Jennifer’s Birth Story
My due date was supposed to be August 15th, 2016. On this day, I was expected to welcome my baby girl into the world, or around there because let’s be honest, not many women give birth on their actual due date. At my 35th week appointment, my doctor had a concern about the size of my belly. Now, if you have seen me in person at all, you know that I am not the tallest person around. I am quite the opposite. I am 4’9 and 25 years old (24 at the time). So you can imagine what I looked like at 35 weeks pregnant. I had gained about 25 pounds, and boy was my belly big. It was mainly all stomach and hips but still big enough to be uncomfortable. Dr. Walden (my OBGYN) was hoping that baby wouldn’t be too big because then labor would be extremely hard or dangerous for both baby and me. She sent me to a specialist, where I had gone to get my first photos of the baby, to have baby measured as well as my amniotic fluid.
Visiting the specialist:
When I got there, I was so excited to find out how big my little nugget was measuring. Was Bella going to be big or tiny? How tall would she be measuring? Little did I know that I would leave feeling nervous and scared. While looking at the measurements, the doctor mentioned that she measured small for her gestational age. About 4 pounds and a few ounces. That’s a tiny baby. She reassured me that yes she was little, but she still had five weeks to keep growing. Then, she saw the size of her belly. She said that her belly was measuring small when usually a baby’s stomach is larger for their size. That was when she saw white spots in my placenta and umbilical cord.
This is referred to as calcification of the placenta. Those white spots were calcium deposits, and it means that my placenta and umbilical cord were aging. Aging is normal. However, the amount of calcification that I had was considered grade III, and normally, that is what a placenta at 40 weeks looks like, which explained Bella’s low weight. It does not allow the baby to get proper nutrient through the umbilical cord. My heart had dropped, and all I could think was what I did wrong. The doctor reassured me that sometimes it just happens and even though I was listening to what she was saying, I couldn’t help but think that my body had failed the baby and me. I was very paranoid throughout my pregnancy that something would happen. I believe that you just hear so many stories that I freaked myself out. The doctor informed me that there might be a possibility to induce early if they found that I was losing amniotic fluid or that baby’s heart rate decreased. So I was scheduled for check ups once a week with the specialist to listen to Bella’s heart rate.
July 27th, 2016:
Everything seemed to be going as planned and my nerves eased as the days went by. On the 27th of July, I had my weekly check up. At this point, I was 37 weeks and a few days. I laid in the chair, strapped my belly up to the monitors and listened to my baby’s heart rate. Listening to her heart rate was soothing and nerve racking all at the same time. Knowing her little heart was beating brought joy to my heart. But not knowing what could happen had me on edge. When the doctor came in, she noticed that I was having a lot of contractions (which just left like pressure to me) and that Bella’s heart rate had dropped during one, so she kept the machine on for another 15 minutes. Again, her heart rate dropped. That was when the doctor looked at me and said: “looks like we’re having a baby today!”
Getting my epidural:
But alas I must be still, or else I may end up paralyzed I thought. The nurse gave me a pillow to hug and her hand to squeeze. RIP hand. I squeezed that hand to death. Having a needle in your back doesn’t hurt very much when you’re having two powerful contractions back to back. Honestly, though, it just felt like tugging, and it felt weird. The epidural didn’t hurt much. The contractions hurt a lot more, and I was trying my very best not to move. Fifteen minutes in, I was starting to feel more relaxed. The epidural was making its effect and 30 minutes in I did not feel any pain. It felt fantastic. I still had to lay on my left side which made my left leg go numb, but that was the least of my worries. I was finally at peace and could get some sleep. About an hour later it was time for another check up.