Just like that 12 weeks have passed and I told myself I would type this all out before my leave was over, here we are right in time. Time truly does fly with a newborn and toddler at home! There is never a dull moment and often times feels like we are a circus show, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. A nauseating pregnancy, a million blood pressure readings, to no rooms left at the hospital, to dropping heart rates, all lead to the most peaceful moment of delivery and meeting our baby boy. Our family is now complete with Jack!
Just like my pregnancy with Henry, around 35 weeks my blood pressure started to rise. My first offense of a high blood pressure reading, I got sent right into triage at the hospital to be monitored and to do some more testing. Thankfully, my blood pressure remained steady at the time, but had some flags in my blood work so was sent home with a 24 hour urine collection. Oh yes, I had to collect all my pee in a jug for 24 hours. It was just as glamorous as it sounds. With a gestational hypertension, borderline preeclampsia diagnosis the weeks to come were followed up with additional growth scans, monitoring and non stress tests twice a week until he made his appearance. Thankfully I was trusted to take my own blood pressure readings at home and call in with updates as needed. The nurses and I at my doctors office got pretty tight by the end of all this! Haha! Unfortunately my blood pressure was on a steady incline. Each time I went in for a check up, I knew there was a chance it could lead to a delivery. The ultimate goal was to get me to 39 weeks, but main goal was 37 weeks.
My 37 week appointment had come and as usual I was set up with the routine tests. As I was hooked up to the non stress test this time, my heart sank… it kept beeping, I knew something wasn’t right so much that I texted Nick telling him today is the day. When the doctor came back in, I was right, she wanted to get him out as my blood pressure was getting uncomfortably high and he wasn’t as safe and cozy in there anymore. It wasn’t necessarily an emergency, but we didn’t want to prolong it anymore. My induction was scheduled for the following evening.
We were now familiar with how our hospital handled inductions since it was now my second one. They call you when a bed is open anywhere from 9 pm- midnight. It’s kind of annoying, but I get why. Henry was sent off with my parents while Nick and I just hung out at home anticipating our call. Waiting, waiting, waiting, I get a call from the nurse saying it’s a super busy night and she felt bad leaving me hanging, but to come in at 1 am, there should be a room. So we headed to the hospital, got there right at 1 am like we were told and we waited, and waited, and waited. Active labors kept coming in and little old me had to wait my turn as they all took priority. At about 3 am, they apologized and decided to at least get things going, buttttt there still was no room for me so we set up in triage. At this point, I broke down crying. I was just so exhausted before the actual labor and delivery even started. If I could change one thing it would be how they handled this. Apologies don’t really cut it for exhausting a mother BEFORE inducing labor, in my opinion. Thankfully, we were in triage for about an hour before getting our room to get settled in.
Once we got to the room at about 4 am, it was basically time to just rest up and let the cervical pill do its magic. Though getting rest when adrenaline is running high can be difficult. A new day had begun at the hospital before we knew it and we met our new round of nurses. They started Pitocin to begin ramping labor up at about 9 am. I was managing well with the contractions fairly well, with bouncing on the ball, heating pads and counter pressure. I have to add that Lexi, my new labor and delivery nurse was a literal angel. She helped teach me all the tricks and positions that I had no idea existed at the time. Her overall presence and helped make for an extra positive experience, I just loved her! As things picked up I knew the time for my epidural was coming. I wanted one so badly, but the actual procedure of getting it last time was the worst part of my delivery. I shared my concerns and fears with my care team and they couldn’t have been more understanding and helpful. Lexi made sure the anesthesiology team knew me and my concerns so when the time came they’d be prepared for my anxieties about it. As I kept dilating the doctor suggested it would be a good time to break my water, but I may want to get the epidural first so I agreed. Chuck, from anesthesiology came in out of the gate with true empathy from my last experience and got the job done in like 5 minutes. Like what?! He did such a good job that my pain was basically gone, haha! Yes I remember their names because the quick relationships we built with their amazing care I didn’t want to forget them.
