“Hey pretty girl, you did so good
Our baby’s got your eyes
And a fighter’s heart like I knew she would
Hey pretty girl, you did so good
Hey pretty girl, when I see the light
And it’s my time to go
I’m gonna thank the Lord for a real good life
A pretty little girl and a beautiful wife”
Our daughter, Kaelynn, arrived July 7.
Since then, our life has been filled with little sleep, lots of diapers, many ounces of pumped milk and more love then I can ever comprehend.
Her arrival was nothing like I expected. This is a long one so you’ll want to grab some popcorn and put your phone on silent because this will take a while.
I had been feeling terrible on account of how much fluid I was carrying. I had polyhydramnios that was diagnosed at about 28 weeks. I was measuring ahead for much of the pregnancy. By week 34, I was miserable. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t sit close enough to the table to prevent food from falling all over my clothes. I couldn’t bend or get up from the floor. I couldn’t sleep. It was miserable. The week of July 1, the problems seemed unending. At my doctor appointment on July 1, my doctor met with me, did my group B strep test, told me I was dilated to one and did an NST to monitor the baby for a while. She was active and awesome.
I had an ultrasound the Saturday before the appointment and my fluid level was up to 27, over the 25 I was allowed and the 24 I had been just a few weeks before.
The doctor told me he felt there was little chance I would make it to my due date, Aug. 2, but he couldn’t induce me until 39 weeks unless I had an amnio to assure her lungs were developed. I didn’t want to do that. He felt confident I would go into labor on my own eventually as I was measuring 38 weeks at 35. Eventually my body would give up.
Two days later on July 3, I stayed home from work having not slept the night before. At about 2:30 p.m., I felt off. I had been having contractions all day. I called the doctor and they told me to go to the hospital and have it all checked out given that I was only 35 weeks. My husband came home from work, but ultimately, we decided not to go in. The contractions had basically come to a halt. So instead, we went out to dinner and to Sam’s Club to see if we could walk the baby out.
The next day, Fourth of July, I was still contracting but now there was some…liquid. Nothing was consistent so we decided to go to see Despicable Me 2 before heading out to my in-law’s house for a Fourth of July celebration. Sitting through a movie was brutal. My back hurt, my legs were restless, I could not get comfortable. My feet were incredibly swollen and I was getting slightly nervous about that. If I pushed on a swollen area, it stayed pitted. I figured I had a doctor appointment the following Monday and as long as I wasn’t having any visual disturbances, I would deal with it.
At my in-laws for the holiday, I was exhausted, but I really wanted to get the show on the road. We went for a very long walk through their neighborhood and that just didn’t do it.
The next day, Friday, July 5, my husband went to work in the morning. I continued to feel terrible. I tried to do things with our older daughters, but it was nearly impossible. By the afternoon, I was sure I was leaking fluid. The doctor’s office was closed for the holiday weekend so I had the doc paged. My doctor called me back and said I should go in and get checked out. I called my husband, who decided to work the rest of the day before coming home. I made arrangements for the girls to hang out with their aunt and uncle that evening and we finally set off for the hospital a little after 6 p.m.
At the hospital, the nurses really made me feel like I had no idea what was going on. I had no idea what it would be like to lose amniotic fluid so I didn’t know if that’s what was going on. They weighed me and put me in a room. No urine test, no IV. It was down to business. Shortly after the monitor was put on to check on the baby, Dr. C came in. He was the doctor handling some of the cases for women coming in who weren’t necessarily in labor.
They explained to me that I was going to get an exam, they would dry up some of the fluid I was leaking and look for the fern-like pattern under a microscope that would indicate whether or not it was amniotic fluid. He started the exam and told me he didn’t find any fluid. He did an ultrasound to check my fluid level and I was still at 27, which is way more fluid than baby or I need. So low fluid levels weren’t a concern as they might be for someone leaking fluid.
He told me my level was still high so I probably wasn’t leaking anything, however, if I had more, I should come back. I had 20 minutes (but really 40 minutes) of monitoring of the baby to make sure she was okay. All was good. They sent us on our way.
In the hallway, I had more fluid come out. I ignored it because it was exactly what happened before and he said it wasn’t amniotic fluid. It happened again when we picked the girls up and then throughout the night.
