It’s crazy to think I now have a 6-week old beautiful baby boy and this is my last pregnancy journal update! It’s been a bit crazy with a 2.5-year-old and a newborn but we’re all taking it in stride and doing surprisingly well. Our birth story was a bit unexpected and we only had 2 days to fully prepare for an early delivery. Thankfully everything turned out fine in the end and looking back, the pregnancy and delivery seem like a tiny blip on the radar. Here are our induced labor birth story and details on high blood pressure when pregnant at 37 weeks. (Plus a bit on weeks 34-36 since I missed that journal update!)
Induced Labor Birth Story: High Blood Pressure When Pregnant at 37 weeks
This updates really starts at 34 weeks where my last journal left off but let me back up a minute by saying I started having slightly elevated blood pressure readings around 32 weeks. They weren’t high enough to warrant concern but you need to know that moving forward.
Mini Pregnancy Journal 34-36 Weeks
At 34 weeks the high blood pressure during pregnancy continued and my fundal measurement was also off. I was measuring 2 weeks behind and there was a concern that my placenta was no longer providing the proper nutrients to help the baby grow. My doctor scheduled another ultrasound at 36 weeks because they need at least 3-4 weeks between growth ultrasounds to make sure the margin of error is smaller than the expected growth rate. This ensures an accurate measurement comparison. (In case you missed it, you can read about my 32-week ultrasound.)
I was a bit nervous going into the 36-week ultrasound because it was possible our baby stopped growing at around 32 weeks. That’s a pretty little baby and problems can come along with it. Thankfully the scan showed completely normal growth… except his extra-large head (big heads run in both our families, lol). Poor mama, right?! Ouch.
At my 36 week OB appointment, my high blood pressure during pregnancy continued but again, was not at a concerning level. Everything else was normal and looked good. Woohoo! Now begins the weekly appointments and a huge milestone in pregnancy life!
High Blood Pressure When Pregnant at 37 Weeks
At my 37 week appointment, everything changed. My high blood pressure during pregnancy had jumped to the concerning level. My doctor ran a urine test to check for preeclampsia which thankfully came back normal. Since my blood pressure had been gradually increasing she was still concerned and scheduled another check for 2 days later. She let me know that if it was still high we would schedule an induction, possibly immediately. Oh. My. Word. That meant I had 2 days to do everything I had been putting off (and obviously to Google 3000 different versions of “high blood pressure when pregnant at 37 weeks” and “37 week delivery complications” and “induced pregnancy” and basically get my blood pressure even higher… ugh, curse you Google!)
In a panic, I asked my local mom group for induction stories that weren’t horrific and had several wonderful mommas assure me it wouldn’t be a big deal. My doctor also reassured me that induced pregnancy is completely safe, normal, and not at all the horror story that everyone hears about. Of course, everyone is different and every pregnancy is different so I was still completely terrified.
Not to mention the concerns of high blood pressure when pregnant at 37 weeks. Most of them affected the mother, the worst being seizures during and after labor, the more common being high or low blood pressure after delivery.
(Our Swing/Rocker Combo)
Prepping for Induced Labor + Planning for Toddler Care
Over the next 2 days, I ordered allllll the Amazon next-day shipping and 2-day shipping Target items I had been putting off like tiny diapers, breast milk storage bags, everything for my hospital bag and breastfeeding basket, and all the postpartum care essentials I was sure to need. I also cleaned and organized the house from top to bottom because there is nothing worse than coming home to a messy/dirty house!
I called my mom to plan out our toddler’s possible early vacation at Grandma’s house and packed everything they would need for a smooth couple of days. Our toddler gear included his pack ‘n’ play, sound machine, music machine, baby monitor, clothes, snacks, and 2-year-old toys. Thankfully my mom babysits 2 days a week so she has experience with his daily routine, food, sleeping, etc. If not, I would have also included a daily schedule and food suggestions to make life easier for her.
Last but not least, we installed the infant car seat base! They suggest you not install it too early in case, God forbid, you’re in an accident and you have to replace the seat before even using it. But in this case, and as you get close to your due date, it’s better safe and have it with you than sorry and not be able to take the baby home!
High Blood Pressure When Pregnant at 37 Weeks – Check #2
So, 2 days later my mom came over to our house for her normal babysitting schedule knowing it might be extended a few days. My husband and I went to the OB clinic in our hospital with the infant car seat and hospital bag in tow.
I was on the verge of tears the moment we parked the car. I was obviously worried about our new baby (Our first delivery didn’t go well), scared about induced labor, and sad for how our toddler would react to no longer being an only child. PLUS, and I don’t recommend this, but it was our first night away from our toddler and that + the hormones really got me going. A word to the wise, do a trial run at grandma’s house before the big event. They did great but it would have saved me a lot of stress.
After getting weighed in, I gained exactly 30lbs, same as my first pregnancy, they took my blood pressure and we all held our breath. As you’ve probably guessed, it was even higher. The nurse gave me the pitying “aw, crap” look and went to get my doctor.
Induced Pregnancy at 37 Weeks
Since I didn’t have preeclampsia, high blood pressure when pregnant at 37 weeks wasn’t an immediate emergency delivery. My OB did a cervix check to make sure it was favorable for an early induced labor and we talked options. She suggested an induction that day because of my previous complications and concerns I’ve had throughout my pregnancy (plus she was on call, lol).
We asked her several questions about safety for the baby, risks at 37 weeks, what happens next, etc. She reassured us even at 37 weeks this delivery would be much easier than our last (again, you can read that here) and that induced labor was nothing to be worried about. She was even confident we would have a completely healthy little guy by 8pm that night, less than 12 hours away. Shocking considering how long my first took!
