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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Week 39: Introducing Baby Girl Curtis

BGC fans, we would like to introduce you to
Ella Katharine Curtis!  Born 11/12/14 at 5:26pm weighing 7lbs 6oz and measuring 20.5 inches.

But let's back up a bit (quite a bit- we've had a delay in posting this... because we had a baby).

Well folks.... there we were just waiting...
So Monday morning (Nov 10) started out with our usual weekly visit to our midwife.  Meg and I drove separately since she had to go to work after and I was planning to work from home for the week.  We went into the exam room and the nurse's aide did the normal tests she does (weight, blood pressure) when I looked and saw my BP was elevated.  I mean *elevated* above the immaculate numbers I've had my whole life including pregnancy. They immediately had me give a urine sample to test for protein and, unfortunately, they found trace amounts.  They then took blood to have fast-tracked to test for other levels (mainly seeing how my liver was handling things). All signs were pointing to pre-eclampsia.

We were going into this 39 week appointment with the hopes of a membrane sweep to kick things into gear.  My midwife attempted, but said my cervix wasn't dilated AT ALL (damn!). The midwife told me to go ahead to our scheduled ultrasound and that we would then go up to Labor and Delivery for an NST (Non-stress Test).  The test involves attaching one belt to the mother’s abdomen to measure fetal heart rate and another belt to measure contractions. Movement, heart rate and “reactivity” of heart rate to movement is measured for 20-30 minutes.

What BGC's thinking with
this waiting game.

BGC looked great on the ultrasound and the tech guessed at the time that she weighed about 8 lbs. We went up for the NST and my blood pressure remained elevated.  The blood test results came back with some additional elevated levels which made the midwife on call encourage us to go ahead and induce.  Midwives don't like to use intervention, so we knew if they were suggesting it, we should do it. From there we checked in to a Labor & Delivery room. It was very surreal.

View of Boston and the Charles
from our labor room
Meg doing grad school
work by bathroom light
They started me on Cytotec (dose every 4 hours) to help ripen the cervix and start contractions.  I was also hooked up to many monitors watching my blood pressure, the baby's heart rate and the contractions.  After just one course of the meds they were seeing some reaction, which was a positive sign. We did some laps around the labor and delivery wing while I still could and both sat on our
laptops in between.  These gifs don't find themselves, people.  The nurses prepared us that the induction process can take between 2-3 days and that doesn't include labor!

The "Before" Pic

We ended up doing 5 cycles of the Cytotec at 4 hours a cycle going overnight.  We transitioned through nurse/mid-wife shift change-overs and became well-versed in all the menu options of room service (we recommend the grilled chicken sandwich- add bacon).  With each staff change came a new opinion on "the plan."  By 11am on Tuesday the new midwife on-call said she would have stopped Cytotec after the 3rd cycle!  Great, so we just wasted the last 12 hours...

We then decided to change over to Pitocin which is a synthetic oxytocin (hormone to move along labor).  It is administered to increase contractions which then helps you to dilate so you can move into active labor and give birth.  I was given "Pit", as they call it, for several hours, several more sweeps- I had cryotherapy on some questionable cancerous cells in my cervix when I was 20 and it created scar tissue that was now inhibiting dilation so the midwife had to "break them up" by had- with no change.  We then decided to insert a Foley Balloon.  It is a rubber balloon on a tube inserted into the cervix then filled with water to weigh down on the cervix to increase dilation.  I asked them to make my balloon a doggy.

This process of waiting on the balloon to do its work combined with Pit-caused contractions every 2.5 minutes went on for 8 hours unmedicated until I could barely form full sentences and most of those words included expletives.  I was given sweet, sweet relief with some pain meds and I had advanced to 3cm dilated.  Exhuasted and hanging onto sanity by a fingertip, I got an epidural put in at 11pm. on Tuesday.  It was magical.  Why hold off on pain meds?  It can slow down or even reverse the dilation process and, even though we still had things to try on the room service menu, we were done living in a hospital and wanted to meet BGC.  Overnight we were only able to get small patches of sleep as BGC's heartrate would go down when I would have a contraction.  The nurses would continuously move me and have to reposition the contraction/baby heart rate monitor belts to stabilize her- but on a positive note we also developed a friend crush with our nurse Jody.  We later found out that the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck, which was causing the decelerations. But everybody is ok, guys.

How I wanted to mess with Meg if my water broke 
I will say this.   Dr. John Bonica is my personal hero.  He's not a doc at Mt. Auburn. This dream angel invented the epidural.  By mid-day Wednesday we found out that I had dilated to a 4/5- finally!  And my water broke on its own.  We upped the Pit and by 4pm I was 10cm dilated and I was feeling contractions which was odd as... you know... blessed, blessed hoohaa drugs.  The midwife finally came in and said... "Um, I'm touching her head.  It's time to push!"

After 3 sets of a couple of pushes Ella popped out, almost too fast for the midwife to catch her!

How Meg felt about the "birth" of
the placenta
My "push gift" from Meg

Meg watched the baby come out AND cut the cord! For those of you who know us in real life, you know that's a big deal!

Grandpa Jeff

5 minutes after our healthy nugget was born a nurse asked us if a very curious and anxious man in the waiting room outside of Labor and Delivery was ours.  We said yes and Meg's dad was able to sneak in to meet "his baby"- who was born on his 60th birthday. We will always win "Best Present EVER" award from him for life.

Long story short (too late) I would recommend an acid enima before I would recommend being induced, but sometimes you don't have a choice, and we got this little nugget in the end and I'll get to hold this over her head when she's a teen. #motherhood

Stay tuned for our next post- Holy Crap, Someone Gave Us a Baby.
Good thing we practiced!

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