Wow! What an incredible whirlwind parenthood is! I am ashamed that it has taken me over 5 months to write this, but, you know, life sometimes gets in the way. About 5 weeks after we celebrated our 1st baby shower, and I made my last post, our sweet Lucy girl joined us earth side. She was about a month early, and came pretty unexpectedly, while simultaneously taking what seemed like an eternity to arrive. I guess I should explain, but bare with me, it’s a long one.
On March 8th, my wife and I headed an hour south to my 36 week appointment with our OB. As some might be familiar, we had been talking an early induction, simply because we had a pregnancy via IVF, but also I had been diagnosed with gestational hypertension, and straddling the line of preeclampsia for about half of the pregnancy. That morning, however, my blood pressure was the best it had been in weeks (thank you, labetolal), and there was no sign of movement during my cervical check, despite the intense pressure I had been feeling for weeks up until that point. In fact, during the cervical check, our doctor mentioned her concern for me being able to deliver vaginally, because, as she said, my pelvic bones were/are really narrow. Before leaving we set an induction date for March 29th ( our due date was April 4th) with our doctor that we had been seeing the entire pregnancy. For a couple of weeks leading up to that 36 week appointment, I had been feeling really run down, my entire body was beginning to ache, and I wasn’t sleeping well at night, so when we left that appointment I was feeling a little bit disappointed that I would have to survive a few more weeks before meeting our little girl.
By the time we got home from our hour drive from the hospital, I was feeling off. At first I just chalked it up to being a little bummed about the induction date being further out than anticipated, so after my wife left for work I decided to lay down and take a nap. Only, once I woke up from my nap I still felt pretty off. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what was feeling wrong, I just knew I didn’t feel right. I ate some food, and shortly afterward I decided to take my blood pressure with the blood pressure machine my doctor had instructed me to get earlier in my pregnancy. The first reading was much higher than it had been that morning at the office, so I waited a few minutes and took it again. Still elevated. I sat there and took my blood pressure over and over again for probably 20-25 minutes before i decided I should probably call my doctor. Our doctor’s nurse instructed me to head into triage since she said I was feeling “off”-not worth taking any chances. For whatever reason this made me very emotional, and I spent a few minutes crying to our pups and loading the car up with mine and the baby’s hospital bag – just in case. If I remember correctly, I got there around 5:00 that evening, and of course it was the one appointment Erika had not been able to attend with me, because she was already at work, and had already taken time from work to make every other appointment.
We had a couple we had met through our centering class at the hospital that was due to be admitted for induction that same evening, so upon arriving to triage, I had sent them a text to jokingly say I was having sympathy pains, and good luck. But after about an hour of being hooked up to blood pressure machines, and belly bands to monitor Lucy, they could not get my blood pressure to stabilize. The nurse I had been hanging out with guessed that it was possible my medication needed to be a bit higher, or that it could be that I was close to being due for my medication for the night, and that was why my blood pressure would not go down. She assured everything was probably fine, but that she was going to bring the on-call doctor in to chat about what could be going on. I cracked a few jokes with the nurse, and then in walked a Sarah Silverman look-alike, or, as she introduced herself, the doctor on call for the evening. She also mentioned it could be a medication issue, but that she was a little concerned about the fact that instead of plateauing or decreasing, my blood pressure was actually casually rising. Within less than two minutes of holding a very calm and casual conversation with this doctor, my blood pressure jumped to alarming rates, and the doctor jumped out of her chair and started ordering my nurse and several others around. I couldn’t understand the lingo, and quite honestly, I thought she was joking. We literally went from joking around, to her frantically running to the computer on the other side of my bed and ordering everyone in the room to quickly get bladdy bladdy blah (that’s me attempting to know all the hospital jargon she was throwing around). The doctor asked where my wife was, and when I told her at work, she said I needed to call her right away and have her get here. She told me to tell her they are starting me on Magnesium to prevent me from going into a seizure, that I was being admitted, and that I wasn’t leaving without our daughter. I did all of that, and just as soon as I had put my phone down, I started seeing what seemed like glitter or sparkles throughout my entire vision- a symptom they had warned me about with high blood pressure. Because everyone was already frantically running around to get me hooked to IV’s, I decided I wouldn’t mention the sparkles. One moment that stands out to me in particular, was when the nurse that had been with me all night was trying to get an IV into my right hand, a new nurse was trying to get an IV into my left hand, and a third nurse entered my room. The third nurse says “Hi! What can I do to help?” and the nurse that had been with me all night says ” CALM. DOWN!” Third nurse says “I am calm. Do I not seem calm?” and the first nurse says “Tell the doctor to CALM. DOWN.” I thought this was so funny! I later saw those two same nurses again when they learned I was STILL at the hospital and had told other nurses about this story, so they came to see us. ANYWAYS!
