Our little sweet “P” arrived a bit ahead of schedule, two weeks early to be exact, and KC and I are just over the moon about her. Primrose Elizabeth Deatsch was born on May 9, 2015 at 1:13pm, weighing 6 pounds 10 ounces and measuring 19 inches long. And in case you’re curious, here’s how it all happened (beware, it’s kind of long):
As I’ve mentioned on here before, I experienced quite a bit of swelling late in my pregnancy. Sometime around 34 weeks my feet started to swell and everything kind of followed over the next four weeks. It got to a point where I wondered if maybe I was just packing on weight and really hadn’t been paying attention to what I was eating, or maybe I was just someone who gained a lot of weight during pregnancy (though this hadn’t been the case for the 34 weeks prior). I went in for a routine doctor’s appointment on May 8th, the day before I hit 38 weeks. KC came with me to the appointment (which turned out to be pretty lucky, as he hadn’t been attending the doctor’s appointments for the past few weeks given that they’d become so routine and frequent). We were ushered into the back where the exam rooms are and I was weighed (all I could think was OMG WHAT is happening with my weight. I was gaining like crazy, despite the fact that I was still active, working out, and eating healthy.) and then led to a room.
The assistant took my blood pressure and the nurse practitioner handling the appointment came in shortly after. My doctors had been monitoring my blood pressure for the past few weeks because it had suddenly (and inexplicably) started to rise. It hadn’t gotten into dangerous territory yet, it was just sort of hovering at the low end of high. Anyway, the nurse came in and informed us that while there are a lot of reasons that my blood pressure could be a little high (including white coat syndrome), there wasn’t a good explanation for why protein was suddenly detected in my urine. High blood pressure + protein in urine is a big red flag in pregnancy, because it means you’re suffering from pre-eclampsia, or pregnancy-induced hypertension, and it can affect your internal organs and is dangerous to the mother. If you’re earlier in your pregnancy, they generally treat the condition with bed rest and/or sometimes medication, but if you’re farther along (like I was), it’s generally a quick ticket to labor and delivery. It turned out to be just that for us — the nurse said, “I think it’s time to have that baby” and sent us off to the hospital to be evaluated by the on-call doctor.
We were admitted into the hospital (after a few quick phone calls to our moms to let them know that it was looking very likely that our little peanut would be arriving sooner rather than later). I was evaluated by the doctor and it was determined that I would be induced. I was relieved, as I was worried that the doctor would push for an emergency c-section and I wouldn’t get to labor and deliver as I had planned. KC ran home to get the hospital bag I’d packed while the induction process was started. I was so swollen that it took four tries to place an IV (an anesthesiologist was even called in for the placement and it still took him two sticks to find a vein.) Things progressed slowly at first and the contractions were very manageable. Unfortunately, there ended up being an emergency with another woman delivering a few hours in and I had to be taken off pitocin because there wasn’t enough staff to monitor me and deal with whatever was happening in the other room (KC ventured out into the hall at one point and told me it was “crazy” out there — someone was screaming and everyone was running around).
Back in our room we dimmed the lights, turned on the Hozier Pandora station (my current favorite) and I tried to relax and sleep as the contractions continued. The doctor came back to check on me awhile later and told me that they would likely restart the pitocin around 5am so I could get some sleep overnight. My contractions had started to get less intense so I was fine with the decision. My parents came by and we visited. I was still having contractions every few minutes but they weren’t painful (I actually thought they were just Braxton Hicks at the time), and my parents told me that they were planning to head back to their house (about an hour away) since I wouldn’t really be starting things back up until the early morning.
Shortly after my parents left the nurses came in to check me, and determined that I was actually 4 cm already and it appeared that my water was about to break. They spoke to my doctor and it was decided that pitocin needed to be started back up at 11pm, not 5am, due to the fact that I was so dilated. My water broke the next time I went to get out of bed (I thought for a minute I’d peed the bed and was totally mortified) and labor continued.
