As many of you know my easy pregnancy took a turn towards the end. At first my body started trying to kick itself in to labor around week 34 or 35 and my blood pressure started creeping up. My blood pressure was not high yet, just a tad higher than my normal at this point. As I blogged about earlier, I ended up at labor and delivery with two shots to get labor to stop. Thankfully at this point my cervix was not changing but with the regularity of my contractions we were concerned that it would start, so I was sent home and told to take it super easy. They didn't officially put me on bed rest at this point, but told me housework was out of the question at least until I was 36 weeks. Finally, I was 36 weeks and resumed housework and caring for the children as normal. I was sure that I would go in to labor at any time. It was around this time that my blood pressure started spiking. The doctor started monitoring me for signs of preeclampsia (you can find out more about what that is HERE). Thankfully, I did not show additional symptoms at this time so we were just monitoring my blood pressure carefully. However, my blood pressure continued to spike and I ended up at the hospital for them to monitor my blood pressure several times towards the end of the pregnancy. I believe that the highest it got was 179/100... but this caused great concern. It was this trip to the hospital that I did start showing trace amounts of protein in my urine, which is another symptom of preeclampsia, but not enough to actually diagnose me with full blown pre-e. So, I was sent home and told to see my doctor first thing the following morning.
The next morning I went to the doctor's office and after 4 hours at the doctor's office(and after blood work, ultrasound, and blood pressure monitoring) I was placed on strict bedrest and sent home. When I say strict, I mean strict. I could not even keep the kids alone, I was told that I was allowed to get up to go pee and that was it. That was torture to me and my entire family. I cried and cried.. I hate to inconvenience anyone and I felt like one big inconvenience to everyone around me. I was also told to take my blood pressure frequently and if it was ever over 140/90 I was to call the doctor immediately. My blood pressure was doing alright all day Thursday and Friday. Saturday it was up a little on Saturday morning, but not enough to warrant a call. However by Saturday evening I was super sick to my stomach, blurry vision, massive sudden headache and I took my blood pressure and it was 156/94 and I made the call. I was told to head to the hospital immediately. So...we did. This would be the only time we would go to the hospital without any bags as we expected to be monitored and sent home. I should point out that I was 38 weeks at this point and had carried this child longer than my other two. Needless to say, I was miserable and tired of going to the hospital or doctor's office every couple of days. The doctor had offered a c-section but I did not want that either. We got to the hospital and they monitored me for a while. The nurse pointed out that I was having regular contractions, to which I responded "Oh, I know... I have been having them all day...heck, all the last two weeks." She pointed out that these were regular and I responded, "Oh, I know...they always are...but they never change my cervix and so is my life..." We were both laughing and she said she would really like to check me. I told her that at my last check I was dilated a fingertip to 1 and 80% effaced and I thought it really unnecessary but if she really wanted to she could. So she checked me and to both our surprise I was dilated to 3 and 80% effaced. Go figure. So, I was admitted because the doctor wanted my blood pressure monitored and they thought that I might be in the stages of early labor which would be why my blood pressure was spiking and why I felt so yucky. However, after all night of regular contractions anywhere from 3 minutes to 5 minutes apart...there was absolutely no change (and little rest for me). My blood pressure remained elevated and my doctor came to see me. My orders were to remain in the hospital for another night so they could do a 12 hour urine catch, more blood work, and continue to monitor my blood pressure. Yay. Fun. The good news was that I could eat! I had not eaten in over 24 hours and was starving!!
After a night of up and down and peeing in a container...(oh yeah, that was fun)...they took it to run test and took what seemed like all my blood. LOL At this point, I am tired...and sore from the stupid hospital bed...and am literally pleading with my unborn child to please just go ahead and come on out. If my body would kick in to active labor all of these issues would be resolved. When the test results came back we were not overly happy. The results showed that I was spilling a small amount of protein as well as my creatin levels being high. The creatine levels were unrelated to the preeclampsia but meant that my kidneys were not working properly. So, the doctor had decided to have an amnioPitocin is the devil. I still stand behind that statement. I had watched my sister go through a horrible induction that ended in c-section and I was afraid that the same would happen to me. However, I wanted what was best for the both of us...so induction it was.
