I am so happy to share yet another beautiful birthstory with you. Samantha and Simon’s story is one that I’m sure many of you can relate to, learn from and enjoy all at the same time. Enjoy!
I was fully prepared for the natural birth experience. Throughout my pregnancy I had an extremely supportive midwife, I took the Bradley birth classes, I read the books and I had done my research. It seemed like the more pregnant I looked the more my peers try to scare me. “You’ll change your mind once you start having contractions” or “You’re crazy! Just take the epidural!” were a regular chorus, but I did not care. Pain was never as bad as people made it out to be. Four weeks before my due date things started to change and I was secretly losing confidence. My midwife left the practice suddenly and my new doctors seemed to be seeing problems at every appointment. My blood pressure was on the rise and they were “uncomfortable” with my weight gain. My birth class teacher recommended that I hire a doula (Coretta) to maintain some consistency and take back some control over my pregnancy. The last three weeks I spent trying not to feel panic at my now twice a week appointments. The last week before my due date they ordered an ultrasound. From the results, both of the midwives and the OBGYNs connected to the practice strongly recommended that I be induced the next day. This was not a part of the plan. I cried. I fought. I knew that inductions led to more interventions and were often times more painful. I felt like they weren’t giving me much choice. Waiting was dangerous, and could result in a C Section. Did I really want to put my baby at risk? They had his best interest at heart after all. The final decision came down to trust. If I didn’t trust them with this decision how could I trust them to deliver my baby? Or what if I wait and they are right and my blood pressure is too high for labor? My baby was healthy now, but with the way things were going it could change at any moment. Being a mom is about tough decisions and things not going exactly as planned.
It was raining the whole day as I waited for my husband to get home from work. An auspicious start indeed. I unpacked and repacked my bag a dozen times. When I got to the hospital I spoke to the doctor who was inducing me and requested that she not give me Pitocin. Instead, she swept my membranes and gave me Cervadil. 6 hours later contractions had started. Just as I suspected, it was painful, but not as bad as everyone made them out to be. Still I needed relief so I stepped into the shower. I could have lived under that hot water. The contractions were getting more intense. It was time to call Coretta and have her come to the hospital before it was too late. I dried off and put my nightgown back on, but something was off. Two minutes after I got dressed I was wet again. Did my water just break? I thought for sure it would be more obvious and dramatic than this.
I called a nurse who insisted I must have wet myself, but she called my midwife to check anyway. She confirmed that it must have broken in the shower. There was no more denying it. I was in labor! They removed the Cervidil and things seemed to take off from there. The baby seemed to have some negative response to my contractions. His heart rate kept on dipping. This led to the first intervention an internal monitor for the baby. At first I rejected it (as I did with each intervention), but they insisted giving me a variety of reasons of why it was necessary. I allowed them to do it because I was unsure myself. I wanted to get back into the shower, but I couldn’t because of my new internal monitor. (Joy!) The next few hours were a blur. I was really getting into the work of labor, but the concerns of my midwife and nurses were rising. Next was the IV. Then it was the oxygen mask. Finally, they wanted to do something that I hadn’t even heard of an amniocentesis. It was meant to add water to relieve pressure on the baby. My water broke 5 hours ago and the baby’s heart rate was still dipping. If I fought the induction and the internal monitor I REALLY fought this one. I did not know what it was and they were trying to explain it to me amid contractions that were getting longer and closer together. I was trying to focus in a seemingly impossible situation. I felt like I was losing something. Finally, my midwife said, “I can’t force you to do this, but if you were my sister I would insist that this was done. “ She told me it was my last chance to avoid a C-Section. Something in her voice let me know that there was something going on that they weren’t telling me. An hour later I was 7 cm dilated and it finally came down to it C-Section. I was upset, exhausted, and once again I felt like I wasn’t given any choice. If they didn’t feel like they could deliver this baby then I didn’t want them to. I signed the damned consent form. Everyone seemed so worried now. When they tried to give me a catheter a short time later I was 9.5cm dilated! Everyone was getting ready to cut me open, but my midwife told me to push with the next contraction and that it might open me up the rest of the way. An OBGYN was on her way from home to perform a C-Section so I essentially had about 5 minutes to get this done. I pushed exactly three times. On the last push I hear real panic “Why is she pushing? Get her into the OR!” Parts of me felt like I was off the hook and this terrible ordeal was over; the rest of me felt like I had failed. A friend’s mother was attending my surgery and held my hand while I waited for my husband.
That was 8:50 am. At 9:01 my baby boy was finally born. It wasn’t the way I wanted nor was it how I expected it to be, but he was here! He needed oxygen, but he was perfectly healthy otherwise. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Even with all the pain and fear that went along with my emergency C-Section I had a beautiful baby boy. An hour later I was holding him in my arms. Coretta helped me get started breastfeeding. I knew then that they were all right about the first skin to skin contact and falling in love! There will be plenty of time to grapple with the decisions made that led to my C-Section (if I didn’t get induced would it have ended up that way?), but in that moment (and many more moments after) it did not even matter.Samantha