If you’ve been following my IG stories, you know that it has taken me almost 4 months to finally sit down and write this. I was fortunate to have an easy pregnancy, so when my birth didn’t go as planned I had a very hard time coping with everything that went down. I find it so crazy that my body is still recovering, even after what seems to be a long time, but I’m ready to finally share with you all how we brought Emma into this world!
I do want to forewarn you, its a lot. It’s a huge reason why I haven’t shared our story since I never want to be responsible for scaring someone who is currently pregnant, or to deter someone from having children. Usually when people ask me how it went, I only tell the good parts, which is how I try to remember it since there were some very beautiful moments.
On Thursday, May 21st I went in to see my midwife for a routine check up, 5 days before my due date. Because of COVID, we had not seen each other in person for 3 weeks. Typically, at the end of your pregnancy, check ups are weekly but because I was doing well and had no notable issues, we held our appointments virtually.
The first thing my midwife did was check my blood pressure, which was super high despite multiple tries. After seeing 146/105, she was really concerned and casually told me that I might be getting induced TODAY. WTF?! My bags were semi-packed at home, Marc was sitting in the car outside, there was no way I was having this baby NOW. After taking a urine test my midwife confirmed I had protein in my urine, which coupled with high blood pressure and uric acid in your blood could mean that preeclampsia has developed.
The whole time this was going on I was texting Marc (who was ecstatic at the thought of having this baby soon) and my mom so she could go to my house and pack all our stuff up. I got into the car and although Marc was so excited, I was losing my shit!
We got to the hospital, checked in and met our midwife in triage. They tested my blood and confirmed there was uric acid present, I was officially diagnosed with preeclampsia and was for sure getting induced today. I was excited and scared AF, but giving birth is the only way to cure preeclampsia and to prevent it from progressing. I was hooked up to a blood pressure machine which went off every five minutes. I was also hooked up to a baby monitor, Emma was doing great despite my condition.
We were finally admitted to our room after 3 hours – I’m not still pissed off that all my popsicles in the cooler we brought melted, I promise! The induction process then started around 11pm and the OB inserted a foley bulb. Please do me a huge favour and DO NOT Google how much it hurts to insert one. Everyone is different and my OB told me that some women have stated that it was worse than contractions. I of course hyped myself out, called my mom balling my eyes out that she couldn’t be there to hold my hand (thanks a fucking lot, covid), only for the procedure to be not that terrible. At most it caused cramping and some contractions to start. They also started an IV of oxytocin, cue meltdown number 2! Needles are not my thing, I am so beyond grateful that I had nurses who were so sweet about this and were super gentle.
After 3 hours, the foley bulb fell out. Despite some shitty contractions starting to come on strong, I opted out of getting the epidural until my water was broken. I was told by my very honest and cool af nurse that shit was going to get real once they broke my water, so I felt confident that I could handle the pain until then.
While I was waiting to get my water broken by the OB my nurse noticed I was walking funny when I got up to use the bathroom. She checked my reflexes and her concern was right, my preeclampsia had progressed and I was then put on magnesium sulphate to prevent seizures. All I kept thinking was, is this real life?! I was reassured by my nurse that she has never had a patient go into seizures while being on this stuff which made me feel a lot better, but seriously, WTF was going on?!
The OB finally came in and broke my water, and as I was forewarned, shit got real. My contractions started to get a lot stronger, even though I was only at 4cm dilated. I’ve been told that getting induced makes contractions so much worse than going into labour naturally, so although I wanted to wait until I was 5/6cm to get the epidural, I was in a shit load of pain and needed it ASAP!
The anesthesiologist came in and although I had stressed out more about getting an epidural over actually giving birth my entire pregnancy, I was in so much pain that I was ready for anything. If I can be brutally honest, I hyped it up to be worse than it actually was. Marc held me during the procedure, I didn’t feel any pain when it was inserted into my back and it went by pretty quickly. I would take getting an epidural over having an IV inserted any day!
Epidurals aren’t perfect, and it took an adjustment and a few hits of different drugs that the anesthesiologists had to come in and change in order to finally feel its effects. At one point I was feeling pain in the middle of my lower abdomen, and then out of nowhere I was in SO much pain in that area. At this point I was at 5cm, and the anesthesiologist topped me off so I was finally completely numb.
I started to feel pressure after that huge contraction, and the nurse checked me because that’s usually a sign that the baby is labouring down. She was shocked that I was fully dilated, since I was only at 5cm 20 minutes ago. We waited for my midwife to arrive and for Emma to continue labouring down and then it was time to push.
Despite everything I went through during my labour, birth was the most amazing experience for me. I was super pumped to give birth, and I road off the pressure in order to know when to push since I was completely numb. My midwife was fantastic at coaching me on how to breathe, and Emma was here at 10:36am after 13 minutes of pushing! They placed her on me right away, and she opened her eyes to give me the most annoyed look ever, haha! I know she was super comfortable living inside of me, but I did predict that I was going to give birth on May 22nd and I ALWAYS get what I want! Our little teeny baby weighed 6 pounds, and her head was so small it fit in the palm of my hand.
Our baby girl was here and Marc and I were over the moon! Then, all of a sudden, something went very wrong with me. My nurse noticed that I was bleeding, a LOT. She pulled out her pager and out of nowhere, about 12 doctors ran into our room. My OB started pumping my uterus as it had gone completely dead and my organs started to rapidly fall. This resulted in losing almost a litre of blood. There were doctors surrounding me stabbing me with needles to help stop the bleeding, adding another IV to my other hand to pump me with more drugs, it was insane! My midwife had pulled Marc and Emma away from the scene into the corner of the room and she was trying to show Marc how to put on a diaper, but when I looked over at them Marc was staring at me with the most terrified look on his face. I will never forget how white he went, and amidst all the craziness going on I yelled to him “FOCUS ON THE BABY, I’M FINE!”
The obscene amount of drugs flooding through my body at that point made me so sick that I vomited, and then I passed out from the blood loss. I was out for 2 hours, and during that time my nurses explained to Marc what had happened with my uterus going dead. Basically because I gave birth so fast in combination with my high blood pressure, it was too much for my uterus to handle. Since I only had Marc there with me, he did skin-to-skin with Emma and stuck his pinky in her mouth when she started to cry. Once I woke up, I was able to breastfeed her.
I did have to stay overnight because of my complications instead of going home to recover as planned, but Marc and I worked as a team to keep our new little girl fed and changed. I was bedridden for the first 12 hours after I gave birth, but as my health started to get better throughout the day my catheter, epidural and second IV got removed. Although the nurses and staff at Mount Sinai were fantastic, I really couldn’t have imagined giving birth and recovering without Marc. Having a baby, especially during the pandemic, has definitely made our relationship stronger, and I am so lucky and grateful that I was able to have him by my side through everything.
It took me a really long time to process what exactly went down after I gave birth. I had a ton of anxiety and convinced myself that I was going to go into seizures and die even after I got home from the hospital despite constant reassurance from my midwife that neither of those things were going to happen. It was so hard for me to cope with the fact that I was put on medication for my high blood pressure and was told that the preeclampsia can hang around for 6 weeks after birth. Each day got better though, I had a huge support group at home to help me cope with my trauma and I told myself every day that I was going to get better and be healthy again. I’m so thankful for Marc, my sister and my parents for being there for me when I needed them the most.
I want to end this incredibly long post on a positive note, and If you’re still reading this, thank you for taking the time to hear my story. Becoming a mother (I still can’t believe I’m a mom!) has been an amazing experience and worth everything I went through. It’s so crazy how quickly our little girl has grown, and spending everyday with her has made us the happiest we’ve ever been!