April 18th, 2013 ~~ A day I will always remember

The day started off with me going to work a half hour early since I knew I had a doctor appointment that day with Dr. Gerard at his north side office location.  Appointments were 1:45p for the ultrasound and 2:30p for the regular checkup.  I was super anxious on this day for a couple of reasons. First was because I was scheduled that day for another ultrasound to  check on the location of the fibroid that we had been monitoring. We needed it to have moved enough to the side so that the fibroid wasn’t covering the exit for baby “Hooray”. I had been taking black strap molasses to help possibly shrink it so I was on pins and needles for the results. Second reason was because I had been dealing with high blood pressure for a while now and knew it would not be a good thing if it stayed high. The night prior I did not sleep well (if at all), did not get any food prior to leaving for the appointment and had already had a very busy day at work so I was feeling a little overwhelmed as Russ and I headed into town.

I went into Dr. Gerard’s office with my husband Russ and the Doula Jen Holshoe.  Jen was accompanying us so she could see the ultrasound herself and know exactly what we would be dealing with for our home birth.  I was so grateful when Paula the ultrasound tech was there as she was super nice and calming for me. She gave us the good news “not officially” as Dr. Gerard was to give final word on things, but as far as she could tell the fibroid had not gotten any bigger and was positioned far enough away so that meant one hurdle completed for the day, one more to go.

We got called back to the appointment room and sadly things went south from there L. The nurse that called us back was someone who I had not had a good run in with from the south side office previously so I tried to make a joke to lighten the mood but got a cold reception from her. I took a deep breath, smiled at Russ and Jen and counted to ten trying to stay calm. I weighed in at 164lbs and my blood pressure when checked was 174/103. Not good! They advised me to lay down in the room to see if could get my blood pressure down. We also had another nurse take my blood pressure for accuracy and she found the same results. I brought to my appointment a sample of my urine and they told me it came back saying I had a (+4) protein level. That was a bad thing for me and also for the baby.  So with my high blood pressure and high levels of protein Dr. Gerard advised the nurse to send me to Holland Hospital for evaluation.  Dr. Gerard had already been called away to the hospital so he would see me after I arrived there.

I called my mom and Patrice on the way to the hospital filling them in on the events. Patrice had already spoken to Jen so she knew what was going on.  She was so sweet and calming as she gave me advice and info on what to do while I was there. She said  she wished she could have been there to give me a hug and gosh could I have used one at that exact moment.  It was a whirlwind around me and I was happy to have her comfort even if just over the phone. Luckily Jen was meeting us there so I knew we would have her support in person to get us through this unknown.  We arrived at the hospital around 4:00p and were put in the triage room up on the Boven birthing floor. The nurse there put me on a monitor to keep track of my blood pressure. I still had not eaten anything so was munching on the one protein bar I had in my purse. Russ, Jen and I hung out in the room until Dr. Gerard was able to make it to see us. After reviewing the numbers for my blood pressure in person he advised he thought it would be best for me to stay the night for further evaluation. We joked around saying if I was staying the night I would like their best room please. We got the corner “Suite” on that floor and figured we would just make the best of it for one night of staying at the hospital. Jen headed home for the night and since I was told that Dr. Gerard didn’t want me to eat anything  Russ went downstairs to get some food for himself and also called the family to update them.  All of this we figured was a small price to pay to make sure all was ok with me and the baby.

It was as soon as Russ walked back into the room that our once thought quiet relaxing evening in our “Suite” quickly went away. The nurse informed us that Dr. Gerard had called back up to hospital after leaving for the night to say he had re thought his decision and now wanted me to be prepped for an emergency c section. He also said that he would be coming back to do the c section alongside the doctor on duty, Dr. Lenter.  Russ and I were in total shock at this moment so quickly Russ called my parents, Patrice and his parents to update them all.  It was all making sense now on why I had been told not to eat anything.  From this point on everything went in fast mode and it was like I was having an out of body experience. Russ and I took a moment to step into the bathroom and to pray for what was to come.

Dr. Lenter came into the room about the same time that my parents arrived. He checked my reflexes and explained to us that my reflexes were in hypertension. He would tap on my knee and my entire leg would jump off the table. Things were not going well. So then it all began in fast mode. Russ on the side of me holding my hand, my parents at the end of my bed telling me it would be ok, the nurses running around getting everything ready and me just trying to comprehend that in a matter of moments we would meet our baby. This was so unreal! I do remember Dr. Gerard stopping in as well to talk to us to explain in his words why we were going this route.  Ready or not this was happening and off to the emergency room I was taken.  As I was wheeled down the hallway I looked back at my family smiling at me telling me it was going to be ok. I needed that for sure as I was so scared at that moment.

I was wheeled into a room with very bright lights with all these people around me that seemed to be running. Russ was off in the waiting area until I was done being prepped for surgery. I was given an epidural shot in my back to numb me from the waist down. I was placed on the table which I remember being very cold. I was shaking and very anxious to see Russ. I kept asking when he could be in the room. A large blue curtain was placed in front of me and my arms were tied down out to my side. What a sight that was for sure. Finally Russ was in the room with me and gave me a smile. I was so scared but was trying to be strong. Having him there did calm me down. We still couldn’t believe this was happening.

I could hear both doctors talking to each other about their day and weekend plans etc. as if this was all no big deal. I know they had done this a thousand times before but gosh I was scared. I started shaking and I do then remember Dr. Gerard saying “ok now you will feel a little pressure” and “I see the little one” and then whammo I could hear our baby crying. It all happened so fast. I looked up at Russ as Dr. Gerard announced it was a baby girl.  We both really thought we were having a boy so this was exciting news for us.  It was no longer baby “Hooray” it was our precious Cora Lynn.  For a brief moment they showed us our baby girl but I wish it had been longer. I had waited so long for this moment and the downside of a c section meant me not being able to hold her right away.  I remember Russ asking me as they were taking our Cora away from us, to do what they do  “What do you want me to do now ?” I said “go follow them with her”.  He didn’t let our Cora out of his sight from that moment on.  While Russ was with Cora the doctors finished with putting me back together and then off to recovery I went.

During this time Russ got to spend quality time with Cora in the nursery while I was recovering from surgery. The anesthesia had a huge effect on me and I remember not being able to stop shaking, feeling very cold and very nauseated.  The nurses asked me a couple of times if I was ready to see Cora yet and I had to keep holding off on it because I wasn’t feeling good. I wanted to see her with a clear head so I could remember the moment.  Even after thinking I was ready and feeling a bit better it all still was a blurr. I didn’t realize right away that my entire family along with Russ’ parents were all at the hospital already. Russ got to show Cora off from the nursery window to all of them.  It also was amazing to realize later that Jen had come back to the hospital as well and had been in the recovery room with me and got some lovely pictures to capture the moment of when I got to see Cora for truly the first time.

So our baby “Hooray” Cora Lynn Scholten was born on April 18th  2013 at Holland Hospital  by c section at 8:46p. Weighing in at 6lbs 6oz and was 19 ½ inches long. In the end we didn’t have the home birth story we had been dreaming of and had prepared for but the end result of having our perfect little Cora resting in our arms safe and secure was the most magical thing ever regardless of the circumstances. We knew our lives would never be the same again from that moment on and we were completely ok with that. J

We appreciated all the love and support we got throughout our journey from Full Circle Midwifery.  Patrice Bobier, Jennifer Holshoe, Barbara Olsen and Dorothy Vandezande. You all are truly amazing and do wonderful work.

Love the Scholten’s  (Paula , Russ & Cora)

Paula Jo Scholten

11280 Lakeshore Dr

Grand Haven, MI 49417