It's taken me a while to write this (#newbornlife), but I'm finally excited to share Cooper Jo's birth story!
I love when people write these because I'm always so curious about other people's experiences, but I especially love writing posts like this more for my own benefit. It helps document this sweet time and reminds me of the details of our special moments. Kinda like a journal!
So here it is, the story of how sweet Cooper came into this world!
Before her birthday:
To truly understand the whole picture, we have to back up 3 weeks. Zach and I were on vacation to celebrate his 30th birthday with friends. I had some serious swelling, but I attributed it to traveling, long car rides and just normal pregnancy swelling. We went to a Walgreens one day to check my blood pressure (BP) just in case and it was a little elevated but nothing super concerning.
Fast forward to the next week when we got home, Zach and I went in for our routine OBGYN apt. They took my BP and it was high so they took it again before we left and it was still high. They said I needed to take my BP at home a couple times a day and if my top number was over 140 or my bottom number was over 90 more than once I needed to call back.
That night and the next morning it was over those numbers so I called the doctor and they had me come in that Tuesday to get a jug to do a 24 hour urine test (super glamorous:)) and get blood drawn. That Wednesday I went back to the doctor to return it and get another BP check. Still high. Sigh.
They said I'd hear back that afternoon about the results and because I didn't hear anything I assumed no news is good news.
Thursday afternoon I was working on the couch and I got a phone call from the doctor. They found protein in my urine and I needed to come in right away. I was so not expecting this. I sobbed on the couch, pulled myself together thanks to Zach's amazing supper and we went to the doctor.
I was diagnosed with preeclampsia at 35 weeks
We sat in the doctor's that Thursday and the doctor explained what preeclampsia was. It basically means your body is working like a pressure system and that pressure puts stress on your organs and causes high BP. This explains the protein in the urine because your kidneys are under stress. I also had some increased levels in my blood from my liver.
The doctor reassured us so well and basically told us she would not be making it to our due date. And in fact, there was a chance she was coming that night (at 35 weeks). She explained they'll be constantly assessing my health and the health of Cooper to find a balance of when to induce me.
She also explained that preeclampsia can turn dangerous really quickly and I had to continue to monitor my BP and symptoms every day. Let's just say the next week and a half were stressful. I had to stay on the couch and every headache, ache or pain made me question if it was getting serious. Not to mention checking your BP makes your BP higher.... we were in and out of the doctor and hospital almost every day for BP checks and non stress tests.
God and my family and friends got me through the waiting. People SHOWED UP for us. We had nothing done and people came over to help, brought us food and were just there to comfort us.
By the grace of God we made it to almost 37 weeks when they scheduled me to be induced. They were planning to induce me Friday night when she'd be exactly 37 weeks but the doctor wasn't on call so they switched it to Thursday night at midnight.
Checking in to the hospital:
That Thursday morning I had an apt with our OB to do one last non-stress test and BP check. My BP was slowly getting higher but it wasn't dangerous.
At the end of the non-stress test the nurse came in and said Cooper had a decel in her heart rate one time which indicated she was under stress.
The doctor came in and explained since I was being induced that night anyway they were just going to send me to the hospital right then to be induced because of the decel. Of course, this was the ONLY apt Zach wasn't at with me. I told him not to come because we were going to be induced that night and I figured everything was fine.
The doctor said I had to go straight to the hospital. I was planning to go home, finish laundry and pack our hospital bags. So I called Zach and told him to meet me there. I parked myself, walked in and waited for Zach. With no bags or anything at all:)
Luckily we have the best friends and our friend Lauren went to our house, packed our bags and brought everything to the hospital. She even came back again when we realized we didn't have our contact solution.
Getting induced at 37 weeks:
The nurses got us settled and our doctor's explained that inducing at 37 weeks typically means a long labor, especially when it's your first. We were prepared for a 24 to 48 hour process.
I also had to have constant BP checks. If my BP ever went in the dangerous range they were going to have to start me on magnesium. I heard magnesium makes you feel really sick and slows down labor so I prayed over and over and over that it would stay low. Again, by the grace of God, it never got too high and I didn't need magnesium!
1:40pm: They got things started with a Foley Bulb and Misco tabs. I'll let you do your own googling on what a Foley Bulb is. But all I have to say is, it was one of the most painful experiences of my life.
