I have a couple of disclaimers before I start this post.
First of all, I promise to be fairly vague in this post. I will not be super specific. But it is a birth story, so please, if it is going to bother you at all, don't read this post!
Second of all, I really wanted to have an "all-natural" birth. I didn't put this information out there, especially on the blog, because I wasn't sure what would happen. I read lots of books on childbirth (mostly about natural childbirth) and our birth class was centered in that direction.
Honestly, my reasons for this were pretty shallow. I have wanted to give birth without drugs since late high school/early college, merely because I just wanted to say I had. I think there are some legitimate reasons for possibly not using an epidural, but at the end of the day, I don't think those reasons make using an epidural wrong at all. I just wanted to experience all of birth, without drugs, and say that I had done that.
Alright, on to the birth.
I really, really believed that Jack would come early. Jack's original due date was June 2nd, and then, after the first ultrasound, the due date was moved to June 12th. But I still believed that maybe his due date was earlier than the 12th.
But Jack obviously didn't come early. And my family came on the 11th. But I was still holding out hope that he would come soon. Y'all, I did everything. I walked, canoed, rode on bumpy roads, ate spicy foods, drank tonic water, had my membranes stripped twice, etc. Nothing worked. Nothing.
At my 40 week appointment, my doctor, who I really like and trust, told me that she wanted to induce me at 41 weeks. Bech and I actually asked what would happen if we weren't ready to induce at that time. She told us it was our choice and we didn't have to, but she strongly suggested it based on birth mortality rates. I really didn't want to induce. I knew that pitocin would make much harder and stronger contractions, and thus make not using an epidural a lot harder.
But I also wanted family to be there. It looked like my family was going to completely miss Jack's birth, so I at least wanted Bech's family there.
I held out hope that Jack could still come on his own. But when he didn't, June 20th, we headed in to the hospital bright and early to be induced.
We had a wonderful day nurse. We actually got to have her the next day, too. Seriously, God blessed us so much through the nurses He gave us. She was funny and made us laugh.
I didn't really start feeling contractions until 2 p.m., and even then they didn't really hurt too bad. They came in and broke my water around 6 p.m., and that's when the pain started. It was totally manageable at first. I walked a lot, I used the birth ball, I sat some. But after a few hours, the pain got much worse. Apparently (and I say this because I have never had normal contractions), a normal contraction moves in a wave, coming on, peaking, then dropping off, with a little break in between. Pitocin contractions are not that way. They come on really hard, there is no slow build up or drop off, and mine did not have much of a break.
I was trying to hold off getting into the tub for as long as possible, to get as much work done before that, but I finally got in around 11 p.m. And it helped at first. At first, I had about a minute between each contraction. I started to think that I could do this. Then they upped the pitocin even more (because that's what they do in an induction--start pitocin, and start upping it until or unless your body takes over--which mine never did!). And I was so miserable.
There came a point in which I had 5 contractions in a row without a break. And I should probably add that I was not very far along at this point, as far as progression (and if you don't know what I mean, trust me, you don't want me to explain it--remember, I am trying to not be too "TMI" here!). It was at that point that I knew I couldn't continue to do this. I thought I could possibly last a few more hours like this. But I knew that when it became time to push, I would not have any energy left at all.
So around 12:30 a.m., I asked for the epidural. And I am so thankful that I did. I was able to fall asleep around 2:30 and sleep until around 6 or so. It wasn't great sleep (they kept coming in because they were having trouble with one of my monitors not recording right), but it was sleep. I woke up in the morning feeling much better.
Then they checked my progression and I had barely changed since my last check at 12:30. I wasn't feeling too disappointed, but I think at this point, the doctors and nurse were started to get a little concerned.
They were still upping my pitocin (although I couldn't feel much of the contractions), and checked me again several hours later--very little progression plus Jack hadn't moved down at all. And he was in a very strange position.
And that's when the word c-section got tossed out. At first, I thought, okay, it's just a possibility, not a reality yet. We will just have to keep trying to get Jack to move, right? And we did--they moved me into different positions. Bech and I prayed. Other people prayed. And he sort of moved. So they let me try to push for about fourty five minutes to an hour. And I tried really hard. And finally the two doctors there said that nothing was changing, that Jack wasn't coming down, and that we needed to do a c-section.
And I was devastated. (more thoughts on this later)
And I cried. And then I fixed my makeup (because I am a southern girl) and I had a c-section.
But a little before my c-section, I had a small fever. Plus there was some meconium in my water.
And if you know a lot about birth, this can mean NICU.
So after they got Jack out of me, and Bech got to hold him and bring him to me, they took him to the NICU. His APGAR scores were great (an 8 and a 9), but they were following our pediatricians orders. We were told he would have to stay there 48 hours.
They wheeled me back to the room, I cried some more, then they took me to the recovery floor. At this point, about 2 hours after the section, the NICU called, said Jack was healthy and looked great, and they were bringing him to us! And then I got to hold my absolutely gorgeous son.
Recovering from a c-section is not very fun. There is a reason that you get to stay there longer than from a regular delivery. I spent three nights there, and could have opted for a fourth. And even now, I can't walk up and down the stairs at my apartment, and I'm in a fair amount of pain. At least I am allowed to lift Jack. Plus, to be honest, I am not a super compliant patient and am probably doing a lot more than I should be!
Plus I am super emotional and still dealing with the fact that I had a c-section. Which is really tough, because, when you stop to think about it, what is so bad about a c-section? There are countless books, websites, and people out there that make it sound like a c-section is the WORST possible thing ever, that you are a failure if you have to have one. And on some level, I am falling for that. I am feeling like a failure because I wasn't able to deliver my child normally, because my body didn't do what it was supposed to do.
But as Bech and my mom have reminded me multiple times, I am not a failure. And I need to just enjoy the fact that I have a beautiful, healthy baby. I have some friends who just had a baby 13 weeks early, who will be in the NICU for several months. And I have a baby who I got to take home on Friday.
I am thankful for the doctors and nurses. They really tried a lot of stuff so that I wouldn't have to have a c-section. They were so kind to me. And I am so thankful that I am physically able to have a baby--it is a gift and not one I take lightly!
Anyway, there it is...hope it wasn't too "TMI"!