Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I had a baby. And an electric shock. Not in that order.

I have a standing tradition of reporting my birth stories.  I can't seem to help it.  This one is kind of silly, involving self-electrocution while performing simple household chores, which is not at all the sort of thing they discuss in What to Expect, so I am a bit sheepish about it, but here we go...

I had gestational diabetes this pregnancy, so my doctor offered me the option of delivering up to two weeks early to avoid having a baby that would be too big for an uncomplicated delivery, with the disclaimer that my diabetes had been well-controlled and so I would likely by fine going full-term; it was entirely my choice.  That was when I was 36 weeks along, so I said I would discuss it with my husband and get back to him the next week: #37.

I am generally suspicious of induction and refused to consider one ever before, but then, I had never had any pregnancy complications before.  Also, I was hot (pregnant in one of the hottest, driest summers in history while my entire state was in flame due to wildfires), hungry (that darn gestational diabetes diet that I was resentfully adhering to so well) and hormonal (I was pregnant).  My husband and I read a bunch of lit on the subject, most of which was inconclusive, and asked the opinions of a bunch of smart people, most of whom disagreed with each other, and pretty much got nowhere.

Fortunately, I have a genius friend who happens to be a neonatal dietician who helped me figure out how to make this decision more rationally, in spite of the heat and hunger and hormones.  We followed her advice and among other things, got an ultrasound.  It demonstrated that it was highly unlikely that our baby would be too big for me to deliver vaginally, so we decided to keep him in there. I assumed our baby would arrive exactly three days late, just like all my previous babies had done.

A few days later, I was greatly relieved that we had made this decision because I was struck down with a crazy painful ear infection.  Because I was so extremely pregnant, pain meds were out of the question, (except for Tylenol which proved useless). All of the baby preparations I had planned to do, like getting a car seat and moving my toddler out of the baby room and negotiating a baby name with my husband, fell to the wayside while I spent my weekend groveling in pain.  The ear medicine promised to relieve my pain after about three days, and return my hearing after about seven, which would put me back in condition at Pregnancy Week 39: barely in time.  Labor is hard enough all by itself- I had no desire to do it while sick.

On Monday, the first day of Pregnancy Week 38, I woke up with much less ear pain, just as promised, and eagerly started making myself useful again.  I began the day by turning on the sprinklers and shocked myself.  Ouch.  I should have looked at the sprinkler pump before I turned it on.  The front panel had fallen off, exposing the wiring.  My finger had an entry wound, but otherwise I was fine...but what about the baby? I felt for kicks.  Nothing.  I poked and prodded him.  Nothing.  I drank milk.  Nope.  I panicked.

I called the doctor and was sent to Labor and Delivery for observation.  I looked at the monitor and saw  that my baby's heart was beating at a normal rate.  I didn't electrocute him.  So I felt better.  I also saw that my blood pressure was out of control.  I attributed that to my emotional state and assumed it would go back to normal now that I felt better.

It didn't.  It mystified the nurses, who checked my prenatal records for any signs of previous high blood pressure.  Nope.  And while I was satisfied with my baby's readings (clearly not electrocuted), the doctor was less impressed.  They weren't quite good enough.

So I agreed to that 38-week induction that I had previously refused, although I felt pretty ridiculous for messing up my baby's birth plan by not looking before I turned on the sprinklers.

The induction went smoothly.  They started at about 9 am.  At about 11, they asked if I wanted an epidural, warning me that there was a c-section scheduled at noon so I would need to wait until at least 1:00 for the anesthesiologist if I didn't take one then.  I was in no pain whatsoever, and I was only dilated to a four, so I said, "No, thank you."

At 1:00, I really, really wanted that epidural.  Trying to be a responsible pregnant woman (not the kind who recklessly shocks herself on yard equipment) I asked if I should have my cervix checked first, to make sure I was far enough along to avoid stalling the labor with an epidural.  The nurse said not to worry about it, since I was already on Pitocin.  It would be easier to check me after I got more comfortable, anyway.

I have had epidurals in the past and always felt immediate relief.  However, pain always came back as I got close to pushing time.  This time I did not feel so much relief.  That was easily explained when the nurse checked my cervix.  A ten!

She called the doctor in.  He came quickly, looked under the sheet and announced that the head was nearly out.  With one push, I had a baby! (Before anyone gets jealous that I delivered a baby with one push, please let me point out that my first child came after FOUR HOURS of pushing, and so I totally earned this easy labor this time.)

As the baby and I enjoyed our hospital stay today, my husband bought a car seat  and my mom moved my toddler's clothes out of the baby room.  During labor, my empathetic husband gave me the go-ahead to name the baby with my preferred first name, and I am hoping he will be able to choose the middle name before we need to turn in the birth certificate tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know if 1 push totally makes up for FOUR hours!