Luna’s Birth Story: A Not-So-Magical Experience

luna

In case you haven’t heard, we had our baby! Luna Hazel was born on Wednesday January 29th at 12:11pm. She weighed 5 lbs 14 oz and was 18.5 inches long. A perfect bundle of blonde hair and beautiful joy. She could not be a happier, prettier, healthier or better baby, and for that we are SO grateful.

However, her birth was far from perfect and was nothing like I ever would have imagined it. Before giving birth this is exactly what I hoped and imagined delivering our baby would be like….

Contractions would start and I would breathe through them at home for a while. I would do my makeup and hair, eat a big meal and try to relax until contractions got closer together. Once we arrived to the hospital, I would use the labor tub, the labor balls, the labor bar, etc, etc to get through the pain and try to not get an epidural. I’m not necessarily anti-epidural, but I wanted to try to go without one and be free to walk about and do what I please. I hate being attached to anything in a hospital. Anyways, after a few hours, we’d have our baby, a room full of people who love us and all would be right in the world. The end.

Here is what actually happened….

Last Tuesday, I had my regular 37 week check-up at my OBGYN at 8:30am. I felt normal and excited to hear if there were any changes. As the nurse took my blood pressure she looked a little concerned and took it again…and again. Then, she had another nurse come over and take it once more. They asked if my head hurt or if my vision was blurry…it wasn’t. They asked if I felt okay, and I said “Not anymore!” After, the doctor looked me over they told me to “relax” (yeah right) and they’d take my vitals again. The doctor then came in and told me I probably have toxemia and I need to go straight to the hospital…do not go home, do not pass go and collect $200… go directly to the hospital.

OKAY…if you are new to Positively Panicked, allow me to give you a quick description of myself: I have very high anxiety and panic attacks. My triggers are hospitals, sicknesses and high blood pressure. Also, my health during the entire pregnancy was perfect, so this all came as quite a shock.

A little scared, I called Husband to meet me there and drove myself to the hospital where the fun really began. I arrived at 10am and after being observed and tested for a few hours they decided to induce me at 2pm. Toxemia and preeclampsia had been ruled out, but my blood pressure kept getting higher. No one really knows why. So, they started me on pitocin and let the contractions begin. Eventually, my blood pressure only go higher so they put me on magnesium.

When they decided to put me on magnesium I had already been in labor for several hours, was shaken up and scared and really sick of having my blood pressure constantly taken. I was not allowed to eat or drink and was STARVING. (I had a yogurt and half a banana before my OBGYN appointment that morning…and that was it.)  Then, the nurse tells me that magnesium will keep me from having a stroke or seizure, but will make me feel like crap. She said I’d have to have a catheter, stay lying on my left side, I’d feel woozy, get a bad headache and have hot flashes and chills. Awesome, because the situation really wasn’t crappy enough already. Boy, was she right…magnesium makes you feel awful.

At 1am I was dilated to 2cm. I wanted to hurt someone when I heard this. 2cm? Only 2!? I’d already been in labor for almost 12 hours! And, being induced is really not a fun type of labor. They suggested I get an epidural, my first reaction was “no”, but the nurse told me I’d probably be in labor for 12 more hours and reminded me that I’m already stuck in the bed and connected to a million tubes and IV’s, so I said, “Let’s do it.” They also had me wear an oxygen mask the rest of the time.

The epidural made me sick at first (who knew I could feel worse?), but not long after it began working and I actually felt some relief. I even slept a little. Fast forward about 11 hours and I was FINALLY fully dilated and effaced. Now, I was scared. Scared to push, scared to deliver a baby, scared about my high blood pressure, but I was also ready. I wanted to get this over with. I wanted to have my baby, have my blood pressure drop back to normal and get the heck out of my worst nightmare.

Husband, was amazing, never left my side, held me, took photos and coached me through everything. After being in labor for over 22 hours, I only pushed for 25 minutes and our little Luna entered the world. We cried and just stared at her in disbelief because all of a sudden there she was… it was the most surreal experience.

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First family photo
First family photo

I’m so glad I got an epidural because it probably kept my blood pressure at bay during delivery, AND I had a pretty bad perineal tear that I luckily did not have to feel get stitched. I wish this was the end. I wish I could tell you that we got cleaned up, stayed the night and then came home to be parents, but it is so far from the end. My blood pressure would not drop. I had to be kept on magnesium for another 24 hours (still no food, water or ability to get out of the bed). I could not enjoy any visitors because I was so scared, miserable and uncomfortable. Thank God, I got to keep Luna with me and breastfeed right away, but it wasn’t easy after not eating for over 48 hours.

Her body temperature was low for the first couple of hours so they had to take her and heat her up under lights for a little while. They also bathed her and put a tiny bow on her head!
Her body temperature was low for the first couple of hours so they had to take her and heat her up under lights for a little while. They also bathed her and put a tiny bow on her head!

The next day, I was taken off magnesium and allowed to eat, but still stuck in the hospital because my bp was still too high. To make a very long story slightly shorter I’ll just say I was kept in the hospital for 9 nights and 10 days. I felt as if I was tortured and forced to live a nightmare for hours on end. I couldn’t eat for about 5 days due to lack of appetite, nerves and medications. I couldn’t have visitors some days. My anxiety is through the roof. I’m on 3 different blood pressure medications for the time being and have had so many panic attacks over the last week it’s unreal. I was so weak upon being released I could only walk about 30 feet before almost passing out. I am still terrified and trying so hard to keep my mind thinking positively.

Besides, the physical ailments, I am emotionally drained. My hormones are all over place. I cry at everything. I know I am so lucky and blessed to have this beautiful baby and the BEST Husband ever (he never left my side for  the entire 10 days…not once).  At the same time, I am crushed that our first couple of weeks as parents has been so traumatic. I just want to be a mother. I am depressed about being on so much medication and I am really afraid of going back to the doctor this week to check everything.

