Huck Inlow | Birth Story


I feel like Huck’s birth story starts where Whitlee’s left off. You can read her birth story here but the gist of it is that I was diagnosed with preeclampsia at 34 weeks with her and my doctor decided she was safer out than in so we did an emergency cesarean with her. When we decided to have another baby, I had a pre-pregnancy consultation with my new OB and he advised us to absolutely pursue another baby and that while I did have one or two risk factors for having preeclampsia a second time, I didn’t have all of them. At that time we also discussed the possibility of a VBAC. In Beaumont, at the hospital where we would deliver, there are a handful of doctors that share on call duties. So while my OB was considered “the VBAC guy”, he said one of his requirements was that I go into labor spontaneously because he had no record to go on of how I would react to an induction. He wouldn’t induce for a VBAC unless I’d been previously induced or had a previous spontaneous labor. And on that note, promising to support a VBAC with spontaneous labor would put me at risk for showing up at the hospital with a 1/5 chance of him being there and a 4/5 chance of having a doctor that did not support my birth plan. So at that point, we agreed to a repeat cesarean and I felt peace knowing that it would be scheduled and we would know what to expect. 

When we actually got pregnant with Huck, we went into it knowing he’d be born via repeat c section and it would most likely be scheduled and hopefully be full term. But then we found out about his heart defect, we had to transfer care to the facility where he would have his treatment. During my first visit with my new doctor, a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist, we discussed my plans for delivery. At which point she casually asked “so for delivery, would you like a repeat c section or would you like to tolac?” I asked what was best for our situation and she very matter of fact laid out the risks of both but then said a vaginal recovery would be better and faster for me and would also be beneficial to Huck’s lung function. So we went down the path in pursuit a tolac/hopeful vbac. She said that spontaneous labor would be best but that depending on my blood pressure staying stable throughout the pregnancy so that we could make it to the point where my cervical conditions were favorable, she was not opposed to inducing. 

All throughout my pregnancy I have been on a low dose blood pressure medication because around 8 weeks it started creeping up. They labeled me as having “chronic hypertension” but my blood presssures have been really great since being on the medicine. Towards the end of my pregnancy, they’ve had me check it twice a day and keep a log. And they’ve continued to be excellent, as well as no signs of preeclampsia- no swelling, no vision changes, no excessive weight gain, no weird headaches, no protein in my urine. From here it will be a timeline to show how this all happened. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017 | 7:30 PM – At 38 weeks, I checked my pressure for my log that afternoon and it was a little high. I rested, checked it again and it was much better. So I kept resting and decided to check it again later to make sure it stayed down, but it was actually back up again. I called my nurses line and the advised me to go get checked at L&D. While there they hooked me up to the monitors and checked blood pressure, which was high and it didn’t take long before they decided to keep me and induce. I started calling Nolan and my family but after a good while of monitoring, the doctor on call came back in and said my blood pressure was a lot better and they were actually going to send me home. What a rollercoaster! I called everyone back and told them it was a false alarm.  

Friday, May 12, 2017 | 8:00 AM – Whitlee and I went to what would have been my last appointments anyway since they were planning to induce next week, but my blood pressure was high again. We went through all of the normal appointment stuff but my doctor ended with, we ARE going to go ahead and induce today. She said their standard care for chronic hypertension is to deliver at 38 weeks, but since mine had been so great she was willing to go to 39. She also said at this point, it was possible that if I stayed pregnant, I could end up with preeclampsia in the next week. 

9:30 AM – She told me to go get my stuff from the apartment in Houston and to be back around 11 to start the induction. I called Nolan and the rest of our family so they could all head that way. 

11:15 AM – Whitlee and I got to hospital to get checked in for the induction process to start. Unfortunately, May is apparently a busy month for babies so they were extremely backed up in labor and delivery and we had to wait F O R E V E R for a room. Like 10 hours. 

9:00 PM – We finally got moved to a labor and delivery room to get set up. After that, it seemed like things went fairly quick for the most part. At this point I was dilated on my own to a 1, maaaaybe a 2 and 50% effaced but Huck was still really high at a -3 station. 

