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For about a month or so I have been battling my blood pressure. Sometimes it was high, other times it seemed to be going back down. My doctor became increasingly concerned, but allowed me to stay at home on bedrest. At my doctor's appointment on Tuesday August 12, she wanted me to go to the hospital to have my blood pressure monitored, and was recommending that we try to prepare my body for birth by using cervadil. Her concern was that my blood pressure had shot up again, the baby was ready to go and in position, but my body wasn't taking cues to begin labor.
The plan was to begin the cervadil and blood pressure monitoring, and if in the morning my blood pressure had gone back down and I wasn't in labor, I would go home to wait it out. If my blood pressure was high, and the cervadil did not help my body towards labor, she would use pitocin to induce. There was also a possibility that the cervadil would be all I needed to go into labor.
Because I was also worried about how the baby was reacting to my high blood pressure, I accepted this plan with the hopes that the cervadil would be all that was necessary. On Wednesday August 13 at 3:30 we headed off to the hospital, hoping to have our little prince in our arms by dinner the next day. Although I accepted the plan, I was still very unresolved towards it. By the time we got to the hospital, I was already anxious and pretty terrified. Upon arrival the nurse asked how we were doing today, and all I could do was burst into tears, I was so scared. They talked to me for a few minutes to calm me down, and then I got dressed into my gown and had to have my IV inserted. I asked if it was necessary, and they said the doctor would not use any drug to induce labor without an IV. I have a very strong phobia to needles, but since it has been diminishing somewhat, I said okay. Unfortunately since I was already at a heightened anxiety level, the IV was just enough to put me over the edge. My blood pressure dropped suddenly and I fainted, which caused the baby's heart rate to fall also. When I came back into consciousness, I was still halfway out of my head and all I could hear were nurses buzzing around me, paging doctors and using tons of medical terms that I knew could only mean something was wrong with the baby, so that made me even more frightened and they put me on oxygen. Daryl was also scared out of his mind because he had never seen me react that way. Finally I came to my senses, and everything calmed down around me.
The doctor came to talk to us, and gave us a few minutes to decide whether or not we should continue with the cervadil. We decided to go ahead as planned, because even though I was scared, it was better for both me and the baby. The doctor inserted the cervadil at 5:30pm, and my contractions started almost immediately. I was very surprised with how quickly it worked. The contractions grew strong, but manageable. I was able to meditate through them. In the morning, the nurse came to remove the cervadil and check my progress. She said I was a little over one centimeter dilated, which was disappointing as I had such hard contractions all night. I was sure that I had made more progress. My blood pressure had been lowered through most of the night, so she said I would soon be able to take a shower, eat a light breakfast, and then the doctor would be in to see me. My contractions continued to grow stronger even after the cervadil was removed so the nurse came in and said my shower would have to wait until the doctor came since my labor was continuing, but they would still bring me a light breakfast. The breakfast never came, and I still don't understand why I couldn't get a shower but whatever. Finally the doctor came and told me that my body was reponding well to the cervadil and it looked like labor would continue on it's own. We walked in the halls and I used the birthing ball to see if we could progress further. I was so happy to finally be able to get up and use the techniques I've been preparing to use in childbirth, and it really made the contractions easier to handle. The doctor checked me again at 11:00am and exclaimed that I was four centimeters and my water was about to break! She broke the water, and found that the baby had a BM in utero, and there was meconium in the fluids. She called a special team to be present at the birth to make sure he wouldn't swallow the meconium, and to make sure he didn't have any in his lungs.
By 5:30 PM we were pretty discouraged, as we thought that I would be pushing him out by now, if not already. The doctor checked again and found that I had not progressed at all, and my contractions were weakening and growing further apart. We had to use pitocin. After only three doses of pitocin, my contractions were right on track, every two minutes and VERY strong. Before recieving the pitocin, I requested nubain, because the contractions had been unbearable, and I was overwhelmed with exhaustion. The narcotics didn't make the pain any less, but it did help me to relax and cope with them better. I was able to sleep between contractions, which also helped with the exhaustion. They took me off the pitocin, I am not sure what time because of the drugs, and around 11:30 I felt the urge to push.
