As I type this, my sweet, soft, cuddly, adorable, amazing baby girl is sound asleep on my chest. We are home, healthy, safe and sound, and I thank my lucky stars that everything went relatively well this time around. So here is my last birth story…
After our false alarm on Sunday, I was feeling pretty down. I moped around most of Monday, and I had convinced myself that Rory was going to make me wait way longer than I’d planned. But at my doctor’s appointment on Tuesday morning, which I went to on my own just in case I ended up being sent to the hospital, my blood pressure was up again. This had started the week prior, and every time since, it had been high (like 140ish/90ish) the first time it had been taken and then had gone down again enough that they would not completely freak out. But pre-eclampsia had been thrown out there as a possibility, and after never having even a slight blip on my blood pressure radar, I was nervous. Again, it went back down enough that Dr. Minton sent me home, but he told me to keep an eye on it with my home monitor. Also, my cervix was at 3-4cm dilated, 50% effaced, no longer posterior, and “like butter.” He told me he thought they would be seeing me soon, but even if I ended up needing to be induced, my cervix was very favorable for an induction. I got the schedule of doctors on call for the rest of the week so I knew who I would hopefully be seeing soon and made a follow-up appointment for Thursday at 3:30 but told the ladies at the front desk that I would NOT be there. This time I was right!
I got home from my appointment, picked up the boys and headed straight to Future Flipz for open gym gymnastics play time with some friends. I knew the boys desperately needed to get out of the house and run off some energy and they were SO excited when I told them where we were going! They had a blast playing while I tried to take it easy and chat with friends, but I was feeling pretty decent at the time. We picked up Chick Fil A for lunch then headed home to eat with Dada.
At lunch I started feeling a bit “off” so I took my blood pressure and it was back up again, so I rested on the sofa for a bit and tried to relax and bring it back down again. But when I took it a little while later, it was at 145/90, the highest yet, so I called my doctor’s office and they told me to head in to triage at St. Joe’s again to get checked out. Dr. Jaeger, the most induction-happy doctor in our practice, was on call at St. Joe’s, so I just had a feeling that if my blood pressure was still up that he would want to induce me. Once again, we got all of our stuff packed up for the hospital and my mom came over to get the boys. I kissed each of them goodbye in their carseats with a smile on my face, then hugged my mom while we both burst into tears, and I tried to hide them from the boys so I wouldn’t freak them out too much. I was definitely scared as we headed off to the hospital.
It was a very easy drive over the causeway again (phew, no baby on the side of the road for me!) and we got to St. Joe’s around 3pm, waited for a few minutes in the waiting room, then got taken back to a room in triage, which was open again after being closed on Sunday night for renovations. I got changed into a gown, left a urine sample, then got hooked up to the monitors again. My blood pressure was in the 130ish/80ish range when I arrived, but then I got comfy lying down and it went all the way back down to 117/74, my normal range. Seriously?? At this point I had kind of come to terms with being induced that day, and I was pretty ready to be done with this whole thing, but with my blood pressure back to normal, we were about to be sent home with another $300 co-pay. Or were we?
When Dr. Jaeger came in, he told me that my bloodwork was being processed, but out of all of the components of pre-eclampsia, I wasn’t showing any other signs except for the wonky blood pressure, so he wasn’t too concerned about that. He told me that our options were: 1) Induce now and have a baby. 2) Schedule an induction for later in the week. 3) Just wait for her to get here. He was much more in favor of option 2 because he didn’t want to stick the night doctor (Dr. Hinson again) with basically an elective induction to deliver, but he would leave the decision up to me. I told him that of the three I was least likely to go with option 2 because my insurance was going to charge me for today’s visit regardless, so if I was going to induce, I would rather just do it now. He said that in that case he was fine with inducing now, but let’s get this show on the road if so because I still had a thick cervix that we would need to get through before she could get here. I asked if we could have a few minutes to talk it over and he left us alone. Glenn and I have never been big fans of induction because we have heard so many stories about how they end in c-sections because the baby isn’t ready to come. But considering that my blood pressure was probably just going to go back up again at home (because hello, children) and we would probably just end up back over here AGAIN, we were really considering it this time. I was starting to feel like our stand against induction was just a $300 high horse at this point. The triage nurse came back in and we asked for her opinion. She said that the c-section inductions were usually first-time mothers who weren’t ready yet with impatient doctors who didn’t give them enough time, but considering it was my third baby and my cervix was favorable, there was no reason the induction itself should cause a c-section. No guarantee I wouldn’t still need one if the baby was in distress, but that could happen with any birth. She also told us how things would go (at least her version…it actually went differently): that I would get the Pitocin, get the epidural whenever I got uncomfortable, and that I would probably deliver sometime early morning.
