Our Birth Story Part 1 | Leading Up to Labor

(last baby bump shot... 33wks 3 days)

I'm excited to write our birth story and I hate I've waited this long to do it!
As I look back, many of the details are already starting to fade. This is the first post of 3 and it tells of the events leading up to my induction.


(photo credit to Stephanie Leight of Luminosity Photography)

I had just hit the 31 week mark when I was diagnosed with Superimposed Preeclampsia. I had high blood pressure before I got pregnant and my numbers had been up and down all pregnancy so this didn't come as much surprise.

I was just past 32 weeks when I woke up at 3am with a headache (the kind I knew came from my blood pressure) and visual weirdness (something I'd never experienced). I took the medicine I had been prescribed for my headaches in pregnancy and it still didn't go away. It wasn't excruciating and my numbers were only slightly elevated so I tried to go back to sleep... no success. We went on to church but the combination of summer making an appearance in mid December and the loud praise music landed me in the car with the A/C on during service. I had talked with my midwife at church and she'd suggested I try another pain relief dose with my afternoon bp med and let her know. By 7pm, the headache wasn't gone and we knew our umpteenth trip to Maternity Triage was near. For those of you who may not know much about preeclampsia, these were not great signs.

That night led to an MRI and an overnight stay in triage for a neuro consult. Neither of which really determined much. Slight swelling around my optic nerve (which could be something or nothing) and a neurologist who thought I was having a migraine. My pressures weren't high as that 900mg of labetalol a day was doing it's job but something was definitely off. On Monday morning I was sent home with instructions to follow up with my midwife the next day and come back if it got worse.

I'll spare you the up and down details of the next 10 days but 1 pain med that made Levi stop moving, another triage visit, 3 midwife visits, and 1 Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) visit later...... I still had the headache, my vision issues were making me nauseous, driving and lights were my worst enemies, the tub was my best friend, and I couldn't remember what it felt like to be rested. I was frustrated and scared and so confused. My bp readings and labs didn't seem serious but my symptoms were not letting up. 

So December 23rd (33wks 5 days) I spent my day going back in forth between the bed and the bath and trying to keep the house as dark as possible. Joel had gotten off work early and I was trying to get myself together enough to go with him to buy a few last minute gifts. That's when I started having sharp pains in my upper stomach. Off to triage we went.

The nurses hadn't even gotten my vital signs when I started puking everywhere. It took a couple hours to get that to stop. I wasn't crazy about the doctor on call as she kept dismissing my stomach issues as unrelated to the pregnancy. They started fluids and a doctor I recognized and really respected came on for night shift. When they started my second round of fluids Joel went to the truck to sleep and I tried to get some rest. The kind doctor came again and she remembered me from being in the week before. She had been the doctor on call when Levi had stopped moving. 

One question led to another and she came to the conclusion that we couldn't really blame my symptoms on a migraine at that point. I agreed. (I was on day 12 of this funky headache.) She explained that she thought the bp medicine was holding back my numbers but not the symptoms of preeclampsia. Her suggestion was to try one round of Imitrex knowing that if it didn't work, I would be admitted for induction. 

I wasn't surprised when the Imitrex didn't work. So a 3am on Christmas Eve I sent a text to Joel to let him know that it was looking like they would admit me. When he got this and came in around 6, he was kind of surprised but relieved. The triage doctor waited until about 7 to call my midwife and make sure she was on board with the plan and she ordered a consult to MFM. 

While I awaited my consult and admission, Joel went home to take care of a few tasks and get his overnight stuff. The MFM consult went as expected... with them explaining all the issues I was at risk for with Preeclampsia and this type of headache and, of course, concluding that an induction was necessary at this point. The original plan of waiting until midnight (34 weeks) to start induction was tossed and he put in orders for a foley bulb right away. 

Transport came to take me to the Labor & Delivery floor and it all started to sink in. My admitting nurse came and talked through my wishes and prepared me for the pieces that weren't exactly part of my birth plan. She explained that once the order came through for Magnesium (used for seizure prevention in preeclampsia), I would be hooked up to it until at least 12hrs after delivery. She went on to share that during that time I would not be allowed to eat anything or get out of bed. She also warned me to brace myself for a long process. While Mag is used in preeclampsia it is also used to stop preterm labor. Pretty much this meant that it would fight everything that the Pitocin would be trying to do and this would be 2-3 process that "hopefully" allowed me a vaginal delivery. Whew. As I began processing all of that, she encouraged me to take a shower, walk around, and eat.... because it might be awhile. 

I called my Mom to fill her in and let her know that instead of a normal Christmas Day, she should likely get on the road early the next morning. This was the first Christmas we were to ever spend apart and my sister shared that she had been praying that this would happen so they'd get to come see me. (No offense Kate, but we I wouldn't have minded a few more weeks ha.) As they made travel plans and Joel called to see about any last minute needs from home, I began to pray and try to process. 

I'm thankful for that window of time where it was just me and little man inside me hanging in the room where our lives would change forever. I had loved being pregnant and loved every kick and turn from him. It was scary not knowing what the next hours could hold.... pain, fear, an epidural, a c-section, a preemie baby, a NICU stay? There were a lot of unknowns and it definitely didn't fit the 10 day past due all natural birth I'd been hoping for. But that's what it was and I couldn't change it. Peace and grace began to rush over me in a way that I know could only come from my sweet Jesus. Peace that in the midst of scary, He would be sovereign. I knew in that moment, that I could give into the panic or give into the Peace. Over and over again through the whole process, I had to ask Him to help me give into Peace. 

My motto for delivery that I had read and planned was "one contraction at a time." As my hopes for delivery flew out the window, the new motto became "one moment at a time." One moment at a time that each got me closer to seeing his sweet face.  It was in those quiet moments before it all began that God set the stage for all that was to come because ready or not... our sweet boy was making a Christmas arrival.
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Read part 2 here!



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