When Paul and I first started dating, I told him that if he ever planned on marrying me that he should know I wanted a lot of children. Surprisingly, Paul was accepting of my dream to be a mother to many children and even made it his own dream. A year into our relationship, I stopped having periods. Just out of no where. At first, I thought, “hey this is pretty awesome!” Then one day I started to have these awful cramps. It was time to visit the doctor.
I made an appointment with my FORMER gynocologist. (We will get back to why I stressed the word former.) After running a few tests, the doctor informed me that I had Polysistic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). It was as if the doctor was speaking another langauge. I had never heard of it before and didn’t even know what questions to ask, like: How did I get this? What do you mean it can cause infertility? How will this effect my life? How do I spell Polysistic?? After months of no periods and pain, she suggested birth control. I understand fully that this is a typical way to help women with PCOS, but it was a route I did not want to take. She also said I could always have a hystorectomy. I want to stress that I saw three gynocolosits after her and she was the ONLY one that suggested this procedure. In fact, the other physicians couldn’t believe that she would even suggest that to a (at the time) 21 year old women. After searching for about two years, I landed on the perfect doctor. Funny thing was I had interned under him for a year. He gave me great hope, that me and my now husband Paul had just as much luck as any one to have a baby….or so we thought.
After months of trying, changing my diet, working out, and many failed pregnancy tests later I was becoming a little unsure that this would happen for us. I started taking Metformin for my PCOS, it took three years to convince me to take the medication, but Im glad I did. One month and six pregnancy tests later we were PREGNANT!!
Everything in me changed when I found out I was expecting. I became so calm and relaxed. Nothing phased me. I had a prefect pregnancy. Around 28 weeks I started having Braxton Hicks contractions. They were more annoying than painful – I found comfort in knowing they were preparing my body for labor. By 36 weeks I was 2cm dialated and 70% effaced. I remember how excited we were, thinking that any day now we could have our sweet boy in our arms. 38 weeks was a bit of a turning point for me – I was completley swollen and my legs looked like tree trunks (I’m normally lovingly teased for having chicken legs). My typically low blood pressure (bp) was staying higher then the doctor wanted. He asked all the appropriate questions: Headaches? No. Do you see any spots? No. Any floaters in your eyes? No. Since I answered “no” to all the above questions and there was no protein in my urine, he let me go free another week.
My 39 week appointment fell on a Friday. Again my bp was high. He asked the same questions, and honestly I felt fine. He told my husband (knowing that I wouldn’t listen) to check my bp all weekend. If it gets high, don’t think, go to the hospital. All weekend Paul checked my bp with his grandparents home bp cuff. Before taking it home, his Nanny said that she didn’t think it was completely accurate. I used that as my excuse all weekend.
On Sunday November 11,2012 I woke up with a small headache. I tried not to think about it while I got ready for church. I remember laughing that I was probably the only person there with flip flops on my feet, but I couldn’t fit into any of my shoes. When Paul and I got home we started cleaning our apartment. It was getting close to dinner time and while cleaning I had a sudden urge to make chocolate chip cookies. After eating about 12 cookies I went back to cleaning. Paul decided to check my bp, the reading was 170/99. I brushed it off, even though I knew better. Paul asked me how I was feeling. I responded with a smile and probably said something perky like, “Great!”
We went to visit his dad and stepmom around 5pm. While surfing their fridge for some leftovers we told them what my bp was, and they said to try their bp cuff. This time it read 175/100. I waited a few minutes 178/100. At this point Paul was mentally packing our bags and heading to the hospital. Instead I called his Aunt Tammy Jo, who is a family physcian. She said to go to the hospital. But I kept thinking, “ugh but I’m so comfortable…they will just send me home.” Paul made me call the on call doctor who told me to get in the car immediately and head to the hospital – they would have a room waiting…there was no way we were coming home. I got off the phone calmly, told my husband, then started to cry. I had a flood of emotions. I was worried that I would have a stroke, that something might be wrong with the baby, or that I would need a C-section. I pulled myself together and turned my anxiety into happiness. We packed up the car and headed to the hospital, which for us was a 45-minute drive.
It was drizzling that night. I remember thinking to myself that I wished there was a Chick-fil-a on the way, because I really wanted some waffle fries. I knew they wouldn’t let me eat once I got to the hospital (next time I will eat!). Paul was so excited because he had never stayed the night in a hospital. It made me giggle at the little things that excite men. Checking into the hospital went by so quickly. The labor ward was backed up, so we sat in the ER waiting room for about 20 minutes with another couple. The women that was next to us was in active labor.
When the labor nurse came down with a wheelchair she asked if I was Mrs. Myers, then told me to have a seat in the wheelchair. I remember feeling so dumb sitting in the wheelchair. Mainly because the woman that was in active labor was walking behind us going to the same floor.
They put us in this tiny triage room. I changed into my cute nightgown and peed in the little cup so they could check my protein. After being in the room about 10 minutes, our nurse came in. She had a sweet, deep southern accent. She took my bp which had now shot up to 180/102. She tried to laugh it off and came back a few minutes later to check it again. This time it was 179/100. The dr came in to tell me that I could have a stroke, there was a small trace of protein in my urine, and they were going to call my OBGYN. Oh great, like telling a women that she could have a stroke was going to make her bp go down.
