A Birth Story: Gabrielle Knighten
Written by Gabrielle Knighten.
I was 41 weeks and 1 day headed to my OB/GYN to do an NST (fetal non-stress test). The results were normal even though it took a little longer than planned because my baby was sleeping for so long and they couldn’t get a reaction. I had perfect blood pressure throughout my pregnancy but on this day after three tries, it was a little higher than normal. Once I saw my doctor he decided to send me to the hospital to start my labor. He said that I had been passing protein in my urine for the past month which is now concerning because my blood pressure had gone up. This could be an onset of Preeclampsia, and there was no reason to wait any longer.
Before the appointment was over my doctor checked my cervix, I was only 1 cm dilated, and my baby was still sitting high. He gave me the choice to go the hospital to start the process for a vaginal delivery or to schedule a C-section for the next day since my baby was so high and so late in my pregnancy. I was adamant about having a vaginal birth so I was sticking with my decision.
I headed home with my husband to grab our bags that had been packed for weeks. Before we left the house, we hugged each other and realized that it would be our last moment at home together with just the two of us. We then made our way to the hospital.
Preparing for Labor
I was so anxious to get to the hospital I couldn’t finish my food, even though I knew it would be a long time before I could eat again. I got checked in around 5:30 pm, changed into my gown, and waited for someone to come get things started.
I met the nurse on duty and she told me the doctor wanted me to start on some fluids, get hooked up to a blood pressure monitor to have it checked every 30 minutes since that was the reason I was admitted. They also wanted to prepare me for the Cervidil that would stay in for 12 hours to ripen my cervix before they could start my labor. The doctor came to insert Cervidil and said that they would keep an eye on my blood pressure to make sure it goes down and stays steady.
All that was left for me to do was try to sleep and wait until the morning. I was going to be able to eat a lite breakfast and prepare for the Pitocin to start my labor according to my nurse.
Gabrielle preparing to deliver her baby at the hospital. Photo by: Gabrielle Knighten
Everything was going as expected except the fact that the fluids had me needing to use the restroom every hour. I was constantly calling the nurse to unhook me from the blood pressure monitor and needing my husband to help me roll my IV behind me. As much as I wanted to I just couldn’t seem to fall asleep because the bed was uncomfortable.
Why is My Blood Pressure So High?
Later that night my baby started to do a lot of moving so the monitor on my stomach kept losing his heartbeat and needing to be adjusted. So, the nurse had me switching the side I laid on frequently and wanted me to always sleep with an oxygen mask on to make sure my baby was getting enough.
At 2am my blood pressure went up drastically out of nowhere. I wasn’t sure why because though I couldn’t sleep I was staying calm as possible. After several high blood pressure ratings the doctor told me they would give me medicine through my IV that should bring it down but if it stays high I would have to go on stronger medicine called Magnesium Sulfate and stay on it 24 hours after delivery. I wouldn’t be able to get out bed while on it because I would have to receive a catheter.
At 5am I was determined to stay calm and try to relax because some of the side effects of the Magnesium was nausea and drowsiness and that was the last thing I wanted to experience after having my baby. I had been having mild contractions through the night and they had started to get a little stronger as time went on; nothing I couldn’t handle, I did my best to just breathe through each one to try and get my pressure down.
The Struggle to Stay Positive
Every time I felt the armband tighten for another blood pressure reading I felt as if I got more nervous each time to the point I just stopped looking. I had gotten very discouraged as if I had done something wrong. I couldn’t understand how everything had gone great throughout my whole pregnancy to now be dealing with high blood pressure. My husband and sister could tell that I wasn’t myself so they continued to ensure me that everything would be fine. I eventually got out of my own head and came around and began to be more positive and social.
Around 8am my blood pressure never went down to a normal rate so the decision was made to put me on Magnesium right before I started the Pitocin. There was nothing I could do at that point but trust that it was all for a reason and be thankful that my baby was doing ok. I knew the drowsiness from the Magnesium didn’t take long to kick in because just that fast I found myself waking up from a deep sleep to some contractions. I had told myself to prepare for what was to come, I was ready to have my baby. I felt as if everything was finally on the right path since I had been at the hospital, even though I was a little bummed that I couldn’t eat breakfast because I was starving.
The Unexpected Change in the Birth Plan
I fell back asleep again and when I woke up the doctor had come into my room to tell me that every time I had a contraction my baby’s heartrate would drop and he made the decision to perform a c-section. I was only 2 cm dilated and he said at one point his heart rate was down for 2 whole minutes and this would be the safest method instead of waiting, especially since I had such a long way to go.
I so desperately wanted to have a vaginal birth throughout my entire pregnancy, I never thought a c-section would be an option but once the doctor told me I felt a peace come over me. I know it was nobody but the Lord reminding me that all that was important was that me and my baby were safe. All I cared about at that moment was getting my baby boy here and being able to hold him in my arms.
While I was waiting to be taken to the operating room I asked everybody to leave the room so that my husband and I could pray together, plus I knew that he was way more nervous than I was. Once I was in the operating room they gave me a spinal block then they allowed my husband in the room. After that everything went so fast.
At 1:47pm Christian Jarod Knighten was born 7lbs 5oz 20.25in, I couldn’t see him physically yet besides the picture my husband took on his phone but I heard his first cry and my heart melted. The doctor brought my son to me and I cried right away. Though I still couldn’t hold him just looking at him filled my heart with so much joy.
Gabrielle and Baby Christian. Photo by: Gabrielle Knighten
It didn’t matter to me that I had him the exact opposite of how I imagined or all the stressing and worrying about my blood pressure I had done prior to. The Lord was faithful that day in giving me a healthy baby and he is perfect in every way.
If you’d love to read more birth stories, you can read more here in the Birth Stories category.