Luna's Birth Story: A Not-So-Magical Experience

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In case you haven’t heard, we had our baby! Luna Hazel was born on Wednesday January 29th at 12:11pm. She weighed 5 lbs 14 oz and was 18.5 inches long. A perfect bundle of blonde hair and beautiful joy. She could not be a happier, prettier, healthier or better baby, and for that we are SO grateful.

However, her birth was far from perfect and was nothing like I ever would have imagined it. Before giving birth this is exactly what I hoped and imagined delivering our baby would be like….

Contractions would start and I would breathe through them at home for a while. I would do my makeup and hair, eat a big meal and try to relax until contractions got closer together. Once we arrived to the hospital, I would use the labor tub, the labor balls, the labor bar, etc, etc to get through the pain and try to not get an epidural. I’m not necessarily anti-epidural, but I wanted to try to go without one and be free to walk about and do what I please. I hate being attached to anything in a hospital. Anyways, after a few hours, we’d have our baby, a room full of people who love us and all would be right in the world. The end.

Here is what actually happened….

Last Tuesday, I had my regular 37 week check-up at my OBGYN at 8:30am. I felt normal and excited to hear if there were any changes. As the nurse took my blood pressure she looked a little concerned and took it again…and again. Then, she had another nurse come over and take it once more. They asked if my head hurt or if my vision was blurry…it wasn’t. They asked if I felt okay, and I said “Not anymore!” After, the doctor looked me over they told me to “relax” (yeah right) and they’d take my vitals again. The doctor then came in and told me I probably have toxemia and I need to go straight to the hospital…do not go home, do not pass go and collect $200… go directly to the hospital.

OKAY…if you are new to Positively Panicked, allow me to give you a quick description of myself: I have very high anxiety and panic attacks. My triggers are hospitals, sicknesses and high blood pressure. Also, my health during the entire pregnancy was perfect, so this all came as quite a shock.

A little scared, I called Husband to meet me there and drove myself to the hospital where the fun really began. I arrived at 10am and after being observed and tested for a few hours they decided to induce me at 2pm. Toxemia and preeclampsia had been ruled out, but my blood pressure kept getting higher. No one really knows why. So, they started me on pitocin and let the contractions begin. Eventually, my blood pressure only go higher so they put me on magnesium.

When they decided to put me on magnesium I had already been in labor for several hours, was shaken up and scared and really sick of having my blood pressure constantly taken. I was not allowed to eat or drink and was STARVING. (I had a yogurt and half a banana before my OBGYN appointment that morning…and that was it.)  Then, the nurse tells me that magnesium will keep me from having a stroke or seizure, but will make me feel like crap. She said I’d have to have a catheter, stay lying on my left side, I’d feel woozy, get a bad headache and have hot flashes and chills. Awesome, because the situation really wasn’t crappy enough already. Boy, was she right…magnesium makes you feel awful.

At 1am I was dilated to 2cm. I wanted to hurt someone when I heard this. 2cm? Only 2!? I’d already been in labor for almost 12 hours! And, being induced is really not a fun type of labor. They suggested I get an epidural, my first reaction was “no”, but the nurse told me I’d probably be in labor for 12 more hours and reminded me that I’m already stuck in the bed and connected to a million tubes and IV’s, so I said, “Let’s do it.” They also had me wear an oxygen mask the rest of the time.

The epidural made me sick at first (who knew I could feel worse?), but not long after it began working and I actually felt some relief. I even slept a little. Fast forward about 11 hours and I was FINALLY fully dilated and effaced. Now, I was scared. Scared to push, scared to deliver a baby, scared about my high blood pressure, but I was also ready. I wanted to get this over with. I wanted to have my baby, have my blood pressure drop back to normal and get the heck out of my worst nightmare.

Husband, was amazing, never left my side, held me, took photos and coached me through everything. After being in labor for over 22 hours, I only pushed for 25 minutes and our little Luna entered the world. We cried and just stared at her in disbelief because all of a sudden there she was… it was the most surreal experience.

