My birth story started out the same as most. Terrified and I found myself at Bdubbs for my last supper… Isn’t that how yours began?
I was over a week past due with my daughter and feeling completely anxious. I wasn’t sure it was me not being fully prepared to be a mom or just nervous for the whole delivery process itself. I watched the videos, I read the books, I packed my hospital bag, but still felt completely unprepared.
I went in on a Sunday night to start induction. I was induced because my office only allows you to go 7 days past due.
I planned on going completely drug free. I had great intentions to be strong and put my hypnobirthing studies to good use. You know, so many veteran moms warned me that all the preparation I had been doing up to that point may not go as planned. I threw some shade and told myself, no. This is MY story. It will happen naturally because I’m so fit and healthy and well…past due. The doctor saw no reason why I wouldn’t be able to have a natural vaginal birth. So I didn’t even consider a cesarian as an option. I refused to even watch videos of what that type of birth looked like because I didn’t think it was an option for me.
Day 1 began with Cervidil. A strip of paper with some medicine on it, inserted into your cervix to help “ripen” the cervix for delivery. Sounds appealing right? Hours went by after “insertion” (sorry I giggled writing this word), they came back in to give me a check. No movement. NOTHING. Next step: Pitocin AKA THE DEVIL. Well one round isn’t that bad but I ended up having to have two. First round. Contractions began but still not unbearable. I continued on with no drugs. Hours later they came in to check me. No progress. I was only dilated to a 4. How disappointing. They explained that sometimes it will take two rounds of pitocin to effect the process at all. So there we went, onto round TWO! Now here’s the kicker. What they didn’t tell me. Pitocin is to help induce labor, right? Well it also induces the rate at which you have contractions including the intensity of the contractions.
I was hooked up to a monitor so I could see the contractions as they were coming. They were so close together. Around a minute a part or less. I thought it had to of been working considering the type of pain I was in. I went from a yoga ball, to a rocking chair, to the bathroom, and back to the bed to attempt to sleep. Again they came in to check my cervix. NO. FREAKING. CHANGE. What? How is that even possible? They told me two rounds would do the trick. But in my case, I was the exception. At this point my water still hadn’t broke so they decided it was time to break my water, maybe that’s what was holding back my body from progressing. Insert graphic image with a coat hanger. I will leave that there for a great visual of what happened next.
My water was broke, I was leaking, and I waddled my way to the bathroom to clean myself up. From the time I got to the bathroom and onto the toilet my contractions intensified. I didn’t even think that would have been possible (mind you still drug free at this point). I was in so much pain it became unbearable, I could barely breath. My husband encouraged me to call in the nurse to see what my options were to relieve the pain.
I listened to the nurse explain options, and in the back of my mind I thought I had failed at this point. I kept thinking… this wasn’t in the plan…
Next step, epidural. I was terrified for this. I have heard so many horror stories and they make you sign a waiver basically stating that you could die and they aren’t liable… that makes things real comforting. I didn’t know what to expect. I hugged a pillow and my husband held me as the anesthesiologist explained that I would feel a little poke.
A POKE!? I experienced the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. Shooting from my back all the way down my leg to my feet and back up. I screeched. She hit a nerve. I began uncontrollably sobbing and said some profanity. The anesthesiologist said she never had this happen to anyone before and she wasn’t sure what to do. I told her just “F–king do it”. With some pause, she fed the catheter through as much as she could without hitting the nerve ending and said “I will just tape it up really good and hope it works.” Again, another comforting moment…
The epidural kicked in. I felt tingling all throughout my body and finally, some relaxation. I took a nap. Once awake, I kept staring at the computer screen showing the contractions happening. I didn’t feel much, now that the drugs kicked in. The contractions came one after another. I was SURE that something had to of been happening. My water was broke, I was contracting, she tugged on my cervix to pull it forward (left that part out, ouch) and I had TWO rounds of pitocin. The doctor came in to check me once again… The look of disappointment on the doctors face as she felt around was exactly what I didn’t want to see. “No progress”, she said. I began to cry, I knew what was next. She explained to me how this would now have to move into a cesarian section because of how long my water had been broken and my body was showing no sign of going into labor. She left us alone to discuss this option, knowing this wasn’t in my plan.
I cried to my husband and felt like a complete failure. I hadn’t expected this. I did everything leading up to this point to be able to have a natural vaginal birth and I wasn’t able to have one. I was at a complete loss for words. My husband in the moment was so comforting. He was exactly who I needed to be there and he said all the right things.
The next moments were a blur. I remember being wheeled into a bright white room. There were a handful of staff there. The curtain went up and the doctor said “I am pinching you really hard right now, can you feel this” as my body shook uncontrollably (later I found out some people have this happen when they get a spinal), I said no. It seemed like moments after that I heard a few noises, some pulling and tugging and my husband said “she’s out”. All I wanted to hear was her cry. Wasn’t it like the movies where you hear their cry almost immediate after they’re delivered?? It felt like a 20 minutes then I heard her. I began to cry. That moment I replay in my mind over and over again. Everything leading up to this was exactly what needed to happen in order to bring me her.
She was healthy. She was perfect. She was my daughter.
Into a recovery room we went and the nurse was able to bring Stella Rose to my husband and I. It was there I experienced skin to skin. I laid there for hours it seemed, holding her. Everything that happened leading up to that moment, nothing mattered. I forgot about the pain. I forgot about the struggle. I forgot about having a csection vs. having a vaginal birth. She was here and that was all that mattered.
In hindsight I realize that I was no where near a failure in having a csection over a vaginal birth. It was more being disappointed I wasn’t able to do it my way, according to my plan. I firmly believe that things happened the way they did to teach me a lesson almost. You can’t always plan. You can’t always prepare for things to come. But you can choose how you respond to whatever happens.
I wish that I could say that my birth story is one I imagined, it happened so perfectly and it was beautiful, but I can’t. It was messy, it was full of anxiety, and not what I envisioned at all. Looking back at my experience I can honestly say it doesn’t even matter now. In the moment you just feel like you have to do whatever it takes to make sure that, that baby is healthy. That’s what I did.
My first lesson as a mom: I am no longer in control….
If you are currently pregnant or plan on having babies in the future, please don’t read this and hold onto fear. Just know every single person has a different experience. Not one is alike. Go in with your best intentions but understand and know ALL options. Don’t just expect that it will happen one way because that’s what you want. You have to be open and flexible for change. In the end no matter how you have a baby, we are all warriors. It is one of the most humbling experiences giving birth and I hope your story too is one you will cherish forever (no matter how messy it may be)…