We decided to trust her judgment and she walked out saying something along the lines of “Let’s have a baby today!” She was upbeat, confident, and caring and totally saved me from a breakdown. She called up to the Birth Center in the hospital and I walked right up and was admitted by 9:30am.
Induced Labor Plan
It was so strange to walk in, well-rested, and have normal conversations with the nurses. So vastly different from my first delivery experience which I now realize was all sort of a blur. I got settled in and my OB came up to talk through the plan. She was going to give me 2 doses of Cytotec to get my contractions going and then if needed, a small amount of Pitocin.
I got the first teeny, tiny pill around 10:30, and my OB broke my water shortly after. I started having mild contractions within an hour or so. My doctor even guessed he might be arriving earlier than expected, by 6 pm. My husband guessed 5:55 because it’s his favorite number. By probably 1 pm I was in full-on labor and ready for an epidural. I had pushed it out as long as I could, worried it would slow my contractions. My nurse reminded me there was no need to wait if I was in pain so we moved forward with it. The process went smoothly and I was no longer feeling the pain of contractions but I could still move my legs on my own (which everyone seemed amazed and impressed at?).
Pitocin for Induced Pregnancy
My contractions continued as expected and my doctor decided against the second Cytotec pill. Baby was doing great and handling the labor like a champ (again, unlike the last time). Around 5pm my Doctor checked me and I was at 6cm. She gave me a very small drip of Pitocin and said it affects everyone differently so the timeline was a guessing game. By 20 minutes later I was feeling major contraction pain, like major. All of a sudden my amazing leg movement seemed a lot less amazing. The nurse checked me and I was at 8cm. Maybe five minutes later I was screaming into the call button that I needed to push NOW and my OB was there not even 2 minutes later. She checked and I was at 10cm and ready to go.
Induced Labor Delivery
There were people moving everywhere getting things in place. It was shocking how fast it came on and how immediate I was needing to push. With my first, I couldn’t feel any contractions or pressure at all. This time around it was like I was being split in 2 from the inside out (sorry for the graphic description but it’s accurate).
I was pushing for a couple of minutes when the babies heart rate dropped. My OB immediately said we need to use the vacuum to get him out asap. She knew my major fears of this happening again (the same thing happened last time and it was a very scary delivery) and knew I was on board with whatever it took to get everyone through this healthy and safe. It was 1.5 (as my OB says) insane screaming pushes with the vacuum and he was out with the cord very tightly wrapped around his neck. When she unwrapped it my husband said she had to use all her strength to get it off and it immediately snapped back like a tight rubber band. Crazy how strong those cords are.
I remember her saying something like “girl, that cord was wrapped around his neck again!” because it rarely happens to someone twice and we had discussed the possibility so many times. We were both shocked. All I said through the whole things was “Is he okay?!” and she and the nurses said yes, he’s perfect and handed him to me while they cleaned him up. It was amazing and wonderful and something we didn’t get to experience with our first since he was in such distress. It was love at first sight for both my husband and me.
He was born at 5:55pm, the exact time my husband had guessed, weighing in at 6lbs 8oz, the exact weight my husband guessed, and 19″ long. My entire labor lasted about 7.5 hours from the time I received the first pill and I pushed for no more than 15 minutes total. Shockingly fast compared to my un-induced pregnancy at 40+2 with my first.
After an Induced Delivery
After delivery, when my doctor checked in on me, we mildly joked about how terrible my babies are at handling labor and how unlucky I am with those damn umbilical cords (I have very active and flip-flopping babies in there). I’m thankful I had a wonderful care team with both my deliveries or the circumstances could have been vastly different. Just goes to show how important it is to have an OB you love and trust and to talk to them about your concerns. Make sure you have a “whatever it takes” plan in place and they are aware of it.
Overall, my induced pregnancy was probably easier than my un-induced pregnancy. It was more painful but it was faster and therefore less exhausting which is really what you want. In and out as quick and easy as possible.
I ended up with a 1st-degree tear and a small surface cut that had to be stitched. Besides that, I was a little shook up from how much pain I felt while pushing but that quickly subsided. I actually felt so much better than I did after my 36 hours of labor and 4 hours of pushing during my first delivery. Everything postpartum related was much easier the second time around. I healed faster, hurt less, and stopped bleeding earlier. I still used all my postpartum care essentials but for a shorter period of time.
37 Weeks Birth Story: Pregnancy High Blood Pressure + Induced Labor
Looking back now, 7 weeks later, I can hardly remember the stress and pain. All I remember is being handed my baby boy and the delivery team reassuring us he was perfectly healthy. The actual labor and delivery is such a small blip on the radar in the grand pregnancy scheme of things. As long as everyone comes out okay, you almost don’t care how it happens. Natural, medicated, un-medicated, induced, c-section, it doesn’t matter as long as everyone is healthy and happy in the end!
And if you’ve made it this long, thank you for listening to me ramble on for 18 pages, FRONT AND BACK! (Bonus points if you get that TV show reference. We watched it the ENTIRE time we were in the hospital, seriously nonstop, it’ll get you through anything in life.) Our little family is finally complete and we couldn’t be happier. Thank you all for following along and for your well wishes throughout this pregnancy. It means the world to us that you care enough to reach out and check-in.
High blood pressure during pregnancy, induced labor, or early delivery at 37 weeks questions or experiences?
Drop them in the comments below!
Until Next Time,