If you follow my Instagram Feed, you will have seen that I gave birth to a sweet baby boy. Luca Ole Niven was born Saturday, April 12th at 10:35PM. He weighed 5 Pounds 8 ounces and surprised us by coming 5 weeks early. We chose the name Luca because I liked it. My brother tells everyone I named my son after that hot doctor from the TV show, ER. We picked the name Ole because it was my late grandfather’s name and he was the most wonderful man.
The last couple months of my pregnancy were really tough. I was diagnosed with a condition called Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP). The main symptom of ICP is intense itching. It was complete torture. My whole body was itchy around the clock for nearly 2 months. I would lie in bed and cry at night because I was so restless, uncomfortable and sleep deprived. I would not wish this condition on my worst enemy.
While ICP is not dangerous for mothers it can cause problems for babies. If untreated, ICP is associated with an increased risk of premature labour, still birth, fetal distress and meconium staining. As a result, I spent the last six weeks of my pregnancy attending regular ultrasounds and appointments with specialists. After consultation with an obstetrician and perinatologist, the plan was to induce my labour on Easter Monday at 37 weeks.
Our impatient baby decided not to wait until Easter Monday. On April 12th, I woke up at 6:00AM because my water broke. I called our midwives and arranged to meet them at the hospital. My wonderful midwife Susan warned me that because the baby was early, they would likely spend time in the NICU. This conversation did not really register with me until much later.
We arrived at the hospital around 8:00AM. By 10:00AM, I had started the pitocin drip to kick-start my contractions. The contractions were painful and intense but surprisingly manageable. I had amazing coaching and support from Eric and my midwives. I laboured mostly sitting on an exercise ball but also spent time lying on my side trying to get some rest between contractions. To keep the rhythm of my breathing I remember singing the chorus to the Lonely Island song “I’m on a Boat“.
By early evening I was 10cm dilated and ready to push. I hated pushing. It didn’t come naturally to me and I felt like I was getting nowhere. After about an hour our baby went into distress and an OB was called into the room to consult. The OB determined that Luca was positioned posterior and recommended an epidural and a manual rotation of the baby if I wanted to avoid a c-section. I had the epidural and felt sad and dejected. After coming so far, I was not going to have the natural birth I envisioned and planned.
After a short nap, I started pushing again. Luca’s heart rate fell again and the OB used the vacuum to get him out quickly and safely. Once I delivered Luca, the doctor handed our baby to Eric to announce the baby’s gender. Eric called out “It’s a boy”! Hearing Eric say those words was incredible and it made me so glad we didn’t find out our baby’s sex before hand.
I was so happy that I was able to avoid having a c-section and I got over the disappointment of not having the natural birth I had planned for. A few days after giving birth, my midwife told me that she was sure I was going to be rushed in for an emergency c-section. I am so glad I was able to deliver vaginally and avoid the difficult recovery associated with a c-section.
After Eric cut the cord, our sweet baby boy was whisked away by the NICU team to make sure everything was ok. Luca had perfect APGAR scores has been a healthy baby boy right from birth! Unfortunately, being born at 35 weeks gestation meant he had not yet developed his sucking and swallowing reflexes and as a result had major difficulties feeding.
The boy spent his first 12 days in the NICU being tube fed and learning how to breast feed and gaining weight. Leaving the hospital and going home without Luca was emotionally draining. I can’t imagine how parents with very sick babies spend months going back and forth to the hospital.
Luca came home April 24th and we are adjusting to life as a family of three! He is such a sweet little guy and I look forward to sharing updates on this blog as he grows up and further develops his sweet personality.