Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Jake's Birth Story
I've had high blood pressure for about 5 years now, but in my first 2 trimesters, it dropped so much that I didn't need my medication. However, right around my 7th month, it started creeping back up...slowly at first, but then went pretty high, followed by mass amounts of swelling in my face, legs and feet, and an unbelievable amount of water weight (one time I gained 4 pounds in 3 days!) After a scare in Magee triage being monitored one night, I started going to the dr twice a week for non-stress tests (for those of you not familiar with these, they basically hooked my belly up to a machine for a half hour or so and made sure Jake was moving around and that his heartbeat was ok) Thankfully, it always was and they sent me on my merry way. This went on for about 3 weeks and I had a few ultrasounds done in that time to check his growth and my amniotic fluid, which was always perfect as well.
Other fun activities during this time period included urine spot checks, home blood pressure checks 5 times a day, and being constantly worried about the baby and what my crazy blood pressure was doing to him. And sometimes it included not being able to fit my feet into any shoes at all. No really, sometimes they were so big that they physically wouldn't fit. Or they would fit in the morning, but by afternoon, I was rolling around my office in socks.
Here is the last belly picture I had, it was new years day, so I was around 37 weeks pregnant (I'm kicking myself that I didn't take one on our way to the hospital when I went into labor!)
Fast forward to Monday, January 14th...went in for my 8am non-stress test as always...only this time my blood pressure was through the roof and Jake was very slow to respond on the monitor. (even after they had me chug about 30 ounces of Coke...that always got him going!) So...it was off to the hospital for further monitoring...fortunately, he was fine when they examined me there (the monitor was also showing contractions as 10 minutes apart but I couldn't feel them), but it was decided that he was going to be served an eviction notice. First, they told me they wanted to induce by the end of the week...then they called me back and said nevermind, we want him out tomorrow night!!! I almost peed myself (well let's face it, I almost peed myself every day at that point in the pregnancy, but that really came close!) I was so excited and nervous and the fact that I now KNEW when I'd meet him made the whole thing seem so real.
I went about my business that day but by late afternoon, I noticed that my contractions were about 8 minutes apart and I could actually feel them...they weren't painful, but definitely noticable. Though I was totally in denial that this could possibly be labor (even as my mom hinted to it) I must have had some type of instinct that it was the real thing because I did what any logical pregnant woman does and started cleaning the house. I tried to relax later on that night by watching TV but I was so distracted from timing the contractions. We decided to try and go to sleep around 11, but within minutes of going to bed, they started getting painful...at that point they were 5-7 minutes apart and about a minute long. I called the doctor who said come on down! I was the next contestant on "time to have a baby!" So...around 11:30, we loaded up the car, said a tearful goodbye to Gracie (well, it was tearful for me anyway-Brian had to drag me out to the car)
Getting to the hospital is not at all like it is in the movies...there was no rushing me back to a room, no one yelling "STAT!" or anything like that....nope, we sat in the waiting room for about 40 minutes until they took us at the registration window. It was at that point that I first asked for my epidural....I was informed that I had to be admitted first. which would possibly occur once I was examined. (Much love to those women who choose to go naturally....I couldn't even make it a few hours into labor without it!) Once I made it into the triage, they offered me Stadol to take the edge off...sweet relief! Once the dr made it in, he determined that I was 3cm dilated (I was 1.5 that morning) and 100% effaced, so they admitted me! (this was around 2am)
Once I got settled into my labor and delivery room, I inquired about the epidural...this time, they said ok! I was very nervous for the epidural after hearing horror stories of the size of the needle they use...I didn't even look at the needle, but I honestly didn't think it was that bad. A big pinch and a burn, followed by a LOT of pressure in my lower back, but not too bad (either that, or I was so grateful for it by that point that I just didn't care!)
While all of this excitement was going on, they were also continually checking my urine for signs of pre-eclampsia...unfortunately, shortly after my epidural was in place, they came in with the bad news that I had developed it. I remember tearing up when the doctor was explaining it to me, because I had gone all these months without getting it and here I was in the home stretch, only to be told that there could be complications for my baby. When you develop pre-e, they give you a magnesium drip through an IV to prevent seizures during delivery. The doctor warned me that I would hate the drip and she was right...it made me feel so loopy & completely out of it. I'm pretty sure I was drooling on myself at one point.
After that drip was put in, it was pretty much a matter of sitting around and waiting for progress! My water never broke on its own, so she came in and broke it, though I'm not sure what time that was, but I know it did help to speed things along. Around noon, I started being able to feel my contractions....no pain, but just the sensation of having them, so I asked about getting "topped off" on my epidural. Shortly after that, I suddenly felt like I was going to throw up and got the chills...the nurse told me this was a good sign that I was probably close to being ready to push...she went and got the dr and I was 10 cm! It was time for the real thing, kids!! Much to my dismay, the dr said no more epidural for me! (boo, hiss!) She said due to the mag drip make me so out of it, she wanted me to be able to feel the contractions so that I would stay motivated to push.
I won't lie, the mag drip was just as awful as everyone said it is. It made me groggy (so much so, that at one point in between contractions, the nurse yelled "we're losing mom, she's nodding off on us!"...yeah, that's just a whole different level of grogginess if you can nod off in the middle of pushing out a baby), and it also messed with my memory. The whole time period after I got it is a big blur, I have relied on Brian and my mom to fill me in on things, but I just can't remember much of it myself.
I'll spare you the rest of the gory details and skip to the best part of this whole story...I pushed for about 45 minutes and every single minute was well worth it to see the most perfect thing I have ever laid eyes on come out screaming into the world. I could not get over just how beautiful he was. And tiny! I just remember thinking that he looked so tiny and fragile! The nurses told Brian that he received the highest scores in complexion (whatever that means) he didn't have a single bump, bruise or red mark on his body. he just had this fuzzy hair, big feet and the most alert eyes. Here are some of the first pictures of him (6 lbs 2 oz, 21 inches long-I'm not sure what the numbers on the scales mean in the picture below)
The next day or so was kind of a blur; I had to stay on that drip for 24 hours after delivery, so I was bedridden and still quite groggy from it. (and STARVING, I couldn't eat real food until they took it out!) the first thing I did was order a late lunch when they finally took it out, here is me enjoying my first taste of food in almost 48 hours:
The other negative aspect of the mag drip was that Jake was exposed to it as well, which meant he felt similar side effects. I know all newborns are sleepy, but he was even more so, with no interest in eating at all. With the help of a lactation specialist, we were able to get on a pump/syringe feed/breastfeeding training regimen in the hospital that we then continued for a few days at home. Thankfully, he got the hang of it after that!
In the end, the pain, stitches, starvation and grogginess were well worth it. Jacob Charles was the greatest gift we could have ever received and we have been grateful every day since!!