The nurse came in about 10 minutes after the doctor talked to my OBGYN to take some blood. My room became a revolving door of doctors and nurses coming in and out. When my labs came back, the doctor said I had pregnancy hypertension. My OBGYN said that it was time to have the baby. With every contraction my bp was going up. My body was just not working well with the contractions. It was about 10pm when the on-call doctor said I was going to be enduced. I begged him to let me sleep before they started the pitocin. He gave me until 2am.
Waiting at all was pointless. Outwardly, I stayed calm, but I couldn’t help but think to myself – enduced, pitocin, epidurals, when will this headache go away? – was not what I wanted to hear during labor. I had a plan to have a natural birth…I was prepared for a natural birth…this is not what I wanted. I mean come on I had a wonderful birth planned that I spent so many months researching and praying over. However, the most important thing was the safety of our baby. Around 12am I called my mom and told my parents to head to the hospital. My parents got there around 2:05am right after they gave me the epidural and started the pitocin. At this point there was a shift change and our new nurse came in with some extra blankets. The medication and excitement gave me the shakes. I was also feeling very sick, that feeling stayed off and on for hours.
My dad stayed until about 2:30am then headed back home to get some sleep. I remember feeling AMAZING when the epidural kicked in. I said some really silly things to Paul and my mom like, ” If labor is this easy, I want as many kids as the Duggars.”
Sometime after the epidural they put in a catheter, which I thought would hurt, but I didn’t feel a thing. I was actually glad to have it.
Paul and my mom slept on and off until 4am when the nurse came in to check me. I was dilated 4 cm . The doctor came in around 4:30am to check my contractions. They were not as strong as he wanted, so he gave me more pitocin. I didn’t care because I couldn’t feel a thing. He was still unhappy with my high bp.
Around 6am, the nurse came in to check me, but I had not progressed at all. Which led to more pitocin. I asked Paul to put in The Duggars DVDs I had brought to the hosptial, but the DVD player was broken. At that point, I wanted another room! Michele Duggar’s voice was so soothing and all I wanted to do was watch their show. I laugh about that now. Instead, a marathon of American Pickers started, which we ended up playing the whole time.
At 7:45am my OBGYN came to visit me. He checked me, and of course there was no change in my labor. However, knowing how much I hated the medication, he told me we could ride this out for a little while. My bp was still high, but consistant. When my doctor left, Paul went downstairs to get him and my mom breakfast. I got to chomp on ice chips (lucky me).
My OBGYN called to check on me over the next couple of hours and our new nurse came in because I went through another shift change at 4cm!
My OBGYN came into check on me during his lunch break. During the exam my water broke…everywhere. It was so embarrassing, but the doctor kept talking like I wasn’t leaking all over the place. He told me this would really help my labor along.
After that point, the details became hazy. My epidural started to wear off and I refused to get any more medication. The pain kept getting worse and worse. But I didn’t complain I just sat in the bed and joked with Paul and my mom.
The contractions started to become unbareable. My contractions were off the charts and seconds apart. In between contractions I had my mom and Paul alternate pressing on my back. Two nurses came in to ask if I wanted any medication, but I didn’t want anything…not even to be asked questions. Hours went by and I was still having intense contractions. The nurse came in every few mintues to see if I wanted pain medication…which I still did not. I don’t remember at what point this was said, but the doctor was trying to let me know that this may end in a c-section and I need to prepare myself. Something took over me at that point. I knew that God made my body to give birth to this baby and I wasn’t going to do it with surgery. During every contraction I squeezed the bar of the bed. So Paul and my mom kept pushing on my back and I kept finding strength.
Out of nowhere I felt this intense pressure. I was curled next to Paul when I jumped up and told them to get the nurse…NOW! The nursed came in and I was 9.5cm dilated and 100% effaced. It was time to push. My mom’s face lit up she kept telling me this is the quick part. The nurse seemed nervous…maybe because I was in so much pain I couldnt even hold myself up. But my mom told the nurse, “tell me what you need her to do and I will make her do it!!” So they propped me up and I started pushing. After about 30 minutes of pushing, my oxygen started to drop and a bunch of monitors started beeping. The nurse asked me a question, but I literally couldn’t open my mouth to talk. She handed Paul an oxygen mask and told him to give it to me in between pushing. The doctor came in about that time and kept encoraging me to push. Everyone kept telling me that Caleb’s head was going in and out. Two hours into pushing and no real progress I was exhausted . I coudln’t open my eyes.I was saying, “I can’t…I can’t.” I had nothing left. Paul put his head on my shoulder and it made me relax. My doctor started jumping up and down and saying your a warrior you can do this. So I gave out a few good pushes back to back. Caleb’s head was finally starting to come out. The doctor gave Caleb’s hair a little mohawk which made me laugh. they kept telling me to look in the mirror so I could see him, but I couldnt keep my eyes open. Finally, a few deep pushes later, on November 12,2012 at 6:48pm I saw Calebs precious face. He was 8 lbs, 15 ounces and 21 inches long.
I wished that I would have been able to have a completely natural child birth – that was my dream. I’m proud of myself for not giving in to a C-section, because the feeling of pushing my son out is something I will never forget. I never knew how strong I was until that moment. I was also feeling back to my old self within a week after Caleb’s birth.
Looking back, I can see God’s work in my life. He protected my body when I was in labor and gave me strength when I didn’t think I had anything left. Because I have PCOS, I appreciated my pregnancy and son’s life so much more. I soaked up every second of feeling him growing inside of me, because there was a time that I didn’t think it would be possible. But through my God, everything is possible and if it his will to bless our family with another child, we will be happy to accept that blessing, again…again…and again…(I think you get the picture!)