On Wednesday, December 10th, we welcomed our sweet boy into the world!
All 7lbs 5oz and 21 inches of him.
Andrew “Drew” James came exactly two weeks early because my blood pressure drastically went up at my last prenatal appointment, and I ended up having to be induced.
When the medical assistant didn’t say anything after taking my pressure at the end of that appointment, I just knew it was high.
But how hight?
My birth with Avery had been so natural that I thought for sure I’d get to experience that again this time. I was induced two weeks early with Grace due to high blood pressure, but I was convinced that was because I was a first-time mom working a stressful job.
Surely it wouldn’t happen this time…
But it did, and there was nothing I could do about it.
My BP came down enough that I didn’t have to go immediately to the hospital. Instead, they sent me on my way with orders to take it easy.
Like bed rest easy.
I was actually ok with those instructions except for the morning bible study brunch and hair appointment I had the following day.
I figured I’d be sitting at the brunch table at church for a couple hours (practically bed rest!) and then sitting in the salon chair relaxing for 3 hours (again, might as well be bed rest!) so I went home and planned to get one more day under my belt before fully vegetating on the couch until my little man arrived.
Turns out it didn’t matter. My pressures got back up to dangerous numbers so I had to page my midwife.
She told me I had to head straight to the hospital.
Of course I cried.
Thanks to my incredible sister for heading straight to my house to spend the night with my girls! She worked from my house the following day while taking care of my girls and I know how challenging that can be. My mom took time off work to relieve my sister and stay with the girls until we came home. She had the house tidied up and ready for us when we finally got back and it was a blessing to know my girls were so well loved and cared for while Andy and I camped out at the hospital for what felt like forever.
So, the birth story…
We arrived at the hospital just before 9pm on Tuesday evening (12/9) and waited to be seen in triage. Once I stripped down and slipped into my sexy (not!) hospital gown, they hooked me up to fetal monitors and a blood pressure cuff. The baby looked perfect, but my BP would NOT come down. They drew blood to run labs (all negative for preeclampsia) and we waited to find out what was next.
After about 4 hours they determined I’d have to be induced.
Of course I cried.
This just wasn’t what I’d imagined. I knew I should be grateful that everything was ok and it would all work out, but I was feeling very disappointed and emotional.
My midwife was informed as they moved things along, but I was being seen at the time by a nice, but awkward doctor who resembled Stephen King.
He had to check me to see if I was dilated or effaced. By check me, I mean reach inside me!
Of course I cried.
There’s a reason I see midWIVES and female OBGYN personnel! I did not want some awkward Stephen King look-alike to be all up in my business.
I ultimately sucked it up and let him do what had to be done.
I was dilated to only 2cm and 50% effaced so they recommended starting me on Cirvidil to soften my cervix and hopefully jump start labor.
It didn’t start my labor and after about 10 hours they decided to remove it and get the devil, I mean pitocin, started.
Mind you this was not until after they told me I could eat breakfast and then changed their mind! My order had already gone in, so when food service brought my yummy omelette and english muffin I had to watch them sit on the table for a while and then be taken away from me.
I couldn’t even have water! Just ice chips.
I joked with Andy that between the IV, the blood pressure cuff, the pulse oximeter, and the starvation tactics I felt like I was in prison. Lol
Despite my whining, I’m honestly thankful for modern medicine and everything that was done to keep Drew and I safe.
I have to say those kinds of things now that I’m going to be married to a doctor ;)
The pitocin got things gradually started, and after I had about an hour of contractions, my midwife decided to break my water to get things into gear more quickly.
I was totally on board with that plan. If I had to be induced, I didn’t want it to take 2 days like it did with Grace.
Contractions started rolling in steadily after my water was broken and each one totally freaked me out.
This was new territory for me!
As crazy as it sounds, I actually prefer giving birth to being pregnant for 9 months.
Sure it hurts like heck, but it’s only for a short time and then you get the baby!
Pregnancy is uncomfortable for the better part of a year.
Let’s just say long-suffering isn’t my strong suit ;)
With Grace I didn’t know what to expect so I buckled down and took the labor as it happened.
With Avery labor was so different because it wasn’t fueled by pitocin. I nearly missed making it to the hospital on time because “it didn’t hurt bad enough yet!” Besides that, I had the confidence of having done it before so I was all, “I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR!”
This time I was straight-up scared with each labor pain.
I felt old and tired.
So I prayed.
And I prayed and prayed and prayed.
I literally prayed my way through every single minute of my three and a half hour labor and delivery.
It was so very special.
Like a sacred time of feeling God’s presence hovering over my bed. Gently carrying me through each contraction and holding me together no matter how bad it hurt.
I honestly can’t put words to those hours. They were terrifying and glorious all at the same time.
I’m so grateful for the ways God has been drawing my heart near to him over the past 4 years. It has taken pain and remorse and surrender to get to where I am in my relationship with Him today, and I’m just so very grateful that He never stopped chasing after me no matter how far away my heart was from Him.
It felt like the most natural thing in the world for me to reach out to Him during my labor when I just knew I didn’t have what it took on my own.
A little before 7:30pm on Wednesday evening I cried to Andy and Wendy (my incredible midwife) that I was so tired and just didn’t think I could keep going.
Wendy hadn’t checked me at all since before the pitocin started and I didn’t necessarily want her to in case my dilation wasn’t very far along. That just felt like it would be crushing news that would rob me of the little stamina I had left.
But I was just so tired and wanted so badly to be done that I told her to go ahead and check.
Turns out I was a very loose 8cm!
Praise the Lord. That was news I could deal with.
We decided to have me change positions from sitting up to laying on my left side.
It was very very uncomfortable getting onto my side, but as soon as I got there I felt an overwhelming urge to push. To this point I’d been so deep into my zone that I was perfectly silent through each contraction and practically asleep between them.
But now the crazy pushing grunt was fighting it’s way out and, after 2 big pushes, crazy labor noise to accompany them, and me urging Wendy to “Help him! Help him out!!!” he was out!
We were all shocked!!
Wendy could hardly grab her sterile glove in time to catch him and Andy and I could hardly believe it was over! My boy was out and crying on my chest.
He was facing away from me at first so I could only see his wet little back and booty and a shock of dark hair on his perfect little round head.
They finally turned him around and helped me to get a good hold on him and I just kept thanking Jesus that he was here and it was over!
A little pushing and prodding and the placenta was out too. I didn’t need any stitches (hooray!) and once they pressed on my belly about a hundred times (to make sure bleeding was under control) they finally let us rest and snuggle uninterrupted for over an hour.
The girls came shortly after that and were so tired but also happy to meet their long anticipated brother.
We were very happy to come home after another day and a half in the hospital. My blood pressure would not come down after birth so I had to be given Magnesium Sulfate for 12 hours. It was awful.
I was burning up with heat and felt super drowsy and weak. It was hard to be incapacitated in my bed while everything kept happening around me…weight, measurements, first bath, first checkup with the pediatrician.
Andy snapped photos for me, but it was still hard not to be able to be a part of all that.
The magnesium didn’t ultimately lower my BP, but it did prevent me from potential seizures which is a good thing. They ended up giving me a mild BP medication to take orally and I’m still on that.
This afternoon I have a follow up appointment and I’m hoping it goes well so that I can wean off the meds soon.
This post is extraordinarily long, so I’ll wrap it up here and plan to post more about our first few days home later.
We’re so happy to have our boy on the outside, and before Christmas to boot!