It was always my intention to have a natural childbirth. I envisioned myself laboring at home as long as possible, using my Lamaze techniques, rolling around the house on the big bouncy birthing ball and then going to the hospital at the last possible moment to deliver without intervention. No drugs. Minimal monitoring.
Well, you can wish in one hand and shit in the other--see which one fills up first.
Around my 28th-ish week of pregnancy my blood pressure started to increase slowly and my liver enzymes started to elevate. Two signs of preeclampsia. My doctors monitored me and the baby with once a month Level II ultrasounds, lab tests, and non-stress test fetal monitoring. All looked well except for those pesky liver enzymes that just wouldn't go back to normal. So as my blood pressure increased, so did my blood pressure medication dose and things were fine. Than around the first week of June my pressures were in the 160-170/90 range. I kept having to go to the hospital for monitoring. They put me on "modified" bed rest and I monitored my blood pressure at home. Finally, on June 17th in the late evening my pressures were consistently 180's/100's. The doctor sent me to the hospital for more monitoring. We got to the room, they checked my vitals, labs, urine for protein (which had been negative the whole time, one good thing I had going for me), hooked us up for a non-stress test and we waited. The nurse came in and had a funny look on her face....I said, "Oh man, my urine came back positive for protein, didn't it."
She shook her Head "no" and asked how we would feel about having a baby today (it was super early Thursday AM), and that it was the opinion of my doctor that I should be induced because of my blood pressure.
Trevor and I were shocked. We weren't planning on a BABY yet! We needed 4 more weeks of cuddling, dinners out, and general laziness! In reality though, we knew this was best for my health and mumbled and grumbled in agreement. I was immediately started on a drip of Magnesium Sulfate to relax my smooth muscles to try and prevent seizures related to my hypertension which continued until 12 hours after Elkey's birth. It made me feel hot,gooey, and shitty. I started to cry and told Trevor that I wished he could do this for me. That all that they were planning on doing to me was totally NOT MY PLAN....and that I felt scared about labor being strapped to a bed for hours on a million different medications. It wasn't my plan....and this new agenda just felt wrong to me.
They ripened my cervix overnight with an internal application of medication and then at 7am Thursday started me on Pitocin. Holy ba-jesus. Contractions were immediate, strong, hard, intense, frequent. I could barley move in bed because of the every 15minute BP's they were taking, the fetal monitor, and the IV magnesium which made it harder to walk. I started my deep breathing exercises....I rubbed my belly rhythmically, Trevor rubbed me with the tennis balls we packed. I sat at the edge of the bed...I rocked in Trevors arms. I struggled until 11AM when I was 5cm or so dilated and then I gave in. Actually, I didn't make the call. I couldn't bring myself to do it after all the months of hopeful planning for a drug free birth. Trevor called for the epidural. Thank you, Trevor for knowing and seeing what was best in that moment.
I got the epidural through a jillion petocin contractions and then layed back in bed and chilled out. I slept through the rest of my contractions on and off. We talked, we watched Cubs vs. Sox Crosstown Classic. It was strange not feeling my legs but I was thankful for the relief and needed the rest (an observation that I'm able to make now looking back at the situation).
Finally I was 10cm dilated around 3pm. However, the baby hadn't dropped very much...she was still at -2 station. pretty high up there. It was still time to push. The MD wanted to cut my continuous epidural dose in half so that I could effectively push. They called the anesthesiologist who was in c-section so I contued with that same dose. After about 15 minutes, I noticed I could really feel things again...and soon I could feel everything. I got on my hands and knees to push in a different position and when I turned over I noticed my epidural had become disconnected. I hadn't been receiving the meds for a long while and now...there was no numbness or relief to speak of from the epidural. The MD said that she wanted to keep it that way because Elkey was so far up and she and I would need all my strength to push her out....so no more meds for me. Then. THEN. I pushed. and I pushed. and I pushed. For all but TWO contractions over the next 4 hours. I felt everything. It hurt. I was nauseated and throwing up. I wanted to cry. But I didn't. I just kept my eyes closed, focused. Pushed. Trevor was there for every single contraction with one arm hooked under my leg and another behind my head helping to fold me in half for each contraction. He counted to ten 3 times for each contraction, he spoke encouraging words. He whispered sweetly in my ear. He gave me everything I needed and more through such an intense time.
Trevor said he could see the baby's head for over an hour just slowly making its way out and finally crowning. When the head was *right* there I got a little extra through my epidural to take the edge off. I pushed with all my might, probably 4 more times...it STILL wasn't enough. they had to pull out the vacuum for a millisecond. They barley used it....but again, in my childbirth class when they talked about the vacuum and forceps I scoffed under my breath...they wouldn't be using those things on MY baby. Well they did. Also....I got an epesiotomy. Another little tid bit I didn't anticipate.
So...with a little extra suck from the vacuum, Elkey was born. Little conehead and all!
When they told us it was a girl, Trevor had to take a second look, we ALWAYS thought the baby in my belly was a boy! They set her on my chest and again, my intention was to breastfeed right away but she was "grunting" and needed a bit more attention...because of her grunting she was whisked away and sent to the NICU. She stayed there for the rest of her hospitalization...4 days. She was very sedated from the IV Magnesium I received and her appetite was poor. We went every 4 hours at the very least for her feedings.
I breastfed with a bit of formula supplementation. When I was discharged, Trevor and I drove to the hospital for her feedings. Luckily we only live 10 minutes away. On Father's Day we thought she would be able to come home, but she needed one more day because of her jaundice....so Elkey sent me out to get her daddy his first Father's Day tie in honor of the Cubs winning the Crosstown Classic on her birthday....apparently a good luck omen according to Trevor:
Finally on Monday we brought our special little girl home. What a treat....she is seriously a miracle baby. We both have always felt that we'd need help conceiving as Trevor and I both have different medical issues that could have potentially made it very hard to make a a baby. We still look at her and wonder how she is even here.
She was made just for us...for our little family.