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I am so thankful that you are here to read my birth story! I think that all women love to share their stories of birthing their children and I was thrilled when Brittni asked me to share my story! First, I want to share a little bit about myself!
My name is Ashley Hett and I was born, raised, and still live in Wichita, Kansas. I married the love of my life, Ian, in 2012 after dating for four years. I work as a school counselor in Colwich, Kansas and my favorite thing to do is hang out with my family! Ian and I first found out we were pregnant in 2014 and lost that baby to miscarriage at 10 weeks along, then we got pregnant again and gave birth to our beautiful daughter, Shipley in May of 2015. In October of 2016 we lost another baby to miscarriage at 5 weeks along. Although, I have two babies here on earth, we also have two babies in heaven and we rejoice knowing we will get to meet them again one day. With all of this being said, today I wanted to share my most current birth story, that of my son Dawson!
In January of 2017 (almost exactly a year ago to the day) I went home from work after not feeling well. I was pretty sure that I was coming down with the stomach flu. My husband and I were not trying to conceive at the time because we wanted to have a baby in the summer, so the thought of being pregnant hadn’t really crossed my mind, but on my way home from work I decided to swing by CVS and pick up a pregnancy test. I wasn’t anxious to take the test and truly just felt like it was something I needed to do to make sure that I was right that I had the stomach flu. So, when two BRIGHT blue lines appeared on the test window… I was SHOCKED…to say the least! I instantly called my husband and told him that I needed to facetime with him right away. I was so excited to show him the test and I truly could not believe that we were actually pregnant. Next, I called my mom, my photographer (she is AMAZING and you’ll see some of her photography in here later…oh and she gets booked up QUICK, so I had to call her right away!), then I called my doctor.
My OB with my previous birth had recently retired and I had just found a new doctor, Dr. Sobbing who would take care of myself and baby Dawson for the rest of my pregnancy. I was anxious to work with a new doctor, but I knew that he was the best of the best. Maybe I am crazy? But I feel like there needs to be a strong connection and trust with your OB and that is something that I had with my previous doctor and I was scared that I wouldn’t find it again…but I did! I always told my doctor that if they told me that licking the floor would benefit/help my baby I’d do it… to far?? Nah!
The first ultrasound had shown that there was a sub chorionic hemorrhage that was fairly small, but would need to be monitored. Thankfully, this did not become an issue at all in my pregnancy. My first pregnancy (Shipley) was a totally different experience than my most recent pregnancy with Dawon. This time I felt so much better and carried the weight so much “prettier” in my opinion. My face didn’t swell this time, my feet stayed normal size, and that crazy acne that came with Shipley didn’t come this time.
Around the 20 week mark of my pregnancy my doctor told me that he would be moving his practice to a neighboring city (about 35 minutes away). I was honestly crushed, heartbroken, and devastated. I had to make a decision of following him to Newton or finding a new doctor and to be honest the thought of finding a new doctor was more than I could handle. Dr. Sobbing and I had gained such a great patient-doctor relationship and my trust in him was huge. So, I made the decision to follow him and his practice to Newton and I began driving the 35 minutes to each visit. Maybe a 35 minute drive doesn’t sound like a huge deal? I mean it isn’t THAT far… but his previous office was about 4 minutes from my home….sooooo. Yeah.
Around 25ish weeks I started getting really thirsty and feeling like no matter how much water I drank it wasn’t satisfying the need I had. Dr. Sobbing had me come in for an appointment to get things checked out and decided to go ahead and do the DREADED glucose test….ugh. No one LIKES drinking that sugary stuff…but it really isn’t THAT bad….right?…unless you then have to go do the three-hour test. After getting stuck for blood (yuck…) and drinking the liquid I left and was told I’d be called back the next day or so with the results. I got a call back the next day that I failed the one hour test and would need to come in for the 3 hour test.
