Oct 10, 2014
Expect the Unexpected
Always expect the unexpected.
I was always planning on sharing my first labor and birth experience, but I certainly did not plan on writing about it in this context. I had planned on a natural vaginal birth for one, and though I had heard stories, thought maybe I’d be one of the lucky ones who was into the hospital and nursing within several hours. Motherhood, as it turns out, cannot be planned and executed the way many of us believe it can be. Imagine that . At 8:30 am, Monday, September 29th, my water broke while I was on the phone with my husband. It was definitely a strange sensation, and as I told him what was happening, he joked that I must be kidding. I in fact, was not kidding, so off to the hospital we went, arriving around noon. As it turns out, I was not dilated! Which happened to be just fine, because there were no rooms available; and weren’t, for upwards of six hours. At this point I began to realize that the picture the movies paint us of a woman being wheeled in, writhing in pain, carted off to the delivery room, and delivering a baby in minutes may, just may, be an expedited version of the process. The six hours were spent quite comfortably, (although anticipation was building), because I was not contracting.
Once I was finally admitted and placed into a room the doctor discovered that I had not yet started to dilate, which although not terribly unusual, required some intervention. I was informed that I would be given medication to help the process along, in an attempt to convince my body that labor was imminent and it should, in fact, start dilating and moving the process along. After two more hours the medication had apparently not remedied the problem, so two balloons, (yes, balloons), were inserted in an attempt to manually dilate the cervix. When I finally reached 4 centimeters, I thought Augustine decided he was ready to come after all; as he immediately dropped into the birth canal. As it turns out, I spoke too soon, because he seemed to be “stuck” in one position. Once again, I was at a standstill. I was given Pertocin at some point in the middle of the night to gain consistency in my contractions, which were sporadic at best. Augustine, meanwhile, was perfectly comfortable (so it seemed), lounging in the birth canal all the while. He wouldn’t budge, and when his heart rate dropped twice, I began to realize that the plan I’d set forth for nine months may change quickly, and started to mentally prepare for that. As I labored through the night, my temperature rose with a fever! Hm. Why wasn’t this in the handbook? I pushed from 9:00am through 2:00 pm with no movement on baby’s part. We had surpassed the 24 hour mark, and I was anxious to meet the new man in my life. Despite my best efforts, nothing was progressing, and on top of pushing actively for five hours, I developed a severe leg pain which impeded my ability to push any more at my maximum capacity. (Easy breezy, right?)
Enter the Doctor, who informs me my pelvis is so narrow that Augustine just would not fit past my tailbone. For the first time since my labor had started more than 24 hours ago, I cried. I cried from exhaustion, confusion, frustration, and a feeling of helplessness. The doctor and I agreed to thirty more minutes of pushing, maximum, but as my temperature rose to a hot 102.7, there was no time for that. It was time for an emergency c-section. To be honest, I did cry. I felt, briefly, as though my body had failed me. I could not hold on to my original plan any longer. As is usually the case however, I quickly snapped out of it. Whenever a situation gets tough, I have a tendency to regroup, and circle back to my original intent, purpose, or task. There is no need to cry here! The point of labor is not to stick to a specific birth plan, it is to deliver a healthy baby! When things get tough, the tough get going. And that’s exactly what I did. I quickly pulled myself together, had a brief “beast mode” pep talk with myself, and into the c-section we went.
It went seamlessly. My doctor was patient, exemplary, and Augustine Julian was delivered into the world at 4:17pm on September 30th, almost 32 hours after my water broke. Of course after a c-section, you are supposed to remain in bed I suppose, but my maternal instinct had already kicked in. I walked to see my son, and he was breastfeeding by midnight. Skin to skin, breast feeding, and initial bonding were incredibly important to me. I had already let so much go in terms of my plan, but I was determined to stick to that aspect of my schedule. As it turns out, Auggie was a pro, and the hours spent bringing him into the world essentially melted away.
It has been just over a week since I delivered, and already I understand that motherhood will bring challenges I may not be completely prepared for, but as long as I am flexible in my methods, I have no doubt it will be the most wonderful journey I have ever been on. Thank you to all who are a part of it!