I was trying to get Sam to take a nap this afternoon and came back into his room and was holding his hand to try and comfort him while he fell asleep. The following conversation ensued –
“Mama, your hands are cold!”
“Yes Sam, that happens sometimes”
“Mama, your balls are cold too!”
I had a very hard time responding to that comment with a straight face. I should note that Sam calls the knuckles that join your fingers to the rest of your hand “balls”, so his comment was in no way, shape or form intended to be crude. However, even knowing that it was hard to continue in that conversation.
On a completely different note, last night we had a Family Home Evening lesson where we talked about being children of God. We explained to Sam that Sam was a child of God, and so was Daddy, and Mommy, and Baby Daniel. Then we explained to him that we recently had something very special happen in our family – we had a new baby! We told him that Baby Daniel had been living with Heavenly Father before he came here. Sam was so excited about this that he got off his chair, ran across the room to where Daniel was and started saying “Daniel! You were with Heavenly Father!” It was really sweet to see his excitement to teach his baby brother this important truth. We are so grateful to have both of these sweet little boys in our home.
I don’t have time to write a really long post, but we went in a few weeks ago for Sam’s 2 year checkup and Daniel’s 2 week checkup. I wanted to post their growth statistics quickly before I threw away the little papers they gave us with the numbers on them. Note: I’ve back dated this post to the day of their checkups, but know if you’re reading this at the time that I actually posted this, our 6 week old Daniel is much bigger than his two week stats.
Weight – 8lbs 15oz – 50th percentile
Length – 22in – 90th percentile
Head Circumference – 37cm – 50th percentile
Weight – 25lbs 8oz – 20th percentile
Length – 32 in – 7th percentile
Head Circumference – 51cm – 95th percentile
Just from looking at those statistics you can see why I had an easier time birthing Daniel than Sam! Sam has a HUGE noggin especially compared to the rest of him. Daniel on the other hand is a long string bean. Don’t worry kid, your genetics will catch up to you too and you’ll be short with the rest of us! We were most proud of the weight he had gained. He was 7lbs 9oz at birth and had dropped to 7lbs even by the time we left the hospital. So he’d gained nearly 2 full pounds since leaving the hospital! That would be consistent with his eating habits, he loves to eat ALL the time. Not only does he eat frequently, but when he’s eating he chows down. The day after coming home from the hospital Eric fed him a 2oz bottle and he drained it in less than 5 minutes! We’re so glad to see both of our boys growing well :)
Once Daniel was born I sat back and relaxed. I couldn’t believe how quickly that had all gone, and how intense that whole process had been. From the time they got the IV set up till the time he was born was only 5 1/2 hours! It turned out that it was a very good thing that I had been induced after all because otherwise there was no way I would have gotten to the hospital in time for the antibiotics to be properly administered before Daniel arrived.
One of the great things after Daniel was born was that they were able to just put him on my stomach while they cleaned him off. With Sam they wanted to get him off to the NICU right away (he had meconium in the amniotic fluid) so I only saw him for the briefest of moments right after his birth. It was cool to be able to touch him and have him be right there right after birth. Granted I was pretty tired at that point and not really able to take too much advantage of him being right there, but it was still a really cool experience. Then they took him over to clean him off while the doctor stitched me up.
I think the doctor was mad at me for birthing Daniel so fast because he was pretty rough while stitching me up. Eric could tell from the faces that I was making and the way that I squirmed with each stitch that it wasn’t exactly a gentle process. Luckily that was soon over and the doctor left pretty soon after. Laurel stuck around for a little bit longer but there wasn’t too much for her to do at that point so she went home to her own family not long after the doctor left.
