This probably isn’t going to be your typical birth story full of unicorns, flowers, rainbows, etc. But I wanted it to be real and me. It’s a long one so grab a blankie and a cup o’joe, cuz here we go!
I knew from the first ultrasound that my daughter was going to be a handful. As I watched her turn somersaults on screen the nurse exclaimed, “You’ve got a little gymnast on your hands!” But what I didn’t know was how significant that would be for my delivery of that little gymnast almost 8 months later, nor what a nightmare the experience would be…
When I went in for my checkup at 39 weeks, the nurse told me I was going to be induced the day I was supposed to deliver. I was surprised by this, as most doctors like to schedule you closer to a week after your delivery date, but I was so excited for her to get here I didn’t think twice about it. I had been at zero centimeters dilated for 2 weeks now so I knew my little girl could need help getting here.
That Tuesday, July 28th, at 40 weeks, I went in for my routine check up to see where we were, excited for the last appointment and to be induced. My mother, husband and I had just spent the morning getting ready and packing everything in the car in case they wanted to send me over to the delivery room right after my appointment. When the doctor checked my cervix, she had the same look she’d had for what felt ages now. “Still nothing. Maybe a centimeter dilated if I exaggerated.” She then gave a ten minute schpeel about how I should wait a little longer to be induce because of x y and z complications induction could have and that I may have to get a c-section. I was confused and frustrated. Why hadn’t she said this last week? Why plan an induction for me then tell me I should back out? She told me the labor and delivery wing was jam packed, as if to try and persuade me further. I didn’t want to hear it. We’d planned my mom’s flight around this day, and to hear we’d need to wait til the following Sunday wasn’t sitting well. That meant my mother could only stay a couple days after, and we’d originally planned it to where she’d stay longer after the birth to help me recover. My mother and husband had the same look I was sure I had on my face. The anxiety and devastation I felt would only multiply later…
Despite my unhappiness, my husband Zachary and I made a decision based on feelings after silent earnest prayers and told them we’d wait til Sunday as recommended. The doctor told me if I changed my mind to let her know by that evening and they’d keep me on the schedule. We decided that we needed to make the best choice for our baby and avoid as many risks as possible. Besides, there was a very real possibility that I would go into labor on my own…
The next 6 days felt like the longest days of my life up to that point. I was uncomfortably pregnant, hot in the sweltering Louisiana humid heat of 100 degrees + all that week, and there was only so much nursery stuff my mom and I could do. My husband and mother were a great support to me, as was my husband’s uncle, a chirporactor, who even gave me some homeopathic drops and an electric node treatment that mimicked pitocin on that Friday – but no baby. 10 pm on Sunday finally came and we were greeted by a moody ER worker who had us sign in. He escorted us to a waiting room and 30 minutes later we were admitted to a delivery room where I experienced the 3rd worst thing of my labor and delivery: an enima. It was comical how much pep talking my mom and Zach gave me, and how I had to pump myself up to do it. What a waste it ended up being (pun intended)…
I got into the ugly hospital gown and obediently took some pictures as my sisters directed.
You can see the baby’s bum sticking out in the middle of my tummy. This is just before they put this painful thing in my hand that never stop hurting:
Sheesh my fingers and face were so swollen! After they hooked me up to the IV and some other monitors the nurse gave me a weird look and said, “You’re contracting a lot right now – you don’t feel them?” I looked at the screen in surprise and said no – I honestly felt nothing (Oh but I would!). We waited til midnight when they began the first round of pitocin. They put something in my IV to help me sleep and checked on me at 4, 6, and 8. My doctor came in at 8 to check me and shocker – I was only 1 cm dilated. They made me wait til about noon, checked me again – a whopping 2 cm, then broke my water.
Hell hath no fury over a woman with contractions like this:
At their worst point the contractions peaked at the 12. This went on for a couple of hours. I thought that it was the wost pain of my life, but I was wrong. It was nothing compared to the epidural.
For starters the nurse was in a panic and told me we had to hurry because the anesthesiologist was on her way. She frantically ran around the room getting the epidural prep table ready then had me quickly sit up and turn with my back to the door in the middle of a 12 conntraction. I heard a woman with an indian accent say something about hurrying up then the nurse ran around and had me bend way over and grasp her hands. It was the most uncomfortable I’d ever been in my entire life. I felt like I was squishing the crap out of my baby (which I think I literally did because she was spitting up meconium for a day after she got here), my back ached from the contractions – and then came the feeling of fire scorching into my back. Not once, but 5 needle jabs. The Indian woman said something about morphine. I felt a strange twinging up my spine and momentarily freaked that I’d just been paralyzed. Then came the big stab. Idk if she didn’t wait long enough or what but I felt every centimeter of that epidural needle, and I shamelessly tell you I bawled and shook and sobbed like a baby. The nurse exclaimed, “Oh don’t cry baby! It’s alright sweetheart.” I could vaguely make out the anguished looks on my husband’s and mother’s faces. Then it was over and they were helping me turn to lie back again. The relief was sweet but I didn’t like the feeling of not being able to move my legs at all. They felt like 2 long columns of heavy metal. I was still only dilated to a 4, then a 6, and during all of this the nurse was freaking out about the baby’s heartbeat. They tried moving me on both sides and all sorts of things but the contractions continued to put her in distress. The doctor came in again and told me I was at an 8 and then spoke the word I’d been dreading since the moment I found out I was pregnant: c-section.
