The doctor found the heart on the ultrasound. It didn’t move. Over the last nine months, we’d listened and watched that heart beat often, to see it frozen in time was devastating. How did we make it this far for all to be lost?
Zach and I never said we are going to have this many children, but after Lynzie was born, we were content with our family. Then got a surprise and were elated. When we lost that baby (and almost me), we felt like we were missing someone…so we began a journey of having another baby.
This pregnancy was pretty easy. I felt great and I didn’t feel like I looked that pregnant the whole time, probably due to how much extra weight I had on me to begin with, but we won’t dwell on that. I only gained 17 pounds the whole pregnancy…which puts me now on the same weight loss plan as when I got pregnant.
In the third trimester, things started happening. I still felt great, but they were things that made me more high risk that I was just because of my age.
- I got Gestational Diabetes. I’d done that before, so it was really no big deal for me, but it caused me to see a high risk practice for the rest of my pregnancy and document my sugars and send them in weekly. Because of GD, by doc wanted to induce at 39 weeks.
- I got high blood pressure. This was something that is still a debate on if it was caused by the pregnancy or if it was pre-existing. It landed we in the ER one day because my doctor made us go for monitoring. In the end the determined it was pre-existing and we took a more relaxed approach to my care for the remaining weeks. This made the doc want to induce at 38 weeks.
- Baby Girl decided to be head down and then two weeks before delivery, she flipped herself to be breach again. Then within the week, turned herself around again to face down. Of course, a breach baby complicates delivery and my doctor is not a doctor that will deliver a breach baby. So when we came in for the induction, we were instructed to have them double-check that she was still head down and if not we were prepped with possible outcomes.
- Several times, Baby’s movements would really slow down, and I had to be monitored to ensure she was okay, once in the middle of the night at the ER. In the end, I think it was due to low blood sugar and a super chill baby, because she was fine every time.
At 38 weeks, we were scheduled to go to the hospital at 9pm. They would start me on a drug to soften my cervix and in the morning they would start pitocin to really get the contractions going. We did this with Lynzie and and she came by 12:30 in the afternoon with the absolute perfect experience. I had visualized this happening again for most of the pregnancy. My baby would be born on December 4th.
We got everyone in the car to deposit at their various locations….Rogue to Grandma and Grandpa’s; Diego to the boarding place; the kids to a family friend. As we made this trip, I was super uncomfortable…..something in the way the baby was sitting was just not right. When we arrived at the hospital, they got me all hooked up and I told them that we needed an ultrasound to ensure baby was still head down. They questioned me a bit, but I explained she’d been flipping back and forth for weeks and although she was head down five days ago, the doc wanted to confirm it before we moved forward.
It took about an hour before they rolled in with the ultrasound and…..she was spine down. Her head was on my left, under the placenta, and her but was on the right. The nurse said she was going to check with the on call doctor and determine what the plan was. Thankfully, she somehow got a hold of my doctor, who put the induction on hold until 7am when they would check the baby again and try an inversion, but they also scheduled me for a c-section at noon. All wires were pulled and I was left alone for the night to do yoga and walk and try to get the baby to flip herself again.
At 7 the doctor came in when one of her practice mates. They had the ultrasound machine and checked on baby again. Sure enough, she’d moved, but not in the direction we wanted. She was now full breach, head in my ribs, feet down. The doctor explained that they would try to turn her, they would give me a drug that would help relax my uterus and they would take their hands and physically pull/push her into the right position. They assessed where the baby was and what they thought the best route was–pushing her counterclockwise away from the placenta. My doc assured me we would know in 5-10 minutes if it was going to work out or if we’d have to go through the the c-section at noon.
Both the other kids came vaginally, so the idea of a c-section really stressed me out, but I as I told my nurse, I didn’t have a birth plan because setting expectations, only leads to disappointment in labor and delivery. My only expectation is to walk away with a baby who is alive. I know that sounds rather harsh, but after the miscarriage, and all the challenges I’ve seen and heard of others experiencing, I just wanted a baby in my arms screaming.
