Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I Gave Birth at the Hospital: The Birth Story I Never Thought I Would Tell--Part 1

It's something I never thought I would do. But apparently my plans were not the Lord's plans. After studying homebirth for the past seven years, and diligently planning for every aspect of the waterbirth that I wanted to have, what actually happened was quite different. Here is my unexpected birth story:

At 38 weeks I had to meet with my midwife's backup doctor, something I really wasn't looking forward to. I "knew" I wasn't going to have a hospital birth, but I did it just to be "safe." When the lady at the clinic there took my blood pressure, it was 123 over 83, and she said to me, "Oh your blood pressure is high, lets take it again."

As soon as I heard it was high, my heart jolted, because I knew this was one of the things that can disqualify you from the care of your midwife. She took my blood pressure again and it had jumped to 140 over 90. The doctor spent the entire appointment telling me about the risks of high blood pressure and how I needed to go to the hospital to be monitored. I declined and left, thinking, "There is no way I have high blood pressure!"

Just to be safe, I borrowed my parent's blood pressure monitor and monitored it at home. I had normal and even low blood pressure that entire week. I later learned that 120 over 80 is normal blood pressure and the lady at the doctor's office should have never said it was high in the first place!

I went to my midwife's at 39 weeks and had normal blood pressure there.

At 40 weeks I was supposed to return to the doctor's office for another visit. I dreaded going back, knowing he was just going to tell me I had high blood pressure again and I'd have to listen to the list of things that could happen to me and my baby. I couldn't sleep that entire night. So of course, when I got there, my blood pressure was high. He suggested I go to the hospital again. I declined.

Unfortunately, my midwife's appointment was right after that appointment, and I didn't have enough time to calm down before seeing her. She got a high reading on my blood pressure and told me to go home and take the weekend to relax and try to get it down. She would recheck it the next Monday.

However, because I knew that if I got another high blood pressure reading with her that I wouldn't be able to have her as my midwife, it stressed me out so much that come Monday, my blood pressure was higher than ever. I was told that I had pregnancy induced hypertension, and even she said I should go to the hospital to be induced. I was devastated. I knew that I didn't have high blood pressure. I knew that it wasn't pregnancy induced hypertension, it was panic induced hypertension. There is nothing scarier to me than giving birth in the hospital. I was terrified. And yet because of that fear, I had lost my option of having my midwife.

It was a horrible day and night for my husband and I as we contemplated our options. We could either have an unassisted homebirth or go to the hospital for an induction. I knew the risks of both. And neither was an option I wanted. We had to make a decision between two terrible options. I honestly wanted the unassisted birth more. But at 40 weeks and a few days, I felt utterly unprepared to go for that option. I needed more time to plan and prepare and get some medical supplies. But baby could come any day! What if I bled more than I was supposed to? What if I needed stitches? Did we really want to do this alone? Could we forgive ourselves if something went wrong?

Even more important than all these thoughts, was the fact that I felt God tugging at my heart telling me He wanted me to lay down my idea of a homebirth. I wanted it too much. It had become an idol to me without realizing. I felt I deserved to have a homebirth. I knew what I had to do and it was terrifying. I had to be brave, face my fears, and walk in the door to the hospital for an induction.

I didn't sleep that entire night.

In the morning, we packed our bags for the hospital, slowly and sadly. We texted everyone that our plans had changed. I cried as I apologized to our baby. This wasn't how I wanted them to be born. I wanted to protect them from the drugs and interventions that were sure to occur at the hospital.

I prayed desperately that God would at least protect me from a C-section. That was the worst of my fears. I knew that with an induction the risk for this was very much increased.

We signed in at the hospital and they started the induction with cervadil, a drug that prepares and "ripens" the cervix. Apparently I was already having contractions when I got there, although I couldn't feel them. They had a monitor that showed each contraction, which was interesting to watch.

By the time I was in the hospital I had made peace with where God had taken our birth and I was ready to do my best with what we were facing. I made every effort to be completely relaxed. I knew to make it through labor, especially a labor on Pitocin (an artificial hormone that makes your uterus contract more intensely than natural labor) I had to be completely relaxed.

Interestingly enough, as I suspected, the entire time I was in the hospital, I had no sign of high blood pressure. In fact, because of my deep relaxation I had low blood pressure! They never had to give me any drugs to lower my blood pressure and one nurse told me very strongly that there was nothing wrong with me! I had known this was the case, but I still knew that this was the path God had wanted to take me on for some reason. I had to lay down my idea of a homebirth and surrender it to Him, and face my fears of the hospital....

(to be continued)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

It's A Boy!

Our little guy was born Thursday at 10:53 in the morning. 
Weighing 9 lbs. and 4 oz!
21 1/2 inches long. 

We are both doing well and just getting in the hang of things.  The birth was nothing like we had planned for,  but it was still a good birth, if not the ideal one I had hoped for.  I will write up the birth story when I get the chance!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Pregnancy Update: 40 Weeks

40 Weeks

How far along? 40 weeks and 3 days as of today! 
Baby Size: Average baby is around 7 lbs, but both my husband and I were big babies at almost nine pounds. We shall see...
  Total weight gain: 40 lbs. 
Stretch Marks? I think some have formed in the last two weeks, but we'll see for sure afterwards.
Sleep: It's been hit or miss this week.
Best moment this week: Having my sweet husband take care of so many things for me and generally just do all he can to ensure my comfort. It's been neat to see how much he is looking forward to being a father too. I've really realized on a deeper level how caring he is throughout this pregnancy and especially this week.
Miss Anything? Being able to actually hug my husband! You know...without hitting into him with the baby belly first!
Movement: Baby is moving around a lot and it's so obvious to other people, which is neat.
Food cravings: Coffee, fruit, and sugar. But, I am not giving into my cravings, except for fruit! I weaned myself off of caffeine a month ago in preparation for breastfeeding.
Gender Prediction: At this point, I suddenly am not thinking one way or another. I just want a healthy baby!
Symptoms: Cramping and Braxton Hicks contractions, but no real contractions yet.
Mood:  I'm feeling good and really hoping baby decides to come this week, but I know I might still have more time to go. I don't mind being pregnant longer, since I know it will come to an end soon, but I really do want to see our little baby and get to start taking care of them! All of my friends who were due around this time have had their babies and I love looking at the pictures, but it makes me want to see our baby soon too.
Looking forward to: Giving birth!