Within minutes of the stitching being completed Taylor and Ryan arrived with Sam so that Sam could meet his new little brother. Sam was really excited to see Daniel and it was so awesome to watch him interact with his brother. He’d been excited for most of my pregnancy to talk to the baby in my tummy and snuggle with my tummy. We’d been talking about baby Daniel coming to be part of our family for a long time and it was cool to see that Sam really understood that better than we’d fully expected. Sam also came up and snuggled with me on the bed, which was probably one of the very best things for me. I was pretty shaky after that whole process so I didn’t dare hold Daniel yet, but Sam didn’t need my support so having him come be next to me wasn’t a problem. Sam and I are buds and just having him cuddling with me was very calming and just helped me feel a whole lot better. I was really glad to have him there, and it was awesome that we got to share some of those first few moments of Daniel’s life with his big brother there too. It was a really neat experience to get to have as a whole family. Sidenote: We have awesome video of these first encounters of the brothers and the first bit of Daniel’s life, but it was going to take too long to put it together for posting it here. But I promise, once we get it put together we’ll get it up!
After a little while the Lockwoods left and my mom took Sam back to our house. The nurse asked me if I wanted to try and nurse Daniel right then or if I wanted to wait awhile. I was still a little bit shaky so I said I’d probably wait a little bit and let Eric hold him while I ate some of the snacks that Eric had gotten for me from the Labor & Delivery snack stash. After a few snacks I felt better enough to hold Daniel and he immediately started rooting around. I had thought it would be easiest if we waited until we were down on the recovery floor to feed him but I couldn’t resist his insistent rooting, so I started to nurse him. I figured it would probably just be a failed attempt anyways since Sam took probably a week to really catch on to nursing. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Daniel latched right on and ate for a good 15 minutes right away! Way to go kiddo! That’s proven to be a pretty accurate indication of what he’s been like ever since. He pretty much always wants to eat whenever he’s awake and he does a great job with nursing.
After I finished nursing Daniel he went with Eric downstairs for his first bath and getting fully cleaned up in the nursery. I was left in the room on my own for a few minutes just in a state of slight shock from all that had just happened. Even though I’d been through the whole childbirth process before it still doesn’t really prepare you for that moment afterwards where you think “holy cow, did that just happen?!?” I was kind of glad to have those few minutes to just process the experience. Then the nurse came in to help me clean up a little bit and wheel me down to the recovery room.
Eric was in the room not long after I got in there. Daniel had come back with Eric from the nursery and I had nursed him some more, but then we sent him back to the nursery so that we could get as solid of a night’s sleep as possible. I think it was about 1:30am at that point, and we were both a little bit hungry. So Eric went down to the cafeteria to get us something to eat (luckily the cafeteria didn’t close until 2am!). It’s a good thing he did, neither of us thought we were super hungry until we started eating the food. He came back with a burger, some nachos and some chicken fingers… and they disappeared much more quickly than we’d expected. Eric climbed onto the bed with me, which was very comforting, and we watched a show on his Xoom while we ate. It was just nice to be with him and relax together after the whole process. Once the show was over Eric went and set up his pull-out couch bed to go to sleep. We both would have preferred if he could just stay in the bed with me, but we also both thought it’d be awkward with the nurses coming in and out.
Eric fell asleep almost immediately and didn’t wake up again until after they brought Daniel back in the morning. I on the other hand had a really hard time getting to sleep. My heart had started doing its racing thing again and nothing I did seemed to get it to settle down. I really wanted to wake Eric up and have him come back and hold me, since just having him close usually helps. However, I resisted waking him up as I knew he was pretty exhausted as well. It took a few hours but I finally fell asleep around 4am.
The rest of our hospital stay was relatively uneventful. We only stayed until 9pm on Saturday because we figured since both Daniel and I were doing well we could recover better at home in our own beds than we could in the hospital. Especially since it would mean no nurses popping in and out through the night and that Eric wasn’t stuck on a couch bed. It worked out well since my mom was still there to help take care of us during the next day, and we definitely got more rest that night. I think we were all much happier to just be home :)
So, that’s the story of how Daniel came into this world. I can’t believe we’ve had him for almost 3 weeks now. He is an awesome baby. He sleeps well on his own, and eats really well! That’s about as high praise as you can get for a three week old! It’s so interesting to me how different he is from Sam. We love him so much and are so excited that he’s in our family!
