Adeline's Birth Story

Posted by  | Wednesday, April 1, 2009  at 8:00 AM  
My first son, Will, was born at 32 weeks due to preeclampsia and HELLP (a life-threatening complication involving your liver). His birth story is here. He was born by c-section and weighed only 3lbs, 3oz but proved to be quite strong. Because his birthweight was less than 5th percentile for his gestation, he was considered to have IUGR. Intrauterine growth restriction, probably due to my high blood pressure.

All of the complications with my first pregnancy and birth played a huge role in Adeline's delivery. We wanted to avoid these complications and delay her birth as long as possible! With my second pregnancy, my blood pressure starting going up around week 28 (about when I suspect it did with #1). I was taking my pressures at home at least once a day. Once I saw the increase, my doctors put me on Procardia to help keep my pressures low enough. If they are too high, the baby will not grow as well (hence Will's low birthweight) and you risk seizures for Mom if they are REALLY high.

The medicine helped for a while, but eventually they started creeping up again and my doctor put me on bedrest at exactly 32 weeks and 5 days (same gestation Will was born!). I stayed on bedreset for five weeks before she came. My bedrest consisted of primarily lying on my left side (where you get the best blood pressure).

My main prayer for this pregnancy was a healthy, FULL TERM baby that would get to go home with us. My second prayer was for a VBAC. I discussed this with each doctor at my practice and all but one seemed supportive. (One doctor in paticular, I named "Debbie Downer" because each time I saw them, I was reminded of EVERY SINGLE RISK of a vbac.) Of course, with a VBAC they will not induce labor as this seems to increase your risk for uterine rupture even more. So, if Adeline had to come early, VBAC was out of the question. Back to the story...

The doctors always tell you to check the number of fetal kicks at least once a day and mine stressed this to me many times. If the baby isn't moving well, it can indicate stress and in my case the high blood pressure can easily cause stress.

I usually paid attention to how well she moved after I ate breakfast and dinner. Just before lunch on Monday I realized I had not felt her after breakfast. So, I waited until lunch and laid down to see how many movements I felt. She moved twice in an hour and they were wimpy. Dr. Z had said we should get 4 movements in 30 minutes. So I called the office and they told me to come right in.

At the office, they did a non-stress test (NST) just like every appointment before. This is basically where they put monitors on your belly and measure the baby's heart rate over about 20 minutes or so. They like to see the baby's heart rate increase with each movement. Adeline was not reactive, meaning her heart rate stayed the same and she was moving very little. They did a quick ultrasound to check a few other things. They see that she was not "practice breathing." These things told the doctors that she was under stress.

At that point, Dr. A said it was time to deliver. He gave four reasons to deliver vs. waiting for me to go into labor (which is what I wanted).

1. non reactive on the stress test
2. not practice breathing
3. I was full term (37 weeks and 4 days)
4. My blood pressures were becoming harder to keep low (although they were still not nearly as high as they were with Will, thanks to the medication)

I was very surprised though when he told me he'd be willing to break my water and see if labor would progress on its own! I had wanted to go into labor on my own and NOT have another c-section. The option to break my water had not been previously given to me as an option for delivery because of my first c-section. However, my hopes were quickly dashed when he checked and discovered I was not dilated or effaced at all. So, breaking my waters wouldn't work and was no longer an option. At this point, I knew she wasn't moving well was just worried about her and ready for her to come. I really didn't care how it happened!

Dr. A sent me over to labor and delivery to get checked in around 3pm. I was by myself since Jacob was at work. He quickly joined me! Dr. A was coming on call that evening and would be the one to do my c-section. (They would have done it sooner, but I had eaten lunch at 12:30 and they like it to be 6 hours since you ate...) The whole preparation process wasn't nearly as rushed as last time with Will. I had two great nurses getting everything ready and I actually had time to ask them lots of questions. I realized how different this c-section would be since Adeline was full term and would most likely not need any special care.

After a slight delay - we headed down to the OR around 8pm. Everything went smoothly and Adeline was born at 8:24 pm! I got to see her right away, but she was sent up to my room to be cleaned up while the doctor finished my surgery. Jacob went with her back up to my room where he was greeted by my parents, his parents and Lauren (I think that was it) who were all waiting to see the baby! I got to hold her once I got back to my room about 20 minutes later.

After a few minutes, the nurse decided that Adeline was breathing a little too fast and had some fluid in her lungs still (common for c-section babies). So she and Jacob went up to the nursery for a little monitoring while I stayed in recovery. She wasn't gone long and everything checked out ok. After an hour in recovery, we were all moved to the next room.

I don't remember much other than having her with me and being able to hold her all the time! (Which I loved!!) Eventually we did send her to the nursery for a few hours, but I didn't sleep well because I just wanted her back! Overall, it was a much easier experience than with Will. Recovery was a little slower than with my first. But c-section recoveries are not easy and this time I had a toddler to chase around too!

Even though I really desired to go into labor on my own and not have a repeat c-section, the Lord's plans were clearly different. I did have a c-section, but it was exactly what needed to happen. First of all, we prayed for a healthy full term baby and we got her! :) The biggest risk in having a "normal" delivery after a c-section is that your uterus will rupture. This can be very dangerous for the baby and Mom, but is actually fairly uncommon.

After this surgery, Dr. A told me that the scar from my last c-section was very thin and would not have held up during labor or delivery. (He actually told me this twice. Once in the OR and once at a follow up visit!) He strongly cautioned us against getting pregnant again too soon in order to give more time to heal. These deliveries were 21 months apart. He also said that, given the condition of the scar, I should not be allowed to go into labor at all in future pregnancies. (My one prayer now is that I DO get to experience labor. Call me a rebel, but I want to experience at least one "real" contraction! :)

note: I'd like to add that this is rare. The fact that my scar was thin probably had to do with the fact that I delivered my first almost 8 weeks early when my uterus had not stretched fully. I don't want anyone reading this to be scared or discouraged from pursuing a VBAC.

The Lord knew what was safest for me and for Adeline! And that was for her to come just a little early via c-section! I love seeing how everything worked out after 5 weeks of bedrest and worry. We are so thankful for our sweet baby girl and for how the Lord protected us both.

Here are pics from her birth!

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One more quick story...Hollie actually got to accompany me to the hospital for a little pre-natal excitement! When I was on bedrest, I still had bi-weekly appointments to monitor blood pressure, labs, baby, etc. She offerred to take me to one of those appointments. Well, at that appointment, my little drama queen decided to show off with a heartrate of 190 while on the monitor! That is too high, so off I went to the hospital. All checked out fine and her heartrate eventually came down. Even though I was a little worried, it was still fun to have Hollie on that little adventure with me! Thanks, Hollie!

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