Saturday, April 7, 2012

Our Story

 weeping may endure for a night

Up until the 32nd week of my pregnancy, I was considered "low-risk." The baby was growing as expected, there had been little in the way of complication and we were heading towards the mid-April due date exactly as we had expected.

Probably our fault for getting too comfortable...

At a regular appointment with my OB in mid-February, my blood pressure measured above normal and I tested positive for protein in my urine. Many of you will know that these are both troubling signs of potential pre-eclampsia.  The condition is now commonly known as "pregnancy-induced hypertension," or PIH.

Just like that, I became a high-risk case, no longer able to work and visited daily by nurses at home to have my blood pressure checked and the baby monitored.  My activities were restricted and eventually, I was prescribed some medication to keep the BP in further check. We were informed that we would eventually see signs that the placenta was no longer providing the needed nutrition to the baby. We were told to prepare for the possibility of an early birth and that our goal was to get as close to 37 weeks as we possibly could.

We almost made it.

A day before we hit 35 weeks, our ultrasound showed that the baby had not grown the expected amount in the previous two weeks and that the fluid levels in the uterus had fallen.  I confess to not being particularly surprised by this news; I had been aware that I was not getting bigger in that aggressive third-trimester way.  The doctor who reviewed the ultrasound told us that we had reached the expected point and that our baby was better off getting nutrition outside the womb than inside it.

I was admitted at 9am on Monday morning and the induction process was begun shortly after noon.

WH stayed with me for the afternoon and evening on Monday and then went home to sleep as we knew that the induction process was likely to be long.  Monday night was very trying... I was not having any contractions, but I was cramping and was too uncomfortable to sleep for longer than an hour at a time.  I spent most of the time staring at the clock and rocking back and forth to try to alleviate pressure.  And trying not to cry.

Tuesday morning brought the very first signs that our baby may not tolerate labour.  Very small drops in heart rate, from which the baby immediately recovered, led to a need to test the baby's ability to withstand contractions.  I was given very small doses of oxytocin and we watched to see how the baby would react.  The baby passed and full oxytocin was begun.

Labour began to come on fairly strongly in the afternoon on Tuesday and my water broke shortly thereafter.  WH and the Maternal Unit took turns rubbing my back and legs as the contractions came and went.  Occasionally, I added to the drama by throwing up.   Still, the little heart rate went down and up again, down and up again.  We watched and held our breath.

I had an epidural in the evening on Tuesday and WH and I managed to sleep.

Early in the morning on Wednesday, the resident came and checked my progress.  Frustratingly... disappointingly... only a centimeter and a half.  Down and up again...  We were given the option of continuing with labour and monitoring the baby for another two or three hours or progressing to a c-section.  Given the issues with the baby's heart-rate and my increasing exhaustion, we chose to go straight to the surgery.  It was time.

but joy cometh in the morning

I was wheeled to the operating room at about 5:30am on Wednesday morning. We were delayed a short amount of time while another emergency c-section took place, so WH and I finalized our choices for names and asked each other about 50 times if each other was ok. "You ok?"  "Yup. You?" "Yup."

I felt very calm heading into surgery, but overwhelmed that we were about to find out whether we were parents to a boy or a girl.  As that moment came closer and closer, I became increasingly emotional.  I had been quite dozy as we waited for surgery, but the surgery itself brought intense clarity of consciousness and focus.

"We're getting close!" "We're almost there!" "Come on, little one!"

And then, at 6:30am on Wednesday, March 14, our little girl was born.  Our. Little. Girl. Four pounds, one ounce of perfection.