Eventually another nurse, Sue, stepped in and took me downstairs into my room to get me setup and ready to start the induction. She started by giving me a shot of steroids to the butt. The steroids were to help Lucy’s lungs develop because she was technically premature at 36 weeks, and they wanted to take cautious but necessary steps to making sure she would be healthy following delivery. Next, Sue gave me my first Miso pill to begin the induction process. Erika was eventually able to get off of work, and I believe she got to me around 8pm. However, after she arrived we quickly realized that Eri’s and my hospital bag was not fully packed, and we did not have some very necessary things, so I instructed Eri to leave for the night and just plan on returning really early the next morning, because I didn’t see much movement happening that night. Eri left, and I attempted to get some sleep for the night, but nurses were in and out every few minutes to check my blood pressure, i had to come undone from machines that monitored Lucy just to go to the bathroom, and of course the hospital beds are extremely uncomfortable, so I really didn’t get much sleep at all. Eri returned the next morning by around 7 or 8, I believe.
The next morning was exciting, because Eri and I thought we would be having a baby within hours. We were so hopeful! However, that’s not exactly how things went, and the next few days became a slow, grueling process. Every four hours the nurses did a cervical check to see if any progress was being made. When they discovered nothing was happening, they’d give me another Miso pill, wait another four hours, and then do another cervical check. This went on for 24 hours, with a total of 6 Miso pills; The final Miso administered vaginally. No movement. Their goal was to get me to at least 1cm of dilation so they could insert a foley balloon to then speed up the dilation process. After the first failed round of Miso, they tried pitocin for 24 hours. The pitocin helped to amp up my contractions, but unfortunately, it didn’t work well enough, and I couldn’t even feel the contractions. After the pitocin failed, they did another round of Miso pills. Only this time all six pills were administered vaginally. So not only was there a nurse or doctor putting a pill up my vagina every 4 hours, there was also nurses and doctors performing cervical checks every 2-4 hours. Needless to say, there is literally no modesty in pregnancy and child birth. Another 24 hours had passed, and still, no movement. Meanwhile, the magnesium and Iv’s I was on were causing me to feel very ill. Imagine the worst hangover of your life. Major headache, sick feeling body, my legs were like jello, and because of my blood pressure I was not allowed to get out of bed except to use the bathroom-and as I mentioned, that was quite a bit of work. Because of the lack of sleep, the Magnesium, the constant people in and out of my vagina, and the inability to get out of bed, by the third day I was mentally and emotionally depleted, and began asking the doctor about a c-section.
The doctor on-call the third day was our least favorite doctor throughout our entire stay at the hospital, and she just happened to be the same doctor that denied me a c-section when I asked for one. She mentioned that they were a low c-section rate hospital, and tried to encourage me that I could get to a new milestone quickly, and do things naturally. So onto another round of pitocin we went. But before we did, my nurse that day managed to get me a shower. The doctor that morning ( a different doctor than the one we disliked-in fact, it was the same doctor that had originally admitted me to the hospital) had told my nurse that I could not shower because I could not come off of the Magnesium. The nurse assured her that I would be super fast, and that she would stand in the bathroom with me the entire time. That nurses name was Sarah, and she is my new hero. I was feeling so discouraged and run down, and that shower helped boost my spirits so much. I felt like a new person.
