Wow, I can’t believe she is here. I am still in shock or maybe I am just sleep deprived. Miss JJ arrived on April 9! I’ve been awaiting her safe arrival to share my pregnancy experience and birth story. Let’s start at the beginning.
After trying for a while to have a baby, I finally decided to get help from a doctor one of my friends recommended over and over. After meeting with him he gave me a prescription for some fertility drugs and we had a plan. I was actually looking forward to my period starting for once, because when it did, I could take the meds and be closer to conceiving, but it just wasn’t coming. With so many irregular cycles I waited extra long before taking a test to be sure. It is awful taking a pregnancy test when you are hoping for a positive and all you find it is one little line. I finally took the test and it was positive. These tests aren’t always correct right? So I took two more, all positive. To be sure, I knew I had to have the blood test. I went to the doctor the next morning and waited all afternoon for the call.
When I received the call, the nurse confirmed my pregnancy tests by saying, “You are very pregnant.” I still couldn’t believe it. I didn’t really believe it until I had the first ultrasound. Seeing the baby and hearing the heartbeat was an amazing feeling. After trying for so long, it seemed like a miracle that one month could make a difference. The Mr. and I were so excited. We began sharing our news. Even though I knew I was pregnant and everything was going well, it was still hard not to worry. I learned how to deal with my worries and continued on through my pregnancy.
The second ultrasound was even more fun because the Mr. got to join in on the fun. We were sure we were having a boy, but it ended up being a girl. Read more about the ultrasound and gender reveal here. We were halfway through the pregnancy and everything was going great. I kept waiting for Christmas to come and then I was going to get down to business on the nursery and other baby essentials. At my checkup in the first of January at 26 weeks, my blood pressure was elevated. The doctor ordered a 24 Hour Urine test (I feel for you if yo’ve had to do one of these). That was awful. The nurse gave me a large jug and a device to catch my urine. For 24 hours all my urine went in that jug. Not to mention that jug has to remain refrigerated (Then I had to do it every week or every other week for the rest of my pregnancy). After the test I was diagnosed with Preeclampsia (also known as toxemia). This is a condition that is characterized as high blood pressure and protein in the urine. I was put on bed rest (not the super strict kind, but no housework or working). Our goal was to get the baby to stay in for another four to six weeks. If my blood pressure spiked, I had a headache or blurred vision it was a sign that things were getting worse.
I went through all sorts of emotions, but knew that whatever happened would happen for a reason and that we were in the hands of a loving Heavenly Father. So I started staying home and watching T.V. I’m not a Game Show Network addict and feel like I watched all of Gilmore Girls and a bunch of HGTV. It was a nice break from real life, but it did get a bit boring. I worked on blogging, read some good books and made pretty good friends with the staff at my Doctor’s office. I went to appointments every week with the Doctor, had a Non-Stress Test (NST) and an Ultrasound every week. That was the fun part of the complications, getting to see the baby on the ultrasounds.
Each week I was holding strong. I felt like I was on repeat. On Monday’s I would do a NST. Then on Thursday I would do an ultrasound and meet with my doctor. Every few weeks I would meet with a high-risk doctor. Those were all the exciting days, because I actually got out and went somewhere (and did my makeup). Week after week I was holding strong. It was amazing. I made it four weeks and then six. Until I was 36 weeks. At my ultrasound it looked like the fluid levels went way down. The Doctor thought we might deliver the following Monday. It would have been perfect because the Mr. was on spring break. Pregnancy just doesn’t work that way. My high risk doctor told us to keep hanging on, until 39 weeks as long as nothing changed. It didn’t!
We scheduled an induction for 39 weeks 1 day. After reading so many stories about others with preeclampsia online I never thought I would make it this far, but we did and it was so good for me and the baby! My advice to anyone with any scary condition: pick a doctor you trust (try and do this when you are first pregnant, but switch during your pregnancy if you feel you need to) and listen to him when things get crazy. Don’t let Googling scare you. The internet doesn’t know you and doesn’t have instincts on how to care for you.
I prepared for an early birth and a probable NICU stay. We were so blest. Instead of any of that, I gave birth to a full term baby.
