I have been dying to share this post with you all for so long- it’s Anissa Marie’s birth story! well, Part 1 at least. As I was writing this, I realized that this could either be the longest post known to mankind, or I’d have to properly split up her Birth Story into 4 parts: The Diagnosis and Decision, The Induction, The Birth and The Aftermath.
So, if we’re going to do this, let’s do it right and start back at the beginning for Part 1. I’ll start back from Friday, April 11. That week, I’d been feeling very itchy. My hands and feet were almost to the point of bleeding because of how much I’d been scratching, and it just didn’t feel right. I’d also been complaining of alot of nausea, which was weird because I never realy had nausea during the pregnancy. So finally, Friday night, Mr. R and I were researching what could cause the itching, and I kept coming across something called Cholestasis of Pregnancy. The symptoms sounded like mine- uncontrollably itchy hands and feet, nausea, itching that intensifies and night- it was everything I was suffering from. While it’s not particularly bad for the mom, the outcome for the baby can be devestating, including spontaneous stillbirth. Going to bed with that knowledge wasn’t going to sit well with me, so I immediately got on the phone with my doctor’s office. The advice nurse that answered (it was after hours) didn’t even know what Cholestasis was- I had to spell it for her. Needless to say, it was a slow process to get some answers. On one hand, I was 100% sure I was fine and was overreacting- I mean, who really ever has that scary thing they read on Google? But on the other hand, I wanted confirmation ASAP that our baby wasn’t in danger…
I didn’t hear back from the office until Monday morning, and by then I was furious. When I finally got a hold of them, they recommended I move up my weekly 38week appointment from Wednesday to Monday or Tuesday of that week. So, on Tuesday, April 15 I was seen and they ran my blood for liver enzymes and bile acids. My doctor reassured me that I most likely just needed stronger lotion to kick the itching. On Tuesday evening, 2 out of the 3 blood tests came back. I receive my results online, which is both a blessing and a curse because I can see them immediately, but I’d rather get a call from the doctor with an explanation, because seeing results overnight just makes me worry more. Anyway, one result came back normal and one was flagged as high (the liver enzymes). That didn’t sit well with me, but we tried to convince ourselves that the number wasn’t too terribly high, and that the third test would definitely be normal. Wednesday came and went, and the third test still hadn’t come back yet. By then, I was flipping out because, HELLO, this is our child’s life on the line and no one seemed to be taking it seriously. So I called and called, and finally went by the office to get them to rush the last result. They promised me my doctor would call me the next morning.
Finally, Thursday morning, April 17, my doctor called me on my way to work. She told me that my last result, the bile acids, had also come back high, and that her recommendation would be to induce. WHAT? For once, our crazy Googling and worrying and paranoia was right? As we researched Cholestasis more, we realized that it really is a disease that many people don’t know about, and it seemed that in every story that contained Cholestasis, the parents had to be advocates and push the doctor to test and diagnose it. It’s not something that is regularly seen or caught, which is so scary because of the devestating outcomes for the baby.
As I mentioned, because spontaneous stillbirth is pretty much the only outcome of Cholestasis, the only cure is to deliver. Since I was already 38w1d by this point, the doctor said the baby was full-term and there was no harm or risk in inducing early. I was SO relieved to hear her recommendation and KNOW we weren’t crazy!! But of course, it didn’t end there. Although that was her recommendation, she needed to get approval from the perinatologist, and he wouldn’t be in until 10 a.m. So I continued on to work, called Mr. R and my parents and gave them all the heads up that we might be looking at an early induction. I didn’t know if that meant today, tomorrow or the next day, but all of a sudden it hit me that that meant SOON! I had a feeling the baby would come early, but of course never expected the reason to be something like this, so it kind of hit me out of nowhere!
I went on into work, but as I was setting up my computer I told my manager it may possibly be my last day, and explained what was going on. Right then, my doctor called me and said she did not want to wait on the perinatologist’s approval, and was ordering an immediate induction. She told me to head home, grab our bags and head to the hospital- the staff had been alerted and was waiting on us!
Holy crap…. let’s have a baby! Mr. R and I both rushed home around 9 a.m., but when we got home, we realized Mr. R had never packed his bag (shame shame!) I think we were both nervous wrecks, trying to get the cats fed, get the bags in the car, get his camera all set up and packed, and get some “induction” must-haves ready, like books and movies. I also wanted to shave my legs and put on more make-up, of course! By the time we were ready to head out, it was already 10:45 a.m. We then realized that once they start Pitocin, you can’t eat! Since Ihop has always been our “baby” place (we used to go before or after each ultrasound- just a superstition, I guess!), we decided to make one last “baby” trip and get a good meal in before we got to the hospital.
Right before noon on Thursday, April 17, we arrived at Northside Hospital’s Labor and Delivery Admissions Desk, and we were ready to be induced and meet our sweet princess! In Part 2 of her Birth Story, I’ll give you all the deets on the induction!