You guys, I had a baby! I’m going to overshare the whole labor story because I really enjoy reading birth stories. In fact, I passed the time between contractions by reading labor and delivery blog posts. If nothing else, at least the experience will be written down for my own record. 🙂 But first! I’m going to recap the last few weeks of running for continuity’s sake.
In my last post, I left off at the beginning of week 35 and instead of a play-by-play of each mile, I’ll just post a screenshot of my running log. I stayed at about 2-3 mile runs, with occasional walk breaks, a few times a week. How I felt really depended on the day – some runs were awesome, others were…not. I started walking more, which felt good and provided a nice routine to my day. I was starting to feel stir crazy those last weeks!
At 37 weeks, I ran a local 5k (Last year I was first female, this year…I definitely was not hehe) and I was nervous about how it would go. I had absolutely no time goals, I just wanted to finish (even if I had to walk most of it). Race morning was pleasantly cool and I actually felt really good during the race. I had some ligament aches, but nothing more than I get when I walk, so I was actually able to run the whole way. I finished in 30:11 (9:43 pace) and ended up getting 3rd place in my age group! Luckily small town races are not super competitive…
Most people were really cool with a 9-months pregnant lady running a 5k. I got some curious stares and only one person asked if it was “okay to run while pregnant.” The local police chief marshaled the race and I’m sure he was very glad when I got in my car and drove away – baby still inside! I think he was worried he’d have to deliver on the course. If only my labor was that fast! Hah.
I went for my last pregnant run on Monday, June 20 at 38 weeks, 4 days. The day before I was admitted to the hospital and 3 days before Teddy was born!
And now, how did this baby arrive? I guess things really started on Friday, June 17. That evening I had a migraine with aura (blind spots, flashing lights, etc). I’ve had them in the past, but I haven’t had one for many years, so I was pretty freaked out. Even though I was pretty sure I knew what it was, it was still really scary. We called my ob/midwife practice and they suggested coming up to the hospital labor & delivery unit for some monitoring just to play it safe. So, off we went! They drew some blood and monitored the baby’s heartbeat/my blood pressure for a few hours and all seemed well, so they sent me home. The hospital is a 50 minute drive each way, so I felt a little silly making such a fuss, but I was glad all looked well and hoped the migraine aura was a one time thing.
Unfortunately, I got another migraine with aura on Saturday and another on Monday. :/ I moved up my regularly scheduled midwife appointment a few days and when I went in to the office on Tuesday, my blood pressure was really high. Part of it was probably nerves (the headache situation was stressful), but clearly something else was wrong. After multiple high readings and a trace of protein in my urine, they decided I needed to go back to the hospital for monitoring. High blood pressure, headaches, and visual changes can be signs of preclampsia, so I was pretty freaked out, but still thought I’d just get a few hours of monitoring and then go home.
When the blood pressure was still really high after a few hours, my midwife suggested induction. I was 38.5 weeks at that point and she thought the benefits of having the baby ASAP outweighed the risks of continuing with high blood pressure. I was really caught off guard – I was SO against induction my entire pregnancy. I was prepared to be overdue and go until 42+weeks! We didn’t have our hospital bags! I still had freelance assignments to finish! I had planned on laboring at home for as long as possible – not starting labor in the hospital. But in the end, I knew the midwife wouldn’t have suggested induction unless it was the best option.
I’ll skip over some of the more graphic stuff, but around 7pm on Tuesday the 21st, they gave me cervadil to start dilating/effacing my cervix. I was 1cm dilated and 50% effaced upon admission, which could have meant nothing, but I *was* starting to show some contractions on the monitor, so maybe my body was getting ready to start labor on its own? Anyway, after a mostly sleepless night (bp readings every.15.minutes plus fetal monitoring and an IV), they removed the cervadil and told me I was 3cm dilated. Progress! For the next few hours, I had contractions that were painful, but manageable. Around noon, they suggested pitocin, which again, I really didn’t want. If you’ve seen The Business of Being Born or read Ina May Gaskin, you’ll know all about the “cascade of interventions” and all that jazz. But I also didn’t want labor to stall…so pitocin it was! I was hooked up to a bunch of monitors, so being mobile was tough, but I tried to be active – a few hallway walks, all fours pose, yoga ball, squats, etc.
By 7pm (24 hours after receiving the cervadil), I was about 6.5-7cm and decided to get an epidural. The pain was…well…painful, but still manageable. I was mostly worried about being so exhausted and I thought an epidural would help me rest until I was fully dilated. I won’t get in to it too much, but the epidural was a pretty terrible experience. The anesthesiologist had to stick my back 2 (maybe 3?) times to get the needle and tube in and the numb sensation made me feel really weird. I started shaking uncontrollably and was just generally unsettled during the whole process. After an hour or so, I was able to relax a bit and dozed on and off from about 8pm-2am. I was still being continuously monitored and every time my blood pressure was super high (it reached 170/110+ at one point), the alarm would go off, and the nurses and docs would confer about whether I needed meds to bring it down. That made for a pretty uncomfortable night!
Around 2/3am, the pressure down below really started increasing and at 3:30-ish my water broke in a huge gush. From 3:30-5, things got really intense and even though I had the epidural, it was the most painful part of labor. My 5:15ish, I was 10cm dilated and 100% effaced and ready to start pushing. This coincided nicely with the sunrise and just as I was ready to push Teddy out, I asked Brian to open the shades so I could see the day begin.
After about an hour of pushing with each contraction (which hurt, but was at least productive), I felt a huge whoosh and the baby was on my chest. We had immediate skin-to-skin time and I nursed for about 45 minutes while being stitched up (2nd degree tear, ow).
Recovery was tough for the first 24-48 hours, but things are getting better every day. In the days after the birth, I was exhausted from not sleeping while in the hospital (so hard with constant interruptions!) and the blood pressure issue hasn’t quite resolved, but all in all I am so thankful that both of us are safe and on the way to being healthy. I think the official diagnosis was gestational hypertension, but we are keeping an eye on things to make sure I don’t develop true preclampsia. We are so grateful for the wonderful doctors, midwives, and nurses that took care of us!
Things didn’t go exactly how I planned (but do they ever?!), but I tried to stay flexible with the process and as long as the baby and I are safe, that’s really all that matters.
Theodore Paul (we’re calling him Teddy!)
Born 06-23-16 at 6:28am
I won’t be running for awhile (I’m resting for at least a month, probably closer to 6 weeks), but I do have some thoughts on postpartum recovery, breastfeeding, and nutrition (I am so hungry and thirsty all the time!!), so stay tuned. I’m hoping to have another post about all that stuff my mid-July.
If you made it to the end of this marathon post – thanks for sticking around!
Off to go be a mom! 🙂