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First family photo
First family photo

I’m so glad I got an epidural because it probably kept my blood pressure at bay during delivery, AND I had a pretty bad perineal tear that I luckily did not have to feel get stitched. I wish this was the end. I wish I could tell you that we got cleaned up, stayed the night and then came home to be parents, but it is so far from the end. My blood pressure would not drop. I had to be kept on magnesium for another 24 hours (still no food, water or ability to get out of the bed). I could not enjoy any visitors because I was so scared, miserable and uncomfortable. Thank God, I got to keep Luna with me and breastfeed right away, but it wasn’t easy after not eating for over 48 hours.

Her body temperature was low for the first couple of hours so they had to take her and heat her up under lights for a little while. They also bathed her and put a tiny bow on her head!
Her body temperature was low for the first couple of hours so they had to take her and heat her up under lights for a little while. They also bathed her and put a tiny bow on her head!

The next day, I was taken off magnesium and allowed to eat, but still stuck in the hospital because my bp was still too high. To make a very long story slightly shorter I’ll just say I was kept in the hospital for 9 nights and 10 days. I felt as if I was tortured and forced to live a nightmare for hours on end. I couldn’t eat for about 5 days due to lack of appetite, nerves and medications. I couldn’t have visitors some days. My anxiety is through the roof. I’m on 3 different blood pressure medications for the time being and have had so many panic attacks over the last week it’s unreal. I was so weak upon being released I could only walk about 30 feet before almost passing out. I am still terrified and trying so hard to keep my mind thinking positively.

Besides, the physical ailments, I am emotionally drained. My hormones are all over place. I cry at everything. I know I am so lucky and blessed to have this beautiful baby and the BEST Husband ever (he never left my side for  the entire 10 days…not once).  At the same time, I am crushed that our first couple of weeks as parents has been so traumatic. I just want to be a mother. I am depressed about being on so much medication and I am really afraid of going back to the doctor this week to check everything.

Luna is perfect. She had jaundice and had to be in the incubator looking thing for a day, but other than that she is perfectly healthy and the most content little baby.

jaundice

There were a couple of times that Mommy was not able to breastfeed so Daddy took over with formula.
There were a couple of times that Mommy was not able to breastfeed so Daddy took over with formula.

It’s amazing now to look back to two weeks ago…I was so upset that our nursery wasn’t finished, our newborn photos weren’t scheduled, worried about stretch-marks and gaining too much weight… everything seems so silly now. None of that stupid stuff matters, at all. Our nursery is still unfinished and it’s the last thing on my mind. All of a sudden life has been put in a whole new perspective.

I want to scream “this isn’t FAIR! I’m young, I’m the epitome of health! I’m a vegetarian! I workout 6 days a week! Why is this happening to me?!?!?!” But, Husband has reminded me that it is fair. It’s life. And, I’m lucky. I am here, I am getting stronger and healthier each day. I have a healthy baby. I have a healthy Husband. I have a beautiful home. We have awesome supportive family and friends who have cared for us, brought us food, cleaned our house, watched our pets, prayed for us and supported us in so many ways. Things could be a lot worse.

I don’t know how much I’ll be writing over the next couple of weeks, but I have so much more to share and will definitely be updating as soon as life gets a little more normal.

Thank you all so much for your thoughts, prayers, encouraging messages and positive vibes sent our way. You have no idea how much we appreciate them. Please keep them coming.

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Cheers

30 Comment

  1. Kathy Clark Bruno says: Reply

    Hi I am Kathleen Z cousin and I have been following Kathleen on fb and the birth of beautiful Luna . You have been blessed with a loving family and a beautiful little girl. I know you will be back on you feet before you know it. Enjoy her because when you blink time will zoom by

    1. Hi Kathy! Thank you, we are enjoying every moment with her at home…so happy to have my beautiful and healthy little Luna!

  2. Our Sarah did not take a breath at birth. God has a reason for all things and in time He may allow you to know why or He may not but either way He is in control of our lives we are just along for the ride so try to find the good things and enjoy them.

