Walter’s Birth Story

One thing that I have learned is to never expect your delivery experience to
go a certain way. Each of my kids have entered this world so vastly different,
and it is probably one area of my life that I go in with zero expectations
except wanting a healthy baby.

A week ago I had posted our 38 week update, so here is the story of how
things changed over the next 48 hours.

On Saturday, I was having a couple contractions every hour. My back started
hurting. My anxiety started ramping up, so I called the OB on call line to talk
through where the threshold would be of when to come in. Through that
consultation, they advised me that we did not need to head to the hospital since
Walter was still moving enough in an hour’s time.

Sunday, it seemed that more symptoms started piling on: contractions more
regular, brutal headache, and some blurry vision. Walter had also severely
decreased his movement. He was normally fairly active after I eat, but he was
maybe kicking once every couple hours. I was supposed to document at least one
hour that had 10 movements. By the time that the Chiefs game ended that
evening, I was freaking out. I called the hospital again, and this time the
nurse recommended that I came in to at least get observed on the monitors.

So around 7:30 pm we packed up our hospital bags just in case and kissed the
kids goodnight. (My mom lives with us, so we are fortunate that we didn’t have
to wait for someone to come and be with them. It also meant that there was some
normalcy for them.) I wasn’t quite sure what to think. Would we would be coming
home or not? I even mentioned to Tom at least it is still fairly early in the
night if we do have to come back home.

Once we got to the hospital, I got all strapped up to the monitors, and we
heard the sweetest noise of Walter’s heartbeat. I had a wave of peace come over
me knowing that at least he was ok in there. They also gave me an IV of fluids.
The doctor’s came in and said they wanted to monitor us for a couple hours
before making a call on whether to send us home or keep us. They did reiterate
several times that Walter looked perfect!

I was having contractions about every 9 minutes at this point. I was only
dilated at a 3 though.

I can’t remember the exact time, but it was enough time that Tom and I were
able to watch all of Christmas Vacation. I also want to note that the nurses
said I could eat so Tom went and got us a variety of snacks while we waited and
enjoyed the movie. It was so weird to me because every other delivery I was
basically forbidden to eat once I got in a hospital gown.

Anyway, a couple hours had passed, and the medical team came in to discuss
options. The doctor gave us two scenarios. He said that my symptoms were mild
enough that they would be comfortable sending us home and waiting it out for a
more natural progression. My blood pressure had been higher the whole time we
were there, and it spiked while the doctors were in the room. So the second
option was to induce based on the fact that I have chronic high blood pressure
and did have some other pre-eclampsia signals starting to flare (headache and
blurred vision). We asked him which option he would recommend if he were in our
shoes. He said he would lean towards the induction since we were at 38 weeks. I
was ecstatic to hear this as an option because I just knew I couldn’t
reasonably be able to stay sane and calm if we went home. The thing about
anxiety is that it doesn’t always make sense, and the doctor was giving me a
safe solution to have this baby.

We settled in and called our families to let them know we were having a
baby!

They started the pitocin at 1:15 am. It was a different experience for me
thought since I was not on magnesium for my blood pressure. Thankfully, even
though my BP was elevated, it was not in a place where it warranted the devil
that is the mag drip. I also didn’t have a catheter, so I was able to get up on
my own. While I could not walk around freely because of the monitors, it was really
nice to get up to go to the bathroom on my own. Those beds are not comfortable,
and I know that being confined to them is an element of my previous experiences
that really brought my mood down.

They came in about every half hour to increase the pitocin. While the
contractions were increasing in length, at this point they were nowhere near as
painful as I remembered with the other two.

I was so excited though that it was all happening that I really only slept
an hour that whole night.

At 4:30 am, I had only progressed to a 4. In order to go higher with the
pitocin, they wanted to break my water. While they did so, the doctor said she
could feel Walter’s head. It was happening!

The contractions started increasing. I was holding off on the epidural as
long as possible because I really did not enjoy the catheter experience I
wanted to minimize as much time as possible with that. But I did finally
request it around 7 am. Unfortunately the request was delayed due to two
C-sections that were occurring at that time.

