#16 // Four Minutes

Our StoryJoanna Zuidema2 Comments

This week has been a whole thing.
Grab some coffee and get comfy; this is going to take a while. 

So, Tuesday.  

In addition to the standard NST and BPP for Norah, I also had an OB check. (where I meet with a perinatologist for a standard prenatal checkup).  

Norah did beautifully during her NST and BPP. She even kept the sonographer on her toes during the BPP by waiting until the last 30 seconds of the allowed time to show her practice breathing. I was still having contractions that I couldn't feel, but that is to be expected.

It should come as no surprise that my blood pressure and heart rate were again elevated; I honestly thought I was less anxious at this appointment, but clearly my subconscious and I were not on the same page. 

During my OB check, I explained my theory about whitecoat syndrome to the doctor, but it didn't seem to appease her. She was still quite concerned as it appeared that I was running a marathon whilst sitting down. If only that was a real thing... She scheduled me for an EKG after my appointment just to be sure nothing else was going on.

They then drew my blood to check for preeclampsia, tested me for Group B strep (A standard test at 36 weeks and no, its not strep throat. It's a type of bacteria we can carry that would require IV antibiotics during birth to prevent transfer to Norah.) and did my first cervical check — all of which are less than enjoyable.  

My cervix was thinning but not opening yet which is not surprising since I'm not even to the early-term mark of 37 weeks. However, they were happy to see that some small progress had been made. Norah is still head down and very, very low; she is all kinds of comfy in my pelvis. The nurse even felt her head. Excuse me, WHAT?

With all of the concern about my high BP and the possibility of preeclampsia, the doctor and I discussed induction. If I did indeed have preeclampsia, she'd want induce me right at 37 weeks — aka Sunday. If I just have high BP, 38 weeks would probably be fine.  

Ok, press pause for a hot minute. I COULD BE HAVING A BABY IN 5 DAYS, OR TWO WEEKS. Obviously, I can't be pregnant forever. but 5 DAYS?? I HAVE SO MUCH LAUNDRY TO DO BEFORE THEN. 

My EKG after my appointment showed everything was normal and the rest of my test results were great — no preeclampsia, no group b streo. Because of this, they're thinking 38 weeks would be a good time to induce. Maybe 39, but only if my BP starts cooperating.

When you think it could impact the health of your unborn child, splurging on an excessively fancy home BP monitor seems totally legit. #TargetGetsMeEveryTime

When you think it could impact the health of your unborn child, splurging on an excessively fancy home BP monitor seems totally legit. #TargetGetsMeEveryTime

Besides being totally freaked out that we could be meeting our daughter in two weeks (HELLO, REALITY), Lane and I were both frustrated that the push for induction was based solely on this high BP that isn't a fair representation due to my appointment anxiety. 

So Lane and I came up with a plan: buy a home BP monitor and check twice a day to show the doctors a consistent, healthy BP outside of the clinic. I would relax through the 37 week mark and then start trying natural ways to induce labor. If they were going to try and induce me early anyways, we wanted to try everything possible to get it going on its own, knowing nothing would happen unless my body was ready.


It was a great plan. 

We should've known better.  


Another BPP and NST.  

Thursday night was the first time Norah ever kept me awake by being so incredibly active. You guys, I'm pretty positive the Rocky theme song was playing in my belly. That activity carried through to the morning and even into the waiting room.

Her BPP went well, although she decided it was nap time and didn't want to show practice breathing. She had the hiccups an hour before the appointment, little stinker.

Then it was time for the NST.  

My BP and heart rate were high again, but this time I was able to show the nurse my normal readings from home and that helped a lot. The plan was working!

As they were getting the monitors set on my belly, they were having a hard time finding her heartbeat.

I thought it wasn't set yet because what I was hearing was so slow. 

No, it was set. That was Norah.

My heart dropped.

Not again. Please God, not again.  

On came the oxygen mask.
In came the other nurse.
They rolled me from side to side and jiggled my belly.
Come on Norah.  

4 minutes.  

I was totally numb.

How could this be happening again? 

I was absolutely terrified. 

4 minutes.  

For 4 minutes, her heart rate stayed super low.  

For 4 minutes, my world stopped.  


Finally, finally it started to come back up. 

The sound of her heart beating strong and fast was music to my ears.

The doctor came in and we discussed that with two of these episodes having happened now they are concerned about how often this could be happening when she's not being monitored. They were sending me to the MAC at Abbott (I was in the Woodbury clinic) for continued monitoring. The only reason they didn't call an ambulance is that the ambulance would've taken me to United, so I would be driving myself. Plus, Norah's heart is strong and rebounded well. She was clearly getting enough oxygen and they felt comfortable that she would handle the drive well.

I left the clinic and called Lane, almost in tears again. He had left just a few hours before for a weekend trip (that I 100% supported and pushed him to do, so no judging allowed), and filled him in. Because this had happened before, we were comfortable with seeing how the additional testing went before he'd come back. That in no way means he wasn't equally terrified.

So I drove to the MAC again. My world was on hold again. I was pleading with God again.  

A new MNPP doctor came to speak with me while I was being monitored at the MAC, and she was incredible. "I know this is scary, mama. You're doing everything right. You're such a good mom."  
Ok, cue the waterworks. 

Those words immediately took me out of the medical setting and into this space where it was just me and this other woman who saw me as I was — not just a patient, but a mama terrified for the life of her daughter. That acknowledgement of humanity was so desperately needed.

I had 3 hours of additional testing. My neck still hurts from constantly looking over at the monitor.

Norah's results were absolutely perfect.

Thank God.

4 minutes.
4 minutes showed us our foolishness in believing we had any sort of control.
4 minutes caused us to finally and completely give everything over to God.

He is the one holding our family in his hands. He is the one orchestrating every beat of Norah's heart.
His plans are so much greater than ours.

With all of this, we're assuming an induction will come sooner than later. For all we know they could say, 'let's induce you today' at my appointment on Tuesday.  

Before yesterday, we both would've fought to wait.  

Now we say, bring it on.