Coras birth story, it’s a doozy. Let’s just get right into it. I shared briefly in my third trimester recap post that on February 4 (31 weeks pregnant) I was told that my umbilical cord circulation and placenta were causing some growth restriction. From that day on I had to go to the doctors twice a week to check the cords flow and to do nonstress tests on Cora. Her growth was also checked every 2 weeks. At this point, the diagnosis was IUGR which stands for intrauterine growth restriction. Her body measurements were measuring about two weeks behind from her actual gestational age. Oh and I got sent to labor and delivery that day to get a steroid shot to help Cora’s lungs mature in case of an early delivery.
Now, as long as she continued to grow, even though behind, the game plan changed to me getting induced at 37 weeks. My first question was, “Can I deliver vaginally?” and at the time the answer was that I should be as long as baby wasn’t in distress. My cord circulation also wasn’t the best but as long as it remained stable we could continue to try and get to week 37. So yea, bye bye birth plan. Oh but there’s more.
On February 22 during my nonstress test I got a routine blood pressure check and it was high. This was so unusual for me. Normal blood pressure is below 120/80. Since I’m an athlete and active, my blood pressure has always been on the lower side. It was consistently 90/60 during my second trimester. On this day I forget the exact reading but my top number was like 134. The nurse took it again because it didn’t seem right. This time the top number was like 143. Of course it went up because I’m panicked at this point. She took one more reading and it was high. To be sure, I was sent to the labor and delivery floor to get my pressure rechecked, blood drawn and Cora monitored. Everything checked out and I was sent home.
Fast forward to Thursday March 4 exactly a month later. My blood pressure was up again and I got sent to the labor and delivery floor yet again. I had to do the routine blood work, urine test and get my blood pressure checked. I’m thinking this is another fluke and I’ll be out shortly. Boy was I wrong. My nurse told me that they were keeping me for the week and I would be delivering the following week! Talk about mind blown! The reason they kept me was because I had protein in my urine which was a dead giveaway that I had preeclampsia.
So the combination of the baby measuring small because of my umbilical cord/placenta not working properly (IUGR), my previous high blood pressure readings and now the protein in my urine aka being preeclamptic I had to be admitted. Not at all the news I was expecting. Luckily I had an emergency bag packed in my car, but I wasn’t allowed to go get it. The last bit of devastating news, because of COVID, no one was allowed to come visit me at the hospital….not even Sheldon! Bless my nurses for allowing Sheldon to bring my stuff that day and visit another day. Speaking of, I got a COVID test before checking into my room.
I made my way to my lovely room, it was actually super roomy and prepared to be there for the next week or so. Trying not to make this story a novel, over the next week myself and the baby were constantly monitored. Nonstress tests, daily blood work and my blood pressure were checked all day and night. At one point I got put on bed rest. Only allowed to go to the bathroom and that’s it. There was so much uncertainty with trying to get me to the date they wanted me to deliver which was actually March 14. At this point I stayed off of social media because it was all too much. I didn’t want to talk about it and I had no answers.
There were times on the baby monitor that Cora wasn’t very active which concerned the nurses. I was also starting to have some light contractions in which Cora’s heart rate would drop and she didn’t tolerate them well. This was a sign that baby probably wouldn’t handle a vaginal birth and a c-section seemed to be the safer way. On Tuesday March 9, I broke down. Between the extended hospital stay, being alone and so many variables it was all too much. I felt there was no way that we were making it to Sunday (March 14) to give birth. Plus at this point I didn’t want to wait that long. I allowed myself to cry it out but needed to remain calm to keep my blood pressure down. I also had to get another COVID test since it had been 5 days from my last one.[Begin here for the actual birth experience.]
Wednesday March 10. This day started off like the others. Continuous monitoring of baby and regular blood pressure checks. Since it had almost been a full week, I was told that I earned visitors privileges. My mom was going to come later on that day! I had an ultrasound scheduled for the next day to check Cora’s growth but the doctor decided to move up the ultrasound to this day instead. Around 11am was when the ultrasound tech came in. It was looking like Cora was still behind in growth but now instead of my umbilical cord circulation being stable, it got worse. I was told that Cora was weighing in at about 4lbs 9oz, got my final ultrasound picture and the tech left.
My lunch came and about 45 minutes went by and my ultrasound doctor came in (to my surprise so quickly). The doctor went over the results of the ultrasound with me. She said the goal was for everything to stay stable but since there was a change it was time to end the pregnancy aka time to deliver. She didn’t say when right away so I called Sheldon to let him know that it would probably be in a day or two. I WAS WRONG. The doctor came back while I was eating and says “I have to talk to anesthesiology but we are going to schedule your c-section.” She looks at my plate and I say, “So should I stop eating?” Haha she says yes and because I had food they had to wait 7-8 hours for the food to digest. I say, “ Wait, TODAY!?”
First I call my mom to tell her never mind on coming. Then I call Sheldon back and tell him to get to the hospital immediately. He says “Can I shower?” I tell him he can shower when he gets to the hospital. He gets there around 3:30p and my nurse starts instructing me on next steps to prepare for the c-section which is scheduled for 8pm ish. At 6pm, Sheldon wipes me down with these wipes that get rid of bacteria and I get dressed in my gown. By 7:30pm Sheldon gets dressed in his gown. The nurses give me some medication before they wheel me down to the OR (operating room).
Before going into the OR, I meet the anesthesiologist and her colleague. They explain the procedure and ask me some routine questions. Once in the OR, I’m given the spinal. (During a spinal, the anesthesiologist injects pain medication, typically a combination of an opiate and a local anesthetic, through the lower back into the spinal fluid, bathing the spinal cord.) Sheldon was not allowed in the room for this. When they finish, they lay me down on the table to start prepping and bring Sheldon in.
As my arms are stretched out, one of the doctors ask me if I am alright with them tying down my arms. Apparently you get the shakes during a c-section which can be an effect from the anesthetic and blood loss. It’s perfectly normal but they are uncontrollable. I kept saying “I swear I’m not cold.” I think my arms started shaking a little too much while the doctors were working on me so I was restrained a bit but I didn’t even notice. You are numb from the chest down so you don’t feel any pain or discomfort. Just some slight tugging or pressure here and there.
It was incredibly silent in the OR aside from some chatter amongst the doctors. I started to hear suction and it creeped me out a bit since I knew that suction was happening on/to me. I asked for some background music to distract me from the sounds and Sheldon put on Spotify. About a minute into the music playing, Mary J. Blige’s “Real Love” starts to play and out came Cora! The doctors told Sheldon he could stand up to see her and take pictures. As soon as I heard her cry I started crying. It was truly a magical experience and I was not prepared to feel that wave of emotions. After all of that, we did it!
Cora Janae Lovelace was born on March 10, 2021 at 8:25pm. She weighed 4lbs 3oz and was 17.1 inches long. Since she was a preemie, she needed to go to the NICU and she did amazing while she was there. We stayed in the hospital for 4 more days and were discharged on March 14. Cora had to stay behind and that was the hardest thing to leave her. Thankfully she was able to come home with us three days later on St. Patty’s Day March 17.
She is doing so well and has just been the light of our lives. She’s now weighing almost 6 pounds! Thank you so much for sticking around to hear about my/Cora’s birth story. I’ll be sharing more about postpartum and c-section recovery this week so stay tuned.
Thanks for reading!