When T was 36 weeks pregnant it was discovered that her blood pressure was high, as far as I could tell, no one was too worried, but it was taken note of. At her 37 week check up her blood pressure was still up and proteins were found in her urine. Due to this, more testing was ordered and she needed to do a 24 hour urine collection and some blood work. At her 38 week check up she was told that the results were not good. It was recommended that she receive a stretch and sweep to try and start up her labor (for anyone who isn’t sure, this means they stretch the cervix as well as do a membrane sweep) and she was told that Baby L was going to be induced the following Tuesday (Sept. 17) and would most definitely be delivered by Thursday (Sept 19).
On Saturday September 14, T asked me to come and sit with her at her house. She was getting back pains, her tummy was tightening and she was losing her mucus plug. But she swore she wasn’t in labor and Baby L wasn’t coming yet. I got to her house around 9 AM. I started timing her contractions for her and they were averaging about 7 minutes apart. Throughout the day, we chatted, watched movies, stalked yummy things on Pinterest and walked in an effort to get her labor going.
Around 1 PM T’s contractions were closer to 5 minutes apart and her back was starting to really hurt her, we alternated resting and walking as much as she was comfortable. By 5 PM her contractions were closer to 4 minutes apart but she didn’t feel she needed to go in for pain, so we continued to wait it out, and did some more walking around the block.
By 7:30 PM her contractions were coming steady about 3-4 minutes apart and lasting about 45 seconds. T was uncomfortable, but was still insistent she wasn’t ready to go in. At 7:50 PM she said she would probably go in, in about an hour. A couple minutes after 8 T stated she was starting to get a headache which was one of those things we were suppose to watch for and call in about because of her blood pressure. After calling the Labor and Delivery unit at the hospital T was asked to come in, so Mr. T got everything ready and we loaded up to go.
When we arrived at the hospital, T had her blood pressure taken as well as some blood drawn to be tested. After being monitored for a little while it was decided that T needed to have Baby L right away, and since her body had already started the process, it made sense to help it along.
T was started on Magnesium Sulfate (to help prevent seizures with her high blood pressure) and Oxytocin to help strengthen the contractions. (her contractions were regular, but not very strong)
I am going to include here, although we found this out later that T had been diagnosed with Toxemia, also known as pre-eclampsia.
Pre-eclampsia or preeclampsia is a medical condition characterized by high blood pressure and significant amounts of protein in the urine of a pregnant woman. If left untreated, it can develop into eclampsia, the life-threatening occurrence of seizures during pregnancy.
There are many different causes for the condition. It appears likely that there are substances from the placenta that
can cause endothelial dysfunction in the maternal blood vessels of susceptible women.
While blood pressure elevation is the most visible sign of the disease, it involves generalised damage to the maternal endothelium, kidneys, and liver, with the release of vasoconstrictive factors being a consequence of the original damage.
An outdated medical term for pre-eclampsia is toxemia of pregnancy, since it was thought that the condition was caused by toxins.
Pre-eclampsia may develop at any time after 20 weeks of gestation. Pre-eclampsia before 32 weeks is considered early onset, and is associated with increased morbidity. Its progress differs among patients; most cases are diagnosed before labor typically would begin. Pre-eclampsia may also occur up to six weeks after delivery. Apart from Caesarean section and induction of labor (and therefore delivery of the placenta), there is no known cure. It is the most common of the dangerous pregnancy complications; it may affect both the mother and fetus. (Taken from Wikipedia)
Unfortunately T was unable to walk any longer once everything was started as her urine output needed to be monitored and had to have the toxins measured constantly, which meant there needed to be a catheter in place. I don’t think T minded too much though to be honest. Seeing as whenever I suggested walking to her while we were still at home, I was met with resistance and needed a cattle prod to get her up and moving. 😉
After being on the oxytocin for a little while T’s contractions were getting stronger and stronger. At about 11:30 PM breathing through them just wasn’t cutting it anymore and she requested an epidural. (The epidural had been discussed earlier with the OB on call, and it was suggested that she get it. The logic behind the recommendation was the epidural would reduce some of the pain which could keep her blood pressure a little lower) At 12:30 AM the anesthesiologist arrived to give T the epidural and I was kicked out of the room.
A little before 1 AM I was allowed back into the room while T waited for her epidural to take effect. Unfortunately it didn’t work out the first time, but after some adjustments T was able to get through the contractions a little easier. By 1:45 I was absolutely exhausted and couldn’t even stand anymore. T was checked at this time and was 5 cm dilated so I curled up and closed my eyes for a little while. I got up again at 2:15. T was insistent that no one remind her to breath anymore (I guess the constant reminders were getting annoying, but if she hadn’t been constantly holding her breath….) And since she was feeling a lot of pressure and wanted to push the nurse checked her again. 10 CM!!!! We were ready to get the show on the road.
T started pushing at 2:20 AM. Baby L was born at 3:32 AM. A lot happened in that time frame, and I really don’t remember the times anything happened, just the order.
-I needed to walk out for a couple minutes. I was silly and hadn’t had anything to drink since suppertime and I was a little lightheaded after sleeping. Once I had some orange juice, I was fine! (I only missed about 5 minutes)
-Mr T was staying up near T’s head. Until I could see Baby L’s hair. Then he wanted to see too. What an amazing thing.
-T was tired and just wanted a nap. Thanks to an amazing nurse, T was given the encouragement she needed to keep pushing.
-When Baby L crowned, T was more then ready to get him out. When he was crowned the nurse had me push the call button to alert the OB to get into the room to deliver. T didn’t want to wait. She used her anger and was pushing. The nurse was holding Baby L in so T didn’t push him right out with no one to catch him! The best line from T all night was easily when she was told to stop pushing until the OB came in ‘Get the f*ck in here, I am pushing him out!’
-The OB barely caught Baby L. I was a little worried.
-I will never forget the look of absolute shock and amazement on T and Mr. T’s faces when the baby was placed on T. I am sure it is the same look all new mom’s and dad’s have. But since in all my experiences, I have been the mom, it was an amazing thing to see. I wish I’d had a camera to capture it. But T said no pictures!
Baby L is absolutely perfect. I cannot get over how small he is. After he was born, both T and Mr. T were given some skin to skin time. T started breastfeeding him within an hour of giving birth. After he was weighed and swaddled he was moved to the NICU for observation (because of the magnesium sulfate) but T was promised that he would be brought to her for his feedings and whenever she wanted him.
T was kept in labor and delivery and wasn’t allowed visitors for the first day after having Baby L. Unfortunately her blood pressure was still a little high and she needed to be monitored. She was also sent for an EKG and a chest x-ray.
Today, while I am finishing up this account, T’s milk has come in. She is having success with breastfeeding Baby L, but has said she would be struggling if not for the help of Mr. T. She and Baby L are home now and doing great.
Thank you so much to T and Mr T for allowing me to be a part of something so amazing. It was an experience I will never forget. You guys are going to be amazing parents! I can’t wait to get to know Baby L. Also, Alex sends hugs.
Love, hugs and more to come later!