Austin Nathaniel's Birth Story
Let me start off with the beginning of my pregnancy. I officially found out that I was pregnant on July 31, 2001, twenty-four days after my husband and I got married. We were very excited by the news. One of the first things we did was to buy a pregnancy book. I read it over and over. I even wrote out my birth plan immediately after my first reading of the book.
The first two months of my pregnancy were great. I only had trouble staying awake. I was always so tired. Everyone said that was normal, so I felt that wasn’t a problem. Then, towards the last month of my first trimester I started getting sick all the time. I went to the ER three times. The first time I went was mostly because I was bleeding, which concerned me even more than the fact that I had severe vomiting. Needless to say I was dehydrated. The baby was, however, doing great. They gave me a shot of phenergan and had me on an I.V. drip for about two hours to re-hydrate me. I was then allowed to leave.
Two weeks later I was back in the ER for severe vomiting. This time I had to stay until the next evening, September 11. I was terrified about what might happen to the U.S. next. Would my baby get to grow up and have a full and happy life? I myself was only twenty years old at the time, patiently waiting out the next seven and a half months till I could hold my baby.
Another two weeks went by, and again I had to go to the E.R. for severe vomiting. Once more I had to stay. Thankfully, that was the last time for a few months.
The second trimester was better, just like everyone said it would be. I was still tired all the time, but no longer vomiting. The only bad thing that happened during that time was my grandpa passing away during a chemo or radiation treatment the day after Christmas. (I can’t recall exactly which treatment it was). The day of his funeral was the day that I turned six months pregnant. The family was gathered at my grandparents’ home after the funeral when I started getting pains in my belly. They thought I was going into labor. My mom and cousin said it was way too early to even think about it. Well it wasn’t time yet, it turned out to be just gas. That was rather embarrassing, but much better than being in labor at six months.
The third trimester was when things began to happen. My feet started to swell, but I didn’t think anything of it. I was told that a mild swelling of the ankles is normal because of all that extra weight. I’m only 4’11, and I have a rather small build. (I should say had, since I’m not very small anymore!) I went in for my first diabetes test on January 15, 2002. It came back positive, I was told I had gestational diabetes. I’d had a candy bar and sprite about an hour before my test, they hadn’t told me to fast beforehand. I had to go back the next week for the three-hour test. I didn’t hear anything by the end of the week so I assumed I was clear.
On January 29, I turned seven months pregnant. I went in for a routine visit, my blood pressure was up and I had protein in my urine. I was told by one of my clinic’s doctors that I had to go to the hospital because I had symptoms of pre-eclampsia. The only question the doctor asked was: “Do I have to call for an ambulance?”
My husband said no, he would take me (he went to all of my prenatal visits). My only question was how long I’d have to stay there.
The doctor said it could be two hours, two days, two weeks, or even the next two months until my delivery date. I was horrified. I had been in the hospital enough already and didn’t want to go back, but was willing to do anything for the sake of my baby.
On the way to the hospital we stopped where my mom was working to tell her what was going on. She beat us there; she was already in the waiting room when we arrived. I went to the labor & delivery front desk and they rushed me to a room that they had prepared for me. A while later, one of the hospital’s doctors checked my cervix. I was only 1 3/4 cm. dilated. Later, one of my clinic’s doctors examined me. I was still only 1 3/4 cm. dilated, and that doctor informed me that I had gestational diabetes per my three-hour blood test taken the week before.
They had me lay on my left side, and were checking my blood pressure every fifteen minutes. They gave me the first steroid shot of two I would need to help the baby’s lungs mature. I also had to do a 24-hour urine test. I thank God that I had bathroom privileges. I can’t stand catheters, but who can? Everything was okay, so I didn’t have to have the baby that night. That was wonderful news.
The next day I met one of two high-risk doctors. He said I’d probably be there until delivery. I was not thrilled, but I had to do what was best for my baby. After two and a half days in labor & delivery one of my doctors allowed me to go to the perinatal unit, where I had another 24-hour urine test. That didn’t last very long.
The following Tuesday one of the high risk doctors had me moved back to labor & delivery. He said he wouldn’t allow me in the perinatal unit in my condition. I was stuck back on the fetal monitor in the labor & delivery unit. My baby was doing great; it was his mama that wasn’t doing so well. I mean I felt fine, but being stuck in a hospital bed is definitely not my cup of tea.
At 32 weeks, the same high-risk doctor wanted me to have an amnio test. The risk, he explained, was pre-term labor. By this time I already knew that I was destined to pre-term labor; I’d been told that the doctors wouldn’t allow my pregnancy to go past 34 weeks), so my husband and I said no. I didn’t feel right about it, as if God was telling me I had better not risk the test.
For the next two weeks my blood pressure fluctuated. I don’t remember exactly what my pressures were, but they weren’t pretty.
February 21, 2002, they started to induce my labor. They started with the pill that they put into the cervix to thin it out. The next morning February 22, they started the magnesium and Pitocin at about 8:30-9:00 in the morning. At about 9:30 or maybe 10:00 a.m., my doctor broke my water. My contractions were going off the monitor charts. The magnesium was making me feverish. My husband and nurse had to keep me cool with ice cubes and washcloths. The pain from the contractions was making my blood pressure rise. I was only 2 cm. dilated 2cm. My doctor ordered an epidural. After the anesthesiologist was done giving me the epidural my nurse was putting me back on the monitor. That’s when my worst fears started coming to life. She couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat. Knowing that my unborn child hated that monitor, I told her to try the other side of my belly than the one she was on. She then found the heartbeat, but it was dropping fast. She pushed the emergency button.
Before I could count to ten my room was flooded with the hospital’s doctors and nurses. They paged my doctor; he was there in two seconds. My poor husband sitting in the corner of my room didn’t know what to think.
My doctor said: “Emergency C-section now!” He talked to me the whole way down to the labor & delivery O.R., reassuring me that everything was going to be just fine. I believed him even though normally I’m a skeptic person.
The anesthesiologist came in to put more medication in my epidural catheter. Just as the doctor was making the first incision, my husband came in after putting on scrubs. I couldn’t even feel him grab my hand, that’s how numb I was. The doctor kept telling me what a great job I was doing, though I was just lying there, helpless.
At 10:40 am., February 22, 2002, my baby boy Austin Nathaniel was born. At first I didn’t hear him crying, then all of a sudden he let out this lusty yell, as if to say put me back. He had to be placed in NICU, but they let me see him for a second. He was a beautiful guy. While I was still in the recovery room, my husband, too anxious to wait for me, went to see Austin. He came back to recovery after I woke up, and told me that the baby was doing great. That night at about 10:00 p.m. they took him off of the breathing machines. He could do it just fine on his own.
I finally got to see him and hold him the next evening. Even though he wasn’t supposed to be given a bottle he had been given one. Not really a big deal, but I wanted to strictly breastfeed. He was taking all of his feedings by those bottles. At one day old he was taking eight bottles a day, and he had been born after only 34 weeks gestation. He’s now four months old and weighs twelve pounds, six ounces, and is twenty three and one quarter inches long. At birth he only weighed four pounds eight ounces, and measured seventeen inches and three eighths.
Unfortunately, at six weeks postpartum I still had traces of protein in my urine, even though my blood pressure was normal. I was referred to a kidney doctor who said that the protein might remain in my kidneys until six months postpart. I just try to stay calm, so as not to let my blood pressure rise. No swelling though, all of that disappeared the day after I brought my baby home. He only had to stay in the hospital for a week compared to my three weeks before his birth.
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