Kennedy’s Journey

As a postpartum nurse I’ve taken care of a lot of moms and babies and know what to expect. When I had my third child, I expected a pregnancy similar to my first two, so I was on the lookout for blood pressure issues. But I ended up dealing with gestational diabetes and having normal blood pressure this time.

We welcomed Asher to the family on September 18, 2022, at Our Lady of Lourdes Women’s & Children’s Hospital. He joins his older sister, Addisyn, and brother, Arrow. We kept with the A name theme, and Asher’s middle name is David, after my father-in-law.

Delivering Where I Work

Both my sons were born at Our Lady of Lourdes Women’s & Children’s Hospital, and I happen to work there in postpartum. It wasn’t weird at all, and I actually found comfort in knowing who was taking care of me. It was also a benefit because I knew exactly what to expect and wasn’t going in blind.

Michelle Stutes, MD, is my OB, and she provided my prenatal care. I have an advantage because I know all the OBs personalities. I work with them all, and I just love Dr. Stutes. She didn’t end up delivering Asher, but it all worked out in the end.

Journey to This Pregnancy

We had been trying to get pregnant for eight or nine months, which was really different from my first two pregnancies. I was doing ovulation tests. I’d had an early miscarriage in late 2021, and I got pregnant again quickly with Asher.

I was taking pregnancy tests daily because we were trying, so when I saw the faint little line I told my mom first, then my husband. Usually we don’t tell anyone right away, but I did tell some people at work.

I did a blood test around the eighth week of my pregnancy, which is crazy early, to determine the baby’s gender. I didn’t really trust it, and I got it on Amazon but it had good reviews and was accurate in the end. We also had an early 3D ultrasound, which my family came with us to. My husband and I already knew we were having a boy from the Amazon blood test, but in the ultrasound the technician privately confirmed the gender. So back at the house we had a little gathering, little popper things with blue smoke with our family.

How This Pregnancy Was Different

I like being pregnant for sure, but one difference about this time around was my diagnosis of gestational diabetes and checking my blood sugar regularly. With my first two pregnancies I had blood pressure issues toward the end, so I was waiting for that this time, but it never spiked and my blood pressure was always good at my appointments and during delivery.

I craved sweets and smoothies with this pregnancy, toward the end I was on a smoothie kick, Tropical Smoothie Café every weekend. With my first pregnancy I could not stand the smell of meat. It would make me vomit, but with my boys that didn’t bother me.

Gestational Diabetes Diagnosis and Treatment

I went to my routine 28 week screening, I drank the nasty drink and had my blood tested. They called me back the next day saying that my sugars were high so I needed to do the three-hour screening. I’d done that longer one with my daughter. I wasn’t worried since I’d passed the longer screening before, and I hoped it was going to be the same.

But I went to the three-hour one, and it was just really cruddy and gross. They called me that two of the readings were abnormal, so I had to start checking my blood sugar four times per day, avoid certain foods and keep a log.

I wasn’t as compliant about my food choices as I should have been. It’s so easy to eat out, especially because I work long hours as a nurse. I come home and don’t want to cook at 8 at night. My food choices probably should have been better, but overall I was able to manage my gestational diabetes.

My morning fasting sugars were higher than they needed to be, and I did end up starting some oral medication to better manage the blood sugar. It worked OK. I delivered at 38 weeks, so I only had to deal with gestational diabetes for about eight weeks after all the screenings were done.

It wasn’t bad, it was just something I had to get used to. It was harder at work and I had to set timers to remind me to eat and check my blood two hours after I ate. I just had to adjust, and I managed. My blood sugar is back to normal now.

Physical Differences

I have a little bit more swelling this time, but that may have been just because I started at a higher weight. I was on my feet a lot for this pregnancy and my second pregnancy – I worked up until the day Arrow was born. But this time I felt more pregnant and felt bigger.

Toward the end of the pregnancy they did more testing than I was used to with my first two because of the gestational diabetes. I’d have to go every week and be hooked up to monitors, and had a growth ultrasound toward the end.

Asher was 7 lb. 10 oz. when he born, which is my biggest baby. I felt like he was so much bigger, but maybe I had extra fluid. I definitely thought he was going to be bigger than he was.

Professional Preparation

My older son was 3, so I still had a lot of boy stuff. We had been trying to get pregnant long enough that I thought it wasn’t going to happen, so I cleaned out my attic of baby stuff. I kept a few bigger things, but we put most everything by the road. And the next month I was pregnant. It’s a cliché but it worked for me: if you want to get pregnant, get rid of all your baby stuff.

I had a friend at work with four boys whose youngest was 2, so she gave me totes and totes of clothes, and we only had to buy a handful of things. It all worked out.

One thing we were sure to do was get our car seat installed well before delivery. As a postpartum nurse I see some people who think hospital staff can do the installation and come to the hospital with the car seat still in the box. But we’re not allowed to install the car seat. Asher was my third baby so I knew what to expect, and we had our car seat base installed by 32 weeks.