Friday morning we woke up and started getting ready for the day. We’d been told that we’d get a call with the time we should come in sometime before 8am. When 8am had come and gone I called Labor & Delivery to see what time I should come in. They said they were waiting for some rooms to clear out and to call back in a couple of hours if we still hadn’t heard anything. So we continued getting ready. A couple of hours came and went so we called back. We were told that they were still working on discharging some people but that if we were to head down to Provo and get some lunch it shouldn’t be too much longer. So we packed up the car and went to Provo.
We took our time at Subway but even after we’d finished our sandwiches the hospital still hadn’t called back so we decided to go bide our time at my sister’s apartment until we were called. After waiting for awhile I decided to call the hospital again to just see if I could get an update. When I called the nurse told me she thought I’d already been called and told to come in but that she’d need to have me talk to the charge nurse. She said she’d have the charge nurse call me back in a few minutes. Half an hour later when I still hadn’t been called back I decided to just have my mom drop us off at the hospital (we just have one car and my mom would need it while we were in the hospital so she could take care of Sam, so as funny as it seems to have my mom drop us off at the hospital to go have our baby… that’s what we did). I figured that if we were in the waiting room we’d be more likely to get the attention of the people who would get us admitted. I was a little bit worried that it would get too late and they’d just tell us that we had to wait until the next week to come in, so I wanted to give us the best chances of getting in.
When we got there we found out that the Labor & Delivery floor was just a really busy place that day which was why it had taken so long to get us in. We waited for another hour before they were finally ready to admit us. In some respects I was ok with that, I’d told people earlier that having a scheduled induction reminded me of a quote from Swan Princess – “Go on Jean-Bob, race to your death!” As much as I really don’t fear childbirth… it’s still not exactly the funnest thing to go through. So while I wanted to get it over with, I wasn’t in the biggest hurry to get it started either. But we did finally get admitted and were in the room ready to start the IV at 4:30pm.
Now, in case you somehow read our blog but didn’t know this, I have a pretty severe phobia of needles. I don’t know where it’s come from or why I have it or even what it is about needles that gives me problems, but I have a tendency to pass out whenever I have to get even minor shots. Pass out cold, to the point where I turn grey and convulse, and it has taken a few rounds of smelling salts to bring me back to consciousness more than once. It’s a pretty scary thing to watch (so I’m told) and really not much fun to go through either. So, as silly as it may sound, getting that IV set up is the worst part of childbirth for me.
So around 4:30pm the nurse looked over my hands and found the best vein and Eric did his best to distract me from the needle so that I could remain conscious. It took a lot of deep breathing and talking about other things but she got the needle in and was setting it up when I heard her say “shoot, the vein collapsed”… That was NOT what I wanted to hear. I was so proud of myself for remaining conscious and to find out that it had failed was a pretty tough blow. So she went to try and find a better vein on my other hand, and Eric kept doing his song and dance to help keep me conscious… and that vein collapsed too. So my nurse brought in another nurse and they started hitting my arms to try and bring out a good vein, they found a promising vein… another failed attempt. So they went out to get the charge nurse to see if she would have better luck. While they were out of the room Eric asked if I would like another blessing, which I quickly accepted. It may not take long to read through those three attempts but it had taken about 20-30 minutes of being hit and poked and it was really taking a toll on me. Even without passing out it’s so draining to try and remain conscious that I was really feeling worn out. I don’t remember anything that he said in that blessing but I do remember feeling strengthened by it.
The charge nurse came in and hit my arms some more, and used some lidocane to help numb my arms so that it at least didn’t hurt as much, poked around… another collapsed vein. So they said they’d go try to get the anesthesiologist to come and set me up, since he obviously has good experience with setting up IVs. When the nurses left the room I started to cry. Of course the one thing that I have a very difficult time with was what was going wrong. This was about the worst nightmare that I could have come up with for the delivery. The crying actually helped me feel better strangely enough, and I think it got my blood flowing a little bit more. They had also brought in a warm blanket to put over my arms which not only was helping bring my veins out but helped me feel a little better too.
