Birth Story Part I - Leading up to Labor

Just like last time, this may take me a few posts to get through!

Marginal Cord Insertion Induction Labor

I’m having a hard time putting into words G’s birth story, partly because I’m still not sure how I feel about it. It seems like it went by almost too quickly? Is that possible in labor? After 9 months of building up to it, it was over so fast, and looking back, I feel like I could have done it so much better! It’s almost like I want a second chance to see if I could have… I’m not even sure. Enjoyed it more? Savored each contraction? It’s really an odd feeling.

For some reason, this time around I was scared to go into labor. Maybe because I knew what it could be? Mostly I was just tired and didn’t want to deal with it because I was so tired. I’d go to bed and pray that I’d get to sleep and not be up all night with contractions. So it worked out when my doctor told me that she wanted to induce me. It also solved the problem of what to do with E. We really didn’t have a solid plan otherwise, because it would have been different depending on what time of day I went into labor. If I knew when I was being induced, I could have someone here to stay with E.

This pregnancy had been interesting for multiple reasons, which when combined classified me as high risk, and required me to see the doctors at Tufts. We already knew I was going to be at high risk for hemorrhaging, and then at my anatomy scan I was diagnosed with a complete placenta previa, a possible vasa previa, and a marginal cord insertion. All of which could be big problems, completely resolve/cause no complications, or fall somewhere in the middle. There’s no way to predict, so the name of the game is monitoring. Luckily the previas all resolved themselves without any complications, and the marginal cord insertion really didn’t cause any problems either. The only thing it ended up doing, was dictate when the baby would come.

Marginal cord insertions can cause two problems. During most of pregnancy, the concern is that the baby might not get enough nutrients and be considered IUGR. Since G was measuring ahead for the entire pregnancy, it became something they weren’t really concerned with. However, the longer you go in a pregnancy, the odds that this can become a problem grows. It’s more likely the closer you get to 40 weeks that the connection of the umbilical cord to the placenta can start to break down, decreasing blood flow to the baby. Sometimes the cord will even detach before delivery, causing an emergency situation (This happened to my doula with her first pregnancy!) Most pregnancies with a marginal cord insertion are not allowed to go past their due date.

So knowing that I would have to be induced on Christmas day if the baby wasn’t here yet, my doctor suggested we go a bit earlier. The combination of Christmas day being not great timing for me, and having the added worry of someone to look after E while all this was going on, she suggested we pick a day sometime between 39 and 40 weeks that would get me home for Christmas, and we could also pick a day when she was on call so she’d hopefully be the one delivering G (although this didn’t happen - I ended up missing her shift by 4 hours).

So all that to say, in early December we picked the 21st as induction day. My parents came down the night before, since we were told we could be called in at any time from 6am to 10pm on the actual day. We spent the day playing with E, and walking my parents through his schedule.

Unfortunately everyone else in the world had also picked the 21st as an induction day, plus a big storm and a full moon apparently sent a bunch of women into labor. I’d been on the labor floor two days earlier and there were two women in labor. When we called for an update on Friday afternoon, all 22 beds were full! So I was bumped to either Saturday or Sunday. They weren’t sure, but since I didn’t NEED to be induced until Tuesday/Christmas, I was able to wait.

When we did finally get the call at noon on Saturday, I was totally not expecting it. I think I assumed I’d be pushed to Sunday, so I’d pushed it out of my head. And then suddenly we were on a countdown clock to be at the hospital within the hour. It was probably perfect the way it worked out, since we were running around and didn’t have too much time to think about it. We’d just taken E outside to play, so when it came time to say goodbye, he was completely distracted. He barely noticed us getting in the car and driving away, leaving him with grandma and grandpa.

Me on the other hand, I was a wreck. I knew he’d be fine at home, and the entire pregnancy I’d never worried about bringing another child into our family, but suddenly everything was changing for him, and we were leaving, and he had no idea. I just had to leave before I made it worse.

Speaking of leaving, that was a surreal process. Last time I was in labor, Tom was driving, and the trip took forever (so it seemed). This time I drove, and we chatted and took our time getting there. We chatted with the nurses while I checked in, and laughed when I got an autocall from the hospital trying to confirm my non-stress test for the following week, even though I’d hopefully be on the maternity floor by then.

Unlike the craziness of the day before, only 2 rooms were occupied on the Labor floor, and they’d both deliver and be moved shortly, so by the time I was in labor I was the only one on the floor! We got our room, and started to settle in.

Another weird thing about being induced - things that you’d never pay attention to while you’re in labor can be super annoying. Those non slip socks they give you to wear? I don’t remember them from last time (although Tom confirms I was wearing them), but this time they drove me nuts. Why aren’t there spots for your heels!? Also I know I wore heartbeat and contraction monitors when I was in labor with E, but I don’t remember feeling them. This time, they were my biggest complaint. They were pulled tightly around my belly so they wouldn’t slip off if I walked around, and after a few hours they began to hurt and make my belly sore.

I also had an IV started, since I was also strep B positive this time around. Not a huge deal, you’ve got about a 25% chance with any pregnancy to test positive, it just meant I needed antibiotics before the baby was delivered. And there’s where the real complication was. Normally this would be treated with penicillin, but I’m allergic to it. As an alternative, doctors would usually give clindamycin, except my particular strand of Strep B is resistant to clindamycin. Great. So instead the plan was to give me vancomycin, the antibiotic that can turn you red if they give it to you too fast haha.

So after all of that, I was finally given my first dose of medicine to kick start labor. And then we wait…

To be continued…

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