He was due June 24, but because of my ridiculously high blood pressure, we had to induce at 38 weeks, 5 days (which is why I didn't do a prenatal journal post for week 38... we never actually made it to the end of the week!).
The decision to induce was difficult for me. I so wanted a natural childbirth with a labor that started on it's own, because I believe that in most cases, labor will begin when the baby is ready to come. On the other hand though, with my blood pressure sky high and pre-eclampsia looming, the risks of organ damage and seizures for me and the placenta breaking down for him was just too great a risk.
So, after doing some research on induction methods, my midwife and I worked out a plan, and I breathed a sigh of relief that they would allow me to try for a vaginal delivery first and keep C-section a last resort. I requested to be induced using a natural induction method, a Foley bulb catheter. This method is rarely used, although it has about a 60% success rate. Compared with a Pitocin induction, which has a slightly lower success rate, it boggles my mind why the Foley isn't used more often since it's less expensive for the hospital and less invasive for the mother while giving comparable results. While this wasn't my midwife's first choice of a method, she has experience using a Foley and respected my wishes.
|Bonding in the recovery room a few hours after birth|
We got things pulled together and somehow I managed to get a few hours sleep Thursday night. It was the most surreal feeling to drive to the hospital, not in labor and know that sometime that day or the next, I'd meet my baby.
We checked in and met our day nurse, Melissa. She's a mom of 4 and had all her children naturally, so she was very supportive of my wishes and was SO helpful in making me feel at ease and suggesting drug free ways to help the labor progress and the contractions more manageable.
Side note: the hospital you choose and the staff can make or break your birth experience. The nurses were phenomenal and I really felt that they cared about us! Working with them was a great experience!!!
When I was admitted to the hospital, I was dilated 2 cm... by 2 p.m. I had dilated to 6 cm and the contractions were coming, but still weren't consistent. I sat in the whirlpool tub for a while, but by 4 p.m. we had to accept that my labor had stalled out. My body just wasn't making enough oxytocin to keep the labor going. After discussing our options, we decided to augment the labor with Pitocin, an artificial form of the oxytocin my body was supposed to be producing (it's the chemical that causes contractions and milk production) but wasn't (this happens pretty frequently when you induce labor).
|The little man, up close and personal|
I pretty much skipped transition - the down time between full dilation and feeling the urge to push. The contractions were so amped up by the Pitocin that my adrenaline kicked in and started fighting it, causing me to shake and shiver. Thankfully, this didn't last long because we barely had time to call the midwife before the baby was born and the labor was over. My midwife came in around 4 a.m. and watched me through 1 contraction... then started getting things ready really quickly - she knew there was no time to waste... this baby was coming now!
They popped the squat bar onto the end of the bed and my midwife walked me through how to use it. After about 5 pushes (have to say, that was the hardest thing I've ever done), Ry Guy made his appearance. He was quiet for a few seconds, then started yelling. :-)
|Snuggling in NICU|
The nurses weighed and tested the baby... 6 lbs, 10.9 oz. He scored 9 on the APGAR and was 19 inches long.
And he really was beautiful. I got to breastfeed him right away and he latched on like a champ. At that point, I was still like, "Did that just happen?"
|Grandma and Ry Guy in NICU|
sleeping. A lot. Around midnight, the night nurse came in to check the little guy's vital signs and "just happened" to catch his heart rate was really slow. Usually, a healthy baby's heart rate is around 120 beats a minute. Ry Guy's heart rate was 60 something. He was breathing ok at that point, but the nurse suggested taking him down to the nursery and hooking him up to the monitor to see if we could determine what the problem was. That was incredibly scary.
He began having "episodes" where his heart rate would drop to the 60's or 70's and his oxygen saturation would drop as well, causing him to turn a little blue around the mouth. In a few seconds, he would then recover himself and return to normal. This happened off and on for hours. M and I were drained, so they sent us back to our room to rest for a while with the promise they would call if anything changed. By morning, nothing had changed for better or worse and the pediatrician came by to check him. At this point, they had done several blood tests to rule out the possibility of infection, and had also done an EKG to see if there were any abnormalities with this heart. While all of these tests came back normal, he continued to have "episodes".
The pediatrician recommended we err on the side of caution and transfer Ry Guy to another hospital in town that specializes in cardiology as well as neonatal intensive care. We arrived at the other hospital and were finally allowed to see him after he was admitted. What a difference in atmosphere and staff... and not for the better, unfortunately. I felt like they didn't believe that there was really an issue, since he stopped having as many "episodes" once he transferred hospitals. In fact, he only had 1 "episode" after the transfer.
The new hospital had a laundry list of possible issues to rule out, and began running tests. The found that he had sluggish blood (it took FOREVER to get a blood sample) and an echocardiogram (an ultrasound of his heart) showed that he had a small space between the ventricles in his heart, although that didn't seem to concern anyone, since it's common for newborns and usually closes on its own (and as a matter of fact, it was closed completely in about a week after birth).
|Finally HOME where we belong!!!|
We thank God that he's here and improving every day. It's been a challenging 3 weeks since he was born and God has used these experiences to stretch me and teach me. I'll delve into that in another post, since I've rambled on long enough.
In short, although I wasn't able to have the "ideal" birth experience that I'd wanted, I was able to have the best birth possible under the circumstances, and I thank God for it and for my son.