I was due on July 19th 2017 with my first daughter. My pregnancy had zero complications and I felt great. There were things that I experienced that caught me off guard but all were very normal. I had zero fear going into delivery because not only did I know that everything was going to be okay I had also been speaking over my delivery with affirmations for some time.
I went in for my final sonogram and check on the 18th the day before my due date to kind of see what the plan would be. My thoughts were that as long as everything was ok and looking good I wanted to wait until I went into labor naturally. I also had plans to labor naturally for as long as I could. I had mentally prepared for pain and wanted to be able to be mobile, so I wanted to go without medicine if I could.
During my sonogram we were thrown for loop when we found out that I was low on fluid. There were very little pockets of fluid in there with baby which is not good or safe. I knew that I had been “leaking” but didn’t consider it could be amniotic fluid and thought to myself it is probably normal. My doctor had also been out of town the week prior and wasn’t there to catch the fact that from the appointment prior I had lost 2 pounds. So when we went back to wait on the doctor we knew that she had already been given the information and would probably have a plan of action in mind.
When she walked into the room she said, “well it’s time to have a baby”. Obviously, I was expecting to have a baby “any time” but I guess I didn’t know that it was “time” because it didn’t feel like it, actually nothing felt different at all. She explained that due to the lack of fluid that I would need to go home and get my things together and head to the hospital that evening. She would call me and let me know what time they were expecting me. I would go, check in and she would meet me there where she planned to naturally induce me that evening. I would be having a baby the next day, on my due date which sounded great to me. My sister had been late with both her babies, so I was glad to hear that I would be meeting this precious baby sooner rather than later.
I was a bit delirious that afternoon. It was a mixture of excitement & shock and nerves I’m sure, that caused me to be a little bit off my rocker the remainder of my evening. Trying to act normal just wasn’t happening. I went to get lunch with my mom and sister, then got all of my things together to head to the hospital. Arriving at the hospital was a story in itself but I just couldn’t handle it. When nurses would ask if they could help me I would go into uncontrollable laughter. I don’t know if I was nervous or what was going on there but atleast that part of the process was enjoyable for me and the people around me, laughter isn’t the worst thing.
But I got all checked in and my doctor began a natural induction process with me which basically meant she put hormones into my body to get things on the way. Through the evening I begin to feel some very mild contractions and was excited that my body was getting going. The Doctor came back in at 7 am and if my water hadn’t broken yet that was the next step. Which it hadn’t so that’s what she did. From that moment things definitely changed. My contractions got stronger and I was also experiencing front and back labor. I labored naturally from 7am-noon on the day of my due date. I was able to remain mobile which was my desire for attempting to go the natural route for as long as I could. Although the pain was very intense If I could move around I could power through it. I had access to a shower, so I got in there a few times and let hot water fall on my lower back and that really would ease my pain. There would be times when in order to get me on the monitor I would have to be in bed for 30 minutes and those were the most difficult contractions that I experienced because I basically just laid there through them.
I tried not to ask the nurses to check my progress too often because I wanted my body to be able to do its thing and I knew as long as I was working through the contractions than my body would do its job. I also knew from seeing it happen with other woman that I had watched deliver that a lot of progress can happen in a little time which helped me not to be too concerned. By noon when I was checked again I was still only at a 3 and based on some things my doctor was seeing on the monitor she wanted to put me on Pitocin to aid my body in moving along and creating stronger contractions. Since I was having back labor and it was pretty intense and knowing that Pitocin would only make them stronger as well as the fact that I would also have to remain in bed I made the decision to have an epidural.
The main reason that I was trying to avoid that is because I don’t care to much for needles. Having to get my blood drawn during pregnancy and getting the iv when I first arrived at the hospital was stretching me and I guess it was enough to just break down that concern altogether. Once I made the decision I was honestly most nervous about staying still during a contraction while I got the epidural. But I did great and It was like a cool relief that pretty much immediately ran through my body.
So, at that point after pretty painful natural laboring I was ready to lay back and let my body do the rest of the work, so I took a nap. The next time I was checked again after some pretty strong contractions that they were watching, I still wasn’t much further along. They began to slowly take the Pitocin up. This is where I thought things would kind of just be a breeze until it was time to push because I couldn’t feel anything but pressure. Even though my body was slow going, I just knew that it would eventually happen and since I was no longer in pain, I was no longer in a huge hurry. I went back to sleep, looking back I am thankful because there wasn’t a lot of sleep in the remainder of my hospital stay.
