Saturday, June 21, 2008


My friend, Alex, is hosting a Happy Birth Days Carnival on her site asking moms to write the birth story of their children. While it seems that many times moms getting together start launching into labor and birth stories, how often is it that you get to tell the story of your child's birth from start to finish without another eager mom jumping in with a detail from their own that resonates? That's exactly why Alex has opened up her site for this forum. She'd like moms to be able to talk about what really amounts to the most important day(s) of their life.

I already talked about C's birth story when I wrote I Fell In..., but I haven't really talked about H's. Being a larger woman with hips of ample girth, I had never even considered the fact that I might not be able to have a 'normal' birth. I had watched my oldest sister have three c-sections, the second two were after looooooooooong trial labors, the first being due to a breech baby. I then proceeded to watch my little petite sister squirt out her little Mexican jumping bean babies like a feral cat in the closet...quick and dirty. I really thought mine would go that way as well. I imagined myself just having to bear down a couple times and having the child roll out of my body.

At the time that I was pregnant with H, I was working very full-time as a protective services worker for child welfare. There were also about 7 other women in my unit and surrounding units who were pregnant at the same time. We were all commenting on the high number of c-sections, and wondering how much the stress of the job played into that result. However, nobody ever thought for a second that my Swedish hips would need surgical intervention to remove a child.

When I was about 34 weeks pregnant, I found that I had already started to dilate. I went to the doctor and was put on modified bedrest. I immediately started to cry for several reasons; I am a planner and had made arrangements for my maternity leave, but had lots of loose ends on my open cases as I wasn't planning on leaving work for another 6 weeks. I wanted every second of sick leave to be used with a baby at home, not waiting for one. But perhaps more sad to me at the time, was that my baby shower was scheduled for that weekend in my hometown, and I would not be allowed to travel the four hours to get there...I know...petty. However, your first baby is your time to shine, and I'm from a really small town, where everyone would come and it was going to be a lot of fun.

Never ones to let me down, my mom and sisters piled into their car and drove the cake and gifts across the state to me.

When I was allowed to return to work at 37 weeks, I placed my cankles on a pillow and continued to type up open assessments so that I wouldn't have anything to worry about but my little cherub while I was on maternity leave.

Finally, my due date rolled around and my doctor decided that I was a favorable candidate for induction. I was ready to have a baby the following day bright and early, so I left work at half-day to get a pedicure. What?! Priorities!

My sisters, mom and dad and best friend (oh yeah, and my husband) were all present for the majority of the labor experience. I made it about 5 hours without pain management, but once that pitocin really kicked in, who was I kidding? That epidural was amazing!

At about 7pm, I was fully dilated and started to push.

And push...

Ahahahhahand push. My doctor seemed baffled, as he could tell that the pushes were effective and could feel that I had ample room in my pelvis.

After 3 hours, my doctor said that he'd try the vacuum for 1/2 hour, but that after that, we would need to start thinking about a c-section. This brought me to attention, as a c-section was something to which I was violently opposed. I did NOT want one. So I pushed some more, made a comment that wasn't so ladylike to my doctor reiterating my formerly stated violent opposition, and then the tears began to fall when my family was asked to leave the room, and they made me sign the consent form.

I was exhausted from pushing for so long, and nauseous from the medication. I remember the nurses and anesthesiologist kept commenting 'man, you're tall' as they pushed more drugs into my body, so I couldn't feel their little scratch test. H was pulled from my womb at 10:48pm on August 6th almost three years ago. Through an anesthetic haze, I saw his face for the first time, and kissed him awkwardly. In the recovery room I was physically sick, and didn't have the confidence to hold him, so it was essentially the next day before I really held my baby.

I was SO disappointed. My body had failed me. It wasn't until he was delivered that they realized he had been positioned face-up, which makes it harder for a vaginal birth.

I know that some people will be angry or annoyed, saying that I need to be grateful that I have a healthy child. I am eternally grateful for that, and I love him very much. The second night he was in the hospital, it all finally clicked and I let him just lay sprawling on my bare chest and we both slept so well. I was in love with him by that point. I do have to say, however, that having a successful VBAC has put the final touch on my 'healing process' from the c-section. I had a really easy recovery from my surgery, so it's not like I was traumatized by that, I think it was truly just the overwhelming sense of failure on my part.

After talking to some other people who had unplanned c-sections, I know that my feelings and reaction are not abnormal, which is why I'm being so frank in this entry. I want other people to know that it's okay to feel this way, but that it ultimately comes down to 'healthy baby, healthy mom=successful delivery.'

I can now look at my scar and realize that it doesn't matter how he was born, I'm just glad that he was. He's such an amazing kid, and I feel really blessed to have him in my life.


Susan Lindgren said...

Wow what a great story! Being off work, home alone, with no kids is hard...but boy sometimes I wish I enjoyed the peace more!

Whirlwind said...

What a great story. I know other women as well who feel the same way about their unplanned c-sections.

Skiplovey said...

Great story! And wow, what a long labor.