Jennifer Margaret's Birth Story By Kat Print
Birth Stories - Premature Birth Stories
Tuesday, 18 November 2008 09:24
     I had an appointment with an orthopedist made before I found out I was pregnant in which he told me to find a new home (the one we were in had stairs and I have *very* bad knees!). We kept looking and finally moved into our current house when I was five months pregnant with Jennifer.

      About a week before we moved my OB had diagnosed me with Pregnancy Induced Hypertension. At the same time, my aunt was pregnant with her second child (she had sent me her maternity clothes and was due two months after me!). I ended up doing too much with moving and eventually ended up on bed rest at about 32 weeks with a home monitor and a visiting nurse.

     They gave me shots of steroid to help speed up the baby's lung development. After two weeks of this I got up one morning and my protein levels were elevated. We checked into the hospital where they did a 24 hour test. It was a Sunday and I met (what I thought) was the only OB in the practice that I'd never seen (it was his first weekend on call for the practice).

      He told me that my protein levels had tripled and that we needed to induce labor (my response was "No s**t, Sherlock!"). The next morning, at 35 1/2 weeks, one of the OB's I knew started a pitocin drip, mag/sulf line and broke my sac. He promised me faithfully that he would be there for the delivery of my baby. This was at 8 in the morning. It was a long day and a longer night and Jennifer was finally delivered at 1:15 the next morning!

     And to top it off, she was delivered by the *other* new doctor in the practice who I'd never met! (& didn't even know existed!) The OB who had started my induction stayed over for the delivery and stood over the 'stranger's' shoulder.

     I managed the pain with only three shots of Stadol, but my blood pressure was extremely high. At one point the older doctor was about to order an emergency C-section and my best friend, who was my doula for both my children, tugged his sleeve and said "give her *five* more minutes...she can do this".

      Just at that point someone mentioned a friend of ours who had a bad shoulder (as in, he couldn't have helped hold my legs because of it). The doctor asked how it had happened and I sat straight up in the middle of a contraction and started the standard speech, "We're in the Society for Creative Anachronism. It's a non-profit, international educational group based out of Berkeley that learns about the Middle Ages by recreating them." Everyone's jaws dropped but that short spate gave me the energy I needed to finish the job and Jennifer was born five contractions later.

     She weighed 6 pounds 1 ounce and because she was so big and the doctor had never met me before, he forgot she was a preemie and started to hand her off to me while the NICU nurses had fits!

     My blood pressure when she delivered was 200/150! They did let me try nursing within the first half hour but they kept her all wrapped up and let me know that she looked great and would not have to go to the NICU. I took a bath as soon after as they let me at which point a nurse started to take Jennifer down to the nursery without even saying anything to me!! My doula stopped her and made her bring the baby to me to say good-bye first...I had to stay in the LDR room until they could take out the mag/sulf IV.

      Finally I went downstairs and my doula and youngest brother conspired to go 'rescue' Jennifer from the nursery. I got a chance to try nursing her again but they wanted me to keep her covered up.

     At her 6 pm ped checkup, she turned blue and started choking. They took her immediately to the NICU and diagnosed her as having pneumonia. I didn't get to nurse her again for four days. The NICU had a pump in a 'nursing' room that I used but I couldn't produce anything. The first time they let me nurse her skin-to-skin they draped a blanket over her to keep her warm. When I came back to nurse her again I reached for a blanket and four nurses shouted "No!". Turns out it had taken them an *hour* to get her temp back down to normal after our first nursing session!

     Jennifer spent 9 days total in the NICU and I brought her home on my birthday. Not bad for someone born four and a half weeks early! I was unhappy because she weaned at six weeks after having failure-to-thrive. I discovered later that the short frenulum I kept asking the ped about (and being told wasn't a problem) *was* a problem and probably why I wasn't producing enough milk.