Knoxy: Madelyn's Early Delivery
Wednesday, April 22, 2009 2:46 PM
"We never expected to have her on a normal, routine Wednesday, but now I wouldn’t have had it any other way..."
A stressful pregnancy
Thanks to the joy of genetics, I have had high blood pressure since I was in my twenties. Now 31, my ob-gyn kept a very close watch on me during my pregnancy because of the hypertension. I went in about twice as often as a normal patient to monitor both my blood pressure and the baby’s heart rate and growth. I grew accustomed to going weekly and didn’t think much of it. In fact, it started to be a bit of chore, although getting to watch the baby grow through bi-weekly sonograms was a treat.
One weekend in the third trimester, I felt out of sorts. I don’t know how to explain it really; I felt restless and like something was going to happen very soon. It was three weeks before my due date so I knew it wasn’t labor, but something just felt off. On Tuesday I drove to the doctor’s office and found out that my appointment was on Wednesday. I felt like I really was losing brain cells so late in the pregnancy! On Wednesday, January 21, I went in for what I assumed to be another routine doctor appointment.
My regular doctor was on vacation for two weeks, so I saw another doctor at the practice. We went through the sonogram as usual. Although the baby was still measuring small for Week 37, she was healthy. The nurse then took my blood pressure and urine test. My blood pressure was high, and proteins showed up in the urine test. The test looks for proteins that signal pre-eclampsia, a complication brought on by high blood pressure that can cause seizures in the mother and other serious problems for both. Then the doctor came in to chat.
“Well,” he said, “We can go ahead and induce you today, or you can be dead in three weeks.”
I looked at his face carefully to see if he was joking. He wasn’t. I deliberated about two seconds before saying, “Let’s get this party started, then!”
Getting ready for the induction
I made a flurry of phone calls to my husband, family, and friends to let them know that it was the big day. My husband and I had time to run home to get my things for the hospital stay, so we met up at the house and took a moment to get ready.
We checked in to the hospital and the preparations for induction began. It all seemed so surreal that it was actually happening, so I was pretty calm as everything started in motion. At least, I thought I was calm, but my high blood pressure showed how nervous I was on the inside.
The induction started at 11 a.m. As the day progressed I was asked regularly how painful the contractions were on a scale of 1-10, and I never thought they were above a 3, so my husband and I figured we were in for a long day and night.
The one thing I remember above anything else during the day was how thirsty I was. I had skipped breakfast that morning and didn’t have enough to drink before my appointment, so I was sucking down the ice chips as fast as I could, but it never seemed like enough.
Friends and family had already arrived from across the state to wait for the baby’s arrival. Around 6 p.m., I was only about four centimeters, so my husband told our waiting family to go grab a bite to eat. I decided that the contractions were finally painful enough for an epidural, which was the thing I was the most nervous about.
As I sat up so they could insert the needle, the contractions distracted me enough that I didn’t even feel anything going on in the back! Once they said it was done, I felt so much relief that I finally relaxed and settled back into the bed to take a nap. Less than five minutes later, I suddenly sat up in the bed and looked at the nurse by the bed. “I have to push!” came out of my mouth before I even thought about what I was saying.
It was a very interesting sensation. I didn’t know how I knew that I needed to push, but I definitely knew it was time to. The doctor came in to check and I had gone from four centimeters to nine! My husband called everyone back to the hospital – they were all in the middle of eating a relaxing dinner – and they all rushed back in a hurry.
The pushing and labor didn’t last very long. While I was pushing, I kept thinking, “If I can get through this, I can finally get a drink of water!” Thanks to the help of my husband, who counted for me during each push, and the wonderful hospital staff, our healthy baby girl was born at 7:49 p.m. She was tiny and beautiful! Madelyn was born at five pounds, five ounces, about three weeks premature.
Even with the pre-eclampsia, I feel that we were very lucky to have a relatively quick delivery and a healthy daughter. She’s stayed very healthy and is growing big and strong! We never expected to have her on a normal, routine Wednesday, but now I wouldn’t have had it any other way.