I have struggled to write this post for the last 20 days. It has been written and re-written several times in my head (and even a few times actually on WordPress). My problem is that even though I am thrilled to have my Baby G finally home with me, on the outside and safe from the dangers of the womb of doom, my birth experience was, frankly, pretty shitty. I am still grieving the loss of the experience we hoped for, because let’s face it, chances are good this is the only birth I’ll experience. It is what it is, and the end result is a healthy baby so ultimately it doesn’t matter how he came to be here. But… it kind of matters and I feel a little selfish for feeling that way. So, what did happen?
On Friday 8/27 I went in for an NST and prenatal appt. My blood pressure was up, my feet were so swollen I couldn’t bend my ankles and I felt like shit. I had a couple of contractions during the NST and the cervix was improving in favor-ability, and Baby G was still doing well so DW declared game over and said it was finally time to induce. G and I went out to lunch and I came back to the hospital to finally have my baby.
This would be the point where things started heading down hill. First, I was put on continuous monitoring. Meaning, I spent all but a small amount of time strapped flat on my back to the bed. I labored for 24 hours before the c-section was ordered (spoiler alert… I ended up having a c-section). 24 hours strapped to a delivery bed. Of course, I had been hoping for being able to walk, shower/use hydro-therapy for pain. I had been planning on playing games with G and watching movies and walking the halls and taking long showers. Instead… I was on a clear liquid diet, strapped to a bed and had to call someone every time I needed to pee. This was disappointing, but would be worth it!
DW used cytotek to ripen my cervix with plans to start pitocin in the morning if active labor didn’t start on its own. At this point I was still hoping for some amount of natural experience. I was still hoping that by pushing time I’d be able to try different positions and that maybe if we didn’t have to break my water or start pitocin I’d be able to do it without the epidural.
So, the cytotek was placed somewhere near my throat via my vagina and we waited. And waited. And bloody fucking waited some more. Strapped on my back. For six hours. Except when I got up to pee. Holding the baby’s monitor in place half the time, because he kept falling off. Then the second dose was placed (why they needed to go through my vagina to reach a nostril is beyond me), and I was checked… 2cm. FUCK! Then I spent two more hours strapped on my back, holding the monitor in place, waiting.
Then two things happened… my mom showed up (although I had asked for no visitors, but I’m glad she did) and the nurses changed shifts. This was awesome because the new nurse took pity on me and let me out of bed for an hour! A whole hour! So, I walked the halls with mother and dropped a deuce (let’s face it, we know those pooping rumors are true so why not try to empty the track anyway…). Then I was strapped back down, for the foreseeable future, but at least this time I had Ambien. This meant I could sleep, but I couldn’t hold the monitor in place. So, the nurse came in a lot to adjust the monitors. This nurse was kickass awesome, by the way.
At some point in the night something changed. I went from having fairly irregular, light contractions to having very regular contractions. They seemed very close together, but I wasn’t really timing them myself, because I had monitors to do that shit for me. They also seemed kind of strong, but, aren’t they supposed to be strong? I was finally in active labor. No pitocin! A break! I was having contractions that peaked at 50-60 on the monitors every 2-3 minutes. I was 4-5cm dilated. (Apparently this meant that my uterus and my cervix were not communicating on schedule and timing. But, no one told me this.) My super awesome nurse let me off of the monitors for 30 minutes to stand under the shower for pain management. It was helpful. I probably could have done it on my own if I could have been allowed to use the shower/tub.
When the morning nurse came in she reviewed my tapes and said she was calling DW. While we were waiting for him I got shaky and threw up. Yup, transition was upon us! My contractions started creeping up into the 80’s and getting a bit jagged. The baby was coming! The baby was falling off of the monitors… I couldn’t find him and hold it in place all of the time anymore… My water was still in tact. Not to worry! DW wanted to place an internal monitor on Baby G’s head. So, he broke my water and placed it. My next contraction was off the chart. Literally, the tape measures pressure from 0-100, the monitor was recording the peak at 115. It fucking hurt. Don’t get me wrong, the 50’s and 80’s weren’t comfy and the 80’s hurt. I was using my Hypno-birthing coping techniques for those. I was OK, but in pain before he broke my water. After he broke my water IT FUCKING HURT. Bad.
