My sweet baby girl turns one on September 9th. I cannot believe that just one year ago I was holding a six pound one ounce teeny, tiny baby.
In honor of Charlotte’s first birthday, I will recount her birth story. On September 8, 2014, I went in for a doctor’s appointment. After taking my vitals, I weighed in at 178, my blood pressure was 150/110, I was dilated 1 cm, and had a terrible headache. My doctor informed me that the high blood pressure and headaches were a sign of preeclampsia and gestational hypertension. After explaining that scary fact to me, she looked at me and said, “You are going to the hospital today to have this baby.”
I was at a loss for words and began to cry. With this being my first pregnancy, fully knowing that anything can happen, I never imagined my doctor looking at me and telling me I had to be induced due to definite gestational hypertension and possible preeclampsia. I felt as though I had done something wrong. Seeing that I was very nervous and emotional my doctor told me that I would be fine and they would take good care of me at the hospital.
We left the doctor’s office and headed to Winnie Palmer. By the time we checked in it was 2:00 p.m. My mom and sister were with me as I headed to the pre-labor and delivery floor. They showed me to my room and I got situated. A nurse named Jackie came to take blood samples and a tech name Netsy brought water.
At 3:00 p.m. Michael came, shortly followed by the rest of my family with lunch in hand. We spent the next hour hanging out, watching TV, and somehow I did not touch my food. By 4:00 p.m. Nurse Jackie came in to do a cervix check and I was 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced, so she inserted Prostaglandin to induce labor. She fitted me for a fetal heart rate monitor and I was instructed to lay flat, which meant I could not use the restroom or eat.
5:05 p.m. my hour was up. Jackie came to check on me. As she was checking the fetal heart rate monitor she made the comment, “You know you are having a contraction right now.” I looked at her with confusion on my face and responded, “I am?” She responded sweetly saying, “Yes.” I then looked at Michael and said, “I have been feeling that for over a month and had no idea that it was really contractions.” After seeing that everything was ok, Jackie left. Promptly after Jackie left my family went down to the cafeteria to get something to drink.
Around 5:20 p.m. the fetal heart rate monitor had moved and we could no longer hear Charlotte’s heart, so we called Jackie and asked her to come back to adjust the monitor. As she was moving the monitor, she noticed that I had been having a very long contraction, six minutes to be exact. Jackie then said, “I want to let you know that about five or six medical professionals will come into the room due to this long contraction. Do not be alarmed. We just need to relax your uterus to give the baby a break, because her heart rate goes down when you have a contraction.”
Just as she had finished speaking, two nurses quickly entered the room, one checking my vitals and the other checking my cervix. Then the on call doctor came in the room, followed by a young man who I assumed was a resident. The doctor introduced himself and proceeded to tell me that he would need to perform an emergency c-section if the contraction did not stop. As he was informing me of all the risks of a c-section, one nurse injected Epinephrine in my left arm to get the contraction to stop. No more than thirty seconds later the contraction began to stop and my entire body began to shake. They put the oxygen mask over my mouth and we all watched the monitor for the next minute with the bed unplugged and ready to go at a moment’s notice.
The room was tense and quiet, despite everyone’s calm attitude. As I lay there crying and shaking, the doctor decided that I was okay to stay, but informed my nurse to watch me very closely for the next 30 minutes to ensure that everything is progressing normally. By the way, I still had not eaten anything since breakfast. As the doctor and the other medical professionals exited the room, my family came back in to find Michael holding my hand as I lay there shaking with an oxygen mask.
At 5:55 p.m. I went to the restroom and by 6:20 p.m. the charge nurse came in and instructed me that I could eat something after I used the oxygen for another ten minutes. By 6:35 p.m. I was finally able to eat! As I was chowing down on some Chipotle we were watching Friends, one of my favorite shows of all time. It was looking as though things were going to be progressing slowly so by 7:00 p.m. my family decided they are going to head home and let us have some time alone. It was now 8:00 p.m. and we had a new nurse, Anissa, and a new tech, Tiffany. Shortly after the top of the hour, I began to feel serious pain. I looked at Michael and said, “I’m ready.” He then called nurse Anissa back to the room and she checked my cervix. Anissa looked at me and says, “You are 4 cm dilated, which is enough to move you down to labor and delivery.” Anissa informed us that she would need to call and make sure there is a room available.
Apparently they had an overflow of women ready to deliver the day before due to the full moon. Go figure. I told Michael that I was glad we called her to check me at that time because they were not planning on coming back to do a cervix check till 10:00 p.m. Twenty minutes had passed, so I asked Michael to call again. When Anissa came back into the room we asked when were we going to go down to the labor and delivery floor. She responded by saying there was not a room available yet and that she was trying her best. After hearing that I looked at her and very calmly yet sternly said, “I am either going to go into that bathroom and poop or I am going down to the labor and delivery floor and have a baby.”
A shocked look came over Anissa’s face and she immediately said, “No, no, no, we don’t have babies on this floor. I’ll call again and see what I can do.” As soon as she left, I asked Michael to call my parents so they could come back to the hospital. Finally at 9:40 p.m. we made our way down to the labor and delivery floor. I asked my new nurse, Heather, if I could have something to take the edge off the contractions till I got an epidural. She was reluctant to give me anything because of my blood pressure and Charlotte’s heart rate. I was finally able to get Fentanyl, which helped. I was actually dozing off in between contractions because my body had been working so hard up until that point. Shortly after that, a resident anesthetist interviewed me in preparation for the epidural.
10:20 p.m. I was finally able to get the epidural. Due to Charlotte’s heart rate fluctuating throughout the delivery process the nurses had me switch from side to side periodically. Around 11:45 p.m., Heather, my nurse, said the midwife, Joan, would come break my water if it did not break in the next 30 minutes. Fifteen minutes later, as I was rolling from side to side, I felt warmth on my legs. I look at the Heather and say, “I think my water just broke.” Sure enough, I was right. After I got cleaned up, Heather checked my cervix and I had progressed to 9 cm in just an hour and a half. Since I was progressing so quickly, Heather had me sit up in hopes that the last centimeter would come soon.
Around 1:00 a.m., the anesthetist came to check on my epidural and Heather did another cervix check. It was taking a while to get the last centimeter, so Heather had me lay back down to help keep Charlotte’s heart rate up. Ten minutes later I was ready to push. Heather and Joan were called back in the room and I did a test push. Judging from their reaction they did not believe me that I was ready. They also probably assumed that I did not really know my body considering this is my first time delivering a baby. Once I finished my test push they both looked and me and Joan said, “You are ready.”
In less than a minute, a cart was brought in with their gloves, masks, and scrubs to deliver Charlotte. As they were dressing themselves, they had me on my right side (that was the best side for Charlotte’s heart rate) with my left hand behind my left knee and my right hand grabbing Michael’s hand. Within a span of 17 minutes, six contractions, and three pushes per contraction, Charlotte had arrived!
Immediately I began to cry. Charlotte was finally here! They cleaned her up and handed her to me. For the next hour I got skin-to-skin time with the most perfect, precious, incredible little human being. Giving birth is truly a miracle. It makes me appreciate life and appreciate my own mother so much more than before.
I am so thankful that I was blessed to have a healthy pregnancy, wisdom and talent from the staff at the hospital to have my and Charlotte’s best interest at hand, a healthy delivery, and most of all a healthy baby. It was truly a moment to take in and love doing life.