    1. Mickie, thank you for sharing that. I know you are right, and learning to let go of the things I cannot control is a huge lesson I am trying to learn. This whole situation is teaching me a lot about letting go and focusing on the good things in life.

  3. Oh Hilarie….I am sooooooooo sorry for so many reasons. I also had high BP and I totally feel for you! That’s EXACTLY what happened at my 30ish week appt….straight to the hospital!!! Luckily I was only on magnesium about 3 days, but you’re right…it’s the devil. I was in the hospital for 7 days post delivery for the same flipping reason….but my BP did drop back down about 2 wks after discharged. I PROMISE it will get better!!!! Hopefully being home and comfy will help things level out. I know its hard to imagine right now and the road seems long and curvy but it WILL get better! You will bounce back and hardly remember all this. Trust me. Don’t beat yourself up over anything…cry if you need to cry, you’ve been through a lot. Just every time you feel like you’re gonna “break” look at that angel. That’s what helped me….it just made everything go away. On a positive note once my BP got normal so much started feeling better….and I know yours will too because I wasn’t as in as good of shape as you were. Keep your chin up! I’ll pray for a quick recovery and some sanity 😉 you’ve got this!!

    1. Rachel, thank you so so much for sharing this. It makes such a difference to hear that someone else went through something similar. While in the hospital I felt so alone and scared. The nurses and doctors made me feel as if I was the only patient they’d seen go through this. It’s really a relief to know I’m not! It’s also just nice to hear from other mom’s who had a difficult time, but survived. Thank you for your prayers and thoughts, things seem to be looking up already!

  4. michelle peters says: Reply

    How blessed you and your Husband and Luna are to have each other. As you now know you become a parent and things get real REAL quick. Believe it or not in 13 years or so you may look back and think this is the easy part. It is all emotionally and physically draining … But I wouldn’t trade my almost 15 years of being a mommy for anything. It is the scariest and most wonderful thing all at the same time. Will pray for God’s perfect peace for you. Glad you get to be at home now. (:

    1. Yes, we are SO blessed to have each other, can’t imagine going through this without each other. I hope that soon I can look back at all of this and have it just be a story, or a stepping stone in our lives. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!!!

  5. Oh Hilarie! Im very sorry for all the pain you have had. At the same time glad that you are better and at home with your family. Send my regards to Peter. Luna is such a beautiful little girl.

    1. Thank you Tila! Peter says hello, we both think of you often! And thank you, hopefully one day you’ll be able to visit and meet our beautiful little Luna!

  6. Your story gave me goosebumps and almost made me cry. I’m sorry that you went through all that, I can’t imagine how scared you must have been. Your daughter is beautiful, and I’m glad you are able to be home with her now. I don’t have any great words of wisdom, but I hope you start to feel better about everything!

    1. Thank you very much, so nice of you to think of us! We are definitely doing better now that we are home.

  7. Sending good thoughts your way. Hope you feel better soon!

  8. Such an emotional, up-and-down, rollercoaster of a story, but so so beautiful.
    Parenthood certainly gives a new perspective on life and what is (and isn’t!) important. Things rarely go to plan and are hardly ever perfect, but despite its apparent imperfections or bad timing, the birth of your little girl was perfect.
    I wish you and your little family all the happiness in the world!

    1. Thank you so much! It has def been a rollercoaster, but it gets a little easier each day. I’m just so happy to have such a healthy little girl now!

  9. Oh my goodness, I just caught up on your life and reading this made me cry!! I’m so so glad you are back home and safe and out of this dark place, AND of course that you have perfect, wonderful, healthy Luna with you.

    I’m terrified of pregnancy just because of my depression and the hormones- it’s so encouraging to hear your story and see you come out on the other side! <3

    1. Hey Mary, thanks so much for the sweet comment. I was really scared about being pregnant too…because of my anxiety and everything. I assume everything would escalate and be a hundred times worse. However, the pregnancy was awesome! It was really the best and healthiest I have ever felt. I had virtually no anxiety, my blood pressure was perfect and I felt great. Unfortunately, it was after that everything went haywire…but I know every pregnancy and delivery is so different. You just never know what will happen!