At 8 am, they checked my cervix again, and I was only dilated to a 5. The
contractions I was having were pretty intense at this point as well. They ended
up needing to break my water again. It was at this same point that I was able
to get the epidural. I was in tears at this point from the contraction pain, so
the process of getting the epidural set went pretty fairly quickly. I will note
that they never did get a chance to put in a catheter.

It was at this point, that things moved so quickly it is hard for me to
remember exactly what happened. The anesthesiologist kept trying to work the
epidural magic, but I was still feeling harsh pain like I never experienced
with the other two. I had a sharp searing pain in my lower left abdomen that
felt like I was being stabbed. And then a similar pain in my left thigh. It was
so bad that it was making me lose my breath. This was in conjunction with the
contractions basically being on top of each other at this point.

I don’t even remember how many people were in the room, but it seemed like a crowd had gathered to start
prepping the bed for delivery. The leg stirrups came up, and they started
telling me instructions for pushing.

I was having a hard time focusing though because the epidural was not
working. I felt like someone was attacking my body with a knife and squeezing
the life out of me at the same time. I kept saying “this is not ideal”
through the tears.

The anesthesiologist gave me as much of the epidural as he could, but it
seemed as though I would be feeling all of everything.

And so the pushing began. We did four rounds of pushing before Walter shot
out of there. I will say that it felt like an eternity, and in my head I
thought he was stuck. They kept telling me he was right there, but to me it
didn’t feel like he was moving at all. Feeling all of it due to the epidural
failing was not ideal…

But eventually he came out like a rocket and so did so much amniotic fluid. Both Tom
and I commented on the amount of stuff that spewed everywhere this time.

At 9:24 am, Walter was here: 7 lbs and 8 oz, 20 inches long.

At this point the epidural did kick in which I guess was helpful as I pushed
out the placenta and got stitched up.

They put Walter on my chest for a brief moment while Tom cut the umbilical
cord. But they soon took him away to check his breathing.

All the amniotic fluid that shot out with Walter also went into his lungs,
and he was having a hard time breathing.

I could see the pediatric team flock around him, but I couldn’t hear him
cry. I kept leaning over to Tom saying something is wrong. I had flashes of
what happened with George come through my mind. Tom did his best to reassure me
that this was so very different, and that it was unlikely that the NICU was in
our future again. They kept Walter for about a half hour. During this time they
were giving him oxygen and suctioning out any fluid. Tom went back and forth
between me and Walter to check on both of our progress.

Finally they were able to give him back to me, and very quickly they were
trying to get us moved to a post-partum room.

I was kind of in shock at this point because the turnaround never happened
so fast for us. The epidural was wearing off and my blood pressures were
steady. Walter was beautiful and perfect and breathing fine.

Around lunch time we were settled into our post-partum room. It is just
insane to me to think back on all of my experiences. Tom and I were still
fairly anxious since it was later in the afternoon after Daphne was born that
my hemorrhage happened. However, the doctor’s had taken some extra precaution
throughout the delivery and then checked my belly every 15 minutes to help push
anything remaining out.

Tom went and got me Sonic corn dogs, and we settled in for our stay. The
hospital policy is to stay at least 24 hours after the birth. And due to the
pandemic, we did not have any visitors, so it really was just a waiting game at
this point.

We watched several Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore romcoms and played rounds of
Rummy. We switched off sleeping to monitor Walt. He was gurgling after he was
fed, so we wanted to make sure that he didn’t projectile vomit anywhere. I also
don’t think I changed a single diaper while we were there. Tom really rocked
that duty!

The next morning came and we were out of the hospital by 12:30.

Y’all I wasn’t even in the hospital for 48 hours to have this kid. We just
had so many complications throughout the other two deliveries, it was unreal
how calm this one was. George was there for 2 weeks, and I was there for 1. And
with Daph we were there for almost 5 days.

Tom and I were sure they were going to hold us over for some reason, so we
were practically running to get out of there once the discharge papers were
given.

Looking back, I would have loved to have the experience of my water breaking
naturally and not having to be induced, but I am happy with how it all turned
out. While not having a successful epidural was not ideal, this was a great
delivery for me. I never thought it was possible, so it was amazing to have a semi-normal experience.

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