Nov 30, 2020

Pregnancy Story

Jackson > Pregnancy Story

It all started one crisp, cool October evening. Which one, we can't tell you, but we know it was October. We were lucky and became pregnant the first month we were together for all thirty days in a row. I knew I was pregnant on Halloween morning. I became suddenly and violently nauseous, and I knew this was it. Unfortunately, the pregnancy test I took came back negative, but it was still a little early to tell. I must have tested every morning after that, but each time it was the same verdict; not pregnant. I had been purchasing the generic tests kits and ran out on Wednesday November 5th, so on my way home I stopped at the local CVS and splurged on the Clear Blue Easy test kit. It was difficult getting to sleep that night, knowing that in the morning I might find out that the biggest wish of my life had come true.

I woke up early and made my way into the bathroom. As always, I tried to stay calm as I waited for the blue line. We had been "trying" for about three months, but with no success. However, that morning the blue line came through almost immediately. I ran into the bedroom crying, and Michael thought I was hurt, but when I showed him the test strip, he knew that my tears were of joy. Ironically, in class that day, one of my classmates had presented me with an early birthday cake, as she would be out of town the following week on my actual birthday. It was all I could do to hold back my tears, as she had no way of knowing that while everyone else was celebrating my birthday, I was celebrating the upcoming birth of my first child.

The pregnancy proceeded smoothly. I had some nausea the first few months, but nothing bad. I was tired, but so happy. We shared our wonderful news with friends and family. This was to be not only the first grandchild on both sides, but even the first niece or nephew for our siblings' spouses as well. In March at 20 weeks and 6 days, we had an ultrasound and found out that we would be having a boy. We were both so happy, not only that the baby was healthy, but now we had seen him, and the whole experience seemed that much more real.

Winter quickly passed into spring, and I continued to grow ever larger. At every visit to the midwife, both the baby and I had clean bills of health. After the first trimester was over, I regained my energy and no longer suffered from nausea, although I did maintain my "red sauce" aversion, not wanting to have anything to do with pasta or pizza. Mostly I ate cereal and food from Panera. If it wasn't for that restaurant, I don't know how I would have made it through. I was at school most evenings and Michael was very busy at work, so it was nice to have a place to get healthy, fast, inexpensive food.

In April we learned that our OB practice would no longer be able to provide the midwife coverage we had hoped for. Originally there were three midwives who assisted in delivery, but by the time we were to deliver, they would be down to just one. We were faced with the decision of switching practices late in the game, or supplementing our support. For us, midwifery care was superior to standard OB care because I was not sick or at risk during the pregnancy and we liked the more natural and holistic approach. We had taken hypnobirthing classes to help teach us to get through labor naturally, and found that to be a positive and empowering experience, so we contacted our instructor for the name of a doula, or professional labor assistant. This way, if we did end up with a doctor in the hospital, we knew that at least we would have someone at our birth that was there to support and guide us through the process. The first doula we contacted was unable to work with us when we needed her to, but she gave us the name of another doula, Julie Shubert.

During our first meeting with Julie, we knew she would be just the kind of person we wanted to help us with our birth. It wasn't that Michael wouldn't be able to provide the support I needed, we just felt that it was so much better to have a person there who had seen many births and knew a lot about the birth experience. We also knew that birth can be a long experience and we wanted to have someone there who would not only be able to help me, but also be able to help Michael and give him emotional support. With Julie's assistance, we came up with a birth plan. The best part was that we were able to take six pages or "wants" down to two pages because so many of the things we wanted were the standard of care at our hospital, Manchester Memorial Hospital. This made us feel excellent about our choices.

May and June passed so quickly, and to my great surprise and relief, I continued to feel great and have a good amount of energy. It helped that the weather remained relatively cool and dry. I also think that staying active helped me feel better, occupying my mind and helping to strengthen my body. Towards the end, I was taking three-hour naps every day, but when I was awake, I felt great. I also did a fair amount of self pampering, frequenting our local spa and salon for manicures and pedicures. I wasn't able to really reach my feet by this point, and my toes were beginning to look like little sausages.

Before we knew it, it was July 1st, which was our "any time now" date. The baby and I were still doing well. At my 38-week visit, I was told that my cervix was thinning, which was great news. I drank raspberry tea and took evening primrose oil caplets daily. I figured that they couldn't hurt, and might actually help "prepare my uterus". I was beginning to feel more Braxton-Hicks contractions, especially at night. The baby was fairly active, and from about 36 weeks on, had stationed himself so that he was lying on his left side, head down, with his little feet planted squarely under my ribs. My feet were really starting to swell, but other than that I was feeling fine. I had thought I would feel more anxious at that point, but instead, I found myself enjoying my last days of "freedom".

At my 39-week visit, the doctor told me that he thought the baby was pretty big and he wanted to have an ultrasound done. He also mentioned the word "induction" which sent me into a panic. Michael and I had really hoped to have a completely natural birth, utilizing things like the hypnobirthing techniques we had learned, deep relaxation, the amazing labor tubs they have at our hospital, and so on. The thought of being induced really gave me pause, especially because no one had ever mentioned anything like that to me before. Now I wonder if that doctor (he was a man, and no offense to men, but his bedside manner sucked) was just trying to see if I wanted a "way out". I knew that there is no reason to induce just because a baby is big, and I was feeling highly supported in my decision not to induce just for that reason by Michael, Julie, and my family. I went into the ultrasound with an open mind. If there were something medically wrong with the baby, of course I would allow for medical intervention, but if he was fine, I would prefer to let nature take its course.

Luckily, all my fears and worries were for nothing. The baby was perfectly healthy, and the ultrasound tech estimated his weight at 7 lbs 15 ounces (the doctor had thought 8 lbs 6 ounces about a week earlier). I met with a different doctor this time (a woman, not that I am biased, but I am) and she said there was absolutely no reason to think about induction, that the baby was perfectly happy and healthy, and that we would just wait and see what happened. The ultrasound tech guessed it would be at least another week, and the doctor told me that while I was continuing to efface, I had not yet begun to dilate. She also mentioned that since I had had a procedure done about ten years ago to remove some abnormal cells (called LEEP), I might efface entirely before dilating, which is what can frequently happen because of the scar tissue. She said it was nothing to worry about, so we went home and waited. This was on July 12th, the day before my due date.

Vital Statistics