The nurse told me not to push, because there was still a small lip of cervix on the right side. I HAD to push though, there was no questioning it. When she told me not to push, the pain became unbearable again and, once again, I passed out. She gave me more oxygen, and the pain was so great I started yelling at her "I have to go now, I have to!!!" Daryl got scared because again he had never seen me respond this way to anything, and he was also begging her to let me push. The doctor finally came in and told me that I could start pushing at 11:55. I remember the time very well because I thought "I guess this baby will be born tomorrow!" I pushed for 2 and a half hours, and finally he came out. The narcotics were out of my system at that point, but there was so much commotion in the room, and I was so concentrated on pushing that I didn't even realize he had come out! There were so many people in the room when he was delivered, and they all were shouting that he had SO much hair. I looked down and saw his head poking up and said "Oh my god, I can see him here he comes!" Yet I still didn't realize that with the next push he was out, until Daryl yelled "he's out! he's out!" and they put him on my belly. I saw Daryl cut the cord, and after that things moved so quickly that I didn't know the whole story until hours later.
The baby was whisked away from me so that he could have the meconium suctioned out before he started crying, which would have caused it to go into his lungs. Daryl went with him, as I had told him that as soon as the baby comes out he is to follow the baby and worry about me later. They only took him across the room, and I watched as I waited to birth the placenta. I heard that he weighed 7 lbs 14.5 oz and was 20 inches long. I could see Daryl beaming behind a camera. No more contractions came, however, and I wasn't able to birth the placenta. All of the sudden the doctor started shouting to call anesthesia and prep the OR. She tried to manually remove it, but could not remove all of it. It was too painful for her to try again, so I was whisked to the OR. I found out later that my cervix was actually closing, and they had to get the placenta out quickly, or they'd have to soon do major operation to remove it. I am 75% sure that I told the anesthesiologist that I thought he was cute, just as I went under (he was very handsome) but I might not have actually said it.
I woke up an hour later and the baby was brought to me to nurse. He latched on beautifully and nursed for 15 minutes. Since I was still in the recovery room, a nurse came and took him to be bathed and dressed. Daryl went to the van to get the baby's bag that we had packed. I was so proud of him for taking care of the baby for the hour that I was in the OR.
I was taken back to our room to rest, and the baby was brought to me again to nurse. This time however, the baby couldn't nurse because he had mucous coming out of his nose and mouth. It was keeping him from latching on. The nurse said she would use the aspirator, and he had to eat because his blood sugar was very low. As she was using the aspirator, I heard him choke and I looked over and could see her giving him the infant Heimlich maneuver. She rushed him back to the nursery and came back to tell me that he had tons of mucous in his belly that was causing him to choke. His blood sugar was so low, and he wouldn't eat, she said I had to give permission to give him formula or they would have to put him on an IV. I thought formula to be the lesser of two evils and sadly gave my permission.
Another nurse came in to help me go to the bathroom. While going to the bathroom, I got very lightheaded, and then I thought I fell asleep while leaning on the nurse. I had passed out. So again, more buzzing around and I remember they put me in a chair and wheeled me back to the bed, but I passed out again in the chair and woke up in bed. The nurse came and told me how Jonah was doing, which also wasn't so great. They had to intubate him to get all the mucous out, and now his throat and mouth were so irritated that he wouldn't cup feed. She also told me that they were ordering a unit of blood for me because of all the passing out.
Daryl was at this time exhausted, and not functional at all. I frantically called my mom to come and help me. She came to take care of me and the baby, and Daryl went home to sleep. The hospital was short staffed, because they had five more women come in between 7:00am and 7:30am that were in labor! Since she is a nurse herself, she was able to talk to the doctors and find out that I had lost a LOT of blood in the OR and they couldn't get it to stop, which is why I was passing out so much. They ordered the blood, but had problems matching an enzyme so I didn't get it until around 5:00.
The blood helped a lot, and I was able to get up and walk around a bit more. We talked to the doctors on Saturday and we were both able to be released Saturday afternoon! We were happy to be able to go home, especially since we were expecting to have to stay until Monday. I am still recovering and having spells of dizziness, but nothing too major. We are slowly reaching some sort of "normality."
That is the very long story of how Jonah Levi came into the world at 2:25 AM Friday August 15th, 2008, weighing 7 lbs 14.5 oz and 20 inches long!
Wow that sounds like quite the ordeal! I hope things will go much more smoothly for you if next time around, should you have more children. But of course the end result is all worth it... Congratulations!
I'm just visiting from the Feb. DDC but had to comment, not on your actual birth story (but wow, you went through a lot!), but because my name is Jess, my husband's name is Daryl, and Jonah is one of our boy names under consideration. Weird!
Anyway, glad you're home and that Jonah is doing well. Thanks for sharing your story.