Ok this one may be a little long, but I think it's worth documenting....my story of how Clara Lena came into this world :)
The day after New Year's this year was a Friday...and since I had been saving all my time for maternity leave, I opted to work that day, even though the rest of my office (literally) had the day off. I worked from home, and head out around 4pm to go to my 37 week checkup at my OB's office. They did the usual when I first got there..urine, weight, blood pressure..but this time the blood pressure reading was a bit off. She took it again to be sure, and confirmed that my blood pressure was running high (in the 140s over high 80s). She said it wasn't scary high but it was very high for me since my BP my entire pregnancy had been running on the low side. She asked that we finish the appointment and then take my BP again at the end.
So...I had my exam, I was actually 1cm dialated but not effaced at all; the doctor started explaining that if my blood pressure readings came back high again she might send me to the hospital to run some more tests as a precaution. She said if it were a Monday night she might just have me go home with a 24 hour urine collection but since it was the weekend she didn't want to let it wait. This of course made me a little nervous, and by the end of my appointment when they re-took my BP it was up in the 150s over 90s...yikes. They told me to head straight to the hospital for testing, as they suspected I might have Pre-Eclampsia.
I called my husband balling...I was so scared, my BP had never been that high and I wasn't sure what would happen. He got out of work right away to meet me at home, and drove me to the hospital so I didn't have to go alone...I grabbed my hospital bag to leave in the car "just in case" but fully expected that I wouldn't really need it that night.
So...we get to the hospital, and they set me up in triage. More urine samples, bloodwork, and a few blood pressure readings. We had only been there 20 minutes and the 3 readings they took kept getting higher...the last one they took was 179 over something, ridiculously scary high, and I knew right then I wasn't going home that night. They waited for my bloodwork to come back to confirm, but I did in fact have Pre-Eclampsia, which apparently is pretty common in first time pregnancies and is totally out of your control, you just get it or you don't based on the way your placenta grows. Since I was 37 weeks, I was considered full term, so the doctors told me they were going to induce, it was the safest option for me and baby.
The induction started at 10pm on Friday night, along with an IV of magnesium to keep my blood pressure regulated. The mag left me feeling totally groggy and yucky - I was not allowed to get out of bed since the medicine makes it difficult to walk, and I had doctors checking my reflexes every half hour to make sure the mag was doing it's job (but not too well). They gave me an ambien to help me sleep, but the mag made me nauseous and I promptly threw the medicine up :( Cue night one of no sleep.
By about 5am on Saturday morning, they decided to start Pitocin to bring on the contractions stronger. I was dilated only about 2-3 centimeters at this point, and although I had started to efface, the baby wasn't actually in the birth canal, she was floating still...the contractions would likely move her into a better position.
After progressing very slowly all day and getting more powerful contractions, they decided to break my water at about 6pm. I knew that was it...there was no turning back, so if she didn't come out on her own within 24 hours, they would have to go in and get her with a C-section. They came and gave me an epidural right before breaking my water, which numbed my legs pretty effectively but did NOTHING to take the edge off the contractions, and they were pretty intense. A few hours later, I cried to my husband that I didn't think I could do this anymore...they had the anesthesiologist come back and "top me off" to take a little edge off the pain, but they wanted me to feel the contractions so I knew when it was time to push. I couldn't sleep at all. and I was getting concerned that a C-section might be the only option.
Aftern another night of no sleep and constant checking, the doctor came back in around 5am Sunday morning to check on me again...and announced that I was 10cm and ready to push!? I burst into tears, I didn't think I would get there with the induction and I was so ready to meet my little girl.
They let the contractions do their job for another hour, and at about 6am the nurse asked me if I wanted to do a "practice push". I asked her what the hell a practice push was, and she laughed and told me it's still a real push she was just going to teach me how to do it...at the start of a contraction, breathe in deeply, hold your breath and push hard for 10 seconds, then repeat...do this 3 times per contraction.
I'll save you the gory details, but after an hour of pushing, Clara Lena entered this world at 6:58am. I still remember when they told me to open my eyes and look down as she was coming out of me...what an amazing image to have ingrained in my head :)
They put her on my chest right away, but it became evident pretty fast that something was wrong. They were working on my pretty intensely, and they pulled the baby off to get cleaned. I heard them say that the placenta wasn't coming out on it's own, so they had to go in and get it....then I heard them yell for a hemorrhage cart and say that I was losing too much blood. It's all pretty foggy for me because I was still on the magnesium (which had to stay on for 24 hours after birth) but talking to my husband afterwards it sounded pretty scary for a while there. Luckily everything turned out ok...I did have to get iron and calcium transfusions in the hospital because my hemoglobin levels dropped too low with the blood loss, but otherwise I was ok. My blood pressure remained pretty high for about a week or so after birth, and my swelling (which is a direct side effect of Pre E) has pretty much gone away since about 10 days post partum. It was a terrifying and amazing experience and I specifically remember saying to the doctor...it's amazing people have more than one child! As traumatic as it all was, it was worth every minute because my little girl couldn't be more perfect, and I fall more in love with her every day :)