Nurse Suzie’s Birth Story
Pregnancy and birth after loss
I spent most of my pregnancy wrapped up in anxiety. Years of infertility and recurrent miscarriages caused underlying thought patterns of “is this real,” “is he going to make it,” and so on. But aside from the anxiety, which we treated with a small dose of Zoloft, my pregnancy felt manageable and uncomplicated. What a relief!
When I entered the 3rd trimester, I went into the prenatal testing unit twice weekly for non-stress tests to monitor the baby’s movements and heart rate. During my infertility journey (which you can read about here) we discovered that I have two clotting factors, and I need to be on Lovenox (blood thinners) during my pregnancies to prevent clots in the placenta and me.
Lovenox injections add a layer of complication to delivery. If you take your Lovenox shot within a specific window of delivery, you can’t get an epidural for a vaginal birth, and if you have a cesarian section, you need to get general anesthesia. The idea of this happening really scared me! I didn’t want to be coming out of GA to welcome my baby, and I am not great with pain. So, my doctor and I decided to schedule me for an induction on 2/26/2022 at 39 weeks. This way I could time my last Lovenox shot and still get an epidural or spinal.
The day finally came – 2/26/22 – we waited SO long for this moment. It’s a strange thing being a first-time parent on the precipice of your whole world changing in a flash. You can’t really prepare for this time in your life. For us, it was a normal day; we had our bags packed, went to visit my parents, and then headed out to a friend’s birthday party before arriving at Pennsylvania Hospital at 10 PM.
Once we got checked in, the nurse and resident did an exam and administered Cytotec to help me dilate and stimulate labor. After several hours we were moved downstairs to the L and D unit, where we began Pitocin and I got my epidural. FYI! If you have scoliosis, like me, tell the anesthesiologist because you want to make sure they get the epidural placement right the first time. Well, guess who forgot to say anything? Me. I labored for several hours in excruciating pain – a lot in my back – but only one side of my body/leg was numb. My nurse finally convinced me to get the epidural redone with a different doctor and it made all the difference, I was able to get a little break from the pain and rest while we waited for my cervix to keep dilating and for the baby to move down the canal (AKA move into the active stage of labor).
I labored for 34 hours – yikes – before finally getting to 10 centimeters and fully effaced (baby ready to come out). Looking back, I think I could do it without the epidural. I labored mostly on my back and it was very uncomfortable. Next time, I plan to go without an epidural so I can move my body, walk, shower, etc.
When the attending came in to have me start pushing, she mentioned that “taking Lovenox for early miscarriage doesn’t really have enough data to support it.” I am sharing this part because I want all of you reading this to know that some healthcare providers simply have bad bedside manner. I was so shocked that she felt the need to comment on something like this when I was about to push my rainbow baby out – after all we’d been through – she clearly saw my chart and this is what she decided to say? Simply know you are not alone, and sometimes we have to learn to let comments like this go and not respond.
Once the attending left the room the nurses, residents, my husband and I got started on pushing. I love that the resident was so hands on in providing perennial massage to help prevent tearing. I swear it saved me! I pushed for an hour and 40ish minutes (not too bad for a first birth) and then at 01:28 am on 2/28/22, my baby came out into the world and took his first breath.
I thought I would cry and sob, but I didn’t. I think my fear took over, and I was utterly shocked that I did it. That we did it. That our rainbow baby was here on this earth and breathing. Pearse forever changed my world and the meaning of life.
I don’t know who will end up reading this, but thank you for taking time to read this post. If you are going through pregnancy loss or infertility, I hope this story gives you hope to keep going! You can find my postpartum blog, here!