This post is only fitting, since I am now the proud mama to a 3-year-old.
I honestly never thought I’d do this, but I think it’s a must. I want to get back into talking about my personal birth choices and feel it’s only fair to tell you where I’m coming from. Emma’s birth doesn’t seem that traumatic when I really think about it, unless you ask Josh or my dad, but it will show you why I’m doing what I’m doing (i.e. going crunchy).
Fortunately I have no horror stories to tell of during the pregnancy. It was smooth sailing and the only way I knew I was pregnant was that my belly was protruding out. I know not everyone is that lucky, and this pregnancy hasn’t totally been a walk in the park, but yes, I was blessed. Maybe that easiness gave way to being naïve about the labor and delivery part. My OB knew I had intended to not use any drugs and she seemed to assure me that all could go as ‘planned.’ Apparently that didn’t work.
Emma’s ‘due date’ was to be July 19, 2010. My OB allowed me to go a week ‘late,’ and had scheduled me for an induction that following week if I wasn’t progressing. Come Friday night (before the Monday induction), we decided to take matters into our own hands. I tried several of the natural methods I could find: pineapple, eggplant parmesan, spicy food, pedicure massage, walking, and sex. I even had a bottle of castor oil in my gripes but couldn’t bring myself to take any–for those that don’t know, it can cause diarrhea. No thanks.
I’m not sure which one worked, but when we went to bed at 2am, I started having contractions. Being a first time mama, we got all excited and called the doctor’s office right away after having the appropriately timed contractions. They told us to go ahead and come in, so we woke up my parent’s saying ‘It’s time,’ and got the cars loaded up. We drove leisurely to the hospital and once we got there, they got us checked in and started checking on me and baby (remember, we didn’t find out the gender until she arrived).
It’s been a blur since it was three years ago, but I know they gave me cervix ripening gel and Pitocin at one point, since I wasn’t progressing fast enough (for them). My ‘birth plan’ was to go au natural i.e. no epidural, and that was going well for some time. After about 10 hours and squeezing Josh and my dad’s hands to death, the nurse came to check me. I could tell when she went to see how far dilated I was, that my bag of waters was about to break. Guess what? It broke, or should I say, she broke it.
That’s when the craziness ensued. The nurse and on-call doctor could feel Emma’s forehead trying to come through (face presentation) instead of the top of her head. They said that she could break her neck with her current position. The doctor informed us the we could proceed with the regular birth, but recommended proceeding with a c-section. Josh and I talked about it and decided it would be best to go with the c-section to avoid any further stress on the baby as there was a change in her heart rate. I know I was traumatized–this was not the ‘plan,’ BUT we had to get her out safely.
They wheeled me into the OR, made me hunch over to get the epidural, and all I remember thinking, was this was NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN THIS WAY! I couldn’t stop shaking during the whole surgery. And where the hell was Josh??? They told him to get suited up and they would come back for him. They didn’t. He was waiting there nervously for what seemed like forever, he said. It was maybe 5 minutes and he was finally by my side. All I remember was shaking from the epidural and feeling cold. They also strapped my arms down and I felt like I was in a crucified position. A nurse was nice enough to talk in my ear, telling it was all right, but I couldn’t believe her.
Sadly, all I could think about was me. How cold I was, how much I was shivering, and how I hated having that epidural in me. But like it or not, Emma Lynn came into this world at 1:09 pm on July 24th. I was the proud mama to a beautiful baby girl!
Even when Josh went out to tell the family it was a girl, he had a very serious face, according to my dad. Josh doesn’t show emotion much which is no surprise to me 11 years later. And after what he went through emotionally and physically, that’s all the man who was scared for the life of his wife and child could muster. I don’t blame him one single bit.
I do remember that while they were checking Emma (a name we finally decided as they were wheeling me into the OR), they had pulled the sheet away and I saw someone’s knees sticking out. There were no way they were mine, since I envisioned I was in the crucified position and couldn’t feel anything from the waist down, but apparently they were. Josh later informed me that someone had to get on the table and help push my placenta out–maybe that’s common in C-sections, who knows.
Here’s the only family photo we have thanks to Josh smuggling in the camcorder.
But after getting back to our room, and holding my baby girl, that’s when reality set in. Here I was, unable to walk, pee on my own, or change her diaper for 24 hours. I’ll admit, it was kind of nice not having to get up to pee (catheter) nor change diapers (Josh was on duty), but after the epidural wore off and was told I needed to get up and walk, that’s when it got fun.
This was my very first surgery and I had no idea what to expect. Maybe I’m a bit overdramatic, but getting up to walk was brutal. Then they tell you to go to the bathroom, and eventually take a shower. So, along with Emma having latching issues, here I am expected to function like a human being while trying to be a new mama. All in all, we stayed 6 days in the hospital. I wanted to take advantage of all the lactation help I could get. We still didn’t have it figured out by the time we left, but we went 18 months strong with our nursing relationship…so it wasn’t a total bust.
A few things I’ve learned since that time:
- My dad went and cried in the bathroom when he found out Emma had to be cut out of his baby girl (me).
- I’ve never seen that much emotion in Josh in my life (tears).
- I wish I had a doula or knew now what I didn’t know then: laboring at home for as long as possible, not laying on my back while trying to labor, not getting checked (cm) every five seconds,
- To try a home birth and not be scared by it-especially if you don’t want pain meds.
I know I can’t go back, but this is what I’ve dealt with for the past 3 years. Hopefully this coming birth will force me to actually get over it and let go, because without it, I’d probably be doing another hospital birth where I would likely have to get cut again.
Even after everything that happened, my OB actually said I could have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) should we have another child. Well, along with all my crunchy choices for Emma, I never in my wildest would have considered a midwife let alone a home (water) birth, but alas, that is happening.
I’m not trying to scare you new or pregnant mamas, but this was my experience and I want to get it out there. I constantly tell mamas that sometimes the birth plan is no plan-so they hopefully won’t get as upset as I did. You can always play the game of shoulda, woulda, coulda, but it won’t change things. I guess if it all hadn’t played out this way, this blog might never exist and I wouldn’t be as strict as I am with they way we eat and products we use.
The two loves of my life!
I know everything happens for a reason and that I have a beautiful little girl who has changed my world for the better. Would I go back if I could? Sure. But then I wouldn’t be where I am doing my second pregnancy totally different (kind of like a do-over). My plan is to let you in on all the ‘changes’ I’m doing this go ’round: midwife, home (water) birth, placenta encapsulation, delayed cord clamping, chiropractic care, etc. I hope to post on all those topics before baby comes, so you too will know what else is out there.