I’ve essentially stopped blogging. Life. It’s been busy. Between taking care of Aubrey and our fixer upper, on top of daily events there is just nothing left in me at the end of the day to sit down and blog… but we just had a baby, and I don’t want to forget the details. So here I am.
My whole pregnancy I just had a feeling I wasn’t going to make it to 40 weeks. I don’t know if it was intuition, or wishful thinking, but I didn’t. Nothing happened the way I had it planned out in my mind… do they ever? 🙂
Starting some time during my third trimester my feet got super itchy, specifically right before bedtime. I never thought to bring it up to my doctor during appointments, because it was one of those out of sight out of mind things, and I really thought I just had dry skin or something. So every night I put lotion on my feet, and they itched but it was manageable. Then one morning the itching wasn’t stopping, and my hands felt itchy and swollen… so I googled. Which led me to discover a pregnancy condition called Obstetric Cholestasis, and it can be fatal for the baby. Reading this information freaked me out, and I called my doctor. They asked me to go to Labor & Delivery for some blood work, because they will get the results faster than the doctor will.
So I gave Paul a call, and he came home to watch Aubrey while I headed to the hospital. As I get to the hospital, I check in and give the receptionist my information. The girl behind me in line, says, “Oh I am being induced for that on Thursday. You probably do have it based on your symptoms.” I took what she said with a grain of salt, in my head this just wasn’t something that happened to me or my baby. So I went back into triage, peed in a cup, gave some blood, and was hooked up to a fetal monitor. Then I sat there… for a few hours waiting for lab results.
Finally, the nurse came back and said “Aly (my doctor and the midwife on call at the time) wants me to check you, because she thinks we need to go ahead and induce you”. Say what? I am incredibly against medical intervention during childbirth, unless medically necessary for the health of mom or baby. I truly believe God created our bodies for childbirth. So here I was 38 weeks and 3 days pregnant, 50% effaced and 1.5 cm dilated, and they wanted me to have my baby, and I panicked. The thought of induction terrified me. What if it lasted days? What if I didn’t respond to the medicine and needed a C-section (which terrified me even more)? What if I couldn’t handle the pitocin induced contractions and needed an epidural? I’m sure a lot of this sounds crazy, because women safely have babies every day through induction or c-section for all sorts of reasons… but it was foreign to me. Neither my mom or sister ever had to be induced, and it was a complete 180 from my labor with Aubrey, and my plans for this labor.
Finally Aly came in to talk to me (and she is my absolute favorite, so I’m incredibly grateful she was on call that day). My urine test and blood panel came back completely normal, but the labs for the bile salts, which would determine if I had Obstetric Cholestasis, would take about 4 days to come in. She explained that most women with this condition are induced at 37 weeks, and since I was exhibiting the symptoms and I was full term she believed induction to be the best choice for me. She explained that this condition affects your liver. Normally bile flows into your intestines, but with this condition less bile flows into your intestines and begins to back up in your body, which causes the itching. The back up of bile is more annoying for me (and severe for some women), but it could potentially poison my baby resulting in fetal death. She assured me Nolan was fine now, but she didn’t want to risk waiting 4 days for labs to come back. She said fetal death in these cases could come on very quickly, and often times its too late for them to do anything. Going against an induction at that point, would require me to sign against medical advice, and put my baby at risk. So with tears flowing, I asked if I could go home first and get Aubrey settled for the night, and come back with Paul. She told me to go eat dinner, and come back between 6-7 that night.
I headed home and called Paul, and he called my Mom to have her head over after work to take care of Aubrey. I got home and speed cleaned my house, packed up the last minute things I needed, and we ate dinner. Then off we went to the hospital.
We got to the hospital around 6:30, and we were brought to the same delivery room where Aubrey was born, which we both thought was kind of fun. Then the waiting began. They finally gave me the cervadil at 9pm, and I was to keep it in for 12 hours. Around 11 they gave me ambien to help me sleep… except it was 5mg and I was totally unable to sleep with the machines beeping and hooked up to a fetal monitor and anticipating how this whole process would go. I just kept praying and asking Paul to pray that my body would respond to the medicine, and that this wouldn’t be a drawn out process and our baby would get here safely. He kept telling me our baby would be here by noon, to which I would roll my eyes and say, “yah right”. Negative Nancy party of 1 over here. So I finally fell asleep sometime around 12-12:30… only to wake up at 2:30 with contractions. So there I sat having contractions laying down. By 6:30 I woke Paul up because I couldn’t do them by myself anymore. I couldn’t lay down through them, and I needed to be moving, but I had to be hooked up to the fetal monitors.
At 8, I gave up. I wanted drugs. I wasn’t mentally prepared to have a baby unmedicated in this situation (and child birth is totally a mental game). I didn’t know how long this would last, I didn’t know if my body was progressing or if these were just contractions from medicine. Low and behold, God answered my prayers from before labor. My nurse, Marilyn, and the new on call midwife, Donna knew I had previously had an unmedicated birth, and that was my plan again. They were not quick to give in to my request. Their first plan of action was to take out the cervadil an hour early, and check me. I was 80% effaced and 2.5 cm dilated… nothing much happened. They told me to try and labor in the tub. They would check me in an hour, and if I was progressing they would let me labor how I wanted. If I wasn’t progressing, they had to start with the pitocin.
So I got in the tub, and immediately I could tolerate the contractions again. So I laid in the tub, while Paul fed me breakfast and I turned into a prune. My mom got to the hospital, and the atmosphere was totally calm. We were joking, and laughing and she didn’t even know I was in labor… neither did I really. I kept joking that I was taking the hippy approach, and with each contraction I was trying to relax through it and allow my body to ‘open’ instead of fighting through the pain. Since my contractions were still fairly consistent every 3-4 minutes, they didn’t make me get out. So there we sat, and then all the sudden mid contraction I felt a pop on my left side… it literally felt like a water balloon popped inside me. Then Paul goes, “uh there is stuff coming out of you”. So we let the nurse know, and she wanted me to get out of the tub so she could check me.
This time I was fully effaced and 6 cm dilated. I actually didn’t believe her. I repeated 6 in total shock, because just 2 – 2.5 hours earlier I was only 2.5 cm. From there they wanted me out of the tub for a while, but the contractions immediately became so intense after my water broke I could hardly stand it. I wanted to get back in the water, and I felt like I had to go to the bathroom. Which I knew from having Aubrey just meant I was about to have a baby… very soon. So even though my nurse did not want me in the tub, my mom and Paul started filling it up for me… I think just to appease the girl in labor. While I waited for the tub to fill up, a few contractions later I told the nurse I was pushing. They literally had to force me to sit down on the bed because I did not want to lay down during these contractions. From the time my water broke, I had probably 6-8 contractions before I was pushing. Three big pushes later, and our little boy was here! Our world was forever changed, and we were so incredibly happy and in love.
Once we settled into life at home, I called my doctor to see if I actually had the condition they induced me for. Come to find out the hospital never ran the blood work so we will never know for sure, but I am so incredibly grateful to God that Nolan arrived safe and healthy, and He answered so many of our prayers, in just a few hours. God is good.