10:40 PM – They decided to start with a Cook Balloon which they insert into the cervix and inflate one small balloon inside the uterus and one small balloon outside the uterus with a middle section meant to dilate the cervix manually. They said we would leave it in for 12 hours, then take it out and from there I would either be dilated to a 4 or 5. The balloon going in hurt. like. hell. Oh man, it hurt. 

12:00 AM (Midnight) – They warned me I could feel some strong cramping and then it was possible that the balloon would intensify the prodromal labor contractions that I’d already been having. Well it did and they started coming super strong and I puked during a particularly hard one. It was at that point that I honestly started questioning this whole vbac thing. I ended up getting two Benadryl to help me sleep and nubane in my IV for pain. The nubane didn’t do much for the pain of the contractions but it did help me sleep between them. So basically I was already having to work through the contractions. They were super strong and I couldn’t talk through them but never very consistent. Some were 4 min apart, some 6, some 12 but all lasting about minute and a half to 2 minutes. 

May 13, 2017 | 8:30 AM – The residents for the day came in and said I’d get the balloon out in a couple of hours, then we’d start low dose pitocin, check to see how low Huck was at that point and if he was low enough, they’d break my water. I went ahead and requested an epidural before all of that business. I’ve heard from several people to get. the. freaking. epidural. I was told pitocin contractions plus no amniotic fluid for cushioning after they break my water is no joke. 

11:00 AM – They took the balloon out and checked me. It did its job! I was dilated to 5, and 60% effaced, but Huck was still at -3 station, so they were going to wait on breaking my water. 

1:00 PM – Anesthesia came in to place my epidural, while my nurse (who was absolutely the most amazing labor and delivery nurse ever) got my pitocin set up. I didn’t care much for the epidural process. I was kind of scared of the pinching pain I’d felt suddenly when I had my c section so I kept having trouble not tensing up. But my nurse just talked me through it and we got it in. Once the epidural was in and I started going numb, I started feeling really bad and proceeded to puke again. I was actually pretty numb from about mid belly down so that was weird. When I puked, I felt like my stomach muscles were numb and almost like I would aspirate. After they started the pitocin, I was having contractions almost immediately and very regularly but I couldn’t feel them. General thoughts on epidurals –  they’re super weird and glorious. 

3:00 PM – Huck had a few heart decels so they came in and put me on an oxygen mask and checked me again and I was still a 5 and now 80% effaced, but he was at a -2 station. They decided to go ahead and break my water and see what would happen.  

4:30 PM – I was able to actually catch a nap between 3 and now and when I woke up I asked my mom if I was still having contractions. She said oh yea, definitely, so I got her to take a picture of the screen because it was above my head and I couldn’t see it. 


This is showing how fast and regularly the contractions were coming but if you look at the top section towards the end, you see Huck’s heart start to drop off. I actually heard this happening on the monitors and said “something’s wrong” and about 5 seconds later my nurse came running in and kicked everyone out except Nolan. She called for a resident and another nurse. They threw my bed back, flipped me to my other side, started pulling iv lines loose from their connectors (not like from my arm), and started massaging my belly a little. After about 5 minutes his heart rate recovered. They said that the contractions were basically drowning him and his heart rate wasn’t recovering like it should have between them. They decided to stop the pitocin and give him a break for a little bit. They also decided to put in an internal monitor to see how strong my contractions were and would start the pitocin again in 30 minutes. At that point, they said if that happened again, we’d go straight back for a c section. By this time it was almost 5:30 so they went ahead and checked me again and said I was still a 5 and 80% effaced, no change at all. But they asked some specific questions about how I was feeling and I told them I was starting to feel my contractions. I was kind of having to breathe through the pressure of them but I couldn’t really feel the pain of them. They said they’d check me again at 7:30 and see how things were going. I think that was the point that I said if I hadn’t changed by then at all, I was ready to talk about another c section. The heart decelerations scared me and I was so tired. I’d been stuck at a 5 for 7 hours or so and the problem I had with that is my body didn’t go to a 5 on its own, it was a mechanical dilation. So if I wasn’t progressing past that, then my body wasn’t doing its job. 

