Best Intentions-Not Quite the Birth I'd Planned
I'm on day five of loving on my little one and am just laughing at how all of my birth ideas went solidly out the window.
Note that I'm a fairly relaxed individual. This was my first full term pregnancy, I had one directly previous that ended in a naturally passed miscarriage at 6 weeks (absolutely devastating, but that is a whole other story).
Throughout my pregnancy, I tried to eat the right things (lots and lots of fruits and veggies, but goldfish were also practically a daily snack), no cold sandwich meats (it help that I developed an aversion to fowl, as turkey breast were my favorite pre-pregnancy), only one tub of ice cream every two weeks or more (hubby helped eat those, i swear), etc. Went on walks while at work, but didn't keep a great exercise routine (I was fairly active pre-pregnancy, and really had to push myself to even get to the second floor of our house during). Overall I gained about 50lbs, which I was perturbed by, but completely healthy and my doc even commented that it seemed like a healthy amount of weight for my build (I'm 5'9" and normally a muscular 165-175lbs).
I'd been on the fence about delivery up until about 2 weeks before my due date, when I finally decided that I really didn't want any kind of induction, epidural, or other-than-fully-natural help. This took a lot of patience for me to develop because I was thinking at 36 weeks that I wanted the baby out right then and there 😅
I've never really had period cramping, and had no clue that what I thought was baby stretching was actually Braxton Hicks contractions (BHC moving forward). Figured that out when I was on a walk with a co worker and stopped to mention my little one was stretching again full force. She, being a mom, verified that it was indeed a BHC, not baby stretches! Turns out I'd been having them for about 3 weeks and was just wrong in my self diagnosis (This was realized at 37 weeks)
Come due date-exactly 40 weeks, Friday, and I have regular BHC, almost every 5 minutes and waking me up all that night. Thought my water broke in the shower and headed for the hospital! Funny thing was my husband had just reached his work parking lot 45 minutes away when I called him to meet me at the hospital. He'd made a joke about it that morning.
The contractions weren't uncomfortable at all, which should have been a clue, but I was told if water breaks, go to hospital. I was wrong, water was intact and I was only 1 cm (I'd been at 1cm for three weeks now) and about 50% effaced. Home we went.
Next night, I was kept awake again, but this time the contractions were not friendly. Started tracking them, and hubby and I decided to take a walk at the mall to try to get things going! Got the the point that I had to sit down with each one and they were 3-5 minutes apart. Called the hospital, they said since I was not doing an epidural, stay home as long as possible until the contractions were too much to talk through.
That happened at about 4:00 on Saturday, and we were admitted at about 5pm. I was checked and at 3cm and 90% effaced. Contractions progressed and things were going well until about midnight. Hubby had been passed out for almost 2 hours and the contractions had gotten to the point that they felt live a thousand knives stabbing me all over and there were barely 1 minute breaks between each one. I was already sleep deprived from the previous two nights, and being awake alone put me to my limit.
I'd really only avoided the epidural because I was curious as ever about the 'natural experience' and didn't want to be bedridden or have chemicals affecting me or baby. Midnight me had fully satisfied that curiosity and I was balling for the needle (note here, I HATE needles. Not because I'm scared but because I usually pass out when I get stuck. Can't help or control it, and that's not fun). Got stuck in between contractions (I always thought they did it during one, maybe they do sometimes?) and was then able to make it through the next stage of labor. This happened when I was 7cm and 100% effaced - water still intact.
The epidural slowed labor. They thought, after giving me the epidural at 1am on Sunday, that I'd progress quickly and likely have baby in the 2am hours, which was super exciting!! This did not end up being the case. My contractions slowed and between then and 8am I'd only dilated to 8.5cm, water still intact. At least I wasn't in pain, i guess.😑
Shortly after that, doc check again and said that breaking the water may help speed things up, since that still hadn't happened. Hubby and I discussed-remember I didn't want a lot of intervention-and decided to proceed with it.
From about 10 to noon, I reached 9cm. 12-2 and FINALLY I'm in active labor at 10cm, wah-hooo!! Time to push.
The pushing was really cool actually: just me, my hubby, and the nurse. Hubby had one leg, nurse had the other, and I was the pusher. I loved that he was this involved, i didn't know he would be!
