Ya’ll, life has been a whirlwind. My last update here was when I was 32 weeks pregnant. I felt pretty good, but that changed pretty quickly.
To follow along with my life in real time (or closer to it), be sure you’re following me on Instagram @findinglifessilversun.
We went on our babymoon summer 2021. Both of us were fully vaccinated, and covid cases were extremely low, so we chose a not-super-popular destination. We went to the Black Hills in South Dakota, but not to Mount Rushmore. I was 35 weeks pregnant.
We live close enough that we made it a road trip, and we stopped at my mother-in-law’s house in Wyoming for a couple days on the way north. Packing up the day before and loading the car before we left, I wasn’t feeling great. I assumed it was just because I was massively pregnant and overdoing it. But I didn’t start feeling better at any point on the almost 5 hour drive to my MIL’s house. Actually, after about 4 hours, I started feeling pretty rotten.
I was trying my best to hydrate, but I noticed I was getting puffy and uncomfortable, so I checked my blood pressure. It was way too high. At this point, I was also “borderline gestational diabetes” so I had to check my sugar levels 4 times per day with finger sticks. My OB had approved the trip, and when I messaged her she told me to keep an eye on it and not to hesitate in going to a hospital if something seemed off. So, compression socks, rest, hydration, sitting with my feet up as much as possible, etc.
My blood pressure didn’t improve the entire trip, and we had to modify a few days to be more restful. I still was able to do a surprising amount (like walk all the way around the base of Devil’s Tower), but I definitely was not as comfortable as I had been before 35 weeks.
Our baby shower (co-ed baby shower celebrating both of us and our new baby) was right after we got back. I picked a chair and parked it for 90% of the party. It was the end of June and I was hot, very pregnant, having blood pressure and sugar issues, and always tired. It wad absolutely fantastic though and I’m so grateful we got to have one! Everyone wore masks when they weren’t eating, and everyone was vaccinated. It would have been outside, but it actually stormed off and on all day so we had to move it inside last minute.
At 37ish weeks, I was almost induced due to preeclampsia. However, because I had preexisting hypertension, my OB decided to put me on “modified bed rest” instead (aka: spend as much time as possible lying down). There’s definitely a difference between a “rest day” and a “bed rest” day. The bed rest helped my blood pressure stay down closer to normal and I stopped passing protein in my urine, but if I did even mild activity my blood pressure would soar and I’d feel awful. I was already on beta blockers before getting pregnant, and even an increased dose wouldn’t control the “borderline preeclampsia” anymore. It was a “try to keep your blood pressure down so the baby can keep growing for as long as it remains safe for you to stay pregnant” situation, which definitely takes a significant toll on the pregnant person’s mental health!
My mental health declined very rapidly near the end of my pregnancy, without much warning, due to all of the medical issues I was suddenly experiencing, and the decline was likely paired with a hormonal shift. I begged to be induced, which shocked my OB since I’d wanted things done with as little intervention as possible. But, after explaining why, she scheduled me as soon as she could.
I’ll post the detailed birth story later. I was induced with Pitocin only because the baby had decels (their heart rate drops when a contraction happens) while they were hooking me up to everything. Pitocin leaves the system in 5 minutes, so if there is an emergency with the baby not tolerating labor they can turn it off immediately. All of the other induction meds can’t be turned off, so are too risky to give when the baby is already showing potential signs of not tolerating labor.
Because of my polyhydramnios, it was taking a lot of Pitocin to get adequate contractions. Usually, they won’t turn Pitocin up past 20, and most women don’t even need it turned up that high. At 16 with my water having been broken, I still wasn’t getting “clinically significant” strength to my contractions, though they were frequent enough. The baby just wouldn’t get in a position that would allow for progress. I am pleased to say, however, that I only asked for some Tylenol and Phenergan because some of the contractions would make me nauseous. (Unmedicated, aka no strong pain meds, birth was a goal of mine! However, there was no need to deal with the nausea when there were meds that could take care of it. Unmedicated birth is not for everyone and I do not think one way is “better” than the other. You do you!)
I went to the restroom and then oh my goodness those contractions got painful! I was having contractions about every two minutes. I had about two on the toilet and was in agony! When I came out telling Dan I needed an epidural, he was shocked. I’d barely even had to pause through contractions before I went to the bathroom. He got me hooked back up to the monitor and that’s when we realized something was wrong.
Our daughter was born via semi-emergent Cesarean due to extremely dangerous positioning. The contractions got painful because she had managed to get both hands over her head, so her elbows were getting jammed into the inside of my pelvis. Being born in that position could have killed one or both of us, so she had to come out through the skylight!
I had them drop the curtain for me, and my first words were “oh my goodness, that’s mine!” It’s so surreal to dream of a baby for so long and see so many beautiful birth photos (of all kinds of births) and then realize that the “birth photo” you’re currently looking at isn’t a photo but is your actual daughter being presented to you!
We named her Eira, pronounced EYE-ruh. As a Norse female name, it honors the Valkyrie Eir, the Valkyrie of medical skill and healing. As our baby after three years of trying and so many procedures to conceive, that meaning just felt so perfect!
We joked about how she was drama from day one, making us go through so much to conceive her and then making such a startling and unpredictable entrance into the world… But we had no idea what was to come…
Footnote: And now she’s somehow ONE YEAR OLD! Her detailed birth story, and all the chaos that has happened in the past year, will come in separate posts… at some point! I have a better computer situation now, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to update more regularly again.