7:30 PM – The resident came back in to check me and I was fully expecting her to say “no change” but she felt around a lot and then looked up and said “well, looks like you’re at a 9, 100% effaced.” I started crying out of pure relief. I could not freaking believe it. I asked “Are you serious?? Are you sure??” And she said “Yup! Your cervix is almost completely gone.”  He was still at a -2 station though so while my body worked through the last bit of cervix, they had me sit straight up and let him start laboring down so I could get ready to birth our boy! My nurse started getting the room ready for delivery and they made all of the appropriate calls to the NICU and cardio team. 

9:47 PM – The resident came back in again and checked me and said I was complete and Huck was now at a +2 station. She then explained how to push and said we were going to try a few and see how it went. They had me reach down and hold behind my legs while Nolan held one leg up and my nurse held the other one, and they had me push for 10 seconds and do 3 pushes inside one contraction. So I would push really hard for 10 seconds, get a breath and do it again, 3 times. The maternal fetal medicine on call had made it in the room by this point and was coaching me through the pushing as well. In between one, she said “you’re pushing really good. If you keep pushing like that, he’ll be out in a couple more.” That was super encouraging to hear. I just kept thinking about all of the birth stories I’d read and listened to on podcasts about how to push and I kept trying to remember to apply those things. I think the next contraction and set of pushes, they all started saying “whoa whoa whoa, okay stop pushing!” I heard something about getting nicu in the room; nobody had made it yet besides the resident and mfm. Nolan said all of the sudden “was that his head???” And they said “Yes, that was definitely his head.” I asked if they were serious?? And they said “Yup! Do you want to see?” I said yes so they moved a mirror over and I could basically see the top of his head, which kind of went back in as the contraction ended. They took my internal monitor out and said “Okay momma, next one is on you. When you feel the contraction, push as hard as you can.” So I waited until I felt the pressure and then pushed with all of my life, took a deep breath and pushed as hard as I could again and out came his head! Nolan said on the third push they guided out his shoulders and the rest of his body. 

10:09 PM – They told me to look down and I saw our baby boy enter this world! He instantly cried, which was a great sign and Nolan got to cut the cord. I cried like crazy too, of course, just like I did when Whitlee was born. They took him over to do their initial checks and to decide if he needed prostaglandins at the bedside (he didn’t). They did his weight and measurement – weighed 6 lbs 11 oz and was 20″ long. Then they brought him over to let me hold him for a few minutes. We got a good look at him, then they let Nolan run to the waiting room to get Whitlee so she could meet him. She looked at him and said, “he’s pushed out??” We all got a good little giggle at that. Then Nolan took her back out to the waiting room and they took Huck back over to his warmer so they could start placing all of his lines. During all of this, I delivered the placenta and got a little stitch for a superficial tear. I felt so. much. relief. as soon as Huck and the placenta were out. They also turned my epidural off so I started feeling my legs again which was nice. I kept watching Huck’s team of people working on him and he was so quiet that I thought they’d sedated him but when one of the doctors commented that he was so calm, I realized he was just hanging out. They said he was just laying there watching them do their job. Random side note, right as I was delivering him, the NICU team kind of ran in the room. I didn’t really notice them come in but when I looked up, the room was full. They said something later about how they expected me to be pushing for a while and I asked how long I pushed and my nurse looked at her notes and said “about 10 minutes”. I was shocked!






11:15 PM – They transferred him across the sky bridge to the CVICU and Nolan went with him. Once they got him over there, they started all of his testing and trying to get a better idea of his heart. He was doing really well and breathing great on his own. We were told the next couple of days would be spent gathering data on his condition and we would most likely get an update on Monday from the cardiac team on plan of care. 

12:30 AM – I was in a postpartum room, up walking, using the restroom and overall feeling great. Exhausted, but great! 

