Sunday, August 15, 2010

My Story - Pregnancy and Delivery

As a young child and teenager, I always dreamed of being a wife and a mommy.  It was my all consuming thought and dream.  I was obsessed with playing make believe, but I pretended real life things like being pregnant, taking my husband and children to church, and breastfeeding.  Yes, I pretended to breastfeed! LOL  So when the day finally came that my husband and I decided to try for a baby, I was more than ready!  Lucky for us, we got pregnant very quickly and very easily.  I had been working as an L&D nurse for a few years and had seen so many stories of infertility and difficulty conceiving, so I really thought we would have trouble.  Not me.  I must be a fertile Myrtle, because we started trying the beginning of September 2008, I got my period September 17, and on October 11th we had a positive pregnancy test!!  What an amazing moment!!!  I will never forget that day!

My first and second trimesters were wonderful.  Absolutely no morning sickness and really no complaints.  Yes, I was tired as heck for those first 12 weeks and pretty much just went to work and came home and slept and nothing else.  But all in all, no problems!  I cruised through my pregnancy and loved every minute!!

Then, at 32 weeks at my routine prenatal check up, my midwife and good friend Jill told me that my Blood pressure was a little high.  Being an L&D nurse, I knew what that could mean.  High blood pressure can mean a lot of different things, but the main concern is pre-eclampsia.  So she drew blood work, had me do a 24 hour urine, and had me check my Blood pressure at home.  Everything came back fine which made me very happy because my husband and I had planned a little pre-baby vacation to the beach.  So we went to the beach that weekend and had a great time, but while we were there, I noticed my stretch marks on my belly getting MUCH worse.  I picked up some Palmer's Belly Butter and didn't think much else of it.

When we came back from vacation, I started noticing itchy bumps on my legs and arms and over the next week, they got progressively worse.  I knew what it was, but I hoped it wasn't.  At my 34 week check up, my Blood pressure was still up. :(  And I pointed my red itchy bumps out to Jill.  I hoped she wouldn't confirm what I already knew...but she confirmed...I had PUPPS.  PUPPS stands for Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy.  Also know as Pregnancy rash.  It is pretty rare.  In my years of working L&D I had only seen two women with it...and of course, I got it!  There are some good things about the rash though.  It does not spread to your breasts or your face...but it was EVERYWHERE else.  My arms, legs, and belly were the worst.  I would stand in the shower, scratch my belly, and just cry.  There is nothing that you can do to cure PUPPS other than deliver the baby and there are few things to do to relieve the itching.  I tried many different things like oatmeal baths and lotions.  I found that Hydrocortisone Cooling Relief gel would give a small window of comfort.  But what really worked for me was to take a shower and slowly turn the temperature of the water down to freezing.  This would numb my skin and my nerves.  When I got out of the shower I would slather myself in Eucerin Anti itch Treatment Lotion.  I did this 2-3 times a day and was comfortable for the most part.

At 36 weeks, my Blood pressure was still high so my doctors and midwife officially put me on bed rest.  They redrew blood work and did another 24 hour urine, which were fine, so there was not need to deliver yet.  I am a get up and go kind of girl.  So this was not my ideal situation.  Plus, with having a baby on the way, there were things that I needed to do!  So I tried to be a good girl, and I rode my couch...for the most part! ;)

It was like I never left work though.  I was having three and four Non-Stress Tests a week as well as one to two Ultrasounds a week.  So I was constantly visiting L&D, my friends, and my co-workers, I just wasn't getting paid to be there. :(  Then I would go home and ride my couch some more.

At 37 weeks, I found myself on a Wednesday morning in severe pain and having difficulty catching my breath.  My belly was soft, so I knew I wasn't in labor, and I could feel the baby move, so I knew she was fine.  But I could not breathe.  I tried to rest and see if it would stop.  I laid down, sat down, walked around my kitchen, nothing helped the pain and I was growing more and more short of breath.  Finally, I was getting terribly worried.  So I called my husband to come home and take me to the hospital and I called L&D to tell the girls I was coming.

When I got to the hospital, I was immediately put on the monitors, baby was fine.  Good!  Now, what is going on with me?  They did an Ultrasound to check for a placental problem and to check her out, everything was fine.  They did a chest x-ray to rule out rib fracture, pneumonia, or a PE...everything was fine.  In the end, the problem is this...  I have a very short torso and she had kicked my diaphram so many times that I was in a constant spasm.  Two days in the hospital, and I came home with a prescription for a pain medication and told to ride my couch some more!  I was so happy to come home.  My biggest fear was that they would either induce me or do a c-section.  I knew it wasn't time yet, and I begged to come home.

I was a good girl, and I sat at home for a few more weeks.  At 39 weeks and 3 days, I went to the hospital for a NST.  Baby looked great on the monitor, but I was contracting every 2-3 minutes! YAY!  I was feeling most of them, but not all.  And only some were nothing too exciting!  So I went to the office for my appointment.  My BP was even higher and the swelling in my hands, feets, and face was terrible.  Jill asked me for the 100th time if she could induce me.  I gave in and said yes.  So I called my hubby, we went to Subway for dinner, and then back to the hospital for my induction.