We decided to go for it and told her to call Jaeger and let him know. He’d gone back over to labor & delivery at this point, but told them to go ahead and get me moving. While last time I had to be wheeled over on a stretcher from triage to labor & delivery, in active labor and very nauseated and on the verge of passing out, this time I got up and walked. I started having a few little contractions right before we left, and they continued on the walk over, confirming that yes, this was the right decision. But I was still SO NERVOUS to be going against what I’d previously believed about birth for the past 5 years: that the baby should be the one who gets to decide when they are ready.
We got to labor & delivery, got changed, met our nurse Janet, got hooked up to monitors and had the first of our technology issues of our stay at St. Joe’s. The blood pressure monitor, which was kind of important given my wonky readings all day, wouldn’t work! They tried a few new cuffs, new cords, then finally realized that the actual plug on the computer was broken, so I had to move over to another room, which also happened to be the same one in which I had Collin (L&D 5). They started my IV while they were working on the blood pressure cuff and got the fluids going (you have to have a whole bag of fluids and start the second before they can do the epidural). Dr. Jaeger came in to talk to us and said that he was planning to have this baby delivered before the shift change at 10:00, and I looked at him like he was crazy! He instructed the nurses to hook up my epidural first, then he would break my water, then they would start the Pitocin, which kind of freaked me out, but he told me that since I got to make the decision to induce tonight, he got to make the decisions on how we would do it. I guess that’s only fair. I just tried to take a deep breath and relax.
So epidural first. Dr. Rosen was the anaethesiologist this time (the third one for three labors), so his nurse came in and prepped me. This was the first time I wasn’t in pain when I got an epidural (very strange!) and all three were given to me differently…for Carter’s they had me lie down, for Collin’s I had to sit up but curl into a ball, for Rory’s I sat up with bad posture. Having an epidural placed is…WEIRD. It doesn’t really hurt, but it’s unsettling, and they always make the dads sit down where they can’t see what’s happening because it’s pretty freaky to have something placed in your spine! It still makes me feel a bit queasy to even think about it, so we’ll just leave it at that. I felt…exactly the same after it was in since there was no magical relief of my non-existent pain at this point, but I started to get tingly and the epidural shakes started. Total, uncontrollable shivering! Forgot about that part!
By 7:00 my epidural was in and Dr. Jaeger came in to break my water. Apparently her head was in the way, because he had a hard time getting it to break, which was pretty uncomfortable for me. But finally it broke, and they started the Pitocin. Pitocin has a bad reputation for causing painful contractions, especially when your water is broken (which is why he wanted me to get the epidural first), but I magically could feel NOTHING even though the monitor showed strong contractions about 2 minutes apart. Dr. J said he would be back around 8:00 to check me.
Glenn and I were both kind of in our own worlds, on our phones, trying to distract ourselves, but at this point he took my phone away from me, put them both on silent and put them both away. He told me we were having a baby and we needed to stop and spend time together, which meant a lot to me. He sat next to me, held my hand, and we just laughed and talked for the next hour. I don’t even remember what about, but we were both nervous and excited and trying to relax. The nurse offered to turn the TV on for us, but we decided to just keep it off and keep distractions to a minimum.
