Monday, August 6, 2012

Ada Marie's Water Birth Story Part 1

One year ago today our family and our hearts grew as we welcomed our little girl into this world.  Here is the story of her beautiful birth.

36 weeks pregnant and on a date with the hubby thanks to our fabulous friends who watched the boys.

First the backstory:
At 32 weeks my blood pressure (BP) started to rise. My blood pressure is normally on the low side so when it hit 130/80 I knew we were headed down a familiar, yet still bumpy and sometimes scary road.  You see, my first two pregnancies were very similar.  The first time it came out of the blue and took me completely by surprise.  First the high blood pressure and then the protein in my urine.  I felt fine so how could I have this potentially serious condition known as preeclampsia? And I had no swelling, headaches, upper abdominal pain or funny spots in my vision. But I was induced at 37 weeks the first time and went into labor while waiting to be induced at 37 weeks the second time.  And now I found myself in the same position and while I was not surprised I was still frustrated that there seemed to be nothing I could do to change my fate.  I took comfort in the fact that my first two children were born perfectly healthy at 37 weeks and I was still able to have beautiful, unmedicated births with both of them.

The first high reading at 32 weeks was cause for awareness, but not alarm.  Then at about 35 1/2 weeks I was running errands and my heart began to race, I felt flush and dizzy.  I was in a store that had a blood pressure machine and though I know they can be unreliable I had checked it at that location before and felt it was better than nothing.  My BP reading was 142/92.  I informed the midwives of my high BP reading and waited for an official reading at my appointment 2 days later, 146/104, argh.  The midwife didn't want to tell me, but I believe in making decisions based on all the facts, not just the ones I like.  I had her note that reading along with the second reading, 135/96.  I had blood work done and was sent home to collect 24 hours worth of urine, not my favorite thing to do, but relatively simple in the scheme of things.  I cannot remember what the results of this test were.

We continued to go into the office twice a week to monitor things closely, but I was fairly certain we'd coninue the rest of the pregnancy status quo like the first two and thought we might even have a chance at going full term.  Then, on 8/2, at 37 1/2 weeks the headache hit me.  It was intense and unrelenting.  I drank water like a fish, downed a few acetaminaphin and layed down.  I was home alone with the boys and they knew something wasn't right.  They were patient and quiet and allowed me to try to rest.  My neighbor made it home to watch the boys just as my husband arrived to take me to the midwives' office.  BP was 150/110 - the highest of any of my pregnancies.  We were sent on to Mission for non-stress test (NST) and blood work.  Baby seemed to be doing well so we were sent home with another jug for collecting urine. We were expecting to hear results of our urine collection sometime, hopefully early, on 8/4.  When I heard nothing I thought it was odd, but assumed that no news was good news.  Not so.  Steve and I were driving home separately from a swim at a friend's pool when one of the midwives called to tell me that the 24 hour urine results were in, 364.  Not super high, but anything over 300 plus the high BP is preeclampsia.  So we had two choices 1) come in for an induction, um, now or 2) go in for testing in the morning and then decide.  That hit me like a brick.  It was like 8 or 9 p.m. and I wasn't with Steve and I was just completely caught off guard so I decided to keep my appointment for the following day.

I called our fabulous doula and she was able to calm me down and we talked through all the questions I had so that I could be prepared for our appointment.  Like I said, this was familiar so while I was a little disappointed and caught off guard because of the time that we received the news, I was still confident that our baby girl would be healthy and that we could have another wonderful birth.  Our bags were packed and in the car just in case, but we had a busy weekend with our small business so I assumed that the tests would be fine and we'd either take castor oil or be induced on Monday.

Just before the big event:
At my appointment my belly was measuring 36, which alone didn't seem to concern anyone. Baby was slow to react during the non-stress test, but once she got going she was strong (the test occurred at at time when she was normally less active).  Then they led us to the ultrasound room for the rest of the biophysical profile.  It's amazing to see your baby so far along in pregnancy, but the lights were dim, the fan was humming quietly and it had been an emotional few days.  Those are all the excuses I use for both hubby and I falling asleep. Seriously, who falls asleep during an ultrasound of their baby?  When I woke up the tech told us that baby didn't do the practice breathing but that was all she said.  We headed back to labor and delivery outpatient area and prepared to leave as the nurses phoned the midwives with the results.  We could hear them talking on the phone but couldn't exactly tell how it was going.  Our wonderful midwife called our room and told us the news.  We were not going home.  Whaaa????    She would be heading to the hospital and we would begin an induction immediately.  I didn't see that coming.  With my other pregnancies our tests had always come back fine.  I was surprised to learn that our amniotic fluid appeared to be pretty low.  Average is about 12, 6 is on the lowest side of normal, mine was 4.  I realize this is not an exact thing because they are limited by what they can see, but it is a part of the big picture.  If it was just that the fluid was low they said they probably would have had us drink a lot of water over the weekend and come back on Monday, but with the other symptoms they felt it was safest to induce.  I was one day shy of 38 weeks, 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced.  We phoned our doula and she was on her way.

Tomorrow I'll post about the labor and birth.


  1. Girl, I love me some birth stories, but this one has me sitting on edge. And I even know how it turns out! I can't even imagine how scared and stressed you must've been feeling. Post that second part and let me breathe a sigh of relief, please!

    1. Ha. Sorry to leave you hanging. It was just so long. I almost left this part out and jumped right into the labor and birth, but I felt like this part was a necessary piece. Plus, I think it's important for women to know that just because things don't go exactly as planned doesn't mean they can't have a beautiful birth. Here's think link to part 2