The next morning a very nice and very funny doctor came in to do the amnio. I must admit the amnio was very interesting to watch, but a bit scary as well. I was terrified that he was going to inadvertently stick Izabella. However, she managed to stay still for the few seconds it took and he was done. We had to wait for results. We waited...and waited...and waited...and waited. My doctor came to see us and said she had scheduled induction for 5a.m. the following morning with the expectation that the test would show Izabella's lungs mature. I was super nervous. Finally, later that evening we got the results that Izabella's lungs were fully mature and that the induction would proceed as normal. I tried my best to sleep that night but I didn't sleep very well. I prayed off and on all night long that God would grant me a quick and easy delivery and that he would grant me the strength to endure no matter what the outcome.
So, the next morning (9/14), the nurse woke me up at 4:30a.m. and told me to go use the potty and get ready to be hooked up to all the monitors and the IV. At 5:00a.m. they started the pitocin drip and I woke up Joel to keep my company because I was frightened.
At this point I feel I need to address my intentions with pain medication. I really did not want an epidural. I had a terrible experience with it put in incorrectly when I had Emmelyn (and very very painfully I might add..). With William they put the epidural in perfectly and it did just as it was supposed to. However, it bruised my back something awful and I dealt with that bruising for almost 8 months after William was born. I really wanted to avoid those complications this time around. However, I knew that being induced with pitocin meant that my contractions were going to be that much more extreme. So, I had decided that if I got to a point where I felt that the complications of the epidural were worth it to not have to experience the pain of the labor, I would get an epidural. After all, I had epidurals with my other deliveries and my kiddos were just fine.
So, back to the big day...my contractions did not really start until around 6a.m. They were fairly mild and very much like what I had been experiencing, so I was good to go. My dad arrived around 6:30 and found my decision to not get an epidural comical and was certain I would end up with one before it was over with. However, at this point, I really felt the contractions were very minor. The nurse fixed that...she upped the pitocin and within minutes I started feeling them a bit more. Now, they were still very manageable at this point, I was breathing and relaxing through them...but they did require my concentration. Around 8:00a.m. I decided to unplug and go use the potty as I knew that a full bladder would only make the contractions worse. So, after my bathroom break I asked the nurse if I could stay standing as I found it easier to deal with the contractions if I could sway through them. She plugged me back in to the monitors to be sure that we could monitor Izabella's heartbeat and then said I could stay standing. It was around this time that I started to experience back labor. So, not only am I getting to experience pitocin induced contractions...but in my back... it was fun, let me tell you. So, I am swaying through the contractions and breathing through them. My dad... well...he is beginning to grin and say something to the effect of I am just getting started and might want to rethink the epidural thing. A few minutes later I started to doubt myself. The back pain was excruciating and the contractions were one right after another without a break. I was starting to panic a little bit as I assumed I was just getting started as well. I moved to the birthing ball through a few of the contractions and then mentioned to the nurse that these contractions were crazy intense and right on top of each other. I asked her if it was possible the pitocin was turned up too much. She checked and assured me that this was exactly what we wanted... and in that moment I decided that it was too much. The back pain was crazy bad and if I was just getting started there was no way I was going to be able to do this. The nurse told me I would have to get back in the bed. They needed to check my dilation to decide if I could get an epidural yet. So, when I could, I got back in the bed. The nurse checked me and with great surprise said "Well... I have good news...you are dilated to an 8." That is when I realized how stupid I had been, I should have recognized transition... I was saying all the textbook examples of a woman in transition (deciding I couldn't do it, feeling like the contractions were right on top of each other, etc) At this point I decided that an epidural would be silly as I was certain that I wouldn't take long to dilate to 10. The doctor came in at this point and broke my water... and boy was that fun when she decided to stick her hand up in me to make sure that Izabella's head descended first. I know it was necessary, but oh my word...it was extremely painful...and she wasn't exactly gentle either.
