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Feel the adrenaline: The birth of Rush C-Section

Feel the adrenaline: The birth of Rush

"I was so scared that something was going to go wrong. I had never read about a placenta abrasion and wasn’t really able to process that everything was going to be OK because of the overwhelming way the contractions so quickly sped up and gained momentum."

Setting the scene
Last Thursday I had a blog post scheduled to publish early in the morning in which I declared I had reached the 37 week milestone. That has since needed to be revised because—SURPRISE!—our handsome little man decided to grace us with his presence at 36 weeks and 6 days. I had gone in for an OB appointment on Tuesday of last week and had very little change in my check in comparison to the prior week—this was good news. I had surpassed the more concerning early delivery timeframe and I had indications I was going to be pregnant longer. That is good when you’re talking about cooking a baby! So, the minimal change was something I was grateful for, though that thankfulness was mixed with a little confusion. Everyone on my medical team, and really everyone in general, expected that I would deliver early and likely even earlier than with my last pregnancy. So, as I surpassed these milestone delivery dates of my first two children, my heart grew content with the fact that our baby would reach a healthy gestational age + also grew in angst because quite frankly, it was feeling like I went overdue. Here I was, having anticipated already delivering my bundle of joy and reframing my mindset to think I could actually be pregnant for three more weeks. It was quite an adjusted frame of mind.

And then it happened. The contractions began o

n Wednesday, November 8. I tried not to focus on them too carefully as I had just changed my mindset from I should have already delivered by now to it’s not happening anytime soon.

The day of labor
I dropped the girls off at their preschool last Wednesday and came home to work, but I really wasn’t feeling great in general. I was struggling to be productive and actually had to lay down in the morning for a half an hour in effort to feel like I could make it through the day. When I got up, I began having some contractions that I would estimate were about 30 minutes apart. I had to drop our dog, Nova, off at the groomer and run an errand, so off I went after getting minimal work tasks accomplished. I decided I was going to treat myself to Chipotle for lunch on my way back because, well, CHIPOTLE! I picked it up and drove home, still contracting every 20-30 minutes but they all were very manageable. Just noticeable, not all too uncomfortable.

I set up my computer in my bed to work for the afternoon because really, I still wasn’t feeling well. I began working and eating – and my first clue that labor was imminent should have been the fact that I only took about 5 bites of my burrito bowl before deciding I just couldn’t eat anything. I worked a bit, got the call from the groomer that Nova needed to be picked up and went along my way. It was when I went to get her that I realized the contractions were more consistently 20 minutes apart, with some a little closer. But, still nothing too painful. I wasn’t having to stop and work through any of them, just noticing them more.

I let Mark know that I was having more contractions than usual, to give him a heads up. But, I also reassured that I’d let him know if I thought anything was really going to happen. In all of my pregnancies I’ve experienced lots of contractions in the weeks leading up to delivery, so I never let myself get too caught up in them.

When I picked up the girls from preschool, I was contracting during the ride, during the car seat buckles, on the way home, getting everyone in the house. At this point, it was the end of the day + I knew Mark was coming home and the contractions were getting to be more consistently 10(ish) minutes apart. Honestly, I still didn’t feel much pain, only discomfort now at this point. Every once in a while there would be a longer space between contractions, causing me to believe that they would taper off at some point that night.

When Mark came home from work I had dinner ready but absolutely no appetite to eat. I just felt off, but we went about our evening and I tried not to focus too much on the timing of the contractions for a while. We played and went through bedtime routine. I was exhausted, though had a plan to finish up and schedule the previously mentioned blog post for the next morning and get into bed REALLY early. Mark went downstairs to do some work there. And then everything changed. No longer was I going to be able to go to bed early. Somewhere between 7:30-8:00p my contractions jumped from 10 minutes apart to 5 or less and the pain increased significantly. I had to stop what I was doing and work through them at this point. I went downstairs to tell Mark of the change of status. I think I said something along the lines of, “Um, I think I’m actually in labor now.” I was going to give it 15 more minutes and then call the OB office to give them the update, but it was slightly less than 15 minutes that the deep breathing and pacing around through contractions became my personal notice to call right away.

Of course the L&D nurse said to come right in, especially since my last birth happened SO fast. In addition, she said, “Yes, sounds like things are moving along and you know what this is all about! You’ve done it twice before! We’ll see you soon.” Funny though how I was thinking to myself, I’ve done this before but still just don’t want to have a false alarm. Mark’s mom arrived at our house to stay with our sleeping girls and off we went to the hospital at just after 9:00p.m

The drive
The drive was quite interesting. I was breathing through contractions, trying to find my zen-like place and Mark was sweetly trying to provide encouragement. I just wanted silence. Though when I glanced at the clock and recognized my contractions were now only 2 minutes apart (!!), I kindly (?) told Mark to pick up the pace. Upon arrival through the Emergency Department, it was evident to everyone around me that I was in labor. They wheeled me right up as I breathed through more and more contractions along the way.

The delivery
I was mentally prepared for this delivery to go FAST. Sylvie came so quickly that I just expected I would arrive, I would be nearly fully dilated with no time to even contemplate an epidural and out our beautiful bundle of joy would arrive. But, of course I was wrong. When the nurse first checked me upon arrival, I was only 4 cm dilated. 0.5 cm more than I was on my check up the day before. To provide a reference, when I arrived with Sylvie + contracting a little less often, I was 7 cm! I couldn’t believe I was only 4 with such painful, consistent and close contractions. The nurse was very encouraging about the stat – reaffirming that things can start slow, but again my anticipation was the complete opposite. She did also notice that I had some extra blood upon check. This had not started before arrival to the hospital. She left the room to get supplies to get an IV started and I got up to go to the bathroom. What happened next really shook me.

