#69 | Birth Story Mini: Courtney's Birth Managing Rh Incompatibility with RhoGam

December 21, 2020

In this birth story mini episode, Courtney shares the story of her second son's birth, which involved managing her pregnancy with a RhoGam shot due to her Rh incompatibility (which occurs when a mother's blood type is negative and her baby's is positive).  Courtney's birth took place during the earlier part of the Covid pandemic and despite these unforeseen obstacles, particularly after having had an easy birth with her first son, her second birth went well and very quickly.

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View Episode Transcript

Hi, my name is Courtney, I have two sons, a two year old and a seven month old. I'd like to thank Cynthia and Trisha for inviting me to share the birth story of my second son. for it. It was born just this past March at the very beginning of when the pandemic first hit. And so my pregnancy this time was very different than my first in a lot of ways, obviously, because of the pandemic, but also just the way that my pregnancy was managed. I have a negative blood type, I'm a negative and my husband is a positive. Therefore, we are at risk for blood and compatibility. And, you know, women who have negative blood type get the road cam shot through all of their pregnancies at 28 weeks. And then after delivery, just to make sure that, you know, your body doesn't develop any antibodies against the developing baby. So I was treated appropriately during my first pregnancy. And then for my second pregnancy, around six weeks, I started having some bleeding, just very minor spotting, but of course, I went to the midwives and they checked everything out and told me everything was okay. But they didn't give me rhodium at that time, you know, just to be sure. And I also had bloodwork done, after I'd had the shot that showed that I had antibodies in my blood. So we weren't sure at that point if it was because of the rhodium shot. Or if I did truly, in fact, have antibodies potentially built up from something that happened that we were unaware of during my first pregnancy. It turns out now I actually just had bloodwork done to confirm that it was real. So there must have been some type of blood interaction with my first son, that caused me to now have antibodies through my second pregnancy. And then if I were ever to get pregnant, again, it would be something that I would have to be aware of, and just kind of monitored for. So starting at 16 weeks for this pregnancy, I had ultrasounds every two weeks, until I delivered. So that was a lot. And it definitely, you know, it was fun at first to be able to see the baby, it's always always fun. But it definitely brought up some things that I'm not sure would have come up otherwise, you know, just from having so many frequent scans done. So I had these scans done all the way through my pregnancy right up until the very end. And when they did the scans, they would measure a blood vessel in their baby's brain, the middle cerebral artery. And you know, thank goodness, everything always checked out, it was always fine. But around the 35 week mark, we started talking about how the delivery was going to go. And it turned out that the consensus was that they really didn't want me the midwives and the maternal fetal medicine physicians that I was seeing, they really didn't want me to go past 38 weeks and six days. So that meant an induction. And it didn't have one with my first so it was something that was new to me, it felt really scary. And just knowing that I had gotten through my my first delivery, you know, in a way that I had envisioned and you know, it felt really fulfilling to me, this was really scary. So I was determined to do everything that I possibly could to not be induced, I scheduled the induction at the latest possible time that they would let me at 38 weeks and six days. And then the week before that, I started doing everything I could all the natural induction methods, bouncing on a yoga ball, eating certain foods, taking certain vitamins and suppositories all of that. I even towards the very end pumped a little bit, which I think is what put me over the edge ultimately. So after you know the day that I had had pumped a little bit and again, I was only doing this just because I was trying to induce myself. I was bound and determined not to have to be induced in the hospital. I started having what I thought were very strong Braxton Hicks, you know, I feel them Come on, but I was really able to go about my normal day I was at that point, home alone with my two year old during the day when my husband was at work. And I was able to kind of, you know, manage all of that completely fine. I would stop every now and then and have to catch my breath, but it wasn't anything unbearable. So that night, I pumped again and we called my mom to come down because I started to have some more surges and contractions that felt a little bit stronger. And that continued all the way through the night. It never really progressed it was always 10 minutes apart for about 30 seconds. So in my head, you know I was like this is this I must have just set myself into false labor because this doesn't feel anything like My first pregnancy, my first delivery. So I made it to the night and really the next morning, not much had had changed. We at this point, we were keeping the midwives updated. And you know, they were just