Somewhere in all this my friend Laurel arrived. Laurel had just completed the first part of her doula training and needed to attend a few births in order to finish her certification. I had volunteered to be one of her first births primarily because Eric had had a business trip to Japan scheduled when I reached 37 weeks. That same week my mom had Japanese foreign exchange students that would be in town so she would be unable to help me as well. I knew that Murphy’s Law would come into play and that I’d end up having the baby by myself. So I wanted to make sure that I had someone who could be my labor support if the baby decided to come that week (as it turned out Eric’s business trip was cancelled in the aftermath of the earthquake in Japan). However I’d also been curious about using a doula. Since I try to birth naturally, and since my mom wasn’t planning on being there for the birth I really wanted to have another woman in the room to help coach me through the process. Even though I’d done it before, and Eric is awesome, there’s something different that a woman who has been through childbirth can really add to the experience.
Eric asked me at this point if I wanted to just go home and try again another day. The honest answer to that question was a resounding YES… except for the coming back another day. I knew that if I left at that point it would be harder the next time to set up an IV because I would be more hysterical knowing that we’d failed this time around without a positive resolution. The only positive outcome at this point was to get the IV started this time so that whenever I next had to encounter needles I didn’t have an awful unresolved experience that I was coming off of. So, I told him no, I’d stick it out until we got it set up right. He then asked if I wanted my mom to come and I don’t think I hesitated long to respond with a yes to that offer. There are very few people who really understand my needles phobia and how to deal with me and to work with nurses/doctors to help get done what needs to get done, and my mom is one of those people (Eric obviously is another but I think he was getting a little worn out too).
While we were waiting for my mom to come and the anesthesiologist to be available my nurse came back in and said that they had the people who go with the EMTs there that could get my IV set up. They had some sort of ultrasound machine that helped them find particularly good veins and this was basically their job was setting up IVs. They were off the clock in a few more minutes so they could either come in and give it a shot now or we’d lose the opportunity for their help. I only vaguely understood what was happening because I was pretty upset and into the hysterical but luckily I told them to have them come in, even though my mom wasn’t there yet. So, in came two more nurses with their gear to see what they could do. More arm slapping ensued and pointing at different veins (most of which had already been the victims of those failed attempts). I don’t even know if they ended up using their cool machine but after some more lidocane and another needle in my arm they were finally able to successfully get my IV set up. They didn’t have the right gauge of needle in my arm for some reason but they said just not to tell the anesthesiologist and we’d be ok (apparently it only mattered if I was getting an epidural whether they had the larger needle). I was SO relieved to finally have that done. We put my arm down to the side of me and kept it hidden under that warm blanket for the rest of the night.
It had taken 5 nurses, 5 different attempts, 7 needles and 1 hour to get that IV set up. The main problem was that I hadn’t been well hydrated (totally my own fault, dangit) so my veins weren’t as nice and plump as would have made for an easy IV set up. But in the end the biggest achievement – I didn’t pass out once! I didn’t even get super close to passing out! I was really glad for that because I feel crummy after passing out and not in a state that I want to be in when going into labor. I was especially proud to have lasted that whole hour of poking without passing out! I’m SO grateful for Eric helping to talk me through everything and especially for the blessings he gave me. I know that I couldn’t have made it through all of that without the help that I received from both him and the angels that I’m sure helped pull me through.
My mom came in just as they finished getting the IV set up so she was a little late to help with that but I was still glad to have her there. They started me on pitocin and the antibiotics and left to let my body do its thing. My mom recommended that I use this time to take a nap and just rest. However we’d already decided that it would be good for Sam to come and see where I was and what was going on before things got too intense. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the pitocin was going to make things much more intense much more quickly than my last labor. So I had her call my sister to bring Sam over sooner rather than later. Plus I was a little keyed up from the whole IV experience so I wasn’t likely to be able to really rest for awhile anyways. I think Laurel left not too long after we got things set up with the IV since there wasn’t much for her to do while we just waited for the contractions to set up a pattern. It was a good chance for her to go home and take care of her kids and get them ready for bed while she was less needed at the hospital.
