Monday, September 3, 2012

Leon's Birth Story: My Pregnancy

Photo by Jesse Kitt (I cropped and edited slightly)

I can't believe how overdue this post is.  My dear boy turned 5-years-old on August 21 and I am just now getting around to posting his birth story.  True, we had a lot going on.  True, I had a cold and spent a day in bed (thanks, babe!). But in all honesty, this story is late because I can't find it - yikes!  It's true.  I can not find my son's baby book.  It's here - somewhere - but clearly not where I thought.  So, here it goes, mostly from memory, my first baby's beautiful birth story.

My pregnancy was a bit of a surprise.  We were married in October 2006 and I was feeling more than a little nauseous by January.  On January 23, 2007 I peed on a stick and learned that in a few short months we were going to be parents.  My husband was out of town and I had grand plans for how I would break the news.  I couldn't keep the secret though and I spilled the beans over the phone.  He was shocked and elated.

I had a wonderful pregnancy supported by my loving husband and our great friends.  We were among the first of our friends to have a child and this would be the first grandchild so there was a lot of excitement.  I had a few aches and pains towards the end, but nothing I couldn't work through.  I had a really busy day at work on June 28 and was worried that I hadn't felt baby move so I went in for monitoring to ease my mind.  All was well.  I found a great prenatal yoga class and met some wonderful women who I am blessed to call friends today.

At 34 weeks we received some surprising, confusing and frightening news.  My blood pressure was creeping up, which alone can be problematic, but it is also a sign of preeclampsia.  On Friday, August 3 my blood pressure hit 158/108.  The nurse left and the midwife came in.  I will never forget what she said, "You've just earned yourself a trip to labor and delivery."  She said she would make a phone call, get us some paperwork and then she walked out.  My husband and I just sat there staring at each other.  What did she mean?  Were we about to have a baby?  Now?  Really?  When she returned she clarified that we would be headed to maternal-fetal medicine to be monitored and complete a 24 hour urine collection.  We were in the hospital for 24 hours and left with orders for bed rest.

The same scenario played out the following Friday.  At around 7 a.m. on Saturday, August 11 we were awakened by someone we'd never met who explained that if we were able to leave the hospital (I hadn't realized this was an if) we would have to follow strict bed rest and would be induced at 37 weeks.  Whaaa??  I'm sorry, who are you??  The midwife came in a few hours later and explained it was a resident (in all fairness they may have said that as they woke us up and I just didn't hear it).  She sat at the edge of my bed and explained that yes, we were likely looking at an induction at 37 weeks.  She answered our questions thoroughly, but it was still disheartening.

I felt so frustrated.  This was not part of "the plan".  Our doula was so supportive and compassionate and even came over with some high protein foods.  I followed the bed rest orders.  Friends pitched in to help in so many ways - even sanding a dresser for Leon's nursery (thanks Robyn!).  But, our 24 hour urine collection revealed that my protein levels were above the threshold for preeclampsia. We checked into the hospital on the evening of Monday, August 20 and watched the sun set.  I was 37 weeks pregnant.

I'll be back soon with the story of my labor and our precious boy's birth.

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