I found out I was pregnant with our second child on December 10, 2012. It was just one day before my sister’s birthday, but I couldn’t tell her. I made my first OB appointment for the end of January, just days before our daughter’s third birthday. We figured that her party would be a prefect time to make the announcement. Well, we ended up telling people earlier than that. My sister-in-law on the other hand was able to use my daughter’s birthday party to announce that she was pregnant, too. We ended up having our babies four weeks apart.
The day of my first appointment finally came and we all headed to my first doctor’s appointment. Everything ended up being just fine, but the nurse had a hard time finding the heartbeat and was told the doctor would try during her exam. If she couldn’t find it, I would be sent to get an ultrasound to check on the baby. She was able to find the heartbeat after a couple of tense moments. I scheduled my next appointment and we all left happy.
Spoiler alert! You won’t find out until the end if we had a girl or a boy. We like being surprised! Guess you’ll have to skip ahead or just keeping reading….
My next appointment was scheduled for the end of February and everything checked out fine again. I was asked during this appointment if I wanted to do the maternal quad test to test for possible birth defects. I said “yes” since I hadn’t had any issues with my first pregnancy when I got it done. I had the blood draw at the office that day and went about my business. That became one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made.
I remember it clear as day. It was March 4, which was the day before my husband’s grandma’s birthday. My husband had left for Mexico for a week for work and I decided to go do a little baby shopping in a nearby town. I was bending down to grab a box of Easy Ups for my 3-year-old when I heard the ring tone for my voicemail go off. Drat! I had missed a phone call. Standing in the baby aisle, I listened to my voicemail and heard the voice of one the nurses at my doctor’s office asking me to call her back. She said they had received some abnormal results from my quad test and they needed me to call her back. I began sweating and had a sinking feeling in my stomach.
I called back immediately and got the nurse that had left the message. She informed me that my blood work had come back with an elevated risk of Down syndrome and I needed a dating ultrasound to make sure the baby wasn’t younger or older than we thought. If he/she would have been, it could throw off the data. She told me they had an appointment set up for Thursday morning. I barely heard anything. I was just trying to wrap my mind around the possibly that something could be wrong with this little baby I was carrying.
I needed to talk to someone. My husband was on an airplane on his way to Texas. First I called my boss because I was supposed to work the day of my ultrasound. She said she would find coverage for me and to not worry about anything. I decided to call my mom at work. No matter the age, it can never be a good thing to get a call at work from your crying child. She tried to calm me down and did a bit, but I was still freaking out. I knew I couldn’t go to the ultrasound by myself and she agreed to go with me. I left Scott a voicemail to call me immediately. I got my 3-year-old a toy that she had her eye on, then left and started driving home. On my way home I called my sister and talked to her the whole time. I was just a mess. I just needed to talk to Scott and have him tell me everything was going to be fine no matter what the ultrasound found. I talked to everyone I could and read every article on the subject I could find, but I still needed to hear his voice.
He called me a little later, while still on the plane and I told him everything. He felt terrible that I was going through this without him. He was grateful that my mom was going with me. It was down right horrible being away from him. We both ended up contacting a pastor and his wife that we are close to and asking them to pray for the peace and strength to get through the next few days. I just pretty much cried all that day. And as if being pregnant and hormonal wasn’t enough to make me cry, my little 3-year-old came up to me and looked at me with her big blue eyes and said, “It be okay, Mommy.” (Yeah, I’m totally tearing up thinking about it.
The next few days passed very slowly. I dropped my daughter at daycare and picked my Mom up from work to go to the doctor’s office. We got there and the ultrasound technician was running pretty much on time thank goodness! I told her before she even started that we didn’t want to find out the sex. She took all her measurements and said the baby looked good and was dating a day behind my due date of August 16. Mind you, my mom’s birthday is August 17, which made her very happy. I asked the technician if she saw anything concerning and she said, “I’m not the doctor, but your baby is fine.” I had to stay to have the doctor read the ultrasound, too. She said she didn’t see anything, but wanted to send me to Indianapolis for a high-definition ultrasound just to double check. It was set up for March 11, the day before my 35th birthday. (I just noticed a lot of these things happened the day before someone’s birthday.)
Scott got home on that Friday and having him home made me feel so much better. The day of the ultrasound, my mother watched our daughter, so Scott and I could go together. It was a very jittery drive to Indianapolis. We got to the office and waited a few minutes to be called back. We went into the room and told the technician that we didn’t want to know the baby’s gender. She told us she would let us know when to look away because she would be able to tell the sex. She did all of her measurements and sent us down the hall to wait for the doctor and talk with a genetic counselor. The doctor said that he didn’t see anything concerning and the genetic counselor lowered our risk to a 1 in 500 chance of Down syndrome. She then offered an amniocentesis if we wanted, and we said we didn’t want one.
We were walking on air as we left. As we were walking through the doors leading to the waiting room, there was another couple sitting there waiting to be seen. The woman was obviously upset and crying. My heart went out to the woman and I was praying they would have the same feeling as we did leaving that office. Do not get me wrong; if our baby would have had Down syndrome, we would have loved him/her all the same. We just would have had to prepare a little differently.
We were just getting all the scary stuff behind us when my dad had a major health crisis that ended up with him in the ICU for almost a week. We nearly lost him. He said one of the things that keep him going was needing to meet his last grandchild. It was a very scary time for our family. And was quickly followed by my mom having both of her knees replaced and dad getting shingles.
