Birth Story!- A Preeclamptic Mom’s Story

This story is a little different than many of the stories I post- it involves an induction and an epidural. I think it is a wonderful read though for a lot of reasons. One- it shows how birth is such a learning journey and how even though we don't always get what we want, if we are wise we learn from it. I also LOVE how straightforward this mom is about struggling with and still overcoming her struggles with nursing a late pre-term infant. We are stronger than we know.


Emma’s Birth –

How to begin? Emma is my first baby. At 30 weeks, I was at my job (I’m a nurse in a hospital) and a coworker friend (who used to be a doctor in the Philippines and delivered lots of babies without equipment, without technology) took one look at me and said “You look like your blood pressure is high.” I didn’t feel any different. I think this statement is truly amazing. How did he know?? What an awesome sixth sense he has! I think it’s what you get when you have no monitors in front of you. Anyway, I went into an empty patient room and took my pressure only to have it start alarming and beeping at the front desk monitors. Everyone now knew that I had hypertension. No keeping it a secret! Whoops! I was 150/92. Called my doctor and I was evaluated and then put on bedrest.

At 36 weeks, I had been to multiple appointments and then they wanted me to do a 24 hour urine collection to get a better picture of my protein levels. When the results came back, I was diagnosed with preeclampsia because there was quite a bit of protein in my urine which just simply means my kidneys were starting to be affected by my high blood pressure. At my worst times, my blood pressure would be 155/109. I was completely unprepared when the doctor called me (not even my doctor I had been with throughout because he was out of town) and told me I needed to come in and be induced that day.

My husband and I were in the middle of lunch with one of his coworkers when I got the call and just started crying right there at the table. Bless his heart, that coworker just kept staring at his food the whole time while I cried and relayed the information to my husband. God bless my DH who did not freak out and had me finish my lunch because he knew the hospital wouldn’t let me eat once I got there. (Hey, what can I say? I trusted the system. I was part of the system. It’s an entirely different story how I feel now and how this experience has changed the way I interact with my patients. Things happen for a reason.) We also went home and he had me take my time and take a shower. We had to pack a bag, take the dog into the boarding facility, so many things to do! So unprepared! J

We finally got to the hospital at around 4 PM and spoke with the doctor in person for the first time. Again, ours was out of town and it was very hard to just open up and trust this doctor but she was very soft and well spoken. At around 5 PM we started pitocin and things got going. Now, here’s the thing I will change for next time. I was scared. I went through maybe two contractions that I couldn’t talk through and the nurse looked at me, asked me if I wanted an epidural and I said “Yes!” I know, I know. I only blame myself. I didn’t prepare for this. I didn’t take any classes (I’m a nurse for gosh sakes!! J). I was in d-e-n-i-a-l.

I had a very strong epidural. I felt nothing. I’d like to tell the women thinking about having an epidural, that yeah, okay you won’t have pain but in retrospect, I felt very disconnected with the entire experience. Trust me when I say that you want to be able to participate in the labor and birth process.

The thing I loved about this doctor is that never once did she mention c-section even though I was “high risk.” My blood pressure stayed up the entire labor. Even when they were noticing decels on the fetal monitor towards the end of the labor, they turned me every which way till they found a position baby liked and had a great heart rate. Again, no mention of c-section. Awesome! After three pushes (yep!), I had Emma at 1:44 AM. She was 5 lbs 3 oz. A tiny little thing! (Now, seriously, I could have birthed that without meds, right?? That was probably my only opportunity to have gotten to birth out such a small head. ::sigh:: Live and learn.)

Now, here’s another positive thing (for Emma, not the hospital staff). Everyone said that she wouldn’t be able to breastfeed because she was only 36 weeks and wouldn’t have the coordination to do so. Emma proved every single one of them wrong. She was an excellent nurser. She latched well the first time. Even then, I was offered formula because she needed to “bulk up.” Because of her low weight, I had a lot of formula thrown at me. And that’s hard. First time mom, you want to do what they tell you to do.

There’s a lot of guilt involved when all you want to do is follow your heart and you’re given conflicting information. ::Sigh:: Luckily, I had some excellent lactation consultants. One of them was even showcased on your website, Mellanie Sheppard. Even though we were far apart, she was an excellent resource. So was I was on that website, I swear, every day, multiple times a day.

Be sure to look into a lactation consultant before having your baby. It will help out so much. I think this is another major thing that women are discouraged about. Everyone knows someone who “couldn’t breastfeed.” She had recurrent blocked ducts. She had low supply. Educate yourselves. Fight for your milk. It’s the best thing for your baby. “Mama Birth” is pretty straight forward on her blog, even painfully so sometimes. So, I hope you’re okay when I say we pacify women too much and tell them, “oh you tried.”

Well, it takes a huge amount of commitment and not always easy in the beginning. There will be a lot of times when you want to give up. Don’t. Keep going. It’s so, so worth it! Oh, and never make major decisions about stopping breastfeeding between the hours of 8 PM and 8 AM. That is a mantra passed on to me from my wonderful SIL. Stay positive. You can do it!

Well, anyway, that’s my story. Lots of lessons learned. Can’t wait for the next baby! I have an in depth birth plan this time! ;-)


Joy@WDDCH said…
Great story! I think it is definitely important to read many types of birth stories. My two births were the classic hospital epidural births and THANKFULLY I did not end up in the O.R. with either of them. My third birth I finally realized I was part of a broken system and needed to break free. Had my natural birth with my third and going for my fourth in September!!!

I'm really glad that the doctor in this story didn't ever mention cesarean but it is disheartening how much formula talk was thrown at the momma. It's so true that they do this in some hospitals, like they're shocked when a mom wants to exclusively breastfeed. I like the tip to seek a LC BEFORE giving birth and plan to encourage other mommas-to-be to do the same, considering my own failures with BFing my first two.