|Bennett here, welcome to my mom's blog. Below you will find my birth story, but beware, it got a little bit long.|
In this picture, I was only 6 weeks. Now I am a whole 2 months. I'm growing fast. Have a good day!
I have been wanting to get Bennett's birth story written for some time now. The details are fading quickly, but that is probably just as well. No need for this to be too detailed.
Tuesday, May 9th is where I will begin. The night before, I began experiencing some very intense abdominal pain. The pain was sharp and consistent. I stayed on the couch most of Tuesday and all of Wednesday. To get up and walk only intensified the pain. I had my 39 week OB appointment the following Thursday, which was a comfort. I figured that abdomen pain was a normal sign that my body may be getting close to going into labor, and I planned to ask if I could do anything to help it subside a bit.
Thursday morning arrived and I was not even sure if I would be able to drive the 35 minutes to the doctor's office due to the sharp pains. I knew I could force myself to do it. Nate encouraged me to complete packing my hospital bag, "just in case." I halfheartedly threw some things together, knowing that it would most likely be all for nothing. I had already put myself in the "deliver past your due date" and "get induced" categories.
I picked Nate up from his workplace, as is usual when going to my appointments. I asked him to drive the rest of the way, while I reclined in the passenger seat.
Once at the OB office, we were informed that we would be seeing a different provider, as our intended doctor was delivering three babies at the hospital that morning. This was out of the ordinary for the Van Wert County Hospital, usually they deliver around 4-5 babies per week.
The practitioner, whom we saw, informed us that I was around 6 cm dilated. I was surprised by this since I had expected to feel contractions before getting to 6 cm, but I had not felt any. Other than the stomach pain, swelling in my feet was my only other symptom, so I thought. The practitioner also informed me that I had abnormally high blood pressure compared to my other visits, along with some protein present in my sample. She called the doctor at the hospital and they agreed that I head over to be monitored and get some labs drawn. I assume that the practitioner knew more than she was telling us, especially when she mentioned that we should not be surprised if they want to keep me and that I was certainly in early labor.
We finished at registration and headed up to the OB floor of the hospital. They begin to monitor the baby, my blood pressure and see if I was experiencing any contractions. I was having small contractions, but nothing I could feel. When the doctor got my lab work results, he made the decision to keep me overnight. Our doctor has a laid-back personality, which we appreciated in this whole situation. He mentioned that much of my lab work came back abnormal and he wanted to draw some more to see if he could figure out what was going on.
Some of you reading this may be putting the pieces together and may be thinking, "well, of course, it sounds like you had pre-eclampsia." You would be exactly right. The three most common symptoms of pre-eclampsia are high blood pressure, protein in the urine, and swelling.
Nate and I did not think too much about it, they had caught it in the early stages, plus I was full-term at 39 weeks. Pre-eclampsia is much more serious if it creeps up earlier on in a pregnancy.
Friday morning, the doctor came in and began asking me questions such as, "do you take blood thinners on a regular basis?" "do you drink alcohol?" Both of which I replied, "no."
He said that my labs showed very low platelets (involved in clotting the blood), high liver enzymes (liver not functioning to its full capacity), and my blood pressure was still elevated.
He also began talking about a syndrome that can go hand in hand with pre-eclampsia, a very rare pregnancy condition called the HELLP syndrome. The HELLP (Hemolysis, Elevated Liver enzymes, Low Platelet count) syndrome can be life-threatening and hard to pin-point. The global mortality rate is as high as 25% for the mother (this we did not know until afterwards=). Mothers with this condition are at risk of liver rupture or stroke. Since my pregnancy was full term, the baby was not at much of a risk.
He said that he believed I had the HELLP syndrome. Apparently my body was not tolerating the pregnancy any longer and the only way to cure both conditions was to get the baby delivered. The plan was to start me on Pitocin, get the baby delivered, and then try to get my body back to functioning normally.
Neither of us were familiar with the HELLP syndrome, it was probably a blessing that we did not do much research on it until later.
At 9:00 a.m. on Friday, the Pitocin was ordered and started soon after. That is when I realized what a contraction really feels like. The harder the contractions, the higher my blood pressure went. Not knowing how much longer I could handle the contractions, I began thinking an epidural sounded pretty nice. One of the anesthesiologists would not consider giving me one, due to my low platelet count, but they tracked down another who would. Around 2:30 p.m. they gave me the epidural, followed by the doctor breaking my water at 3:15 p.m. According to the doctor, I was 8 cm dilated at that point. The nurse thought I was closer to 9 cm and so we began to do some practice pushes. I could move and feel my legs the entire time, which made it easier to push.
Bennett Clay made his grand entrance at 4:23 p.m. on Friday, May 12th. We were delighted to meet our precious boy.
As exciting as it was, the next few days were physically miserable. They had me hooked up to multiple IVs and were pumping fluids and magnesium sulfate into my body. The magnesium sulfate was needed since my blood pressure was not decreasing after delivery, it also helps to prevent seizures, which can happen with the HELLP syndrome. Nonetheless, it made me feel extremely drowsy and feverish. I was ever so happy once the 24 hours were up and the magnesium was no longer flowing into my body. I was on a clear liquid diet for the next two days after delivery and firmly instructed to stay in bed.
After my third day in bed, I began to get very stir crazy and a little emotional. I felt disappointed that I was not able to get up and take care of my little boy as much as I wished too, sad that I was not completely coherent to enjoy my visitors, and so ready to be unhooked from the endless tubes and contraptions. I kept wondering why my body was not getting itself back to normal like we had hoped for. The doctor ordered blood work for me multiple times per day, stating that he would not let me return home until my platelet count increased, blood pressure decreased, and liver enzymes stabilized. The doctor kept saying, "I don't think you know how serious your condition is, had it showed up earlier in your pregnancy, you would have needed transferred to a larger hospital."
On Sunday, May 14th, which was Mother's Day, I was finally allowed to get up and sit on a chair. They also unhooked me long enough for me to get my OWN clothes on. The hospital gown was not missed. I began to feel more like myself and we really begin praying that my labs would get back to normal in order for us to go home. I was put on blood pressure medication, which was helping. We asked others to lift us up in prayer as well.
God heard those prayers, for by Monday afternoon, my platelets had increase enough to the point that we were cleared to go home. I felt like my sentence, being hooked to IVs, had ended and the freedom to walk around was very much appreciated.
We were so thankful that Bennett's life was not at risk and that he remained healthy and strong throughout everything. I know it would have been much harder to see his body struggling compared to mine.
This was not the birth story that I ever thought I would have to endure, but for some reason God wanted it to be. The experience taught me a lot. It reminded me how weak and feeble the flesh really is. I am more thankful for each breath that the Lord gives to me. Maybe the Lord wanted it to be an eye-opener to show me that I need to more fully depend and rely upon Him.
I was also reminded at how often we, as human beings, try to make our own plans or envision how an event might go, and typically it does not go according to our thoughts. I had envisioned a smooth two day hospital stay without any complications, but God's plans are higher and greater than our own. We will not always know why He brings us through rough times, but we trust that He is working it all together for good.
If you made it this far, I hand it to you. Two months later, I reflect back, and am thankful to be at this point. Our little boy brings us so much joy and we thank God for him daily. Blessings to all!
What's that I hear? You think I am pretty cute, huh?
Thanks for the compliment=) - Bennett