…I was put on a lenient bed rest and went on maternity leave. My doctor pitied my incredible swelling, and daily activities were becoming increasingly more difficult for me, especially sitting at a desk for nine hours, allowing my legs to pool with blood. Those two weeks were bliss for me, as I spent my time nesting, resting, and spending time with my family and close friends to pass the time. The last time I did so was Halloween, where I had my friends come over for a dinner that I prepared, and we passed out candy. It was a blast to have those tender moments with them before the following week.
…Bed rest was no longer comfortable. Nothing was comfortable. The swelling was unbearable, and my appendages felt like they would start seeping out fluid if I moved. Towards the middle of the week, I started getting an unusual headache that no Tylenol, rest, or water could resolve. Gavin went out of town at the end of this week, and I spent that weekend attempting to mend my headache by distraction, as I started to bake for the holidays, and listen to Christmas music a little early. When Gavin came home early that Saturday night, we went on a nice dinner date to celebrate his homecoming. Little did we know how blessed we were that he came home when he did…
…The next morning my headache was worse. My mother, who is a postpartum nurse, came over to check my vitals, make sure I was doing okay. She took my temperature and blood pressure. My pressure was 160/90. This was seriously high, and she insisted that I go to triage, just to make sure nothing was wrong… (Mind you, this is after I had called my mom in full panic twice during the week due to my legs collapsing). I really did not want to go to the hospital, because I did not want to rack up any unnecessary bills (I know, totally skewed way to look at the situation) and did not want to waste my time, or the nurses/doctor’s time if nothing was wrong and look a-fool. This is where I will switch from week mode, to time mode:
Sunday around 4pm: I am admitted to triage. They check my vitals and run labs on me. My blood pressure is still high (and got higher). After the nurse gathered all of the necessary information and my labs were returned, the on-call doctor informed me that I would need to be admitted and induced to solve my body’s problems. In addition to my BP, I had low blood platelettes, which is an issue I guess when you’re having a baby (something to do with clotting). The only solution was to have my baby. I was so excited to finally be on the way to meeting baby Emerson. I was ready for the torture of swelling and headaches to be over.
9pm: I am admitted to Labor and Delivery. They try to give me medicine for my headaches, and inform me of the game plan for the night and day ahead. Getting situated to have a baby is so surreal. You get into the room and realize that within a day or so, you will be pushing out your little one to hold for the first time. Your life will change forever in that room…
Gavin and I spent a lot of time talking. It was such an experience to spend that time with my husband before the arrival of our first baby. We enjoyed every second of each other’s company. He did an amazing job taking care of me. He went home to feed our dogs, and since I was admitted after the dinner plates were served, he picked up my favorite (Taco Bell), for me. It was cold by the time I ate it due to blood work being done and getting all set up with my IV and other monitoring devices, but still wonderful. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to eat the next day because…
12am: I started on jells. I went into triage at 80% effaced and 3 cm dilated. I couldn’t walk in between them due to my blood pressure, so I had to just lay in my bed. Those were very uncomfortable, and with contractions beginning due to the thinning of the cervix in addition to my headaches, I was pretty miserable. I was then given an Ambien to help me sleep since I needed to be well rested for the day ahead, and my pain was making it next to impossible to fall asleep.
5am: After about an hour of sleep from dealing with back labor and pain, I was given sweet sweet relief – My epidural. I was also put on pitosin, which made my labor progress unusually fast. I ended up falling asleep again with the relief of the epidural.
8am: I started to get visitors. First was my best friend, Holly. She was there for every moment that moment forward for the rest of my delivery. Next were the moms, and my mom stuck around for the rest of delivery as well. It was nice to have the most important people in my life there for support, I felt so blessed.
10am: I was progressing nicely. Almost too nicely. I was 100% effaced and 7 cm. Still feeling great.
11am: I was put on medicine to slow down labor. My contractions were getting too close together and putting strain on the baby. I was then at 8 cm.
Noon: Fully dilated. My first pushing session. I pushed for about ten minutes with no progress. They stop me and put a ball between my legs to reposition the baby in case that is the problem. At this point I am shaking violently due to the epidural, and the pitosin conflicting with the anti-contraction medicine.
2pm: I push again. Still no progress. I’m getting frustrated at this point because I keep sending people in and out of the room. We were told to hold on a moment while the nurse consulted in the doctor.
330pm: I still have not heard back from my nurse or doctor. It was a very busy day at the hospital, with a ton of emergency inductions like myself, and c-sections. My mom works at the hospital, so I have a few close relationships with the staff there. One of our close friends who was working noticed my name had been put on the C-Section list, and I was next to be prepped for surgery. I was not only devastated to hear such news, but was very annoyed that no one had told or consulted with me. However, I understood that everyone was very busy and that I may not receive the graces of a slow hospital day. Although I had been put on the list to be sectioned, I refused unless there was immediate health risks to me or my baby. Since no one had talked with me, I was unaware of any health problems me or my baby may or may not have, so I wanted to push.
