Since today is my son’s birthday, I thought I would share his birth story. It was quite an event. It was the catalyst that set me on our real food and natural health journey. It was also a lesson a learned the hard way in listening to those little nudges of the Holy Spirit. So, without further ado, here is the story of my son’s grand entrance into this world.
It was October 6, 2010. I was 40 weeks pregnant and my doctor decided it would be good to induce me. She cited that she felt like he was getting really big, but I think it was more of a convenience factor for her. Regardless, I was so eager to meet this little guy that I jumped at the chance of an induction.
Inside my heart I felt a nudging that I needed to be patient, but I quickly pushed that thought aside. That week I also had several other people in my life contact me and kindly suggest that maybe I should wait instead of being induced and I ignored them too. After trying for three years to have a baby and suffering two miscarriages, our dream was about to come true and I didn’t want to wait one second longer to cuddle and snuggle this new little human being.
We got to the hospital and they determined I was almost 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced. They assured me this was very favorable for an induction. Then they hooked me up to an IV and antibiotics because I had tested positive for Group B Strep. A while later they came back and inserted a small pill onto my cervix to try and speed things up. I cringe writing this now. It was like my body was committing a crime for not having a baby on the right time table so they had to force an eviction. And force an eviction they certainly did, although I’m getting ahead of myself.
An hour later they checked on me and I had dilated another cm. They smiled because this was good progress. Then they broke my water to move things a long even faster. Before they broke my water I remember saying “I don’t think I want my water broken, I don’t want to be put on a time table and end up with a c-section.” The doctor basically blew off my concern, said they don’t put people on time tables after their water is broken and that’s just a silly myth. There was a gush of water and my first real contraction.
I was so unprepared for that first contraction. I can still remember it like it was yesterday. Searing pain that shook me from the core and reverberated through my body for what was probably the longest 30 seconds of my life. I think I was screaming “EPIDURAL” before my contraction was even over. The doctor and nurse smiled their knowing smile and in came the epidural man right on cue.
“This is going to burn a little” he said while inserting the needle. I found that highly ironic. Here I am ready to deliver something the size of a small watermelon and he is telling me the shot is going to burn a little. I just nodded.
After the epidural was administered all of a sudden the world was a beautiful place again. I told my husband to break out the card games and we attempted to play some games to pass the time as we were waiting for me to finish dilating. I was told to expect to dilate about 1 cm an hour. Shortly after the epidural and much to Scott’s relief, my mom also arrived. Once again the nurse came in to check my progress. I noticed two things during this examination: 1) She spent a long time during this exam and had a very concentrated/worried look on her face and 2) I noticed that I was regaining feeling on my right side. The nurse said I was dilated to a 5 and left. We were kind of shocked that I was only a 5 since it had been several hours since I was a 4 and I know that I was supposed to be dilating at a faster rate.
At this point it was probably close to 12 or 1 in the morning. Shortly after the nurse left, she came back with my Dr. The Dr. examined me and after another long examination told us that right now the baby’s head was coming down crooked and was basically jammed at the wrong angle which is why I wasn’t progressing in the dilating. Her and the nurse then proceeded to try and manipulate the baby’s head into a more favorable position. One of them was pushing up on the head while the other one was pushing all over on my belly. They had me rolling to the side and trying to get the baby to turn. They also inserted something into my cervix to measure the strength of my contractions, they wanted to make sure the contractions were strong enough to cause me to dilate more. She said she would be back in two hours to check and see if there was any progress. She encouraged me to be rolling back and forth and from side to side to try and rock the baby into a better position. She also had someone come and check the epidural to see why I now was feeling things on the right side of my body again. He came in and adjusted the epidural and once again I felt the right side starting to numb up.
For the next several hours I had Scott and/or the nurses helping me flip from side to side since my legs were dead weight. We tried to sleep because we knew we needed all the energy we could save up, but once again I started to regain feeling on the right side and so each contraction, which were about two minutes apart, woke me up. The Dr. came in again and checked me and informed me that there had been almost no progress since her last check-up several hours ago. They looked at the monitor and noted that my contractions were definitely strong enough.
It was at this point they first brought up the option of a Cesarean section. She said that the baby’s head was still jammed at the awkward angle and had still not moved any farther down the birth canal. She said it was completely up to me and we could continue to labor and see if things can get going or we could do the c-section. I look back now and am appalled that major abdominal surgery was being offered to me as a convenience, like I was ordering something from a fast food restaurant. Then the medical team nonchalantly admitted that his head probably got jammed when they broke my water.
I chose to keep laboring.
After the Dr. left my mom came over and laid her hands on my stomach and prayed that I would continue to dilate and that the baby’s head would move into a more favorable position.
When the nurse came back several hours later she was shocked to see that I had dilated all the way to 7 cm. Several hours after that I was at 9.5 cm, then finally, 15.5 hours after labor had started I had reached 10 centimeters. I was excited to begin pushing. My mom and Scott came over and helped hold my legs. For two and a half hours I pushed with everything I had. I pushed so hard I broke a lot of the blood vessels in my face and neck and I cracked a molar in half. After each contraction I was so exhausted I just wanted to sleep although I do remember telling Scott that I wanted a Frappucino from Starbucks. The whole time I was pushing a nurse was with me helping me count and checking to see if the baby was making any progress. After two and a half hours the baby’s head was still stuck with absolutely no progress. The Dr. came in and said she felt that the baby’s head was too big and due to the awkward angle he was in she recommended a cesarean section.
At this point I became worried because in my birthing classes I had learned that cesarean sections are performed using the epidural to numb you. My epidural only numbed me on one side. I asked the Dr. how that was going to work. She informed me that they were going to give me a spinal tap which is much stronger and will numb me on both sides. She also said my mom and Scott could be there with me for the procedure which was encouraging (and did not happen). The next thing I know I’m being wheeled down the hall to the operating room. The anesthesiologist came in and gave me a spinal tap. At this point, I had been in the hospital for over 20 hours without any food, had received two epidurals, a spinal tap, and four full rounds of antibiotics for Group B Strep. The spinal tap pushed me over the edge and I became super light-headed. I could hear everything going on around me but I had a hard time responding to anything. I remember trying to ask if my mom and Scott were here yet but I couldn’t get it out in a way that they could understand me. I also remember my body started shaking uncontrollably. My arms were strapped down to the table but I could still hear all the nurses and Dr. telling me I needed to calm down. They took out a needle and started poking me and sure enough I was numb on both sides. They put up the tarp so that I couldn’t see what was going on (not that I could even opened my eyes) and I felt them preparing my stomach. As I lay there in my light-headed stupor, all of a sudden I realized that I could really feel them prepping my stomach. “Stop!” I yelled (or slurred) as loud as I could, “I can feel that”. The Dr. and nurses assured me that it was all just in my head. I started hyperventilating and I’m pretty sure I was in the middle of a major panic attack. I begged them to do the needle test again and they kept telling me it wasn’t necessary. A minute later I felt a very sharp stabbing pain on my right side and I started to telling them I could feel that. “She does have feeling back” I heard one nurse or Dr. whisper to another. The next thing I know they had me sitting up on the table. I started gagging. One nurse was holding the puke bucket under my face and there were people rushing around the room. I was so light-headed I knew I was going to pass out any second. My body was shaking and they kept asking me questions like “What year is it?” and “How old are you?”, but I couldn’t formulate an answer that they could understand.