First off, it feels like forever since I’ve written a blog post. But honestly, it has felt really good to just focus on my family these last few weeks. With the unexpected early arrival of our Mason James taking a break from everything else has been super recharging; even with the little sleep I’ve been getting in between feeding, cuddling, and changing our little peanut.
I want to start by giving you the backstory on why we induced at 37 weeks instead of waiting till Mason was ready to come on his own. This post is by far the most personal one I’ve ever written, and it’s a long one, so I hope you will stick it out till the end 🙂
We went in for our 36 week ultrasound and doctors appointment, on Thursday 9/8, only to find out that Mason’s gestational age was putting him in the 8 percentile. My doctor let us know that anytime a baby goes below the 10 percentile, they like to look at a few things to make sure everything is functioning properly and nothing is failing, stunting the growth of the baby. Mason was in the 27 percentile at his 20 week ultrasound so that was a significant drop when we were expecting him to grow and move up the scale. especially since I had gestational diabetes, the whole time I was worried that Mason was going to end up being a really big baby!
They checked the flow of blood that runs from the placenta through the umbilical cord to baby Mason and saw that it also wasn’t normal. It showed signs that the placenta was failing and they were afraid that baby Mason might not be able to handle birth if we waited full term for him to be born naturally. I must say that the person doing our ultrasound kept his cool as well as my doctors assistant because it wasn’t until we were in with our doctor that we found out there was some cause for concern. After putting me on a monitor to watch Mason’s heart rate, it showed that it was strong and at a healthy range, so that was good!
But, you could imagine mine and Justin’s shock to hear the news. We’d had a rocky road to this point with a few test coming back not the way we had thought and this was just one more that totally took us by surprise. I’ll be honest, this entire pregnancy, other than the morning sickness (of course) I had felt great. I never once thought there might be something wrong with our baby. His heart rate always sounded good when he was being monitored. I always thought that I would be able to tell if there was something wrong, most mama’s I know who did run into complications had a feeling before going into the doctors. So why then was I unable to tell there was something going on that wasn’t right. This really bothered me, and was super upsetting when we got the news that our baby could be at risk. She had us come back the next day, Friday, and I’d be put on the monitor again, this time for at least an hour to see how his heart rate sounded.
It took me the day to come to terms with all this news. I was going to be having a baby almost a month early. Having just gone on maternity leave, it was my first week off, I thought I would have time to get prepared. We had all our baby classes scheduled and had only been able to attend two of them up to this point. I was freaking out and not sure I was ready. Of course I was ready to be a mother, this was something I had been looking forward to for years, but the way it was seeming to unfold was not at all in my “birth plan.” Talk about birth plan, Justin and I hadn’t really even settled on one. Planning for Mason’s arrival was kicked into high gear as we talked through all the options on Thursday night.
On Friday, his heart rate did dip below the normal range a few times when I was laying in one position for too long. So with this along with the placenta showing signs of failing these were enough of a concern that they decided it was in the best interest of me and baby Mason to have me induced right at 37 weeks (which was in just two days from getting this news). For a moment it seemed that she might just send me across the street to the hospital right then and there but I explained I didn’t even have my hospital bag packed yet. I had just finished purchasing everything I needed that I didn’t have yet. So she agreed to let us go home that night.
So instead of going to the hospital right away to be monitored and potential induction our doctor allowed for us to come back on Saturday to be rechecked. We trusted our doctor that of course we agreed to go into the hospital the next afternoon to be put on the monitor again for an hour. If everything looked good then we’d be able to leave and check back into the hospital on Sunday evening to be induced. Thankfully everything did sound good so we were able to leave the hospital.
On Sunday, we slept in, took the day nice and slow and took the pups for an afternoon at our favorite spots to just relax and watch the waves. At this point it was somewhat comforting knowing that we were going to be checking in at the hospital that evening at 8pm to get the process going of meeting our baby. I was by then ready to meet Mason but had no idea of what to expect.
The Birth Story:
That evening they started me out with hormones called prostaglandins. They insert them (looks like a ribbon) in the evening to hopefully get labor going by the morning. Unfortunately, after having it in for only an hour Mason started reacting badly to it. His heart rate dipped down so they chose to remove it and go to Pitocin. Since it was in the evening they started with a very low dose hoping I would sleep through the night and then in the morning they would start to up the dosage.
When I woke up and I hadn’t dilated anymore they decided to try mechanical dilation using an inflatable balloon along with the Pitocin. Mind you at this point I was still only 2 centimeters dilated and the balloon only helps you get to 3 centimeters dilated. It wasn’t until I think around 3 or 4 pm that the balloon came out meaning I had finally gotten to 3 centimeters. This process was taking so long and I was starting to wonder if I was going to even be able to deliver Mason vaginally or if they were going to have to do a c-section to get him out. I had no idea how long they were willing to wait before making that call. Since the reason why we were being induced at 37 weeks was because they didn’t feel we could wait any longer.
The nurses let me eat dinner because I was progressing so slowly so they were not worried about me going into labor that evening. They brought me and Justin food and after I took one bite of some broccoli and a carrot, my water broke. It literally felt like something burst and then the water gushed out. My contractions at first were totally manageable. Justin did such an amazing job of keeping me focused on him and breathing. Then it felt like I went from 0-60 and the pain became totally unmanageable. My whole body was shaking and I literally could not control myself. It was the worst feeling ever! I’ve never not been able to control my body. I felt like I had to be 10 centimeters dilated but I thought there’s no way since they just checked me and I was still only 3/4 centimeters.
I decided I was a wuss and when our midwife asked if I wanted to get something for the pain I immediately said let’s get the epidural. She called for the epidural and thankfully they came in right away. After they got me all set up they checked me again to see how far I was and sure enough, I was 10 centimeters dilated and fully thinned out and ready to go! I guess I wasn’t a wuss after all and I was experiencing such a drastic change in my contractions because I was in active labor.
I ended up pushing for only 3-4 contractions before Mason made his big debut. It was intense for a while because his heart rate kept dropping, I could tell by the monitoring machine, and the nurses kept having me shift my position hoping to get it to come back up to normal range. My last pushes before he came out I had to do without a contraction because our midwife, who turned out to be a family friend who was on call that evening, was so concerned about Mason making it. I am so thankful for her because if it wasn’t for her making the call to just push as hard as I could without a contraction who knows if he would have made it out without an emergency c-section, or worse.
For all of the stress and ups and downs the moment I was able to hold my baby all of that went away. Justin cut Mason’s umbilical cord and then they were able to place him on my chest. Not only was the cord so short they couldn’t place him on my chest right away but once the placenta came out they said it was about half the size of a normal placenta. You’d think for how big my belly was that everything would have been good and normal but in fact it was the opposite.
All I have to say is that my little Mason was a warrior. He wanted to be born just as badly as we did and he stayed strong enough to do so. He is such an incredible baby.
Mason James Adney was born on September 12th, 2016 at 9:09pm. My labor was only 3 hours once my water broke and a total of 25 hours from when they induced me. He weighted in at 4 pounds 11 ounces and measured 18 inches long. He had a full head of hair and I didn’t have any heartburn at all during pregnancy!
Would love to hear how some of you mamas went into labor? Did you get induced? Did you have a planned c-section? Were you overdue and decided to try every trick in the book to start labor? Or were you early or right on time with your due date?
Gorgeous photography by Birch Studio Photography.