I was admitted around 6:00 PM on a Monday evening in June 2009.  The girls started my IV and got all of the paperwork done.  Jill came in around 7:00.  My cervix was still closed, so she decided to use a medication called Cervidil to soften my cervix.  Cervidil is meant to soften, not necessarily induce labor.  It can induce labor, but does not usually.  So I was settled in for a night of nothing.  She ordered a sleeping pill and I assumed I would just sleep the night through and then get up in the morning, shower, eat, and then start Pitocin.  Boy was I wrong.  I got my sleeping pill at 11:30 PM, watched Jon and Kate Plus 8 (the episode where they announced their divorce) at Midnight, and then turned out the lights for bed.  I quickly woke with the first nasty contraction.  So much for sleep...hard labor began!

By 3:00 AM I was begging for something for pain.  My friend and nurse for the night, Diana checked me and I was 1 cm.  She called and got an order for Stadol (IV pain medicine).  After getting that, I was able to get a little bit of sleep.  By 5:00 AM, I was TOTALLY ready for the next dose, so she checked me, still 1 cm and gave me another dose of Stadol.  I never got any relief from that dose and at 5:30 AM I was hyperstimulating with contractions.  Meaning my contractions were lasting 4-5 minutes.  Yes, ouch.  So I rang the call bell and begged to get my cervidil out.  Diana came back, but could not reach the cervidil.  So another nurse and friend, Missy came back to try.  After a lot of fiddling, she finally got it out and told me that I was 2 cm.  TWO!  Really!?

Being an L&D nurse, I knew that with the cervidil being out, most likely my contractions would fizzle within an hour, I could get up, eat, shower, and then they would probably start the dreaded Pitocin.  So the next contraction came, and it was still strong, and the next one, and the next one, and the next one.  My contractions weren't fizzling...they were getting stronger!

At 7:00 AM, I almost rang the call bell for the nurse to come check me, but I knew it was shift change, so I waited.  By 7:15, I asked my husband to go find out who my nurse was and ask her to come in.  A couple minutes later Tonja came in.  She did her morning routine (Vital signs, assessment, etc) and then checked me.  3-4 cm!!!  WOOHOO!!!  I begged her to please call Jill about an epidural.  Knowing full well that she would probably say no, I still wanted to call her and ask.  I was so beat after being up all night long.

So Tonja walked out, and as I heard the door shut, I got the most terrible contraction yet!!  I rolled onto hands and knees in the bed and I felt a ton of rectal pressure.  I honestly thought she was coming right then.  I told my husband to go get Tonja because I was not 3-4 cm anymore!  He RAN down the hall.  I think I scared him.

Tonja came back in and tried to rationalize with me that I could not have changed that quickly.  So I had to convince her to check me.  He eyes got really wide and she said very quietly, you are 5-6 cm.  She threw off her glove and yelled over her shoulder that she was going to call Jill and ran out of the room!  I think I scared her too! LOL

Turned out that Jill was in the parking lot and on her way up anyway.  When she got there two minutes later, I was 6 cm and she gave the ok to get my epidural.  About 15 minutes later, my favorite Anesthesiologist arrived and placed my epidural!  Ahhhhhhhh...that was so nice!!!  After my epidural, Jill checked me again and I was 7 cm.  She broke my water and away we went.  I was doing this all on my own!!!  No medication...all natural labor!  I just needed that cervidil to kick my labor in!

I do believe that my epidural did slow me down a little and that I would have delivered sooner if I had not gotten it.  But would I change that, no!  It gave me a chance to rest which I desperately needed.

By 12:30 I was 9-10 cm and I sat there for a long long time.  We tried different positions to try and get different pressure on the cervix.  And by that point I was feeling every contraction in my rectum.  I was still pain free in my back and belly, but with every contraction I would have to lean to the side because the pressure was so intense.

At 2:15 PM I was finally complete and began to push.  I have coached women through this process for years, but it was nothing like I expected.  It was the hardest thing I had ever tried to do!  At 3:00 PM the nurses changed shift and in came my BFF's and work buddies Michelle and Carissa.  They were so happy that I had waited for them to get there.  (because that was what I was thinking....right....LOL)  And at 3:36 PM after an hour and 20 minutes of pushing, our tiny precious bundle of joy arrived.  She was perfect.  Although she made momma work for it!  Her head was cocked to the side (asynclitic) and she had both fists on her face.  So her head was in a difficult position and then I delivered shoulders, arms, body,and elbows all at the same time.  Ouch.  Because of all of that, I did wind up with a perineal laceration and a few stitches.  But for a first time mother to deliver a baby in that position and that short of pushing time, I think I did fabulously!!!  :)  If I do say so myself...

She was 7 pounds 6 ounces 20 3/4 inches long and absolutely perfect!!!  And so my amazing journey as a mommy began!  And loving every minute!


  1. Awww! What a great birth story! :)

  2. Wonderful post...I really enjoyed reading that. So glad you joined the blogging world.