I am going to do my best to not sound bitter through out this post. And the LAST thing I want is to scare any mommies to be.
I was blessed with an extremely amazing pregnancy. I never had morning sickness, and I felt incredible most of the pregnancy (right up until the end). I felt empowered and strong. I worked out until the last month and enjoyed every little hiccup, every little movement. If I never have another child, at least I can look back knowing that I did not for one second take for granted what was going on inside my body.
I spent countless hours researching natural child birth, how to create a calming environment for labor and birth, how to breastfeed, things I wanted and didn’t want to happen as soon as she was born, nipple confusion, what labor will feel like, how to breathe, when to walk. You name it I read it. I scowered the internet and put together the most beautiful and detailed birth plan. One I was proud of and one that left me with a sense of peace at how I was going to bring my little into the world. Well guess what…birth plan out the window! Not even a kiss goodbye!
Annaliese was making no moves to come out on her own and my body seemed to be just peachy with that. Except it wasn’t. I was in so much pain and experiencing “lightening crotch” (it’s just as bad as it sounds) and all really intense nerve pain. I wasn’t dilating past 2 cm BUT baby was in position. So that gave me some hope. Her due date came and went with no changes and my doctor started talking about induction…remember all the research I did? Yeah well I read about that too, and found enough horror stories to lead me to doing crazy things in attempt to put myself in labor. I was bouncing on my yoga ball every chance I got, I was taking Evening Primrose oil because someone had told me if helps to induce labor naturally, I was, despite not being able to see my feet for months and feeling like a beached whale, having sex. I walked everyday for miles. I went hiking with my husband, and even went as far as, I’m not kidding, climbing a light house. 400 stairs up, 400 stairs down, and every person I passed on the way freaking out that I might fall or go into labor. Little did they know I was desperate to make the latter happen.
Attempting to walk baby out.
Doctor appointment after doctor appointment I was told “just hang in there, it could happen tonight.” Or “it could happen this weekend, you never know.” But I knew better. I could see it in my doctor’s eyes that she didn’t have much hope for me. And every time I left an appointment I was feeling a little more hopeless, and a little more determined to make baby come on her own. All in vain of course…
To make matters worse, I dealt with false labor the entire last month and week of my pregnancy. It was an unending emotional roller coaster that never left me holding my first born in my arms. It would start up at least once a day. Contractions every 3 to 5 minutes for hours at a time. And then it would just stop. Just as quickly as it came, it went. And every time I was filled with joy and excitement that this might finally be it! It wasn’t.
To make matters worse, I dealt with false labor the entire last month and week of my pregnancy. It was an unending emotional roller coaster that never left me holding my
first born in my arms. It would start up at least once a day. Contractions every 3 to 5 minutes for hours at a time. And then it would just stop. Just as quickly as it came, it went. And every time I was filled with joy and excitement that this might finally be it! It wasn’t.
The night before my induction I’m standing in the dining room chatting with hubby and suddenly I’m wet. Hmm..didn’t feel like I peed?…called the doctor, and they told me to go in. OMG way to wait till the last minute little one. She is finally coming!
We get to the hospital and they check me. It wasn’t my water breaking. She kicked my bladder..”hey mom I’m still here just in case you forgot, and also I think I will stay a little longer. I’m quite comfy.” Conveniently enough I was having really strong and consistent contractions while I was at the hospital. I told them it was nothing and had been experiencing it for weeks. They made me stay and walk the halls for an hour anyway. All in vain of course…(seeing a pattern here?)
Induction day came and I spent the entire day walking around the house praying I would go into labor. Feeling more emotions that I care to ever feel again. I was mad. Mad that my body wasn’t doing what it was supposed to. I was sad. Sad knowing my carefully put together birth plan was pretty much useless at that point. I was scared. Scared to death something was going to go terribly wrong. Scared of a C- Section. Scared I might die. I couldn’t for the life of me push away that voice that kept telling me I would never meet her, or see my sweet husband ever again. But I was also hopeful. There was a tiny part of me that was hoping that the induction would go perfectly and I would have one of the few successful induction stories. I was excited. I knew that one thing was certain, I was going to have a baby. I was finally going to meet her! I tried to imagine how it was going to feel to have her placed on my chest and look into her eyes for the first time.