So Taylor and Ryan brought Sam over to the hospital, which was really good. He was very happy to see us and know what was going on, apparently just that short visit helped settle his mind a lot more for the rest of the night. We’d talked him through the routine of what was going to happen many times before so he wasn’t surprised to see us in the hospital, but I think it was good to really see where we were and that everything was ok. While they were there my mom stepped out to go get some dinner for her and Eric. When I’d been in labor with Sam they’d allowed me to eat bread and I was hoping for a repeat of that, however apparently the pitocin is what tends to cause nausea so I was limited to ice chips and water, boo. At lunchtime I had decided to just split a foot long sub with my mom so that I wasn’t too full going into Labor & Delivery (since I was thinking I’d be in there pretty much immediately after lunch). I definitely regretted that decision because it was 4 hours later and I was getting hungry, but there wasn’t much I could do about it at that point. The Lockwoods left with Sam an hour or so later when the nurse came in to check my progress.
I had come into Labor & Delivery dilated to 2cm, about 60% effaced and the baby was floating. I was told that I needed to get to 3cm with the baby dropped for them to break my water. My original hope had been that they would be able to just break my water and let things progress naturally from there, i.e. without Pitocin (like we’d done with Sam). However I found out that with the baby still floating there’s a danger that if you break the water the first thing to drop down might be an arm or a leg instead of a head – which would mean I’d end up having a c-section. Since a c-section was pretty close to the bottom on my list of things that I wanted to have happen we obviously went with pitocin instead. I think when the Lockwoods left I was still at 2cm and the baby was still floating. My contractions hadn’t quite set up a steady pattern yet so they cranked up the pitocin and left us to go again.
In case you were wondering, pitocin is horrible, awful, nasty, mean, no-good stuff. Even those contractions that weren’t setting up a good pattern were a lot more painful than I remember with Sam. I had to start using relaxation techniques almost immediately after starting the pitocin whereas with Sam I had about 3 hours before the contractions even started to bother me.
Around 8:30pm they checked my progress and declared that I was far enough along for them to break my water – hooray! So the doctor came in and broke my water and left us again. Unfortunately they didn’t turn off the pitocin at that point, but I think they did turn it back a notch. To give you an idea of what a nasty drug pitocin is, even as my labor was increasing in intensity I got a good deal of relief every time they turned back the pitocin even just a little bit. Things were picking up pretty steadily and it was definitely taking a lot of concentration, breathing and support to get me through those contractions.
Laurel either came back just before they broke my water or sometime after. I really wish I had a better idea of when she came back because she was very helpful, but the ensuing hours were sort of a blur.
About 9:30pm the nurse came in and checked me again. My contractions were less than 2 minutes apart and they were taking all of my concentration and energy to get through them. The nurse told us that I was dilated to 4cm and I told Eric that I wanted “some something” which he luckily correctly interpreted to mean that I wanted some Fentanyl. I really don’t like the way the Fentanyl made me feel, I just don’t like the out of control, fuzzy feeling that narcotics give me, but I really needed something to help get me through at that point. The pitocin induced contractions were really spikey and just more intense than natural contractions. I wish I could better explain the difference but I can say that I really understand now why women who are induced pretty much always go with an epidural and think they can’t go through labor on their own. It was helpful to be able to really let go between contractions and rest, and it did take off some of the edge of the contractions, but it definitely doesn’t take away the pain by any stretch of the imagination. Unfortunately Fentanyl doesn’t last very long and within half an hour the contractions were back to being full force. As the Fentanyl wore off I was starting to feel like I didn’t know if I could do this with the pitocin. I started seriously considering an epidural. If you understand my phobia of needles just the fact that I was considering the epidural should tell you how nasty pitocin is. But since it had taken so long for me to get to 4 cm I didn’t think I could make it through hours and hours of this super intense pitocin labor.
I think it was at this point that they were having a hard time picking up the baby’s heartbeat as well as tracking my contractions with the external monitors, so the nurse asked if it was ok to put internal monitors in instead. Honestly, I really didn’t care at that point so long as it just got done. In fact the most annoying part was just her explaining the monitors to me, because I just didn’t care. Plus I’d done my homework and already knew what the monitors were so the idea of them didn’t scare me. The internal monitors weren’t too bad, and actually I think they were more comfortable than the external monitors, just a little weird feeling as they went in. I wish in retrospect they’d just put internal monitors in when they broke my water so we weren’t doing it during active labor, but I think they wait to do internal monitors only if the external ones aren’t working well enough because the bother other women. The nurse checked my progress again and said I was to 8cm. That was a HUGE relief. Knowing that I was that far made me feel like I could make it through the rest of the labor. I think this was around 10:15pm – 10:30pm? (The only reason I have any sort of timeline is that Eric was posting my progress to twitter, unfortunately this check didn’t make the twitter feed). I think they called the doctor at this point to let him know I was progressing fast and he probably ought to come in soon.
