Natalie & Matt
I had a pretty regular pregnancy with getting sick and being sleepy but nothing too extreme, other than my outrageously big feet and legs. I was so swollen! We had just completed buying what we needed for the birth. The ball was aired, the hose was cleaned and all the plastic and towels were ready to go. This was about 36 weeks in. I had my routine checkup with our midwife Linsey who came over and we did our typical peeing in a cup and blood pressure testing. Linsey said I needed to come by her office in the morning to check my urine again as my protein seemed high and my blood pressure was high and it never had been up to this point. So the next morning before work I stopped by her office and checked my urine and went to work. She was at a birth so I just texted her my results and went on with my day. I was with a client and when I left my session I checked my phone and had texts and calls from both her and my hubby trying to get me to go get checked by an amazing Dr. I called his nurse to explain the situation and they sent me to the hospital labor and delivery for a routine check. Or so I thought.
This is when things take a turn. I leave from work and labor and delivery checks me in and starts immediately plugging me in to the baby monitor and asking questions and carrying on. My hubby met me there. And we waited. Guess who we met first, the anesthesiologist! He hovered over our room from day one and really never left. Even during delivery he was waiting outside the room waiting for me to ask for him. No thank you!
Each nurse that would come in would talk about how I “wasn’t leaving until I had that baby!” They had me ordering the food I wanted for my meals the next day and I had yet to speak to my doctor. Finally, we spoke to him on the phone and he assured me he was trying to get me to be able to go back home but we did need to run a few more tests so I would stay overnight. The roller coaster of emotions began.
At a hospital there is no sleep. Every couple of hours someone is poking or checking you for something. And when you wake up they will tell you their opinion of your situation. So all day and night, every 12 hours we get a new nurse with a new opinion and a new way of handling us and our situation. Needless to say our time was either hard or easy directly depending on which nurse was ours for the shift.
So the nurses were telling us we are staying and I would start to process letting go of my dream to have my baby at home. Then the Dr. would say there’s still a chance to go home if my “numbers would go down” and I would be hopeful of that. So my emotions were ALL over the place. There was a lot of talk about “my numbers”. I was numbers at this point. My blood pressure and something in my blood that told about what I know now was preeclampsia.
Three days later were still doing this. Up every two hours. Checking my blood. Pouring my urine into a bucket. Hooked up to the baby monitor and blood pressure machine. And sleeping on the world’s most uncomfortable delivery bed which also now had bumpers on the sides of in case I had a seizure. And Matt was on the chair that turned into a long flat chair, bed. It was pretty uncomfortable to say the least.
So our Dr. comes in on the third day to share that my numbers are not declining and we need to discuss induction.
My hubby always has his iPad. And whenever we didn’t know what something was we would ask to have a minute to discuss it and he would look it up on the Internet. They wanted me to take magnesium because of the seizure risk with having preeclampsia. And we needed to decide our preferred method of induction. It was now clear my baby needed to come out and she needed to come quickly. Apparently, my “numbers” we’re DOUBLE the amount considered risky. So the Dr. had tried his hardest to wait but now there was no more waiting. I knew I didn’t want that hovering anesthesiologist so I needed to get myself going and focused on getting her out. I spoke to her a lot in those three days. I told her it was time for her to come and we needed to do this together. I told her we could do this because I knew she was already a strong girl! I felt in my heart there was no need for seizure medicine. I didn’t want to be out of it and i just felt like I wasn’t going to need it. So we signed all our AMA’s (against medical advice). Thankfully, we knew we could have a voice and a choice since we had taken Samanda’s class! Before then, we never would have known how to be our own advocates.
So we chose Cytotec. At the time that was the option that was going to get us our baby quicker and reduce the risk of forcing a c-section on us. And it was the option our Dr. suggested. So we chose that and discussed our wishes for delivery, to be able to be mobile and to wait on cutting the cord and to have baby brought up to my chest immediately. Because she was 37 weeks she was considered premature by the hospital and would have to stay in the nursery for observation after delivery.
So they inserted the cytotec and it all got started. (We didn’t learn the full risks of cytotec until after we were home and watch “More Business of Being Born”, which I highly suggest to everyone.)
At first it was just cramps like a bad period. They didn’t want me to walk around the hospital because of that darn seizure risk so we had to stay in our room. Linsey just kept reminding us to rest and sleep. They also wouldn’t let me eat so that was hard. They gave me a second dose of medicine and things got a bit more intense. About midnight they brought in the Pitocin. Things really picked up then. That’s when, thankfully Linsey came and my friend, Renee, who has had two baby’s at home. I just listened to Linsey and did whatever she told me to try. The nurse would come in to keep the baby on the monitor by moving the device around which was a very uncomfortable process. The pain was intense. The nurse came in to say that she needed to turn the Pitocin up. I hated that she told me my pain was about to get even worse. Knowing that and when she would tell me time frames about when they were coming again to check my blood made me get out of my zone and back into reality. We had the room dark and music playing from a playlist I had compiled. I was on the ball, I was on the edge of the bed, but mostly I wanted to be on the toilet. They told me after that most of my time was there. I remember one point looking at Linsey and telling her how much pain I was in. She calmly replied that it’s okay, I didn’t know how intense it was going to be, but let’s keep moving. She was such a blessing. Her calm spirit was so reassuring. She never left my side so I never felt alone. My husband did leave a couple of times to reenergize himself which was good but it was so interesting that when he wasn’t in the room I just felt myself know I wasn’t going to progress until he came back. It was so intense.
Suddenly, I started having the urge to push. So I would. I was on the bed and Linsey was on the ball next to me. I madly wanted the nurses to go away and let me have my baby right there with Linsey. But of course it was shift change, new nurse. Who HAD to check me. Out of zone again. The nurse kept telling me not to push until the Dr. got there.
I was up on the bed and everyone was around me. The big bright spot light was positioned and suddenly I became very aware of my surroundings. The nurse started coaching me to breathe and counted my pushes through contractions. It seemed to take forever for her to come. I just kept being more and more aware that everyone in the room was standing around watching my vagina for the big show. This did not help and now I knew even more how much pain I was in. I just wanted her out at this point. She finally came out! And she was so beautiful! A baby! I couldn’t believe it. They cut the cord and got her all cleaned up and I was able to nurse once before they took her to the nursery, thanks to Linsey for advocating for that. We were just very kind to the nurse practitioner and she warmed up to our request.
Once the baby was taken they wanted me to get up and pee so I could be moved to recovery. However, that was not that easy. I hadn’t eaten, I had just gone through the most courageous and painful thing of my whole life and I couldn’t pee. The nurse started to put a catheter in to help me and I had what was possibly a seizure. All the nurses came running in and they immediately put me on the magnesium. Which ended up making me feel pretty groggy and out of it for the next 24 hours. But baby girl was out and safe and that’s all that mattered. Luckily, I was still able to nurse her and did every two hours they would bring her to me so I could feed her.
It was the most incredible experience I ever had. Samanda’s class gave us courage to speak up for ourselves and baby when we never would have known we could before. I’m so thankful for that. Although our experience was not what we planned or wanted in the beginning, it was the best it could have been for my health situation and having a doctor that allowed us to make choices. And now we get to be parents and there is nothing more incredible then getting to be baby Dottie’s mom.