I should have known.... I finalized my written birth plan during my 35th week of pregnancy. We all know what the man upstairs does when he hears our plans, and boy did I give him a good chuckle.
Kyle and I arrive at my 36 week OB appointment prepared and excited to discuss my birth plan and confirm the baby's positioning. The nurse does my [dreaded] weight check and gets a blood pressure reading. My blood pressure [and weight ha!] were quite high. The doctor came right in and explained why the high blood pressure was concerning and that further testing was needed to do to determine whether I would be sent home and placed on bed rest or sent downstairs to be induced. Umm. WHAT?!
Long story short I was sent home with a 24 hour urine collection jug and orders to remain on bed rest. I was feeling increasingly strange, once I starting vomiting I knew I needed to call the doctor. Something just wasn't right. The on call provider told me to come straight to OB triage at the hospital. So we gathered our things and off we went!
[Side story: As we were packing up to go to triage I suggested to Kyle that we drop the dogs off at daycare since they were still open for a couple of hours, you know, just in case. He said "Nah. They will be fine. We will be back in a few hours. You aren't having contractions or anything". Obviously I wasn't sent home from the hospital that night and Kyle ended up having to make three trips home to take care of the dogs until daycare opened the following morning. I love a good "I told ya so" moment in my marriage. ;) ]
Once we got to the hospital they began monitoring my blood pressure every ten minutes. During this time they were also watching baby's heart rate and looking to see if I was having contractions. My blood pressure was even higher than it was that morning. Baby was doing just fine but I was having regular contractions and my internal exam showed I was making some progress. The doctor decided the best decision for the safety of the baby and myself was to admit me and HAVE A BABY!
Unfortunately, I had to receive magnesium during my entire labor and delivery to prevent the seizures that are associated with having severe pre-eclampsia. Magnesium is also frequently given to STOP pre term labor so the doctors had to counter those effects by giving me a hefty dose of pitocin. The doctor also advised that I get an epidural in an effort to keep my blood pressure as low as possible by managing pain. UGH! None of this looked anything like my cute little birth plan.
Thank goodness we chose the hospital that we did as it is Alaska's only Level III NICU. Doctor's were confident that baby was completely fine even though she was just 36 weeks. But, Kyle and I felt 100 times better knowing that the NICU team would be in the delivery room should baby need any assistance.
[Kyle was really stressed out during my 15 hours of labor. ;) He had enough time to not only care for the dogs, but get his flu shot, eat Subway and catch a nap or two. I'm thankful he got his rest because he was the BEST coach during our delivery!]
I was fortunate to have the ideal low dose epidural! I could still feel contractions/pressure and knew when and how to push on my own. After just 30 minutes of pushing Mallory Susan was born! The doctors were right; she was perfect!
One of the highlights of our birthing experience for me was "catching" Mallory. It was something I really wanted to do but never got around to mentioning to the doctor due to our circumstances. I was shocked and ecstatic when the doctor looked at me, smiled and told me to reach down and grab my baby. What an empowering moment in a labor and delivery that was wildly out of my control.
I put her on my chest, examined every inch of her, told her how much I loved her and wished her a happy birthday! Kyle and I were beaming, almost laughing! She was so beautiful. So alert. So calm.
Next came another one of the greatest moments in my life; watching my husband meet his daughter. Without getting too mushy... Heart. Melting. Ladies, when your baby is born take a moment to look at your husband. You won't regret peeling your eyes off of your little one. Promise.
Don't let this milk mustache fool you. Mallory was not good at breastfeeding! [read our breastfeeding story here]
Taking Mallory home to meet her 4 legged siblings!
We were beyond fortunate to have both my mom and Kyle's mom with us for a few weeks after Mallory came home. Having their help was priceless!