Pre-eclampsia, Induction and Childbirth
It’s actually been a few months since I gave birth to Remy, but tbh, I don’t think I’ve been able to write about it up till now. That’s because those first 3 months, quite frankly, were the hardest three months of my life. I’m going to tell you exactly why in a moment but firstly I want to balls out all you mothers out there who NEVER TOLD ME?! I said this to my friend as I was crying down the phone to her from Newport Beach, ‘Why does no one tell you what actually happens” She promptly replied, “If we told you what it was really like, no one would have kids?!”.
But, as I’m all about honesty and it really is the best policy…to anyone reading this who hasn’t had kids - it’s freaking HARD! All of it, the physical stuff, but it’s the emotional and mental stuff too that really gets you. Even a friend of mine who had a seamless birth and found breastfeeding a breeze talks about what a traumatic experience it was for her.
On August 2nd I had a routine doctors appointment, still a week away from my due date. Our 83 year old OBGYN took my blood pressure and frowned. It was high. He instructed us to pop across the road to HOAG hospital, so they could check me out properly and send me home. That didn’t happen - my blood pressure was through the roof - 176 over something something. I Googled this later and discovered a blood pressure reading of 180 is considered the crisis point. Gah! After a few more tests they announced I had Pre-eclampsia and they'd caught it just in time. Pre-eclampsia is a condition that can affect mother and baby
and the only way to treat it is to induce labour. If left untreated it can cause death. It's also more common with IVF pregnancies. If you suddenly start to swell, (my face puffed up one night) get to your doc immediately for a check up.
They promptly admitted me then and there and gave me some crazy medication that almost immediately halved my blood pressure, blurred my vision and made me throw up. I remember saying to Mills and my mum, “I feel really weird, guys”. I probably should have told them that I usually react quite strongly to drugs. It certainly freaked the nurse out as she’d only administered a small dose to begin with. Once my blood pressure had come down they knuckled down and began inducing me.
Again, I probably should have mentioned I am super sensitive to drugs. After the old Doc burst my waters, I dilated to 7cm in an hour and a half. I was able to keep an eye on my blood pressure on the monitor and it was staying low enough. Then all of a sudden it rose again so the nurses quickly ordered me an epidural. I’ve heard some epidural horror stories but I have to say mine was amazing! The anesthetist was some kind of whiz kid, and because my blood pressure was high I didn’t have to wait around the usual hour or so it takes for it to arrive after you order it. At that stage my contractions were just like one big long one, because it happened so quickly there wasn’t much down time between them.
After the epidural, everything slowed right down and it was about 7 hours later that I was ready to start pushing. Because of the dramatic start, the room was full of nurses and they were just incredible, skilled and very caring people. They announced I had a ‘good push’ and all going well it should take me under an hour to push my baby out. Mills was right by my side calling out encouraging things like ‘Go darl!. Drive it! Drive it!’ and mum was cheering from her shadowy spot in the corner. Mills made me laugh at one point and I thought ‘Hang on, this is not the time for laughing I’ve got work to do here!’. After a while, the nurse figured out bubs was facing the wrong way up. She was ‘star gazing’ as it’s called in NZ or ‘sunny side up’ in the US. Basically this meant she was facing up not down and it ended up taking 2 and a half hours to get her out. But it was all ok, in fact it didn’t feel that long really. My NZ midwife friend had told me it’s tricky to tell how hard you have to push when you’ve had an epidural so I just pushed like the clappers until the doctor told me to stop.
Then BOOM! She was out! Remy Rose Audrey Baird was born at 6:35am on 08/03/18 (American style date) What’s also interesting is her birth date is weirdly similar to my own - 18/03/83 (NZ date).
So that was the labour part - it definitely had its ups and downs, but the hard stuff was yet to come. I’m talking about the ‘4th trimester’ and all the fun that entails - sleep deprivation, breastfeeding dramas and a battered and bruised body in need of recovery. My experience also had a few other beauties thrown in for good measure like retained placenta, uterus infections, six painful catheters, issues with stitches and chronic insomnia.
What an incredible time for Mills and I. Mills was amazing throughout all the trickiness. He is a wonderful daddy and looked after me beautifully while I was a basket case. He’s truly seen me at rock bottom now and would you believe he is still around?! Being in a different country throughout the experience was intense but now looking back, I almost wouldn’t change a thing. Well, maybe the catheters haha, but overall I feel like it was all designed to make Mills and I stronger and better for it.
Oh hey Happy New Year everyone!