I guess it was just the calm before the storm. That’s how things go right? You think you’ve got a plan and you know what to expect then BAM!! NSTs were good, ultrasounds were good, bloodwork was good, symptoms were under control. We had a plan, an appointment, everything was set. Those that know me know that I need organization and plans. That is where I thrive. Then Friday happened. Pregnancy after pregnancy with this condition I’ve been told by nurses, midwifes, OBs and specialists at every appointment “If your symptoms ever drastically change call us immediately” I would always agree but never thought that would happen to me.
The sun was setting on the first week of school, the kids were excited that Grandma was coming to town the next day. This was the start of our last 7 days before our new baby was going to be here and we had a lot of things to get finished around the house. I noticed as the evening went on I was subconsciously scratching more than I usually do. So I got my ice pack (my usual solution) and went to bed. The warmer I am the more I itch. So I hold the ice pack. Practicing my best self control to not scratch anymore. But it was too much. I tried turning on the AC, opening the windows, cool rags and more ice packs. Rotating them as soon as they weren’t cold enough. The itch was in my legs, my back, my arms, my belly. Everything was itching and I couldn’t make it stop. When the sun came up on Saturday morning and I hadn’t slept I knew I needed to call.
A phone call, a quick conversation, then a drive to the hospital. I sat in triage room 2. The nurse hooked me up to a non stress test. We sat and watched her behave like an angel on the monitor like she always did. As we listened to her perfectly normal heart rate they drew some blood. These labs were going to determine everything. They would confirm that I wasn’t crazy and something was different and not good. So much was running through my head, I was so worried about her and the unpredictability of it all, that for the first time in years I passed out while they were still filling those little viles. As I came to I just cried and prayed that everything would be ok and work out like it was supposed to. I closed my eyes and zeroed in on the sound of her heartbeat. A soothing consistent reminder that right then she was ok.
I’m not sure how much time had passed when in walked the friendly familiar face of my midwife Jenny. I had been in her office just 18 hours before laughing, talking birth stories and making plans for the following Friday when I was scheduled to be induced. Now there I sat an emotional wreck, having not slept from all the itching and worried sick. She told me that my lab results showed that my liver enzymes were high. A new plan was made, 2 days of steroid shots to help with lung development, a prescription strength sleep aid to get me through the weekend and induction on Monday.
They gave me the first shot before I left that day and told me to come back the same time on Sunday for the next one. I went straight from the hospital to the airport to pick up my mom and fill her in on it all. Now the pressure was really on. We had less than 48 hours to get ready for baby. My sweet friend Katia had planned a baby shower for me for Saturday night and I was so happy to be able to go and hangout with friends. The last several months of the pregnancy had been so busy with appointments and house stuff that having time with friends was very rare.
Sunday evening we did family pictures. It was a beautiful way to end my last day being pregnant. My heart was full. We were ready to bring this little girl into the world. I packed my bag took some medicine and went to sleep.
Monday- Induction day.
5:30am wake up, gather last minute things. 6:15 Because we only have one car we took an Uber to the hospital, so we could leave the van with my mom and the kids. 6:30 admitted, start pre-induction NST and more blood work. 7:30 administer cervadil and membrane sweep. I was 3cm and 70% effaced. Not a bad place to start. Then we waited for the medication to kick in and contractions to begin. The first hour saw no contractions. The second hour had three. By the third hour the contractions were mild and about every 3-5 minutes apart. It was during these contractions we noticed that Georgia’s heart rate would drop after every one they call those “late decels”.
There are many different things they watch for with the babies heart rate during labor. Accelerations and Decelerations in relation to the contractions to determine how the baby is handling labor. I am no expert but from my experience little accelerations during an after contractions are quite normal. Decels during or after contractions are not such a good sign. The nurse explained to me that based on when the decels happened and how they looked (slow decel instead of a rapid dip) it tells them there is a blood flow problem likely with the placenta. A rapid dip would tell them the cord was being pinched. For this reason they had to continually monitor her. Just in case there were any other warning signs that she needed to come out quickly.
Up to this point I had spent my time in the bed resting and conserving my energy for the harder labor to come. My previous labor had been 14+ hours, also induced and I was preparing myself for another LONG day. Changing position in the bed from one side to the other helped for a while to stop the late decels from happening. And I had to stay that way until they stopped for good.
