We were anxiously awaiting the arrival of our little one, who was due on November 13.
At my 36 week appointment I had high blood pressure and an abnormal amount of protein in my urine. Valerie, one of the midwives I was seeing, was also concerned with the additional info that I had been experiencing headaches that weren't going away with Tylenol and that I was seeing spots for 2 weeks prior. I got sent up to the fourth floor to get labs drawn and was booked to come back three days later for another blood pressure check and was told to check my BP daily at home.
My midwives were worried that I was developing preeclampsia, I was right on the edge.
At my appointment that Friday, my blood pressure was back to normal but I was told to continue to monitor. I had a few moments that following week where my blood pressure would spike, then return to normal within the hour. At my next appointment, everything was fine but we did another lab draw to make sure everything was ok. Grafton was with me and was asking the midwife a lot of questions about preeclampsia like he had the week before also. I was glad he was there because it was hard for me to pay attention to everything she was saying.
On Sunday October 30 I woke up with a headache and took some Tylenol, my blood pressure was a little higher than it had been but it was still under the threshold they told me to look out for. I went to church but still had a nagging headache by the time I got home. I was seeing a bunch of spots and stars and had a feeling that something wasn't quite right so I called the midwife on call. Tonia didn't want to take any chances so she asked that I come into the hospital to see what was going on. Grafton was finishing up an appointment and I told him to just keep working and I would call him and let him know what was going on.
I drove to the hospital and filled out my paperwork. I felt nervous and anxious. I prayed for peace-worrying wasn't going to help with anything. I got more labs drawn and gave another urine sample. Everything became real when they put the bracelet on my wrist. I was now checked in at the hospital. By then Grafton finished his appointment so he came to the hospital where we waited in room 3001 for my results.
A couple hours went by so Grafton left to pick up take-out from PF Chang's and get stuff from home when Tonia came back with the news that I was officially diagnosed with preeclampsia, my proteins had tripled in a week.
She then went over my options:
- Wait and see what happens. My blood pressure could go down and I could go on to go into labor naturally, or,
- They induce me.
Tears were welling up as I was trying to pay attention to what she was saying. Tonia explained that the scary part about preeclampsia is that no one really knows what could happen. I could be fine, or things could go really bad really quick. She told me to think about it and to call Grafton to talk to him. She knew that we were hoping for a natural birth and wanted to keep that plan to the best of their abilities.
I called Grafton and in a shaking voice I told him everything that was explained to me. We decided to induce-although it was not what we were expecting we wanted our baby to be healthy and safe and we were concerned about my health. When Tonia came back in I told her our decision, and we began to prep.
A shift change brought us Kendra, one of our favorite midwives. She was quiet and reassuring that everything would be okay. She explained that they would go as slow as possible with the induction to allow my body time to adjust and hopefully for labor to kick in on its own. She wanted to use Cervadil first to ripen my cervix because I was still only 1 cm and 10%. It was uncomfortable to place, and a few hours later I was getting a lot of cramps so I took a sleeping pill to get enough rest to hopefully meet our baby the next day.
At 4 am Kendra took out the Cervadil and said that nothing changed, the next option was pitocin and she stripped my membranes. My problem was that even though I was having strong and frequent contractions, they were coupling and were too frequent. The pitocin was going to help regulate them.
On Monday October 31 my family arrived and Grafton's family was there as well. Although initially we didn't want anyone else in the room with us, plans had changed and we knew it was going to be a while before labor really started to kick in. I sat on the birth ball and used the TENS unit (got rid of that after 10 minutes, I wasn't into it haha) to help get through contractions. The tub and ball helped me the most, but I still didn't feel like I was progressing much even though I threw up twice.
After a couple of hours Kendra checked my cervix again-disappointingly, I was exactly where I was the night before. Kendra discussed a few different options which included a Foley bulb and continued pitocin. The Foley bulb basically just mechanically dilates your cervix to about 4cm, then comes out. We planned to put the bulb in at 8pm.