The drug started working and my doc dug her fingers into my belly, right around liver level and pulled the baby’s head downward and she MOVED. The doctor was able to get her to my pelvis bone and then she got a little stuck. The other doctor was on the other side of me and had a better position to pull the baby towards her, so she took over and success! One step closer to not having a c-section, now baby just needed to stay down during labor and we’d be fine.
And then they brought the ultrasound over again to verify she was okay. They saw her head down, but as I looked over to the screen, I saw a perfect heart…with no movement….and then a slow flutter….and then nothing.
What happened next was super fast, I remember bits and pieces and I’m sure it’s not all in order. My doc wanted oxygen for me, then she wanted us in the OR to deliver this baby. NICU was called….some code was called….my bed was pushed out of the room by the two doctors and across the hall to the OR. Zach was left behind.
My friend had texted me a prayer early in the morning. As I sat in the hallway, waiting for the doctors to get their sterile gear on, I went over the words and prayed everything would be okay. Seconds later, as we crossed the threshold to the OR, my mind was stuck on the fact that my baby was gone and her name would always be hollow in our home. They asked me if I could quickly get on to the OR table….since I hadn’t had any meds, it was very easy for me to get up on all fours and crawl across.
There were so many people in the OR….everyone talking to me….doing something to me. It was hard to keep up with it all. I watched the anesthesiologist draw up the meds to completely put me under. If my baby came into the world this way, she would not be greeted by either of her parents, only a bunch of strangers.
My doctor had assured me as we moved to the OR, that this still might end in a vaginal birth. They would monitor the baby and if she came back we wouldn’t need to do the c-section. Thankfully, in the OR, they found her heartbeat again….it was low, but strong….and slowly came back up to where it was originally in the high 150 range. After 10 minutes or so, it was determined that we weren’t going through with a c-section at this time, but would rather be going back to our room to begin the induction….just about 12 hours late.
Before I was moved back to my room, it was decided to get my epidural going so that if we needed to go back to the OR, I wouldn’t need to be put under. I agreed with that, because I didn’t want my baby joining the world without parents, but I really wanted Zach. I asked for him over and over and some one said, let’s make you presentable. I remember thinking it was the most ridiculous thing….my husband can see me however you have me laid out….its the rest of everyone that I need to be presentable for. LOL.
By the time we got back to my room, the kids had arrived. They hung out with their Grandma in the cafeteria for a bit while I was checked….2 cm dilated. And it was decided to skip the softening step and move straight to Pitocin. I believe this was around 10am, but I’m not 100% sure. The day was pretty boring….like really boring. The kids went to lunch, we play a moving game of Uno Flip. Everyone had to gather around my bed and move sides based on how I was forced to face, but really nothing happened all day.
Around 1:30pm, my water was broken, in an attempt to get her head down and engaged. I cannot explain the amount of water that came out of me. And I could feel every little move the baby made trying to get into position as more water would come out. I’m pretty sure it was at least a gallon over the course of the afternoon and evening.
The kids went to ninja in the evening and we discussed a new plan for them. Remember, in my head, I was having this baby in the middle of the day. The kids wanted to be around for her birth (although not IN the room so they said), but we had a place for them to stay overnight. Now that it was looking like baby was going to come in the night or the next morning, we needed someone to be at the hospital to be with the kids, but our options were limited.
My close friend was in the visiting with us while we were trying to puzzle this out and had said she would come back at 1am to 6am if we needed her. So we asked Zach’s brother if he could take the now to 1am shift. He said that was fine, but he was going to need to Uber. Obviously, these two were willing to assist us, but if another option was available, it might be better.
My best friend had said she was going to stop by around 8-9pm. She’s a night owl and always has been and can function on very little to no sleep better than anyone I know. It was around 7pm, so Zach called her and explained the situation. Next I knew, she was coming for the night, the others were let off the hook and Zach was getting dinner and coffee too!
