I am now almost four weeks postpartum. I went to the doctor for a routine prenatal checkup, and was diagnosed with preeclampsia. This is a condition that affects some pregnant women, marked by swelling in the hands, legs, and feet, high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Having preeclampsia increases the risk to both mother and baby and the only cure is delivery, so I was admitted to Magee that morning to be induced. Preeclampsia carries an increased risk of a woman having seizures during delivery, so to prevent that, I was placed on a magnesium oxide IV. Once this was administered, I wasn’t permitted to get out of bed, because the medication can cause dizziness and weakness, increasing the possibility of falls.
I wasn’t dilated at all, and there were no signs the baby was going to make an appearance on his own, so I was given more medication to soften the cervix enough for delivery, and for dilation to occur. This seemed to take forever, but by the next day things were finally progressing! Then the contractions started. I found it really difficult to deal with the pain, since I was unable to get out of bed to use many of the coping techniques we learned in class. I tried breathing and repositioning for a while before opting for an epidural. The anesthesia team came really quickly, which was wonderful because I was exhausted by this point. But after a while I started having contractions in my back, and it was determined the baby was positioned occiput posterior. That means the baby was head down, but facing my abdomen instead of my back. After dilating to 9 centimeters (full dilation is 10 centimeters), progress stopped. The doctor told me it was likely the baby would not rotate into a more favorable position, and that I would probably not dilate any more. He recommended a cesarean section at that point.
It wasn’t long before they were prepping me for surgery. Thankfully, I had opted for the epidural earlier, because they just administered additional anesthesia through the line already there. In the operating room, the doctor told me my blood pressure was dropping quickly, and the baby’s heart rate was also falling. They were going to get him out immediately. My husband made it in just as they were starting to operate. The whole operation took about 15 minutes, and at 9:08 p.m., the day after I was admitted, baby Grayson finally came into the world! I was awake during the operation, and I could hear him cry when he was born. It was very emotional, and it was hard that I couldn’t hold him then. My husband still got to cut the umbilical cord, and he got to hold him, and bring him over for me to see.
Once the operation was over, Grayson and I were brought back to the delivery room, and I was able to hold him for the first time, and start feeding him. It was amazing to finally have him in my arms after all we went through. The staff and Magee made every effort to honor our birth plan, but at the end of the day, it just wasn’t possible to follow most of it because of the complications. We are so thankful, though, for being there. I know it was the best possible place I could have been.
Recovering from major surgery added another challenge to adjusting to being a new mom. My husband had to help me a lot in the first few days, handing Grayson to me for feeding, and doing most of the diaper changes. But we are now settling into a routine at home. My husband stays home a couple days a week, and my mom comes a couple days a week, since I’m still recovering and unable to drive, but I should be fully released in a couple weeks. Nights are a little trying sometimes, but we are enjoying being parents. I love spending my days with Grayson! We’re still working on figuring out what all his different cries mean. He’s spending more time awake now, and learning about his environment by observing. He has so many facial expressions, but none are purposeful yet. I can’t wait for that first purposeful smile!
It’s been a long road to get here with a few bumps along the way, but everything turned out well in the end, thanks to a great team of doctors and other health care providers, and the steadfast support of friends and family.
Here’s to starting a new chapter in our lives!