On Thursday, October 12th, I had a doctors appointment that showed my blood pressure was slightly elevated. Nothing too scary, however, I was told I needed to stop work immediately. I was also told I couldn’t run anymore. I was 37 weeks pregnant. Then, on Sunday, October 15th, we went to the hospital to check the blood pressure again, along with a blood test and urine test. Blood pressure was still raised, but other tests came back fine. However, I needed to have this baby in the next few days. An induction was scheduled for Wednesday, October 18th. I would be 38 weeks pregnant.
I am a very Type-A person who likes control and plans. So on paper, having a scheduled date to arrive to the hospital would be a relief. However, the days leading up to the induction stressed me out a bit. I’ve been to hospitals before for surgeries–but for those, you arrive, get prepped, get drugged up and put out, and wake up with everything all done and fixed. This time, I would be arriving at the hospital with an end goal in sight, but it would resemble a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book.
I won’t go into all the details of my induction, labour, delivery, recovery. But I am going to go over some key moments and takeaways. First, induction can be done a lot of different ways. My doctor opted to administer a pill orally every 4 hours. I received my first pill at 6:30 am, and in total I had four during the day. They didn’t seem to act super fast, and I just experienced manageable cramping during the afternoon. But once they did their job, labour hit HARD. When labour did hit me, the pain was not just in my lower abdomen (like I was assuming it would be). I had read about ‘back labour’ and pains all throughout your torso. Yeah…that’s what I had. MY whole lower back, wrapped around my abdomen, to my upper thighs. The induction drugs were overtaking my whole body and forcing it to go into labour—because otherwise, baby was completely content staying inside.
If you are planning on taking any medication for pain, ask for it early. I had originally thought maybe I’d try a natural delivery. Yeah, once the pains began I realized SHIT….NO. So I finally asked for morphine. Problem was, the doctor who could sign off on it was busy delivering not one, but two babies. So I had to wait. My husband thinks it was about an hour after we initially asked for it that it took to get it. Oh, and then during that time I barfed for the first time in my whole pregnancy.
I finally got moved from the induction area to a labour and delivery room. Here is where I let all the swears and bad language flow. The saving grace in this location was the shower. I just plopped myself on the chair and made Dan get in his swim trunks and hose me down like an elephant at the zoo. I was probably in the shower from 1.5-2 hours of my labour, as I was in there initially when we got into the room and then again later on when I realized laying in the bed was too damn painful.
After the shower, I decided FUCK IT I want an epidural. But, my body hadn’t progressed enough yet to get one. When my water broke and I was ready to get an epidural, they put the order in. But I had to wait….the anaesthesiologist was in the OR. Alright….if my labour now progressed normally I would still get the full epidural with plenty of time to spare. But, my body decided to kick into overdrive….it may not have wanted to be induced, but not that everything was working it started working FAST. I can say with certainty that the anaesthesiologist did not arrive in our room until 11:30 PM. I did not get a full epidural, as it was too close to when I would be starting pushing. But, I was numbed in my lower abdomen area. I started pushing at 11:45 PM. Baby Andrew Allen Pottage came into the world at 12:32 AM on Thursday, October 19th.
Let’s give a shoutout to the nurses. Everything they did for us leading up to his delivery was first class. And we witnessed their hard work after he was born. He had some difficulty breathing initially, and there were about 4 nurses working on him in my room. They eventually took him and my husband down to NICU where he got hooked up to a breathing machine and IV. I stayed very calm when they all left the room, mainly because I knew he was in good hands. My nurse Carla stayed with me, cleaned me up, and even went to heat up my Mac & Cheese that Dan had brought me earlier that I never had a chance to eat for dinner. I got to head down to NICU with Dan later on at around 2:45 AM and we got to spend time with Andy.
I like to say that Andy knew how to work the system from the moment he was born. He only had that breathing tube in until the early afternoon of the 19th, and stayed in NICU to be observed until the early afternoon of the 20th. The NICU is brand-spanking new. It’s a Four Seasons hotel. The maternity ward is a Motel 6 (for the record, a new maternity ward is opening within the next month, and it’ll be right next to the NICU). Anyway, Andy stayed in style while Dan and I were slumming it. Andy came to the slums on Friday night so we could get one evening of him ‘rooming-in’ with us before being discharged. We were spoiled ourselves, actually, with him in NICU for those short 36 hours because the nurses there took care of his every need all while we watched and learned from a distance.
As we left the hospital on Saturday morning, it still felt surreal. Even though we walked out of the front doors carrying a baby in a car seat, it didn’t feel real. My pregnancy journey was now complete—it lasted actually a full year, if you take into account when we initially decided we were going to start trying, to when we had the miscarriage, to getting pregnant very quick after. 38 weeks pregnant with Andy and an early arrival…wow is all I can say. For me, being pregnant was like following a training plan for a race. I had weekly goals to meet, I had check-ups with my coaches (doctors) to make sure everything was on the right track. And when it came time for the big event, I worked overtime to get to that finish line. I think it’s fair to say that Andy is the best finisher medal I have ever received.