I am elated to say that our precious embaby, Wrenley (Wren) Anne was born at 39 weeks 2 days on August 14, 2019, at 4:29pm weighing in at 8lbs 2oz and 22” long. She is beyond perfect and our hearts have never been so full! I cannot believe it has been since May 11th since I wrote a blog post. There has been so much happening since that date and time completely snuck away, it’s crazy how that can happen! Now I can write between naps, nursing and caring for a newborn!
*Birth story ahead*
Our delivery went a little different than anticipated, I struggled with moderately high blood pressure (BP) the last few weeks of my pregnancy. This came complete with lovely swelling in my legs, feet and hands, oh soo sexy. I was so unbelievably uncomfortable the last few weeks. That Sunday (8/11/19), I started having headaches on and off, so I decided to start monitoring my BP readings at home. They weren’t extremely high but elevated above where they should be. I went to bed early that night with the plan to call my OB in the morning. Once I talked to the clinic, my OB wanted me to come in to get checked out that day since my next appointment wasn’t until Wednesday (8/14). I requested an afternoon appointment since I didn’t want to use any unnecessary PTO from work, every bit counts! They said that was fine and scheduled me for 3pm.
Once I got to work my headache magically stopped and I felt better, more then likely because I was staying busy and keeping my mind occupied. I swear sometimes my symptoms are in my head and it’s hard to decipher between me being dramatic and there actually being an issue… my husband can vouch to that since he thinks I’m always dramatic with some ailment…
Anyways, that afternoon I went to my OB office and had another high BP reading (168/98). I met with the on-call doctor who I’d never seen before and she informed me right away that I would be going to the hospital to get induced today. “Like, today-today?” I asked shocked, she explained that with the high blood pressure, the high levels of protein in my urine, the swelling, headaches and the fact that I have a donor embryo put me in the category for preeclampsia. She said it wouldn’t get better until after baby was born and that it wasn’t worth the risks to let her stay in for another week or two. I agreed, I don’t like risk… lets play it safe and get this baby outta me! I hadn’t considered getting induced, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous since I had only heard horror stories and painful tales of childbirth and c-section due to induction. yikes.
I gladly accepted her offer to go home and get my things together before heading to the hospital. I left the clinic and called Nick, “We are going to have a baby today!” I told him. “Really?!” He said excitedly back. I gave him the rundown and that we needed to be at the hospital by 7:15pm to get the process started. To say we were both excited- nervous was an understatement- this was actually happening, like actually, actually happening, we would meet our daughter soon! Soon, I’d be able to fit back into my rings, tie my shoes, and stomach sleep. I was overcome with tears of joy. Oh hormones, yes…lets please be done being pregnant for the love of god, I’m so uncomfortable!
I went home and started putting all the necessary pieces in place for us to be gone for a few days. My girlfriend Lauren came to get the dogs and gave us the biggest hug, her and her husband have been front and center during our journey, they’ve cried with us when things hadn’t went our way and celebrated when celebration was called for. It felt right having her stop by that day to get the dogs, her positivity was infectious despite my nervousness.
Once the dogs were gone, it was time to focus on all the other things I wanted to get done before we had our baby. I spent the remaining few hours tidying the house and soaking in a bubble bath, truly letting the last few childless hours ‘soak’ in. Bubble baths are one of my favorite things, it’s always been my zen time and where I do a majority of my reflecting. This day was no exception, I was overcome with all the feels. We’ve worked so hard to be parents and I visualized and prayed (yes prayed, even tho I’m not religious) that everything would go smoothly and both me and baby girl would remain healthy during and post delivery. I asked the universe and my grandparents who both recently passed to watch over us to keep us safe. Over the last several weeks I had voluntarily tortured myself by reading articles about women dying during childbirth, why would I do that to myself?!
7:15pm rolled around and like deer in headlights we walked into the hospital. We got checked-in and they walked us to our delivery suite. Maple Grove Hospital is super nice, but the room we were in was very tiny and didn’t have a bathtub, something that during our tour we were informed they all had. It was really not a big deal, but something Nick noticed right away. He asked if there were any other rooms with a tub available but we were told no but there likely would look in the morning. Nick said he’d ask again in the morning. Nick was wonderful about being the ‘manager’ of this operation, I’m forever thankful for that.