That evening in the hospital I was given what’s called Cervidil. It is inserted for 12 hours and releases medicine that is supposed to help soften the cervix and get it ready to have a baby. The plan was to then get the Pitocin when the Cervidil was done. After two short hours I was in full blown labor. They had to remove the Cervidil in hopes that it would slow things down. I was having contractions immediately following each other with no breaks, and let me tell you, they were off the charts strong. So naturally, I asked for an epidural.
And this is the point at which things really got worse. They asked my husband to leave the room while giving me the epidural. That alone caused me anxiety. I really didn’t want my husband more than arms length away from me. Luckily for me I had the most INCREDIBLE nurse a girl could ask for. She stayed right with me, talked me through it, and held my hand. They told me I would feel pressure as he felt for the right spot and then a pinch when the needle went in. WOW! Understatement of the year. That was worse then the labor pains…I had what felt like weight shoot down the right side of my body from my waist all the way to my toes. And when I cried, the anesthesiologist looked at my nurse and said “good luck with this one.”
Well it wasn’t long before it kicked in and let me tell you, I FELT NOTHING. It was the most wonderful thing in the world after all that intense pain. Everything continued on beautifully and at one point in the evening the nurse told me I would probably have my baby late that night or early the next morning. I was dilating, the baby was where she as supposed to be, and labor was progressing. I actually was able to sleep!
Well that night turned into the next day. Still no baby. Things started to slow down soooo in comes the Pitocin, and up comes the intense contractions. About half way through the day my doctor came in to break my water. She promised me this would speed things up. So, of course do whatever you need to do. There’s a doctor and three nurses at my feet. Thanks to the epidural I can’t feel a thing, but the doctor looks up at me…”Okay, so nothing to be alarmed about but there was some meconium in your sac. That means the baby had a bowel movement but we see it ALL the time with overdue babies. You will both be fine.” OKAY anytime a doctor says “nothing to be concerned about” you start being concerned. At least I did. I was completely freaked out. Here we are back to all that reading I did when I was pregnant…Yeah I knew exactly what could come of this situation. And it’s freaking dangerous.
But I didn’t have much time to be concerned. After breaking my water, they checked me again for dilation and told me the baby seemed to have moved away a little bit and we needed to lie me on my side to get her back to where she was supposed to be. Being that I couldn’t feel a thing they had to do it for me. Not 5 minutes after they moved me on to my side, I felt it. A pain in my side stronger than anything I had ever felt in my life. I remember looking at my husband telling him there was something really wrong. He called a nurse in and by that point I was lost in the pain. I couldn’t even see straight. I had no idea what was going on around me and I was praying for God to just let me die. The room was full of nurses, the doctor came in, no one could understand why I was in so much pain. I just remember everyone shuffling around the room asking me questions I couldn’t answer, putting an oxygen mask on my face. Everything was blurry I could only focus on the sound of my breathing in the oxygen mask. I must have been crying really loudly because I remember at one point a nurse asking if there were any other women who hadn’t yet had their babies close to my room. And finally my doctor looks at me and tells me they HAVE to redo the epidural. The anesthesiologist (yeah the one who was a jerk about me in front of me) put my freaking epidural in the WRONG place! I told my doctor no. My husband tried to explain to them that it hurt the first time. But they just weren’t understanding. So I finally said okay. What other option did I have? I was certain I was dying anyways. So a new guy came in and did the SECOND epidural. And guess what? It didn’t hurt at all. After what felt like forever the pain subsided and all was calm. The doctor came back in a little later and told me I needed to rest for a while and to try and get some sleep. I didn’t sleep. I was too scared. This was so far from being over.
When she came back a few hours later and checked me again, she said we needed to try again to get the baby back in the right place. She still hadn’t moved back and the doctor was having a hard time finding her. So they rolled me over and HELLOO the pain was back. Called the anesthesiologist. He checked my epidural and it was fine so he gave me some more pain killers straight into my IV. After that I REFUSED to lie on my side anymore. Exhausted, hopeless, and scared. The doctor suggested a C Section. She said I had been through so much already and if and when the baby came, I was still going to have to push. But then I started feeling something new. Pressure. I called in the nurse and told her what was happening. They said that was what I was supposed to be feeling so they let me go a while longer but each time they checked me I was still at 7 cm. Which never did change. Finally the pain I was feeling was too much. It had been 24 hours since we started on this journey and I could go no further. With so much reserve and remorse, I called it. I told my doctor I could no longer endure it.
