My husband Chris and I married on May 24, 1998. We knew we wanted children but weren't planning on them for several years. Things didn't quite work that way. Three months later I found out I was pregnant. My period was five days late but I was getting all the start-of-your-period cramps so I refused to waste money on a pregnancy test. Finally, after work I stopped at the store. I called my best friend Dani to come over and stay with me while I took the test. My husband was working and didn't even know I bought the test. Sure enough the test said positive. I didn't believe it so I went to a birth center to get another test. I found out I was pregnant on September 24, 1998. My husband was worried, nervous, and scared when I told him.
Right off the bat my pregnancy started off with problems. When I was nine weeks I started bleeding. My OB scheduled me for an ultrasound and everything looked fine. I had a small cyst on my left ovary that the doctor said is common in most pregnant women but it should go away after the 12th week.
At 16 weeks, I started bleeding again. I had another ultrasound and this time they said the placenta was in front of the baby and that was causing the bleeding. The doctor said that if I had placenta previa around my due date I would have to have a C-section.
At 27 weeks, I started having really bad back pains. My mother had back labor with her three children so I was afraid that perhaps this was the start of labor. I went to my doctor and he said my cervix was short and soft which could be the start of labor. It was too early to have the baby so they gave me an IV of Magnesium Sulfate to stop the contractions. My contractions were 4 minutes apart at that time and they were all in the back. The contractions stopped and I was told to stay on bed rest for the next week.
At 34 weeks, I started swelling in my ankles and hands. I couldn't wear any shoes. I felt so silly. I teach second grade and had to go to work everyday in slippers. The doctor found protein in my urine and my blood pressure went up slightly so she gave me a blood test to check for pre-eclampsia. The test came up negative. At that time I had to start seeing my doctor every week so she could monitor my blood pressure. At my next doctors visit I had gained 11 pounds in one week. My face, hands, legs, and ankles were really swollen. He decided to check again for pre-eclampsia with another blood test. This time it came back positive.
My due date was May 26, 1999. I thought I wouldn't be able to make it. I was having Braxton Hicks contractions ever since I went in for preterm labor at 27 weeks. I prayed to have this baby early and not have to wait until the end of May. I almost got my wish but under terrible circumstances.
On April 20, 1999, I returned home from work exhausted. I had some slight cramping on the drive home, but nothing I hadn't felt before. When I went to the bathroom, I pulled down my pants to find a pool of blood in my underwear. I started screaming and the blood continued to pour out in the toilet. I paged my husband and he told me to get off the toilet and lay on the bathroom floor with my feet propped up on the tub. He was afraid of the baby coming out into the toilet. I was crying and screaming thinking I was losing my baby. My husband got there in 5 minutes and he called an ambulance. I was greeted at the hospital by my family and his and everybody was crying. I waited for the Doppler to detect my baby's heartbeat. It was the greatest sound I ever heard. I knew then that my baby was still alive. The bleeding continued all night and the doctors didn't know what was causing it. They said it could be the baby's head pushing against the cervix. I was 1cm dilated.
Well it was bedrest for the rest of the pregnancy. Since I had pre-eclampsia, my doctor ordered me to go to the fetal assessment center twice a week to have a non-stress test done on the baby and to check my blood pressure. Well, on May 4, 1999 I went to the fetal assessment center for my usual appointment. I was feeling miserable. I hadn't slept in days and I was so achy and sore. I wanted this baby out now. When the nurse took my blood pressure it was 144 over 97. She was very concerned so she hooked the machine up to take my pressure every 15 minutes. It kept rising. Finally, it got up to 157 over 101. She called my doctor and he said to send me around to labor and delivery to see about an induction. I was so happy but scared. I was finally going to have this baby. The nurses at the hospital monitored my blood pressure for the next six hours. I was so angry because nobody would tell me if the doctor was going to induce me or not. They just kept saying they wanted to watch my pressure. Finally, at 6pm the nurse said the doctor would induce me. They gave me a gel that would ripen my cervix and get me ready for labor. The gel takes 12 hours to work and I would feel slight contractions. The gel would go to work over night and the doctor would be in the next morning to break my water. I was examined at 8:00am the next morning and I was now dilated to 2cm. The doctor broke my water at 8:10am. He said it would take hours before I went into active labor since this was my first child. Boy was he wrong.
Ten minutes later the pain started right away and was coming every two minutes. I thought I was dying. My husband kept telling me to breathe and I kept demanding drugs. The nurse gave me Stadol which drugged me up so bad that I had no idea who was in the room or what was going on. I kept drifting in and out of sleep but it didn't help with the pain. Forty minutes later the nurse checked me again and I had jumped all the way up to 7cm. She said I could have my epidural now. I was breathing so hard through the contractions that my husband was afraid I would pass out. Finally the man arrived with my epidural. It didn't hurt at all probably because I kept drifting in and out of sleep still because of the Stadol. Immediately I realized the epidural did not take affect to my right side because I started having severe back labor. It was the worst pain ever. Back pain hurts much more than contractions in the stomach. I screamed for him to do it again because it didn't work. They tried to get me to roll over to my right side but that didn't even work. When the nurse left to get the doctor to give me another dose of drugs I felt the need to poop really bad. My whole family was still in the room at this time. I kept screaming I had to poop and right away my mom knew it was time to push. The doctor came in and gave me another dose of the drugs and the pain went away. I felt great. I still felt the need to push but the pain was completely gone. I was now 10 cm and the doctor said to start pushing. Because I was so numb I couldn't tell if I was pushing hard enough. So I strained and pushed as hard as I could. Only my husband was with me then and he kept telling me how great I was doing. I pushed three times between each contraction for forty minutes. Finally, at 12:23pm, on May 5, 1999, my baby girl Kendall Elizabeth Smith was born. The doctor laid her across my belly and I couldn't stop crying. I couldn't believe it was all over. She weighed 6lbs. 8oz. Her apgar scores were 8 and 9. She was beautiful with a head full of hair.
All in all the labor part was great compared to the pregnancy. I recommend all women to get the epidural. I felt no pain just pressure. I actually pushed so hard that I broke blood vessels in both my eyes and they stayed blood red for a week. Kendall is now almost two months old and growing so quickly. I'm enjoying every minute I spend with her. She smiled at me for the first time today.