I have really been enjoying the birth stories of fellow mom-bloggers recently. I love hearing how all of these beautiful babies have made their way into the world and sharing my birth story with other moms. I've always been a sucker for all things birth and pregnancy related, from A Baby Story to 16 and Pregnant, I didn't know I was pregnant and any show were a star is pregnant, I'm instantly addicted. I've had the last four months to think about the birth story of my own daughter, so here are the afterthoughts of my birth story.
When I woke up on January 22nd I didn't feel any different, I was actually going to go into work for a little bit because I was sick of sitting around the house for the last two days waiting for the baby to come. When I got out of bed and had the feeling that my water had broken (turns out it was the bloddy show, but I had no idea since there was a huge gush of blood and fluid), I was suddenly in this dream like state, things were finally happening and I was flooded with emotions. Once we got to the hospital I knew things were a lot different than my false alarm the week before. I figured it would be a long day, I knew there would be pain, I knew I might act like a crazy person and I knew I had an amazing support system to get me through the day.
Labor was not at all what I expected. I'm not really sure what I was expecting to be honest, other than a lot of pain and discomfort. It was uncomfortable, but at the beginning it wasn't totally unbearable. I was in a triage room for the first 8 hours of the day because the labor unit was full. The bed was horrible, there was not TV (thank god we were able to get on the hospital wifi and play on our tablets), I wasn't allowed to eat and someone different was always checking on me. They let me walk when I was in there and monitored me on and off, which was just what I wanted. I was pretty calm, which isn't like me in situations where pain is involved. I'm a very dramatic person and I figured my labor and delivery would be dramatic. It was as if something came over me and I knew it wasn't worth it to get bent out of shape.
I had read so many books, read so many birth stories and I thought I was this vast place of knowledge for all things birth related. I talked to my mother in law a million times about the birth of all three of her children, all of which were natural and one where the labor lasted nearly two days. I thought I knew exactly how my body would work, I knew all the stages of labor, in my mind nothing could go wrong.
I didn't want pitocin and I certainly didn't want the epidural, this I knew, but I ended up with both. When I was finally taken back to the delivery room I was told that I was 4, almost 5cm dialated and that they wanted to break my water My contractions would not stay regular and the labor was not progressing. I wished at that point I would have labored at home instead of rushing to the hospital; I questioned every decisions I made that day. I felt like a failure. Once they broke my water and started the pitocin, I was in a lot of pain and having terrible back labor. I got the epidural. Slowly more of the things I wanted started to slip through my fingers.
The scariest moment of the day was around 11pm, my nurse (who was amazing and made me feel so wonderful and loved), went to check me and the baby. Suddenly the baby's heart rate dropped and people were rushing into the room, Andrew was shoved off into a corner, people were shoving there hands inside of me, flipping my body around, acting frantic, strapping an oxygen mask to my face and working hard to get my sweet little girls heart rate back to normal. I tried to listen to what everyone was saying, the only words I remember hearing were "emergency c-section" but finally by some miracle the baby's heart rate went back to normal. I now had two internal monitors, a scalp monitor on the baby for her heart rate and an internal contraction monitor for me.
When it was time to push around 12:00am and my epidural was wearing off I figured that I would finally get to feel something and be in control of something. The on call midwife arrived after my second or third push and was another amazing support. My mom and Andrew had a hold of my legs and I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was having a contraction every 1-2 minutes and would push and rest, they would put the oxygen mask on to help me recover faster. After nearly two hours of pushing, it seemed like nothing was happening and I was right; nothing was happening. The OB from the office arrived around that time, she was the one who had performed all of my ultrasounds when I was pregnant so I was glad to see her familiar face. She wanted to watch me push before deciding her plan of action, one push and she knew I wasn't going to get Jeanette out on my own. There was a discussion about using the forceps or a vacuum but the baby wasn't far enough into the birth canal for either to work. Her heart rate kept dropping too and it wasn't as easy to get her to recover. It was time for a c-section....I was completely devastated but at the time didn't even have a moment to process my feelings.
At 4:24am on January 23rd, Jeanette was born. They figured out that her heart rate was dropping constantly because the cord was wrapped around her feet. She had also swallowed some of the miconium and wasn't breathing too well (my bag of waters was not clear so I knew this might happen). I had no idea what was going on and the anesthesiologist kept reassuring me things were okay while Andrew watched them work on her lungs on the other side of the room. They brought the baby over and placed her in Andrew's arms, mine were still strapped to the table and I couldn't even touch her, it broke my heart into a million pieces, but I was so exhausted that I couldn't even cry. Andrew brought her up to my face so I could at least kiss her sweet little cheeks. We decided to name her Jeanette Mae and they took her up to the nursery for some further observation while they finished me up and took me to recovery. I didn't get to hold her until 8am, we didn't have any skin to skin contact till around 10am when my mom went home.
I was so exhausted that I didn't even get to try to breastfeed her right away, nothing was in my control anymore. I couldn't get out of bed, I slept most of the afternoon instead of spending time with my baby, but I had been awake for over 24 hours so there wasn't much else I could do. I had a catheter, I didn't change a single diaper till my baby was almost two days old. Breastfeeding was a nightmare too, she wouldn't latch and by 3am on January 24th I had to give her a bottle. I cried so hard I could hardly breathe. When the lactation consultant came later that morning, we finally got her to latch with the help of a sheild and I finally started to feel like less of a failure.
Looking back I wonder what I could have done differently. I question every single decision I made that day from when I went to the hospital, to getting the epidural, did I create all the problems I had that day? In the end did it really matter, since my daughter made it into the world healthy? I'm not sure at this point if we will have more children, it's still up for debate but now I have the whole idea of VBAC to consider. I've been needing to get all of these emotions out, I've still been journaling since Jeanette was born and this has been a lot for me to process.
I want to thank all of you who have been following along and I want to thank the other mom's who's stories I have been following for years for being a great source of inspiration for me.