As the day went on I tried to sleep as much as I could, but the contractions and stress kept building up. At around 6 that evening I decided I wanted to get an epidural. I felt disappointed that everything seemed to be going the opposite way of how we pictured it. Grafton asked me if I was sure I wanted an epidural, since we originally were not wanting to use pain medication. I preferred to get the epidural over fentanyl because baby gets fentanyl too if that's what I chose. Before the Foley bulb was placed, Heidi, the anesthesiologist came in to administer the epidural. She asked me general health questions and if I had any allergies (I didn't, to my knowledge), then I mentioned how once for a surgery I was prescribed oxycodone and it made me hallucinate-turns out, that's considered an allergy. So once I got the epidural I was given two more wonderful bracelets. Red one for "Allergy" and Yellow one for "Fall Risk". Walking epidurals aren't a thing guys, your legs feel like you just completed 2 Ironman's in a row. Grafton and I prayed lots that night; prayers for peace and guidance, for encouragement, safety, and to hopefully avoid a c-section.
After all of that, I was pretty tired so our families left and Grafton and I watched a home video that Grafton's mom had brought in for us. We went to sleep shortly after to prepare for the day ahead, only I had to wake up every hour to flip over (fyi: epidurals work with gravity). At about 6 the next morning, Kendra came in and checked on my progress, she was happy to say that the Foley bulb came out and I was dilated to 4! She then broke my water and I finally felt a sense of relief that things were going to start moving.
We continued the Pitocin (it had been on a really slow drip) and our families came back later that morning to hang out for a while. At around 11:45 I felt really tired and nauseous so I asked Grafton to ask our family to leave for a little bit so I could rest. They said goodbye and my grandpa cracked a joke that this baby was coming by 1 o'clock--a couple of nurses and my mother-in-law laughed at that one...
I felt like something was off so I asked the nurse, Tera, who had also been one of my nurses when I was admitted for preterm labor at 27 weeks, to get the midwife. Renata was the midwife who was on now, she said that sometimes epidurals can make you nauseous if your sitting in one position for too long but she would check my cervix to see what was up.
I looked at Grafton like, "holy shit. this is happening." I was finally complete and nurses started coming in to set up to deliver a baby! Grafton started crying (it was pretty cute guys) and I started to freak out a little bit because I was so excited. Tera and Renata explained how to push and they brought out a mirror so I could see what was going on if I wanted.
We had our "Baby P" playlist on in the background and the only light in the room was from the huge windows looking out at a beautiful rainy fall day. After 2 pushes I could see the top of his head. At this point my dad texted Grafton and asked what was going on-they had no idea that I was starting to push because I was still talking like normal and making jokes. With each push our little baby closer to us, and after 45 minutes Grafton caught him and placed him on my chest.
At that point I lost it. I was crying uncontrollably, finally holding my little bear cub. After his umbilical cord stopped pulsating Grafton cut the cord and we snuggled our baby. Everything went by so fast, and our baby was earth side and healthy, that the days leading up to that point were forgotten. Time is interesting when you're welcoming your baby into the world and it doesn't quite make sense. Even though a lot of things didn't go as we'd hoped, the birth of our little boy was something I would do over and over again, it was perfect.
On November 1, 2016 at 12:49 PM we welcomed Jasper Robert. My grandpa is Robert. The most wonderful man I have ever met in my life, and I wanted Jasper to have a part of him, so it only seemed fitting that we give him Robert as part of his name.
Jasper weighed 7 lbs 4 oz and was 20 inches long. He had the most beautiful slate blue eyes and a head of dark curly hair. His hair is a little lighter and his eyes still melt my heart from when I first saw him.
We are so thankful for the wonderful midwives at Rockwood Midwifery and nurses at Deaconess Hospital who cared for us, and for an enduring faith that helped get us through the whole process.