Want to read Part 1?
Andy and I went on a baby moon from June 13-17. We used our annual anniversary trip to Whistler to also use it as an opportunity to have a final vacation as a couple pre-baby.
It was a wild departure from our usual active vacation, which typically includes lots and lots of hiking. Instead we would sleep, swim, eat, and watch TV. I would nap at least once a day and take a bath in the deep soaker tub in our condo. Someone had given me the advice to take epsom salt baths to handle the intense swelling I was dealing with as a result of the high blood pressure. We bought huge bags of the salts and I would dump easily a pound or two into the water and almost float with the buoyancy.
My belly would make getting in and out of the tub a little treacherous. I felt constantly off balance and had to move slowly. The blood pressure medicine I was on also gave me very low energy. We’d take a leisurely walk around the Village or on an easier trail, but it was usually 20 minutes at most. The last visit to Whistler had included a full 8 hour hike with a picnic in the middle, so the contrast was stark.
We came home from Canada and Andy had a weekend of work ahead of him, which I spent doing low key activities like prenatal yoga and lots and lots of couch time with my feet raised.
That Tuesday, June 21st we had our now usual non-stress test followed by an appointment with my OB (it was an OB week, the week before vacation was a midwife week). A non-stress test is where they put sensors on my belly to monitor the baby’s heart rate and movement and track my heart rate and blood pressure. The last few I had passed with no problems. This one the technician thought was a little high, even though the readings were roughly the same as they had been in the weeks before.
She brought it to my OB, Dr Story, who told me that I was going to be sent to Swedish hospital again for observation and there was a very good chance that I was going to deliver. This was a full 3 weeks earlier than our even earlier due date. I started to cry. Like I said before, I couldn’t recognize why at the time and thought it was purely fear. Now I know it was a sense of failure for our son. Dr. Story told us to go home and pack a bag and then head to the hospital.
At home we quickly put our hospital bag together. Fortunately we had been talking about the contents for weeks (ok, I had been talking) and it was relatively easy to actually put together following our vacation.
We arrived at Swedish and I walked to the triage area where I was admitted and given the battery of tests including being hooked up to a fetal monitor again. Shortly thereafter we were given a room in the antepartum wing. It was a big, gorgeous room with a huge window that looked out over downtown and the water. The unfortunate thing was how much damn heat would come in, so after the first day, we would close the blinds as the sun would come in and try to keep the room cool.
The first day was all about getting a baseline of information. They were appropriately concerned that I would develop preeclampsia. Dr Story told me later that for most women with gestational hypertension (as I had), preeclampsia can develop and become critical in a matter of hours, which is why close monitoring was so important. I had to pee into a bowl so they could monitor my liquid output. For real. Fluid retention was a big concern.
Nothing materialized that day. Except my blood pressure being high, it was all normal.
Wednesday my best friend arrived from LA. Our baby shower was going to be that weekend, so he and my family from Florida were coming to celebrate. We had one scheduled for Saturday morning and Sunday evening. I kept my hosts updated on the progress and my friends quickly decided to cancel the Saturday event. We weren’t sure if I was going to be in or out of the hospital, but they seemed to think canceling was the right thing to do.
I was hopeful I was going to be out and could attend the one on Sunday evening with mine and Andy’s families and my best friend, who was going to be my son’s godfather. Wednesday also proved uneventful. We just spent the day watching West Wing, meeting nurses, getting lots of consultation from doctors. A team of doctors came in at one point and said “If we were on call tomorrow, we would induce you.” The evening doctors would come in and say, “We want to wait to induce you.” Basically every 8 hours when I would have a new doctor, the plan would shift.
At one point on Thursday I had a doctor tell me that there was a good possibility I could go home if I could keep my blood pressure stable. This woman would turn out to be the naysayer of all the other doctors. Doctors would come in and make a plan and she would be on the next shift and change it back. I got my hopes up about going home and being on bed rest at home. It turns out there’s a joke with the nurses at Swedish, “No one comes to a hospital to get sleep, they come to get well.” We were not getting any sleep and I wanted my big, cozy bed with the bedroom AC on at home. I was barely moving during the day because nurses and some doctors were scared of me being out of bed for laps around the hospital floor. But I knew if I stayed in the hospital room I would go fucking insane. The lack of activity made sleeping at night even harder.
On Friday my doctor, Dr Story, was finally on rotation at the hospital. He came to my room and I told him about how the doctor the day before had said I might be able to go home. He delivered the news that I was not going home until I had a baby. This is when he gave me the info about how preeclampsia could develop very quickly and at this point they knew it would come for me, they were just waiting until it got bad enough to start an induction. I told him I needed some stability with the planning. I told on the other doctor and how she had altered the plan already a couple times and could he please tell everyone to stick to something so I could prepare appropriately?
He agreed that the back and forth was likely the most stressful thing for me and had a lengthy chat with the other doctor. We heard from the nurses later that they actually had a bit of a public argument over my care and Dr Story laid down the law about keeping it consistent for me.
Saturday morning, after arriving late the night before, my mom, brother, and sister-in-law came to visit. We had a blast chatting and checking in. My sister-in-law was coming to the end of her first trimester so they kept activities low key and would visit twice that day.
Sunday morning the doctor on call, Dr Flum, saw my numbers were becoming elevated. My BP wasn’t getting any better, despite a high dose of Labetalol, and there was now elevated protein in my urine.
We would start the induction that evening.
All throughout this, Andy and I were routinely calling Kim, our doula, to give her updates. She came to the hospital almost every day to check in and we practiced birthing positions with things like all the fetal monitors and the potential for an epidural in mind. I was not interested in being in pain for long and was constantly reviewing my pain management options with the doctors and nurses.
That Sunday evening my sister-in-law, Malorie, Andy’s sister, moved our baby shower to the hospital. We had dinner and cake and opened gifts. Andy and I watched Game of Thrones with my brother, his wife, and my mom afterwards.
My nurse let me take a shower and then we got set up. I had an IV in my wrist with 4 ports that I lovingly called my keychain. My IV stand, Pepe, was filled with Magnesium Sulfate and Saline. We were ready to go.
Up next I’ll give the play by play of my almost 3 day induction and how we finally met our baby.