encouraging us to stay put as long as possible. And I really made it through almost all of the next day again, just with this every 10 minutes of contractions coming on. And so I ultimately ended up pumping again. And at that point, the, the surges in the contractions did start to come on more frequent and for longer. But I still, you know, at this point, I still thought, you know, okay, this is just the very beginning stages of this. And this, we're in it for the long haul. But at a certain point, my husband said, You know what, I think maybe we should just go, this has been going on for quite some time, let's just go get checked out. I finally agreed. I, you know, at this point, I wasn't able to talk through the contraction. So something definitely changed. But I was convinced that we are going to get in the car that I was going to get to hospital, and that they were going to tell me that I needed to go home, because I wasn't far enough a lot. So we got in the car. And that's when everything changed. It's like my body released. And I was very vocal, I knew, I think in the back of my head that I was starting to transition. And that came out of nowhere. But my husband was driving and I could feel every bump every pebble on the road. And I didn't even want him to hit the gas to accelerate to go. And so somehow, we made it there. And, you know, he had to get out of the car, and they wanted me to get in a wheelchair. And of course, this is right when the pandemic hit. So no one really knew how to handle things at this point. Everyone was wearing masks, but there were really no, the protocols weren't as strict as they are now for, you know, these types of things at the hospital, we showed up, I did not want to get in the wheelchair. And we showed up to the emergency room. And they had me go into a triage area. And then nurses started to ask me my name and date of birth, all of that kind of stuff. And I just was very vocal in response to them. I didn't form any words. And I think they must have thought that I don't know if I was definitely not as far along in my labor as I actually was. So they were continuing to ask me questions about how far along I was and I couldn't even answer them. And so finally, they you know, they took my temperature did all the the COVID checking that they were doing at that point. And again, they wanted me to get in a wheelchair. And it did not feel right to me. But it was a long walk up until the labor delivery unit. So So I did it. And as soon as I sat down, my water broke all over the nurses feet, and their draws just hit the floor. And so I'm not even sure at this point what was happening because I was so focused on breathing and just getting through each surge. But they told my husband to go move the car. So at this point, I was alone, and I was being wheeled up to the maternity unit with this young woman who was a transporter. And looking back I feel so awful for high, you know, again, didn't want her I was yelling at her to be careful. And to please hurry up. I'm now thinking about it. I was definitely starting to push in the wheelchair in the elevator. As we are going up to the unit. There was this lovely nurse who got into the elevator with us and I will never forget her now. She was actually a labor and delivery nurse. And she saw me she heard me. And she just looked at my eyes and said, You're doing great, you've got this. And that's exactly what I needed in that moment to just hold it together because I didn't think I was going to make it. And so finally we got up to the room right out of the wheelchair all by myself. I got up on the bed and I said Can someone please take my pants off? And the nurses up there I think again, didn't quite realize how far along it was. And I just remember somebody saying Oh, honey, of course you can have a baby with your pants off. And I'm sorry, your pants on. And so she helped me, you know, get undressed. And as that happened, she said, and we're crowning. So my son's head was already halfway out. And again, at this point, my husband is still not with me. So I had kind of very quickly in my head to come to terms with the fact that Okay, he's gonna miss this. The baby's coming right now and there's there's nothing I didn't want to stop it I there's nothing I could do to stop it. So I got into position and I the nurses told me the push they were having a very hard time finding his

heart rate.

Of course I didn't even have a patient bracelet ID bracelet on. There were no monitors on. You know if they didn't already know I was coming to them. hospital, I probably would barely know my name. But you know, she said, I can't find his heart rate I need you to, you know, get this baby out now. And so I pushed and he didn't come. And all of a sudden, I saw my husband walked through the door. And I dug deep within the same syringe that I had just come off of and gave another push, and the baby came out. And my husband was there. And it was crazy and beautiful it was. It's just still to this moment. I can't believe it. It was less than 10 minutes from the time that we arrived and pulled up to the ER, to the time that the baby came out. And it was the most intense and most quick thing I've ever experienced. Now, we know also looking back that when I got up to the maternity unit, the nurses up there, I think were they were multitasking and taking care of a lot of things at one time. So one of them had called them for security and told security to waive my husband's screening, and all of the staff, the security staff and the nurses, you know, from the parking garage all the way up to the maternity unit, were holding doors open for him, telling him to run just like in a movie or something. And he again at this point, he didn't know what was happening. He at he thought, you know, her water hasn't broken yet. We've got time. So he wasn't rushing. But when they're telling him This, of course, he started to get worried and barely concerned until he walked into the room and he could already see the baby's head. And I'll also never forget his reaction. He was just beyond surprised and excited. One of my favorite parts of the whole birth was when my son came out. We didn't know the gender. So we have been announced it to me that it was another boy. And of course he was crying and they laid him on my chest. And the minute I started talking to him, he just quieted down and it was the sweetest moment. And he still to this day it's like that. Slept is just one of my favorite things that I think I will always carry with me.

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Between episodes, connect with us on Instagram @DownToBirthShow to see behind-the-scenes production clips and join the conversation by responding to our questions and polls related to pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood.

You can reach us at Contact@DownToBirthShow.com or call (802) 438-3696 (802-GET-DOWN). 

To join our monthly newsletter, text “downtobirth” to 22828.

About Cynthia Overgard

Cynthia is a published writer, advocate, childbirth educator and postpartum support specialist in prenatal/postpartum healthcare and has served thousands of clients since 2007. 

About Trisha Ludwig

Trisha is a Yale-educated Certified Nurse Midwife and International Board Certified Lactation Counselor. She has worked in women's health for more than 15 years.

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