I found out that I was pregnant four days after my husband and I got married. This was the best wedding gift ever! However, two weeks later spotting started and at eight weeks we lost the baby. But, four months later I took a pregnancy test again (the morning sickness had never seemed to have fully gone away) and there on that little stick was two bright blue lines, RIGHT AWAY! I had not gotten my period back after the miscarriage, so my midwife ordered us an ultrasound to gauge the due date. We were thinking we were 10-12 weeks along, but when the ultrasound tech gave my belly a swipe she looked at my husband and I, “Has anyone checked you out since you found out you were pregnant” she said. “Oh God” we thought, “She’s gonna’ tell us we aren’t really pregnant”. But no – she told us we were 26 weeks along! We were closer to our third trimester then our first. Shock of shocks it looked like we had lost a twin when I miscarried and were still PREGNANT!
So at 26 or by my calculations 29 weeks we had our first prenatal appointment with our midwife. This is where my dreams of my perfect birth got tossed. I had high blood pressure! I was put on a low to no sodium diet and was given two weeks to try and get it down. I was warned I could end up on bed rest and well that couldn’t happen! I had a house to pack up and move out of and needed to figure out what we were leaving in storage and what we were taking with us to move to Maui. I had too much to do to be on bed rest!
I was 33 weeks pregnant when I was ordered to go to the hospital and didn’t come out until three weeks later! I was crushed, heartbroken, and full of mixed emotions about a hospital birth. The first few days in the hospital I was given two ultrasounds, steroids, which I was told was for the baby’s lungs, and was started on blood pressure medication. Late in the third night I was told that my blood pressure was climbing again and I had preeclampsia— the baby needed to come out! They started inducing labor straight away with misoprostol, a pill used to soften the cervix. They did this three times. By morning I was dilated 1cm and started on pitocin and magnesium to induce my contractions and put on strict bed rest. I was then given a cervix balloon to help me to dilate. By the fourth evening I was given a second cervix balloon and increased pitocin.
I started going into full labor by 9 o’clock that night. It was the most intense and out of body experience I have ever had. I could literally ‘see’ my contractions. They started as a thunderous black cloud rolling in towards tall intricate iron gates. The pain was in my hips and legs and because I was on bed restriction I wasn’t allowed to get up and move around. I can remember craving desserts and watermelon between contractions and having hallucinogenic conversations with people that were not there. Who was there was my mother, husband, and our best friends as my support team.
I had wanted NO drugs and NO C-section, but by 5:30am in the morning I surrendered. I WANTED an epidural and a C-section NOW! There is no shame in having both. I feel this is so important to remember. Once I was given the epidural I was able to get some rest and things seemed way better by late morning. The doctor came in and broke my water and calculated it would be later that night that I would be pushing my daughter out. But by 4:30pm the nurse couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat and after a few minutes, I was rushed into an emergency C-section.
I was put under anesthesia and was out for two hours, my daughter was born at 4:44pm. I didn’t get to hold her until nearly six hours later. My blood pressure was still really high and unstable after the C-section. My first view of my daughter was pictures and videos from my husband and parents. Though we didn’t have our first moments of skin to skin bonding at birth we had them when I was brought to the NICU. She was placed on my chest and snuggled into me. She was the most perfect teeny tiny baby I had ever known!
Katherine Grace was born July 15th weighing just 3 pounds, 11.5 ounces, but healthy and perfect! Every moment was worth it!