Ok friends, grab a cup of coffee and make yourself comfortable. Today I am sharing some of the details of my birth story and although it’s a day I’ll never forget, it is easy to mix things up so I wanted to jot it all down before I forget.
Friday December 27th was a special day, my daughter’s 5th birthday!
Unfortunately I had two appointments scheduled early in the day, but then planned on coming home to celebrate afterwards. I started out at my weekly check-up (which you start doing at 36 weeks) where they do the basics- check weight, blood pressure and for me they also did non-stress tests to monitor the baby, mainly because I have been labeled “high risk” due to my age- anybody 35 years and up is considered high risk, even though my Doctor laughs at that. I am far from high risk, it’s just my birthdate that gives me a little red flag. It’s just a formality, but it has it’s benefits which I’ll get to in a minute.
So the check up- I had been battling a cold for over a week prior and that day in particular I could tell it was getting a little worse. I laid in the office as they attached the monitors to listen to the baby and I coughed and sniffled all the way through. The Doctor finished the appointment by checking my cervix to see if I had made any progress- she said my cervix was still thick and closed, that there was a very small opening but nothing major. Basically your cervix has to thin out (become effaced) and open up (dilate) in order to have a baby but from previous experience, I don’t tend to make a lot of changes until labor starts. I did however, expect to be making some progress by 39 weeks since this was my fourth baby. Either way, it didn’t bother me.
I went along to my second appointment at the hospital which was for an ultrasound (I had to have these done in the radiology department of the hospital because my Doctor doesn’t have an ultrasound in office). For a couple weeks they had been checking the fluid levels surrounding the baby, again mainly because of my “high risk” status. Good news is that all the previous ultrasounds had come back great and the fluid level looked perfect.
Once that was done I headed home to start the birthday celebrations. We let my daughter chose where she wanted to go to lunch, then we came home and started to open presents. We had planned that after rest time, my mom and I would take the birthday girl for a pedicure, then we’d cook dinner at home- her request was pita pizzas and pasta with red sauce, followed by cake.
After presents, I noticed I had missed a call. It was about 2:30pm when I retrieved the message from the doctor that stated the following “call me back, I’d like to discuss the results of your ultrasound with you”. Uh oh, I thought. I knew something was up. Meanwhile I must state that my cold had gotten worse as the day progressed and I was eagerly looking forward to a nap before we got our nails done. I called the Doctor back and she said that per the ultrasound they saw something floating around in the fluid that could be one of two things 1) meconium (baby’s first poop) or 2) vernix (the waxy white substance that coats the newborn’s skin). If it was vernix, which it most likely was, no big deal, but if it was meconium, it could present a danger to the baby. They are most worried it could end up in the baby’s lungs and cause breathing problems….and at that point there was no way of knowing whether it was meconium or not until my water broke. So my Doctor called the OB on call that day and he suggested I come in for an induction as soon as possible.
Ok so let me pause and fill you in on my husband. My regular readers know or have probably gathered he has been out of town for some time now. We had been trying our hardest to get him home for the birth and it wasn’t looking good until just recently. He finally talked to the right people who simply asked for a note from my Doctor, but here is the kicker, the “high risk” age thing is what gave us an advantage.Otherwise they weren’t planning on sending him home.
So still in disbelief he might actually make the birth, I got a call from him a few days prior saying that all was well and he was waiting for a flight in Kuwait. That meant he was already in route to get here! We had randomly chosen the date December 28th for our preferred date of when we’d like him home, knowing that with baby 4 I’d likely be a couple days early so that still gave us 6 days until our due date if all worked out. I even scheduled an induction at 40 weeks and 1 day which would be Jan. 3rd to make sure he would be here for the birth and since I was “high risk” they wanted me to deliver around 40 weeks anyway, as the risk of stillbirths increases with advanced maternal age. Anyway, to make this part of the story shorter, on Friday December 27th my husband called from the airport to talk to our daughter and wish her a happy birthday. He said he’d be home the following day at around noon! I couldn’t believe it! I hung up and said ok, I’ll pick you upfrom the airport unless I go into labor, haha.
Ok and now we pick up the story from where I left off- the phone call with my Doctor (which all took place after I spoke with my husband). I informed her that my husband wasn’t going to be home until the next day and asked if could we wait until Monday for the induction. I currently had it scheduled the following Friday Jan. 3rd. She said one of the nurses from the OB office would be calling me to discuss further. So when that nurse called, we went over the details again. The possibility of meconium plus the fact that I was already 39 weeks were reasons for the OB doctor on call to make the decision that I should come in immediately for an induction.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It was my daughter’s birthday, I was sick and my husband was not here. I could not be induced…..but when the baby’s welfare is at hands what can you do? I called my sister-in-law who is a labor & delivery nurse and she suggested I go into the hospital and ask if they could just monitor the baby until the next day when my husband would be there. I decided that was a good plan even though I really, really didn’t want to go. I took a shower, finished packing my hospital bags all while having the kids hang all over me (they could totally sense that something was up). The stress of all this happening seriously exacerbated my cold I believe because within hours I became severely congested and my cough grew worse. I felt like crap and didn’t not want to go to the hospital! To make matters worse, my daughter was so upset that I had to leave and would miss her birthday dinner/cake, etc. She came into my room with the saddest face you’ve ever seen and said “I feel like this is the worst birthday ever” which completely broke.my.heart. I mean seriously, I was not prepared to hear those words.
I tried to talk to her and let her know it was ok; she was upset that I would miss having cake with her so I suggested we go have cake. So that’s what we did, we had cake at 4pm. I was anxious and felt like crap but I was ready to go after that.
I kissed them goodbye and my mom drove me to the hospital.
Part 2 coming up later this week!