(This birth narrative flows from two voices: first my voice and then that of my doula, Teresa Howard, as I have indicated in italics.)
Friday September 6th marked my 41st week of pregnancy, and it began like any other Friday before: as was routine for me, I woke up at 6am and got myself ready for work. Despite the surprised reactions from work associates in the days and weeks prior, I had no intentions of beginning my maternity leave early, as the limited days I would be able to spend with my newborn daughter were far too precious to me to consume before her arrival. That, and I was feeling perfectly fine – upbeat, chipper and very balanced. One word that was used most often throughout my pregnancy by others to describe my demeanor was “mellow,” and that’s exactly how I felt one week post-date. I was driving to the office when I decided to call my mother and let her know I was headed to work, which prompted a phone call en route because she was amazed that I was feeling well enough to go in. During our conversation, I went over what I had planned for the day: although I was going into the office, I had an 11am appointment to see the much-heralded Atlanta-based obstetrician Dr. Brad Bootstaylor at his Emory Hospital practice for a re-check on my amniotic fluid levels (I had seen Dr. Bootstaylor for the same exam the day before) since they were appearing low regardless of my own personal water intake. Now that I was post-dates, I was definitely being more closely monitored by my midwife group, especially too since my blood pressure had been elevated for the past few visits and I was deemed at risk for being preeclamptic.
Although her blood pressure seemed to have stabilized and her biophysical was 8/10 both on Thursday and Friday, her ultrasound had gone from having fluid of an AFI of 4.0cm down to 1.0cm within less than 24 hours. That was an indicator that her placenta was definitely not working as well as we had hoped. It showed some calcification on the ultrasound as well. (This was also evident after the birth in examining the placenta.)