The Day (1 of 4)

Blessing: my rockstar husband for always thinking of food!

Words matter. I care about how I tell a story. I take a great amount of time to write and read and then re-read what I write to make sure it conveys exactly what I want to say. I mentioned in my last post that I would share Aayden’s birth story. I need to share his birth story for my sake, so I can process it. I need to pull it out of my body and put it into words so I don’t have to keep it inside of me anymore. It feels like if I get his birth story written and out in the world, I can focus on the positive aspects of it and let go of the scary bits. I’ve written and rewritten this blog post(s) because each time I read through it, I realize it doesn’t quite capture what I want it to…

…the anticipation of welcoming my first baby into the world after the journey we went through to get pregnant…

…the slowness and sometimes the exasperation of the induction process…

…the fear of what was happening at the time and of what was yet to come, although completely unknown in the moment…

…the complete and utter exhaustion of trying to force my body to kick start labor when it just wasn’t ready, and Aayden wasn’t ready…

…the physical pain – not from contractions but from all of the measures trying to induce the contractions…

…the shock of ending up in an operating room and realizing one of my biggest fears of childbirth – being conscious and splayed open on an operating room table…

…the overwhelming joy and relief that Aayden was alive and healthy…

…the enormous love for my husband as I saw him become a father…

…and the immense and all-consuming love I had for Aayden the moment I set eyes on him…

…just to list a few of the highlights over the 6.5 days in the hospital.

Part of me just wants to hit the Publish button and put this blog post behind me and move on. The other part of me feels like it’s really, really important that I get every detail correct and explain it. I’m not sure why I feel so strongly that I need to capture that week just right. It’s probably part of my postpartum anxiety and my OCD that seems to be cropping up now and then. So here I am…still reading and revising how I convey Aayden’s birth story. I tried my very hardest to summarize the journey so this could be one post… but alas I’m too verbose and so this will be spread across four different posts. So buckle up! 

As a little background info, I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes when I was 30 years old so I had been managing it for almost 10 years when I became pregnant. All throughout my pregnancy, I was crazy neurotic about managing what I ate, creating a food log of every single thing I put in my mouth…even down to the individual almonds (yes, I counted them out). I didn’t eat any refined sugar. I actually didn’t eat much fruit either because it would cause my blood sugar to spike for my hourly blood sugar readings that I was required to take by my perinatal doctor. I ate very little carbs. I was hell bent on not being put on insulin, as I was threatened with this during my first perinatal appointment at 13 weeks despite having great blood sugar readings at that time. At around 26 weeks pregnant, my primary care physician ordered my normal blood work and my A1C came back at 5.4%, which isn’t even considered pre-diabetic… it was totally normal! Despite my OCD and despite the fact that I kept fairly active throughout my pregnancy, walking everyday and doing prenatal yoga three times per week, I started struggling with my hourly blood sugar readings during the last 8 weeks of my pregnancy. I learned from my doctors that your A1C is an indication of your overall health but the hourly blood sugar readings are more indicative of the baby’s health. So regardless of what my blood work showed, the hourly blood sugar readings are what counted. So it was at that time that I was put on insulin. That, combined with my blood pressure that slowly but steadily increased throughout the course of my pregnancy, caused my doctors to decide to induce me. So I was scheduled to be induced on Sept. 1, which was 11 days prior to my due date.

September 1: Alex and I arrived at the hospital at 5pm, our appointment time for checking in and beginning the induction process. When I went to my last OB appointment 5 days prior, I wasn’t dilated at all. So we knew that we would likely be starting from scratch for the induction. Despite arriving on time, it was a full moon and Labor & Delivery was still full of women giving birth so a room wasn’t available. We waited in the lobby for 4.5 hours on couches that looked like plenty of women had broken their waters on them. At 9:30pm we were finally taken to our room. After the COVID test (hello, you touched my brain with that test!), all of the paperwork, background info and everything was finalized, it was around 11:30pm when the nurse administered Cervidil – a vaginal insert (kind of like a tampon) that is placed against your cervix to help encourage dilation and softening. I was told that other induction methods would be used later on (e.g. Pitocin), and I wouldn’t be allowed to eat once I started that. So Alex fed me one last meal in the hospital before getting started. Btw, we packed more food and snacks for our hospital stay than anything else. (We didn’t pack too many clothes and at one point several days later, Alex had to go back to our house and get more clean clothes for himself.)

Once the nurse inserted the Cervidil (btw not the most comfortable experience), I was also outfitted with all of the monitors – one for the baby and one to monitor my contractions. I went into this process thinking that I would do it without pain management drugs because I wanted to be able to move around during the birthing process. I have struggled with chronic back pain since my early 20s and one of the key ways I manage that pain is through movement. So it was really important to me that I be able to move around during the birthing process, especially knowing that women can feel contractions a lot in their back (also known as back labor). What I failed to understand was that because I was being induced, I would have very limited mobility because of the monitors. I had to be constantly hooked up to the machines. It became immediately evident that I would not be moving much from the bed, and I was laying in the most uncomfortable bed but anticipating what was to come. Nerves and excitement – it was finally happening!!

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