The intensity of labor, our sudden surprise, and the calm before the storm. Read along as I describe my labor and delivery and the wild ride it entailed.
"I think that it's time to push the eject button"
Pregnancy & In Utero Journey
My second pregnancy was like no other that I had experienced or even heard of before. I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a severe type of nausea and vomiting during this pregnancy. During my first pregnancy, I'm afraid it was misdiagnosed. They originally just said "its the flu" when I went into the ER for uncontrollable vomiting. I was sick every two hours but could still function as normal. As opposed to my second pregnancy, where I was constantly nauseous and/ or vomiting. The vomiting was at least every morning, during the middle of the night sometimes, and even during the day. I had horrible heartburn associated with it as well. Anything that most woman during their pregnancy could eat, I couldn't. No pizza, no peanut butter, no milk products, etc. It was so sad when I had a craving for a simple peanut butter English muffin and couldn't satisfy it without having to suffer hours and hours of heart burn and horrible indigestion. I experienced vertigo a few handful of times, but mostly in the beginning. My ears would ring and feel like I was on an airplane with all the pressure in my inner ears, and I would be consistently dizzy which only made the nauseousness worse. I couldn't drive or really have concrete plans because I never knew how I would feel that day. I ended up taking four individual trips (before I was twenty weeks along) to the emergency room with uncontrollable vomiting and was put on Promethazine, a medication that can help with sever pain, nausea and vomiting. This was a lifesaver. I could take it and be back to normal in as little as twenty minutes. But having to take medication constantly was not ideal for me but obviously was a necessity. I had two prescriptions filled during the second pregnancy and it lasted up until about three weeks until his due date. In Utero, Oliver was so active and constantly on my right side. He was always head down and his feet where protruding into my under rib cage. Talk about ouch. When we tested for genetic abnormalities in the beginning, as they do every pregnancy, it came back with an increased rate or Trisomy 21, aka Down syndrome. This is one extra chromosome in his genetic DNA. I was told over the phone, by who I could assume was a receptionist. It was very impersonal and such big news to take over the phone like it was no big deal. They ordered another test to be sure that the results were inconclusive. When the second results came back , it was the same answer; Trisomy 21. At that point, I had been referred to a specialist at Georgia Perinatal Group (GPG). We would soon be there weekly until he delivered. Each week, we would get an ultrasound to watch his development and growth as well as measure him and see for physical findings of Downs. Although his legs and arms measured smaller than normal, there were no physical findings. The first doctor we say at GPG, was abrasive for us. I had to go alone to this appointment for whatever reason. So here I was alone, receiving news that my son would have Down syndrome. The doctor told me about still born risks, doing an amniocentesis, and bunch of other information that I was too shocked and upset to receive clearly. I immediately called my husband afterwards in tears. At the second appointment with him, my husband and toddler came with us. He KICKED THEM OUT of the room when she got a little fussy when we refused to let her take her shoes off. At that point, I was so livid with him as my doctor that I made my next appointment with another while we were there.
The next range of doctors we saw there were wildly more helpful and reassuring than the first. Needless to say, the doctor visits started to become less stressful as we got closer and closer to his due date. At one of our lasts (June 6th) my husband and I were told "I think that it's time to push the eject button" . Um, what? When? Now?! is all we could really mutter out in between the pure looks of shock on our faces. He told us that we had to head straight to the hospital to be induced.
Labor & Delivery; My Induction.
I went to my doctors appointment ready to see his sweet face on the ultrasound screen but little did I know, that our doctor would tell us that we were going to see his actual face much sooner than expected. And by that I mean two whole weeks sooner. The doctor left the room and all I could say was "holy fucking shit" with a wildly shell shocked expression on my face. HOLY SHIT I'm going to meet my son in a matter of hours! We gathered our things and our toddler and we headed back to the parking deck rapidly calling the people we needed to. We called the in-laws to let them know that hey, we will need to drop off Piper (our 2 1/2 year old) and go to the hospital to have Oliver. I had to call my friend Monica, who I worked with as an associate photographer, to let her know that I wasn't going to make the wedding we had planned for that Saturday. I texted my sister and mom to let them know the news, I called my photographer to meet me at the hospital for my Labor and Delivery photos, and I called my best friend.
We had NOTHING ready to go. No go bags, no clothes for Oliver, nothing. We frantically drove 30 minutes back home in the worst traffic in our area, and trust me when I say that we were speeding like bats out of hell. I don't really know why, I wasn't in actual labor! I think the pure shock of it all made us instantly anxious. I was forcing breaths out of my mouth and nose to keep calm because again, holy shit I'm about to go into labor. Mentally I hadn't really prepared yet for that pain in my body, the time it'll take for him to arrive, etc. I mean, I had a full two weeks left to go!
We got home and made three quick bags. Thankfully, I made a list of what we needed for each bag so I thank my past self for being diligent in that matter at least. I got the bags ready to go, and then we realized that our infant car seat had tons of mold all over it. Wonderful. It was just one more thing we had to do. So I hoped on the Target app, found the same carseat and put it in the cart for drive up pick up. Thankfully there was a target right down the road by one minute from the hospital so we could pick it up and not even get out of the car.
From the moment we left the doctors office, I was having contractions but they weren't as close together. I knew I was already 1.5 cm dilated but it was never expected that I would deliver early. I arrived at Northside Cherokee, got checked in and moved up into my room all while contracting still. I was contracting for awhile when they decided to give me Cervidil (a hormone to help with dilation) to help progress my stalled 3.5 cm dilation. That quickly did the trick and I jumped from 3.5 to 9 cm in an hour. My epidural didn't fully kick in yet and I felt it ALL.
Not to mention, my favorite show of all time, The Office was on the entire time I was in labor. I was thrilled! There was finally something that was unexpected but actually perfect to have the laughing in between all the pain.
I had my epidural around 3.5 cm because the back labor was so intense. My uterus was posterior so it had to flip around before it could ascend down. I was moved in several different positions; on my left side, on my right side, Princess Pose, and on all fours. I got checked frequently and was told that my amniotic sake was bulging, just waiting to burst but wasn’t. What really got me in labor was being on all fours. I rocked forwards and backwards so much it was like I was using gravity to move him down. At one point the nurses asked me if I could sway left to right and I very violently said no as I was dealing with the worst pain in my uterus, my back, and having wild contractions. I really started to feel the pressure of his head moving down so I told my doctor that I needed to push. The thing about my doctor is she was all for letting me decide what I needed. She had me flip over and said "Oh yeah there is his head" and she said that at any point in time that I wanted to push, I just had to reach down and grab my knees and push. So I did. I pushed four about 4-5 minutes before he arrived earth side. Compared to my first Labor, which took 50 minutes, I was so shocked that he came so quickly. My husband cut his umbilical cord and that was that. He was finally mine to hold.
He finally arrived, June 7th at 12:12am , on a Friday like the rest of the grand babies, purple (just like my daughter was) and awake. With his eyes open, I put him to my chest and took in the moment. I remember saying "he isn't crying, is that okay??" and the nurses and my doctor assured me that it was. I wasn't used to that. My daughter was such a screamer when she arrived but he was calm and quiet and observant. The baby doctors took him to the side since he was a little chilly and wanted to warm him up. I spent more time laying there, watching them, as I delivered my placenta. That took a lot of pushing on my stomach and slight umbilical cord pulling. That was finally done, he was finally cleaned, and I was able to hold him for my golden hour. And thats when we questioned it; Does he have Downs Syndrome?