The doctor came back to check me again and determined my water was ruptured but not fully broken, so she manually broke it before leaving to help things along. Around 2am the contractions started to get more intense. Up to this point I’d mostly labored in bed, trying to sleep as much as possible (knowing I had a long night ahead of me). The contractions became too strong to ignore, so I woke up KC and told him it was time to get up. I paced around the room and tried different positions for the next couple of hours. KC massaged my low back with a tennis ball while I breathed through contractions that were coming just minutes apart. Around 4am things got real. I was having rolling contractions that felt like an iron vise was wrapped around my low back, hips and low belly and being tightened with each contraction. I was in so much pain I couldn’t speak or really even open my eyes. I kind of went into this cocoon of pain where I wasn’t aware of what was even happening around me.
I decided to get into the shower at one point, which helped, but I couldn’t stay in there for any prolonged period of time. I tried every position I could think of — sitting, lying down on my side, leaning over a counter, leaning into KC — everything. Nothing helped ease the pain and I was having more and more trouble breathing and relaxing through it. My contractions were so strong and so regular that they were basically just rolling into each other. KC kept asking me what I needed, but I was in so much pain I couldn’t even respond. Finally, around 6:30am I told KC “I think I need an epidural.” Per a request I’d made before labor, KC responded, “You’re doing great, why don’t you wait 15 more minutes.” I complied and breathed through another 15 minutes of unimaginable pain. All I could think was that if I didn’t get to push soon, I wasn’t going to have any energy left for delivery. I also felt like I was beyond being able to relax at all, which I worried would stall things further if I wasn’t already in transition.
I called in the nurses and asked to be checked again because I thought I might want an epidural if I wasn’t past 7cm. The nurses checked me and I was at 6.5cm. Though I was close to transition, it was unclear how long it would be until I reached 7cm (and obviously no one knew how long it would take to go from 7-10cm). I asked for an epidural and the anesthesiologist was called in. When he arrived I was so unaware of what was going on I couldn’t even look at him. I was lying down (mostly unclothed, but was so out of it I didn’t even care) sputtering out short sentences trying to explain the work I’d had done on my low back. The anesthesiologist got me into position for the epidural and told me to raise my hand when I had a contraction so he could stop (apparently it was very clear that I didn’t have the capacity to really speak during contractions at this point). After a few starts and stops, he placed the epidural and the relief was almost instantaneous.
I was lucky because the epidural was equal on both sides (a lot of people complain that one leg will be completely numb while the other isn’t). I was able to still feel and move my legs, and tell when I was having a contraction, but it took the edge off the pain so I could relax. (I later told KC that the epidural was the best decision I made during delivery.)
I slept for the next couple of hours until the nurse came in to check me in the morning. The nurse informed me that I was fully dilated and the baby was at station 2 (station 4 is ready for delivery). My doctor was notified and I waited for her to become available (she had a couple of emergency c-sections that morning), while KC’s mom and my parents came to visit.
I chatted with everyone, feeling the contractions happen and the baby get lower. Finally I had a contraction and something changed — I said, “Yvonne, is this baby coming?” — Yvonne is KC’s mom, and she actually works postpartum at the hospital where I delivered. Right after I said this, the nurse came rushing in with my doctor and everyone else cleared the room. I was instructed to do a “practice push” to see how long the pushing process might take (the nurse had told me earlier than for first-time moms, the process takes generally 1-2 hours), I assumed the position and pushed and the doctor told me to do a little pelvic tuck and try again. I did as she asked and she said, “Ok Bar Method, stop, I have to put gloves on because that baby is coming fast.” She quickly gloved up and the pushing process officially started. From start to finish the whole process took 6 minutes and 3 1/2 pushes. It was amazing how quickly it all happened. The doctor said afterward that the Bar Method classes really must have paid off because a first-time mom delivering in just 6 minutes was sort of unheard of.
After she came out, the doctor had KC cut the cord and then plopped her down onto my chest while she wailed like a banshee. I cried and held her and kept saying “Oh my God she’s so CUTE.” And fittingly, we realized that Pandora had been playing “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne when little P arrived. And that’s how I became a mama just in time for Mother’s Day. Welcome to our family, Prim. Your daddy and I love you so, so much.