Monday, August 14, 2017

Our Birth Story - Part 1

On June 23, 2017, at 10:10am, I went in for a routine NST at my OB's office. I had had a couple of high blood pressure readings and some higher-than-normal creatinine levels in my blood work, so the doctor had put me on bed rest and had me coming in twice weekly for NSTs. I also had low fluid, so I was drinking water like crazy (nearly a gallon per day) and it seemed to be working. At this appointment, my blood pressure measured extremely high and there was protein in my urine, so the doctor sent me to Labor & Delivery for blood work and monitoring.

As I drove across the street, the thought occurred to me that I could be induced that day and that baby would be here 5 weeks early...but at the same time, I thought that maybe my blood pressure would come down and they'd just send me home. I called David and told him what was going on. He, of course, wanted to come to the hospital to be with me, but I told him not to worry about it yet, because I still had the hope that I'd be sent home. While in triage, they monitored my blood pressure, which was not coming down, and ran some blood work. Finally, around 2:43pm, the results from the blood work came in, and the nurse informed me that the doctor wanted to admit and induce me! The doctor came to see me and informed me that I had reached the severe preeclampsia stage and that she would induce me that night. She would come back in the morning, as she didn't expect me to go into labor until then.

Looking back on it now, I was extremely calm given the circumstances. I told David not to come yet, because even with inducing, it could take 1-3 days before I'd go into active labor. Instead, I gave him a list of things to do at home including washing baby clothes, packing my hospital bag, and bringing the dogs to the kennel. I was moved into one of the labor and delivery rooms, and I got settled in. My good friend, Amy, came to visit and brought me a phone charger and some treats. I was so glad she was there, because they put me on IV Magnesium Sulfate which was awful. I immediately got really hot and uncomfortable. Then they started inducing me around 5:20pm using prostaglandin gel. Around this time, David arrived at the hospital, so I felt a lot better. At 5:27pm, the baby was at -2 and I was 1 cm dilated, 60% effaced. They applied a total of 3 gels every 2 hours (7:30pm, 9:30pm). At 7:49pm baby was -3, I was 1-1.5cm dilated 60-70% effaced. To be completely honest, much of that night is a blur to me, but I remember that I started feeling period-like cramping after a couple gels, and then full on contractions in the middle of the night. At around 1:00am, I felt dampness and asked a nurse to check if my water had broke, and it had--on its own! At 2:56am, baby was -2, and I was 3.5 cm dilated, 75% effaced. They gave me Pitocin at 3am.

While this was going on, David was sleeping. I didn't want to wake him up because I felt I had time and could power through some of the less painful contractions until full on labor started. At 6:03am, the contractions were approximately 4 minutes apart and becoming more and more painful. I had the urge to push/bear down whenever the contractions came, even though I knew I should avoid doing so, so as not to inflame the cervix. When the contractions would come, they would get progressively more and more painful and peak, and then diminish, just like a bell curve. At the peaks, I felt myself clutching the bed rail as hard as I could. (I now know that the baby was a lot lower than we thought, and I was progressing much quicker than we all thought, so the pressure I felt down there was really baby's head pressing on my cervix.) At this point, David was awake and texting my doula for me, because I could no longer do it myself. At 7:19am the nurse checked me again and said "She is definitely a 6." At this point, I was in so much pain and ready for the epidural. (Up to this point, I had been refusing it because I wanted to go as long as I could without it so as to avoid a c-section.) The on-call anesthesiologist was at home and needed to get to the hospital, and then administer the epidural, which would take 45 minutes to begin working! I was so happy to see him when he came in at 8:02am. (-2, 6 cm, 80%) I don't remember much, except that he was extremely tall and that not long after he administered the epidural, I felt so much better. I was finally able to take a nap. The plan was for the doula to come around 10:30-11:00am, when it would be closer to pushing time...but at 9:09am, the nurses told me I was fully dilated (10 cm) and would start pushing soon! At 9:40am the doctor came and I began pushing, and baby was born at 9:59am and 31 seconds!

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