Disclaimer: this is going to be a very long post, consider yourself warned!
Last Monday (May 16th) was one of my work from home days, but once again, my blood pressure had been acting up over the past 2 days & was higher than it had been the whole pregnancy. I went to the doctor on Monday morning, where it was high in the office but the baby was fine on the NST. The doctor decided to increase my medication dose and gave me 2 choices: go home, take the medicine, don't do anything at all the rest of the day & take my blood pressure a bunch to see if it goes down OR go to the hospital to start the new dose & be monitored there. I chose the home option. I got home around noon and at 1pm, the doctor called to make sure I made it home ok (he knew I was coming home to an empty house), to see what my blood pressure was & to make sure I had taken the extra dose already.
I spent the rest of the afternoon on my left side, doing close to nothing and even took a nap at one point. My phone rang at 4pm & it was the doctor again, wanting to know what my pressures had been doing; I read them all back to him (they hadn't come down at all) & he said he just didn't feel comfortable letting me go unmonitored until the next day with them being so high...so, I had to head to the hospital after all. I called Brian, gathered up my hospital bag & headed out the door.
Fortunately, they were able to rule out pre-e pretty quickly, so that was a huge relief. My dr. was delivering a baby, so a resident came in and told me that she still had to talk to my doctor, but her best guess was that they would keep me for the next 24 hours, increase my meds again and do a 24 hour urine catch just to be absolutely certain that I didn't have pre-e or that it wasn't developing. She left the room & Brian and I were able to discuss this, all seemed well. Fast forward about 10 minutes and the same resident returns & says, "Well....I talked to your doctor and it turns out he has a different plan for you. He wants you to have a baby tonight!" I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped open and my mind started racing as I was crying. It seemed way too early (I was 36 weeks, 5 days) and I was really concerned about what that would mean for the baby. NICU? Underdeveloped lungs? Problems with eating?
The resident did her best to reassure me that he was so close to being full term that we really didn't have anything to worry about, and let us know that even though my doctor was recommending induction, it was ultimately our decision...if we really weren't comfortable with it, we could still try the 24 hour monitoring. His concern though, was that the best we would be able to do was maybe get a few more days from the increased dose, then we'd be right back where we started & possibly dealing with pre-e at that point if we let this go on any longer. He said we had been chasing this problem so long & fighting an uphill battle, and he really felt that it was best for me and the baby to go ahead & deliver.
We talked about it for a little bit, but decided that we trusted the doctor and it was probably the best decision. So reality sunk in...it was baby time!!! I was really excited and super nervous. Another thing I should note here is that they examined me and I was 3 cm dilated, 60% effaced....I was having contractions the whole time while I was there, and by the time I got to my labor & delivery room, they were consistently 3 minutes apart & getting stronger. The doctor commented that even if I had decided on the 24 hour monitoring, I probably would have gone into labor on my own at some point while there.
They started me on a low dose of pitocin since I was already contracting on my own, stripped my membranes & broke my water to get things started around 9:30pm. They started me on an IV of labetalol to bring down my blood pressure and got my epidural in place once the contractions got a bit stronger. It was SO nice to not have to be on that magnesium drip this time...it was seriously like a completely different experience!!!
Things progressed nicely on their own throughout the night, and we were able to get a bit of rest. My mom & Brian had been with me all night, and Brian's parents arrived around 4am after getting the surprise phone call & driving all night to make it there in time. My epidural worked nicely and I was numb on both sides, but extremely numb on my right side for some reason; that leg was just complete dead weight. It was a weird sensation, but I'm glad that it took!
I started feeling some pressure through the epidural around maybe 5am and I was 9 cm. Around 6:30am, the doctor checked me again...TEN! :) I said my goodbyes to everyone while the room was prepped, and then the doctor commented on my right side being so dead & seemed concerned that I wasn't going to be able to push with it being that numb. Not what I wanted to hear!! This was around 6:45am and he said he wanted to do one practice push before we started the real thing to see if I could remember how to push, and if I was physically capable at that point. A contraction came on shortly after that, I pushed and the doctor said "whoa, ok.....you can definitely push, there's the head! Don't push anymore, I need to get dressed and prepped!" HA! Take that, epidural! :) I held off on the next contraction, pushed through one more contraction & our beautiful baby boy came screaming into the world!!! (total elapsed time: 8 minutes)
Because my blood pressure had been so high, I still wasn't allowed to hold him right away, but Brian did get to cut the cord this time (he didn't get to do that with Jake) before the swat team of doctors came to take him away & make sure everything was ok. It was, he was perfect, scored 9's on his Apgar and weighed in at 6 lbs, 13 oz, 20.5 inches long-not too shabby for being more than 3 weeks early!!
I couldn't get over how perfect his features looked, and how much he resembled Jake at birth. He's since taken on some characteristics of his own, though I still see a lot of Jake, especially around the mouth and chin. His hair seems to be my color for right now, and his legs are so skinny; he loves to curl them up around himself at all times.
So it turns out that I had nothing to worry about in terms of him being not quite full term...aside from having a drop in his body temperature on the first day (which was solved with 2.5 hours of skin-to-skin contact on me & Brian) he had absolutely no problems in the hospital. He had to pass a "carseat test" before we were able to be discharged (basically, he had to sit in a carseat for 1.5 hours without having any change in his oxygen levels) which he passed with flying colors.
Though he was super sleepy the first 2 days & showed little interest in breastfeeding, he has since perked up & is eating like a champ. We did have a little scare on Friday; he had been spitting up quite frequently, but then it started coming out of his nose and it was yellow (like bright, mustard yellow) We had to go to the pediatrician's office for a weight check Friday morning anyway, so we mentioned it then (and he did it in the office, so the doc was able to see) He had gone from 6 lbs, 13 oz at birth to 6 lbs, 6 oz when discharged, down to 6 lbs even the next day. The doctor was a bit concerned about the bright yellow fluid, so he sent us to get an xray just to make sure there wasn't any type of partial abdominal blockage. Of course, I was kind of a wreck...who wants to have to take their 3 day old to get an xray?? Thankfully, it was clear and after getting his weight checked again the next day, he had gone up to 6 lbs, 3 oz. The yellow spit up has since disappeared (though it still comes out of his nose sometimes) so the doctor thinks it was just his system getting used to everything (my milk had just come in when all of this started).
PHEW! So, that's our story....I have lots more to tell and I'll be sure to post some funny one-liners Jake has had since his baby brother arrived, but I think I've typed enough for one day! I leave you with some pictures: