I’m a few days late posting my own story. I have never once in almost five years sat down and allowed myself to relive it fully. I don’t even think I’ve ever told my Husband the story in it’s entirety. This is probably one of the hardest things I have ever put into words, so please be patient with me.
I don’t talk very openly about my birth experience with Aiden. It was traumatizing, to say the least. I don’t clearly remember every detail, and the ones that I do remember, I usually try to forget.
I was nineteen years old. I didn’t have the supportive partner backing me that I do now. My whole “plan” for Aiden’s birth was shot to hell when they told me I “had” to be induced at 40 weeks because of my gestational diabetes. I didn’t know that I had the right to say no. That I had the right to wait and let my body do what God made it to do. Realistically, I still may not get that chance. With the support of an amazing husband, doula, and midwives, I get to try, but it could be unsuccessful BECAUSE of the choice that I didn’t know that I could make back then.
I was admitted to the hospital at 40w2d. Cervidil was inserted. It did nothing. I was given sleeping meds and told to “rest” overnight and they would start pitocin in the morning if I hadn’t progressed. Which I hadn’t.
Have you had Pit-contractions? They suck. I labored the entire day with little-to-no progress. I was given stadol at some point, and that’s when things start to get fuzzy. I continued laboring with the pitocin and still made little progress. A nurse came in and “stretched me.”
If you’re going to allow a nurse or doctor to “stretch you,” please, for the love of all things holy, WAIT until you’ve had the epidural.
It was the MOST painful thing I have ever experienced in my life. And it only gained me a centimeter. They broke my water and I asked for the epidural. I vaguely remember the anesthesiologist was running behind, so they gave me a second dose of the stadol that I didn’t want in the first place. Minutes later, the anesthesiologist arrived to place the epidural, and I was essentially drunk. I kept falling asleep on the nurse as she desperately tried to hold my giant ten-month-pregnant body steady while he tried to place to epidural.
After this point, I have very little memory of laboring. The next semi-vivid thing I remember is being told I was ready to push hours(?) later.
It seriously could actually have been minutes, and I would have no idea that I was lying to you. I just assume hours because I remember the sun being out when I got my epidural (no idea why I remember that detail) and Aiden was born after three in the morning.
I vaguely remember pushing for what seemed like an eternity. The OR report says it was an hour. (The same OR report also says that Aiden was my third c-section, he was born at 38 weeks, and that he is actually a she…wish I was joking.) I remember having my Mom and Dad at either shoulder/knee and a very enthusiastic nurse humming and singing between my legs while Aiden’s bio-dad hovered somewhere behind her. I remember my OB finally coming in at some point and telling me Aiden wasn’t descending, my blood sugar was spiking, and he was showing signs of distress.
I remember an idiot nurse coming in and asking me if I wanted the insulin shot in my arm or my leg, looking at her like she was insane, and asking her if she knew which of those options was currently numb.
Everything that happened next is still a blur. I’ve remembered bits and pieces throughout this pregnancy, almost as if I’ve allowed myself to remember. Someone asked me if I had a living will, someone gave me some nasty drink, I cried and cried because they wouldn’t allow my mom to come into the OR with me because Aiden’s bio-dad was and I just wanted her by my side.
They wheeled me to the OR and still things are blurry. I was strapped down to the gurney and couldn’t move. I could hear surgical tools clanging, and there were a dozen people zooming around my head. I felt someone pushing and poking at my belly asking me if I could feel anything. They ended up having to increase the epidural a ton because I could feel pretty much everything on my right side.
I just laid there staring at the surgical lights wondering what the heck was happening because no one would tell me anything. Aiden’s bio-dad eventually appeared near my head. I was terrified. I just silently cried and tried desperately to stay awake.
I could feel pushing and pulling on my stomach, and after what seemed like an eternity, at 3:32am, I finally heard those first glorious cries escape Aiden’s lungs. They held him over the curtain briefly, and he was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, even in all his purple, gory, glory. He was 9 lbs 4 oz, 22.5 inches long, and had a head the size of a cantaloupe.They whisked him away to clean him off and do his APGAR score and a few minutes later he was swaddled and next to my face. I kissed him and desperately wanted to hold him, but was still strapped to the gurney and couldn’t touch him.
His bio-dad eventually left and went with him to the nursery, leaving me alone in the OR while they closed my belly. I cried and cried, feeling completely robbed of an experience that I waited my entire life for. I didn’t get to have skin-to-skin, or cut his cord, or breastfeed. I didn’t get to have that instant bond with my baby that I so coveted.
Soon after, they took me to recovery, which was dark and empty at 4 am. They told me to “rest.” I was beginning to go from depressed to angry. I wanted to hold my baby. I wanted to see my family. I wanted to get the hell out of that room.
After an eternity, some kid (orderly) came to roll me to my room for the rest of the hospital stay. I not-so-nicely informed him of how angry I was that I had yet to hold Aiden. Something along the lines of “my baby is going to be freaking walking by the time you people give him back to me.” I was fuming. He clearly missed the “this patient just had her gut sliced open” memo, because he rolled right over bumps and ramps while I laid there feeling like my gut was being sliced open again.
They took me into my room, and one-by-one family members left. I honestly could not tell you (even after consulting multiple people who were there that night) who I did or didn’t see before they left.
I know that I had yet to hold my baby.
Everyone was gone, including Aiden’s bio-dad. Aiden was in the bassinet a few feet away from my bed. It was just me and him. I stared at the the fidgeting little bundle wondering how exactly I was going to reach him.
A nurse came in and tried to hand him to me. I just stared at him. Then I took this picture:I would be willing to bet the nurse thought I was nuts. My child was hours old already, I had yet to hold him, and instead I took a picture.
My birth wasn’t what I wanted. It wasn’t what I planned. I have nightmares constantly about that night, and occasionally have a “memory” pop up that I genuinely question the validity of.
Since becoming pregnant with Asher, everyone assumes that I’m just going to schedule another c-section. I’m not. It took me 24 weeks to find a hospital and
doctors midwives that I trust enough to deliver my child. I’ve been tested and jumped through hoops like you couldn’t imagine to get the chance to have this VBAC. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard, “why don’t you just schedule a c-section?” or “wouldn’t it be easier to schedule a c-section?”
I encourage you, if someone you know had an emergency cesarean, don’t ask her these questions. Her story could very likely be similar to mine.