We always encourage parents to write out their birth story after their big day.  As time goes on, you'll start to forget all the details and emotions you felt before, during, and after birth. Many parents are worried their story won't sound perfect or be criticized by others, but it doesn't matter, it's your story! We love giving parents an opportunity to publish these raw, powerful stories. This story comes from Monique...

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Calla Elizabeth Evanna’s birth story starts several days before she was born.  I had spent weeks stating that something wasn’t feeling right, I felt wrong, I felt off, this pregnancy didn’t seem right.  On June 11, 2017, I went to labor and delivery after calling the nurses line regarding elevated blood pressure at home and severe neck pain.  I had already been diagnosed with cholestasis, a condition that affects the liver and the placenta.  I went to labor and delivery and was attached to the monitors, no labs were run, I was told that I was fine and to take Tylenol and sent home. On June 12, 2017, I continued to feel off, my blood pressure was elevated at home, I was lightheaded and the world was spinning, I called my OB and went in to be checked, my blood pressure was 150/110, I was again sent to labor and delivery after getting a strict lecture about driving in my condition.  At labor and delivery, I was told I had trace protein in my urine but that I was fine and was again sent home with painkillers and told to rest.  On June 13, 2017, I again returned to labor and delivery after a call to the nurse's line, this time, I was not fine, I had preeclampsia and I was being admitted to the hospital to do a 24-hour urine catch. The validation of being right was unfounded, preeclampsia is scary. I was to be given two rounds of steroids for Calla’s lungs. 

 My 24-hour urine catch confirmed preeclampsia and they were preparing to send me home and the headache started.   My headache radiated from my neck up over my head and throbbed, I was given Fioricet. My headache was shrugged off because I had a history of migraines, they kept telling me I was a migraine and I insisted it was different. I asked my nurse for one of the pictures similar to that that you fill out when you get a massage so I could circle the areas of my head and explain the pain.  On June 15, 2017, a neurologist came because I had developed blurry vision, severe light and sound sensitivity and was living in darkness and silence and the pain killers were no longer helping.  My blood pressure remained elevated but not too serious or critical levels, it was technically in the high normal range.  During my neuro evaluation, I lost the doctor's hand when he was assessing me, I knew where his hand should be but all I saw was a blank spot.  At this time he ordered and MRI and called someone in to complete my MRI at 9 o clock at night.  My MRI was an adventure as I threw up twice during the MRI if it was the light or the sound of the medication they gave me beforehand I couldn’t say but puking during and MRI is not a good time.  The good news was my MRI was normal and on June 16, 2017 they determined they were going to “throw everything at the kitchen sink at my head,” that is what my nurse actually said, 9 pills, a shot and something through my IV and I got 1 hour of almost relief but the pain persisted and I was mostly just knocked out.  I slept through June 17, 2017, I remember almost nothing of the day.  On June 18, 2017, my dad came to visit and that is when the blood pressure spike began, 160/101 I had been in bed all day, I hadn’t moved in days except going to the bathroom, I was given a shot to bring my blood pressure down and my body didn’t react.  The perinatologist came in and told me that she wanted to do an ultrasound on Calla who had dropped from the 23rd percentile in growth to the third.  The Neonatologist was sent down to discuss what the NICU would look like for my 28 week 3 day gestation baby. They told me they would discuss and if my headache persisted at 11 pm a decision would me made regarding if I would be induced. 

I called my husband and my doulas to come and discuss what I had wanted my birth to look like and how it had completely changed.   My mother in law came out to the hospital before she was to leave the city for a week. We talked about my desire for an unmedicated birth but since I was going to be out of it we discussed the plan for a peaceful birth however it would look and the desire to avoid a c-section if possible. At midnight I was moved to a labor and delivery to do a contraction stress test where they needed me to contract 3 times in 10 minutes to see how the baby tolerated contractions.  By one o clock, I was contracting regularly enough with Pitocin that it was determined we could try to labor.  At 2:15 am, I was given cytotek orally to begin my labor.  I began contracting pretty regularly but not painfully, we both attempted to get some sleep, my husband was snoring and my contractions weren’t reading on the monitor but when the nurse palpitated my stomach I was contracting every 4 minutes.  At 8 am, my doctor arrived to place a Foley bulb. We then messaged for my doula to come to the hospital, by 11, I determined between the throbbing in my head and the regular contractions I needed relief from something and I received and epidural. My husband and my second doula/birth photographer began to counter pressure my head where my husband squeezed my head during contractions. I laid on my side with the peanut ball between my legs and again tried to rest. I felt as if I was making no progress by 12 o clock my Foley bulb at come out but I was only at a 4 and only 30% effaced. My labor progressed slowly and painfully, my nurses, my husband, my doulas kept telling me how good I was doing as I labored in darkness.  They told me how well the baby was doing through contractions, she did well for the most part.  We progressed slowly, the pain built back up and anesthesia came in to up my epidural, I began throwing up and was given Zofran to help me stop throwing up.  I again tried to rest, around 4 pm, the pain again built up and I began throwing up again and was given Reglan to stop the puking, I was placed on my left side to help better monitor the baby. 

I was never aware that the baby’s heartbeat was dropping, no one gave me any fear, they did an ultrasound to ensure that the baby did not turn causing the slowing in my labor. The pain returned and anesthesia came in again.  I begged for my water to be broken, my doctor told me why she didn’t want to break my water as she didn’t want to out the baby in distress and didn’t want to risk her cord coming out.  She did agree to attempt to slow break my water, my water had other plans and it exploded, the only moment of panic I saw in anyone’s eyes was while my water gushed out soaking my OB, I was at 8 and 70% and felt like I still had a long way to go.  I, remember my OB saying we are ok, we are ok as she ensured the cord did not rush out.  I asked if she was ok and I was assured that she was and that she was still doing great and I was as well. While I’m not sure on when my water was broken I know my OB did not leave after that, I closed my eyes and felt the pressure building up again, I had a contraction and it was better, I had another contraction and my OB said I was at a minus two and a nine, I closed my eyes and said that I needed to push, my husband said that I wasn’t wrong, my OB called to get the NICU team, she said I was 10 and +3, I was having a baby the next contraction nurses, ran in and asked if I could wait, the answer was no.  The NICU team made it just as Calla was born, I’m not sure it took a push or if she kind of slid out on her own but the most beautiful sound greeted her arrival, this small sweet, squeaky cry. When she cried, I cried, I knew my baby was ok, her APGAR was a 9, my 28 week 4 day gestation baby had an APGAR of nine.  My husband was able to cut the cord and she went to her giraffe incubator, I could hear her crying the whole time.  There was peace, it was relatively quiet, Calla’s entry into the world was not accompanied by fear but by peace and a beautiful cry. Through labor my doula gently rubbed my back, my hair my leg, peacefully telling me I was doing well. They assisted me in positioning but mostly they gave me calm in my storm, my OB gave me a chance, she did not scare me. Calla Elizabeth Evanna Visocky, (though she didn’t have a full name for a day or so) was born at 5:20 pm, she weighed 2 pounds 1.2 ounces and was 13.98 inches long. She was doing well enough that she was brought over to see me before being taken to the NICU followed closely by my husband and photographer. It took longer to deliver the placenta than Calla. 15 hours of induced labor