This story is more of a pregnancy and birth story then just a birth story. I do not feel like I can just post a birth story without talking about the pregnancy as well.
Cassandra was a surprise baby. Chris and I had talked about having another one but we wanted to wait a few more years and talk things over more. Well, you know what they say about telling God your plans?
I was happy to be having another baby but after all the complications I had with Amelia, I was also scared. We did not know if I would get cholestasis again, if I would have to deliver early or have all the complications that I had after Amelia's birth. I tried to set those fears aside and just concentrate on my newest pregnancy.
The beginning of the pregnancy went pretty well, I had some morning sickness and other normal pregnancy related symptoms. Soon we were at twenty weeks and found out we were having our fourth girl. My son was a little disappointed about not getting a brother but he got over it pretty quickly.
Time continued on and it was shortly before 30 weeks that I started noticing the itching. Itching is the first sign of cholestasis. I called my doctor right away and the got a blood test done. It came back normal but I knew we would have to repeat the test soon. You can itch for a long time before your blood tests will reflect the condition. A couple weeks later the itching was still there, not real intense but still there. They did a redraw and things were slightly elevated, not enough to confirm cholestasis. A couple more weeks went by and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had cholestasis again. I was scratching myself raw, I made myself bleed, my urine was the color of soda and overall I felt unwell. They did another test and it confirmed cholestasis. My blood levels went from slightly elevated to severe in this time. I was only 33 weeks pregnant at this time, my doctor put me on medicine called Urso ( to bring my bile acid level down and help with the itching ), ordered weekly biophysical profiles, two stress tests a week and weekly doctor visits. She also set up an induction date for 37 weeks, if something went wrong before hand, they would have to take her earlier. Cholestatsis can be very dangerous to a baby, the rate of still birth increases after 37 weeks. I felt like I was practical living at the hospital.
Time seemed to drag on, I was so miserable from itching and not sleeping. Slowly, the medicine started to work but nothing completely took the itch away. I wish I could think of a way to describe it to you but honestly, nothing can. It is the worst itching I have ever had in my life. You want to scratch, even when you are making yourself bleed, you still want to scratch. Your skin feels like it is on fire. I would sit down and just cry. I felt so terrible, I was not able to keep on house work, I was not being the mom I wanted to be to my other kids and I was just desperate for relief.
The weeks went on, they kept testing my blood. There was a week that my doctor was concerned they would be sending me for immediate delivery, my liver function came back very bad, she told me she stayed up for hours waiting for lab to call her, telling her the level was critical. Thankfully, between prayer and medicine, it got better. All the tests on Cassandra kept coming back great. We really were just counting down the time until they could induce her at 37 weeks. I prayer every single day that things would continue to go well. I can not tell you how scared I was that something bad was going to happen to my baby.
The day finally arrived for her to come. I went in on Thursday night ( Feb 6th ) for cervical ripening. At the time I had a cervix that was unfavorable for induction. I was only dilated to a one and 30% effaced, cervix was still very high. They started me on cervidle that night around 7pm. I contracted every two minutes most of the night. I was hopefully something had happened over night but was very disappointed come morning. After twelve hours, I was only a two and 40% effaced. They went ahead and started pitocin at around eight oclock that morning. They upped my dosage several times before checking me again, by 11:30 I was 50% effaced and still a two. I kept walking the halls, upping the pit, walking the halls and trying to stay positive. It was very draining. Three oclock rolled around and I was a three and 50% effaced. They wanted to break my water but I told them I was not doing that unless I got a epidural. I wanted an all natural birth but I could not keep doing this all night. I was beyond exhausted, had been contracting without change and just needed a break. They let me get up for awhile, take a soak in the bath and then I got my epidural. She broke my water at around 6pm. I was still a three and 50% effaced. Two hours later she came in and checked again, I was a five and 50% effaced. She told me that we would keep doing this for a little while longer and then we would need to discuss other options. I knew this meant she was thinking I was going to need a csection and I started praying hard that my little girl would come on her own. About twenty minutes later I started feeling pressure during contractions, at first I just ignored it. They had just checked and I was not thinking I could be anywhere close to ready. The nurse came in about twenty minutes after that and I told her I felt some pressure. She told me that she would go ahead and check me just to be safe. I don't think she was thinking I was close either, we were both wrong. She went to check and was rather surprised to say it was time to have this baby. Her head was right there and I was ready to push. They got the doctor, quickly got everything ready and then it was time to push. Cassandra Lynn Walters was born at 9:05, she was 6lbs 10oz and 19 inches long. I had no issues after her birth beyond the normal soreness and cramps.
Cassandra is our last baby, I would love to have more but I know the risks are high. Cholestasis is nothing to mess around with and I can not risk something terrible happening. She is a perfect way to finalize our family. The journey was rough but it was worth it in the end. She is amazing, beautiful and so loved.