July 18th, 2018, the day everything changed.
This is it y'all. The BEST, most scary, most exciting day of my life. The day our sweet baby Flo entered this world. I setup a GoPro camera in the corner to capture her arrival, I didn't want to forget anything. And yes, I've watched it at least a dozen times already. Don't worry, you won't see my coot coot or any other weird shit. I'm keeping it classy San Diego. BUT before you watch the video, and think, wow, that looks so easy, she literally pushed for under a minute... Let me tell you somethin' (in my best Ace Ventura voice) there were A LOT of challenges leading up to this moment. And y'all know I'm keeping it 100.
For those of you that follow me on Instagram, you have probably seen my swole ass Nutty Professor feet, and/or have seen me taking my blood pressure at home. For the last couple of months of my pregnancy, I was being closely monitored for preeclampsia, a condition that pregnant women develop marked by high blood pressure in women who have previously not experienced high blood pressure before. Preeclamptic women will have a high level of protein in their urine and often also have swelling in the feet, legs, and hands.
According to my Labor & Delivery nurses, this is a very common condition in IVF mama's; however, there isn't any documented data to back it up. It's just something they have seen as a trend over the years. So, take if from me, if you see swelling in your feet or hands, CALL YOUR DOCTOR! THIS IS SERIOUS!
On Tuesday, July 17th, I had a doctor's appointment to do my normal monitoring at 10:30am. I actually had plans to go to lunch with two of my girlfriends right after my appointment. My parents were flying in later that day.
Per usual, I was acting a fool, taking selfies making fun of my husband.
Just a normal doctor's appt for us.
The nurse came in and told me that they had found protein in my urine, a symptom of preeclampsia. This was the first time this had happened. She then took my blood pressure and went to go get the doctor. My husband finally looked up from his laptop and said "what's going on?".
Oh, hey bruh, thanks for joining us!
We both knew, something didn't seem right. The vibe in the room was intense.
In comes the doctor, who also takes my blood pressure.
I love my doctor, he's "east coast" like me, and is pretty chill in demeanor. He "keeps it real" and downplays most things. However, this time, he was not so chill.
He looked at me and said "you need to go to the hospital ASAP."
I was 39 weeks pregnant, so no real worries about the baby's development. The baby was ready! This was a different worry. A life or death kind of worry. Preeclampsia can impair kidney and liver function, cause blood clotting, seizures, stroke and, in severe forms, maternal and infant death.
I guess I'll cancel my lunch plans.
We raced to the hospital and by the time we arrived, I was in a full blown panic attack. My husband put my crazy ass in a wheelchair and wheeled me up to labor and delivery. Anyone we passed in the halls moved out of our way quickly because they thought I was in labor. I definitely looked like I was in labor! I was breathing heavily, sweating like a pig in heat, with tears streaming down my face. My husband wheeled me into the elevator head first (rookie), which left me face to face with some young single guy. I'm pretty sure the poor guy shit his pants on the way out. How's that for birth control? Sorry bro.
We got to our floor to check in and the nurses even thought I was in labor.
Nope, just a panic attack. GAWD!!
They quickly checked me in, and started doing tests. My blood pressure kept rising. Shocker! I mean, I thought I was DYING. Of course it was getting higher.
They called my doctor and the decision was to induce me.
The only cure for a pregnant woman with preeclampsia is to deliver her baby. The doctor on staff informed me that they were going to have to administer Magnesium (otherwise known as "the Mag") via my IV to protect my brain and prevent a seizure or stroke from happening. The doctor let me know of the possible side effects - "your body might feel hot, and experience possible nausea, etc".
Hmm, that didn't sound that bad. I've definitely been through worse!
A slew of nurses came rushing in to give me the medication and to put padding on my bed rails (in case of seizure). They brought in a bucket of ice cold wash cloths and handed me a barf bag.
Shit, this is getting serious.
I asked one of the nurses what it "really" felt like to be on the "Mag". Her response - "um, well, it feels like you are in HELL basically"
Well, fuck me sideways. To Hell we go!
My parents arrived just in time to see the Mag show. I was burning up, and so my mom was putting ice washcloths all over my face, which within seconds were warm washcloths and needed to replaced with cold ones. My entire family was wrapped up in blankets freezing, meanwhile I was in actual hell. The nurse was right.
In case you are wondering, yes, that's my husband sleeping through all of this in the background. Don't worry, he redeemed himself later. #butfirstletmetakeaselfie
My eyes were rolling back in my head, exorcist style. I felt like I was on a really bad trip. I only remember bits of pieces of what happened while I was on the Mag. I was puking into the barf bag that I could barely hold with one hand. A nurse was coming to stick my arm in a new spot every 30 minutes to check my magnesium levels and had ruptured a vein. I had more bruises than after a wild night of binge drinking. #whitegirlwasted
Mag is a bitch. A real bitch.