At 9:20pm, they started the induction by inserting cervidil into my vag- I’d describe cervidil as a paper looking tampon that they shove as far as possible into the cervix and it sits, untouched for 12-hours. We were told this was to help “ripen” my cervix although I’m still not sure what that actually means. For the first 2-hours I wasn’t able to stand, move or use the bathroom while the cervidil took action. I never had to pee as bad in my life as I had to during those 2 hours. We both slept soundly from 12am-6am despite the constant check-in’s from the nurse. The original plan was for her to check my cervix at 9am and then start Pitocin and break my water if things were progressing nicely. I was pumped because I figured she’d be born on August 13th and I’m a 13th baby and so is my late grandpa John, us 13th babies are pretty special.
At 6am (8/13), they informed us they were able to score a bigger room with a bathtub so we bundled up our things and moved. Our new room was massive…. like 3x the size of our last room with an amazing view of the courtyard and a pond/wooded area. At 9am they removed the cervidil and determined my cervix was “softer” but still firm and my dilation hadn’t changed (2cm), the nurse let me know she’d talk with the doctor and be back to start the Pitocin if the doctor agreed.
She came back after speaking with the doctor and told us that the doctor did not want to start Pitocin yet and that I would be starting another medication, Cytotec. The Cytotec was taken orally every 4-hours and could be taken for up to 24-hours. Great, we were in for the long hall it looked like. We had no idea induction could take so long.
At 10:30am I took my first dose, at 2:30pm I took another, at 6:30pm another, and again at 10:30pm another one. 12-hours of Cytotec. I was having just mild contractions on and off, Nick and I watched a lot of movies, played cards, and napped throughout the day. I called and talked with my cousin, Andrea, who is a labor and delivery nurse to see what she thought about the protocol, she assured me that it sounded like I was in good hands which helped ease my anxiety.
We went to bed around 10:30pm after the last dose of Cytotec, I was informed that they’d wake me at 2:30am for the next dose and possibly another cervical check.
At 12:10am I woke up to a soaked bed and rushed to the bathroom where I was certain that my water had broke. I yelled for Nick and he rang the nurse who confirmed my water did indeed break. Fluid just kept coming out, I’m not going to lie, it was really gross. I asked the nurse if I spend the next few hours on the toilet as my body drains… she laughed and said no, she would get me some pads and I could go back to sleep. A few minutes later she came back to the bathroom with an armful of pads, these suckers were literally the size of my leg, massive and thick, and looked like they were created to capture gallons of water…ew. I put one on along with a cute pair of mesh granny panties that one of the nurses referred to as “Victoria secret panties” (lol) and hobbled myself back to my bed that had been cleaned up.
She strapped me to the monitors and I prepared to sleep. A few minutes later she was back in our room watching my contractions, which were one after another after another. I could hardly feel them but we were told that baby’s heartrate was dropping with each one so she put me on oxygen. She continued to watch for several minutes, left and came back quickly with a shot that she quickly jabbed into my arm. I have no idea what the shot was, but it helped slow the contractions and baby’s heartrate stabilized. We slept from about 2am to 7am the next morning when the new nurse (Sharon) arrived. I liked Sharon right away, she had a motherly warmth and sassy disposition to her, my kinda lady. She asked me if I was ready to have a baby today, in which I responded, “hell yeah I am!”
At 8am our primary OB, Dr. Rice, stopped by our room to greet us, she said she would be the doctor all day and hoped she’d be able to deliver our baby that we’d worked so hard for. She had Sharon start me on a low dose Pitocin. My contractions had started increasing after my water broke, but I was trying to make it as long as I could before getting the epidural because I wanted to be able to walk around. Sharon said it would be a matter of 15-20minutes to get one once I asked. At 9am, I was asked if I’d like the epidural as my contractions were getting much stronger and I wasn’t able to talk through them. I said “yup!” and she called for the anesthesiologist. Turned out there were multiple woman giving birth that day and all of us wanted the epidural at the same time. It took over an hour and 15 mins for her to get to my room. The long needle into the back was a welcome vacation from the painful contractions. Once it was in, I got relief almost right away. HUGE PROPS to those mamas who birthed without an epidural, you are truly warriors!
