Julie S’ Surrogacy Journey Vol. 12
Here is the birth story of Baby W. Thanks for waiting! These things take time!! When we last left off, I had just had my glucose test!
Towards the end of my pregnancy, I had experienced gestational hypertension, meaning my blood pressure was high while pregnant. My blood pressure readings were all over the place, but one thing consistent was that my blood pressure was slowly rising. This was concerning because it is one symptom of pre-eclampsia, which can be life threatening.
My family had some new stressors during my last two months of this pregnancy, so my Intended Parents did a wonderful job at trying to help me relax and take it as easy as possible. I was so thankful for their care and concern for me and their baby during that time. They relocated our family to an extended stay hotel close to the hospital so that I was able to be monitored whenever my blood pressure was high and to take some of the burden off from being nearly 2 hours away from my delivering hospital.
I began to have doctor’s appointments twice a week to check on the baby. They performed Non-stress tests (NSTs) every week to make sure the baby was reactive and that his heartrate was within the limits it should be while resting and while active. After each NST, I would have a quick ultrasound to check growth and make sure he had enough fluid in the amniotic sac. This is all very standard for a high-risk pregnancy. Why was I high-risk? Because I was over 35 years old, had a pregnancy resulting from IVF & because of my elevated blood pressure.
We did see my blood pressure lower over the last few weeks of my pregnancy, however I started to have other signs of preeclampsia. Proteinuria is protein in urine. This is a sign that the kidneys are not functioning how they should. This, plus an elevated blood pressure is a sign of preeclampsia.
On Tuesday, May 21st, I went to my NST appointment to check on the baby. Everything was fine with him, but when they checked my urine, it showed a higher level of protein than the week before. Because I was 38 weeks pregnant already, the doctor sent me across the street to the hospital to have blood work, watch my contractions and check my blood pressure for a few hours. It was about 10:00 am when I went to the hospital.
While I was being monitored, my blood pressure lowered so significantly that I thought there would be no way they would make me stay for an induction. The doctor came by to check on me and said that since my blood pressure was so low while I was waiting for blood work results, he wanted me to walk the halls for 10 minutes and then get checked again. If my blood pressure was normal and blood results were normal, I could go home.
I walked those halls briskly like he asked and then laid so nervously in my bed. Unlike the majority of women I know, I prefer to NOT be induced. I have had 4 deliveries prior to this one, and the last 3 of those were inductions. I really wanted to experience a natural labor like I did with my first pregnancy. I wanted Baby W to decide when he wanted to make his appearance.
About 5 minutes after being checked and cleared w normal blood pressure, the nurse came back and said, “I’ve got some news, we’re keeping you. Your creatine has increased significantly, so it’s time to get baby out.”
I called my IPs and let them know to come to the hospital and that, ironically, I was already having steady contractions. I had assumed they would hook me up with Pitocin and the baby would come quickly after that.
That night was a long one with the highest level of Pitocin they were allowed to give me and no baby being born! My poor intended parents were so excited and then Baby W ended up not being born on Tuesday, after all of the anticipation!
Wednesday at 11:00 am, the new delivering doctor agreed to break my water! I was so excited because this is usually what speeds up my labor, and I figured baby would be born within an hour or two. The baby kept moving so much that it was so difficult to get his heartrate on the monitor, so with one dip of his heartrate, a nurse came flying in and turned the Pitocin off immediately. They spent some time trying to get a monitor on Baby W and eventually decided to place an internal monitor on his head in an attempt to get more accurate readings.
My wonderful doula had suggested we try different positions to help things progress and that they let me walk around. The only problem was they needed to keep a close watch on baby’s heartrate and when I would stand up, it would be harder to read. I’m not a physics major, but I’m wise enough to know that lying flat on my back was NOT an ideal way to help a baby descend. I needed to be vertical.
My nurse in the middle of the night tried a wireless monitor but it was not working very well. So, there I was, stuck in my bed. She did try very hard to let me be able to move about, but it just wasn’t safe if they couldn’t keep an eye on his heartrate. I truly appreciate medical professionals doing their best for surrogacy (even when they could not accommodate my desire.)
Fast forward again, my doctor came in at 2:00 a.m. and after examining me and finding me to be at 3cm (STILL!), she sat down next to me, crossed her legs and very sweetly said, “I just don’t know why you’re not dilating.” Right there I knew what she was going to say. She would advise we have a c-section for “failure to dilate”. I cut her off immediately and begged, “Please just give me a few more hours.” She agreed and left me to it! I am SO thankful for her patience in that moment. It was what I needed to motivate my body to do what it should’ve been doing all that time… bring the baby down!
If I did not have the baby by 11:00am on Thursday, I knew I would be having a c-section. After 24 hours post water break, they will want you to have delivered and I knew the clock was ticking. I don’t know what happened between 2:00 am and 2:30 am but something crazy happened, and we were finally making progress. I had my IPs join because I thought he was almost ready to come at 3:00am.
As I went into the transition phase, I experienced some painful back labor. My doula and husband were so supportive! Needless to say, I was e.x.h.a.u.s.t.e.d. I’m confident my IPs were supportive too but I had my eyes closed almost the whole time so I may have forgotten they were even in the room.
Finally, I was dilated and ready to push! And, then after one big push, he was born. 5:19 am weighing 7lbs0oz and measuring 19 inches long. Perfection.
My IPs, my husband, my doula, my nurses were all emotional.
My IPs did the cord blood banking, so it took some time after he was born before I was able to deliver the placenta. I ended up with an emergency D&C to gather the remaining pieces of the placenta that the doctor couldn’t extract. When I woke up from the surgery, my favorite nurse was by my side in the operating recovery room. Recovery went great and I got to go visit the baby as much as I wanted. My intended parents came to check on me often, as well. The grandmother brought me flowers as a sign of her thankfulness for what I had done.
To Baby W: Thank you for making your way out, into your mom and dad’s arms. Thank you for being so good to me. We love you so much and it’s been an honor to be a part of your birth story.
Check back soon for my next update: milk donation.