It was approaching noon and contractions were getting harder. My tailbone was not loving being in the bed any more. I asked her to check me and if I could do a wireless monitor so I could move around or use the tub. 4cm 80%. This was certainly turning out to be just like my labor with Drew. Slow progress. Setting up the wireless/water proof monitor took quite a long time and contractions were coming back to back and getting to the point I needed the tub. It was around 1 that I finally got to get in the bath. The bath was small but it was better than nothing. Matt kept a cool rag on my face and neck as I tried to find a comfortable position to relieve the pain in my tailbone and get my belly under the water. I wanted to take the cervadil out now and let my body regulate the contractions and finish the labor on my own.
2:15pm Jenny came in checked me and removed the cervadil. 5cm 80%. These contractions were so painful surely I was farther than that. I started to get a little worried that I wouldn’t have the strength to keep this up for 8 more hours. We decided to tell the videographer to come, even though she might have to be there for a long time. The nurse came in and said I needed to come out of the bath so they could better monitor the baby. I guess the entire time I was in the tub they hadn’t been able to get a consistent reading. I started to get even more stressed out and nervous. My low back hadn’t ever hurt like this in labor and I really didn’t know how much more I could take. As I got out of the tub and dry Matt kept pressure on my tail bone. He reassured me that I am strong enough and I have done this four times already. These feelings I was having was just transition and the baby would be here soon.
In my doubt I pushed back and reminded him of how long Drew’s labor was and there is no way I was going through transition at 5cm. He sent a message to mom and told her it was time to come anyway. I labored on my knees on the floor with a ball and the pain got much worse. Matt was so great, giving me suggestions, encouraging me and keeping the pressure on just the right spot. But I continued to fall apart. Tears streaming down my face I told him and my nurse I can’t do this anymore and I’m going to need an epidural. I was done. Tapped out and too tired to go on. The pain was too much and I couldn’t do what I needed to get relief. Both of them shocked at my proclamation decided to get Jenny back in the room. Also right at that time Kesley the videographer showed up. I told Jenny I was done, she said let’s check you and see. 3pm 8cm 100%.
This time tears of joy and relief. I was finally making great progress! And I was once again confident that I could do this, I was strong enough to bring my baby into this world. Just like clockwork the contractions started to change, there was longer breaks and bearing down. I let my body take over. I returned to my favorite delivery position on my knees on the bed. Rocking, and swaying in-between contractions and bearing down during them. A big push and my water broke. I could feel her make her way down. Another one and I could feel her crowning. My hands were ready to catch her. She rotated and her head was out, one more and her shoulders and body were free. 3:18pm I caught my baby, removed the cord from her neck and held her close. I did it. It was over. I turned around to sit just as my mom and the kids walk in, seconds after she was born. She was very purple, her breathing irregular and gurgly. She needed help, and it was time to cut the cord. Josh had been waiting for this my entire pregnancy. Two little snips from the hands of a loving big brother separated my last baby from my body.
The next two hours were a bit of a whirlwind. They took her down to the nursery to get CPAP and worked on cleaning up the chaos of delivery. Matt took the kids on a walk down the hall and my mom stayed by my side as we waited the delivery of the placenta. Unbeknownst to me I had bled a lot this time and because of that they very aggressively massaged my just barely vacated belly. That was painful. They did what they had to, the placenta came out and they got me all cleaned up. Matt and the kids came back to say hi for a minute I gave them kisses and they went to go see the baby that they had so lovingly waited and prayed for in the nursery.
I sat there alone in my delivery room all the chaos and excitement over waiting my turn to move to the lower floor and be with my baby. I was getting occasional updates on how she was doing. Once I got to her in the nursery, she was no longer on CPAP. I watched her little lips and tongue rooting around for me. I asked if I could feed her. They said I couldn’t until her breathing regulated because she risked aspirating. I told them I could do skin to skin to help her regulate her breathing, so that she could eat. So I picked up my baby wires and all and brought her to my chest breathing in all of her yummy new baby smells. Unsurprisingly within a minute her breathing was regular. And a few minutes later I got to nurse her for the first time. Much to the amazement of the nursery nurses our tiny 36 week Georgia latched perfectly and aggressively from the start. She was cleared to be off all the monitors and come back to the room with me. Throughout the rest of our stay at the hospital she continued to impress the nurses and doctors with her nursing skills.
Much of this birth happened differently than I had planned or thought it would go. But I am so grateful I had a midwife that listened to me and helped me get as close to my plan as we could despite the circumstances. I was able to be induced the way I wanted without IV. I was able to get labor going without Pitocin. My husband was there supporting me and encouraging me every step of the way. I was free to deliver in whatever way my body wanted. I got to feel my baby come out with my hands and catch her myself.
It was an overall very empowering experience that I am especially grateful to have video of. Kelsey did an amazing job making what felt like a very crazy time into a beautiful video that we will treasure forever.
To watch the video Click Here