Hi and welcome to Part II of an interview series on intrauterine growth restriction. We left off with Part I, which was an introduction to my awesome little sister, her previous pregnancies, and the official IUGR diagnosis for her third child.
Can you tell me a bit about the end of your pregnancy?
The end of my pregnancy was stressful not because I was worried, but because I was going back and forth with all of these appointments. If this had been my first child, it wouldn’t have been so bad, but every appointment (three per week, but I could at least pair either the ultrasound or the non-stress test with my normal weekly checkup, but the NST and ultrasound had to be on two different days) I had to find a baby sitter. This was tough on me because I couldn’t go about normal daily life and have that structure for my three-year-old and almost 1.5 year old children.
There were two other times that the cord dopplers were high after the initial diagnosis and one other time that during the 30 minute ultrasound, he didn’t move. I had felt him moving that day, but this landed me a trip to Forbes Regional Hospital for them to do an NST and also a scary threat of, “you need to go where you’re planning on delivering him.” I asked if I could grab some food on the way because I hadn’t eaten that much that day (we were driving home from a week of family camp) and I figured he was probably not moving because he didn’t have enough energy to because I hadn’t eaten (lol).
They said, “no you really need to go right now.” That was definitely the scariest instance, besides the initial diagnosis, but he was totally fine on the NST monitor. In addition to trying to schedule all of these appointments, there were two weeks in the end of July and beginning go August that we as a family had been looking forward to and planning for all year long. Hillsboro Family Camp and our church’s Christian service camp. Somehow, with maneuvering the appointments and even going to a couple NSTs at the hospital instead of the office on a few Saturdays, I was able to go to both of those and still go to all of the appointments I needed.
What were the biggest challenges and blessings during pregnancy?
My biggest challenges were mostly based off of the fact that I am one of those people who does not enjoy being pregnant. I just don’t feel like myself and I struggle sometimes to remain a positive attitude. But towards the end the added appointments were the biggest challenge for me. The biggest blessings were the fact that we have medical care, how thorough all of the doctors were, and Caroline’s ability to understand it this time through!
When did you deliver Titus?
I was induced at 37 weeks, which was Monday August 22nd, 2022
How did you feel going into the birth?
I was pretty nervous, mostly for the actual labor part. But also the thoughts of how much he would weigh, what if something happened during birth to him, will he be healthy, etc. were swirling around in my head. But ultimately I was ready for the anticipation to be over!
Can you share your birth story?
Josh and I arrived at Forbes hospital at 7:30am for a scheduled induction. The first thing they did was hook me up to the monitor and everything was looking great! Then they needed to get an IV… after two blown veins, the nurse anesthetist came and got one in my wrist! They gave me fluids at a pretty quick rate because I guess I was dehydrated! At 8:30am they started the Pitocin. I felt some mild contractions about 7 minutes apart for about an hour. I used a yoga ball to bounce on which felt nice.
When the doctor came in to check my dilation, I was 3cm dilated and 50% effaced. They broke my water at 9:50am. After this I was 5cm dilated and contractions were a little bit more painful and 5 minutes apart. At some point they went to 3 minutes apart. The nurse had me use a peanut ball which helped to open my hips I guess. I stayed at 5cm for quite a while even as my contractions got much more painful and more pressure built up. Around 12pm they began to be much closer together (my eyes were closed so I’m not sure how close lol) and his heart rate began to drop with each contraction, which is common. They had me rolling from side to side in order to help not compress the cord and I also had an oxygen mask on to help him get as much oxygen through me.
The doctor placed an amniofusion in order to help the cord to not be too compressed. She checked my dilation while placing this and I was at 8cm. They said to let them know if I felt any more pressure. I had one more contraction as they walked out of the door. My next contraction, I felt a TON of pressure and what definitely felt like the “ring of fire” or whatever it’s called. I had Josh call the nurse and everyone came running in; I was ready to push! I pushed for two contractions (5 minutes) and Titus James Rowe was born at 12:16pm.
When I went to push for the placenta, it did not come out. As the cord was coming out, the doctor noted that it had a “true knot” which I guess is super rare?! That would totally explain the elevated dopplers and Titus not getting everything he needed inside of me. The doctor was trying to pull the placenta out and it disconnected from the cord. At this point the doctor said she could either take me to the operating room and remove it or give me a fast-acting dose of the Fentanyl and just manually extract it.
I really didn’t want to have surgery, so I went with the latter. That was probably worse than birthing Titus, and I had a strong pain medicine on board as well! But it all came out in one piece and they gave me some antibiotics since it was a manual extraction. I only had a small first degree laceration, requiring 2 stitches.
What were Titus’ stats after his birth?
Titus was 4lbs 0.9oz and 17 inches long.
How did you feel emotionally after he was born?
I felt an immense amount of relief. Labor was over, he was born, and he was healthy. I cried with joy, comfort, and relief.
What was the biggest challenge and blessing with Titus’ birth?
The biggest challenge was being patient through the beginning of labor. I was totally able to move around and breathe through the contractions until close to 11:30/11:45. The blessing was, once I got closer to delivering it all went very quickly and I was so distracted by everyone being in the room.
It was also very discouraging being at 5cm for quite a while, but then I suddenly went from 5-8cm and very quickly… two contractions… from 8-10cm. The biggest blessing was Titus was completely healthy, despite not receiving the right amount of nutrients through the cord, and knowing just how many people were praying for us.
Thank you for sharing, Hannah! Be on the lookout for Part III, which will discuss Hannah’s postpartum experience in the hospital as well as how long Titus had to stay in the hospital and what the was like for their family.