NOTE ABOUT THE FEATURED PICTURE: Infants smile and even laugh out loud in their sleep. I believe they are dreaming about Heaven when they do this. They certainly aren’t dreaming about the birth! 😉
Our daughter, Ali, had been having contractions on an off for two and a half weeks and, when she was having contractions, they were coming on a regular basis.
A sonogram when Mackenzie was seven days past due showed polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid). The midwife explained that the problem might be causing the contractions to not be strong enough. That was a Friday and the midwife said if we didn’t have a baby by Monday that Ali needed to go to the hospital to be induced. Induction can be dangerous with a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) so Ali did NOT want to do that.
We all headed to Ali’s house on Sunday afternoon for support…and to help her walk and eat lots of spicy food. On Monday morning, Richard stayed with our boys and our grandson Jack, and Ali, Justin, and I headed to the hospital with Justin’s mom, Sharon.
We had to wait several hours because all of the birthing rooms were full. Once Ali got into one, they rupture her membranes and her labor started right away. She never needed Pitocin.
The contractions grew stronger and stronger and, as Ali started having more pain, it was difficult for me, her Mommy, to watch. Justin was so very supportive, standing by her bed for hours, helping her get up and rock, and coaching her through the pains.
The problem was Mackenzie’s heartbeat was remaining steady through the transactions. The doctor and midwife expected it to rise and fall with contractions but it did not. They didn’t know what was going on but they suspected it was the umbilical cord wrapped around something. I was praying constantly by this point. This went on for several hours but the baby was stable and Ali was determined to not have a c-section. She’d had a very long recovery time after the previous one almost two years prior…and we would find out later why. The facts were VERY disturbing, to say the least.
Suddenly, during a big contraction, Ali had the urge to push. She was only at eight centimeters but the midwife told her to go ahead and do what her body was telling her to do. The pains got stronger and stronger and, while only pushing when she felt the need to do so, Ali asked for the anesthesiologist. Unfortunately, there was a trauma case downstairs, as well as a c-section happening across the hall so Ali had to wait. She was such a trouper!
After she finally got the epidural, labor slowed down but that’s what the doctor wanted. Her contractions were coming every minute, back-to-back. Ali finally dilated to 10 and was told to push with everything she had. I held her right leg and Sharon held her left while Justin supported her head during pushes, whispering words of encouragement and love to her, and reminding her to breathe correctly. He is THE most amazing husband! I was so proud of him!
Ali pushed for about two hours and that was, by far, the worst part to watch. She was completely exhausted and, each time a contraction ended, she was flop back on the pillow and her eyes would roll back in her head. It was terrifying! She would then ask if the baby was okay, and would start the process all over again.
Her contractions were coming every minute again and they gave her meds to slow them down. I could see Mackenzie’s head down there and she was about three inches from being born. She wasn’t moving. The pushing wasn’t working. But, Ali kept trying. Despite her complete and utter exhaustion, she never asked for a c-section because she knew a natural birth was best for Mackenzie. I had never been so proud of my daughter as I was at that moment!
All of the sudden, Mackenzie’s heart rate started rising. The nurse took Ali’s temperature. It was 101.8. She silently held up the large, digital thermometer for the midwife, who immediately called for the doctor. Ali and the baby had gotten an infection at some point during the labor.
The doctor came in, watched one pushing attempt, checked the baby, and said they were heading across the hall to surgery. Ali didn’t verbally protest but she kept pushing even though she knew she wasn’t going to get that VBAC.
Ali and Justin were taken to surgery and Sharon and I packed up our stuff, and headed to a waiting room. Ali’s previous c-section, from the time they wheeled her out until they brought her back, was less than an hour. I’m not kidding. I didn’t know that wasn’t normal. After Sharon and I had been waiting two hours, we became increasingly worried. We both started texting Justin, but didn’t receive a response. Nobody came to update us. It was the longest two hours of my life!
