One week ago yesterday I gave birth to my third child, my second son and the final addition to our family. We feel complete! Sam was 4 days early which is not at all like my other two: they were both 5 days late. To be honest, I was not sure if I’d share his birth story or not- it is something I have been contemplating. Truthfully, the way it happened was something I was struggling with. I know people have opinions, and some may have their strong opinion about this too, but that is okay, I am here to share my journey.
The Backstory: Aortic Stenosis?
S’s birth story has a little backstory, one that I have only shared with family and close friends until today. At about 34 weeks (I think) I went in for my check up and S’s heart rate would increase and then decrease. I then had a non stress test and after about 45 minutes I was referred down to maternal fetal medicine for an ultra sound. After having 2 perfectly healthy pregnancies this scared me and put me in tears and praying for the safety of our little baby. After a long ultrasound, the doctor said that S might have a small aortic stenosis and I that we needed to be referred to the pediatric cardiologist for an echocardiogram.
After a week of googling (I know I shouldn’t) and praying, we showed up for the echocardiogram and were delighted with the results. They still could not tell if he had a stenosis or not and if there were one it was very minimal so it would not require any surgery and just another echocardiogram as soon as he was born. Even then, if there was one, it would be so minimal that it would be something we would just monitor over the years. Praise the Lord!
After being down in maternal fetal medicine and going to the pediatric cardiologist I found myself praying for all those moms and babies who have problems. Even if he did have a stenosis it was something we could deal with and it was so very minimal compared to what others deal with.
39 Week Checkup
Fast forward to Monday, June 27th, I am 39 weeks and 1 day and I go in for my weekly check up. The heart rate is low today. I get on a Non Stress Test and we find nothing alarming, but I have to come back and have another one on Wednesday or if I don’t feel much movement. At this point on Monday, my husband is getting ready to board an airplane. I ask the doctor what he would recommend and his response is, “let’s have him take the next flight until we find out what is happening on this NST.” Once we found out we’d have to have two more this week, he decided to cancel his trip.
Tuesday morning I wake up and feel great, but I am not feeling the baby move very much at all. In fact, I drank orange juice, sat down and still didn’t feel him. I called the doctor and of course, another NST. This time, the baby didn’t move for the first 20 minutes of the NST, but the heart rate was fine. At that point the doctor sent me back down to maternal fetal medicine, another ultrasound and everything looked okay.
I went back up to see my doctor and he felt that even though everything looked okay, induction was the best choice to ease everyone’s mind and to play it safe. I was very against induction, but I knew that I was going to worry and would be in the doctor’s office daily for an NST. So I agreed to it and told them I’d be back in two hours. I called my husband, he packed overnight bags for the big kids, I took a shower and called my dear friend Heather who came and picked up the kids.
An Induced Labor
The actual induction and labor process was long- very long. There is one doctor in the practice who has joked since I was pregnant with C that I had a “cervix of steel” and this proved to be the case. In fact, I became known as Fort Knox on the labor and delivery floor. They started the induction process with my first dose of cytotech at 3pm and then every four hours after that. After 4 doses of cytotech there was no progress on that cervix- again, made of steel!
The pitocin came in at 6:30. At 7am the nurses changed shifts and in comes in THE SAME NURSE WHO DELIVERED C & MD!!! What a coincidence! I was so excited to see her and knew I was in good hands- she is a blessing!
The pitocinn gave the doctor just enough opening to break my water at 8am! And it was with that broken water that everything made sense. Oh my! The water flowed, and flowed and flowed. Contractions started coming immediately and I requested the epidural… and the water still flowed.
24 Hours & Still No Baby
I contracted all day. And the water came out all day. You wold think this was great news, but the contractions were never strong enough or close enough together to do much work on my cervix. I remember looking at the clock and it was 2pm: I had been here for 24 hours and I think I was only 3 or 4 cms. At this point I started praying and praying hard; I did not want to have a c-section and that was my biggest fear at this point. I expressed my concerns to both the nurse and the doctor and they assured me that things were just slow and as long as I was progressing that was positive albeit slow.
6pm came and it was not looking good for nurse Mary. I was so sad. I really wanted her to deliver my third baby. At that point we knew she would probably not get to. At 6pm the doctors also changed and I said goodbye to Dr. Moore who had started with me at 2pm the day before. In came Dr. Neff who is awesome as well so I felt at ease. Then at 7pm the nurses changed shifts and I said goodbye to Mary. I was disappointed I was glad she got to be with me for 12 hours of my labor and help me.
At 7pm came in the new nurse who was also wonderful! They checked me at 8pm and I was only at 6 cms. At that point I looked at Josh and said, “there is no way I am having this baby tonight.” At about 8:30 they upped the pitocin a little and I got another dose of epidural and I tried to take a nap. About an hour in, I was not napping. I was feeling the end of every contraction and feeling the urge to push. At 10pm I told the doctor this and she said she’d check me in a minute. At 10:10pm she checked me and her jaw dropped. I was complete and at plus one! All in just 2 hours!
She told me she had to “call the doctor so she could get back here,” and I thought she better hurry! In comes Dr. Neff and she sits on the edge of the bed and says, let’s try a push. Her face got big and she said, “okay stop, let me setup.”
Welcome, Sweet Boy
THREE pushes, 5 minutes and out comes our third baby, a sweet little boy at 10:31pm. After a 31 hour induction and labor process I finally had my sweet boy in my arms. I was so thankful for a team of patient doctors and nurses and especially Dr. Neff who was so personable and encouraging. While pushing she said, “You got this, you are at 26 miles of your 26.2 you can do it.” At that point, I got tears in my eyes and thought of how lucky I was to have a team that “gets me” and are real people.
And as for that heart issue? There was none! S was checked over and over again and they couldn’t find anything that they decided to forgo the echocardiogram. Come to find out all the issues were a result of all that water. I had so much fluid they had a hard time tracking the heart beat all throughout the labor and induction process and it was what caused the scares when he was in utero.
Praise the Lord for a healthy baby boy, a healthy pregnancy and a safe labor and induction. Although it was not how I envisioned it the end result was just what I wanted. Our sweet little boy is such a blessing and it will never matter how he came into our world- what matters is that he did!