I was still experiencing extreme back labor and asked if I could get off my back as it was crazy painful. So, I got on my knees and leaned over the back of the bed. This is when I believe that watching me became quite comical. As a contraction would hit I would start breathing and relaxing through it while chanting, "I can do this, I can do this, I can do this" and when the contraction would peak, I would start chanting "I can't do this, I can't do this, I can't do this" and start to lose it a little. It would be during this time that I would waiver and say maybe I do need an epidural... I know that the nurse had to be laughing at me on the inside. She and the greenville tech nursing student were phenomenal though. They began massaging my lower back during contractions which helped SOOOO much. It wasn't but a couple contractions later that I started feeling the crazy need to push. If you have never experienced labor, I cannot explain this feeling. It is almost involuntary and it is quite painful to keep from pushing, but it is necessary to not push when you are not completely dilated or you can cause complications. Unfortunately, I was only dilated to a 9 at this point and could not push. The good news is that Izabella had turned at this point and therefore I was not experiencing back labor at this point...just this insane need to push. After 4 of the most excruciatingly painful contractions I have ever experienced, I begged her to check again because my body was starting to involuntarily push despite my efforts. When she checked and said I was complete... that was the best feeling in the world. I flipped over so fast... she called the nurses station and told them to get my doctor in there now as I was about to have this baby without her.... I pushed the first 2 times without much progress as I was focusing on the pain and holding back as I was afraid of causing myself to tear and wanted to avoid that if possible. Then I decided to focus and get control and 2 pushes later at 9:21 (3 hours and 21 minutes from when I felt the first contraction) and after a major unwanted cut from the doctor (episiotomy).. Izabella Danielle was here!! It was the greatest feeling in the world to have her placed on my chest. I got to love on her right away! She was so alert and I felt incredible.
Now, don't get me wrong... I was exhausted and very much so acted that way... but I felt such a sense of accomplishment and was so glad to have made the decision to decline the epidural. I could definitely tell a difference. At this point, my wonderful doctor, no joke tossed a towel over me and left. Apparently the woman next door was delivering at the same time and while I understand that she was needed... I HATED laying there with my legs still in the stirrups with a towel thrown over me. After was seemed like forever...she came back and stitched me up. I asked her if she had cut me.. as she knew I did not want to be cut... and she rudely responded that she was concerned about the size of the baby and it was necessary. When I asked how many stitches the only response I got was that she was working on it and it was unnecessary for me to know. She never did tell me how many. Needless to say, I will not be using that doctor again.
Finally, after getting stitched up I was given my beautiful 8lb 4oz, 21 1/2" long baby. She had a head full of hair and wanted to be sure that the world knew she was present. She was screaming her head off and refused to latch to eat. We decided to try unswaddling her and when we did, she quieted right down and latched on. She ate...and ate...and ate... and 30 minutes later was calmed enough that the rest of the family could meet her.
She is beautiful and we could not imagine her not a part of our family. She has been renamed Cutie McGrunts Alot and we are thinking that should be on her birth certificate instead of Izabella Danielle. She lost weight at first, as is normal for breastfed babies, but has since regained all that she lost plus an ounce. So she currently weighs 8lbs 5oz. Her favorite place to be...by far... is mom's chest. Let's see...how can I word this nicely... her lungs are in perfect working condition and she frequently tests them out to make sure they are still working...and they are...loudly. She prefers to be held...all the time... and for the first 2 weeks had her nights and days mixed up. She now sleeps at night in 2 hours stretches... meaning that she is going 3 hours in between eating and I feel human again. She is suffering from acid reflux but we are attempting to find ways to help her with this without medicating her. However, this is very difficult as her crying is very stressful. However, this is a short period in her life and I know that with each day it will get easier to take care of her and my other two kiddos. Despite how difficult it has been, she is extremely cute and sweet and snuggly and I am extremely blessed to have all three of my children in my life. Emmelyn and William have adjusted well. William calls her "my baby" (meaning William's baby) and corrects us if we call her anything else. Emmelyn has some minor jealousy issues she is working through but is a huge help. Our family is complete..............for now. :)