Yesterday, I began the pregnancy story about myself and my friend and former co-worker, Danielle, in A Tale of Two Mothers. We ended with high risk pregnancy diagnoses, myself with gestational diabetes and Danielle with high blood pressure.
Interestingly, neither high blood pressure nor gestational diabetes actually caused our labors or otherwise complicated our pregnancy.
As we neared the end of our pregnancies, Danielle’s baby continued to measure larger than normal and ultrasound revealed him to be in a breach position. The combination led to a scheduled Cesarean. For herself, she was excited to have a date known (before Christmas! our due date was the 23rd which was obviously not the first choice).
Again, I struggled with feelings of jealousy (she’s going to have her baby before Christmas; and she gets 8 weeks instead of 6 short term disability pay) and the complicated feelings relating to my own labor. Our friend Megan had labored for hours before requiring a C-section; our neighbor had as well. And I felt that if C-sections were inevitable, I would love to have one scheduled for myself! However, it wasn’t meant to be.
As Danielle ended her time at work calmly, allowing herself time to wrap things up and have a couple days before baby’s arrival, I myself went into the doctor and had an ultrasound revealing low fluid levels. My level, they explained, was not dangerously low (yet), but definitely something to watch. Danielle told me that hers had always been high; in comparing numbers I was concerned. The doctor recommended I stay home for a day before another follow up appointment to see if it continued. We were two weeks away from our due date.
It’s at this time that my turning point occurred at my old company where I determined I no longer wanted to work there. When I requested to work from home for a day, I was given a “let me check” response and no feedback until the end of the day. At the end of the day that I had worked from home, I was told that I would need to take paid time off, that it wasn’t allowed. Aside from discussion over company policy, I was enraged that no one had bothered to get back to me until the end of the day.
You would think that my fluid levels would have continued to drop in this stress; Instead, they improved! Another follow up was scheduled for after the weekend. I wished Danielle good luck on her final work day. The next day, I arrived at the doctor’s and ultrasound revealed lower fluid levels than before, with very little around baby’s head. And we heard the words “Let’s get this baby out”.
Knowing what I know now, and without the rush of hormones and excitement about finally seeing my baby, I am not sure that I would’ve immediately gone with the doctor’s recommendation. Or maybe I would’ve. I guess there is no knowing. But I was only 1cm dilated, and the hormone they inserted overnight only had me progress by about 1 more before I was started on pitocin.
I don’t know anyone else who successfully gave birth vaginally, with no issues, with induction. But I did, after somewhat over 12 hours of induced contractions, doctor-induced water-breaking, an epidural and 1-1/2 hours of pushing. It was December 16, and Danielle had given birth via C-section earlier that day.
At a later appointment with the doctor, he impressed upon a co-worker that it was my first baby, I was induced and I didn’t require a C-section. There seemed like there was some surprise in his voice.
Danielle and I were both satisfied with our babies, our labors, and our recovery. Neither of us had any problems post-partum, beyond the usual adjustments a life change like that brings. We both delivered at exactly 39 weeks without complication, which we are both thankful for. I opted to breastfeed while Danielle opted for formula. Both our babies are happy, healthy, and growing really well with relatively few illnesses or other concerns (Jameson had a tongue-tie which we had clipped; Carson had a hernia which required surgery).
I for one am happy that we were able to experience our first pregnancies together, to share those gross details which I haven’t even shared here (you know the grossness, if you’ve given birth before).
It was almost like experiencing two pregnancies in one, and I’m able to reflect better on how lucky I feel like I was, and not get caught up in a lot of the arguments I see online about C-section versus natural versus super natural (you know, without epidural ;)) and also about formula versus breastfeeding. Happy healthy babies = happy healthy parents.