I can’t believe Marek is already a week old! He is incredible in every way. He eats like a champ, sleeps like a champ and poops like a champ, just like everyone hopes their baby will. So now that he’s sleeping and I have a minute I figured I would share his birth story. Warning: its long!
It was clear around 34 weeks that my blood pressure was increasing and I was starting to show early signs of preeclampsia. I started wearing compression socks which helped with the feet/ankle swelling and started weekly biophysical profiles to check up on the little guy.
A biophysical profile is an ultrasound that checks for 4 things to make sure the baby isn’t in distress, amniotic fluid level, gross movements (whole body), limb movement and practice breathing.
At our 36 week BP my fluid level had dropped from 15 the week before to 7, which is below the cut off for healthy fluid levels. They put me on bed rest that day and had me strictly watching my blood pressure.
At my 37 week appointment my fluid levels were still low, I started spilling protein and had elevated liver enzymes. Also by that point my hands were so swollen I felt like I had arthritis and my face had started swelling too (which are both bad signs of preE.)
My OB, who is also a good family friend (and I really REALLY wanted her to deliver me) was out of town until Monday so we agreed I would wait out the weekend, get another BP on Monday and then go it for the final call on Tuesday. The BP showed that Marek had barely grown in 2 weeks, which was the first time he wasn’t on the high end of the growth scale.
At our appointment the first thing she did was check my knee reflexes (which were insane, I almost kicked her). Hyper-reflexivia is another bad sign of preE. She agreed he needed to come out STAT and checked to see if he had dropped, he hadn’t at all so she advised us that C-section was the safest way to go. This was 11 am, we were scheduled for the next morning at 7:30 and sent home on strict bedrest and told to closely watch my blood pressure and call her at home if I got a bad head ache.
The most interesting thing to me was that at around 36 weeks I started getting a really strong sense that things weren’t right and he needed to be delivered, that feeling got stronger and stronger until it was almost unbearable the weekend before he was born. I felt physically awful but more importantly I had this impending sense of doom. My OB said that is actually a really important sign of preE and that it’s really important to listen to your body.
We showed up at the hospital at 5 am to get hooked up to the monitors. From there everything went like clockwork. We rested there until the anesthesiologist got there and briefed us. Just as my OB got there we got to see my parents and Blue’s mom (who flew home from a work trip on last minute notice). Also my OB’s nurse practitioner whom I’ve also seen since I was 14 got to be there for the delivery which was special since she was leaving town the next day. We all walked together to the operating room and got a few last pictures and then I went in to get prepped while everyone waited outside.
The epidural wasn’t bad at all and it was an interesting feeling to go numb while awake. It reminded me of going to the dentist, except it was ½ of my body and not just ½ of my mouth… Once they put the curtain up Blue got to join me and hold my hand. The procedure itself was a little surreal since you can hear them talking about what’s going on but you can’t feel anything.
I got a little nauseous but the anesthesiologist was on it and put in some more meds to fix it.
Hearing his first cries was one of the most incredible moments of my life, it was so instantly relieving to know he was safe and everything was going to be OK.
Blue got to stand with him and hold his little hand while the neonatologist checked up on him and he got to cut his cord.
Once he’d been cleared by his team of doctors Blue got to bring him to me to kiss and it was so incredible to see his perfect little face.
I stayed in the operating room for quite a while while Blue left with Marek and the nurses. My OB cleaned up some of the endo that had spread since my last surgery and then stapled me up. I spent a little extra time in post-op because my temperature had dropped a little low.
The most important things I remember hearing during the procedure were “he’s so high up there we’re going to have to use the vacuum” clearly he wasn't going to drop on his own! “The cord is wrapped around his foot” which turned out to not be a problem once they got it off. "There is a white spot on the placenta, we need to send that to pathology" the preE had aged my placenta which was probably why my fluid levels dropped and he stopped growing. And “I’m going to clean some of this endometriosis off your ovary.” Well, at least those were the things that made me the most nervous.
After we got my temp up and pumped some pain meds they rolled me in to my room and I got to hold my little man for the first time. I bawled. It was so incredible to hold him and kiss him and know that the last 3 years of hell were totally worth it.
And now to finish, here is our little man, peacefully sleeping today at the 1 week mark!