My Birth Story: Preeclampsia and C-Section

Guest Post From Mommy Takes 5.

When I was pregnant with my daughter I read any and every birth story I could find. I wanted all the information I could get my hands on so I could have some expectation of what would happen.  I knew I wanted to go as long as I could without pain medication, but that I would definitely get something for pain.  There was the anticipation of my water breaking and the glorious moment when I would hold my daughter skin to skin for the first time.  What I didn’t expect for my birth story was needing an emergency c-section.

During Pregnancy

I tried so hard to anticipate different scenarios, to research all my options, and most importantly, to expect the unexpected. There were countless hours spent reading about birth plans, and figuring out what exactly I wanted in mine.

My birth plan started out long and detailed.  I had a set list of people who would be there, I wanted an epidural, and I was open to trying whatever position I needed to be comfortable.  The final birth plan was somewhat non-existent.

As time progressed my blood pressure was climbing, and by 7 months along I was put on blood pressure medication to try to keep it down…. It didn’t work.  No matter what happened my blood pressure kept rising.  Then my feet started to swell, being due in July meant I had to endure summer at the end of my pregnancy. (Thank God we live in Michigan so it’s not completely unbearable).

With the consistent increase in my blood pressure, I knew I needed to prepare myself for the inevitability of having a cesarean section.   Instead of fretting about the possibility of it, I decided to embrace it.  So things might start to go wrong, but that didn’t mean that we wouldn’t have a wonderful birth story for our daughter.

At 38 Weeks 5 Days

I walked into my 38-week appointment with a doctor that wasn’t my usual; she was gone for the week. I was nervous meeting a new doctor with everything that was going on, not knowing if I would be comfortable with him, and how much would he really know about what had been happening during my pregnancy.   As was my usual routine for the previous 6 weeks, I was sent to the maternity floor of the hospital for a non-stress test and monitoring. The nurses there knew me well by then.

As was my usual routine for the previous 6 weeks, I was sent to the maternity floor of the hospital for a non-stress test and monitoring. The nurses knew me well by then.  Beyond going after each weekly appointment, my doctor had me scheduled for 3 non-stress tests a week to keep an eye on everything.  This time was slightly different though. This doctor told me it could be 3-5 hours before he would make the decision to admit me to the hospital or send me on my way.

I left the doctors office thinking it would be like any other day, but I was wrong.  Things were going to change in a hurry.   I sent a text to my fiance (now husband – in case I use the word husband down below) telling him what was happening and putting him on alert to keep an ear out for his phone.  It was our usual routine. I would let him know my blood pressure as I left the doctors, and keep him updated as I relaxed in triage.

Sitting there in triage, hooked up to all the monitors, something was different this time.  Finally, I moved so I could watch the numbers on the screen when the machine would take my blood pressure, and realized just how high my blood pressure was. It was climbing slowly.

Getting admitted to the hospital

Finally, just minutes before 5 pm, the doctor called and let the staff know to admit me.  As my fiance was walking out the door of his work for the day I called to tell him they were keeping me.  He told his bosses he might not be there the next day, stopped to grab my hospital bag and everything we needed for baby’s arrival, and drove the 45 minutes to the hospital.

When he finally got to my room, things were still progressing, but at a slow & steady pace.  The ob-gyn on staff at the hospital kept checking on me and was in communication with my substitute doctor.  I was told to relax and they would start inducing me in the morning, so no big rush for the family to come.  Jorden called our parents and let them know what was happening but not to rush because nothing would be happening.

Things start happening

Within minutes things started to go haywire.  My blood pressure jumped, and all of a sudden I had 2 nurses with me.  One monitoring blood pressure readings the machine was getting, the other doing manual readings between when the machine would do it.  Then my room phone rang, and it was the doctor ordering them to administer medication through my IV for the blood pressure.

After giving me medication 3 times and nothing happening at all to slow the climb, a group of what felt like 30 people come in the room.  They start handing Jorden scrubs to put on, they’re removing my jewelry, they are putting in a second IV, and they hand me a clipboard. I read the top of the paper they want me to sign, and the only thing that registered was the word “cesarean” I was in shock.  I looked at the nurse who had been with me from the time I got into triage and asked if I was having a c-section.

Jorden rushed to call our parents back again and let them know I was about to be rushed to surgery. Neither of our parents had expected it given the previous call telling them not to rush. His parents were 2 hours away, so they wouldn’t arrive until much later, mine were only 30 minutes away.

He held my hand and gave me a kiss as they wheeled me out of the room towards the operating room and followed close by.

