Pregnancy + Birth Journey

 Everyone's pregnancy journey is different. I wanted to tell our story because my pregnancy was physically and emotionally trying for me. It taught me a lot about my self, things I wouldn't have learned had my pregnancy not gone the way it did. I found strength I never knew I had, I faced fears I never though I could, I learned to be OK with stillness.  Its been 6 weeks to the day since we met this little one. It's taken me a long time to recover, physically + emotionally. When Mike & I started talking about having babies, I had this vision of what it would be like, how it would all go. Well, the way I thought my pregnancy + delivery would go couldn't be further from how I envisioned it..

Everyone's pregnancy journey is different. I wanted to tell our story because my pregnancy was physically and emotionally trying for me. It taught me a lot about my self, things I wouldn't have learned had my pregnancy not gone the way it did. I found strength I never knew I had, I faced fears I never though I could, I learned to be OK with stillness.

Its been 6 weeks to the day since we met this little one. It's taken me a long time to recover, physically + emotionally. When Mike & I started talking about having babies, I had this vision of what it would be like, how it would all go. Well, the way I thought my pregnancy + delivery would go couldn't be further from how I envisioned it..

We found out we were pregnant on July 4th. We couldn't have been more excited, it didn't seem real, until the morning sickness kicked it, ha! But it was beautiful, I loved every minute of it, the gift of creating life, I loved feeling the flutters and watching my belly grow! But, at week 25 my pelvis started to ache when I would stand or walk for too long. I didn't think anything of it really until Thanksgiving Day when I was helping in the kitchen. I was on my feet less then an hour and the pelvic pain became so intense I wasn't sure if I was going to vomit, cry or pass out. In hind sight, I should have called the Doctor that day, but instead opted for a comfy chair, Tylenol and ice packs between my legs!

Friday I went to the Doctor and she diagnosed me with SPD- in short: SPD is one type of pelvic girdle pain. Diastasis symphysis pubis (DSP) is another type of pelvic girdle pain, which is related to SPD. DSP happens when the gap in the symphysis pubis joint widens too far. Read More.

A was strapped in with bands, belts and did physical therapy, but truth be told, nothing helped but staying off my feet. This was awful because I had read the more active you are during pregnancy the easier you birth. This also made doing everyday things like sweeping, laundry, vacuuming, getting groceries impossible. As Elsie grew the pain did too, but I understood why the pain was getting worse at week 37...

 THURSDAY- At my 37 week check up I asked my OB how big she thought Elsie was and if her positioning was head down like it should be (hadn't had an ultra sound since week 20). Elsie was kicking up a storm and also had the hiccups, the OB was feeling around and paused... "I'm going to get the ultra sound machine, I want to check something" she said.  "Well, she is throwing us a curve ball" the OB said, "She's breech".  I felt my face get hot, the tears welling up, I could feel the lump in my throat as I asked her, what do we do, does this mean c-section, will she turn, is she ok? The thought of a C-section had never crossed my mind until that very second. Mike & I had hired  Lumos Doulas  and had been taking birth classes. We were planning for a natural, drug free birth. I knew in my gut that was out the window. With a 30% chance of her turning on her own, and a 50% chance of an external version working.. I knew the odds weren't in our favor.  From Thursday through Sunday Mike & I tried EVERYTHING to get Elsie to turn, I knew she hadn't budged.

THURSDAY- At my 37 week check up I asked my OB how big she thought Elsie was and if her positioning was head down like it should be (hadn't had an ultra sound since week 20). Elsie was kicking up a storm and also had the hiccups, the OB was feeling around and paused... "I'm going to get the ultra sound machine, I want to check something" she said.

"Well, she is throwing us a curve ball" the OB said, "She's breech".

I felt my face get hot, the tears welling up, I could feel the lump in my throat as I asked her, what do we do, does this mean c-section, will she turn, is she ok? The thought of a C-section had never crossed my mind until that very second. Mike & I had hired Lumos Doulas and had been taking birth classes. We were planning for a natural, drug free birth. I knew in my gut that was out the window. With a 30% chance of her turning on her own, and a 50% chance of an external version working.. I knew the odds weren't in our favor.