Things were progressing as they should, I was cool as a cucumber and was at about 8 cm, and suddenly the monitor kept beeping. Jack’s heart rate kept dropping. The mood in the room totally shifted. I picked up on the energy as I saw Lexi and the doctor talking knowing that something could be going wrong. I actually completely lost it, I was just so scared, I couldn’t stop shaking and making me need an oxygen mask. They assured me everything was okay and would be okay, they were just keeping a closer eye on me and Jack. Thankfully, his heart rate started to remain steady again after some time and everything went back to normal.
As time went on, they kept asking me if I was ready to push and I just kept saying, nope I don’t feel it yet even though my contractions had picked up to every 2-3 minutes. Thanks to my pal Chuck, I was carrying on conversations with my contractions with pretty much no problem. Finally, Lexi was like “Anna, do you mind if I just peak and see whats going on down there?” I said sure, so she did and she laughed telling me I was full dilated.
My original doctor got called in to an emergency c-section so we had the pleasure of working with another doctor we had never met before, but loved in an instant. She came in and agreed with Lexi that it was go time, so much that she asked if I wanted to feel Jack’s head before I pushed. So I felt his little head down there before one or two pushes and he was earth side. The cord was wrapped around his neck, which what was causing his heart rate to drop, but he quickly let out the sweetest cry. It was all so calm and surreal, I’ll never forget it. It was just me, Nick, our new doctor and Lexi the nurse… then Jack. Considering the slight chaos of pregnancy, his a actual delivery was peaceful as it gets. He happily laid on my chest for an hour, Nick cut the cord and there truly was an unforgettable calmness surrounding us. Though, at moments I was sad family was unable to met him due to Covid, the uninterrupted moments with him and Nick will be something I’ll always cherish. There was no rush to do anything but relish in our new baby boy. There he was, Jack Joseph Hinkle, in all his perfection.
When I think of his birth story, I often forget about the pandemic side of things. During pregnancy it was my biggest fear that he would need NICU time knowing he would probably come early and I would have Covid then be unable to be with him. Thankfully that didn’t happen and thankfully we were at a time in it all that healthcare workers were vaccinated to ease that concern. Though Nick had to wear a mask when someone would come in the room, they really didn’t require me to have one on during all of this …especially when in active labor. Overall, our thoughts were on our baby as it should be and not the pandemic which was actually really refreshing. We soaked in those following 48 hours at the hospital and I felt very safe with all things pandemic there.
Our stay at the hospital was smooth sailing and we really enjoying someone cooking all our meals for us, haha! We just love the hospitals food. But the time had come to be home and begin our time as a family of four. Little did I know what was to come.
The following week things went back to a stressful level as Jack was looking more and more jaundice and had lost more weight than they like to see. Nothing is worse than seeing your 5 day old screaming as they get blood tests. In the midst of this stress I noticed my legs and feet had swollen up like balloons and I was extremely dizzy. I immediately took my blood pressure and it was the highest it’s ever been landing me a trip to the emergency room. I was monitored, tested for preeclampsia and then was eventually diagnosed with postpartum hypertension then to be put on medication right away. It wasn’t how we envisioned our first week home, as we were barely home and we hadn’t spent anytime with Henry, my heart ached. I just couldn’t wait to spend time adjusting as a family of four. Thankfully by the following week before we knew it Jack and I were on our way to healthier days and a couple less doc visits.
With almost entire pregnancy of nausea, the continual blood pressure issues, I couldn’t be more thrilled to be back to a more normal everyday. Jack is worth all the trouble a million times over, but whew I’m so glad we are on the other side of it all!
Thank for to everyone who sent texts, messages, gifts, and food. Your love and care for us is so appreciative. I don’t take it for granted one bit!
And just like that this will be the last birth story I ever write. I cannot wait to watch my boys grow!