2:40pm: I started having really intense contractions because of the foley bulb. I couldn't have done it without Zach. He let me squeeze his hand and lean on him and he helped me pretty much do everything.
5:05pm: The foley bulb came out and I cried actual tears of joy. I was 4cm dilated. After it was out, the contractions settled and Zach and I watched a few movies with our doula. I definitely ate snacks too. There was no way I was going 24-48 hours without food.
7:45pm: We walked the hospital halls to get up and try and help things get moving. Zach and I just walked in circles for a while and it felt good to get out of bed.
11pm: The contractions picked up again and they were starting to get extremely uncomfortable. I planned all along to get an epidural so at that point I asked for it. I had to have my BP checked and another set of blood work done before the epidural because of the preeclampsia.
11:30pm: We got the OK based on the blood labs and they came in to give me the epidural. Zach is such a champ and was my comfort during everything. They made him sit down in a chair when they did the epidural just in case needles made him light-headed. Which they don't!
12am: They checked me and I was still only 4-5 cm. WHAT! I figured it was going to be a longgg labor at this point. The epidural made me reallyyyyy shaky and feel super weird. For about 45 minutes I was shaking and couldn't calm down. Finally I did and tried to fall asleep. They kept coming in and moving me every hour and checked my BP every 15 minutes. I only slept about 45 minutes.
4:20am: I was extremely nauseous at this point. I was just staring straight ahead hoping I wouldn't get sick. When the nurse came in to move me to the other side I told her I was going to puke and she got me a bucket. I puked so hard my water broke:) I felt a huge gush and told them, "either my water just broke or I peed my pants!" lol. They checked me and I was STILL 5 cm. Woof. For the next couple hours I was sooo nauseous. Every time they came in to move me I threw up. It sucked, I'm not going to lie. They said it was because my contractions were getting so intense, but I couldn't really feel them because of the epidural. Just felt pressure, but it wasn't bad.
7am: They came in to check me again and guess what?! I was 8-9cm dilated! Things really picked up after my water broke and I was getting sooo close.
8:30am: I told the nurse I was feeling a lot of pressure and they checked me. Sure enough, I was 10cm, 100% effaced and +1, which means Coop was very low. Our doctor came in and her and our doula had me sit up to help bring the baby lower with gravity to get ready to push.
9:15am: I told our nurse that I was feeling a lot of pressure and I felt like I needed to push. She checked and said said we should start pushing. She set me up and taught me how to push. I pushed 2 times and Cooper was like right there! They told me to hold my breath and wait because they were goin to call our doctor for delivery. Cooper's heart started to decel so they called the resident that was on the floor to come in. She had me push one more contraction because she thought Coop was in a spot that was putting her under stress. I pushed one more time and she was RIGHT THERE. They put my legs down and asked if I wanted to wait for our doctor. I said heck no because I was ready. The resident frantically took off her jacket and put gloves on while she yelled at me to wait for her.
9:37am: The second she got there I pushed again and Cooper's head was out! I pushed one more time and she was HERE! The moment our lives changed forever.
9:39am: Our doctor JUST missed it. She came in right after she was born because everything happened so fast! Zach cut the cord and we loved on our sweet girl and did skin-to-skin. They were checking Cooper while she was laying on me. They thought she might have had some oxygen issues because she looked pretty pale but everything was fine! They said it was just because I was tan (thanks vacation).
Cooper Jo Thompson
November 8, 2019
It was the hardest and most amazing thing I've ever experienced. Zach and I did it together and it was an amazing bonding experience to do something like that together. He really is my rock.
Also, once you go through labor together, it really just takes your relationship to another level. You can't unsee certain things lol!
We also could not have done it without our doula, Caitlin from The Inspired Birth. She was there for us the whole time and helped Zach coach me and relax me. She made us feel comfortable and reassured us that everything was normal. She also took all these notes so I knew exactly what time everything happened:)
Because Cooper was so small and I only pushed for 20 minutes, I thankfully had a very easy recovery. I think it was God's way of giving me a break because of all the stress before delivery. I was still having high BP for a few weeks after so I felt like that was enough to deal with!
Cooper was born on a Friday and our families came to the hospital to visit while were were there. Zach's mom and sister even came all the way from Iowa!
We got to go home Sunday morning and we've been loving every minute and adjusting to a family of 4 (can't forget Feller!) ever since. We can't imagine life without Cooper and we love her more than words can explain.
LIFE IS GOOD. GOD IS GOOD.