My Birth Story: Part 1
Here it is! The long awaited story of the birth of our daughter, Stella. I know, I know… it’s about a year late but I really went back and forth a lot on whether or not I wanted to share this very intimate and intense week of our life. I spared some of the more TMI details because I don’t think they’re necessary, but I didn’t leave anything else out, including my personal opinions of the nurses and certain midwives (lol). I wanted to share it like a story, and it is written much differently from my other blog posts. I had a lot of fun creating it, and reliving it all a year later. It’s interesting to reflect back and feel the emotions again because I tried to forget a lot of the hospital stay since it was pretty uncomfortable and stressful at the time.
Since I wrote this like a story and included all the deets, the story as a whole is very long and arduous to read in one sitting. I decided to break it up into a mini series, this being the first of 2 or 3 posts depending on how much more I continue to add! I had to at least get part of it out since I promised I would a few weeks ago, sorry for the delay!
Soooo, grab a snack and a coffee and get comfortable because it’s a doozy!
It was Monday, which meant that me and my big belly had to make the trek to yet ANOTHER prenatal appointment. I had been going to these things weekly for a while now and quite frankly was just over the whole thing. I remember taking a picture of my outfit that morning to post on Instagram and there wasn't one good shot where my face didn't look absolutely miserable because I was so uncomfortable. I had been for the past month. My back hurt on the left side no matter what I did and it felt like there was a foot in my left ribcage, stuck there, mostly it didn't move but every few hours I'd get a good sharp jab upward, reminding me that yes, your baby is still there.
Here’s that photo. I couldn’t even fake a '“feel-good” face. These were the only pants that fit me, they were maternity and even the stretchy band barely fit over my huge bump. I really tried to spice up my outfit by adding a vest today, but on a normal day It was either Dustin’s pajamas or leggings and a t-shirt.
The previous night Dustin and I had spent the painfully hot summer afternoon at my parent's house for a casual outdoor dinner to celebrate the birthday week. Mom, Dad and Dustin all have birthdays three days in a row this week and who knew when the baby would arrive, so we decided to get together early just in case. I felt sick. The whole evening I just didn't feel like myself and although I couldn't pin-point what was wrong, I definitely did not feel like myself. There was a bee swirling around my head all dinner and I can't remember any of the conversation that we had. The chair was comfortable though, I hadn't felt comfortable in a while. I sat in that chair all evening.
"JULIANNE!" she jolted me from my daydream. I had eaten oatmeal about two hours ago but it wasn't sitting right and I felt hungry and bored of being at the doctor's office again. It was the nurse I didn't like, too. The one who always looked grumpy and never waited for me as I waddled my way back to the examination room. After closing my eyes while they took my weight, I peed in a cup as I had every week for forever it seemed and then we went to the exam room so the grumpy nurse could take my blood pressure. She put the cuff on my arm and I started at the poster on the wall as I waited. I was feeling better, just getting pretty hungry and feeling annoyed that no matter what day I came in to the office I always got the same grumpy nurse.
She looked at me and asked what I had eaten earlier in the day, she then snickered slightly, whether intentional or not I caught it, it didn't upset me (I already knew I didn’t like her so I had gotten pretty good at ignoring her rude mannerisms over my pregnancy) but it made me stop and my mind started racing. It was obvious that something was wrong and I knew my blood pressure must be high. I told her about my oatmeal and she said she'd be back in 15 minutes to take my blood pressure again. There we were in that room, I had almost forgotten that Dustin was there too but as soon as the grumpy nurse was gone, we were left wondering what it meant if she were to take my blood pressure again and get a similar reading. 15 minutes felt like an hour. She came back, took my blood pressure, and then left again, barely two words were spoken and I had no idea what was going on.
The midwife I was seeing that day was not my usual midwife. I had only seen her one time before and she didn't remember me as she introduced herself when she came into the room before telling me that I needed to go straight to the ER. Great. Verdict was that my blood pressure was so high that is was at an extremely unsafe/could-be-life-threatening level and if it stayed at that level I needed to get the baby out NOW for her safety and for mine. So, this means I’ll be induced and have a baby by tonight!? Clearly I had no idea how this all works. Needless to say, I was kind of freaking out. But I was also excited to get this baby out. I didn’t even really care about my blood pressure I just heard possible induction and was SO excited.
Ok, so what happened next I remember in slow motion. We drove home, packed a hospital bag and were on our way to Triage in under 20 minutes. I remember circling down the parking garage at our apartment building and Dustin said “what about Anne for a middle name?” I don’t even remember how I responded, but I guess I agreed! I just remember being in a fog, either from either excitement or the hypertension, I don’t remember anything else about the drive to the hospital.
Neither of us have much experience with hospitals and we didn’t actually know where to go when we got there, we spent some time walking around after we parked, then we re-parked and walked around again before finally finding labor and delivery triage. I was annoyed at all the walking at the time but looking back, it’s probably a good thing I got a good walk in because I had no idea I’d be glued to a hospital bed for the next 5 days.
I was in triage for 8 hours but it felt like an eternity. They put an IV in immediately upon my arrival, had to try a few times though and if you know me, you know my needle phobia. It was pretty rough and more than a few tears were shed, we’ll say it was the hormones, okay? On arrival they also began monitoring my blood pressure every 15 minutes. I got to lay on one of those lovely hard as a rock “beds” and was told to lay down as much as possible which wasn’t hard to do with the cuff stuck to my arm. The midwife on duty happened to be the one who told me she rarely worked in labor and delivery which was a relief at the time that she told me since she was not the nicest (clearly I’m lucky), but of course, she was here this afternoon. The whole triage experience was really un-fun, after 8 hours of my arm being squeezed to death every 15 minutes by the blood pressure cuff, I was told I had to stay and would be admitted immediately for induction that evening.