So that’s his story! I can’t believe I did it and it was such good closure to the pregnant part of my life. I feel now that I had one emergency c section which was the best choice for that child and I had a successful vbac which was the best choice for that child. I have recovered from both major abdominal surgery and a vaginal delivery and we are so blessed to have two beautiful children. 

Happy Birthday!!

As I lay here while Miss Whitlee naps on me, I glanced at my watch and realize this time last year I was being prepped for my c section. I may have had my spinal by now…not entirely sure. But on November 25, 2014 at 3:40 in the afternoon, we heard the sweetest sound ever. Our girl was here. 

  
Now we have a smart, funny, wild one year old and she continues to amaze us every day. Happy FIRST birthday, Whitlee Alyzabeth! Momma and Daddy love you more than anything in the world!   

 
12 month update coming soon!

Read Whitlee’s birth story here:

Part One | Part Two

So, when are you having another?

This question has been asked oh, I don’t know, half a million times since Whitlee was born, starting when she was still in the NICU. It’s something I’ve answered equally as many different ways.

The short answer is, “Maybe one day.” The long answer is so loaded I usually don’t even go into it. Most people are satisfied with my short answer.

With Whitlee I had preterm labor at 18 and 28 weeks, then high blood pressure at 33 weeks, and delivered 6 weeks early at 34 weeks via emergency c section. Not to mention I was so nauseous well into my second trimester. But ohhh, the baby kicks. Those sweet little Whitlee flutters and having her with me all. the. time and then watching my belly jump around with her in it were priceless.

My Ob/Gyn suggested we wait 18-24 months before having another, but she was also 100% encouraging that we could have another, as well as addressing issues early on that could ultimately get us a more progressive pregnancy. My worst fear is having a baby too early for viability, and followed closely by a fear of any NICU time whatsoever. It was just hard. I felt a little robbed of the birth experience because of our situations and would definitely look forward to hoping for a normal, uneventful pregnancy next time.

Some days I think yes, we’ll definitely have another. Enough time has passed that the aches and pains of pregnancy have been forgotten and I think I want to  actually be pregnant again. I also think Whitlee would love a brother or sister. Then some days, she consumes my entire life – physically (which can be exhausting) and mentally. I never knew how much we’d love her. I hashtag #obsessedmomma on instagram all the time because I am absolutely obsessed with her. I worry another child  would either take away from that, or that I’d have a favorite. I think those are normal concerns, though.

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Nolan and I are both 4 1/2 to 5 years apart from our siblings so that’s a most likely ideal situation. Our best friends have been contemplating a second child too but aren’t ready yet and we’ve all talked about how fun and just freaking convenient it would be to be pregnant with our second babies at the same time. We also use doctors in th same office and would deliver at the same hospital. We’ve all loosely talked about trying again end of the year in 2017, making us potentially due fall 2018, making Whitlee almost 4. We’ll see if this old blog is still around by then. It would be pretty neat to be able to compare the two pregnancies for sure.

So there’s my long answer. It is such an amazing thing to be a mom but I’m so happy with just Whitlee for now and for probably a long time. I’m curious to see where the road leads – if we’ll stay a family of three or join the majority of the world and become a family of 4.

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Whitlee’s Birth Story | Part 2

Read Part One here

Once we got the official word we were having our baby immediately, we started calling family to let them know I was being taken in for an emergency c section. It was happening fast but it didn’t seem truly emergent, so I like to call it my semi-emergency c section. We only called my mom, my dad, Nolan’s parents (who were in Dallas for Nolan’s dad’s work, 6 hours away), my friend Kaitlin, and Nolan’s sister. We didn’t want the entire family coming down there because we knew we were facing a rough road with Whitlee. We told the ones we did call that I was going in very soon but not to rush because I’d be in recovery for a while, and we had no idea what would happen with Whitlee. So most likely, they wouldn’t be able to see me or her for a while anyway.

