It is so good to be back into a normal routine and sharing some more posts with you. I was traveling for work and then I decided to take a little vacation from blogging to celebrate spring break with the kids. My heart has been heavy lately because I have had several close to me go through personal tragedy. I recently had a friend give birth to her precious baby, only to hold him for 15 minutes before he joined Heaven. As a result, I have been thinking a lot about how blessed I am. When pregnancy does not go as planned, it can be very frightening. Both of my pregnancies were difficult and scary, but I am thankful each and every day that I am able to hug my babies every day.
I often get asked about my pregnancies, since I tend to be a bit of a “crunchy” mom. The truth is, neither one of my pregnancies were anything like I expected them to be. In my head, I would have had a natural childbirth with no issues. Since I was born so early and there were some complications, I was so afraid to use a midwife or doula. Now that I know so much more about about healthier living, I certainly wish I would have done more research. I do sometimes wonder if my pregnancies would have been different if I chose a doula versus the standard OBGYN. At the time, I did what I thought would be best for myself and my babies.
My First Pregnancy
While it took some time to get pregnant with my oldest, the majority of my pregnancy went as expected. I was extremely sick the first 4 or 5 months, but I was able to deal with it. I never got morning sickness. It was more like all day and all night sickness. I made sure I was eating healthy and I exercised as much as I could. According to my doctor, everything was going well.
All that changed at my six month appointment. My blood pressure was extremely high and my feet were retaining water. I was put on immediate bed rest and my doctor feared that I was going to develop preeclampsia. I was devastated, although not all that shocked. You see, I was born very premature because my mom had preeclampsia with me and they were not able to get it under control.
I cried the whole way home. How was I going to tell my boss that I was not going to be able to return to work? I had no idea how I was going to get the nursery finished. How was I going to know how to birth a baby when I was not going to be able to attend my birthing classes? While these concerns seem trivial now, they were real at the time.
Of course, I was mostly scared about the baby. There were so many emotions that were running through my head. I could not understand how I could have high blood pressure when I was healthy and kept my weight under control. I remember wondering if it was possible that I did something to cause my body to do this to my baby. There is nothing that I could have done to prevent the preeclampsia, but I still felt guilty.
Due to my high blood pressure, I had to be on bed rest. I needed to stay on my left side as much as possible. While one would think sitting around all day doing nothing would be wonderful, it was complete torture. I went from being very active to not being able to leave the house. The only time I was able to move around was to go to the bathroom and take a shower. To fill the time, I read a lot of books and watched a lot of tv. One of the shows that I became obsessed with was A Baby Story. The show highlighted a lot of what can go wrong during pregnancy. It was probably not the best show to watch when I already had high blood pressure in the first place!
It was difficult, but I tried to make the best of the situation. I remember constantly thinking that I should consider myself lucky. We were fortunate enough to get pregnant and would more than likely deliver a healthy baby. I knew that I needed to follow the doctor’s orders to keep my baby healthy. Despite how difficult it was, I really did my best to keep everything in perspective.
As I am sitting here typing this, I feel guilty for thinking this was the most horrible thing that could happen to me. I have many friends that are struggling to have a child of their own and others who have lost their precious bundle of joy much too soon. I am definitely thankful that I have two wonderful children.
I was already told by the doctor that it was possible that I would not be able to carry my daughter to term. Despite my best efforts to keep my blood pressure down, it continued to rise. At one point, it was so high that I was almost hospitalized. At 34 weeks, my blood pressure had gotten to the point that it was out of control. While I was not hospitalized, I did need to come into the doctor every other day to monitor my daughter to make sure she was okay. Thankfully, my daughter seemed to be doing well despite the toll that the pregnancy was taking on my body.
The morning of the start of my 36th week of pregnancy, my water broke. I was certainly not prepared for this and thought for certain I would need to be induced versus my body going into labor on it’s own. When my water broke, it was not a big gush of liquid like you see in the movies. It felt like I was having an accident in my pants every few minutes. Totally, not what I expected! I am very fortunate that I happened to have some pads lying around or it would have been an interesting trip to the hospital.
When I got to the doctor, my blood pressure was sky high and my daughter was showing signs of distress as well. Looking back on it, I think my body knew that it needed to kick the labor into gear to prevent a repeat performance of my birth story. My mom developed eclampia with me, which is much more severe than preeclampsia.
Since my water broke and my daughter was showing signs of distress, my doctor was adamant on giving me pitocin. Originally, I wanted a natural birth with no pitocin or epidurals. However, I was not prepared for the extreme contraction pain. Pitocin causes your contractions to be more intense. I was holding on as long as I could, but after being in labor well over 12 hours, I needed something to help with the pain. Looking back on it now, I wish I would have stuck it out. Most of the pain that I was experiencing was the pressure and the epidural really did not help with that. Since I had waited so long, I was starting to get used to the pain. Yes, I know how crazy that sounds! I also did not like the feeling of my lower body being numb.
Our Bundle of Joy Arrives
Thankfully, my daughter came into this world healthy. She was a bit small, had jaundice and struggled with nursing, but she was healthy and would be just fine. We were able to treat the jaundice by putting her bassinet in front of a window and I pumped and bottle fed her. It was not ideal, but it worked. All things considered, we felt very blessed to have a healthy daughter. The bed rest was definitely worth it!
The Plot Thickens
A Repeat Performance
Advice To Others
We are so fortunate that our story had a happy ending. I know there are many pregnancies that do not go according to plan. While there are some that do not have a happy ending, many of them do. I know there are so many books and articles that stress that you need to have a birth plan in place. While I do think it is important to have a general idea of what your birth will look like, I also think it is important to acknowledge that many times pregnancy take an unexpected turn. You need to be able to embrace whatever happens and do what you can to keep your baby healthy.