I was 38 weeks, 1 day pregnant. Physically, I was doing great. I could go on long walks with my family and felt like I had a lot of energy. I had been crying every night to my husband about how stressed I was that (name an area of the house) wasn’t clean. NESTING.
Emotionally, mentally, I was so ready to meet my second son. SO READY. I went on numerous walks every day, ate pineapple, bounced on an exercise ball, EVERYTHING. I was getting big contractions daily and I had a feeling this kid was coming soon, one way or another.
I went in Thursday morning, July 12 for my 38-week check. Surprise, surprise, I gained weight. (After my weekly response “do I really have to?” every time my nurse stopped at the scale). I sat down in the exam room, had my blood pressure taken, and was told to undress and wait for the doctor.
My doctor entered the room and started by saying my blood pressure was high. I thought nothing of this – I was diagnosed with preeclampsia with my first son and I was not experiencing any symptoms up to this point. She wanted to do a cervical check, strip the membranes, and then have me rest for two minutes before having another check of my blood pressure. I was 1.5cm dilated (no change from the previous week) and 70% effaced. A new nurse came in and introduced herself before taking my blood pressure again. She paused and told me it was still high and had to talk to my doctor. Do all exam rooms have paper-thin walls? I overheard words like “send her to labor and delivery” “wheelchair” and “she will end up there anyway, why wait.” My heart started pounding, I knew they were talking about me.
My doctor came back in and said she was going to send me to labor and delivery to get monitored and tested for preeclampsia. I didn’t think I would stay long – I was by myself (my husband was at work and my son was thankfully at my mom’s house) and for whatever reason; I thought I would be sent home within the hour. I was hooked up to a blood pressure cuff, contraction monitor, and baby heart monitor, and was told to lie still in a bed for 4 hours. All my blood tests came back negative, but my doctor said she would choose to induce me if I had high blood pressure at rest after the 4-hour time frame. That time just flew by…my thoughts going crazy with ‘what if I meet my baby today’ or ‘how sad to be sent home after all this.’ My doctor finally came in after the 3-hour mark and told me to start making arrangements to stay and be induced. She diagnosed me with gestational hypertension that she thought would turn to preeclampsia again if I didn’t deliver.
I called my mom and told her to keep my son. I called my husband to tell him to come to the delivery room after work. I let my mother-in-law (who I wanted in the delivery room with us) know that tonight was the night!
My husband arrived from work after a couple hours and I finally let out all the emotion I had been holding in all day. I was realizing that this was happening, ready or not, my life was about to change again. I also cried over not kissing my sweet son goodbye and knowing that would be the last time he was my only child.
The Pitocin started and the doctor came in to break my water (forever my least favorite part of labor) and the contractions started to get stronger. My loving mother-in-law rubbed my feet and back. She and my husband held my hand through each painful contraction. I knew I was going to get an epidural this time around – it sped the process up when I was in labor before and I knew, in the long run, it would help me this time around as well.
Around 9:00pm the nurse came in with the anesthesiologist and started the epidural process. It only took to the left side of my body, and it took it hard, but my right side was still feeling all the contractions. He came back in and had to try and pinpoint the right side, which did help a little. At 10:30pm I had a cervical check – 4 cm. I laid back and thought I would try to rest.
At 11:00pm there was a nurse shift change, so I got to meet my new nurses. They wanted to do a head-to-toe to see where I was at. I looked at my husband and said I had a weird cramp in my lower stomach and felt strange. During the check, they continually moved the baby heartbeat monitor and looked confused. One of them explained she wasn’t getting a good reading on the baby’s heart. I started worrying from that instant – they wanted to move me and maybe have to put a probe on his head so they could find the heartbeat.
The nurse helped me onto my back and pulled the sheet down and FROZE. The next thing I know is all lights are up and the nurses are yelling, “HELP! WE NEED A DOCTOR!” and “PAGE THE NICU!” from the room. I instantly went into shock – I didn’t know what was going on or if my boy was alive. When they pulled back the sheet his head and shoulders were out! As the nurses were calling for help he pushed himself out up to his knees. So there I was, in a panic filled room, with a baby between my legs. No crying. No answers.
The nurse grabbed him and flipped him and I heard it. The only noise that could comfort any mom in that situation. A cry and a breath of life.
In 30 seconds time, I went from thinking I was only 4cm dilated, to holding my son on my chest and having my husband and mother-in-law comforting me and telling me he was okay. A doctor finally entered the room, delivered the placenta, and left saying I had no tears or need for repair. My baby literally fell out of me and had all of us in shock.
Ash Timothy McGuire
6 pounds 7 ounces
19.75 inches long
My boy is here and SAFE. I am thankful every day that they found him when they did and that I have him with me now. It was God’s perfect timing and it happened as it should. Another boy to hold, to kiss, to raise up, to teach, to learn from, to admire, to laugh with, to cry with, to go through the highest highs and lowest lows, and to adore with my whole heart.