We did 24 hours of the pitocin again, and the new on-call doctor came in to check me. She didn’t feel confident I was at a 1cm of dilation, but she wanted to try to insert the balloon anyways. To much of her surprise, she was successful. We high-fived, and a new found hope had ignited for us. But HOLY CRAP! Nobody told me how uncomfortable and painful the foley balloon would be! This may be too much information, but hey, it comes with the territory!! But, I hadn’t been able to go to the bathroom since arriving in the hospital. I was later told it was the magnesium that was causing that, but in addition to the foley balloon, I was SERIOUSLY uncomfortable. I eventually had to call a nurse for a suppository (they had already given me stool softeners that hadn’t done the trick)…talk about embarrassing. But once I was able to go to the bathroom, a little bit of pressure was relieved and I was a little bit more comfortable. I don’t remember how much time passed after the foley balloon was inserted that it fell out, but I think it was about 6 hours. SUCH RELIEF once that damn balloon fell out! And FINALLY I was at 4cm of dilation and they were able to break my water! YAY! Again, another new milestone, and another spark of hope. They then had to give me ANOTHER IV, this time of Penicillin to prevent some sort of infection, because there were pending results they were waiting for, and they didn’t want to risk me giving birth without this antibiotic (sorry, I don’t remember the details of the penicillin well, there was a lot going on). After my water was broken and they had hooked me up to the penicillin, they allowed some time for my body to try to kick start labor on its own. Hours later nothing had happened so they decided to start up the pitocin again, but this time they wanted me on a max dose; So every 30 minutes the nurse was cranking it up. This definitely kick started labor and the contractions came at full force. I told the nurse that my original plan was to not have an epidural, but because I had now been there for 6 days, and my body had been through the ringer, that I didn’t think I had the energy to push when the time came, without an epidural. She said that was fine, but to just let her know when I was about 30 minutes out from wanting the epidural. I told her this was me telling her 30 minutes from wanting the epidural. 4 hours went by, I still hadn’t received an epidural, I was experiencing the worst contractions, and my nurse was nowhere to be found. Eri called the nurses station, and apparently my nurse was on lunch!!! We were livid, but she came in and called for the epidural, only to find out that I couldn’t receive the epidural yet, because I was due for a blood draw. To say we were pissed was an understatement. I was in so much pain and concentrating on my breathing through the contractions, that when the nurse arrived to draw my blood, I literally have zero memory of that happening. I came out of the hospital with a massive bruise on my arm from that blood draw, but I have no memory of it. Finally the epidural arrived, and I had the thought of “why the fuck do people do this WITHOUT this drug?!” I felt SO much better.
After the epidural, a resident came in and did a cervical check, and there was still no movement. It was now 17 hours at 4cm of dilation, and I was DONE. I told the resident I was done and that I wanted a C-section. She left, spoke with the doctor, and came back about an hour later to tell us that my oxygen levels, my heart rate, and Lucy’s heart rate were plummeting, and that the doctor wanted to check me one more time. I told her no, I wanted this to end. By this time I was literally in and out of consciousness. They hooked me up to oxygen, and I really don’t remember a whole lot after that. My wife said me being in and out of consciousness was her breaking point. The doctor on-call came in- and it happened to be the same doctor that had originally told me no to the c-section 3 days earlier. This time she agreed that it was time (uh, thanks, doc!). My hero nurse Sarah was back on duty, too ( not for me, unfortunately), and was shocked that we were still there! She wished us luck, and a few hours later I was being prepped for surgery. Eri was so nervous and just emotionally overwhelmed that she got pretty sick that morning, and we weren’t sure she was even going to be able to make it to the OR. Luckily, she made it happen, and before I knew it she was sitting beside me while they pulled and tugged my body apart. The nurses in the OR asked what we were naming our baby, and when I told them Lucy, they put on Lucy in the Sky by the Beatles on repeat for her birth. FINALLY, after a 6-day failed induction, I heard the sweet cry of my beautiful, perfectly healthy baby girl. They put her on my chest, and every bit of this EXTREMELY long drawn out story (sorry guys) was worth it.
The recovery for a c-section was intense, but I’ll spare the details. All I can say is, ALWAYS go into labor and delivery with an open mind, because if I hadn’t I think I would have been disappointed that NOTHING went the way I had hoped/wanted. Ultimately the end goal is to make sure you and baby get out of the experience with good health. And finally, ALWAYS, ALWAYS listen to your body and trust your instincts. I can’t even imagine what the outcome may have looked like had I not listened to the fact that I just felt off on that otherwise normal day on March 8th!
If anyone made it this far…Thank you for sticking around and reading! Here are some pictures of our sweet Lucy Annaliese Morgan and the moment she changed our lives forever! Born March 13, 2019 at 8:29am at 5lbs 15oz 17.5inches long