There was so much about my third pregnancy that was unexpected, and I owe a debt of gratitude to the team at Lifecycle WomanCare for their unwavering support through it all. Here is our story:
A little more than halfway through my pregnancy, we learned that my baby boy had a swollen kidney. After several rounds of testing at Lankenau and CHOP, we came away with a tentative diagnosis of hydronephrosis and utero pelvic junction obstruction. Nothing life threatening, thank goodness, but a condition that would require intervention after he was born.
All of the midwives and nurses I met with from that point on could not have shown more compassion as I suddenly found myself in uncharted waters, navigating a “complicated” pregnancy. They helped me understand what to expect as I moved closer to my due date, extra tests I might want to consider, and supported me as I weighed my options and made the decision to deliver at Bryn Mawr Hospital, just in case my baby needed intervention after birth.
Aside from this, my pregnancy proceeded pretty smoothly. My due date was 11/27 and somewhere in early November I started to get antsy. The typical pregnancy discomforts coupled with chasing around my endlessly energetic 3 and 5 year sons had me exhausted! This being my third, I had also convinced myself that there was no way I was going to make it to my due date and kept expecting to have my little “turkey baby” before Thanksgiving on the 23rd.
Needless to say, Thanksgiving came and went. And then my due date came and went. I was so over being pregnant and ready to meet my baby.
8 days later, on 12/5, I had my next appointment at LWC. After talking over my options with Advah, I decided to have my membranes swept in hopes that it would jump start labor. I remember feeling hopeful, but slightly disappointed that I didn’t immediately feel any different.
Since I was approaching 42 weeks, I also left from that appointment with a date on the calendar for an induction and two small bottles of castor oil – just in case. I wasn’t thrilled with either of those options, but at this point, I was just relieved to know that this pregnancy was, indeed, going to end.
Later that evening, I had a false alarm, thinking my water had broken. I saw Advah again at LWC. She was extremely encouraging and told me that all signs were pointing to labor beginning soon.
She was right – I woke up early the next morning, 12/6/17, with contractions. Finally!
Things progressed quickly. By the time we arrived at the hospital around 11am, I was in full-blown, active labor. At that point, I was still laughing in-between contractions about the absurdity of needing to stop every couple minutes to focus. It made for a long trek to the L&D unit!
Things start to get fuzzy once we made it to our room. I remember being greeted by Jane and the nurses at BMH. Getting through the necessary hospital protocol was an adventure as the contractions were coming more frequently and took all my concentration. I remember hearing Jane say that I was doing great and that she was impressed at how well I was handling labor. Those simple words and her vote of confidence were a huge source of strength.
Between Jane, my husband, and the caring nurses at BMH I truly ended up with a dream team. My husband applied steady counter pressure to my back with each contraction. Jane offered gentle guidance and position suggestions (and, I’m sure, did a lot more that I don’t remember or wasn’t aware of). All were immensely helpful.
Eventually, Jane checked my cervix. I was fully dilated – woohoo! – however, I didn’t feel the urge to push just yet. She also noticed that my water hadn’t completely broken and asked if I’d like her to break it, noting that it could be the catalyst to help me move into the second stage of labor. I readily agreed, and she could not have been more correct.
I felt the urge to push immediately – it was completely consuming. After a couple unproductive pushes still on my back, she suggested that I turn over onto my knees and let gravity help. Getting into position felt like a monumental task at the time, but it made all the difference. About 15 minutes later, my baby boy, Felix Edward, was in my arms!
I will never forget the compassionate support from both Advah and Jane during those two days. Even though I did not get to deliver at Lifecycle WomanCare like I was planning, with their support, it was still nothing short of an empowering experience.
I’m also happy to say that Felix sailed through surgery at just shy of 3 months old to reverse his UPJ obstruction. As we approach his first birthday, I’m so thankful that he’s here, that he’s healthy, and that he had such a warm welcome into the world.