As most of you know, our pregnancy with Luke was a bumpy road.
It started with a large sub chorionic hemorrhage that was found at 6 weeks. My doctor told me that there was a very high chance I was going to miscarry. At 10 weeks I had another major scare and was put on modified bed rest...again I was told there was a good chance my baby wasn't going to make it and I wasn't in the clear until about 24 weeks, when the baby could survive in the NICU since there was a high chance of preterm labor.
When we went for the anatomy scan at 20 weeks the high risk doctor had new concerns of echogenic bowel and other abnormalities on the ultrasound, and he threw around the words "down syndrome," "cystic fibrosis," and other conditions ranging from mild concerns to fatal.
I was devastated and scared. He strongly recommended I go for an amniocentisis, but we refused. The results of that test would make no difference for us, because we knew we would love our baby regardless of the results. Instead, we decided to pray and have faith.
At our 35 week ultrasound the baby's growth percentage continued to drop and it was now beneath the 10th percentile, and the baby was diagnosed with IUGR (Inter Uterine Growth Restriction). Our doctor was now very concerned but wanted to monitor the baby very closely without having to deliver a premie. I had to go to NSTs three times per week and come back in for an ultrasound each week.
Now, if you have been following my blogging journey since the beginning (I'm coming up on my 3 year anniversary!), you would know that I had a VBAC with Daniela, and I was planning on my second VBAC with our third.
However, our doctor told me there was a very good chance I was going to end up with a c-section. If it was a true emergency due to the baby being in distress I would obviously have done it. But they also told me they would absolutely not induce my labor if they needed to deliver early because I had a previous c-section.
I was so upset to hear this but I was determined for another VBAC. As soon as I got home I started going down the list of every thing to do for natural labor induction.
Cue acupuncture (this put me in labor with Daniela), evening primrose oil, walking stairs, red raspberry leaf tea, spicy eggplant parm, bouncing on the stability ball...you name it, I did it, but two weeks later I was still pregnant and 37 weeks.
My next thing on the list was foot reflexology and this actually made me start to have some consistent contractions (this was a Saturday) but then they stopped :(.
The following Monday we headed back to our midwives office for another NST and my midwife Cathy was able to do a membrane sweep to try and put me into labor. It was probably the most uncomfortable thing ever...but I didn't care. Cathy was on the same page as I was and was determined to get me my VBAC.
Phil and the kids were waiting for me in the car. I was really hungry and had a craving for Olive Garden (never eat Olive Garden)...so all four of us went to The Olive Garden.
I was starving and I don't think I've ever eaten more food in one sitting than I did at lunch that day. That was my first sign that I knew I was going into labor. Then my contractions started.
We went home and my contractions started to get stronger and more intense as the night went on. I called my midwife but decided to stay home since I was in labor forever with Daniela and I didn't want to chance having to labor around town again (literally labored in the mall and at Whole Foods).
I was up most of the night but tried my hardest to sleep. The contractions were getting intense and would wake me up every ten minutes or so. Around 7 a.m. I got up and took a shower. Then my contractions went from every 5-7 minutes to NOTHING.
My midwife called and told me she thought I should come back to her office so they could try another "sweep." She told me that the doctor who was on call for the next 24 hours was the only doctor who would be willing to give me a tiny bit of pitocin to help my labor along.
We were optimistic so we packed our bags and went back to the midwives office. She checked me and I was 5 centimeters dilated! She was so excited to told us to head across the street to the hospital right away even though my contractions were only coming once every twenty minutes or so.
We headed over and went to labor and delivery triage and apparently everyone decided to go into labor that day because there were no rooms available, but I figured this was good and would buy us some time. We then decided to walk around the entire hospital for a couple of hours to see if I could get things going again. Phil then decided to go home and put the kids to bed around 7 since nothing was happening.
While he was gone my doula came in to say hello and I was THRILLED that it was the same woman who delivered Daniela. Her name is Angel and she is an angel in every sense of the word. I HIGHLY recommend a doula if you are trying for a VBAC or natural birth.
A room finally opened up and we were heading over (Phil still wasn't back yet). They placed my IV and before they even gave me a drop of pitocin my contractions started to really pick back up in strength and consistency. They checked me and I was 6 centimeters dilated.
Phil made it back and we started to walk around the labor and delivery floor. I knew that I was starting to go into transition and I was in a lot of pain as I had to stop walking and really breathe through each contraction. We did that for a while and then headed back to our room.
Things were starting to get intense and I was in a lot of pain. My midwife came back in to check me after 11 p.m. and I was only at a 7. UGH!
They recommended I consider an epidural at that time since the last time I got it for Daniela and it made me dilate super fast, so I did. The anesthesiologist placed the epi at 11:45 and it helped ease the pain and pressure immediately. He told me I would be numb for a couple of hours. I was so excited to be able to take a nap before I had to push.
They turned the lights off, and I closed my eyes...for what felt like all of 30 seconds. I could already feel the contractions again and they were getting really uncomfortable. My midwife decided to check me again and I was a 10!
I was so excited to meet our baby but then the fear set in.
We had no idea what to expect. We didn't know if we were going to welcome a healthy or a special needs baby into the world...and we were going to find out in the next few minutes.
I will never forget that moment. As the nurses prepared the room for delivery, I closed my eyes and I prayed for the health of my baby, and for strength that I could handle whatever God was going to give us.
I pushed once and Luke Joseph Oliva was born. At 12:54 a.m. he came out screaming and weighed in at 5 pounds, 10 ounces and 18.5 inches long. It all happened so fast but when you have a baby who is 3 pounds less than your last vaginal delivery, I guess thats bound to happen :).
He was beautiful and the nurses said he was perfect with an Apgar score of 9.
Our midwife then noticed that Luke's umbilical cord was in a tight knot...the one thing they did NOT see in our 20 ultrasounds. She told us how rare it was and that our little boy was lucky to be alive. This explained why Luke's growth was declining and why he was so much smaller than my other two at birth...but that didn't matter...he was perfect.
I want to thank everyone who followed us along during this pregnancy and for all of the prayers and countless messages we received of you sharing your happy stories when your doctors told you otherwise. You all helped me have faith in one of the most difficult times in my life and Phil and I really appreciate that from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you.