I rested from 10:15am to around 3:15pm when I was informed that I was fully dilated and ready to push! I could feel pressure with each contraction which helped me know when to push. Nick assisted Sharon in holding a leg and we were off to the races. The doctor and nurse both encouraged Nick to watch, which to my surprise, he did. He watched our daughter being born, how amazing is that?!
The delivery part felt very intimate and peaceful, it was just us, the doctor and Sharon- no big lights, no production, no tons of people like I anticipated from TV and movies. I pushed for 1hr 17minutes. When she finally came out, I had my eyes closed, they all yelled at me “Tessa, look, look, open your eyes, she’s here!” When I opened my eyes, all I could see was a purple blob, it was such a blur and happened so fast, they placed her on my chest and I remember trying to look at her face to see what she looked like. I couldn’t see much, but I could tell she was perfect. Nick took care of the rest while I sat in what felt like a foggy dream-like state. We asked for delayed cord clamping and to save the placenta which was picked up by my doula friend Megan from the red tent women (https://www.theredtentwomen.com). Megan dehydrated it and encapsulated it so I could consume to help with postpartum/milk supply/healing and a number of other things.
We had our “golden hour” which is 1-hour of baby/parent time to do skin to skin, Wren latched right away to the breast and we were rocking and rolling. Around 7pm, we changed rooms into the postpartum unit and we were greeted by both sets of grandparents. Wrenley is the first grandchild on both sides, so her arrival was highly anticipated and long awaited. Our induction/delivery was long, but I don’t think it could have gone any better than it did- I’m beyond grateful for the care that we received from Dr. Rice and all the amazing nurses at Maple Grove. Labor and delivery nurses are truly amazing.
We knew we had to spend two “midnights” at the hospital after her delivery, so our discharge day was on Friday (8/16). Both Nick and I were chomping at the bit to get out of there and get home after being in the hospital for 5 days. We were lucky to have a handful of visitors and endless baby snuggles to help us pass the time!
Wrenley passed all of her newborn tests with flying colors. She was a calm baby from the start, only becoming fussy when she was hungry.
Breastfeeding was a slow and painful start as my milk came in, for whatever reason sweet girl preferred only my left boob and my right side was taking a beating every time I tried to get her to latch. By the weekend after we were discharged I was so engorged I was in tears because my boobs hurt SO BAD! We worked with about 20 lactation specialists at the hospital who advised that her latch was great and that my nipples would “toughen up” as time went on so I was determined to push forward. They encouraged me to hold off on pumping until breastfeeding was fully established and my milk came in. On Saturday, after dealing with boobs that were as firm as basketballs and a baby that couldn’t latch because they were so full, I took out my pump. I called one of my best friends in tears as she walked me through how to use the pump. When I got it working, it was sweet relief! I only pumped a few ounces but relieving that pressure was exactly what I needed!
That Monday we had Wrenley’s follow up with the Pediatrician, again the Pediatrician was a lactation consultant and we spent 45-minutes discussing breastfeeding while she observed Wrenley’s latch. She provided me with a nipple shield for my right nipple which was soooo soooo sore and I swear the heavens opened and the world was right again- Wrenley could actually latch without me being in unbearable pain- THANK GOD!
The last two weeks have been a blur, they’ve went by so stinking fast. I have been feeling great physically and emotionally, although I tend to cry quite a bit about all things…happy, sad, annoying, funny…commercials, TV, books, youtube videos, dogs, babies, you name it- I’ve probably cried around something related to it. The crying is getting better daily, I’ve now went consecutive days with no tears.
I love love love being a mom to this sweet, beautiful gift, she is the most precious thing we could have asked for- she makes the last 6 years of infertility heartache worth every single second because it brought us her. Watching Nick be a daddy has grown my heart to levels I didn’t think existed. I’m hoping that time can slow down so I can suck in all this wonderfulness!
Tessa and Wrenley