Once in the operating room

The hurried pace of everyone in the operating room was crazy. There were people everywhere, and so much going on that it was hard to register what all was happening.  By this time, the machine taking my blood pressure is taking readings one after another, without much of a pause between.

The epidural was HORRIBLE.  It is so uncomfortable, and when they say you’ll feel pressure, they’re wrong.  It feels like a giant needle entering your spine.  Sounds bad, feels bad, but would be so worth it.  I was screaming out in pain as the anesthesiologist did his job. Jorden could hear me in pain from the other side of the doors as he waited to come in.

They tested up my sides to see how numb I was, and it wasn’t until up my ribs that I could feel them touch.  Then there was a pinch on my stomach, and I called out ” I can feel that” so afraid I was going to feel the whole surgery.  They tested up my side again, and I was just as numb as before, but again there was a major pinch. When I yelled out again that I could feel it, there was a mask placed on my face and I was told to take 3 deep breaths.

Just breathe

They put the mask on me and I breathe. Honestly, I’m thinking I’m just getting some oxygen because I’m starting to panic.  My mom was one of the women who could feel everything during her c-section, and the stories of women who felt everything was flashing through my mind.

I breathe deep and I’m out.

When the doctor made the call to put me completely under, my blood pressure was on the verge of giving me a stroke. I forget the exact numbers my husband was told, but it was somewhere in the 210’s/ 190’s. When I had my doctors appointment just a few hours prior, it was around 60 numbers less for both numbers.

When the epidural didn’t work the second time, a nurse walked out of the operating room to tell my husband what was going on, and that he would not be allowed to be in the room.  By the time that nurse turned around and opened the door back up to walk back in, our daughter was out & he heard her first cries.

He got to see her weighed and measured. Helped to get her footprints, and was there for her when I couldn’t be.   Our beautiful E was born at 8:05 pm, yes, just 3 hours from the time they decided to admit me to the hospital.

I was taken to recovery where I vaguely remember someone telling me I had a beautiful daughter.  Things are so fuzzy from those first few hours of her life, and while I’m sad I missed it, I am so happy my husband had that time to bond with her.

After her birth

Daddy looking over his baby girl.

My parents were the first to arrive.  My husband was a mess. So much happened so quickly that there was no time to prepare or react.  Within an hour, maybe 90 minutes, we went from thinking we were going to have a relaxing night before being induced, to having a c-section.

By the time I was taken back into the room my future in-laws had arrived.   I remember opening my eyes and seeing my fiance leaning over the bassinet looking at our daughter. My parents were there, as well as my future in-laws, but they were all across the room, presumably because I was just wheeled in.
The first time I touched my daughter. I was so excited to hold her.

Jorden wheeled the bassinet over to me, and I got my first look at my girl. She was beautiful! I reached out to touch her, and she was handed to me.  Both sets of parents left shortly after that.  I remember looking at the digital clock on the wall and it was after 10 pm.

That first night

Everything from that first night was kind of a blur.  I remember bits and pieces.  Both sets of parents left and it was just the 3 of us.  I was still out of it, and so scared I would drop my baby that Jorden held her almost the entire night. He changed every diaper and helped me with trying to breastfeed her.

From night one it would be obvious how great of a daddy he would be.  She slept on his chest almost the whole night while I was in and out of sleep.  I was still being monitored for high blood pressure, and getting treatment for the preeclampsia, so sleep wasn’t consistent.

I could keep going on and on, but I won’t bore you with all the details. The short of it is we ended up spending 3 days in the hospital because my blood pressure wouldn’t cooperate, but I had a beautiful daughter.

What I learned

This was a huge learning experience.  I know some that moms didn’t have good c-section experiences, and some have been traumatized because of their experiences.  What keeps my feelings about it all positive is the fact that I dropped my birth plan.  I didn’t expect to do anything; I was going to let my body and mind dictate what would happen as it happened.

When the hospital nurses had asked me weeks prior what my birth plan was I told them it was to have a baby.  No pressure, no expectations that would be broke.  All I wanted to do is walk out of the hospital with my baby, and that happened.

If I had been determined to keep that original birth plan, which was like 3 pages long, I would have been devastated.  Nothing from that birth plan would have happened. I couldn’t plan on how my body would react, and what would happen.  There is no way I would have thought my husband wouldn’t have been allowed in, or that I would have gone under general anesthesia.

Having complete faith in the team around me is what got me through. I didn’t have time to think, let alone try to question thier judgement calls.  Because of them, I’m here to talk to you about everything. Because of them I have a toddler who

 

Did you have preeclampsia? What is your birth story? I’d love to hear your story.

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