8:00 turned into about 8:30 and Dr. J came in to check me and said that I was almost there, and he would be surprised if I saw 9:00 as a pregnant lady. I was shocked! I thought he was just kidding when he said I would deliver before 10! He said he was going to go pace the floors for a few minutes, then he would put his booties on and be back in to deliver me shortly. A nurse came in to get all of the tools set up for delivery and the bustle in the air was tangible. I was so incredibly tired, which partially didn’t make sense because I didn’t really do all that much, but it partially did, because my body had been in active labor for the past two hours behind the scenes. At this point I started feeling a lot of pressure, which was a very familiar feeling…it’s BABY TIME!! They got Dr. J back in and he changed his clothes as I tried not to freak out that the baby was COMING NOW! Not even an epidural can hide the urge to push. The nurse predicted she would be out in two pushes.
They got my legs up into the stirrups, and since Rory looked fine on the monitor, there was no blind panic to get her out like there was last time with Collin. It was all very controlled and I was a lot more aware of everything that was happening. We did a few pushes to start, and Dr. J could see when I pushed why I had torn so badly with my first two, because my perineum was very short. After a couple more pushes, he decided to do an episiotomy to hopefully keep me from tearing (spoiler: it worked!). Around this time he realized she was face up, which makes it a bit harder to get out, which was why she wasn’t out yet. I could feel him trying to work my body to stretch and make more room for her, and it was really painful so I just wanted to be done. But it was relatively short–all together, I think there were about 5 sets of 3 pushes with a few more small ones before I could actually see her coming out of my body since she was face up, which was WEIRD but kind of awesome too!
The beautiful Rory Elizabeth Jean McKay was born at 9:06pm on June 3rd, 2014. They suctioned her out a bit, got her crying, then put her right on my chest, where she got to stay for a long time.
Once again, I cried when I first saw my sweet baby’s face for the first time. There is nothing that can prepare a person for the emotion of that moment! It’s just incredible how something that was still hypothetical up until that very moment becomes amazingly real. My friend Lauren told me when Collin was born that the minute you meet your second child, your heart doubles and you suddenly have enough love for both of them, and the same is true for the third child. (Oh my goodness, I still can’t believe I have a THIRD CHILD!!) The instant bond between a mother and baby is one of the most amazing forces in the universe. It’s something that you can’t truly understand until you have a child, but it’s the best thing ever.
After the birth, things got a bit dicey again. When it was time to deliver the placenta, nothing happened. He tugged on my cord and the placenta was stuck. Now back when I was born, my mom had a condition called placenta accreta, where her placenta actually grew into her uterus. Not fun! So for my first two pregnancies, I was very paranoid about inheriting this condition and made sure to bring it up with all of my doctors so they knew it might be a problem. Well this time I was so focused on the potential for a post-partum hemorrhage that I didn’t even think about it, and what do you know, I should have! Dr. Jaeger immediately asked for a banjo curette, which from what he said is a tool that the hospital doesn’t usually allow anymore, but they requested it and got one for him regardless. His comment was that it would be silly to have to take me down to the OR to do something he could easily handle right then and there with one basic tool. After they brought it, he used the banjo to help scrape my placenta out of my uterus, and then he actually stuck his whole arm up into my uterus to manually scrape out the rest of it in pieces. And if you’re wincing as you read that sentence, imagine actually being there when it happened! (Glenn was trying very hard not to pass out, and I was holding Rory the whole time and just trying to focus on her instead of on the madness going on a few feet away from me.) Thankfully, anesthesiology was there to boost my epidural and keep me pain free while everything was happening…my poor mom had to do it with NO anesthesia when I was born, and hers was worse than mine! My official diagnosis was a retained placenta, no accreta or anything more serious.
