One year ago today, I gave birth to my youngest son. It was not the birth that I had planned, but then again, I am not sure how many births actually do go according to plan. What actually happened was pretty much the opposite of what my husband and I had been planning for. If you are the type of person who enjoys reading about the experiences of other people during labor and delivery, read on. If you do not wish to read a birth story, check back here later in the week for a non – birth story post. Some people find reading birth stories helpful in preparing for their own labor and delivery, others find them unhelpful, so read on (or not) at your discretion.
The first time that I gave birth, it was in a hospital. I was diagnosed with preeclampsia ten days before my due date, and I was induced. Although I was unable to have the water birth that I was hoping for, I was able to deliver vaginally. I also opted for pain medication when I had planned to go without it.
When Dylan was almost two years old, I became pregnant again. My husband and I agreed that we did not like the hospital birth experience, even though it was in a “birthing center”, and we decided that I would seek prenatal care from a pair of home birth midwives. They were wonderful young women, and they helped me to take very good care of myself during my pregnancy in the hopes that I could avoid a second run – in with preeclampsia. During my pregnancy, I ate a very nutritious diet and I exercised religiously. Everything was looking good, and I was excited to start preparing for a natural home birth.
About a month before I was due, a urine test revealed that I might be developing preeclampsia. My blood pressure was on the rise as well, which was another troubling sign. My home birth hopes slipped away as my care was transferred to a hospital about an hour from my house. I went for an ultrasound so that the doctors could see whether my declining health was affecting the baby. I was nervous, because I know that premature babies require intensive care and can encounter many complications during those fragile first weeks of their lives.
At that appointment, I received both good news and bad news. The good news was that my due date had been calculated incorrectly (due to wacky menstrual cycles, not bad math) and my little boy was in fact fully developed and measuring at forty weeks. I breathed a huge sigh of relief, even after I received the bad news that I did in fact have preeclampsia so I would need to deliver him the next day. I was told to go home, pack my bags, and return later that evening with my husband.
The next part was the fun part. My husband knew that I had gone up to the hospital for an appointment, but he had no idea what I was going to tell him when I called him at work immediately after the appointment. I told him that the baby was full term, and that he would have to be delivered the next day. There was a brief moment of shocked silence on the other end of the line, and then he told me that he would let his boss know of the change in plans and meet me at home.