The day prior to Valories birth, I had this intuition that I’d go into labor in the next 24 hours. We had planned to have both of my parents in the room with us, just as we’d had during Phoenix’s labor. As early symptoms of labor started to occur, I had a good friend come over to stay for the night, so that someone would be able to be with the kids just in case.
Sure enough, I woke around 3:30 am with strong contractions. I laid there timing them for about a half hour before I decided it was real, and woke Justin. We already had our bags ready, which was good because by the time we’d called my parents and gotten in the car 15 minutes later, my contractions were only 3 minutes apart.
We got to the hospital around 4:00am, and were given a delivery room pretty quickly because it was clear I was in full blown labor. My contractions progressed rapidly, they were only 30 seconds apart which meant I could barely catch my breath between them. In my 3 previous labors I’d never experienced contractions that intense or close together, and that’s saying something because Sloan was med free, and Phoenix had been sunny side up. The nurses were concerned about the intensity and frequency of the contractions exhausting me too quickly, so they rush ordered my epidural and it was administered within minutes.
I started to calm down as the epidural meds took affect, so Justin and my dad ventured down the hall to get some food and coffee, while my mom stayed with me. There was only one nurse in my room at this point, and she was off in the corner updating my charts, so it was pretty quiet. Unfortunately, in a chain of unfortunate events, nobody had noticed that the alarms had been turned down, I was a bit dehydrated, hadn’t been given enough fluids before my epidural, and per my blood work that week, had been very anemic in the few days leading up to labor. It created a perfect storm.
All of a sudden, my blood pressure plummeted to 88/50. My body immediately went into hypotensive shock. My vision blurred, my head was spinning, and I lost my hearing completely. I felt like I was underwater. I am told I turned white as porcelain, and I couldn’t speak properly. I knew something was wrong but I felt so far away, and couldn’t communicate to alert anyone. It’s called a “vasovagal response”, and it was terrifying. Thankfully my mom happened look over to say something to me, saw how pale I’d become, and that I seemed to be near unconscious. She shouted to the nurse, who’d gone around the corner, that something was wrong.
The nurse frantically flattened the bed out to try and stabilize my blood pressure as fast as possible. Gravity set in, and caused the epidural meds to travel UPWARDS into my chest, then beginning to numb my heart and lungs. As my heart rate and breathing slowed dangerously, I felt like something was sucking the life out of my body. It was terrifying, I was sure I was dying.
The nurse seemed completely unaware, and I still couldn’t verbalize properly, so I kept quietly mumbling the words “sandbag” and “chest” to my mom. She somehow understood what I was expressing, and again shouted to the nurse, this time alerting her that I was having trouble breathing. The nurse finally seemed to understand the severity of the situation when she looked at my plummeting vitals on the screen. She scrambled to shut off my epidural, pulled the emergency cord out of the wall, and sat me up abruptly, with the help of my mom.
As a doctor and several other nurses ran into the room to help, I was given some rescue meds, and I started to become more aware again. This is right about the time my dad and Justin came back. My mom filled them in about what had happened, and I realized as soon as I could breathe better, that I had a very strong need to push.
As the nurses worked to get my vitals somewhat under control, the doctor checked me and said Valorie’s head was crowning. The doctor left, and a midwife then came in to assist until my obgyn, who was stuck in the morning’s rush hour traffic, could get there.
The midwife asked if I felt comfortable waiting to push, as they knew our story and understood it was important to me that my obgyn, who is a dear friend, deliver my very last baby. I felt I could wait a bit, so for about 15 minutes I hung out with my legs in the stirrups, Valorie’s head crowning, while everyone looked at her hair and chatted amongst themselves. It was really, really strange!
Once my obgyn arrived, a single push was all it took, and our very last baby was delivered earth-side, right into Justins hands. Born at 8:21am, 25 days early, on November 21st, 2019. She was 7lbs, 19in, and had beautiful wispy blonde hair and blue eyes.
I was shaking pretty uncontrollably, because both of our temperatures were a bit too low after all of the labor trauma. We needed about two hours of observation, some more rescue meds for me, and warming blankets, before we were both cleared to move into our mother baby suite.
This beautiful little girl is the final piece to our puzzle and she was so worth the chaos and trauma that was her arrival.