Curran Joseph Fleshman
17 May 2014 | 5:29am
6 lbs 1 oz | 19 inches
In the weeks prior to Curran's birth, I had this grand idea that I would get this post done and officially introduce Curran while in the hospital after he was born. Everyone swore I'd have so much down time to fill so I might as well get it done then, right? Oh, what a silly girl I was. One month later and I'm finally here to write down his birth story.
I was already scheduled for an induction on Friday May 23rd at 39 weeks because of my preeclampsia, but things ended up moving a bit more quickly when I went in for one of my twice weekly monitoring appointments on Thursday, May 15th and my blood pressure was higher than it had been in a couple weeks. I had a little headache at the appointment as well, but since there was no immediate cause for concern, they sent me home with the usual instructions for coming in to Labor & Delivery for headaches that don't go away, drastic swelling, etc.
That afternoon my headache quickly got worse. I tried the max dose of tylenol--no relief. An hour later I tried lortab, and still nothing. I called L&D for their recommendation and we decided I would stay home for the night, go to bed early, and see if perhaps some sleep would help the headache go away.
Off to bed I went, but every time I woke up in the middle of the night my head was still pounding. Around 6am on Friday I called L&D again to follow up, and given my high blood pressure the day before and my persistent headache, I was told to eat a big breakfast and then come in, and it was likely we wouldn't be leaving for a while. Joey and I had a feeling I had made it as long as I could with the preeclampsia and that this was it, so we went ahead and gathered the last couple items for our hospital bags, made sure the pets were fed, and headed to the hospital.
Once at L&D we started the usual routine for my headaches with blood draws, IV fluids, lots of questions, and contraction and fetal monitoring. My blood pressure was also taken every few minutes, and despite trying to relax, was hovering around 150/108. Not good. I was then given phenergan and IV tylenol to try to get my headache to go away, but even after a couple doses of both my headache hadn't changed. We talked with the doctor and weighed the situation and we all decided it would be best to go ahead and admit me and start an induction. We were definitely having this baby! Right before I left triage to be admitted the baby's heart rate suddenly dropped so all of a sudden I had nurses hovering over me and I was put on oxygen for a few minutes until his heart rate bounced back.
Around 11am I got settled in to my birthing suite and started a dose of cytotec to ripen my cervix since I was only 1 centimeter dilated and 50% effaced at the time. Joey and I ate lunch and then he went back to the house to get Remy and take her to the family that was going to watch her while we were at the hospital (thanks, Monroe family!). He got back around 4pm and thats when things started to pick up a bit. Because I still had a headache despite trying several medications to fix it, plus the blood pressure, his small size, and a handful of other symptoms, I was diagnosed with severe preeclampsia, which meant that I'd have to be on magnesium sulfate for the rest of labor plus 24 hours after giving birth. Magnesium sulfate works by inhibiting the central nervous system in an attempt to prevent potentially fatal seizures while giving birth. And because it inhibits the CNS, from that point on I wasn't allowed to get out of bed and I wasn't allowed to drink much of anything either. So not only was I bed ridden and couldn't drink anything, the dose of magnesium sulfate was so large that it made me feel panicky and like I had the flu. It really was miserable.
At the same time I started the magnesium sulfate I was also given pitocin to induce labor as well as antibiotics because I was Groub B positive--I'm telling' ya, between the magnesium, antibiotics, pitocin, IV fluids, and tylenol, there were tubes everywhere. I even had two hep-locks for it all.
I don't remember too much about the rest of the afternoon and evening; I'm not even sure what time the contractions really started--I think for quite a while I was more focused on how much my tailbone hurt and the fact that I couldn't get out of bed and stretch. But I do know that around 8:30pm the contractions were really rollin'.
Now up to this point, I had planned to give birth without an epidural. I had prepared ahead of time to do so and had several coping strategies ready to use. Joey had prepared to help me achieve this goal and we even had a secret word so he would know if I truly couldn't do it, without anyone pressuring me for pain relief. And once I learned I was going to have an induction I still thought I could get through it with my coping methods. However I wasn't anticipating the magnesium sulfate. Just about every method I had planned to use was conditional upon being able to move around and get out of bed, which I no longer was allowed to do. I tried to hold out but the back labor was so intense and I felt so stuck, not being able to get out of bed, and I just couldn't cope. Around 9:30pm I ended up getting an epidural. It wasn't my ideal, but I think overall it ended up being the best option for me (and the best option is different for every woman). Before the pain had even faded, my blood pressure rapidly fell through the floor and baby's heart rate dropped again. I think more than that happened too but I felt so weak and out of it I wasn't really sure what was going on. Suddenly I had about four doctors and just as many nurses in my room watching me, on guard if things didn't turn around. An oxygen mask was put around my head for the rest of my labor and after a little while we both perked back up and I was able to relax and get some sleep in between the nurse rotating me every half hour.
We think my water broke some time in the middle of the night and by 4am Saturday I was fully dilated and ready to go. Around 4:40 I started pushing and things were going really well. I could still feel pressure and could feel when I had a contraction and was overall feeling pretty good about the experience. Then all of a sudden the doctor said in a somewhat hurried, stressed voice "we've gotta get him out now". More doctors and nurses rushed in once again and they explained to me that his heart rate fell again and wasn't coming back up and I would need an episiotomy so we could get him out (and I'm confident I could've done it without the episiotomy if I had the time and he wasn't struggling so much). So after about 50 minutes of pushing, Curran arrived. His cord was wrapped around his neck and body and he was purple and silent. They showed him to me for a second before quickly cutting the cord and rushing him away to the other side of the room to make sure he was ok. I remember feeling worried and scared for a split second but just as quickly I felt a sense of peace and calm and knew he was going to be just fine. Joey was able to go over and see him while I was stitched up. Luckily it didn't take long for Curran to make a speedy turn around and before I knew it he was on my chest, staring up at me.
When I created my birth preferences I wrote that I understood that things don't always go as planned and my requests were made under the assumption that there would be a lack of high risk or emergency situations. This was the attitude I had during my pregnancy and I'm glad I did because it made it a lot easier to go with the flow when things didn't go the way I would've hoped. From intermittent monitoring to no routine IV fluids, delayed cord clamping to immediate skin to skin contact---virtually nothing from my birth preferences made it in to my birth experience. But it actually was ok. I felt I was treated with respect and I had a couple great nurses that had my back the whole time and made sure I didn't have to go through any more interventions or procedures than was necessary. Overall we were very happy with our experience.
In the weeks prior to May 17th, Joey and I were having a hard time making any concrete plans to celebrate our two year anniversary, and it looks like it turned out for the best. Sure, Curran totally crashed our anniversary by coming two weeks early, but we couldn't be happier. I mean, what better way to celebrate the love we have for each other and the eternal family we created two years ago than by welcoming a handsome little boy that we made together into that family?
We're so, so glad that our beautiful baby is finally here!