Margaret Anne's Birth Story
I am not really sure what I expected. Well, I guess I expected pain...lots of it, duh! We had gone to the birthing classes and seen the women screaming and cursing, but I guess I was lacking expectations, because I just couldn't imagine being in that much pain. I couldn't imagine crying, grunting, ripping of my clothes, losing all inhibition and sanity, because the pain was that unbearable. In my life I have been fortunate to have never been touched by real physical pain. Maybe a couple of bumps and bruises here and there, but no broken limbs, no surgeries or any other medical intervention that would result in "real" pain. I knew that I wasn't prepared. And that terrified me to the core.
What if I just couldn't handle it? What if they told me that I just had to push and I would meet my child, and I didn't have it in me? What if I looked like a complete idiot because I was crying and screaming and they told me that these weren't the "real" contractions, and that I better brace myself for what was going to come? What if I passed out?
And then I'm not going to lie, I worried about the fact that some women don't make it through labor. Although in this day and age it is very rare, but some women do actually die. This worry was slight, but still present.
My largest source of anxiety was the health of my child. I just wanted a safe delivery, that in the end would place her in my arms without any complications. I had frequent nightmares of the final push and her being whisked away for whatever reason. I couldn't imagine coming home without my child, seeing the empty nursery and the overwhelming grief.
So you see I didn't have any expectations, just a lot of worries that cluttered my mind. For the most part I don't allow myself the happy fantasies because if anything, I hate having them crushed. True physical pain I had not experienced, but dreams dashed....well that's a whole 'nother story.
July 12th, 39 weeks:
What little patience I had was wearing thin. It was HOT! Super hot, one of the hottest summers on record...of course! I had taken my vacation to rest the week before my due date, but I was so uncomfortable. I couldn't sleep, I was super swollen and the heartburn was out of control.
I went to my weekly appointment and asked the midwife if there would be the chance of induction, soon. She said that I was 1cm dilated and 30% effaced, so at my next appointment, July 19th, my due date, we would check my progress and probably discuss induction for later that week. I called everyone to relay the good news, we joked about how great the date would be ("The 22nd??? Well you're born on the second, Brian was born in February, and Tami's (my sister) bday is the 22nd, so it's a good sign!) and relief washed over me. No more guessing, no more wondering, the date was practically set. Hello light, I see you at the end of this tunnel.
July 19th, 40 weeks:
My due date, D day. Not that "D" day that I had envisioned months before, where I went into labor, but instead the decision day where we would plan how to encourage this little one to join the outside. For this reason I was pretty psyched, and also I would be seeing the midwife that I had started out with. She was my original midwife, who initially confirmed the good news that I was pregnant and then because of scheduling issues, I practically hadn't seen until this day. I was pumped because I had really hoped that she would be the one to deliver Maggie and I thought this was a good sign. So she examined me and the news was the same as last week. Unfazed, I asked her about my original plan with the other midwife, to possibly induce later this week. "Sarah, I don't want to set you up for a C-Section (hahahahaha), you aren't progressed far enough to discuss induction. You have a beautiful pelvis (HAHAHAHAHA) for giving birth. We normally don't start talking about induction until you are 41 weeks."
I sputtered, ".......well we weren't talking about today, we had said maybe later this week.......".
"Well if you want to have another appointment this week we can see if you have progressed and assess the situation then. I just don't think it's a good idea now."
"Ok", I relented.
Do I have to tell you that I was crushed? Didn't think so. I sobbed all the way home.
July 22nd, 40 weeks 3 days;
Nope, not the day I was induced, just another crummy Dr's appointment. Another exam where I braced myself for the news that I still hadn't progressed and we would just have to wait to see.
"Well look at that, you're 2-3cm dilated and about 60% effaced. I told you that we should wait. Aren't you glad that we waited?? Now I still think we should give it the weekend. I think you will go this weekend, but we can schedule an induction for Monday, just in case, but you're going to go this weekend!" the midwife gushed.
"Schedule the induction." I barked.
July 26th, 41 weeks:
Yep, absolutely nothing happened over the weekend, still uber preggo. For all of my talk about wanting it to happen, the morning of the induction I decided that I wasn't really cut of for this and I just wasn't going to do it. Nope, this baby would just have to find some way to grow and flourish in my belly, because it just wasn't happening. Hubs enticed me out of the house with promises of Chinese food and afterwards I somehow ended up at the hospital.
The plan was for my midwife to administer Cervadil that evening, and then Pitocin the next morning and I would have a baby Tuesday afternoon or evening. Brian would stay with me for awhile that evening and then go home and rest up for the big show, the next day.
Around 5pm, I was examined and I was at 2cm, they Cervadiled me up and Brian left at 7.
I started feeling some pain. I shrugged it off. I had to go to the bathroom. I got up, unhooked my leads, went to the bathroom, nothing happened, hooked myself back up, got back in bed. More pain. Bathroom? Unhook, sit, nothing, hook back up, lay down. Ok, maybe I should stop shrugging now? My mom called. I told her I was having a little pain. As we talked it got worse. "I'm sure I'm just being a wimp." "Sarah, call the nurse, let them tell you that it is nothing."
