september 14th 2017
8:00 pm: something weird just happened in my pants. we are eating ice cream and watching a movie about a super creepy serial killer (EW) and i feel a rush of something. i run to the bathroom & discover that i have lost my mucus plug. i shout this news to pete and then say something about how i’ll have the baby in a week.
8:05 pm: i sit back down with my ice cream and notice that i am starting to feel some cramping. no biggie, i think, i’m not due for six more days and i am just not going to be that lucky. “it’s just my body getting all of the mucus plug out” i tell pete.
8:45 pm: these are definitely cramps and they are not going away. probably just braxton hicks or false labor. i text my doula anyway. she says to try to get some sleep and keep her posted.
9:30 pm: i decide that these braxton hicks are NO FUN. but i can manage.
10:00 pm: we finish the movie. pete is getting ready for bed. i decide to take a super hot shower to help the contractions calm down (they are really starting to hurt!) so i can go to bed and get some sleep. i shave my legs because, well, maybe this is it? but probably not.
11:00 pm: i am standing over the bed, pj’s on, hair dried, legs shaved, lots of minutes in the hot shower behind me…and there is NO WAY IN HELL i am going to get any sleep with the way these contractions are feeling. i decide to go out to the couch so i can moan and roll around without waking pete. i start timing my contractions.
12:00 midnight: contractions are averaging 1 minute long, 5 minutes apart, and it’s been like this for an hour. i consult the literature i was given at the hospital tour. shit. i’m suppose to call them now. is this real? i really wasn’t thinking this was going to happen today.
september 15th 2017
12:05 am: i call my doula because the hospital has told me that i need to come in. holy shit. what? already? i was planning to labor at home for hours, and it feels like it’s only been minutes. i have to put the phone down a couple times while we talk because i CANNOT TALK WHILE MY UTERUS IS DOING THAT. doula claire agrees to meet us at the hospital in about an hour.
12:10 am: i wake pete up. we get the last minute hospital bag stuff together, let the dog out, leave her a bunch of treats and head to the hospital. i still don’t believe this is really happening. is this really happening???!!!
1:00 am: we arrive at the hospital. they make me sign a bunch of papers. the intake guy keeps asking me questions that i can’t answer because LABOR.
1:30 am: we are put in a triage room and quickly joined by claire. i am checked and found to be 3 cm dilated. THAT’S IT? they don’t have a room for me so we have to stay in triage. it’s a tiny room and it’s uncomfortable and they keep having to hold the fetal heart monitor on me because they keep losing the baby’s heart beat (i.e. he keeps moving around).
3:00 am: i am now at 4 cm. this hurts. can i have some nitrous oxide or access to a laboring tub? nope. still no room. still in the tiny triage room. stuck having to lay on the bed because otherwise they lose the baby’s vital signs and they do not want to lose them.
5:00 am: we are finally moved to the birthing suite! it’s lucky number 13. walking there is the most intense walk of my life. every contraction causes me to stop and bend over onto the rails on the wall and moan like a cow in labor. which is exactly what i feel like.
7:00 am: i am peeing and i feel the most intense rush of liquid gush out of me. MY WATER BROKE! i shout and the nurse and pete come in and i exclaim that my water has broken! shortly thereafter i am dilated to 5 but the midwife feels that it is important to test for amniotic fluid. they find some on my thigh but none anywhere else. they start being weird about whether or not my water has actually broken. which pisses me off. i know the difference between my urethra and my vagina, guys.
also, i should note that i am pretty annoyed because i am still stuck on the bed while they insist on continuously monitoring me. no one is really explaining to me WHY they want to do this, but just that they really NEED to. so since i am stuck on the bed, i am utilizing nitrous oxide to help me manage my contractions. all i want to do is get into the tub. or even stand up. or squat. or scream. this hurts and the contractions are just coming one on top of the other.
9:00 am: we finally get access to a tub! the water is miraculous and i never want to leave. my labor is getting more and more intense and i am really tired. thank GOD for claire. pete is doing great, by the way. but this isn’t about him.
