Last Tuesday we went in for our 39 week appointment. At the appointment, my blood pressure was elevated into a range that they were concerned about and there was some protein in my urine. My midwife was concerned because both of these can be symptoms of preeclampsia.
I was sent down to the lab to get some blood drawn, given a massive jug to collect all my urine in for the next 24 hours, and told that I had to go on bed rest. She also said depending on the results of the labs that induction might be recommended. I was in shock, because up until that point, everything had been progressing normally and our appointments had been very routine. The midwives had been very laid back up to that point and had been telling me most first time babies don't come on time, and many not until 41 weeks or later. So I had clients scheduled over the next few days, a friend's birthday to celebrate, and I was looking forward to having time off work to relax before she came.
We went home and I began bed rest. I called Karen, the lady we did our birthing classes with and talked everything over. We had met with her in her home and she had shared her wisdom of 35 years of assisting people with unmedicated births. She had talked to us about the higher risk of C-section with induction and other medical interventions. Ironically, that was part of why we had chosen the midwives was because we wanted as few medical interventions as necessary. I spent the next 24 hours praying, resting, and collecting my pee. We had to be back at the lab 24 hours from the first blood draw to have more blood taken and return the urine jug.
Here I am at 39 weeks- the day before she was born.
Preparing for my walk of shame...carrying my urine sample from the last 24 hours.
After the lab work we went back for an appointment with my midwife. My blood pressure was still elevated. She said she had consulted with two of the OB's in the office and they both strongly recommended induction. She told us at this point it did not look like I had preeclampsia, but I did have gestational hypertension. She told us that the way to treat the hypertension was to have the baby. Not having the baby could mean risk of stroke, placenta eruption, seizures during labor, and the possibility of extra medication if my blood pressure reached the next highest level. She said the hospital had been really full, so she had already called over to see if a spot was available for the next day. There was and she reserved us a place for induction at 6 AM the next day. She told us to think it over, make a decision, and show up the next morning if we wanted to induce and no show if we didn't. I couldn't believe it. Everything felt like it was going so fast. The other thing she told us is that she would not be on duty the next day, another midwife, Ann, was on duty. This was the one piece of good news to me. We had several appointments with Ann and I really trusted and liked her.
We went home, me in tears, with a stop at Sonic for a Snickers Blast. I called Karen again. She said maybe it was a blessing that Ann was on duty because she is even more conservative with those types of decisions than my midwife. Michael and I decided we would show up for the 6:00 appointment and ask to speak with Ann before we were admitted to the hospital. Depending on her recommendation, we would decide.
I had thought we would go on a last date before becoming parents, but I was told whatever we decided about inducing it was going to be bed rest for me until she came. So Michael's dad kindly brought over my favorite meal from Texas Roadhouse and we had a date night at home. The rest of the evening was spent packing, visiting with friends that came by, and having cake with my family for my mom's birthday.
Early the next morning we headed over to OU Children's hospital and although I am pushing 30, I felt like a scared child. The nurse that met us, was confused by our request to not be admitted, but went and got Ann for us. We talked things over with Ann, and she also recommended that we induce. She gave us time to think it over, and we made our decision. Embarking on our parenthood journey, I knew it was just one of many decisions where we would weigh risks, pray, and decide what was best for our family. I cried...(its just what I do) as we told Ann we wanted to move forward. She wrapped me in the kindest grandmotherly hug and let me cry. Then the day that we will now know as our daughter's birthday began.
I will have to save her birth story for another day. For one this post has already become way too long. While my body has been healing over the last several days, I have been processing everything that happened. It is what I do. I help people process their own life stories, make sense of them, and decide how to proceed. I process things for myself in a similar way. I have needed to be quiet. I have needed it to be OK to not return phone calls or emails right away. Some days I have needed to just wear pajamas all day and I've needed to get out of the house for a few minutes on others. I have needed my mother who clips my toenails and sits with me during late night feedings. I have needed to be still in my soul and just enjoy rocking the most beautiful girl I have ever seen.
I had meant to take a picture of Isabella and Ann the night she was born, but I forgot. Fortunately, I had to go back for a follow up appointment with her two days after we went home and I got to take this picture. Here we are with Ann who delivered Isabella. Ann is retiring this year and though she is someone we may not ever see again after our last follow up appointment, we love her like family. She has been such a blessing to us.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He restores my soul.