Nurse: "What's going on?" "I'm feeling some pain. Maybe I'm just being a baby." "Oh well, sometimes the Cervadil can make you have some mild contractions. Let me take a look at the printout. Oh...well you are having some contractions." "ummm....my husband just left for the night and we live an hour away from the hospital, should I call him to come back?" "Oh no you should be good. But if you want we can give it an hour and then we will see where you are. Here do you want to try sitting on a birthing ball?" "Ok, I'll try it." BEST INVENTION EVER!!!!
5 minutes later...."Nurse?" She looks at the monitor, "Oh...wow how are you feeling?"
"Ok breathe, you're doing great." Finally, got my breath back, "Should I call my husband now?" "Let's check you" I get in the bed and laying down with the pain, I thought I would pass out. I held onto the bed rails with everything I had. "Ok....you're about 5-6 centimeters. Time to call your husband."
He doesn't answer. Second call, "Brian, I think you have to come back. I think this is it." "What's going on?" "I started having contractions and I'm 5-6 cm dilated." "I'm on my way."
Every contraction ripped through my body with monster truck force. I don't know why the birthing ball worked, but it did and I wouldn't get off the thing for a million bucks. Unfortunately I had to get in the bed to be examined and the pain seem to increase tenfold. Brian made it in little under an hour and we waited for the epidural.
I had known I wanted an epidural since day one. My choice. I do admire women who can go au naturel, I just know that I am not one of them. So when they offered, I jumped at it. Now we just had to wait for the man with the drugs.
Finally he came and I think that was the hardest part up to that point. Trying to sit still and curve my back, was really difficult. Somehow I managed and the drugs kicked in. They broke my water and I was told to relax and sleep because they were going to let me "labor down" for awhile and check me over time for progress. Brian slept, uncomfortably on a pull out chair, but he slept. I on the other hand, started shaking...slightly convulsing, the minute the epidural kicked in and it didn't let up, so no sleep for me.
All through the night, they checked me. At one point I was 8cm. At one point I needed oxygen. At one point they didn't like the baby's heartbeat on the monitor (the monitor just needed to be adjusted on my tummy). At one point I felt the urge to push. They checked me again and I was 9cm and there was just a little bit of cervix left. The nurse thought that maybe I could just push through it. So we started to push. Brian held one leg, and I pushed. I couldn't really feel that much, but I pushed with all my might. The midwife joined us, she checked me, and told me to stop pushing. I still had a "lip" of cervix left and she didn't think it was a good idea to push. I should stop pushing for now and see if I progressed to the full 10cm before we did anything else.
But the urge did not die down. It got more and more intense. Time passed and finally I begged Brian to call the nurse back in. She checked me again. "The lip is still there and you are still at 9cm". I stayed at 9cm for the next couple of hours. The midwife checked again. The nurse checked again. "No progression. Also, you're pelvis ridge goes down instead of up (they said something like this, I don't remember the exact words, too much pain) and most babies can wiggle through, but she is getting stuck (might have something to do with her MASSIVE noggin). We may have to think about a c-section."
At this point what little relief the epidural had provided, had completely worn off. I FELT EVERYTHING. It was horrible. I wanted to push so bad, but the doctors and nurses wouldn't let me. Finally when everyone was out of the room, I grabbed Brian and begged him to tell them that I was ready for the c-section. Just as I said that, some monitors started going off and nurses and doctors rushed in saying that we had to get the baby out and do the c-section.
Brian went out and called everyone, while they administered more epidural. If I hadn't been in excruciating pain, it would have been funny, but their method for determining whether I was numb or not was using a plastic glove filled with cold water. Very high tech....LOL. It took quite a couple doses of the epidural before I couldn't feel the silly cold glove and once the epidural set in, the shakes set in again. Brian got suited up in his gear and we were off.
We made it to the OR and I had the nicest nurse at my head watching over me the whole time. Almost immediately when they laid me flat, I felt like I was suffocating and also my mouth was so dry, since I hadn't had anything to drink in over 8 hours. It was pretty stressful, but after a couple of minutes, they had her out and they lifted her over the curtain for me to see.
I caught a glimpse of her and I worried because I couldn't hear her, but after a brief moment, she let out a high pitched wail, and it was honestly the most beautiful sound I have ever heard.
After that they whisked her off to the nursery and began stitching me up. At that point I began to feel a sharp pain in my shoulder and told the nurse. She explained that sometimes air bubbles can be released during surgery and travel through the body. The pain was almost as bad as the contractions from earlier.
When I was finally put back together, they took me to recovery and by that time I was in a lot of pain from the air bubble in my shoulder and the shakes from the epidural. I really couldn't take it all, so they knocked me out with some morphine. I didn't ask for it, but it really did help. I fell asleep for an hour and woke up feeling refreshed and energized. But above all, I was so excited to see my little girl. They took me to my new room and then they brought her in from the nursery.
What else can I say? From the moment they placed her in my arms, all the pain and anxiety melted away, and for lack of better words....it was magnificent.