By Saturday, I was growing frustrated. I didn’t want to move. After my husband worked his morning shift, he took the girls out to Sports Authority and got me an exercise ball. He told me to sit on it and try to loosen things up, as his cousin told him this was a good way to do it. It made things hurt worse. I worked on web pages and work stuff while I bounced on the ball for hours.
Then I didn’t sleep. I finally passed out at 3 a.m. I woke up in the morning (July 7) still feeling off and yucky. I laid on the living room floor for quite some time before we decided to get up and do something. I was getting dressed and I was definitely leaking something. My husband convinced me to call the doctor again.
I got the on-call doctor, whom I had never met. She was the on-call doctor for the practice over the weekend. On the phone, I explained what was going on. I told her Dr. C told me it was just discharge. She said vaginal discharge should not be leaking through my pants. She said my test on Friday was negative for amniotic fluid, but maybe I needed to go back. I told her that I never had the test. She said Dr. C told her it was negative. I told her I was pretty sure they never did it because he didn’t see any fluid.
She told me to go in as soon as I could. It was possible I was leaking and had been for days.
We made arrangements for the kids again, got a few things together and took off. We arrived in triage at 3 p.m. They weighed me. They got me all checked in. I was having some contractions but the triage nurse was certain that was because I had slept until 10 a.m. and hadn’t had breakfast or anything to drink. I was certain it was just my life–especially after day of contractions. And for the record, the doctor told me not to drink or eat…just in case.
After getting checked in, a physician’s assistant came in to check me for fluid. There were some issues deciphering Dr. C’s notes so no one is 100 percent sure what happened there on the Friday before. This is when my blood began to boil.
At first, the physician’s assistant said he didn’t know if it was amniotic fluid, even though he could see something was going, then he said “oh maybe!” He had me cough, more came out and he said he was going to look at it under the microscope. He quickly checked me and I was still only dilated to 1.5 and the baby was high. He came back a few minutes later and told us that I was there until the baby was born. It was amniotic fluid.
He didn’t know the exact plan, but I would be moving to labor and delivery and having a baby in the next few days. I asked if there was any chance I would have it before midnight so she would have the birthday 7/7. He said he doubted it. I wasn’t in active labor, but who knew what was going to happen.
Once they had me assigned to a labor and delivery nurse, she came down and picked us up to move us to our room. No one really knew “the plan.” It sounded like I was going to get half of a pill to thin my cervix and get ready for an induction the following morning. We got to the room around 4-4:30 p.m.
First up was an IV. I had to get fluids and penicillin because my water had probably been leaking for days. There was a good chance I had an infection. The baby, when born, would also be treated for an infection. I got pretty upset about this. Antibiotics for me and the baby? Risk of infection? All this because another doctor didn’t check well enough days before when I complained about the symptoms?
My husband called my parents, who were going to come up and visit. I was hoping to get a meal, an Ambien and some sleep before an induction the next morning. I ordered some food, but I was told not to eat it until I had gotten through the first dose of the Cervadil. It kicked up my contractions a bit, but I was still mostly comfortable.
Well, I was, until the penicillin hit me. Man, that stuff burns going in.
I asked about the doctor. They said she was there, delivering a baby, and she would stop in so we could chat about things…and, you know, meet for the first time. She came in and said she was being sort of aggressive because she was worried about how long I had been leaking fluid. She said after three hours, I would get another half of Cervadil and she anticipated we’d have a baby before morning, but still doubted a pre-midnight kiddo.
The nurse went over some stuff with us, including what would happen during and after the birth. Because we were having a premie, there would be a pediatrician in the room. There was a chance she would need some additional assistance breathing, eating or whatever. She would stay with us for a bit but would be moved to the special care nursery by the time she was 30 minutes old.
We talked about pain meds. I said I wasn’t opposed but I didn’t want to get it until I needed it because I was being induced the next morning. I said I would try walking, the birthing ball, etc. before I went with the epidural because, in the past, it had been a tough process for me to get one.
We settled in for the night and relaxed by watching several episodes of “Breaking Amish” on TLC and then my parents arrived. They came in and we talked about the plan for an induction the next day, the inconsistent clocks in the room, and how much penicillin I was getting. About 7 p.m., we were mid-conversation and we heard a THUMP on the monitor. I said “Ow!” and then a huge gush happened.
My water had broken completely. It just felt like it would not stop coming out. I felt lighter and the baby felt lower, but there was no doubt that I had a ton of fluid. My parents left the room and my husband and the nurse helped me get changed and back into bed.