The doctor arrived within another 15-30 minutes (I really have no idea of how long it was) and they checked me again and I was fully dilated! So the doctor started scrubbing up to prepare for the delivery. They were telling me not to push, but that is the hardest part of labor is not pushing when you’re all ready to push. It’s what makes those last few contractions so hard is not pushing against them. But since I was fully dilated I knew that there was no good reason not to push from a medical standpoint (before full dilation I know that you can cause the cervix to swell and make labor last longer – that’s enough incentive to keep me from pushing too early). So, since I knew that it wasn’t detrimental to me or the baby to push at that point, I might have cheated a little and pushed just a little bit to relieve some of the pressure on a couple of the contractions that I wasn’t supposed to be pushing against (shh! don’t tell!). Finally they said I could push against a contraction and so I gladly gave a full push. The doctor still didn’t have his gloves on and wasn’t really watching me yet, but luckily Eric was paying attention and said “Uhm, I think that’s the head”. To which the doctor replied “Oh! I guess I’m not getting gloves on.” He pretty much turned around to see Daniel crowning. I pushed his head out on the next push. He told me not to push any more while he suctioned out the mouth and nose. However, the urge to push was unbearably strong, I think I was able to hold off for maybe one or two urges to push… and then my body took over and said “bite me, this baby is coming out!”… and with another half push out came the rest of Daniel! To give you an idea of how quickly things went, Eric posted on Twitter that I was fully dilated at 10:56pm and Daniel was born at 11:00pm. I was not expecting that at all since it took about an hour or so of pushing for Sam to be born.
Daniel weighed in at 7lbs 9oz (ok 8.9oz… but I feel good about rounding that up) and was 20 inches long. His 1 minute apgar score was an 8 and his 5 minute score was a 9 so he looked pretty good right from the get go. I think part of what helped him be born so quickly is that he was over a pound lighter than Sam (8lbs 11oz) and his head circumference was considerably smaller too.
Stay tuned for the next post where I’ll tell you about Daniel’s first few hours in the world, meeting Sam and there should be lots more pictures and videos!
About a month or so before I was due I started noticing that I had some weird things happening with my heart. I started having times where I would feel like my heart was racing for no particular reason. Not even while I was walking around or doing anything, but while I was just sitting around watching TV or laying down in bed. It was weird enough that I decided to mention it to my doctor at my next appointment, but I wasn’t too worried about it. She wasn’t too concerned either and told me that my heart was working really hard to keep me and baby alive, and sometimes things like that happened. As long as my heart rate didn’t jump above 140 I didn’t need to worry about it. So I downloaded an app that could track my heart rate (it’s a pretty cool app if you have an Android phone, I recommend checking it out and playing with it) and didn’t worry about it too much further. I saw my heart rate get up to 120 fairly regularly but it would come back down so while I kept monitoring it I didn’t worry too much.
Then a little over a week before I was due (Wednesday, April 6th) I was getting ready for the day and sitting in the bathroom drying my hair when I had one of those heart racing episodes and felt like I was going to pass out. I quickly got myself from where I was sitting and moved to my bed. I was able to avoid passing out but it was a pretty scary moment. I realized that I was home alone with Sam and that if I *did* pass out and hit my head or something there’d be no one to take care of me or Sam until Eric came home later that night. So I sent an im to Eric to ask him to at least check on me periodically throughout the day. Eric wasn’t satisfied with that solution and insisted on coming home and working from here, just in case. We had my mom do a Skype video call with me so that someone was keeping an eye on me and Eric came right home. We also called the doctor’s office to see what their thoughts were on the situation. They told me to drink more water and eat some high protein foods and let them know if I had any more episodes. Their thought was that it was most likely dehydration or not eating enough so if I got on top of my nutrition I should be ok.
