I feel like there is something very therapeutic about writing about labor and delivery. It’s such a personal journey and everyone experiences it differently. I thought I would share my story for any of our members who are pregnant and find comfort in hearing other women’s experiences.
At 35 weeks pregnant, I went into my OB appointment and got flagged for having my blood pressure slightly elevated. This isn’t entirely surprising. I am a business owner, I’m doing a PhD part time, I teach online and live internationally and was about to have my first baby. This baby meant that I would be away from day-to-day operations at STAVE OFF, that one clinician wasn’t billing and I would be a PARENT!
I cannot complain even a little bit about my pregnancy. I was able to workout 3-5x/week right up until the day I was induced (I even tried to convince Nick to let me go on a walk with him and the dogs in the back forest while I was in active labor … he promptly shut me down in that regard and probably for the best).
When your blood pressure is elevated, you develop what is termed gestational hypertension. Gestational hypertension in and of itself isn’t bad. Mine also wasn’t SUPER high (135/90 ish). The issue with it is that it can transition into something called pre-eclampsia. This is when you have high blood pressure in conjunction with creatinine protein in your urine. When this develops, it can place the baby at risk for stillborn and other complications. This becomes an immediate eviction notice (this did not happen to me thankfully).
Over the next couple of weeks I was able to keep my blood pressure well managed. I ate well, slept, exercised, did mindfulness breathing exercises and started slowing down with work. At 37.5 weeks pregnant, I came in and again my numbers were up. There was a lot going on and I could tell I was a little bit more stressed than I should be. At that time, my doctor and I jointly decided it would be better to induce at 38 than risk any sort of issue arising.
They told me to call at 7:30 AM on the Sunday morning because it would be a couple day process and they would give me a time to go in to start the induction. The night before, we went to see the new Avengers movie and it was the perfect distraction. We took the dogs for a big long walk then called in to the hospital. We were given a time of 11 AM so we cleaned up, took the dogs out again and then went in and had breakfast as a couple.
In the hospital, they monitored the baby and then decided to try an induction using a Foley catheter. This is a tube they put in that has a balloon that can inflate. It mechanically begins to open the cervix. Unfortunately because my body was not even starting the labor process, it didn’t work and I had to be given Cervidil instead which is a prostaglandin. It started giving me cramp like rhythmic contractions. They monitored me for an hour, got me to walk for 30 minutes and then said I could go home and was scheduled to come back the next day to start the true induction. This was just the “prep” phase.
We got home, fed the dogs. Nick took them for a walk and my cramping started to get more intense. I got into the shower to try to get my body to relax and that helped a ton. Then I just started letting the cramping come. By 10:00 PM, I was having cramps that were lasting 45 seconds and they were two minutes apart. I had my husband, Nick, call the hospital. They said I may be overstimulated and to come into the hospital. That was right… he had to miss the end of Game of Thrones!
When we got into the hospital, the cramps which I figured out were actually contractions, were stacking on top of each other. It made it so that my stomach couldn’t handle it and I ended up vomitting. The had to take the Cervidil out. They gave me some Gravol and Morphine so that my body could calm down and it would space out the contractions. Then I had fully effaced and was 1 cm dilated and the Foley catheter could be inserted. I was able to get to sleep at that point. By 8 AM, I felt like I was in more of a relaxed position. I was getting contractions but they didn’t feel that bad and was able to watch a movie with Nick. By 9:15 AM I was still getting contractions but it was feeling like I needed to bear down (NOT what was supposed to happen). The nurse came in and said that doctors were just finishing up a labor and delivery and would be in shortly to break my water and start the induction with pitocin. I asked her if it was okay that she check me because I was getting this urge to push. She said the doctor would be in shortly but if it intensifies, to let her know and she would come in and check herself. Not even 10 minutes later I told Nick she had to come back. She checked me and the Foley had fallen out and I was 6 cm dilated.
I was prepped immediately for labor and delivery. There wasn’t time for an epidural or any sort of pain management as I was 10 cm by the time that I got into the room and my body was telling me to push. Thirty minutes later, miss Mya Elizabeth Prevett was born. Weighing in at 5 lbs 15 ounces and 18.5 inches long, she is absolutely perfect. She was placed on my chest and let out a wail that was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. They delayed cord clamping for a couple of minutes and delivered the placenta. I had a minor grade 2 perineal tear. This was likely because she ended up having the umbilical cord around her neck so instead of slowly being able to deliver her shoulders, they had to do a pretty fast swoop to get her out. They stitched me up and Nick got to spend some skin on skin time with Mya.
The moment when Nick became a dad and teared up at her birth was honestly the most emotional and powerful moment.
Overall, I feel like I had a super positive labor and delivery experience. I actually liked it – the pain was there for sure … but it was an incredible experience and my daughter was the result. It was 20 hours from start to end which is very short for a start to finish induction. The pain was intense but felt more like pressure and bursts of tightening. Because the Cervidil was such an intense experience that my active labor actually didn’t feel that bad. The active pushing was more like a stretching pain. There were multiple times where I turned to Nick and said “Ow this hurts!”. But after, you forget about it almost instantly and you have this gorgeous little girl!
We have this gorgeous little newborn and I couldn’t be happier. The last week has been filled with learning new routines, snuggling this perfect little girl and adjusting to being a family of 5 (two parents, two dogs and Mya)