Apparently the Hypno-birthing was working though because the nurse was astounded that I wasn’t screaming or asking for pain med’s. But, I think she saw the writing on the wall, because after a 120 she sat down next to me and said “These are going to get worse. He is going to start pitocin soon because the baby is moving down fast and you’re only 7cm. If you think you MIGHT want an epidural let’s go ahead and get it placed now (they don’t have to put any medicine in it), because you don’t want to get to the point where you NEED it and you have to wait on anesthesia.” So, I caved and let them place the line.
20 minutes later my contractions were peaking in the 130’s and I had no rest in between. None. One stopped, the next one started. Long ones. I remember one was 2 minutes. So, I told her to put the med’s in the epi line. I couldn’t take that much pain for that long with no break in between. FYI… I was promised a break in childbirth classes. The relief took about 5 contractions to set in. But, I still had pain on the left side. No matter, it was 75% less pain overall, and I could deal with that! We were back on tra… baby’s heartbeat 90. SHIT!!!!!
The nurse called DW, then she had me change positions. His heartbeat came back up. Whew!
Baby’s heartbeat 68…
Change position, back up. Where is DW?!?!?
Baby’s heartbeat 87…
Change position… change again… change again… DW is here.
The baby is in distress. We need to get him out.
So, he checks me. 8cm. 8cm. After all of that hard ass fucking labor. (I only had about an hour of epi, the rest was all me.) Also, baby’s head is down. Baby is trying to squeeze through, but cervix ain’t budging. DW tries to open things himself. DW let’s me push, which does nothing.
DW says: We have to get the baby out, that means c-section. Now. Dad, go tell the family (who were in the waiting room despite my assertions that they NOT BE).
As he’s speaking the nurse is prepping my bed and unhooking me from stuff. This is literally happening RIGHT NOW.
They wheel me back to the OR, G is gone. They ask me to help move to the OR bed. Which I was able to do. With my epidural. Apparently I should not have been able to move myself so easily. They then start taping me down, taking off my gown, spreading betadine on my belly, placing masks on my facing, cutting. FUCK!!! I can feel cutting!!! To be fair, I could only feel it on the left side. But, I was already freaked about being tied down, with a mask that wasn’t giving me any air on my face and I could feel the cutting. But, something wasn’t working right, because I COULDN’T make myself say anything. I was just staring up, tears running out of my eyes, scared shitless and freaked out. G is still not here. Finally, someone noticed I was crying and asked me what was wrong. I told them I could feel the cutting and I was claustrophobic. So, they removed the mask and pushed more drugs. I could still feel it. I heard DW say something about using a topical. I could still feel the cutting. And I could smell my own burning flesh. I was going to be sick. Then another anesthesiologist came in and put a blue sheet over my face. I kind of screamed (it was muffled by the sheet and gagging in my throat). The first anesthesiologist said “She’s going out DW” and put the mask back on, but this time there was gas. In two breaths I was out.
I woke up later in the recovery room. No G. No Baby G. All by myself.
Then G came in carrying the baby. I cried and cried. It was finally over. I got to hold Baby G for a few minutes, but I felt too shaky. Then a whole parade of people came back one by one to see us. Then magically I woke up in a bed in a real room.
Neither G nor I got to see him emerge. His cord was clamped long before it stopped pulsating. There was no immediate skin to skin. No immediate nursing. I didn’t get to see the placenta. I don’t remember a lot of the time between that first waking and the second. We didn’t get that 2 hour bonding time just for us that we had asked for.
In short it was the exact opposite of what we had planned for and wanted. So, yes, while I am thrilled that Baby G is here sleeping soundly in his seat, I mourn the loss of the birth experience I had wanted for him. He arrived to chaos instead of of calm. Confusion instead of order. The sterility of medical professionals instead of the warm embrace of Mom and Dad. I wish I could go back and give him that experience. But I can’t. And, ultimately, he won’t care. But, I want him to have the best and his first few moments were not. I can’t help but to wonder if that’s what he sees when he’s sleeping and frown lines cross his face?