A month and a half late, but better late than never! Here is Dresden's story...
Most know that Gabriel and I had very actively planned for a natural labor at Best Start Birth Center here in San Diego. And apparently God had different plans. I had a completely normal pregnancy for the most part, but the last several weeks of my pregnancy, I had been struggling with my feet swelling during my third trimester. However my blood pressure had consistently been normal the entire pregnancy! 120/70 was the normal range for me. I had gone to my midwife appointment the Thursday prior to be being admitted and everything had been normal with blood pressure, yet again!
The entire week prior to delivery, I had been experiencing inconsistent contractions and while they were consistent on that Friday prior, they had not been increasing in intensity. I was feeling faint, my feet were swollen to the point where I couldn’t bend them…I honestly felt awful. I had an intense headache and stomach ache that I could not shake! I thought it maybe it was because I was so tired - between the contractions and the pee’ing, I was hardly sleeping! Early Saturday morning around 3am, I woke up to a tiny gush. I didn’t think it was my waters, but I wasn’t sure. I decided to text my doula who then told me to check with the midwife just to be safe. Sheri was the midwife on call, and while I told her I was pretty sure I was being silly, and it wasn’t my waters, she told me to come on in anyways.
That Saturday morning while I was still feeling pretty miserable, I told Gabriel, “This is so silly, she’s going to tell me I’m fine” and we left the house with every intention of being back in an hour or so. After all, we had plenty of errands to finish before baby came! Neither one of us had showered that morning, so I was looking plenty of a hot mess with five-day-old unwashed hair!
At the appointment, Sheri had me pee in a cup to get started. This is when things started to get crazy. My pee was orange! I was freaking out – I had been drinking so much water that it had been clear and this RANDOM one time, it was orange. Sheri went to go check the pee to see if it was blood or something else...and sure enough, it was something else - protein. She checked my blood pressure – 178/117! At that point, she told me I needed to go to the hospital ASAP to confirm for pre-eclampsia but she told me with that blood pressure and the protein…she was certain that’s what it was.
I broke down sobbing. I knew what that meant – I was high risk and I would no longer be birthing at the center. In that moment, I felt like my heart was breaking. She told me that they were more than likely going to want to induce me, and I asked if that is what I should agree to, or what her opinion was. She told me that she believed it would be in my best interest.
We immediately went to Sharp-Grossmont where I was admitted, and the nurses confirmed what we already knew – it was pre-eclampsia. It’s so crazy that I went the entire pregnancy healthy and in my 39th week, I developed this out of nowhere. They asked me if I had been seeing spots or vision disruption…and I realized, Friday and Saturday I kept thinking I had been seeing spiders on the wall…hello, that was me seeing black spots!! They told me it was good I had come in, with blood pressure that high I was at a very high risk of a seizure.
Dr. Vu decided to induce me, especially since I was so far along, and of course we agreed. I was induced at 3pm on Saturday, October 22, 2016. In addition to the Pitocin, I was put on magnesium to open up my veins in order to prevent a seizure. Let me tell you, that was a doozy. I immediately felt flush all over my entire face like I had a horrible sunburn – in fact, my face was extremely red. I was sweating profusely, I felt incredibly weak, my headache went from bad to horrible, and I was freezing. Other than that, I was ok! Haha. They started me on a low dose of Pitocin and kept gradually increasing it as I was not really feeling the contractions. They decided to not ripen my cervix, since I was about 80% effaced already but only 1 cm dilated. Saturday night by 11pm, I was still the exact same despite the Pitocin having been increased all day. Dr. Vu decided to break my waters in the hopes of speeding labor along, while increasing the Pitocin all the way up to 20 (I’m not even sure what that means, if its ml or what? Haha). Once my waters broke, and that Pitocin was increased….hooooeeeee! Between feeling like I was going to die from the magnesium, and the contractions….I really thought I was going to die. The hard part about the labor and being at a risk for a seizure was that I had to be monitored the entire time, I couldn’t be off for more than a few minutes. It was horrible cause I couldn’t stand up to sway, or get on all fours or squat, or do any of the techniques that I wanted to do to attempt to cope with the pain. I honestly really wanted to be in the bathroom, sitting on the toilet – I felt so much better. But without being able to do anything of that, having induced contractions, on top of the magnesium side effects of nausea and other good stuff, I asked for an epidural. It ended up being for the best since that’s what finally lowered my blood pressure, and eventually allowed the doctor to pull me off of the magnesium for a bit.
I continued to labor, and by 6am on Sunday morning, I had dilated all the way to 4cm and was 90% effaced! Dr. Vu ordered the nurses to continue to gradually increase my Pitocin from 20 to 30. That night, I made it to 6cm dilated and 90% effacement. At that point, the doctor was concerned with how long I’d been on the Pitocin and wanted to see how I would fare with some other medications. I can’t remember the name of them now, but they gave me one at around midnight and when I had no progression, they gave me another dose. On top of all of this, while Dresden’s head was in my cervix, he was face up, which added to the complications. Apparently, babies who are “sunny side up” or in the “stargazer” position, often have labors who are longer and often result in c-sections for “failure to progress.”
I was doing my hypnobirthing scripts to relax me, and remind me that my body knows how to birth my baby. I was sitting in what my doula called a “King’s pose”, sitting straight up, legs Indian style. I was doing the “three sisters” movements to try and flip Dresden – laying on my side, belly hanging off the bed, and having the doula push into my hips. I even got onto my hands and knees to have the doula move my hips with the rebozo…do you know how difficult it is to get on your hands and knees when your legs are completely numb from an epidural? Not only difficult, but extremely comical! The nurses were not happy, by the way haha! But I was determined to have this baby naturally!
This brings us all to Monday morning at 9am…the medication, instead of working to progress me, had no effect at all. I was now back to 4cm and my cervix was actually swelling…I was back down to 75% effaced, less than when I had come in. This entire time, the nurses kept saying how amazed they were that baby was so chill! His heart rate was steady the entire time, and he didn’t react to any of the medications that I was being given. Dr. Vu said we could try to go back onto the Pitocin and see how my body responded to that, and the nurses came in to ask what we wanted to do. Gabriel kept saying, “Whatever you want to do babe, whatever you want to do, I support you.” At this point, I asked everyone to leave the room and I told Gabriel “I need you to have a voice. I need YOU to have an opinion. What do we do?” He finally said, “Yes, babe…I think it’s been long enough.”
We decided to have a C-section…and for the second time that weekend my heart broke again.
Read Part Two here...