So this is where things began to take a bit of a scary turn and When I realized that things maybe weren’t going to be as a planned in my mind. I was in the middle of a nap and I was awakened by several nurses rushing into the room. They came in and told me that they were going to need to put oxygen on me and they were going to have to switch my position. This was interesting because I had an epidural which means I had really no feeling. They got the oxygen on me and had me turn over onto my side and then to my other side trying to get my daughter back on the monitor.
I had no idea what was going on and I remained fairly calm but at the same time the concern that they were all operating in made me wonder what was going on. My thoughts were that she just moved to where the monitor could no longer pick her up. Finally, they got her back on the monitor and mentioned that they hadn’t lost her on the monitor but that her heart rate was dropping so they had me move because she wasn’t liking that position. Then once I moved they had to reposition the monitor. They also said that they were going to stop the Pitocin to see how I would respond to this and they would turn it back on when they felt comfortable with that.
At this point is when nurses begin to mention the possibility of needing to have a c section. At this time in my head I am thinking that all that needs to happen is I need to change my position every now and then but obviously there is much more to it than that. They kept the oxygen on me but said I was good and could go back to what I was doing. It was then that my mom, my sister and my husband who were all in the room decided to pray, but even then I was still not worried. They came back in later and said they were going to turn back on the Pitocin.
Once the Pitocin had worked its way up again which is what you want to be able to create the stronger contractions, so the whole process repeated. But each time I can tell that the concern within the nurses is rising. They take me off Pitocin again. This time in between My doctor comes in and tries to explain a little bit about what is going on, but I honestly don’t remember much. All that I know is that she was talking to me a lot about the option of c section and I just wasn’t wanting to go there yet. She even brought in the surgeon for me to meet so that I would feel comfortable if that was the route that we would need to go. I still did not feel like it was going to have to get to that point.
My doctor does say that she has to place an internal monitor on my daughter’s head so that they can keep better track of her activity. So, they had to have me turn over onto my hands and knees to be able to do this. Even with the epidural there was still a lot of pressure. This is when she mentioned that I was still only dilated to “maybe a 3 ½”. My doctor told me now that they can get a good read on the baby they would try the process with the Pitocin one more time to see how far we could get and if we could keep baby happy while increasing the strength of my contractions so that I could get dilated. My doctor was supposed to be heading home but during this next work up period she said that she decided to wait and watch me herself because she just had a feeling. Once again, my daughters heart rate drops once the contractions got strong enough and that is when things got more serious. My doctor came in and said to me that she was going to give me the option of going back now my choice or maybe giving me 30 more minutes and then at that point she would be wheeling me back for the emergency c section. She told me that if I want to try and have a vaginal delivery next time that I should really consider this because the more time they have the cleaner this can be which helps with thinking about wanting to go that route next time.
Then she dropped a hard fact on me that at the time was a pretty strong point that I wasn’t aware of at all. She told me that when I would be taken off Pitocin it wasn’t that my contractions would get weaker but that they would stop altogether. My body was worn out and it was picking up on the fact that the baby was in distress. At this point all that mattered to me was that my daughter was ok, so the decision seemed simple in that regard. But I looked to my sister and my mom and you could see their concern for me and that they just wanted me to feel comfortable and do the right thing. Then I looked up to my husband and I asked him if that was ok. His response was “we are going to have a baby and as long as she is healthy it doesn’t matter how she get here”. I just needed to hear that he was ok with it and that he didn’t think I should try longer. I mean ultimately there was nothing that I could do, and I realized that. In that moment looking up at him I began to cry because I felt like I was failing some test and I didn’t understand why. I didn’t know what I had done so differently from the other woman who were able to deliver vaginally or from the women who were able to do it all naturally because I had seen both with my own eyes. I was sad that this situation was so out of my control and I couldn’t bring my daughter into this world the way I was intended to.
