the big pitocin guns if we didn’t have to. So that night they inserted cervadil, which is a drug meant to soften the cervix and get it ready for labor (and hopefully cause me to dilate and get started on my own). It takes 12hrs to do anything- so our first night in the hospital was just a wait and see. And get used to sleeping on an uncomfortable bed!
12hrs later (Friday, 11/30), my cervix was a little softer but there was no dilation. Boo. They decided to insert cytotec- another drug meant to jumpstart dilation/labor. This one works a little faster, usually within 4 hours. The whole time they were trying these things, B’s heart rate was being monitored. Unfortunately he did not respond well to the cytotec- his heart rate dropped to ~60bpm a couple of times after they inserted the cytotec, which meant a bunch of nurses would rush in, put an oxygen mask on me and then pump me full of IV fluids to try and get his heart rate back up. After trying that once, we agreed that cytotec wasn’t the best option for B. So we attempted one more night of cervadil. So 12 more hours of waiting…
Saturday morning, 12/1, came and the cervadil had done a little bit, but I was only dilated to *maybe* 2cm and not really experiencing much in the way of contractions. So it was time for the big guns- pitocin. Ugh. They started the drip around 10am on Saturday, and upped the concentration every hour. Once the concentration got to around an 8 or so…real contractions started. Finally!! This was probably around 12pm. I bounced on a birthing ball and walked the halls a bit- they were uncomfortable but manageable. That is until the pitocin was bumped to a 12. The contractions went from being uncomfortable to OHMYGOODNESSOUCH. They started coming one on top of the other- there was absolutely no break between them and they were a 9 or 10 on the pain scale. The midwife came and checked me at that point (which is terribly uncomfortable when you’re contracting- yeeeeesh) and I was…2cm. UGH. But, I did have a bulging bag of waters- which means the amniotic sac was right there. She suggested that we break my water to really get things progressing- but it would make the contractions even more intense. I agreed- but said that I wanted an epidural if that were the case. So they went ahead and ordered that and then broke my water.
And she WAS NOT kidding about the intensity of the contractions increasing- it felt like I was being hit by a truck, over and over again, with no break. And I started shaking uncontrollably. And my stupid IV started beeping for some reason. The only thing I could do was just lay there and moan. I couldn’t move (even though I wanted to get up and throw the IV through the window- ha!) About an hour after all this started, the anesthesiologist showed up and inserted the epidural (which, by the way, you have to stay COMPLETELY still for- that is ridiculously hard to do while contracting). I have to say, the epidural was the best decision I could have made. There was absolutely no way I could have focused or had enough energy to push had I continued to experience the full force of the pitocin contractions- they were absolutely ridiculous. The good news in all of this (aside from the fact that I eventually got to meet B!!) was that all that intense pain did something- actually did A LOT- I went from a 2 to an 8 in a little over 1.5hrs!! Crazy.
The midwife did mention that when she broke my water there was meconium in there (meaning B had pooped in the amniotic fluid- eww) which is completely normal for full term babies, but there was the possibility of him having swallowed some of it, so they were going to make sure there was a respiratory team in the room when he was born so they could make sure he was breathing. This meant I wouldn’t be able to hold him immediately after he was born, but I was OK with that- as long as he was OK!!
It was nice to have a break from the pain- I was able to relax (although I was still shaking uncontrollably for awhile after the epidural was placed) and we actually watched most of the UGA vs Alabama SEC championship game (I think if B doesn’t like football his daddy will be CRUSHED). I had a pretty great epidural experience- it took the edge off the pain, but I was always able to move my legs. I also never pushed the button on the epidural box for more medicine, so by the time I was ready to push (around 7:45pm) I was able to feel what my pushes were doing. I could also sort of feel some of the contractions (as pressure, not pain) so that helped me know when to push- although I couldn’t feel them consistently.
I have to say- pushing is HARD. Harder than I ever imagined it to be- and I think worse than contractions (although they might be on similar levels). I pushed as hard as I could- and because my epidural was wearing off, I felt the “ring of fire” as his head started to come out. It was definitely not a comfortable experience so I pushed as hard as I could. B was no help because he wanted to lay on his side on my left side- so I was pushing while the nurse was pushing on my belly trying to get him to rotate and come out straight. They also had to do an episiotomy on me to make more room, because otherwise I would have torn- luckily I couldn’t feel anything but pressure as she cut me.
We did have quite the cheering section in the room- had you asked me before hand, I would have said NO WAY to having anyone but a nurse and the midwife (and T of course) in there- but we had been at the hospital for SO LONG that a few of the nurses who were there at the start of the process were back on shift and wanted to see B being born- so they came in and cheered me on (plus the respiratory team was standing by). And at that point I could have cared less- there could have been a camera crew in there and I wouldn’t have batted an eye.
Luckily, in a little over an hour of pushing, B was out!! They cut the cord and whisked him over to the respiratory team to make sure he was breathing- and he was! Crying even. T got to watch them clean him off and they stitched me up. And then I got to hold him- and he was perfect!! 7lbs 13oz and 21″ long. He was also born on 12/1/12 at 21:12 (9:12pm)- pretty cool.
It turns out that he had the cord wrapped around his neck and his arm- which explains why his heart rate kept dropping. He kept squeezing his cord- but luckily his cord was nice and thick, so when he stopped squeezing it, his heart rate would go back to normal. I am so grateful to everyone who took care of us in the hospital- they respected our wishes and there was never a mention of a c-section. It was a pretty great experience, even though it was a LONG experience (we checked in Thursday the 29th and left Monday the 3rd- whew!)
I can’t believe that little baby is now almost 5mo old- it seems like he was just born, but at the same time like he’s been in our lives forever. I can remember life without him but I can’t imagine going back to that life without him, if that makes sense. We’ve definitely had our ups and downs with him (tummy issues) but now that is sorted out and he is just so much fun. I love watching him develop his own personality and learn new things every day. He is so sweet and silly. And can also be very serious!!
|Serious B- contemplating the trees|
|Silly B- playing with T|
I’m glad I was able to write all that down- thanks for bearing with me while I got all that out. And for anyone who made it to the very end of this post, you get a cookie. Or maybe a dozen cookies- how about that??