Luna is perfect. She had jaundice and had to be in the incubator looking thing for a day, but other than that she is perfectly healthy and the most content little baby.

jaundice

There were a couple of times that Mommy was not able to breastfeed so Daddy took over with formula.
There were a couple of times that Mommy was not able to breastfeed so Daddy took over with formula.

It’s amazing now to look back to two weeks ago…I was so upset that our nursery wasn’t finished, our newborn photos weren’t scheduled, worried about stretch-marks and gaining too much weight… everything seems so silly now. None of that stupid stuff matters, at all. Our nursery is still unfinished and it’s the last thing on my mind. All of a sudden life has been put in a whole new perspective.

I want to scream “this isn’t FAIR! I’m young, I’m the epitome of health! I’m a vegetarian! I workout 6 days a week! Why is this happening to me?!?!?!” But, Husband has reminded me that it is fair. It’s life. And, I’m lucky. I am here, I am getting stronger and healthier each day. I have a healthy baby. I have a healthy Husband. I have a beautiful home. We have awesome supportive family and friends who have cared for us, brought us food, cleaned our house, watched our pets, prayed for us and supported us in so many ways. Things could be a lot worse.

I don’t know how much I’ll be writing over the next couple of weeks, but I have so much more to share and will definitely be updating as soon as life gets a little more normal.

Thank you all so much for your thoughts, prayers, encouraging messages and positive vibes sent our way. You have no idea how much we appreciate them. Please keep them coming.

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Cheers

False Alarm

At work last night something happened…I don’t want to get too detailed for the sake of you squirmy people out there, so let’s just say I sprung a leak. Still too much? Oh well. I knew something was not normal, but I felt perfect, so I ignored it and finished working. I know, I know…not smart, but again, I felt perfect!

On the way home, I stopped for gas and Googled my symptoms. I don’t normally do this, but I was 99% sure the results would assure me that all is well. Wrong. Every single freakin’ website said “Call your doctor or go to the hospital immediately!”. Again, I thought, I feel fine! I was tired after work, hungry and needed to go to bed early for a subbing job the next day. I did not have time to go to the hospital, especially since I felt fine. No way.

I decided to give a very good friend who very recently had a baby a call. I wanted her to tell me Google is wrong. She did not. In her very nice calm way she basically said, “Stop being stubborn and go to the hospital.” Uggghhhhh.

At this point I called Husband to give him a head’s up that I might possibly need to go to the hospital, but I was going to call our doctor first. Turns out, you can call your doctor virtually anytime if you’re pregnant! I had to speak with a nurse first, but 30 seconds after hanging up with her my doctor called me back and told me to go to the hospital NOW. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Now, I had been the perfect picture of calm all night. I felt fine. I knew nothing was wrong, and I just had this absolute calmness about me, until he called. My doctor is super chill, so when he sounded the slightest bit urgent on the phone my fears began to creep in and start to work. Obviously, a million things were running through my mind on our very long 40 minute drive, but mostly I worried I was going to be put on bed rest. “I can’t be put on bed rest” is all I kept muttering.

I expected an emergency room sort of reaction when I arrived, but the baby wing at our hospital was not alarmed. They were expecting me, but had me wait my turn, register, fill out SO much paper work and took about 45 minutes to admit me. Admit me. Are you serious? Can’t you just check me out and send me on my way?

They had to treat me as if I was in labor. We had to answer questions about epidurals, decide how many visitors we wanted, and basically create our entire birthing plan and then some. I was hesitant to answer because a) I am supposed to have 3 more months to make these decisions and b) I am not having this baby right now!

They actually put me in a wheelchair and rolled me to my room! I have to tell you, this is not at all what Husband and I expected on the drive to the hospital. I had a baby heartbeat monitor on, a contractions monitor and a blood pressure cuff for hours! Considering the situation, and my history, I was still fairly calm. I wasn’t panicking and I only cried on the car ride so I was feeling a little proud of myself…. Then, the blood pressure taking started.

Getting rolled into my room.
Getting rolled into my room.

Crap.

It was obviously high. I have serious issues with getting my blood pressure taken and hospitals in general. Lucky for me, I got to keep the cuff on and have it automatically taken every 15 minutes. So, as I lay in a hospital bed watching Conan I had to listen to my baby’s fast little heart beating (this is probably soothing for some, but not at all for me), watch the monitors and constantly get worked up over my stupid blood pressure being taken. It was torture. I was oh so close to taking it off, but I acted like a big girl and kept it attached.

Sad.
Sad.

I kept it on because I decided at that point to use this time as a positive opportunity. Yes, our night was ruined, supper was left on the stove, I had to cancel my job for the next day and I was feeling frightened, but I was learning so much!  We got fully registered at the hospital, learned exactly what to expect when delivery time does come, got to know some of the very friendly staff and even began to get use to having my blood pressure taken. So I stayed in the bed, allowed the testing and reminded myself that it will just be easier next time around.

Eventually the nurse came back to tell us “False alarm!”. Our baby girl is perfectly healthy and I am perfectly healthy. She told us this was our first false alarm and we should go home and get plenty of rest. I told her it will hopefully be our only false alarm, and I’ll see her again in 3 months.

Whew. The second we were released I realized how hungry I was. Husband and I were both relieved and ready to get home. We ate dinner and fell fast asleep on the couch together at 1 am. It wasn’t exactly a great night, but it could have been much worse. No need to worry or be alarmed. Doctor says I’m perfect and to continue on as normal.

That’s the best news I heard all day.

Cheers!