My biggest concern was that I was developing pre-eclampsia since I’d started to show signs of pre-eclampsia at the end of my pregnancy with Sam and my sister had it seriously enough that they induced her 5 weeks early. Pre-eclampsia can have serious consequences for both moms and babies so with my medical history, I definitely wanted to keep an eye on that. So I had Eric go to the store and pick up a blood pressure cuff so that we could monitor how my blood pressure was doing. We found that it was pretty much always normal, except during my heart racing episodes where it would suddenly jump super high (like 159/111 high) and then go right back down. In fact they went back down so quickly I had a really hard time catching those blood pressure spikes. After catching a couple though we called the doctor’s office, when we reported those readings – even with surrounding normal readings – they said to just come straight in and have the doctor check me out.
Of course, when I got to the doctor’s office I looked just fine and my blood pressure was normal, so they scheduled me to come in and see the doctor on Monday (the doctor was out and I just saw the nurse practitioner that day) and sent me home. I asked the nurse practitioner what their policy was on elective inductions. I’m not a big believer in elective induction but I could tell there was something wrong with my body and I knew that getting the baby out was going to be at least the first step in getting better. Since I was to a point in my pregnancy where the baby should be fully developed I was at least considering that option. She told me that their policy was that they would schedule an elective induction after 39 weeks. That helped a little bit since I knew that I’d be 39 weeks the next day, but I had to wait until my appointment on Monday to talk to the doctor about that.
I continued having these heart racing episodes and they seemed to be getting more frequent and lasting longer. So Eric put me on bedrest so we could let things work themselves out. We also asked my mom to come out that Friday so she could help out with things while I was trying to keep my blood pressure down and after the baby was here. We thought it was likely we’d be heading in to the hospital some time that weekend and it put our minds at rest to know that there was someone around to take care of Sam when we went in as Eric’s parents (our first plan for taking care of Sam) were in Indiana that weekend.
So we picked up my mom on Friday night and tried to keep me off my feet that weekend. Saturday I was feeling great and started to feel really silly for having my mom come out and putting everyone on alert. However, by the end of church on Sunday I was starting to feel like I was going to pass out again so we went home and put me back on bedrest. On Monday I woke up and felt awful. The feeling of my heart racing was present for the majority of the morning and I just felt crummy. I thought for sure we’d head into the doctor’s and that my blood pressure would be high and we’d be heading for an induction that afternoon. Eric gave me a blessing before we left and I was blessed with peace and confidence in my decisions regarding my health and the health of the baby.
So we got to the doctor’s office and checked in and I was still feeling pretty lousy. I had found that it helped to lay on my side more than sitting or standing or laying on my back, but obviously there wasn’t much side laying I could do in the doctor’s office chairs so my heart felt like it was working really hard when I finally got into the examination room. That’s the best way I can describe what the feeling was like, it felt like my heart was struggling to keep up with the demands of my body. So, we waited in the examination room for the doctor. Now, I should note that the doctor I was seeing wasn’t my normal doctor. She’d had her own baby on Thursday and was obviously on maternity leave at this point. I’d known this was going to be a likely outcome all along but I was still a bit sad to not have my own doctor that really knew me.
The doctor came in and looked over my chart and did a quick checkup and basically told me that pregnancy is rough and that new moms can get really anxious at the end of a pregnancy. He scheduled me for an induction on Friday and sent us on our way. I was really frustrated with that because I *knew* that what was going on had nothing to do with anxiety (I’m a pretty low key kind of person, and I’d already gone through the childbirth process once and had everything go great so… no anxiety there). Plus I knew that pregnancy was uncomfortable and rough, and this pregnancy had been very uncomfortable and rough, but that what was going on with my heart wasn’t just a pregnancy thing. I felt like the doctor hadn’t really listened to me and had sort of blown me off, which was more frustrating since I felt like my doctor knew me well enough to know that I wouldn’t be coming in for just anxiety. But there wasn’t really much more I could do except stay off my feet, try to keep my blood pressure down and wait for Friday.