When I went to the bathroom I began losing a LOT of blood. A large clot (larger than an apple) was expelled from my body and I was heavily bleeding. After I panicked, called for Mark and made it back to my hospital bed, my nurse came back and we began talking through this bleeding. During this timeframe my contractions were back to back to back and growing more painful. I cried because I had a moment of panic based on her reaction to the blood and the uncertainty it all made me feel.

My nurse kept asking me if this felt different than with previous deliveries. She said blood loss can be normal but they are keeping a close watch on me. To make a longer story short, it was determined that I had a partial placenta abrasion. This can cause blood loss in excess and contractions to be increasingly painful + close together. All signs and symptoms I was experiencing. My contractions were now approximately 1 minute apart but I hadn’t progressed much more than an additional cm at my next check. The baby’s heart rate was being monitored closely because the stress of the placenta abrasion could cause distress in baby, too. The medical team advised that I quickly get an epidural because in the event of the baby going into distress, I would need an emergency C-section and without the epidural, I would have to undergo general anesthesia. I consented as I tried to work through contraction pain that was far worse than I had ever experienced. I didn’t want to have to go under general anesthesia should my delivery become emergent.

The epidural took well over an hour to place. At that point my contractions were every 30 seconds with no break or space between them. Mark couldn’t be in the room at the time, so I was working through everything with my nurse who had no answers about why the contractions kept getting closer and closer together. She was sweetly standing in front of me, letting me hold her hand but I was still bleeding and growing impatient from the time it was taking to get relief, mostly because I was so scared that something was going to go wrong. I had never read about a placenta abrasion and wasn’t really able to process that everything was going to be OK because of the overwhelming way the contractions so quickly sped up and gained momentum. Once the epidural was (finally) in (after midnight), it took quite some time for it to start working and within that time, my blood pressure plummeted to somewhere around 70/30. My body went into shock and the anesthesia team had to administer epinephrine to help “bring me back to life” is how I would describe it. The epidural was finicky. There was some adjusting done multiple times and as Mark was by my side + I finally had some relief, I just told him how nervous I was. If I’m going to be honest, I cried. Hard. He assured me things would be okay, because he always looks at that positive side. He held my hand as the contractions began to fade a bit + as the nurses suggested I get a little bit of rest and recovery before delivery, he sat with me to find some zen once again.

I was getting additional IV fluids and my blood loss + vitals, and baby’s vitals, were all being watched carefully.

I laid quietly for about an hour when the pressure became so strong that I was feeling the need to push. I could feel the contractions rising and falling, no sharp pains, and then felt a pop and warmth. Oh yes, my bag of water and more blood. There was a new nurse who came in because my original nurse was in another delivery. (Side note: Of course when I’m ready to deliver there would be 4 other deliveries at the exact same time, dividing the medical team among them all.)

I certainly wasn’t wrong about the pressure. The baby was low and I was ready. The resident arrived and checked for herself, proclaiming yep, this baby is right there.

And just like that, with only one contraction and two pushes, our sweet baby entered the world with a big, big cry. Mark announced IT’S A BOY and at 2:01a, that sweet little boy was laid on my chest and while I sobbed tears of joy, I thanked God for this child.

 

Mark and I were over the moon to meet our little baby and were completely surprised by his gender. It took a little while for us to process it all – the labor, the delivery, the BOY! But, we savored that time together just the three of us. Our (unnamed at the time) baby, laid on my chest and nursed on and off for his first two hours of life. He latched like a champ and I was just in awe of his perfection. It was late, but my I just birthed a baby adrenaline kicked in and I snuggled him during our transition to our hospital room. I felt accomplished; I felt proud; I felt so much love. {CRYING like a baby as I relive these moments!}

Rush’s entrance into the world is quite the eventful story — just like Sylvie’s. (If you haven’t read that, it’s here.) He was 6 lbs 10 oz and 20 in long. He was actually my biggest baby by a few ounces and juuuust about the longest baked Boettcher! ☺️ We finally decided on his name but I had a moment of when the nurse asked us what it was. I think it was a mix of still not believing we had a boy and the fact that we had really only picked a few boy names just in the couple days leading up to his delivery that made me have to re-think what we were going to name him. I mean, Mark gave me a strange look when I answered the nurse “I’m not sure yet” and said to me, didn’t we already name him? Yes, indeed we did, it just took me a minute to get my bearings straight with this BOY of ours!

I want to give a huge thank you to the medical team at Froedtert OB. They always provide the best care particularly for my high(er) risk pregnancies and supported me to make the best decision for me + baby during this delivery and its complications. Though my OB was out of town the week I delivered and my original nurse was caught up in another delivery while I pushed Rush out (yep, that would happen to me), the team that was with me was SO encouraging and so sweet. They made our special moment of meeting our son that much better!

As for now — We are happily exhausted in our transition into a family of 5! Mr. Rush is a really chill babe so far and his sisters are over the freaking moon about helping with ALL things baby. It’s super cute and sometimes super unhelpful (Patience is a virtue, right parents?!). We often have to remind Maven that there is a lifetime of diaper changes ahead of us when she melts down if she misses one. We certainly have little mommas on our hands and the way they take care of their brother is absolutely precious! And, the way our family has expanded has made my heart explode.

Thank you, thank you for the love and support during my (uneventful) high risk pregnancy! I cannot wait to share more of our family journey with all of you.

Send us your birth story! Whether you had a home birth, hospital birth, 37-hour labor or emergency C-section, we’d love to read the tale of your little one’s grand entrance. Write up your birth story (click here for tips on getting started) and email it, along with a few photos, to birthstory@pnmag.com. We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!

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