In honor of cesarean awareness month, I have decided to share my birth experience.
It has been almost a year since my son was born, and although I'm still healing, I want to share some things that helped me become more accepting of my delivery.
In my head, I knew that a cesarean was a possibility, but I also knew that the statistics were in my favor. I tested negative for Group B Strep and gestational diabetes; I was very active throughout my pregnancy and took all of my vitamins and probiotics; I went to a chiropractor, and had a midwife that was extremely supportive of my preferences for no interventions or medications; my fiance and I attended all of our childbirth education classes together, so I knew I could rely on him during my labor (not to mention my phenomenal mother and doula Danielle :) ). I researched all of the possible outcomes of my birth and tried to mentally prepare myself for anything that could happen. My two biggest fears were getting an epidural or a cesarean, and I guess in my mind I had ruled those out as a possibility even though I knew I shouldn't have.
The day I went into labor I was so excited. I felt fully prepared and supported, and was mentally and emotionally ready to take on my beautiful, all natural labor and delivery. At almost 41 weeks, long walks, red raspberry leaf tea, and even clothespins on my toes (acupressure) while relaxing poolside was how I spent my early labor. At 11:00 pm my contractions started to become regular, so I decided to go to bed. I was woken up at 3:30 am by contractions that were intense enough that I couldn't lie down any longer. When they got to be two minutes apart (and after a call to my midwife) I finally decided we should head to the hospital. We arrived at the hospital at 7:30 am, and I was already 8 cm! I spent the majority of my transition in the shower. I eventually got out because I was cold and I had to use the restroom. Things happened very quickly after that, and I didn't remember much of it till a few months later, after I had processed my birth a few times.
I laid down in bed because my arms were very tired and let my midwife check me again. I was 9.5 cm and she told me that when I felt the urge, to go ahead and push. After pushing for a while, she noticed that baby did not seem to be coming down at all, and I gave the OK to break my water so he would hopefully come down. Soon after, baby's heart rate dropped drastically with my contraction. I was reminded to breathe through my contractions, but after several more like this, I was rushed back to the operating room (OR). I remember being in there on my hands and knees because that was the only position baby would tolerate. While in this position, his heart rate went back up to normal and stayed that way, so they hospital staff decided it was OK to take me back the the delivery room. It was suggested that I get an epidural in the event that I would have to go back to the OR. At this point I was pretty scared, but my team and I agreed that it would probably be best. After the epidural was inserted, I had to lay on my back, and baby's heart rate immediately dropped again. It was down a total of seven minutes after they had gotten me back to the do the surgery. My epidural had not kicked in yet, so I had to be put in a "twilight sleep". I woke up not remembering what had happened, and feeling uncontrollably shaky. My son was placed on my chest after I was brought back to the room ( which I vaguely remember; I couldn't focus my eyes yet). His cord had been twice wrapped around his neck, constricting the blood flow in the cord the lower he got down the birth canal and causing his heart rate to plummet. He and I were transferred to a hospital with a NICU where we spent a total of 6 days. Luckily after all the testing came back un-remarkable he was discharged in perfect condition and continues to be a happy well adjusted little guy.
I tried not to think about my birth for a long time because it upset me so badly. I still tear up sometimes when i tell my story, but I have come to accept that what happened was completely out of anyone's control, and was not an effect of something that I, or anyone else, did. Talking about it helped so much; going to Birth Story Circle at Mother Rising was like a lifeline where I could connect with other mamas, both who had the births they wanted, and those whose birth didn't quite go as planned. It was comforting to hear from people that it was OK for me to have time to grieve the birth I didn't have, and in the end I knew that it could have ended a lot worse, so I am very grateful that my little man is happy and healthy as can be! I have found support in ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) and reading the inspirational stories on the Birth Without Fear page. The most important part of healing for me (and I would suggest this for any mom!!!) is having a healthy support system in place; family and friends to listen to your story and spoon-feed you comfort food ;)
Authored By- Juliannah Childs