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Baby Brez's Birth: Part I

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Baby Brez's Birth: Part I

Here I am staring at my perfect little boy making weird noises (from both ends) as he sleeps. I can't believe it has already been three weeks since he's made his debut, the story of which I share with you now. The only disclaimer for Part I of the birth story is that I want to remember every detail in all its glorious drama, so this post is lengthy. All the gory labor deets are saved for Part II, where the disclaimer will be slightly more resolute, so you have that to look forward to (or not).

And so . . . how did we come to meet this special guy?:

It goes as follows . . .

We'd been hoping as early as the previous fall for an early arrival of our son. Our due date was February 19, but my husband, Will, was slated to begin nine weeks of JAG School in Alabama on February 18, leaving on February 17. We discussed with our doctor the possibility of an elective induction at 39 weeks (February 12) should the baby not come on his own before then because as they say in the biz, "if you were there at conception, you should be there at the birth!" In the meantime, I was doing everything in my power to encourage labor naturally, but to no avail.

My 37 week checkup was on Friday, January 31. The nurse took a routine blood pressure reading and noticed it was high, 130/100. The doctor informed us that my blood pressure had been slowly rising over the course of my pregnancy. I had no idea and was caught completely off guard. (I didn't even know which one of the numbers was considered high when the nurse read it off to me. I mean, what's a blood pressure?) I was checked again about thirty minutes later, and my blood pressure was again high at 130/98. We discussed induction with my OB for high blood pressure and/or preeclampsia. Induction was already pretty favorable because I was 2-3 cm, 60% effaced. I would monitor my blood pressure over the weekend, have blood tests run, and do a 24-hour urinalysis on Super Bowl Sunday, but because we were already thinking of inducing, the doctor thought we might as well induce week or so earlier to avoid the development of any complications from the high blood pressure.

I think it goes without saying: no Super Bowl party for me. I was stuck at home pouring my pee into a jug on ice. Just another day in the glamorous life of the greatly pregnant. The next day I dropped off my chilled peepee at the lab on base, the jug completely drenched in melted ice and condensation. (The lab attendant was not amused at the sight of the fluid strewn across the lab's reception desk, as you can imagine. I told her to relax - it was just water. I don't think she believed me.) My blood pressure, as monitored at home over the weekend, continued to be elevated (diastolic in the 80s and 90s), but not too high. 

I was a little scared of being induced, but was excited at the thought of meeting our baby sooner than expected, so that Will could have some time to bond with the baby before heading to 'bama. We kind of got our hopes up that an induction was imminent based on the conversation had with our OB at our 37 week appointment. The doctor assured us that the baby would do just fine, post 37 weeks, but thanks to those two studious chapters I'd read in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, I was worried about the effects a long induction would have on breastfeeding, yadda yadda. For the most part, though, I was excited at the prospect of being induced. (Meanwhile, I'd been having frequent, painful Braxton-Hicks contractions through Sunday night. A gal can dream . . . .)

On Monday morning (February 3), I was informed that my blood work came back normal. After a bit of painful, torturous back and forth with the nurse at my OB's office, I received a call that afternoon informing me that I should just sit tight and continue to monitor my blood pressure. Will and I  convinced ourselves we'd be told to come right in to L&D, so it was pretty disappointing. And stressful. (Will would have had to call in many a work favor if he was going to be out.) Not good for the blood pressure.

On Tuesday (February 4), I took my blood pressure with my at-home monitor and saw this:

The OB told me to call his office if the bottom number was 105 or above. Distrusting of my $30 Walmart blood pressure monitor, I took it again. It was lower. I tried the other arm. Still lower. I decided to wait until I could talk to Will to decide whether to call the doctor's office. Will was in trial, so I knew I'd just have to wait until it ended, which would be who-knows-when.

As Providence would have it, the nurse from my OB's office decided to check in on me that afternoon. I thought this was pretty unusual. I hesitantly told her about the high blood pressure reading and she was concerned about it, of course, despite the subsequent lower readings. She told me she would speak with the doctor and see what he said, but maybe I should head to L&D. As experienced the day before, there was the torturous back and forth phone calls and waiting. 

Cue crazy blizzard.

It started snowing . . . hard. I texted Will a photo making fun of our neighbor stuck in his driveway, BMW wheels spinning, engine roaring, unable to make it into his garage. Karma, or something, because the nurse calls back and tells me to go ahead to L&D for monitoring. Better safe than sorry.

maybe, kind of panic, thinking that we had to drop the dogs off at the kennel before making the (usually) 35 minute drive to the hospital. But the snow was piling up and Will was in trial, and just my luck, was totally unavailable. I didn't have a car, the kennel closes at 5, and I did not want to drive through a blizzard in the dark.

Friggin polar vortex.

In such a situation, we discussed how I would just call his office and have someone go into the courtroom to wrangle him. Well, two words: Early Release. Meaning: Everyone in his office had left early for the day because of the snowstorm. 

Panic sets in.

Blood pressure steadily rising higher.

And higher.

And still higher. (Along with the snow accumulation.)

I finally decided to call one of Will's coworkers (who was out of the office on account of said Early Release) and asked him to get a hold of Will somehow. Finally, about forty minutes and three inches of snow later, I got a call from Will who was out of trial and on his way home. Hallelujah. 

Once he arrives, Will runs upstairs to change and I load up the car. Will understandably wants to give me the run-down on his trial, but all I can think about is getting on the road before it gets dark. "Um, can this wait? We'll talk in the car," says I, calmly. (Just kidding - I was way meaner and more urgent - along the lines of "Seriously?!? TELL ME ABOUT IT ON THE WAY, YA FREAK." NB - Will, darling, I love you.)

We get on the road and not five minutes into our drive we see our first stranded car.


We dropped off the dogs at the kennel (which took way longer than expected, so glad I wasn't really in labor for that), and then made our way out onto the road again, only to see more stranded cars. 

Stranded car numero dos. Me thinking, errrmahhgerrrrdddd.

About 40 Hail Marys later and just a few minutes from the hospital, this song came on the radio, and all was forgiven with Mother Nature. Surely good things were to come! We finally made it to the hospital around 5:00 PM, taking twice as long because of the weather. The very last ounce of sunlight greeted us as we walked inside.

Neither of us had ever set foot in this hospital (we had to bail on our scheduled hospital tour - tisk, tisk - I know), so we went to the front desk to ask where L&D was located. The nice man at the reception desk asked for "the patient's name" so we gave him my name. Hmmm, he couldn't find the name in the system, he stated. Will and I looked at each other . . . "umm, I'm the patient," I said pointing to my belly underneath my stylish "Got Monks?" sweatshirt and unzipped North Face fleece. The man's eyes widened in comprehension and told us to head to the third floor.

To be continued . . . Part II!

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At February 28, 2014 at 6:49 AM , Blogger Erika said...

I can't wait for part 2 :)

At June 11, 2014 at 5:37 AM , Blogger Jenifer Jackson said...

It has been are a genius! I love this and I am sure my nerdy grandson will too. Thanks for thinking this up at the crack-o-dawn and having the brains to record it before it is forgotten.


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