Once that immediate threat was dealt with, I imagine my episiotomy was stitched up (no tearing, woohoo!!), and once Dr. Jaeger was done, he left. I don’t even remember him leaving though. Everyone was still on high alert watching for signs of a post-partum hemorrhage. We had talked about giving me Methergine to help my uterus contract, but since I seemed to be doing fine, they just left me on the Pitocin for the next 24 hours as a precaution.
Once I was doing better, they took Rory over to be measured and checked. I called my parents to tell them she was here and Glenn took my phone over to FaceTime so they and the boys could see our little princess for the first time. Technology is amazing! She weighed 7 lbs even at birth, was 20.5″ long and had a 13.5″ head. Oh, and she was PERFECT!! (Her APGAR scores at 1 and 5 minutes were 9 and 9, I think she lost a point because her feet were a little bit blue.) Once they were done, they brought her back over to me complete with a standard hospital hat with a gauze flower on the side of it. I got to nurse her for the first time and she did great, such a relief. And the nurse brought ME some apple juice and graham crackers, which were heaven after a day of no food!
Finally it was time to go up to our room, and I couldn’t help but be nervous since this was where everything went wrong last time. I was able to get myself into the wheel chair, complete with my princess, and they wrapped a blanket around us to keep us warm and then wheeled us out. It’s such a nice feeling to be congratulated with huge smiles from every person you saw on the way in, and once again, I couldn’t have been prouder of my beautiful baby! We lucked out again and got a room in the fancy new “tower” that was recently renovated and looks more like a luxury hotel than a hospital. Everything was beautiful! And while last time I was starting to feel very wrong by this point, this time I felt mostly fine and was able to get myself out of the wheel chair and into my bed. The best part? No scary exit into surgery. I got to spend the rest of the night with my husband and my sweet baby, which is exactly where I belonged!!
Once again we were too late for dinner. There were promises of someone getting me a sandwich, but after waiting forever, Glenn went to move the car, get our bags, and drove through the lovely (and only place open) Checkers next to the hospital. So our celebratory meal was cheeseburgers, fries and chocolate milkshakes, with which I remembered to have a quick toast to Rory. 🙂 (The sandwich finally did show up…at 2:00 in the morning!)
Everything else is a bit of un eventful blur. They checked my vitals pretty frequently, and I alternate Percoset and Motrin to keep the pain at bay. Rory and I hung out all night and let Glenn get some sleep since he would be dealing with the monkeys the next day while we were chilling in the hospital. I wasn’t officially allowed to have her in the bed with me while I was sleeping, but of course she wasn’t a fan of the bassinet (none of my kids are). She did sleep in the bassinet a BIT that first night (there was lots of jiggling involved) but I think all together I got about an hour and a half of sleep, yawwwwwn. I spent a lot of that time awake with her in my arms, just staring at her and marveling at this perfect new person I’d been waiting essentially my whole life for.
The night was much more interesting for my parents, who had the boys at their house. Carter had a total “I want my mama” meltdown at bedtime, and I think he was still going until about 1am. Then Collin woke up at 4am and threw up, followed by three other barfs in the next couple of hours. My mom said each time he would throw up, he would say “I’m ok!” and he told me that, “I frew up but Grampy got me a pot!” Poor little monkey! So while we had planned to have them come visit us the next day, that was no longer going to happen. And since Glenn planned to go stay with the boys that night, we’d planned for LeShayne to come stay with me in the hospital, but only if I didn’t need her Wednesday night since it was the last day of school and her kids were having sleepovers at their house. Well, she got here Tuesday night, so that plan was scratched too. Next on the list was my mom, but she was feeling so lousy after the night with the boys that she was out as well. So I texted Lauren to see if she was up for a sleepover, and after some back and forth, she said she could come from about 9 until 1 or 2 in the morning since she had to get her girls to school in the morning. So we had a plan for that night, finally!
Dada, Rory and I spent the morning together, and we were pestered by pretty much everyone and their brother…hearing test, photographer, Healthy Start, birth certificate lady, etc. Somewhere in there I managed to get a quick shower, which was an awesome way to itch my back after all of the tape they put on there for the epidural!