Although it was a tough decision my doctor had mentioned that she was suggesting what she thought the Lord was telling her was best to do, so I looked at her and said let’s go. At that time she went back to prep for surgery and the anesthesiologist came back in to give me the dosage of epidural that would get me safely and pain free through the c-section. One part that was very sad is that my mom and sister were going to have to wait this one out and only my husband could be in the room. I watched him get all suited up and they put our fancy surgery hats on and then they took us back. Because of adrenaline and the epidural, I was shacking pretty uncontrollably, which finally in the surgery room after a while I was told that that was all very normal. Everything was very close to being prepped and ready. I had even chosen a clear screen so that I could see my daughter as they raised her up. Then the nurse that has been with us all night who was so sweet said “well now would be the best time to pray if you want to before the surgery” and she led my husband and I in prayer in that moment. Other than having really no idea what to expect because I had never undergone surgery, I was very calm and I knew that everything would be ok. What was the best thought was knowing that I was just minutes away from meeting my baby girl.
The surgery began and I held my husbands hand and looked into his eyes. He would reassure me and hold my hand a little tighter when he could tell that I was feeling the most pressure. That’s totally what it was, there was no pain but I could definitely still feel it and there were a few parts where that feeling was a bit overwhelming. Then all of a sudden that is when you hear them telling mike to get his camera ready because they are about to pull her out and then you hear her.
I heard my daughter crying, and there she was and nothing else in the room mattered. I couldn’t hear or see anything but her. They held her there right in front of my eyes as they cut the cord and then they wiped her a bit, put a blanket over her and brought her over to my chest. There she was the beautiful baby that I had carried all of those months and she was right on my chest crying out for me and I put my hand over her back and then I felt my husband’s hand embrace us both. I was her mother, she was my daughter and there is not a doubt in my mind that we all knew in the moment that we belonged to each other.
Her cry eased as she laid on my chest. I was just so in awe. Those beautiful moments changed my life forever. They had to take her after a while to get her weighed and then they would bring her back to me. I had her dad follow to stay with her, but I could hear her the whole time. My little baby bird weighed 6 lbs. 12oz. My tiny little perfect girl. They brought her back to me and she calmed down once again. Her arm laid across my face and I was giving her kisses. Every once in a while, remembering to look at my husband to see his face.
Then they were all done with me, surgery had gone well, and I was put back together. It was time to put her in a rolling crib and wheel us both back to the room. She would get to be held by daddy and get to meet Miney and aunt Morgan (my mom and sister). We got in the room and while daddy was holding her my doctor came in to give me the run down. She told me that everything went great and my incision is very clean which left me with the best possible chance of having a v back which is a vaginal delivery the next time around. Which all of that was really great to hear but here I am wondering was all of that 100% necessary like my daughter is perfect and healthy and not a single thing is wrong with her which was expected, and I was so thankful, but it left me wondering what happened.
She said what we did find though is when I cut in and would typically immediately expect to see the baby and her head all that I could see and initially get to was all of her cord. It was bunched up and between her and the birth canal. What that meant is that her cord was blocking her exit, but it also meant that any time I had a contraction especially the stronger ones that her blood flow would be cut which is in turn what was causing her heart rate to drop. It was just not going to work out for her to make it through the birth canal and still have the proper blood flow that she needed. I was so thankful that my doctor advised me in what she felt was right and I was even more thankful that my daughter was here and healthy. I think I was relieved to find out that there was actually something and that I hadn’t failed on my end and we didn’t just do a c section for no reason.
There were so many moments following that were so worth mentioning but I wanted to primarily focus on the birth story. I think the main reason was to tell my story and let other women know that your story is going to be yours. No one can tell you exactly how your birth will go, and you can prepare yourself in every way possible but still it could go completely differently than you had ever planned. It could also go smoother than you could have ever hoped for or imagined. The fact is that either way it is ok.
I was in a lot of rooms with women after the birth of my daughter, where women who had the pleasure of having children naturally were almost shaming women who had c sections. Some chose that route, and some didn’t have a choice. I even heard one woman tell another “her body was created to have children naturally”. Although that is the original design and that is true what also remains is that it doesn’t work out that way for everyone. This woman probably had no idea what this mother was going through and the thoughts she might have had. Not only to feel like your body failed but to also have a completely different recovery than you had planned for. There were so many things that were hard about the recovery process physically, mentally and emotionally that I will have to try to tackle that on a different time.
But it was not easy, especially when someone else tells their story and those bittersweet moments when I realize I never had the opportunity to push, I don’t know what that is like. I think if anything as a woman know to be sensitive with this because you never know what another mom is going through.
And also know that the Goal is a healthy baby and a healthy mom, and it is 100% worth anything that you have to do in order to achieve that goal.