Theodore’s Birth Story-One Year Later
Theodore is turning one today and I am so excited/proud we survived the year/shocked/sentimental about the whole thing. It seemed fitting to finally share his birth story today.
My pregnancy with Theodore was an extremely stressful and emotional one. I won’t go into specifics, because I’m still processing everything even 14 months later, but with how things were going I ended up back in my hometown in Central Iowa. I was in an extremely dark place emotionally, and likely had antepartum depression.
It’s extremely hard to find an OB/GYN who will take on a client with only a handful of weeks left of their pregnancy, so my plan was once I knew I was having contractions was to go to the nearest emergency room, 30 minutes away. And thank god that Obama’s administration how extended the deadline for the Affordable Care Act, which meant I was able to sign up for Iowa Medicaid in January.
For about a week, I had been experiencing constant pain, dizziness, and was super swollen, but had just chalked it up to being pregnant in the cold weather and stressed. I upped my water intake and and rested as much as possible. I had been subbing as a special-ed para at the elementary school, and on this particular day, the class I was working in was especially horrible. Like so horrible that I hoped my water would break and I would deliver in front of the kids, scaring them for the rest of their lives.
I went home at the end of the day, and worked out a list of everything I needed to do that weekend to get ready for the baby’s arrival on February 3. The night was a normal night. We had tomato soup for dinner. I cuddled with my hot water bottle due to pain.
But the pain just wasn’t letting up. Around midnight, I was vomiting* up bile and blood, swearing as I paced around the house, with my dog Scotti by my side. Convinced I was in labor, I called the emergency room and woke my mom up to go. The usual 30 minute drive took about an hour because we had to pull over so many times so I could vomit.
As soon as we got to the emergency room, the nurses hooked me up to various machines. I barfed more. Then the on call doctor came in. First she asked me if I had taken any drugs that day. My blood pressure was so high (imagine the bottom number in the 200s), that they assumed I was on something. She talked to an OB/GYN in Des Moines, and it was quickly decided that I would be making the journey to a hospital with a NICU. My mom and I made calls and plans. To Theodore’s dad and grandparents, to friends at the vet’s office to see if they could take in Scotti and Pepper at an incredibly after hours time. My mom came home to Eldora to get the dogs taken care of and ready for a few days away, and I got prepped for a life flight* to Des Moines.
After a 30 minute flight, I was at the hospital in Des Moines. I went over all the questions I had in Iowa Falls, had my blood pressure checked multiple times, and had someone explain to me that in case of an emergency, they would save the life of the child before the mother’s. Finally they put me on some medication to start lowering my blood pressure, and a special balloon inside of me to get my cervix ready to get a baby out.
The day was a hazy blur of nurses and the animal planet. My blood pressure had to be checked every 15 minutes, until the Doctor realized that Theodore was unable to handle my blood pressure coming down, so they had to find a level that would allow us both to survive. The constant pain and beeping made it impossible to rest, and they eventually gave me an epidural to make things hurt a little less. Then they cut out my industrial piercing, due to the possibility of me needing to be revived during my stay. (The holes both closed up, and my slim chance at being hip is now dead and buried.)
Towards 11pm, I was convinced that I was in labor, but the nurse would remind me that I was definitely not in labor. Joke was on her, because within an hour I was screaming that Theodore was definitely coming, and my mom and brother watched the nurses tagteaming finding a doctor and holding my legs closed, because Theodore was crowning. I pleaded with the nurses to break the rules and just catch him, but noooo. Within 6 minutes, but it felt like forever, they found a doctor. She didn’t have time to put on anything but gloves before she caught my little boy.
I had done it! Thank god. At one point, my mom had to stand between the nurses with Theodore in a wheelie crib and the door, as they were ready to take him to the NICU. Thank goodness for moms/grandmas, right?
The rest of the weekend was a blur of happiness, machine beeping, and nurses. The nice thing about delivering 90 minutes from home was that there weren’t any pop in visitors. The bad things about delivering in Iowa in the winter is that there was a ice storm the whole time. Even though I couldn’t leave, everyone still felt cooped up.
I spent 6 weeks on blood pressure meds, working towards getting my numbers back to a normal rate. I still get dizzy and have to sit down, especially in stressful situations, but that’s okay. It’s always good to have a reason to sit. Especially when you have someone so great to sit with.
*Vomitting late in your pregnancy is really bad. If you find yourself barfing, call your Nurse hotline or doctor ASAP.
*Thank god for Medicaid and Insurance in general. This flight cost about 65k, and would have bankrupted my family and I.