Part of me was angry at the doctor for making me wait another week since it seemed I was going to have to get cut open anyway. Oh the irony! But I was more focused on my baby girl’s heart rate dipping in violent V’s on screen down to 60-80. She told me we could wait, but it’d taken so long to get me to an 8 she feared for the baby if we waited to get to a 10. I’d written all over my birth plan that I absolutely did not want a c-section unless the baby’s life was in jeopardy, and now we’d reached that point. I tearfully looked over at my husband who’s face was grim but eyes were steady. “What do you think honey?” I asked. “I think we need to get her here safely,” was his quiet response. My thoughts exactly.
Pure pandemonium erupted the moment I gave the go-ahead. The Indian woman who had given me the epidural and can only be described as terrifying came back in and was shouting about getting my contacts out, then abruptly left. The contacts came out as nurses piled in to the room and prepped me, put a cap and my glasses on me, then put something in my IV that was supposed to help me not feel nauseous but did the exact opposite. My world started spinning and I managed to get out, “I think I’m going to throw up.” The nurse responded, “We just gave you something for that,” but I just shook my head over and over and tried not to puke. I turned my upper body and tried not to wretch then my knight in shining armor exclaimed, “Just hold on a minute! Can’t you see she’s going to be sick?!” The nursed all squabbled back that we had to get moving and my husband quietly but sharply retorted, “We need to do what’s best for her, not just work on the doctor’s schedule.” They paused for what felt like 5 seconds to let me gain my composure then let me say brief goodbyes before they wheeled me out to a room with lots of bright lights and shiny metal in it.
I still felt insanely nauseous as they strapped me down on the table and put up a blue tent. Zach finally came in all dressed up like the nurses and held my hand, but I couldn’t get out any words because I knew I’d throw up. I remember the doctor asking me if I felt anything as she tested my numbness, and then I smelled my own flesh burning. This only made matters worse on the up-chuck front. The doctor asked if I was doing ok and I managed a small “yes”. I heard the Indian woman, who apparently had been standing behind me the whole time say, “Thanks to my epidural standing this long.” Really lady? The doctor told me they only had a few more layers to cut through. Fantastic. A nurse pushed really hard on my tummy and the doctor exclaimed something about the umbilical cord. More mayhem ensued and then the doctor exclaimed, “Here she is Emily! Look at that pout!” She held my baby up to show me a beautiful but silent girl with a full on pout and I fell in love as all the nurses ooo’d and ahhh’d over her. They recorded the time as 6 (it was technically 5:50). This feeling was momentarily followed by panic as I still hadn’t heard a cry. My husband and baby were gone that next instant. What felt like eons later I finally heard a single cry followed by louder crying. Relief. At that moment I said, “I’m going to throw up,” and proceeded to do so. The Indian woman magically procured a wand that she stuck in my mouth and sucked up all the throw up before I could choke on it. I guess I couldn’t hate her entirely now.
Sewing me up seemed to take forever, when really they had me out of the delivery room, into the OR, and my baby girl out in about 10 minutes. Finally my husband was back and sitting next to me with our baby girl (pic).
Zach told me that she cried and cried until he started talking to her; then she went quiet and just stared at him *cue my heart melting*. He also told me due to all of her gymnastics, our baby girl had gottten tangled up in the umbilical cord. The doctor said it was hanging over her shoulders and neck like a backpack on her (at this point I imagined Dora the explorer for some reason), and wrapped around both arms. This explained why she wasn’t dropping and why she was in distress. Gratitude washed over me and I thanked the Lord for the doctor’s insight and for us following it instead of trying to deliver vaginally. My husband had given me a blessing the week before that my doctor would be inspired and she was. It erased all my concerns about the scar and pain and recovery because al that mattered is that she was here, safe and healthy. We got to talk and look at her for a few more minutes and then they left while they finished up the sewing and whatever else with me. I was wheeled out to some area behind a curtain and left alone for what felt forever. I kept wondering where my baby and husband were and if they were ok. My sweet mother finally showed up and talked to me, then my husband, then finally a couple of nurses. I didn’t get to see my baby for another 2 hours, of which time I spent shaking and recovering and upset I couldn’t feed her or hold her close. It still feels like a dream. Our experience only got worse from there, as will be shown on my next post about our hospital stay and recovery coming ASAP!