      1. Oh man, that is so encouraging. I’m mostly scared because I’m on a daily medication that I think I’d want to come off of for fear of hurting the baby (since there isn’t enough research on it to totally reassure me)– but then depression during pregnancy is also damaging for a baby, so I feel like it’s a catch-22! I’m really glad to hear that hormones or just being pregnant made you feel so healthy and awesome– I’ve heard similar things from people who deal with PCOS (another problem of mine). Thanks so much for all of the information and encouragement! It’ll be a few more years for us, but it’s great to be prepared.

  10. […] here. I ate mostly healthy and was in a great state of mine. Unfortunately, I still had a very difficult delivery and an awful recovery, but it would have been even worse if I hadn’t been so proactive during […]

  11. […] since having Luna (remember that whole traumatic experience?) I have been battling high blood pressure and anxiety. The anxiety was expected. I’ve always […]

  12. […] Luna’s birth was not exactly ideal, the long road home was certainly no fun and now, the recovery, is much slower than I imagined. My physical body is good. Sure, I’ve got a few stretch marks and my belly button may be forever misshapen, but that’s nothing. I love my body and I’m proud of its abilities and strengths. It’s kind of amazing. It’s my mind and health that are still on the mend. […]

  13. […] in fact, we still haven’t really finished it. Between Husband ripping out the closet and me having Luna three weeks early, the room was not even close to being done when Luna arrived. A lot has been done since then, and […]

  14. […] I am having the hardest time recovering from the post-traumatic stress of being so sick after having Luna. Then, my nerves really kicked in as a waited for days for the results of the testing. I felt much […]

  15. […] Luna is two. Two years ago, was Luna’s not-so-magical arrival. In fact, it was more traumatic than magical, but definitely worth every heart-breaking moment. […]

  16. […] When Luna was born, two years ago, I was very physically and mentally ill. My crazy blood pressure had kept me in the hospital for 10 days and the doctor had me taking 19 pills a day. Being so sick and weak after giving birth not only caught me completely off-guard (I had a textbook perfect pregnancy), but it left me feeling shocked, depressed and very anxious. I had bad PTSD that I am still battling, but I was also physically unable to do almost everything. The medications were keeping my heart rate and blood pressure so low that walking upstairs or even holding Luna while standing for too long, caused me to blackout. It was really hard. Gradually, I began to heal. My medications were lowered (a lot), my strength and energy started to return and I was beginning to come back to life. Focusing on the small victories helped a lot. At this point, I was thrilled to start going on walks and do yoga again.  In fact, a full day of grocery shopping, cleaning cooking and caring for Luna felt like crossing a finish line…a finish line that ended by crashing into my bed, and a race that began again each morning. It was a finish line that I was thrilled and grateful to continue crossing. […]

  17. […] This may seem dramatic to some, but you can read my story and history with anxiety and hospitals here to get an idea of where I’m coming from, mentally. I struggled with day to day life for a very […]

  18. […] of the unexpected sickness and difficulty I experienced during Luna’s birth, it’s obvious that this pregnancy has me a bit on edge. And, by a bit, I clearly mean on the […]

  19. […] Your birth wrecked me in many ways, and yet, you were the one who saved me as I struggled to find myself again. Every time I held you, fed you, swaddled you and watched you learn and grow I began to find another piece of myself. For a long time I felt as though as I was falling to pieces, but then you would need me, broken me, to sustain you. Being your Mother, loving you and nurturing you made me whole again. As an infant, I cherished the long nights (and boy do I mean LONG) of rocking you to sleep because I was not only in awe of your existence, but I was, and am, so unbelievably grateful to be your Mother. […]

  20. […] of my life. It was also, virtually the opposite of how I felt after Luna’s birth. (The “not-so-magical experience“). Dash’s birth was my do-over, but like all births, it didn’t go exactly as […]

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