As a third-time mom I’ve already had a pediatrician, but because of insurance changes and where we lived before, our family switched to Lauren Bailey, MD, while I was pregnant with Asher. She rounds at the hospital, so it was nice to have our pediatrician see him so soon after he was born.

Birth Planning and Packing

I had vaginal deliveries for my first two, and I knew that was the plan for this baby too. I wanted an epidural, and I knew from my work that you have to be flexible. Whenever you have a strict birth plan things seem to go wrong. I would have liked to go into labor on my own, not to be induced whenever it came down to it, but I would have been flexible with it too.

I didn’t really pack a bag, and Asher came the day before I was scheduled to be induced. I was planning to pack my bag the day he arrived! I knew what to pack, and I’d seen patients bring things that are great ideas—extension cord, heating pad. I had about 75% of my stuff together, but it happened so fast.

Being Flexible

At Dr. Stutes’ recommendation, I planned to be induced around 38 or 39 weeks because of the gestational diabetes. With Arrow I’d gone into labor on my own at 38 and a half weeks, so I was hoping the same thing would happen with Asher.

My induction was scheduled on a Monday, so I told my boss I couldn’t work Sunday to give me a day to recoup. I worked Friday and Saturday, two 12-hour shifts, and I planned to use Sunday to reset the house and get my older kids ready to stay with their grandparents.

Baby Changes Plans

Sunday morning I woke up and looked at my phone, felt a kick and could tell something had happened. My water had never broken on its own with my other kids, and I was in denial even as fluid was coming out. I talked with my mom and I laid back down for a while. I wasn’t having contractions or any pain.

My husband knew before I did though. He was getting our older kids up and ready and panicking. I told him to calm down, everything is fine. After about 15 or 20 minutes I stood up and realized yeah, this is my water.

When Arrow was born I was so hungry, which was horrible for me, so I ate a bite and showered, and we left fairly quickly, probably within an hour of my water breaking. My contractions started while we were on the way, and my water was gushing like in the movies, there was no more mistaking.

Asher’s Birth Day!

My husband dropped me off dramatically at the front of the hospital, and my shorts were saturated. The nurses brought me into the triage area, and I knew the nurse working, I asked her to please, please get the ball rolling since I knew how quickly I’d delivered Arrow and that I wanted an epidural this time.

I continued to dilate and was around 8 cm when my lab work came back and I was able to get the epidural. I was contracting every two minutes, so staying still for the epidural was a challenge, but once it was in, it was wonderful. I thought it would be quick at this point, but labor slowed for hours.

Around 2 p.m. I was complete, and I pushed for maybe 45 seconds and he was out. He had been laboring down for so long, he was moving down that I barely had to push. It was my easiest and quickest delivery.

Asher came out with his hands by his face, so of course the nurse in me, I had the mirror so I could see his head come out, and I knew the maneuvers they were doing as they laid me back. It was all good and he came out crying!

Recovery Begins

My best friend got to be my nurse. She only works weekends, so having Asher on a Sunday afternoon meant she ended up being my postpartum nurse.

Even though I knew what to expect, about four hours after I delivered Asher had to go to the nursery because his blood sugar was low, and I was feeling a lot of cramps. I knew the cramps get worse with each baby, my epidural was wearing off and I am breastfeeding so expected it would be painful.

But when I went to the bathroom I was bleeding a lot. I told my mom, “Mama, it’s OK. Just call the nurses station. I need some medicine. It’s all going to be fine.” The nurses came in, got me in bed and gave me the medicine. I was OK at that point, they brought baby back with his sugar was good.

I felt like I needed to pee again, and I thought I was fine. It’s so bad of me – I got up, did too much. This time I was bleeding again, the doctor came in to check me and gave me every hemorrhage medicine possible. I started getting nauseous and feeling yucky, and the day we went home I even got a transfusion, two days postpartum.

Our first evening home we had to ourselves with the baby while my older kids stayed with my in-laws. It was nice to settle in, get unpacked, take a good shower at home. And the next day our big kids came home and it was good to be home together. They had come visit in the hospital but not as much as they would have if there weren’t COVID-19.

The house has been chaos with three, but it’s been fun.

Breastfeeding Challenges

Because I had a big volume loss of blood my body prioritized replacing my blood, and so I had a delay in my milk coming in. My milk supply picked up and I eventually started feeling better. But at first I was tired like I’d been hit by a bus. I attributed that to not sleeping, but it was more than that since I didn’t have enough blood in my body for a while.

Although my daughter was formula fed, when I had my first son I was an OB nurse and had taken breastfeeding classes for work, was more educated and had more resources. I knew I would breastfeed him, and I did for two years. He was a challenging baby, and I was working and pumping. Looking back I don’t know how I did it, but I’m so glad I did. It was definitely a bonding experience I missed with my daughter.

With Asher I have more experience and it was easier this time since I know what to expect. He also goes longer stretches between feedings. I know how it’s going to be pumping at work because I did it for so long.

My mother-in-law watches Asher, and she keeps my older kids over the weekends when my husband I both work. I want to go back to work, want adults to talk to besides my husband, but at the same time it’s bittersweet.

Kennedy’s Favorite Posts

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