I made an appointment and made sure that my husband could attend with me. When we got to the doctor’s office on the day of the test I drank the extra sugary drink and we sat and watched Netflix while we waited for the blood tests to follow. At the beginning I felt fine, but as time went on I got extremely ill. I had to lie down and the nurse brought in cold towels. The sugary drink made me feel awful!! I was so excited to leave and get something for lunch! I received a phone call the next day that I had failed one out of the 3 tests, but apparently you’re allowed to fail one, so technically I had “passed.” I was relieved and excited that I didn’t have to deal with gestational diabetes and went on my merry way.
About 1.5 weeks later I had another regular check with Dr. Sobbing. It was at this appointment that he informed me that the rules about gestation diabetes had changed and, therefore I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I was going to have to change my diet, begin poking myself 4 times a day to check blood sugars, and possibly start taking insulin if I could not control it with my diet. I remember sitting on the exam table in the doctor’s office and trying so hard to act like I was “okay” with all of this information. I was making jokes and trying to pretend like it wasn’t a big deal. I guess I used that as my coping mechanism to get through the rest of the appointment, because the next thing I did was call my mom and my husband bawling in the car. Although gestational diabetes is short-term and goes away… being told you cannot have ice cream, cookies, cake, sugar, or really ANY carbs while you’re pregnant stings just a bit…okay just a LOT! I had to meet with a diabetes educator who taught me how to poke my finger, test for sugars, and she taught me how to eat and change my diet.
Many, many, many days I struggled with this and SO badly wanted to eat normally, I despised making myself bleed, I hated having to plan my whole day around my food, my sugar numbers, and the hours that I needed to prick my finger. My husband was a total rock star, he bought me all sorts of amazing sugar-free treats. He was a rock star at making sugar-free whipped cream to go on top of sugar-free jello and he was my rock throughout this long and exhausting process. Not to mention the HUNDREDS of extra dollars that I had to spend on diabetic supplies…but we won’t get into that! Looking back on this all it actually ended up being an okay thing, it kept my weight down in the end of my pregnancy (I actually started to lose weight), I learned some great eating habits, and I gained ENORMOUS amounts of empathy for people who deal with gestational diabetes and diabetes daily. My heart truly goes out to them.
At this point in my pregnancy (28 ish weeks) Dawson was really starting to measure very large and they were becoming a bit concerned for a natural delivery. I am only 5 feet 2 inches tall and my torso is extremely short, so Dawson was really beginning to put a lot of weight and pressure on my body. He was consistently weighing about 1.5-2 pounds larger than he should be and at this point I was having many sonograms to make sure that the sub chorionic hemorrhage was not growing.
On September 18th (36 weeks pregnant) I had a regular doctor appointment to get checked. Dr. Sobbing and I were very surprised to see that I had dilated to a 4! When I left Newton (my 35 minute drive home which turned into a 50 minute drive to work) I started having contractions. I (mostly) tried to ignore them knowing that vaginal checks can cause contractions and went into work. At first the contractions were every 10 minutes, then every 5 minutes, then every 3 minutes and that evening my husband and I went into the birth care center. A little secret about the birth care center here… you cannot deliver there unless you are 37 weeks, but we tried anyway! When we got there they informed me that I could not have my baby there because I was only 36 weeks pregnant and they began to wheel me over to the regular hospital. As disappointed as I was that I couldn’t deliver at the BCC I was just ready to get this big baby out of me.
