—Every Day Is Halloween
'Every Day Is Halloween' by Ministry.
N is for feelin’ normal one night a year. Artwork by Sam Heimer.
My blood pressure continued to stay high; so, they opted to retest my blood and conduct a 24-hour urine test on me to re-test me for preeclampsia. When I came in to drop off my specimen, my blood pressure was the highest it had been. They told me, after many days of being in and out of the hospital, that my labor would be induced that day.
They admitted me Tuesday morning. I took three doses of a pill to induce labor, but it wasn’t very progressive because I was on bedrest. My testing for preeclampsia came back positive, but just barely. By Wednesday morning, I had only dilated an additional centimeter. They told me the night before that they were going to speed up the process.
A little after 8 a.m. Wednesday, they sent me down to labor and delivery. Around 9, they inserted two balloons around my cervix to induce labor without medication. This process was fast and uncomfortable, but it effectively dilated me to five centimeters without me being on anything aside from fluids. This is when they elected to break my water and start Pitocin to bring my contractions closer together.
I did not cry out in pain or moan like I did with my first labor. I breathed through it, and despite all of the anxiety leading into it. I became 7 centimeters before I requested an epidural. This helped a lot. I did not have total numbness. I could feel my legs to a certain degree, which gave me control. I tried to breathe through the pressure and keep calm. I did well. Maybe TOO well. The doctor came in and told me the baby’s head was barely still inside. 10 centimeters of dilation, +4 station. Once, I got the hang of pushing again, it didn’t take it long until my son, Sebastian Aleister, made his way into the world.
He came out, this tiny, perfect thing. A full head of hair, big beautiful eyes. My partner was so excited when it happened. This is his first child. He held my hand the whole time, held back my leg, gave me encouragement and cut the cord. The hospital allowed us skin-to-skin bonding before even weighing him – 6 lbs, 9 oz, 19 ¾ inches long.
I did not need any stitches. My labor totaled nine hours. Other than the epidural, I opted out of all IV pain medication, and I did it!
The period following labor has been intense. I have anxiety disorder and the hormonal changes have made it much worse. My blood pressure did not go down after childbirth, which means I still technically have preeclampsia. I was sent home after three days, but I’m on blood pressure medication. Other than that, I have no other preeclampsia symptoms. I just have this ridiculously intense anxiety.
But I need to think about this positively. I had a really good labor and delivery. My first was very different. I was 18 years old with severe preeclampsia and a complication called HELLP Syndrome. They weren’t even sure I could have an epidural because my platelet count was so low. I was on a medication that caused me to feel paralyzed, and another to prevent seizures. My contractions made me scream. I was on complete bedrest, and couldn’t get up to use the bathroom. I was induced four weeks early. My son Trenton only weighed 4 lbs 12 oz, and I only got to hold him a minute before he was rushed off to be put under oxygen.
My body did go back to normal after his birth, but he wasn’t as strong as Sebastian is. We had to bundle him because he wasn’t able to retain body heat. He was very jaundice. He choked in the hospital and had to be suctioned. He bounced back quickly, but he was so frail in those early days.
This experience made me so terrified of what I was going to go through this time. I am glad that things are moving in the right direction, but I am still uneasy. I’m glad to be home with my son tonight, cuddling on the couch.
I am 38 weeks and 4 days pregnant. I now have pregnancy induced hypertension. I have tested negative for preeclampsia, and they think that my blood pressure issues are the product of my anxiety disorder. I’ve been in and out of the hospital with this. They read my blood pressure, I spike, they admit me, I calm down and drop back to normal in less than three hours every time. I am being started on vistaril, and being considered for induction. The funny thing is that all of my labs have come back perfect, and my son’s vitals are fine.