An hour later they were getting me on to a bed to take me to the O.R. I had to go without my husband. Which as I said before I was not a big fan of. He was coming with, just not right away. They had to get me fully prepped before he could come in. We had a minute alone before they whisked me away and I looked at my husband and begged him to take good care of our little girl if something happened to me.
Once in the O.R. they put a sheet in front of me and some meds in my IV again. Told me they were going to poke me and to let them know if I could feel anything. I couldn’t. So my husband got to come in and he sat down next to me. Never once letting go of my hand. The anesthesiologist stayed with me too. He held my other hand. It took what felt like forever and I felt every tug. You can’t feel any pain when you’re having a C Section, but you can feel them pushing and pulling and tugging on you. It is so scary. I was getting jerked around A LOT. And of course to make matters worse, I was shaking uncontrollably and throwing up the entire time. Not my finest moment. I kept asking the anesthesiologist if it was almost done, if they almost had the baby out. And then finally one more really big tug, a weight lifted…and…a scream. Finally for the first time, I heard my daughters voice. Knowing that she could possibly be in danger, I kept asking over and over if she was okay. They said she was great! Perfect and pink and breathing. But because of the in utero bowel movement, she wasn’t placed on my chest. In fact, I wasn’t even able to hold her. They brought her over to me, screaming bloody murder (after they checked her airway and cleaned her up), and I had never in my life seen something so perfect. The world seemed to stop moving. I told her it was all going to be okay, and the second she heard my voice she went silent. It was the most beautiful moment I had ever experienced.
They took my husband and my daughter back to my room while they cleaned me up and stitched me up. It took almost an hour. It was almost an hour before I was finally able to hold my baby for the first time.
Now to say that I was in bad shape after all this is absolutely an understatement. But I had no idea just how bad of shape. One of the nurses came to me and told me that my iron levels were dangerously low. I made an attempt at arguing that I felt fine, I really thought I did, but the way my husband looked at me I realized maybe I was wrong. She told me I would need a blood transfusion.
Two bags of someone else’s blood was pumped into my body. Whoa. I was so panicked. I couldn’t figure out how the heck to politely ask if it was safe or if I was going to end up with some crazy disease. I had never experienced anything like this before. Needless to say it was perfectly clean, but I had no idea. And surprise surprise I really DID need it. About halfway through the first bag the fog lifted from my head. I really didn’t have any idea how bad off I really had been. I later found myself being very grateful for whoever that stranger was who donated their blood.
Ok, so remember how much pain I was in right before I called it? Turns out my little princess had turned herself completely around after they broke my water. She was breech when they pulled her out and that was what was causing the immense pain. My doctor told me later that I definitely made the right call. Not that that really made me feel much better. But despite everything it could have been much worse. Now that’s a scary thought.
My stay at the hospital was a bit more extended than most. And I was watched very closely that night and into the next day. I spent my first few days as a mother stricken with guilt. I was completely unable to change any diapers, and when she was hungry, I was only able to hold her long enough to nurse her. I had to give her back to my husband immediately after, it hurt too bad to hold her. To this day I have no idea what those first poops that everyone talks about look like. Recovery was nearly unbearable, and I wouldn’t wish what I went through on anyone. It took two nurses to get me to the bathroom after the C Section and I felt as though my insides might spill out all over the floor. I couldn’t even stand upright.
To this day I still struggle with what happened. I’ve very strongly considered never having another child despite my husbands love for kids. I still mourn the loss of that perfectly detailed birth plan. I am still slightly bitter that I was unable to hold my daughter for long after she was born, and after all I went through my husband got to hold her first. And it wasn’t something we got to experience together. It THE farthest thing from the cute arrival of a new life into the arms her parents. The three of us weren’t even together for the first hour of her life. I wasn’t able to wrap my head around the fact that I was a mother, or really enjoy her until we got home and I started feeling a little better. And for that I also feel guilty. In my head I know there was nothing more I could have done, and this was all out of my hands. I know that I shouldn’t feel bad for any of it. But the head and the heart are not one in the same. I hope that one day I can open my mind and my heart to the idea of another child. But for now we continue on enjoying every little giggle, every little squeal, and every milestone met. I would do all over again for that little girl. And I am so proud to be her mommy.