My contractions really picked up after that.
My parents decided to take off. The nurse checked me and I was at 4 cm. I went from 1 to 4 in basically no time.
The nurse brought in a birthing ball. She also suggested I take a shower. We would then reassess where I was with pain.
I was still under the impression that the contractions could stop around 8:30 p.m. when it was time for the second dose of the Cervadil. I was clearly in denial.
We discussed the shower and my husband decided to help me do that. We went to the bathroom at 7:45 p.m., the nurse showed us how to work the different spray heads and I sat down on the bench. My husband adjusted the water and the sprayers depending on what I needed. He helped me breath through every contraction.
I told him I had to go to the bathroom. I felt so much pressure on my bladder that I thought it was going to explode. He kept reminding me that the baby was probably on it. He got me back in the shower and I cried about how quickly it was all happening. The pain was so intense and the contractions were 50 seconds apart.
We decided, well, mostly I decided that I needed something for the pain. We got out of the shower and asked the nurse to page the anestesiologist. It was going to be about 15-20 minutes before they could get to me. I laid on my right side and grabbed the bedrail and cried. My husband kept saying “you are so strong, you’ve got this.” I shook my head and said “I don’t have anything.” He said it was intense and coming so quickly he was so proud of how I was doing. He helped me breath through a few contractions and stay sane until anestheia could get there.
The nurse set the room up. The anestesiologist came in and got right to work. It was 8:15 p.m.
I leaned forward and held on to the nurse, my husband sat behind her on a chair and the anestisiologist numbed me up and started getting things going. She asked if I was previously an athlete. I said no. My husband said “she danced.” The aneastesiologist said that had to be it, the reason why getting the epidural in was so tough. I apparently have a really strong back. She repeated several times that I was having back labor and this would help the pain in my stomach and my butt but no where else. I didn’t care. I just needed relief to catch my breath for two minutes. With contractions coming that quickly, I was really struggling to stay focused.
I laid on my side, but I was still having a lot of pain in my butt and back. It was intense enough that I had to breath through it. I was still having chattering teeth from the change that was happening so quickly. I repeated several times that the baby was low. I couldn’t tell where she was, but I could feel it in my butt. I knew from my other two that it meant the baby was coming. The nurses set up the warmer, got the light down and turned off the lights above me. It was 8:25. I asked where Dr. Lingham was. The nurse said she just spoke to her and she was on her way and would be there in about 15 minutes. She wanted to know if I needed to be checked. I said no, but the baby was low.
All of the sudden, I had to push. The baby was moving down the birth canal and quickly. I couldn’t stop pushing. At that time, the doctor, who was called back to the hospital specifically for me, was 15 minutes away. She came running in as everyone was gloving up and getting ready. I kept yelling that the baby was coming. The doctor yelled to my husband to throw the sheet back. She wanted to make sure I hadn’t already had the baby on the table. She had me flip to my back, I pushed once, then again, she told me to slow down. She said if I didn’t slow down, I would tear for sure. I couldn’t stop. She was coming whether or not I pushed. Jacob said at that point, she cut me, I pushed one more time and the baby came out with a huge gush of blood and amniotic fluid.
8:47 p.m. The exact same time as her oldest sister.
7 lbs 5 oz. 19 inches long.
Everyone remarked about how big she was for 35 weeks.
The doctor said she was pretty sure my placenta was infected with Chorio. There was no way to tell if the infection caused the water to leak or vice versa. At the same time, someone brought the baby to me and I held her for just a few moments before they took her to the special care nursery.
Aside from some low blood sugar that resolved itself within 48 hours, needing the antibiotics for the possible Chorio infection of the placenta, and some bruises from entering the world too quickly, she was perfect.
I just sat in the bed eating some food and taking it all in. I couldn’t believe what just happened. I came in at 3 p.m. and was told I would be induced the next day. Now, here I was just six hours later, holding a healthy baby. It was just so surreal.
We didn’t tell our families for about an hour. Mostly because we were waiting for her status, giving my brother time to arrive with our daughters and we had no idea how we were going to spell her name. Once our ducks were in a row, we welcomed our families and celebrated the end of the worst pregnancy ever and the speedy delivery of our third, healthy daughter.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks as I talk about bringing home baby, what products I am still using the third time around and how I make breastfeeding work for us.