Before I begin, I have to preface that this was my hardest pregnancy out of my four. I had morning sickness until I was 20 weeks pregnant and I started having braxton-hicks contractions at 16 weeks. By 24 weeks, the contractions were very frequent and sometimes strong. They would usually be random throughout the day, but around dinner time became as frequent as every 10-15 minutes. Some nights I would time them and they would be consistent for about an hour and then jump all over the place from 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 13 minutes, 20 minutes, etc. It was also my craziest pregnancy taking care of three other children while pregnant. I knew it was likely to be my last pregnancy and I constantly tried to savor it. I adored being pregnant…just not the uncomfortable bits that never let up.
I had never gone into labor on my own and I knew this was my last chance. I wanted to so badly! However, toward the end of pregnancy, my doctor asked me every week if I’d like to set an induction date. We finally settled on my due date of September 19th, primarily because of the size of the baby. The baby had increased in weight during my weight check ultrasounds significantly. We knew the baby would be anywhere from 9-11lbs if it kept up that weight gaining momentum. Eep!
On the final doctor’s appointment, just before I turned 39 weeks, she asked again if I’d like to move it up any. We decided to move it up a week. There were many reasons why. Some of which were:
- She wasn’t the doctor on call on my due date and I trusted her the most to deliver my babies.
- I had been practically immobile for weeks and my three children were suffering because of it. We no longer went on adventures or even played much outside or in. I was in pain any time I stood up. It just wasn’t fair to them any more. I wasn’t being the best mother I could be to them because of this.
- We went ahead talked with our family who would be helping with the other three while we were in the hospital and went ahead and scheduled the induction for September 12th.
Induction day came and that was that. The labor and delivery portion of this pregnancy was the easiest I had had. Since I had had a natural birth that was also induced with Blaire, Logan insisted (and I agreed) that I would get an epidural if I was induced again. So, that was probably a big factor of why this was such an easy delivery. It was a little disappointing that I wouldn’t go into labor on my own nor have a natural childbirth, but, the end goal is always healthy baby and mama and that’s all that matters.
September 12th, 2019 – Induction Day!
nervous and had 5 hours of broken sleep the night before.
Easiest delivery yet. It’s a boy!
Hugh Mathison Edwards
As soon as Hugh was born, I noticed something was wrong with his breathing. I kept asking the nurses if it was okay or if it was normal that he was grunting like he was. I also tried to nurse him and he had absolutely no interest. The other three children I had had did not behave this way. They instantly wanted to nurse and nursed for an hour or so. Something was wrong. Call it motherly instinct. I couldn’t focus on anything else but something with his behavior and noises were not right. I tried not to be a pest to the nurses with my questions, but it felt like they were writing it off that there was nothing wrong.
Finally, Hugh’s nurse suggested that giving him his HepB and Vitamin K injections would wake him up. They took him to the warming bed, administered the injections with just one tiny peep of a cry. Then, nothing. It just wasn’t right.
Once she had left, I called my mom, who was watching all three kids at home. I couldn’t stop crying as I told her what had happened. As any mother would do for her daughter who was upset, she called everyone we knew and finally got someone to watch the kids while she came to the hospital. My mom stayed with me until late that night. We didn’t time this all out too well since both of Hugh’s grandfathers were traveling for work, leaving just his grandmothers and one of his aunts to help with everything back at home.
At this point it had been hours since delivery and I knew I probably needed some medical attention of my own. The nurses had already transferred my belongings to a postpartum room while we were in the nursery. So, at this point, I went with my mom to the postpartum room to use the restroom for the first time (wowzers) and get settled into the bed, knowing that a medical transfer team was on their way. Logan also joined me in the room a little later to discuss a plan. We agreed he would
Meanwhile, my mom stayed with me as we figured out a plan moving forward and just reflected on what had happened that day.
Soon after Logan met with Dr. Giep, he called me with an update. It was decided that I would work with my nurses to get as many discharge tasks completed through the night as possible so I could leave first thing in the morning. Dr. Giep and his nurses in the NICU do rounds every morning at 10am and we both needed to be there at Hugh’s introduction.
Around 8pm, I finally got some food in my stomach, as resistant as I was to eat. You just don’t feel like eating when something like this happens. But, the nurses and my mom kept insisting I do, since my only job now was to pump as much “liquid gold” as I could for Hugh. My mom also ran out to get a couple of snacks for my solo night stay at the hospital before heading back to take care of our other children at home.
Once I was alone, it was about 10pm and my legs finally felt alive enough to hold my weight. I took a shower and it was just what my body needed. Through the night, I pumped every 2 hours, supplying vials of colostrum to the nurses to store away for me to bring to Hugh the next day. With the pumping sessions in combination with taking my vitals throughout the night, it was a quick night (luckily) before Logan was heading over at 7am to bring breakfast and break me out of the hospital.
The goal for Hugh was to keep him as calm as possible. As Dr. Giep said, “Our goal is to not piss him off.” So, with that we had to speak very quietly around his bedside, keep the lights dim and no touching him. That was the hardest part. It took all of me staring at him with my hands behind my back to resist the urge to touch my sweet baby.
Around 10am, our pediatrician came in to perform his circumcision.
Being a type-A person, I had everything planned. Every time I get pregnant, I’ve always tried to prepare myself for things not going according to my plan. It’s the advice everyone seems to give. However, after three pregnancies and deliveries going almost exactly according to plan, I didn’t think of anything differently with the fourth one. Boy, was I wrong.
I’ve had a lot of sadness since having Hugh. It was planned that this would be my last pregnancy and delivery. It was planned in my brain exactly how it would go and how I would savor every last experience. When it didn’t go anything like how I had planned, it didn’t really give me a chance to savor or say goodbye. I’ve cried many hours since Hugh’s been born over the sadness that is saying goodbye to this phase of my life. I don’t want to move forward. It hurts too bad to think about never surprising everyone with the exciting news of a new baby, feeling the tiny baby hiccups inside of you, knowing you having the awesome superpower that is creating and growing life, rubbing your belly knowing there’s this amazing life inside, seeing this little human on the ultrasound machine, hearing it’s fast heart beat and finally getting to meet the little baby that you’d known for 9 months.
From what I’ve heard and read, saying goodbye to pregnancy is a lot like mourning a loved one. You have to have a funeral for this phase of your life. Like my doctor told me, every woman has to say goodbye to this phase at one point or another. It’s just when we have to or choose to, that is the question.
If I thought with my heart, I would continue to have babies until my body gives in. But, I’m forced to step back and think logically. It feels so wrong to think logically about it, though. Logically, there’s barely enough time in the day to give my four kids, husband and myself enough of my time. Adding more people to our family would spread me even further. Not to mention, it also costs money and is physically draining to have another child. I’m not getting any younger. I have to think logically and say goodbye. It’s so hard. I wish I could be like some mothers who know that they are done and never look back. It’s even harder when the first question when anyone (stranger or familiar) asks me is, “So, are you going to have a fifth baby?” I don’t think I’ll ever fully get over it. I miss it every day and sometimes it’s hard to look forward.
Fast forwarding a couple of months since writing out Hugh’s birth story and thoughts (Hugh is now 3 months old), I think time will help to heal this hole in my heart for more babies. Adoption has crossed my mind several times. For now, though, I’ve tried to become more focused on the here and now and becoming grateful for four healthy children who bring me such joy every day.