Becoming a Mama - Part 6
On April 6th, we went to the Comprehensive Fetal Care Center for a scheduled 36 week ultrasound. After the ultrasound technician finished, the doctor came in to see me and asked if my regular doctor had discussed induction with us yet. I said no and she told us to hang on a few minutes while she paged my doctor. About five minutes later, she came back into the room and told us that they were both in agreement. Because of my gestational hypertension, next week (at 37 weeks) it would be time to induce. She told us that my doctor would give us the plan when we went to see her on Monday, but that we should expect to have a baby by early next week. It was all so exciting and felt so sudden. Throughout the entire pregnancy, I always had a feeling that our daughter would be born early and I could never quite explain it. Now it was all becoming a reality! Early induction of labor isn't exactly the plan that any woman dreams about, but I had decided long ago that I trusted my doctors.
Things really shifted into high gear at home and work. As I wrote in this post early last month, we had always planned to begin my maternity leave a few weeks before my due date. Boy, did that turn out to be a good idea. Betsy, Nicole and I scrambled to wrap up tons of final prep work. Since Jarrod and I had no idea what day we would be sent to the hospital, we had to use the weekend to finish packing our bags, prepping the car, cleaning the house, and making sure we were mentally prepared. I'm not going to lie... I was exhausted. It was exciting and exhilarating, but I was stressed about the fact that I wouldn't have any time to relax before baby arrived!
On Monday morning, we packed up the car (just in case!) and went to the doctor's office. We knew it was possible that she could send us straight to the hospital if my blood pressure reading was high. My BP was okay, thank goodness. We found out that I wasn't dilated at all... I was at 0 centimeters. I felt pretty discouraged by that news because I knew that it would make induction a much lengthier process (and also more painful). My doctor wanted to wait a bit longer in the hopes that my cervix would start to dilate naturally, so we all agreed on the plan to do a biophysical profile (ultrasound) test on Wednesday of that week to make sure the baby was still doing okay. On Saturday morning, we would check in to the Labor & Delivery wing at 11:00 am for a scheduled induction. I was so grateful for the extra time that week to rest, relax and mentally prepare.
That week dealt us a blow we weren't expecting so soon, but the timing couldn't have been better. Our sweet pug, Muggsy, had been battling cancer for several months. He had been doing really well but in the recent weeks we had learned his chemo wasn't shrinking his tumor. We knew the end was coming but because he was so happy and seemingly pain-free, it seemed like we could have a long time with him yet. On Tuesday night, around 2:00 am, Muggsy snuggled up to my pillow and rested his little chin on my forehead. Neither of us could sleep and I just knew that this meant something. The next morning, his breathing was labored and the area around his tumor was red. Jarrod and I immediately knew it was time to call the vet and discuss his end-of-life care. We made the call as we drove to the doctor's office for the biophysical profile test and our veterinarian told us it was time. She said it was time while he was still comfortable because things would only become worse and more painful for him from here. We knew she was right. It was devastating. Somehow we made it through the BPP test and thank the Lord, baby was doing great. It was so surreal. I remember the ultrasound technician welcoming us into the exam room and asking "how are you doing?". Jarrod and I both smiled and told her we were fine, but the truth is that we were feeling completely heartbroken. We got Muggsy the first year of our marriage and he had been our sweet little buddy for over ten years. I wanted so desperately for our little baby girl to know him and now that would never happen.
After the test, we drove back home to pick up our precious pup and take him in. With the most painful lump in my throat, I wrapped him in his favorite blanket and we climbed back into the car. How was this happening? How could we be on the verge of such joy in getting ready to welcome our new baby and have to deal with so much sadness as we said goodbye to our dog... our first baby? Despite the sorrow, we are so grateful for God's timing. We were able to hold Muggsy in our arms as he fell asleep for the last time. His death was peaceful and painless and he knew he was loved. If this had all happened just a few days later we would have been in the hospital. Muggsy would have been in pain and without us. Even worse - he may have died while we were away, or we would have had to put him down as soon as we got home from the hospital. I can hardly even bear to think about those scenarios. As painful as this was for us, the timing was beautiful. It gave us time to grieve and focus on the arrival of our little girl without being worried about Muggsy's health. Our emotional roller coaster ride that was my entire pregnancy continued...
Deep breaths. We took things one day at a time.
On Saturday morning, we dropped our other pug, Pickles, off to be boarded for a few days, packed the car (again!) and then went out to breakfast. I snapped this (terrible quality!) photo below on my phone before we pulled out of the driveway because I wanted to remember what I was feeling in those moments. For so long, we wanted to have a baby and this would be the last time we left our house as just us. The next time we came home, we would be a family of three!
I knew it might be my last meal for a while, so I ordered all my favorites: a western omelet, extra crunchy shredded hash browns, and a chocolate chip pancake! We texted back and forth with our parents, siblings and extended family members and everyone was so excited. At quarter til 11:00 am, we pulled into the hospital parking deck, parked the car and checked in to the Labor & Delivery floor. We were led into a birthing suite and I put on a hospital gown. It was time to get the show on the road! I was determined to leave all the sadness, worry and fear behind me. Our daughter would arrive soon!
I promised this would be my last post, but because this is so long, I'm going to stop here and add one more next week. Be sure to come back on Wednesday next week because it's time to share Piper Rose's beautiful birth story and I can't wait to do so! After nine months of an emotional and physical whirlwind, we were finally ready to meet our sweet girl.
Continue reading Part 7