About half way over to the hospital (in this nifty underground tunnel that they have) the nurse got a phone call that the hospital was FULL and I would have to go back to the BCC to deliver (insert happy dance!), so the nurse turned around and we went back. After getting settled into the birth care suite I used a yoga ball, walked the length of the room, and also did squats in hopes to keep my contractions strong and coming along, but they soon tapered back to every 5 minutes, then every 10 minutes and so on. They sent a resident in to check me (he was awful…just awful and had NO idea what he was doing and had to have the nurse check me to see how far I was actually dilated) and I was still at a four…a FOUR after HOURS of contractions…strong…exhausting…painful contractions…I was STILL at a four! The nurse called Dr. Sobbing to see what he would like to do and he suggested that I stay at the hospital overnight, be monitored, and then we would talk at 6 AM to devise a plan. Before going to sleep they gave me two different medications to help me sleep. One of the meds they gave me was morphine and it had to be administered under the top layer of my skin on my upper thigh… NOTHING has ever hurt as bad as that medication did, but it sent me into la-la land pretty quickly. In the morning my contractions were almost gone and had been off and on all night long, so I sadly went home.
The next couple of days were rough physically and mentally, but we trudged through the waters. At this point I quit going to work and stayed home to rest before the big day. On the night of September 21st Shipley woke up at 3 am (watching her on the camera) and she threw up… all over her bed. Ugh. Ian and I began the process of getting her cleaned up and I very distinctly remember carrying her to the bathtub and just the insane amount of discomfort I was in trying to lift her into the tub. Ian spent the rest of the morning and much of the next day laying with Shipley on the floor as she threw up EVERY 15 minutes for 7 hours… 7 hours of her throwing up into a bucket with her daddy by her side and I literally could not do anything to help. I was so fearful that I would get sick, I was sad because I couldn’t lay on the ground with her, sad because it was so extremely stressful.
On Friday, September 22nd I went into the doctor for a normal check-up and also to get my membranes swept. At this point Dawson was measuring well over 7 pounds (at almost 37 weeks) and I knew that if we didn’t get him out soon that we would end up having a c-section. My doctor and I made a plan that this membrane sweep would most likely be effective and that I should go into the hospital asap if strong or close contractions begin. I was still measuring at a 4, but we knew that when I began to progress that it would go quickly. We also decided that if I did not have good contractions overnight that I would go into the BCC (I would be 37 weeks the following day) and be evaluated by him. I drove home from Newton and felt a few contractions and I spent the rest of the day bouncing on my yoga ball, doing squats, walking the halls of my home, and dancing…yes dancing to “Slow Hands” and although I had contractions here and there… they were not consistent and I was so disappointed.
Saturday September 23 Ian and I woke up at our leisure (Shipley was with my mom and dad), we got ready, we ate breakfast, we made sure that our bags were all packed, and we left for the birth care center. I checked in and told them that my doctor wanted me to be checked today and they got us settled into a room. As the nurse begin her 8 million questions about my health, history, and pregnancy Dr. Sobbing came in and I was delighted to see his smiling face! We discussed the plan and decided that if I was dilated to a 6 or greater that we would begin the process and have a baby! I remember being so filled with anxiety, joy, and fear in this moment. He checked me and sure enough! We were at a 6!! He had the nurse call in the epidural and we got the IV started. Shortly after the epidural began to set in they came and broke my water and contractions began. Ian and I enjoyed watching some football and waiting around. Our photographer (T.Marie Photography) came and sat with us as things began to get exciting! After about an hour we opted for the smallest dose of Pitocin to really get things moving along and I was quickly fully dilated. I pushed for a total of 9 minutes and the entire labor from start to finish was about 4 hours (my daughter’s labor was 28 hours and 23 minutes pushing) and my beautiful baby was there in my arms. Dawson Earl Hett was born at 3:00 in the afternoon weighing 7 pounds 13 ounces and he was 19.5 inches long (three weeks early!!) He was perfect in every way! Dawson’s blood sugars had to be monitored to make sure that he didn’t get any low blood sugar numbers since I was GD throughout the pregnancy, but his numbers were always great. We left the hospital after 24 hours and we were so thrilled to be home with our sweet baby!
Check out our amazing birth video by T. Marie Photography!
If you would like your birth story to be featured on the blog, feel free to fill out the form in this link and I would love to get in contact with you! Birth stories are featured every Thursday and we would love to see yours on Marci & Me!