On Tuesday I finally decided that I was going to just get up and do as much as I could to do work around the house and such. I figured that if I walked around I could either get myself to go into labor or my blood pressure would go high enough that the doctor would take me seriously. Well, neither of those happened. In fact, the opposite happened – I felt better than I had in about a week. That was almost more frustrating because it made me feel like I was being hypochondriacal, which is really not like me at all. I was very confused, although grateful to be feeling better.
On Wednesday my mom was talking to my Aunt Petrine about the weird heart episodes that I’d been having. Petrine’s husband had lots of different heart issues in the years before he passed away and so she had some experience with these types of issues. After hearing my symptoms Petrine thought that my problem was probably low blood pressure. A quick google search for symptoms of low blood pressure pretty quickly proved that I matched her diagnosis – in particular the fact that all of my blood pressure readings (except for the weird spikes) had been on the very low side of normal. However since we were worried about high blood pressure, low readings hadn’t bothered us. All of the things that were causing me problems – sitting, standing in one place, hot showers etc – were things that can exacerbate low blood pressure. On the other hand walking around and laying on my side were good things to help make it better. Suddenly everything that was happening with my body made a LOT more sense, and we realized why bedrest wasn’t helping! Everything I was doing to try and keep my blood pressure low was the opposite of what I was supposed to be doing. Doh!
I was very relieved and took the necessary steps to help make me feel better. I was pretty frustrated though that the solution to my problem was so simple and that if my doctor had listened to me a little more he could have diagnosed the issue earlier on and the one thing that *was* causing me anxiety (these weird heart episodes) could have been taken care of much sooner. But I couldn’t complain too much at that point since at least we did figure out what was wrong and I was feeling much better.
Of course then my problem was deciding what to do about the induction date. Like I mentioned earlier I’m not a big fan of elective inductions, I believe that in most cases the best thing for babies is to come when they’re ready to come and we can cause problems by messing with a process that nature has pretty well figured out. However I was still having the issues with my low blood pressure, even if we were managing it better, and the following week was set to be a busy one. My sister was graduating on Thursday & Friday, my brother was going through the temple on Saturday and we were hoping to be able to bless the baby in church on Sunday while my family was in town. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to participate in those activities from a hospital bed. More importantly though, my strep B culture had come back positive so the doctor really wanted me in the hospital 4 hours before I delivered the baby so we could get a full round of antibiotics in me and him to avoid any complications. Since Sam had come in about 8 hours from the time they broke my water and second babies are supposed to come faster, and we live about 45 minutes away from the hospital I was concerned that I wouldn’t get to the hospital in time for the antibiotics to be properly administered without it being a scheduled induction. So, after some careful thought, consideration and prayer I decided to go ahead with the induction on Friday.
I’m sorry this has taken me so long to get posted. I always want to get the whole story finished with pictures and videos and all the details just right… but that takes forever. So I’ve got the whole birth story written out into a few posts that I’ll get up later this week (I still need to get pictures into them), but I figured it was high time that I at least posted the announcement that our new baby is here! Daniel Curtis Hansen was born on 15 April 2011 at 11:00pm. He weighed in at 7lbs 9oz and was 20 inches long. We’re so excited to have him join our family!
He has been a great baby so far. He sleeps well and in his own bed even! He deals well with Sam trying to love (read: maul) him all the time. He’s very alert and likes just looking around and checking out the world. My mom thinks it’s funny to see that because it’s a lot like how I was when I was first born. He took to nursing right away and thinks that he ought to eat ALL the time, which was really hard at first because nursing hurt a lot during the first week home (I’m so glad my sister-in-law warned me about how painful afterbirth contractions are when nursing a second baby or that would have totally thrown me through a loop!). But now that it’s not painful to nurse anymore that’s really not a big deal. Overall the adjustment to having him in our family has been much easier than I’d anticipated and we’re very grateful for that.
Anyways, if you’re interested in the whole story of his birth then stay tuned for the next few posts. If not, I won’t be offended at all if you just skip those posts (although there should be some good pictures and videos in them if you want to just peruse them for that) :) Welcome to our family Daniel!