Our induction was scheduled for 7 a.m. on Thursday, April 9th. I don’t think I slept much the night before, but I finally got some shut eye. I woke up and took a shower, did my makeup and hair and double checked my bag. We got to the hospital and went into a room and started getting comfortable. Our scheduled nurse had a flat tire on the way to work so another nurse got us started, but I am so glad Laurie made it in. She was a fabulous nurse and helped me so much.
Around 8 a.m. I was having some contractions but they were 8 to 10 minutes apart, so we got started on the pit. I couldn’t really feel the contractions at this point too much, just some in my back. As we started on the pit they became more and more intense. I told the nurse I wanted the epidural right as we were starting. For me I knew I wanted one and didn’t want to get to a point where I was too far along that I couldn’t have one. I feel that I have the blessing of modern medicine to help me through hard things and this was one of them.
Around 11 a.m. contractions were getting closer together and the doctor came by to check on me. He decided to break my water. It was a weird sensation for sure, definitely like peeing my pants! I was dilated to a four now. At this point the nurse let me get my epidural. I was scared because I hate needles and shots, but it wasn’t that bad. The hardest part was to make sure to stay still even if a contraction came. It was quick and easy and felt sooo much better after it kicked in.
It was a good thing I got that epidural when I did, I went from being dilated to a four to a ten in an hour! We started pushing and thought it would happen anytime. The baby wasn’t quite down enough yet though. The doctor wanted the baby to labor down for an hour or so. At that point my epidural had worn off some and I was feeling the contractions hard in a spot in the middle of my back. The anesthesiologist came back and dosed me up again. After this my blood pressure went way down, but hey I felt AMAZING with the new dose of epidural. When the doctor saw my blood pressure down he said we needed to wait a while longer to get it back up. Every now and then I would push, but nothing too exciting. Sometimes I felt nauseous. Sometimes I felt fine, but I was pretty much ready to be done with labor.
Around 4 p.m. the nurse had me really start pushing. She had me push with every contraction. The head was crowning and this was the real deal. My nurse had notified the doctor that they were ready for him. He still wasn’t there and it was about time to deliver. While pushing the nurse had us press the call button to have the nurses station call the doctor again. At this point I was going to another world. Kind of felt like I was having an out of body experience. I had an oxygen mask on. I felt like I was going to puke. Then I was worried I was going to puke with the oxygen mask on, which would have been a nightmare (in my mind). The doctor walked in and we pushed a couple of times and I thought to myself I’m not sure I can do this. My husband kept talking to me but I had no idea what he was saying. Finally, I pushed the head out after a whole lot of keep going from the doctor and nurse. All I could think was it took so long to get the head out, now I have to get past the shoulders. I was a little naive, not knowing after the head everything else would slide out. I heard the beautiful sound of my sweet baby crying and the doctor placed her on my chest. She wasn’t their long. During pushing the nurse told us the baby had pooped in the womb. The NICU staff was in the room and checked her out. She was perfect.
While Miss JJ was getting cleaned up I delivered the placenta, but part of it was still stuck inside. The doctor had to scrape it out. Near the end of my pushing/delivery I really wanted to push the button to up my epidural, but the nurse told me not to so that I could feel a little during pushing. It was good for pushing but for this next part I wish I would have. I tore pretty good, a fourth degree tear good. When the baby was delivered her head was sideways causing the tears. The doctor started to stitch me up and I could sort of feel it. He had it almost all sewn up when there was a knot in the stitches thread, so he had to start over. At this point I finally got to have my cute little girl back in my arms. My fabulous nurse helped me start breastfeeding. She latched so well and had wide bright eyes. She was/is perfect.
The main thing I’ve learned during this pregnancy: Make a plan, but be prepared to change it. I didn’t plan on being on bed rest for 13 weeks. I didn’t plan on not being able to breastfeed immediately after birth. I didn’t plan on letting the nurses take her to the nursery for a little bit during the night. I didn’t plan on tearing. Be flexible because it is hard to know how everything will work out with a pregnancy (or in life for that matter).
We are so happy and just think she is the cutest baby ever! Here is another photo to prove it!
What did you learn from your pregnancy and birth story?
Kirsten - Sweet Tea & Saving Grace says
Emily I am so happy for your sweet family! She is beautiful! My sister-in-law had a similar situation where she was pretty much told she wouldn’t get pregnant. Sure enough, the Lord worked a miracle and I’m a proud aunt! 🙂 I’m glad you’re both doing well. Welcome to the world Miss JJ!!