430pm: Still no word from my nurse or doctor. A nurse friend came in to check on my progress and noticed I had not done much in the past few hours even though I was having decent contractions. Since there were no doctors available and neither was my nurse (as she was in an emergency c-section), my friend decided she would help me push. I started to push and Em was still caught behind my cervix as he had been the past four hours. The ball had not helped reposition him, and we then realized that he was, “Sunny-side-up,” which means instead of the ideal presentation of face down, he was facing up. I still wanted to push, and my doctor came in during this time. I had been pushing for about thirty minutes, and he looked very serious. My baby’s heart rate was decreasing every contraction/push, and it was looking like a c-section was inevitable. I was determined to do a vaginal birth and did not want to do surgery. Looking back now I probably should have just gone with the section, but who knows what the extra time would have meant for Emerson…
553pm: Emerson arrives at 6 lbs 15 oz. He was not breathing or crying and was blue. In addition to being sunny-side-up, his foot was breech, and his umbilical chord wrapped around his neck…twice. Those first few moments were filled with so much fear that words cannot describe how terrified I was. He soon began to cry, and I just sobbed. I was instantly more in love with this being than I knew was ever possible. I was not able to hold him due to his rough birth till an hour after he joined us, but I was still so passionately in love. It is crazy the bond between mother and child…Gavin was a rock star supporting me through my delivery. He helped me push, and spent Emerson’s first hour of life with him since I was bed ridden.
630pm: I ate my first meal of the day…Cafeteria lasagna, and it was the best thing I ever put in my mouth… ha-ha! So famished!
7pm: I held my son for the first time. There is nothing so amazing, terrifying, or perfect that holding your child for the first time. You have no idea what you’re doing, yet it is so natural at the same time, such as nursing. So much has happened to create this tiny moment between you and your baby…it’s miraculous.
8pm: I was moved to postpartum. Let me tell you…Nine months of pregnancy and delivering a baby is smooth sailing compared to recovery… I literally felt like I had been hit by a semi while wearing a ten pound diaper…lovely. But, it was all worth it for my baby boy. I had a fabulous nurse, who happened to be one of my mom’s best friends, and long time dear friend of the family. I was so blessed to have her the first night to take care of me, talk with me, help me sleep, and aide me with my nervousness with my first few feedings. It’s amazing how you grow an unspoken bond with everyone involved in your delivery.
Special challenges after delivery:
While we were still in the hospital, Emerson was not gaining enough weight. I had to supplement along with nursing. The first time I supplemented I cried so hard. I felt like a failure. A failure to produce for my child, a failure to myself, a failure at doing what should be natural to my body. I tell ya, pregnancy is a trip!
Two days after going home from the hospital I was right back again in the Emergency Room. My headaches were back, and I was in screaming pain. I was treated with six different pain killers till something worked. My OB just happened to be at the hospital and checked in with me. After multiple labs, a CT scan, and other evaluations, I was diagnosed with Postpartum Preeclampsia. When I was admitted to the hospital my blood pressure was 165/115. I was sent home after eight hours in the ER.
At Emerson’s first appointment three days after delivery, he was very jaundice. He continued to be jaundice for two weeks after delivery, so he had to be treated with photo-therapy for 72 hours. There is nothing more devastating then watching your newborn be strapped to a huge piece of equipment and unable to move around. He also had to have his blood tested around five times, which was never fun…holding him while he was pricked and squeezed for blood. UGH! At about four weeks, he was back to normal.
Emerson also had trouble with his hearing. He failed his two hearing tests at the hospital. We went to a Cigna facility to be tested again two weeks after he was born. He still failed. We were recommended to see an ENT. Still failed. Emerson was then recommended for a BAER test (Brainstem Auditory Response Evaluation) at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Immediate good news…NO SEDATION! Thank the Lord. More good news…He slept the whole appointment! The audiologist said he was the best baby she had ever had! Even more good news! HE PASSED! His ear canals are just abnormally small that the ear canals are not fully exposed (sorry son, you get that from me). All is well now.
Emerson is now 9 weeks old, and has his two month appointment tomorrow. I assume he will be around ten pounds, and on track for development. He coos and almost laughs now, and excels in squeezing his hands, tummy time, and following movement with his eyes. He may have had a rough start, but now he is growing so fast and strong. He is still supplementing along with nursing, which is still hard, but I’m learning to cope with it. I am amazingly happy as a new mom. Next week I go back to work, and I am NOT looking forward to it. I do not want to leave my baby AT ALL. Thinking about it gives me crazy anxiety. Pray for my sanity.
I hope you all enjoyed reading my story. I enjoyed writing it.
If you were there the day of my delivery, feel free to add your experience in the comment area, I’d love to add to my story with other’s perspectives! 🙂 Thanks friends!