11:00 am: i ask for some kind of pain medication to take the edge off. i’m exhausted and still at 5 cm. i need a nap. this is starting to suck. i feel like my wish for a smooth, calm labor is not going to come true. there is talk of pitocin. i’m starting to feel like i’m going to end up with an epidural or a c-section. i don’t want either but i also need to rest. i don’t say anything about this to anyone, but i begin to entertain the idea of an epidural. to give myself permission to explore and consider the it, although it completely TERRIFIES me.
1:00 pm: still at 5 cm. they want to give me pitocin. they want to monitor the baby internally (with a tiny node in his scalp). i really don’t want to do this. i really don’t want pitocin. i am SO TIRED. i’ve been in and out of the labor tub, and i decide it’s time to go back to lucky 13 and get an epidural. i still have 5 cm to go and i feel like i am never going to get there. i feel like my body is failing me. this is not going how i wanted, but i have to focus on making the best choices for NOW. this is no longer the ideal labor i wanted, and i need to be adaptable. there will be time to grieve later. now is the time to act.
3:00 pm: i am given the epidural (OH MY GOD I FEEL AMAZING) and the scalp monitor is inserted successfully. they are able to monitor the baby’s heart rate much better. they are able to monitor my contractions much better. they are amazed at how intense my contractions are (DUH I HAVE BEEN TELLING YOU) and they are like “damn, girl. you weren’t kidding.”
3:35 pm: the fetal monitor shows a sudden dip in the baby’s heart rate and the nurse is radioing some code. within 30 seconds there are 10 people in the room and an oxygen mask is being strapped onto my face and i just know: i am about to have an emergency c-section. fuck.
someone begins to explain to me what is happening and i calmly tell them that i understand exactly what is happening. “take me to the O.R. let’s do this.”
3:45 pm: i have been prepped for surgery. the epidural has been turned way up (i can’t feel my boobs). the staff are like a well-oiled machine. it’s controlled chaos. i am terrified but i know that the only way to get through this and have it be a positive memory is to stay calm. i can’t change what is happening, and my baby’s safety comes before anything else.
the surgery begins. pete has joined me. his face under all the nets and masks and surgical cap is whiter than i have ever seen. he has tears in his eyes. i warn the midwife (who has joined the operation for support) that he’s a fainter. she stands behind him and presses on some pressure points and tells him if he passes out and falls they have to take him to the ER so he better fucking keep it together.
3:49 pm: they pull out my tiny baby and he is silent. i am terrified. they remove the umbilical cord from around his neck (!!!!!) and he wails the loudest most beautiful cry i have ever heard in my entire life. while they examine him he is crying and crying. i call out to him and he stops crying immediately. HE KNOWS MY VOICE! this is unreal. i can’t believe this is happening. he has been born and he is mine.
3:55 pm: they put my tiny amazing beautiful son on my chest and i just stare at him and he at me. it is a moment i have no words for. he is here. he is perfectly healthy and they just saved his life and i am overfuckingwhelmed.
november 30th 2017
it’s been almost three months since that day. i am exhausted and emotional and absolutely amazed and grateful. processing my emergency c-section was hard. it wasn’t what i wanted. it wasn’t how i foresaw things going. i wanted to experience a vaginal birth SO BADLY. i wanted to feel him coming out of my body. to work for it. to earn it. to be a badass fertility goddess and a birthing wonder.
i am reassured that, in the end, there was a stupid cord that got in the way, rather than a failure on my body’s part. my body was working SO HARD to push him out, while due to an accidental occurrence, it was simultaneously holding him in. isn’t that just the way life is? opposing forces usually originate within ourselves. things are never perfectly the way we want, but they are actually perfect.
if i hadn’t had the epidural when i did, i would have been put under general anesthesia and i wouldn’t have been awake for my son’s birth.
because of the epidural i was able to initiate breastfeeding within minutes of his birth. with some help from the nurses of course, because it took a while for me to be able to feel anything from my chest down. for the first two hours of his life, my son was in my arms nursing at will. we were able to snuggle and bond. and he has turned out to be a champion eater.
the fact that i had a c-section was really hard at first. but i’m ok. and it’s ok. i wouldn’t trade my sweet baby boy for anything else in the world. my heart is overflowing. he is perfect and beautiful and i am SO grateful that the hospital staff was watching us so closely and that they were able to save his life. and mine. we are fortunate beyond measure.
motherhood is wild and weird and exhausting and amazing. and i really truly love it.