They were running the bag of fluids through me really fast, which was very cold, and I started shaking like crazy. I couldn’t tell if I was shivering because I  was cold or nervous. The neonatologist came in to explain what we were facing delivering Whitlee at 34 weeks. He told us she would most likely have respiratory problems but we wouldn’t know anything concrete until she got here. He explained a lot of other things that made her being a preemie sound very scary. Nolan said he felt calm until then, then he was nervous for our baby’s health.

About 2:45, they had all my bracelets on me, fluids ran through, compression socks on, Nolan in the fancy paper scrubs, and had us walking to the operating room. I don’t know why but I thought I’d be wheeled in, so walking felt kind of strange. Very surreal. I held Nolan’s hand and felt really nervous, still shaking like crazy. Everything happened very fast and unfortunately I wasn’t thinking about taking any pictures, which for me is crazy! I wish I had a picture of him in his scrubs, waiting to meet our baby girl.

They had him wait in the hall, and took me in. They helped me up on the table and started my spinal block. It was very weird. It didn’t hurt going in, but I kept getting really sharp painful twitch like feelings in my right hip. The anesthesiologist kept asking where it hurt so he could adjust it. I kept hearing them talk about the “swirl”, like “did you get a swirl?”, then “there’s the swirl,” and I suddenly felt a flood of warmth down my right side. I told them I only felt it on my right and they said not to worry, it would spread to the left. I later figured out the “swirl” was something they look for to know they’re in the right spot – it’s a swirl of cerebral spinal fluid. (Or at least that’s what Google told me.)

They layed me back on the table, put a sheet up in front of me and I could feel them doing things, but not really. I was fully numb pretty quick. The anesthesiologist showed me a little needle with a blunt tip and poked my neck and asked if I could feel it – I could – then he started at my ribs and moved up asking if I could feel anything. I couldn’t feel anything until he got to about my collar bone. So I was definitely numb.

I was doing really well mentally until that moment and I remember trying to wiggle my toes and couldn’t feel them and started to feel panicky. I started breathing hard and knew if I didn’t stay calm I’d risk them putting me under completely and I wanted to be awake so I kept pep talking myself. I wanted Nolan in the room so bad because I knew he’d calm me down. They finally let him in and he sat down by my head and held my hand. I immediately felt more calm.

They started the c section probably as soon as he sat down because about 5 minutes later I asked, “Have they started yet??” and the anesthesiologist said “Oh yea, they’re halfway in.” He was stationed above my head and kept making small talk with us to keep me distracted. Occasionally my doctor would ask me how I was doing and ask about my blood pressure, which was holding steady. There was a lot of tugging, a lot of pressure sometimes, and then they said, “Okay, Jaime, you’re gonna feel a lot of pressure.” Then there was very intense pressure and the operating table was even moving like crazy. It felt like they were going to jerk me off the table! Then I heard the most wonderful sound in the world – Whitlee crying! She was here at 3:40 PM and she was breathing and crying, which were great signs of some strong lungs. I immediately started crying. I was so relieved to hear her and know she was here safely. They told us she’s definitely a girl and held her around the curtain for me to see really quick. She was so beautiful! A few seconds later they said, “Dad, come see her and get some pictures.” So Nolan went over to her while they assessed her and weighed her. She weighed 4lbs 3oz and I could hear her crying the whole time. Nolan came back to me and showed me pictures on my phone. I kept saying, “She’s so pretty.” and “Look at those long legs!” Then they brought her over to me and said, “We’re headed to the NICU, give her a quick kiss and get a picture.” So Nolan grabbed a few pictures of me and her and then she was gone. I missed her the second she was out of my sight, but I was so glad she was here and seemed to be fairly okay.

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I was in the OR for another 30 minutes or so getting sewn up, then they wheeled us into a recovery room. They had me in there for a while and the neonatologist came back in and explained that she had a little trouble breathing and would be on a ventilator for 48 hours, but other than that she was doing wonderful. So that began her stay in the NICU, where she’s progressing every day. She’s currently still there, today is her 8th day. I miss her so much when I’m away from her, but I try to stay positive and know she’ll be home soon.