For the majority of the rest of my pregnancy, things proceeded well. When I got down to the every two-week appointments, my doctor told me she was starting to get concerned that this baby might be bigger than my first (she was 8 lbs., 21 in.). She told me I had been measuring ahead since week 15 and if I continued to measure ahead then I might need another ultrasound to estimate the baby’s size. It was around that time that I started having protein show up in my urine. I ended up having protein during two visits in a row. The doctor ordered a 24-hour urine collection. Oh joy! I got to collect my pee for 24 hours! As if that wasn’t bad enough, I had to keep it iced down in a cooler until I took it back. The best part of that was Monday morning when I went to take the sample to the office and have my blood draw, I walked out of our master bath carrying the cooler. My daughter asked me if we were going to have a picnic. I informed her I didn’t think she would want what was in the cooler. I took it to the office, had my blood drawn and was called the next day saying everything was fine. Yeah!
I continued to measure ahead and ended up needing an ultrasound. Since I was measuring ahead, the doctor wanted to ensure I was able to have a vaginal birth and said she’d like to induce the day before my due date. I was fine with being induced since I was with the first as well. I got checked at 36 weeks and was dilated to 1 cm and was 50% effaced. Alright! Progress! I had the ultrasound at 37 weeks 5 days and the technician estimated the baby weighed around 7 lbs. 13 oz. The doctor still wanted to proceed with the induction at 39 weeks 6 days. She said if I had more cervical progress by the 39ish week appointment that she would want me to go in the night before to have Cytotec vaginally applied. I wasn’t too cracked on that. I did as much research as I could before that appointment, so I could make an informed decision if needed. Well, I ended up not changing and decide the benefits of the medication out weighed the risks.
She wanted to start the induction process the night of August 14. What?! Didn’t she know what was the season premiere of Duck Dynasty?! She said I would need to be checked in through the ER and I needed to be there between 8:00 and 10:00. We made arrangements with Scott’s mother to stay with our daughter through most of the length of my stay in the hospital. She got there around 8:00 that evening, we left around 8:45. I started crying. My husband had forgotten to put his wedding ring back on after the softball game he had played that day. (Am I a cool wife or what?! I’m going into the hospital that day to start having our baby and I let him play softball.) Anyways, since he twirls his ring when he is anxious of nervous we turned around to get his ring. We pulled in the driveway and I started crying again.
We got to the hospital ER and it was packed. I signed in and filled out our paperwork. Then we had to wait with, let’s just say, an interesting group of people. We waited around 15 minutes and were called back and given directions to labor and delivery. They were waiting on us and we got settled into the labor room just in time for the start of Duck Dynasty! Woo hoo!
We were about 15 minutes into watching the show when the nurse came in to start the IV. She looked and looked and looked for a vein. She tried to put one in the top of my hand and she couldn’t get it started. She called in another nurse and she tried my forearm. It ended even worse. I had a bruise the size of a golf ball with that one and it hurt! Ultimately they ended up calling a paramedic and he had it done in two seconds.
The nurse inserted the Cytotec a little while later and she told me I could go to sleep. Yeah right! With all the beeping, the fetal monitor whirring and Scott snoring, I maybe got two hours of sleep. She did turn the volume way down, but when I tried to move, it would come off and need readjusting. I had some mild cramping all night, but nothing bad. A second dose was placed six hours after the first. I was checked a couple hours after the second dose and was at 4 cm already. Per the doctor’s orders, the Pitocin was started around 9:30 and I told the nurse I wanted an epidural. It ended up being the same doctor that did my epidural with my first labor. He was terrific and I barely felt anything. The doctor came by around noon and broke my water. My parents came by a short time later and we all just hung out in my room talking. I don’t think I felt a single contraction.
At about 2:30 p.m., the nurse came in to check me and said that I was a 7 cm. I was pretty excited. I was progressing much quicker than my first labor, which was about 16-and-a-half hours. She said that she would be back in about an hour and hopefully have the baby in the next couple hours. Around about 3:00 p.m., I started feeling some immense downward pressure. It would happen with every contraction on the monitor and I was starting to have trouble talking through it. I just remember staring at the clock wanting 3:30 to get there. It was 3:28 when I told my parents they needed to leave and Scott needed to get a nurse in the room. They left in a hurry and Scott went to the doorway and told my nurse I needed her. She checked me and said “Oh! We need to get doctor over here. You are crowning.” The longest 15 minutes of my life was holding on for the doctor to get there. The nurses were prepping the room, while waiting on the doctor to get there. She showed up and it was time to push.
I had several rounds of pushing and was just able to get the head out. The doctor said, “I think if I make some room, the baby will be here.” I didn’t want another episiotomy again and told her I wanted to keep trying. She let me keep going and then said, “I really think the baby will be here is you let me make room.” I ended up letting her make some room for fear of tearing, which I was on the verge of, and the baby literally popped out! They were all screaming at me to stop pushing and I wasn’t. There was just so much back pressure, I couldn’t help it. Here is the part you have all been waiting for….
At 3:58 p.m. on August 15, 2013, we completed our family when Zachary Scott was born. He weighed 8 lbs. 1 oz. and was 22-inches long. No wonder I measured big! This kid was long! The doctor held him up and Scott said, “It’s a boy! We have to think of a name.” We had literally not discussed names. He vetoed one boy’s name and that was it. We both figured it was going to be another girl. As soon as they lay him on my chest, I knew his name was Zachary. It just popped into my head like he popped into the world. He was happy, healthy and very hungry. Our little family was complete with a little girl and a little boy. I think this only solidified our decision to only have two children. We have been very blessed.
He has been totally worth everything I went through, while pregnant with him. This pregnancy was much more mentally taxing on me. I really never got physically uncomfortable. It was just all the “stuff” that happened, while I was pregnant. Luckily everything ended up going well and my dad has been able to enjoy his last grandbaby.
Would you like to share your birth story? We’d love to hear it! Take a look at our “What’s Your Story” post to find inspiration and direction.
Many thanks to Allison Grenert for sharing her story. Also, read about her first birth “Birth Story: Leaving Dignity at the Door.”