My birth story with my first-born son may sound dramatic for some, but I had nothing to compare it to. My pregnancy with F had been relatively uncomplicated. Other than a brief hospitalization around week 8 due to pneumonia I just couldn’t kick to the curb on my own and some spotting in early pregnancy, it had been a smooth ride.
On Friday before I gave birth (I gave birth on a Wednesday), I had gone to the doctors to do a stretch and sweep, a procedure to encourage labour. Even though my mucus plug came out that night, nothing happened. After 48 hours, I essentially concluded that the procedure had failed. At this point, I was only 38.5 weeks (ish), so there was time.
My first contraction happened at 8:15 am on the following Tuesday. I would go through a whole day with contractions before heading to the hospital.
My birth story: I was naive
AS I mention in my book, “We Need To Talk About Miscarriage: My Story of Loss, Grief, Acceptance, and Fertility Treatments,” I was naive about this pregnancy. I never thought about the fact that something could go wrong. I knew miscarriages and stillbirths were a thing, but I never thought they would happen to me.
This fear will make more sense when you read my second birth story with my second son, N.
Contractions and pizza
Before heading to the hospital, I got my husband back home from work. He was so excited, but he needed to have dinner before we made any big moves. He ordered a pizza and gobbled it down so fast so we could head to the hospital.
Once we arrived, the contractions started to increase in intensity, but they were all over the place. They had been so irregular all day. 2 minutes. 5 minutes, 7 minutes. 1 minute, 8 minutes. 3 minutes. I even tracked via an app and there was no pattern. The nurses kept me in observation for 5 hours before finally admitting me and giving me an epidural.
Then, we relaxed. It was now past midnight, but I was only a few centimeters dilated. A doctor came in, broke my water, and asked me to get some rest. They would check me again in the morning. The contractions kept me up, but I managed to rest a little. That’s a hard thing to do when you are just hours away from meeting your first child.
Push, push, push – no, don’t push, don’t push, don’t push!
At 2 pm the following day, we decided it was time to push. Contractions were regular and consistent and I had dilated to a full 10 centimeters. And I pushed. And pushed. And pushed.
After 2.5 hours of pushing, the nurse guessed that he had gotten stuck. She would inquire about a c-section. Then, the doctor came in and told me that there were 5 c-sections before me, all surgeries that were emergency surgeries. I wanted for another 3 hours before being rolled into the operating room. Within 45 minutes, he was here.
I had gotten so much medicine through my epidural that I felt absolutely nothing. The only thing I felt was the doctors pushing to get my placenta out. They were pushing down on my stomach and since I had protected my stomach for 9 months, it simply felt wrong. I ended up turning my head towards my husband and saying “I don’t feel so good” before puking. I got puke in my ear and hair, but I was just so happy that my son was out.
Needless to say, the c-section ended up being an emergency c-section because I had waited for so long. When F was removed from me, he had to be resuscitated. I remember asking my husband why he wasn’t crying and he said, “don’t worry about it. Everything is fine.” He actually thought everything was fine.
He turned out to be more than just fine. He is perfect.
Despite having an emergency c-section, I felt happy. I had nothing to compare my experience to. It wasn’t until I was placed in my room with another woman that I realized how simple childbirth could be compared to mine. She was in shock when she heard everything I had been through. She listened to a conversation I had with my doctor who came to see me after. Yes, you don’t have much privacy in those rooms.
As it turns out, I did have some complications after the emergency c-section. I had internal bleedings for months. Even after 5 months, I was still bleeding a lot. This kind of odd recovery affects every aspect of your life. You’re weak and tired, you can’t go swimming with your son after three months, and it hurts to be intimate. Everything suffered. I also couldn’t feel large portions of my stomach for a long time. Yes, my birth story for F is much more than your average birth story. This birth story is actually about recovery from a harsh birth with lots of complications. Not exactly your ideal birth story.
After almost a year, I started to feel normal again. It wasn’t until a year later that we started talking about baby # 2.
You can read more about my personal experiences on Little Munchkins.