Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Birth, Part I

After a passionate start, my letters-to-future-baby blog withered on the vine. At some point I realized I had a lot to say to future baby, and as her due date drew near, most of it was not fit for public consumption.

The last few weeks of pregnancy were marked by thrice-weekly doctor visits for non-stress tests and OB-GYN appointments. I knew early on that the OB was going to angle for an early delivery, but I was still completely taken aback when I went for a routine checkup one Thursday at 37 1/2 weeks. I didn't go home again until I had a baby in my arms.

See, before little one came, I was beginning to really relish the last few weeks of pregnancy. Like, really relish them. I slept a lot. Although my blood pressure numbers crept higher, I wasn't particularly worried about it--baby was fine, according to all the tests she and I were getting. Plus, there were friends to see, meals to make, restaurants to try, and a hubby to snuggle. Like a pot coming to a boil on the stove, I was increasingly aware that once the LO arrived, things would change in ways I couldn't imagine. Frankly, I was getting cold feet, especially when I woke up in the middle of the night and knew that after a quick pee I'd be able to go right back to sleep in my cozy bed. From what I'd heard, that wouldn't be the case with a baby.

I figured once hubby and I finished our nesting chores--which were to culminate in the installation of closet doors of baby's future room--I'd really be ready. So after the nurse told me to talk to the doctor about my high blood pressure readings after my NST that Thursday, I was not prepared for what he was going to tell me.

"We need to talk about an induction."

"Really? My readings were totally normal two days ago. And you just said it yourself--baby herself is doing fine in there."

"Yes, her heart rate was normal. Now. But your readings are dangerously high. Pregnancy is making you sick, and the best thing to do is to have your baby. Go to Labor and Delivery and get a second opinion. But my recommendation is to induce tonight."

My shiny-scalped OB-GYN, usually so lighthearted and Buddhist, had a new, grave look on his face.

"Uhh, this is all happening too fast." I figured I'd try negotiating. "What do you say I go in tomorrow? That way I can go home, get my stuff, and maybe the readings will be lower."

Another new look crossed his face: annoyance. "Look," he said. "This isn't a negotiation. I wouldn't be recommending this if I didn't think it was important and needed to happen now."

I fought back the tears until I was out of his office. An hour later, I was in Labor and Delivery and again fought back the tears as another OB, this one even younger than myself, poked at my membranes through my cervix. "Yep," she said. "You're effaced and a little dilated. Your body is ready. You ready to have this baby tonight?" Her cheerful looked dimly masked the same stern expression the other doctor had, and I knew I wasn't getting out of it.

Through a choppy phone call to Steve I managed to convey to him that a) I was being induced and, b) please get the hospital bag and something for yourself to eat, as it promised to be a long night. After sending off a couple of texts, I cried a really ugly cry.

As I sobbed, I overheard another nurse tell an incredibly fit pregnant woman that everything looked great: "I'd recommend taking it easy on the exercise at this point, as it can affect your blood pressure. But you seem to be doing great. I see no reason why you shouldn't be able to go to at least 40 weeks." Lucky bitch. I was usually the fit, healthy one. The perfect birth that Steve and I had rehearsed and planned for wasn't going happen. I felt like some holy promise had been broken: the fucking closet wasn't installed.

It was to be the first of many incidents that were completely out of my control.

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