Dear Mama To Be,
I’m sure you’ve already received bucketloads of a$$vice from people about everything pregnancy, labor and delivery and parenting related. You’ve probably heard more birth stories than you’d care to think about. If you are overwhelmed or feel like you’ve got it under contol than leave now, no hard feelings. If you are open to yet one more perspective, keep reading, and I’ll share my experience with you.
My overwhelming advice for you about labor and delivery is hope for the best, plan for the worst and know reality will be somewhere in between. almost ten years after my first delivery, I can assure that while at the time it seems momentous, in the overall picture, it is a point for reference, just like many others in your baby’s life.
Keep in mind, Fish was a Clomid baby and I wasn’t even supposed to get pregnant that cycle because my ovaries didn’t show enlargement (turns out I had a cyst masking the size of the ovary). Not only did I get pregnant that cycle, but at first, I was pregant with twins, the second sac self terminated within 10 days. I didn’t fight nearly as hard as you did for my baby, but it was work none-the-less.
Some would call my labor and delivery of Fish, a nightmare, I would call it an experience of my own making. I wouldn’t do it again (and I didn’t sort of), but I own my choices and have no regrets.
I read all of the literature about natural delivery. I’m not fond of lots of rules and I really don’t like medicine. Like you, I wanted to deliver at a birth center with limted medical intervention. I went into labor on a Thursday night and we immediately called my friend JS to come over. She and A-Man alternated by my side throughout the night. Labor started and stopped and started and stopped. Come morning we sent JS home. Labor started and stopped through out the day. I called the birth center, they didn’t want to see me yet. The start and stop when on all day Friday and Friday night. Finally, at 11pm Friday night, the mid-wfe suggested some wine to relax me so I would sleep. I only had hard liquor in the house (not even a beer). At this time, A-man didn’t drive, and JS is a recovering alcoholic, so getting wine was out of the question. Let this be a lesson to you :).
I was BEGGING the midwife to let me come in so I could get in the tub. Ours wasn’t big enough and I was convinced that time in the water would get things moving. No go, I wasn’t far enough a long and they were short staffed.
I took a long hot shower and went to bed. Again with the start and stop labor. Saturday afternoon, I got permission for JS to take me to the Y so I could get in the pool. I swam throughout my pregnancy, so they were used to seeing me. I was right. We got in the pool and almost instantly contractions started coming at a regular interval and then buliding with intensity. We swam for an hour and then headed home. Finally I was allowed to come to the birth center. It was 7pm. I was in that soaking tub as soon as she checked me. Labor kept building, but I wasn’t getting anywhere. I rested and tubbed and nothing. Mostly the mid-wife left us alone to labor, which was what I thought I wanted. JS was growing concerned that I wasn’t progressing and after the mid-wife checked me at 3am, Jeanne followed her and advocated for me, strongly. We had notced a valley in my stomach and a tight band around my abdomen. The mid-wife thought that maybe she should call the doctor. I knew at that point, we were going to the hospital. It was more than 50 hours at that point and no doctor was going give any advice without seeing me. I was right. Part of me was dissapointed, most of me was exhausted. I knew I’d given it my best, and I just couldn’t do anymore. I remember sitting in admitting and the very young girl asking me questions and growing impatiet when I wouldn’t answer. “Contraction” A-man growled at her. A-man doesn’t growl at anyone. The doctor checked me and Fish was ok, but showing signs of fatigue as was I. “I know you don’t want a c-section, but I think it is best for both of you.” At that point, I just wanted it to be over. Then, my concern switched to A-man, medical stuff ain’t exactly his bag. I told him if he didn’t want to come in, that was ok. He said he was good, but JS would likely be a little closer to the action than he was.
They prepped me for the ER (including giving me something to empty my stomach), I vommited bile all over a nurse, lucky her. A-Man told me he called his mom and he & JS were prepped for the OR with me. I went in first and the anesthesiologist told me to roll on my right side. I told him to go to hell. Enter the world’s smallest nurse. I swear she couldn’t have been more than 4’ 8’‘ and maybe 80 lbs. soaking wet.
”Sqeeze my hand“ she said.
”I’ll hurt you.“
”Squeeze my hand“ she barked. I did and the anethesologist gave me the epidural, at which time they rolled me on my back and I promptly told him he was my best friend.
The surgery was painless. JS was right beside me and A-Man, behind her.
It’s a girl YESSSSS, I was right.
”Oh and she has the brightest blonde hair“. No shock there really.
Fish had some meconium in her lungs, so she and A-Man went to the NICU while JS stayed with me as they finished up.
They brought Fish to me in revcovery and after a little encouragement, she latched on.
Once I could move my legs, We were brought to our room. JS, went home, and Grammy and Grandpa arrived. They took A-Man back to the house and out to breakfast (where he fell asleep sitting up), Fish went to the nursery (something I had not planned on, but I was SOOOOO exhausted, I knew it was for the best).
We all got a few hours sleep and they brought her back to me to nurse. From then on, she was with us unless we went downstairs to grab a bite in the cafeteria.
All totaled, I was in labor for close to 60 hours. Fish was head down, but posterier (facing the wrong way) and there was no way she would have made it out vaginally. Because of the c-section, I had a 4 day stay at the hospital. For someone who vehemently did not want a hospital birth, I had a great hosptial experience. I even wrote a letter to the director of nursing to complement her awesome staff.
Coming out of that experience, my advice to any who asked was a) trust yourself b) listen to your body and c)remember it is the end result that matters.
Tomorrow, the arrival of Mim.