Before I got pregnant, I saw the documentary The Business of Being Born. It's an amazing documentary that investigates the business side of birthing and hospitals -- if you haven't seen it, I would highly recommend it. Anyways, after I saw that, I decided that whenever I got pregnant, I was going to go au naturel. Yup. You read that right. No drugs. I don't want to go into all the details as to why, here... I'll leave that for another post. The point is, I wanted absolutely no interventions. No epidural, no episiotomy, no induction, and definitely no cesarean section.
Even after all the complications and IUGR scare, I was still determined to keep my all natural birth plan. So, every time I would go in for testing, I would pray to God that the baby would be healthy, and everything would be good enough for me to continue with the pregnancy.
Every Tuesday and Friday I went in for the NST and AFI, and every Friday I had my appointment with my OB. Yup... I was at the hospital A LOT. NST is short for non-stress test. This is where they attach 2 monitors to your belly: one to measure the baby's heart rate and the other to measure contractions. They just want to make sure that the baby is not under any stress, which would be a key indicator that something is wrong. Boy, did my little guy hate those monitors. He was constantly pushing against them.
AFI is short for amniotic fluid index. This is where they check the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby through ultrasound. If the fluid got too low, it would be an indicator that the baby was not getting enough nutrients and it would also be a cause for early delivery. A normal AFI would be anywhere from an 8-18cm. My AFI would typically range from 7-10cm -- on the low side of normal.
During the time I started going to these tests, I had not experienced any contractions -- not even Braxton Hicks ones. At one of my appointments when I was getting an NST, the nurse who ran the tests realized I was experiencing contractions every 3-7 minutes. Honestly, I don't even think I felt anything. Maybe just the tiniest cramp. She decided that I should go to the maternity ward to get my cervix checked just in case. She said I might have a very high pain tolerance (wouldn't that be nice?) and not realize how strong the contractions actually were.
I was only 35 weeks at that point and was super scared, because I didn't think the baby was ready to come out and survive by himself. I didn't want him to have to stay in the NICU. Also, I feared that I wouldn't get the birth that I wanted. I didn't know if I would be able to deliver naturally this early and with the baby so small. All my fears were put to rest, however, when the nurse at the maternity ward checked me and told me I was completely closed. Side note: How come all the birth stories I read never once told me how uncomfortable it is when they check you?? I mean, seriously... ouchhhh!
Anyways, aside from that one incident, all my tests were going pretty well. Not perfect, but not sound the alarm horrible, either. As far as I knew, my baby and birth plan were perfectly safe.
I know it's been a lot of background up until now, but trust me, it is all necessary in order to paint a clear picture for what happened on that wonderful yet frightening day. Come back to read the third and final post on my birth story!