Meanwhile, I was also given pitocin, to start contractions and induce labor. Pitocin was speeding things up, and the Mag was slowing things down. Due to the two drugs working against each other, I wasn't seeing progress in how much I was dilating. However, the contractions were starting to kick in. They decided to give me the epidural early.
Thank you Lawd!
However, the epidural only worked for about 2 hours and then stopped working. I was feeling EVERYTHING on top of feeling like a possessed zombie with the fucking bird flu. The anesthesiologist came back in and turned up the epidural. That worked for about 20 min.
Back to pain again.
And then again.
Eventually he decided to reposition the epidural. That helped for about 45 minutes. Then, more pain. Still no progress in dilating. And then they started talking c-section.
Really??? After all I've been through? Not now!! I can fight through it.
Let me try damn it!
And then, a new shift came in.
In comes Maria. Ohhh Maria. Maria was all bi-nass, y'all. No time for jokes or small talk, she was there to get shit done. I'm pretty sure she invented the term #RBF. I kept trying to get her to laugh, but nope. Nothin'.
She assessed my situation and called in the new anesthesiologist immediately. They decided to remove my epidural completely and start over. The new doctor was confident he could fix the problem and at that point, I was willing to try ANYTHING, so I said yes. Get this thing out!
One of the highlights, was when they started to remove it, the doctor commented that there was a weird blue color they'd never seen before. I looked at my husband and busted out laughing. We both knew what that was. I responded "Don't worry doc, that's just my old ass, faded, tramp stamp, you're good!"
He chuckled. (still no laugh from Maria)
And....the new epidural worked! I was finally not feeling the contractions. Next, they started to taper me off the Mag to see if dilating progressed, and it did! FINALLY!
Let's do this!
I moved quickly to 5 cm. Then 9, then 9.5. Maria had me push twice for practice, and commented "the baby has dark hair like daddy".
Say what?? You can see the hair already? How dark is it??
And then, she called in the delivery crew and had everyone lined up and ready within minutes. Maria don't play.
Everyone got into position and I looked at the doctor and said "you ready boss?" He laughed and said, yep, I'm ready. Let's have a baby!
And here it is, in 2.5 pushes, the birth of Miss Flo. As you will see in the video, I was just as shocked as you probably are.
IT'S A GIRL! I was shocked. I thought for sure it was going to be a boy. I even asked - "are you sure?"
She entered this world at 10:32am on July 18th, 2018, on our nine year wedding anniversary. That's gotta mean something, right? Fate has a crazy way of revealing itself.
Florence Viola, our fierce baby girl, you are already making statements.
She arrived with one hand in the air, fist pumping all the way out, which in return resulted in a 4th degree tear, from hole to hole! In case you are wondering, there are only 4 degrees of tears, so therefore, I have the worst one. Thank you Flo.
But, hey, she was ready to party, I really can't blame her!
Cabs are here!
She was placed on my chest, covered in gook, and the moment I laid eyes on her, I knew she was the ONE all along. She was the one we had been fighting for. She was the one that so many people had helped us pray for. SHE was always meant to be. Wow, a girl. MY girl!
And here she is, finally in my arms.
Hearing her cry for the first time was a feeling I can't explain. She is really here, she's FINALLY here!
We cried together.
She knew who we both were right away, we had been talking to her for so long and it didn't take long for her to have Daddy wrapped around her finger.
Miss Florence Viola, our greatest love.
They let me bask in the glory with my new baby, skin to skin, for a short while, and then had me right back on the Mag. There was still major risk to my health, and so, we were right back to business. My blood pressure was still high.
I was back to being a zombie again, puking, eyes rolling back, etc. They wanted me to try breastfeeding, but I could barely hold my head up. They told me I didn't have to do it, but, I was definitely not going to miss the window of opportunity to nurse my baby for the first time. It was so important to me that we got to bond early on. I asked the baby nurse to put her on my breast and hold her for me.
All I wanted to do was feed her and hold her. Luckily, she latched quickly and the nurse was able to help us. Although, I couldn't really see straight or communicate to her, I knew she was there, and she knew I was there. Together, we made beautiful magic out of a tragic situation.
I was on bed rest for another day, and then finally moved down to the mother/baby floor. I was so excited to finally shower, brush my nappy ass hair and hold my baby.
I looked down at her thinking, that's my little fighter, my strong girl, made of pure fire. And to think that just nine months ago, she started as a tiny little embryo in a petri dish, and here she is in my arms.
I knew in that moment that, together, we can do absolutely anything.
A special thanks to my delivery nurse, Maria. She's the one I have to thank for turning things around and relieving my pain. I actually got a small smile from her when she said goodbye. I have a lot of respect for people like her - she takes her job very seriously, and it shows. Thanks Maria, you saved me!