So that’s Whitlee’s birth story. It’s a far cry from what I had in mind, nothing near my original birth plan. But our baby girl is here and we get to love on her every day. We can’t wait for her to be home!

Our first family picture!

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Whitlee’s Birth Story | Part 1

Note: If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I can be extremely long winded, so to keep this from being incredibly long, I’m breaking it into two parts. They’ll probably both be long also, though! 🙂

Tuesday, November 25, I went to work for a little while before my 34 week appt. I was actually 34 weeks, 2 days. I’d been keeping a log of my blood pressure over the weekend and Monday at my doctor’s request since my last hospital visit, but they were all over the place. I had a weird feeling going to my appt, because right before I left work, I checked my blood pressure one more time, an hour after taking the Labetalol, and it was still high.

My appointment was at 10, but I didn’t get called back until about 11:30. The nurse that does vitals took my blood pressure and it was still high, then she had me leave a urine sample while I waited for my doctor. I also gave my log of bp’s to the nurse so she could put them in my chart. While I was waiting for my doctor I heard her outside my door say something about possibly doing a c section. I wasn’t sure she was even talking about me until she opened the door to my room about 2 seconds later and said, “Girrll, what it in the world is going on with these blood pressures?” I told her, “I have no idea.” She went ahead and did a cervical check (still long and closed) and my group b strep test because I was due for that. Then she hit me with, “I’m sending you back to L&D for monitoring.” She said if my blood pressure stayed high we’d be delivering early. I felt a flood of adrenaline immediately.

While I was getting dressed, I called Nolan and told him to get there asap, just in case. I made my way over to L&D but kind of took my time because just in case they did something drastic, I wanted Nolan to have plenty of time to get there. He works about 30 minutes from the hospital. I also stopped by the bathroom and took one more bump picture. I wanted that in case this was my last day to be pregnant. Good thing I did!

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Last day to be pregnant! My face was very swollen.

When I got to L&D, they put me in triage, had me put on a gown and wait to get hooked up to the monitors. While I was waiting, thankfully Nolan got there. They hooked me up at about 12:30. The machines in triage take your BP every 15 minutes, and Nolan kept watching it. It was higher than it should have been, over and over and over. I was supposed to have a biophysical profile done that day but instead they ordered a full OB ultrasound on Whitlee to check for distress and get an approximate size. The ultrasound was a little intense because once the tech got all of her measurements, she started checking for distress, and we noticed Whitlee wasn’t moving. We could see her heart beating strong but after nearly 30 minutes of poking and prodding (which hurt!) she only moved a little. I had never seen her do that and it freaked me out. I felt like my blood pressure was affecting her but the tech assured me she was probably just sleeping and told me she weighed an estimated 5 lbs. (Spoiler alert – she didn’t!)

Shortly after that a man in green scrubs walked in and introduced himself as an anesthesiologist. He began talking about spinal blocks and c section procedure, that they’d take me in and get me all set up, then let Nolan in. I think Nolan and I both were looking at him crazy because nobody had said anything concrete to us about delivery, yet here was this man explaining a c section procedure to us! I finally was like, “Wait, are we having a baby??” And he kind of raised his eyebrows and said, “Oh… has your doctor not been in yet??” We told him no, and he got a big smile and said, “Well, then yes, you’re having a baby! Sorry, I ran into her at the nurse’s station and just assumed she’d been in to talk to you.” He went on to explain everything with the procedure and answer any questions we had.

During that time though, the nurse came in behind him and started pulling off monitors, hung up a bag of fluid, and started an IV (twice actually, the first one in my right hand didn’t work so she tried again in my other hand). The anesthesiologist left, and my doctor came in. She said we were going to have to deliver early, via c section, because I had finally shown protein in my urine so my gestational hypertension was now preeclampsia. My blood pressure was not getting any better plus she didn’t think my blood pressure could handle laboring, and with my cervix at its current state, an induction would take days. She answered a few questions for us and I asked when this was happening. She said, “Immediately. As soon as they can get a bag of fluids through you. Sooo.. (looked at the nurse) 20-30 minutes?” The nurse said yes.