Sunday, March 8, 2020

2nd Birth Story - Part 1

On Friday, February 7, 2020, at 9:40am, I went in for my 37 week appointment at my OB's office. I had had a couple borderline high blood pressure readings, but ok bloodwork, but that morning, my blood pressure was at 140/80 and I was 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced. She had me do an in-house urine culture and then go get my blood drawn. She wanted me to move my following week's appointment up earlier (since she'd be going out of town over the weekend) and if I had another high blood pressure, she'd induce.

At this point, I was ok with being induced, since we'd already made it past my first baby's birth date, and we were at a safe time to only concern was who would watch my toddler, since my mom wasn't planning on coming until a couple weeks later. I talked to my parents and my mom was able to change her flight to come a week early, that Sunday, February 9, 2020. I went through the weekend feeling a little nervous about my blood pressure and urine protein level, and kept wondering if I should go to the hospital or just wait things out. Ultimately, I decided to wait until Monday morning, February 10, 2010...but before I could even call the OB office, I got a call from the nurse with blood test and urine results; I was trending toward preeclampsia so the doctor wanted me to go in at 1:30pm, and if I had a high blood pressure, I'd go to the hospital and be induced. The reading ended up being 148/100, one of my highest, and I was diagnosed with "gestational hypertension" and was sent to the hospital. David and I had planned for this, so we'd brought our bags and had my mom and the toddler all set and taken care of at home.

I was immediately admitted and we got settled into our room (2511). To my relief, I was reassured that since I was not in the preeclampsia stage yet (just gestational hypertension), that I would not need to be on magnesium this time. My amazing doula, Kristen, arrived shortly after I was admitted. The first induction gel was administered at 3:25pm (3 cm, 70% effaced, soft anterior). After waiting an hour for it to kick in, we went to walk around for an hour. We talked to Kristen and agreed for her to go home for a short time before coming back for the night. They administered the second gel at 5:50pm (same stats), and we repeated the process. I developed a headache at 6:36pm and started to feel the start/stop of contractions at 6:39pm (though they'd been going on for awhile). The third gel was administered at 8:26 pm (3 cm, 80% effaced, -2). At this point I was wondering if they were going to have to administer pitocin (which I didn't want for various reasons), but by 10:55pm, I was really starting to feel the contractions and I was 5 cm dilated.

At 11:11pm, I was between 8-9 cm and at this point, things were very intense and painful. I used my "code word" several times with Kristen and David (which meant I wanted pain relief), but thankfully, Kristen and the nurse (Kerissa) were able to talk me through things, and suggested I get into the tub. (This is when the birth photographer arrived too, just in time!) I immediately felt better in the warm water, though I was told I'd need to get out of the tub sooner than later since I was progressing so quickly. (When I got into the tub, I felt the need to push already.) By the time I got out at 11:23pm and they checked me again, I was 10 cm dilated!

At this point, the doctor had arrived, and it was show time. I couldn't believe I'd made it to this point without an epidural. I was lying on my side, clutching the side of the bed in the fetal position with my legs clamped shut. I didn't want to move, but finally I willed myself to lie on my back, which was a better position for delivering. It was time to push, and I could only manage to get myself to push for short counts of time. I kept thinking to myself, "why can't I push for longer? I feel like if I can just hold out for longer, he will come on that last count." I remember being super annoyed with the fetal monitor around my belly, and wanting it to be removed. The doctor tried to help me with pushing, telling me to hold my breath, push, and then breathe out. She told me to curl my body over the baby. Finally, things clicked. I realized I needed to continue holding my breath when pushing, rather than breathe out on the push. After the second time, to everyone (including the doctor's) surprise, he was here! After about 30 minutes of pushing, he was born at 12:08am, and he was absolutely perfect.

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