From Thursday through Sunday Mike & I tried EVERYTHING to get Elsie to turn, I knew she hadn't budged.

MONDAY- My OB offered the option of an external version. I wanted to try everything, so we scheduled it for that following Monday. I remember the nurse in the OB's office telling me the vague details and then mentioning, don't eat after midnight, and bring your hospital bag because there is a slight chance this procedure will result in an emergency C- section...

As I packed my hospital bag Sunday night and laid in bed I had this feeling it would be my last 'full' night of sleep.

We arrived at St. Mary's for the version. I had no idea what to expect because I purposely didn't google it. I knew it was going to be 'Intense' (is the word the nurse used), it was more intense and painful that I could have imagined. They tried three times. Two OBs, a nurse monitoring baby and one running the ultrasound machine. But Elsie was stuck, she was bent in half with her little butt lodged in my pelvis.

Elsie was just fine after the version, but me on the other hand, my blood pressure was on the rise. My OB worried that I could become preeclamptic. "We'd like to delivery baby today, we have an opening in the OR in about 1 hour". Holly shit, it just got real. I broke down in tears, sobbing tears. I was terrified. Terrified of a needle in my back, terrified of major surgery, terrified of becoming a mother, terrified something would happen to Elsie.. and the clock was ticking. I barely had time to wrap my mind around everything before my IV was flooded with surgery prep meds + antibiotics.

 Mike was there every second of the way, making me smile, wiping my tears, encouraging me, telling me how brave I was. I couldn't have been so calm walking into the OR without him. I remember kissing him goodbye and hopping up on the operating table waiting for the needle in my back. I looked down at my belly for the last time, felt her kick inside of me for the last time and through all the fear I felt I was excited to finally meet her. My feet start to tingle and the medicine kicked in, I laid back, closed my eyes and tried to keep breathing.  I remember this huge relief when they let Mike into the operating room, it felt like he was away for so long (like 30 minutes at most, but it was an eternity for me). I could feel every tug and all the pressure, I knew they were cutting me wide open, I heard them break my water... I kept my eyes closed the entire time.  " Look at all that hair" I heard one nurse say, I knew she was out. Mike followed her to be weighed and measured. I could feel the Doctors sewing my up, then they placed Elsie on my chest. I was instantly in love. She was worth everything.  I want to be clear, there were more points of beauty & love in my pregnancy journey then it was bad, scary and painful. I am beyond thankful for my family & friends who supported me/us and continued to give words on encouragement and just be there for us.  We are also incredibly grateful for an amazing staff at St Mary's who made our experience at the hospital as comfortable as possible. It was also a bonus that my sister works there and got to visit us almost daily!  Part 2 about my experience with postpartum preeclampsia soon.

Mike was there every second of the way, making me smile, wiping my tears, encouraging me, telling me how brave I was. I couldn't have been so calm walking into the OR without him. I remember kissing him goodbye and hopping up on the operating table waiting for the needle in my back. I looked down at my belly for the last time, felt her kick inside of me for the last time and through all the fear I felt I was excited to finally meet her. My feet start to tingle and the medicine kicked in, I laid back, closed my eyes and tried to keep breathing.

I remember this huge relief when they let Mike into the operating room, it felt like he was away for so long (like 30 minutes at most, but it was an eternity for me). I could feel every tug and all the pressure, I knew they were cutting me wide open, I heard them break my water... I kept my eyes closed the entire time.

" Look at all that hair" I heard one nurse say, I knew she was out. Mike followed her to be weighed and measured. I could feel the Doctors sewing my up, then they placed Elsie on my chest. I was instantly in love. She was worth everything.

I want to be clear, there were more points of beauty & love in my pregnancy journey then it was bad, scary and painful. I am beyond thankful for my family & friends who supported me/us and continued to give words on encouragement and just be there for us.

We are also incredibly grateful for an amazing staff at St Mary's who made our experience at the hospital as comfortable as possible. It was also a bonus that my sister works there and got to visit us almost daily!

Part 2 about my experience with postpartum preeclampsia soon.

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