Barbara found out that she was pregnant at the end of January 2020 after two months of trying. This felt like a special gift to her and Joe because they had been in conflict about whether to have children much of their marriage and had pursued counseling and done much relational work in order to come to this place together. This was also amazing because Barbara also long suspected that she had PCOS though was not diagnosed until she started to try to get pregnant.
Barbara experienced very early spotting, nausea through week 16, leg cramps, and the usual tiredness throughout pregnancy, though mostly felt great. She was diagnosed with gestational diabetes in her late second trimester and took insulin and closely monitored her diet. She remained active walking and working as an SLP until her position went remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Barbara planned a hospital birth with midwives and hired a doula that specialized in postpartum support. She wrote the hospital in order to ask for an exception to allow her doula at her birth since her husband has a disability; this was granted. She hoped for an unmedicated birth and prepared with the Know Your Options course, books and meditation practice.
Towards the end of Barbara’s pregnancy, her sugar remained well controlled and she was monitored for UGR and fetal size/health with increased non-stress tests. Given her age and GDM status, her midwives did mention the possibility of recommending an induction at 39 weeks which Barbara hoped to avoid. Overall she felt great though and hoped to continue as long as possible without any interventions.
Barbara’s water broke while sleeping the night of September 23rd, 2020 around 11:30 p.m. when she was 38 weeks pregnant. Since she was group B strep positive, her instructions were to head to the hospital as soon as possible for antibiotics. Barbara called her midwives who confirmed the plan and stated that medication for an induction would likely be the next step since she hadn’t had any contractions. She and her husband finished packing and left home around 12:10 a.m. En route to the hospital, Barbara began tracking contractions, which were mild but regular at 3 minutes apart lasting about 30 seconds each. It was a pleasant trip overall.
At the hospital, Joe and Barbara checked the car into valet and walked into check-in together with bags. Their temps were scanned and they were brought up to triage. Joe’s visitor tag read 00:37 check in time. In triage a nurse was unsuccessfully trying to get a vein for a hep-lock while another nurse put a monitor on Barbara. The baby’s heartbeat was found and the first monitored contraction that Barbara had, both she and the nurse noted that baby’s heartbeat went down to zero. The nurse quickly paged someone on her phone and seconds later a team of people arrived all communicating different things. A female OB shouted “ can we just CHECK HER?” and she found that the baby’s cord was prolapsed. The OB then manually inserted her hand into Barbara in order to hold baby’s head off of his cord while Barbara was rushed to the OR for an emergency C-Section and Benedict was born healthy at 1:05 a.m. with high apgar scores and good blood gasses. He was 6 lbs 3 oz and 19.5 inches long. He was in his father’s arms at 1:10 a.m. a calm and even smiling child.
Barbara woke a couple hours later and while the first moments were hazy, she recalls an overall pleasant postpartum experience with mild anxiety symptoms resolving over the course of the following days.
Longer term postpartum was influenced by triple feeding recommendations and difficulty though ultimately successful initiation of breastfeeding.
Barbara Bova Bio
Barbara lives in central Connecticut with her husband Joe of 12 years, her 14 month old son, Benedict, and two cats. She works as a speech-pathologist for adults and children but most of her experience is with adults in neuro-rehabilitation. She is at home with baby at present. Joe works as a software engineer and has cerebral palsy. While he walks and drives with modifications to a vehicle, his strength, balance, agility and dexterity are impaired. Connect with her at Barbara Bova (Facebook), via email [email protected] or via Instagram: @arabrabz
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