I push for 2 hours, and doc comes in (nurse let us know the doc is usually only there during the last 15-30 minutes, no point wasting time with the necessary push prep). He check and baby still isn't even crowning. He said this active labor varies between 30 minutes to 4 hours, and beyond that pushing could put baby in distress. He said I had the choice to opt for cesarean since things had gone so bitterly slow since the epidural, or continue pushing until 6pm-the 4 hour mark-to access again. I chose to push.
Another 2 hard hour pushing with all my might, and baby hadn't descended at all. I'd been a crying mess since the doc even mentioned c-section, and was giving it everything I had. Doc came in to access, and baby had released his meconium in utero. Basically baby pooped in distress and now he is going to start breathing that poop of he doesn't get out quick.
Emergency c-section it is!
I'm bawling about him being in distress and somewhat out of panic for self because I've never had any major injuries or surgeries in my entire life and people die during these things! I can't die, what about my baby?!
Remember how I said I was a relaxed person? Not when it comes emergencies. I stayed outwardly calm, other than a few tears but internally I'm thinking the worst.
(Obviously I survived based on me posting this. How messed up would that be if-plot twist-my hubby wrote it up in memorial. Sorry, I'm a tad sadistic)
Get wheeled to operating room 1, and it is bright as noon in the Sahara. The anesthesiologist (Chris moving forward) was a pretty cool guy, and gave me a total olay-by-play as to what was going to happen. That man needs a raise, because he is awesome, funny, sarcastic, and informative, all while making me lose sensation in the lower half of my body. Impressive.
OR1 ready-let hubby in to sit next to me, but not allowed to watch (apparently too many pass out and then they have a 3rd patient during active surgery-joy!)
I feel so much tugging and pulling, but it is totally surreal, i don't feel any pain. Chris give us info on everything happening, and then, at last, he says the baby is out! But then we hear doc say heartbeat is slow.
We hear nothing. This is especially scary because just two months prior, my best friend gave birth and her daughter was considered dead for 4 minutes, about to be called, when they were able to resuscitate her. Silence, in this moment, was anything but golden. It was down right terror.
Then the cry. Oh, that blessed cry. Had me and now daddy right there with him. (Though hubby says he only shed one or two, maybe. I wasn't paying any attention so maybe he is telling the truth. The jury is out on that one).
That was literally the most beautiful sound I'd heard in my life to that point. Then came time for daddy to take pictures. I urge him to do so immediately (when he stood, he peaked over the curtain and apparently I was mostly patched up except for a gaping hole in my abdomen. He didn't faint. I'm sure he'll beg to watch the next one and use this one as an excuse. If there is a next one. Right now I'm so overwhelmed with love for this one, I can't imagine sharing it with another.)
Got our pictures, daddy left with our little son to our room, and then when I was patched up, I was wheeled to join them.
The whole thing ended up being the exact opposite to how I wanted to delivery, but honestly, they did what they had to to give me my baby, healthy, and keep me alive too.
Turns out, little man was 9lbs 1oz, 23 inches long, and a head circumference of 15 inches! One of the nurses said that was the biggest she'd seen for head size. Baby boy has a big noggin! We later learned that even with the c-section, they had to use a vacuum because there was not enough space for his head and the doc's hands. Poor little guy got sucked twice before it worked on the 3rd attempt.
Luckily no hemorrhaging, only small hematomas (bruises) and a nickel sized abrasion (basically looks like he skinned himself and should heal fully with no ill effects.
That dome is the reasoning behind me pushing for 4 hours straight, no luck delivering from what the doc says....and really, considering I only had 10cm to work with, this makes sense. No complaints from me.
So that's it. Beyond that was regular post-delivery stuff like regular checks and no sleep because you are constantly monitored in a hospital.
It wasn't what I wanted, but I am so grateful to all of the nurses, doctors, and medical staff that have me my baby safe and healthy (here's to you Chris Houston, anesthesiologist extraordinaire!) At the end of the day, that is what we all want, right?
Unexpected path to desired results.
Hope that wasn't too frightening for you other first timers, but rest assured you and your baby are their priority. Plans get messed up, and that's okay. This is life and no one has a proper instruction manual.
😊😄 good luck to all!