Auntie LeShayne and Tristan were our first visitors, and it was a full circle moment when my baby was being born right as her kiddos were finishing elementary school and middle school. Grampy came over next, sans a sick CeeCee who had to stay at home with her germs. He has been wishing for a granddaughter since the first time I announced I was pregnant, so it so very special to get to see him hold Rory for the first time.
Then Rory and I had a quiet afternoon alone together. I was exhausted, so we attempted to nap with me following hospital rules, but without fail, the little stinker would wake up juuuust as I fell asleep every time (jiggle, jiggle, jiggle for a few minutes, back to sleep, then repeat), and I finally scooped her up, made a safe spot for her next to me with no blankets or pillows, and we had a blissful nap together, while I pretended to be awake every time someone came in so no one yelled at me!
Auntie Lauren came around 9 to hang out with us, and we stayed up talking for a bit, then she burrito-wrapped Rory and held her for me so I could get in an hour of sleep or so (All while crafting! Leave it to Auntie Lauren to bring a full-sized paper cutter into a hospital!), then we stayed up chatting some more until she left around 2am.
Rory and I snoozed the rest of the night in our room and were pretty much left alone, which was nice. It’s very difficult to get rest in a hospital since everyone has to keep a close eye on you, but we did manage to rest until the morning staff came on and it was time for pediatrician rounds, my OB rounds, and getting discharged to get home. We knew they were shooting to have us out by noon, but I wasn’t expecting a full discharge by 10am! My mom (miserably sick) came over to watch the boys ( apparently the puke was a fluke, as Collin was fine) while Glenn high-tailed it over to Tampa to pick us up. I got everything packed, we got the princess dressed in her Lil Sis onesie to meet her Big Bros at home, and we got wheeled down and out of the hospital. All in all, it was a quick, easy, uneventful stay at St. Joe’s this time around, which is the best kind to have after all of the drama from last time. I was so relieved to be leaving with a happy, healthy baby and a happy, healthy self!
My mom told me the boys didn’t want to put their Big Bro shirts on, and I told her to tell them that it would make Rory sad if they didn’t, and what do you know? It actually worked, and they put them on! They were so excited to see us when we got home, and they eagerly sat down on the couch to meet their baby sister with huge smiles and big hugs and kisses for her. I didn’t know how they would react to her overall, but I couldn’t be more pleased with how well they have done since we’ve been home. They just ADORE their baby sister! They always want to hold her and love on her. They tell her they love her. It’s just so sweet!
So we are all home now, and while we still weren’t sure before she was here if we were done having children, we are now. The McKay Baby Factory is officially closed, and our family is complete! Dr. Jaeger told us the retained placenta was likely caused by the D&C I had after Collin’s delivery, so now that I’ve had two of them, I don’t want to take any more risks with my health. We are so, so, SO lucky to have these three beautiful, healthy children, and I could not be more grateful for modern medicine and the role it played in keeping me safe during two scary deliveries.
Our little Rory is just a delightful baby. So sweet and easy-going, loves to sleep, loves to cuddle and be close to us at all times. She is so PINK, too! Rosy and soft and such a little girl. We are all pretty smitten with this baby girl we’ve been waiting for. She is truly the missing piece in our family. I still remember during my surgery after Collin was born, Dr. Kilbride gave me a hysterectomy consent form to sign before they put me under just in case they couldn’t stop the bleeding by other means, and my first thought was that I was signing away my future daughter. She was still so hypothetical at that point, but now that she is here, that moment is even more poignant and meaningful to me. I’m so grateful they were able to heal me and that we were brave enough to try one more pregnancy so Rory could become a reality. She was worth every miserable day of the first trimester, every puke, every food aversion, every pound lost; worth every ache and pain and uncomfortable night; worth the high blood pressure scare, the retained placenta, and yes, even having someone’s arm shoved up my hoo-ha.
She is my daughter, and I love her with every fiber of my being. I am so, so glad she chose us to be her family.