Labor was nothing like what I expected it to be. From what I had heard from other mamas, it was supposed to be easy. My water was supposed to break in the middle of the night, or in some other dramatic fashion, signaling that it was time to head to the hospital. From there, I would endure contractions until I received an epidural, then I would push for about 30 minutes and…tadaa! Baby!
That is not how my birth story goes.
My story begins with a trip to my OBGYN’s office a week before my due date. With little to no progress shown, my doctor recommended inducing the day before my due date. After weeks of experiencing light contractions and having a sense that it was nearly time, the last thing I was expecting to hear was that my doctor wanted to induce.
I went home and called my parents, who live out of state, to let them know it was time to grab their bags and fly out from Arizona.
The big day was almost here!
The day that I was scheduled to be induced, my husband and I arrived at the hospital with overnight bags in tow and checked in. Since it was scheduled, we were taken straight to our delivery room. From there, IV’s were inserted and they began to give me medication to dilate my cervix.
What we didn’t know was that it would be nearly 12 hours before labor would actually begin. And when it did finally begin, I had no idea that it was even labor.
I woke up that morning at 6 AM experiencing horrendous back pain. I wasn’t feeling anything in my stomach like I had imagined I would. When I mentioned it to the nurse she seemed very agitated and told me my back was just sore from laying in the hospital bed and quickly left the room. I would later come to find out from a much more sympathetic nurse that my pains were actually back labor.
Later that morning, my doctor started a Pitocin drip and warned me that things were about to speed up significantly. Boy, he wasn’t kidding. Contractions settled in full force, leaving me with only 45 seconds to 1 minute in-between each contraction. They radiated from by back all the way down my legs. The pain was short-lived, however, because I dilated quickly after the Pitocin was administered and was given an epidural.
With the pain at bay, I had time to rest and reflect…things were about to get real!
I was so anxious.
I laid there imagining the glorious moment they would place her on my chest. I couldn’t wait to see what my daughter would look like. I already knew that she had my nose, thanks to the 4D ultrasound. But would she have hair? What color would it be? Would she look like I had always imagined?
After a short break, I started to feel the urge to push. To my surprise, the doctor was not called into the delivery room, instead, two nurses attended to me and helped me push. It was nothing like the movies where the doctor drops everything and comes running into the delivery room just in time to catch the baby.
The nurses coached me on the correct way to push which, as it turns out, is much harder than it sounds.
“Push from your diaphragm!” …umm, what?
After about 30 minutes of pushing, I was elated to hear that my daughter was close to making her grand debut.
This is where my birthing story becomes a little more complicated.
I pushed in vain for another hour and a half after hearing that my daughter was close to coming out. Yes, you heard that right.
Over an hour.
My doctor began to spend more time in my delivery room before finally deciding that my daughter was not going to come out on her own. He suspected that I had a condition called CPD, or cephalopelvic disproportion, a condition where the pelvis is too narrow for the baby to pass through. I was devastated and refused to believe it. I began to push harder, determined to get her out on my own. By this time, my epidural had begun to wear off and contractions returned. I was flooded with the fear of feeling her come out. But I continued to push anyway as my doctor started preparations for an unplanned C-Section.
Before I knew it, I was in the operating room, and another epidural was being administered. I laid there, strapped to the operating table feeling angry and defeated. I felt like I was bring robbed of an experience I had anticipated for almost my whole life. Why wasn’t I able to push her out? What was wrong with me?
A short while later my husband joined me, cloaked in scrubs and a mask, ready to watch our daughter enter the world. From there it gets a little fuzzy. But I do remember the sound of my daughters cries after she was born. Her cries made me cry and I knew in that moment that all of the pain leading up to that moment was worth it to be able to bring her into the world.
Looking back at when I gave birth to my daughter, I’m still in awe of what I was capable of both physically and emotionally.
At the time I was so disappointed that I wasn’t able to push her out on my own. I was so angry, that I cried as they wheeled me into the operating room. I felt like I was missing out on an important part of being a mother. But in reality, I wasn’t.
An unplanned C-section obviously wasn’t a part of the plan, but the scar on my belly reminds me every day that I worked hard bringing her into the world, not only on the day that she was born but for the 9 months that she was growing in my belly.