We made up the couch for the kids and moved it to an area of the room so it wasn’t in the way if things went down. We asked the kids if they were asleep if they wanted to stay in the room or be woken up and taken out of the room….they said they wanted to stay sleeping. So we explained vaguely, that some scary things might be happening when they woke up and to just turn away and know it was going to be okay.
We talked to Susie about her options….she had the same as the kids….you can leave if it’s too much, turn away, or if you are really feeling up to it, you can pick up a camera and take a few photos (I mean she is my photographer…lol).
We started a movie, we tried to sleep. The kids eventually went to sleep. Susie and Zach traded places back and forth, one with the kids on the couch, the other in the reclining chair. Zach tried to get sleep. Susie made lesson plans (if she was in it for the long haul, she’d have to call a sub for the next day), watched the monitor and took in the birth experience.
I got very little sleep. Turned out the baby wasn’t dealing well. She wasn’t moving much and her heart rate would drop with each contractions, so the nurse moved me about every 15 minutes, put me on oxygen, took me off. At one point, I mentioned the baby might not be moving since I hadn’t eaten in 24 hours and my blood sugar was probably low. They checked my sugars and I was at 69 which is just low enough to do something about it. So they switched my hydrating IV to include sugar and it helped baby out for a bit. They also let me have as many popsicles as I wanted. It was so nice to have something besides ice…I honestly wasn’t hungry and had no interest in food, but I was thirsty and could have taken a nice glass of apple juice, so the diversion of the popsicle was a good one.
Throughout the labor, they didn’t check me often, so I never really knew how much progress we were making. Mostly this was because we had broken my water and I was strep B positive.
Around 2am I was 5 cm. Baby was still trying to move into the full head down position, she was still stuck around my hip bone and her crown was not down, but felt more like her forehead.
At 3:30am I told them things had changed and I wanted them to check me again….also, my epidural wasn’t working and I was in a TON of pain. Back pain and lower abdominal, like period pains. At this point I was 8cm…finally some progress!!! I was also cussing and not overly happy about anything that was going on. Finally, my nurse called the anethesiologist in to give me something else to take the edge off. The doc and nurse hung out with me for quite a while and then they left. As soon as they walked out the door I felt an extreme urge to push….so I made Zach go get them again.
Around this time, Isaac stirred. We reminded him what was going on and turned him to the wall. He wasn’t really awake and quickly settled back to sleep. When I was checked this time, I was 10cm and ready to go.
Earlier in the evening, my doctor, the one I’d seen most of the pregnancy and who had delivered both Isaac and Lynzie, left for the day and I was left with the only doctor in the practice I hadn’t seen this pregnancy, but the one I spent my entire third trimester with when I had Lynzie. I love her and in the end, she was the best doctor to deliver this baby.
She came into the room so calm and soft spoken each time. She understood my desire to see the baby in the mirror and talked to me through the whole thing in a calm, excitement for me and the baby. She told me the baby was sunny side up (face up), which was why I’d been feeling it so much in my back. And showed me the baby turning her head to go the correct way. She kept checking in to make sure I could see. She was seriously the best presence to have.
I’m pretty sure I pushed through four contractions over the course of about 15 minutes….but the first one was horrible….I wasn’t listening well and focused more on exhaling (which I wasn’t supposed to do) than pushing. Then at the end, even after the contraction had passed, I felt I still needed to push, so I pushed after it ended and out she came at 4:36am…..
We named her Morgan Grace. Both names from our very first name list from 11 years ago!
As soon as I was stitched up and covered, we woke the kids so they could meet their sister. I think they were thinking….why the heck did we want to be woken up to be the first to meet her. LOL.
I was so exhausted after being awake for 24 hours and all the scares along the way. My body shut down and I had a really hard time staying alert. It really made my nurse mad and the next few hours are quite the blur.
I do know that Susie took the kids out to breakfast and we moved rooms about the time they came back. We were actually moved to the room I was put in when I had my blood transfusion two years ago when I had the first miscarriage. What a great way to create good memories in a place that previously only held sadness.