A conversation on Twitter last night inspired me to write Henry’s VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) birth story. While I work on that, here is “AC” part of that equation, Benjamin’s c-section birth story, as written in April 2010 and originally posted on a parenting forum. Lots of TMI, mentions of mucous plugs, poop, etc. etc. – fair warning for those of you who don’t usually read this sort of thing!
Woke up at 4:00 am, 8 days overdue
Water breaks late morning – meconium present
Arrive at hospital at 2:00 pm – 2 cm
Epidural and pitocin administered in the afternoon
Decide to do c-section at 9:00 pm
Benjamin Michael born at 10:32 pm, December 17, 2009
12 lbs 4 oz and 24 inches
On Dec. 17th, I was 8 days overdue. I was scheduled to be induced the next morning. I woke up at 4:00 am, my regular wake up time while pregnant. I woke up every morning STARVING and dying to pee! (TMI ALERT) This morning was different, because it was all about #2… I went SEVEN TIMES between 4 am and 1:00pm. I’d heard about “clearing out” but… jeez! Along with all that action was pretty bad cramping, but I couldn’t time them as contractions because it was sort of constant, low level pain.
I had already lost my mucous plus and had constant spotting for the past few days, but mid morning the spotting became orange. I still don’t know what that was about! All these elements combined had me very confused. Google and What to Expect were no help, so I called my OB’s office at 1pm. The nurse told me to get to the hospital! Yikes! I called DH at work… he was so flustered he said he would “probably” leave right away and would call me back… and he did call back about 30 seconds later saying he was on his way.
Just before leaving, my water really broke. I noticed right away it was brownish. I grabbed one of my giant pads and we left. The weather was terrible, very cold and lots of snow, so the drive was not fun. We were both very stressed by the time we got there. While changing into a gown, I noticed that the orange spotting had turned bright red. I let the nurse know, and she tried to make a joke – I told her it was bright red (as opposed to pink) and she said what did I expect, blue? I didn’t think it was funny! She asked me where I left my sense of humour, and I said I must have left it at home. I was only 2cms and wasn’t really having contractions, but since my water had broken, they had to keep me.
Things were better once I was in my room. The nurse was nice and didn’t crack jokes. Around 2:30 I was told that if I wanted an epidural, I needed to get it now, as the anaesthesiologist was going into a long surgery. I really wanted to try and labour without it, but I was scared that I’d need it and not be able to get it, so I said okay. Soon after that, I was put on oxytocin because my contractions weren’t progressing. I didn’t feel any pain, even though I was having very strong contractions. The epidural was making me very shaky and nervous. I used a yoga technique, “one nostril breathing”, to calm down. I hadn’t planned on doing so, but once I tried it, I found it very effective. Basically you hold one nostril closed and breathe in, then hold the other one closed and breathe out. Breathe in again, and repeat.
Things were pretty calm over the late afternoon and early evening. I was progressing, making it up to 7cms. I was getting excited to push! The nurse was concerned that the baby wasn’t moving down though. Then, the monitor started beeping. It seemed to take FOREVER for the nurse to come, and she just said the heart rate was a little high, but not to worry. This happened a few more times. Then, around 9:00pm, the nurse announced that I would be having a c-section. I was shocked. I didn’t think things were that bad. But the combination of elevated heart rate, meconium in the water, and the fact that he hadn’t moved down, meant he was in distress. I cried; having a c-section was my worst fear! But in a way, I was happy that it was going to happen now.
Things moved pretty fast after that, but it wasn’t chaotic. A new anaesthesiologist was on duty, and I know it’s a cliché, but I sort of fell in love with him (sorry Jason)! My epidural was sort of weak on one side, so he topped it up, and stayed with me through the surgery, talking me through the whole thing.
The surgery itself was okay… I didn’t feel much. At 10:32, they pulled him out by one arm and one leg (I got a peek over the divider!). The people in the room gasped, and the anaesthesiologist said “he’s a bear!”. I didn’t know what that meant! I found out – it meant he was HUGE and had a TON of hair. I lay there crying at first, then I could hear DS crying and someone told me he was doing well – and that he weighted 12 lbs 4 oz. OH MY. I was shocked!! They brought him over to me, and I couldn`t hold him as I was pretty shaky and weak, but I touched his face and kissed him.
The stuff that happened after is the part of my birth story I don`t really like, so I`ll be brief – Benjamin was kept for observation because he’d breathed in meconium, and I didn’t see him again till 7am the next morning. I was in a semi-private room so Jason couldn’t stay either. I didn`t come out of recovery till 1am, as my blood pressure was low and they were trying all sorts of drugs and stuff to stabilize me.
My 3 day hospital stay was fairly brutal, I didn`t sleep more than 3 or 4 hours the whole time, and I pretty much broke down when we got home. We still don`t know how or why he was SOOO big, though I think I had undiagnosed gestational diabetes.
I definitely want to try for a VBAC next time. I do tear up when I read about or see “natural” deliveries. I feel mine was so far removed from that moment where the baby is put on the mom’s chest… that`s the part that gets to me! The 8 hour wait to hold him was waaaay too long!
Without further ado… some pictures. Thanks for reading!
Edited to add: It would be another five months after writing this that I was diagnosed and treated for PPD (post-partum depression). My experience in the hospital may have played a part in that. I had a really hard time with bonding and attachment in the early days. While I received excellent care, the way things were handled left me feeling confused and fearful when I should have been happy – I had a healthy baby, after all. I will address this more in Henry’s story – the births were QUITE different!