It was close to 4:00 a.m. when we finally heard from Justin. He sent pictures of the baby and said Ali and Mackenzie were fine and Ali was in recovery. And, he shared more. When the doctor cut her open, he discovered that the previous surgeon, for Ali’s first c-section, had misplaced her innards. The bladder was sitting on top of her perineum, and prevented Ali from giving birth vaginally. (That also explained why her catheter wasn’t working during labor.) Her uterus had been sutured with too few stitches. The gaping wound, that thankfully healed, had her bladder fused to it. Finally, her abs were not pulled back together properly before suturing. All of that was why Ali’s previous c-section recovery was so long and painful! I was SO FURIOUS when I learned all of this! And, I still am!!
Mackenzie’s umbilical cord was wrapped around her thigh and her abdomen so she was holding on for everything she was worth! She was not breathing when she was born but the worked on her and got her going. Ali later told us how terrified she was when she didn’t hear Mackenzie cry and when none of the medical personnel would tell her what was going on.
Since Ali would be in recovery for awhile, Sharon and I drove to Ali and Justin’s house to get some sleep. When we got there at 5:30 a.m., we discovered all of the doors locked and nobody inside would answer their phones. I found an open window, managed to dislodge a very tight screen (I may have bent it in the process), and then Sharon took a picture of me breaking and entering. Despite being more tired than I’d ever been in my life, I had a hard time going to sleep. It was a combination of me continuing to frantically pray for Ali and the baby, and all the coffee I’d drank at the hospital.
After a few hours sleep, we ALL headed to the hospital to be introduced to that sweet, beautiful baby. When I saw Ali, I hugged her and started crying. She looked SO much better! However, they had her on four different antibiotics. She had four IV bags hanging up. They wouldn’t get the cultures back for another five days and they still didn’t know what she’d picked up at the hospital so they weren’t taking any chances. Her temperature was normal but she was on acetaminophen so that could have been masking a fever. Mackenzie’s temperature was normal.
Two days later, Ali was about to be discharged when they checked her blood pressure one last time. It was HIGH! 150-something over 120-something (I can’t remember exactly). They suspected postpartum pre-eclamsia and told Ali she wasn’t going anywhere. Justin had already packed the car and he went down to get everything and bring it back upstairs. I’d already arrived back in St. Pete so I quickly re-packed my bags, got a hotel reservation near the hospital, and raced back down there. Ali started crying when I walked in the room.
There wasn’t anything I could do about Ali’s blood pressure but she needed her Mommy and I needed to be with her. Her urine had protein in it so the feared diagnosis was confirmed and they started her on blood pressure medicine. The next afternoon, her blood pressure was under control and she was finally released. She has been checking her blood pressure at home and it’s been steady, if not a bit low at times. The medication makes her feel woozy when she stands up.
Two days after they got home, Ali noticed a sacral dimple on Mackenzie when giving her a bath. The next day, they had an ultrasound at All Children’s Hospital just to be safe. Mackenzie does not have spina bifida. She just has a really cute dimple on her butt crack. She may or may not outgrow it. 🙂
Mackenzie is a VERY good baby. She already sleeps through the night! I told Ali don’t expect that to keep up much longer. I think she’s still getting all the meds out of her system that Ali had during labor. Ali hasn’t taken any pain killers since arriving home. The blood pressure meds are safe for nursing moms but I’m sure some of that is getting to Mackenzie, too. Ali has to be on those for at least six weeks.
After two weeks of waiting for that “Mom, I’m in labor!” call, all hours of the day and night, and the frantic, stressful, painful birth, life has finally calmed down. Baby and Mommy are fine and we are all enjoying playing with the wee little angel. We are all so blessed! 🙂
You can see more pictures RIGHT HERE.
- Baby Mackenzie is FINALLY HERE! And, it was a VERY rough ride for her mommy!
- Correctly Guess When Ali Will Have Her Baby – AND WIN A FREE BOOK PUBLISHING PACKAGE FROM BOOKLOCKER!
- Aaaaand, Still No Grand Baby! But, here’s what I’m doing to stay ready!!
- A Night in the Hospital but No Grand Baby Yet!
- When You Give Your Grandkids Chocolate and Red Bull
Angela Hoy lives on a mountain in North Georgia. She is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the President and CEO of BookLocker.com and AbuzzPress, and the author of 24 books.
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