Let me start by saying that every birth story is special, despite if it turned out the way you wanted or expected or not. Our bodies are truly amazing and to bring another human into the world is a true feat. While Heidi’s birth didn’t go the way I had envisioned, she’s here and she’s healthy and I’m healing quickly so I’m choosing to see it positively.
I wanted to document Heidi’s birth before the details fade more than they already have in her first three weeks on this earth. I won’t make it graphic but it is a birth story so here we go…
I had an OBGYN appointment and ultrasound scheduled for the 22nd of December, a few days after my due date to make sure everything was still ok with my amniotic fluid levels and placenta. I knew there was a possibility of having to be induced that day but everything had been so great for my entire pregnancy up until that point so even though in the back of my mind I knew there was a chance I sort of dismissed it. Well, less than two minutes into the ultrasound the tech informed us she was going to send us to the hospital that day to be checked in for an induction. I immediately started crying. I wanted my baby girl to come when she was ready, wanted my body to naturally go into labor, wanted to labor in the comfort of our home with my husband. Not to mention I wasn’t mentally prepared that day. I’m supposed to have a few more days at least, I thought to myself.
The next thing I knew we were headed home to pick up our bags, meeting with my doctor and getting admitted. The first few hours we were in a tiny room where nurses were monitoring me while we waited for a labor and delivery room to free up (apparently late December is a pretty busy time of year for births).
It was about 2pm when we got checked in and I was so hungry. We had a late breakfast and had planned on grabbing lunch after my appointment but I was instructed that I couldn’t eat because of the induction. Well, at about 5pm we were still in the small room and somehow it was decided I wouldn’t be induced until midnight so I was cleared to eat. At that point my mom was headed up to the hospital and I requested Chick-Fil-A for my “last meal”.
Shortly afterward we were moved into a nice big L&D room and the next few hours were spent killing time chatting and watching TV.
At midnight our nurse started me on pitocin to get things going. I was about 3cm dilated to start. I labored for about 4 hours until I was 5cm. The contractions were coming about every 4-5 minutes and while they were pretty uncomfortable they weren’t unbearable but it was almost 4am by that point and I was so tired. I decided I didn’t think I could go however many more hours with increasing pain and no sleep and be able to push when the time came so I asked for the epidural.
Let me tell you, while the pain subsides after the epidural, getting it placed hurt like eff. It seemed like it only worked on one side at first so the anesthesiologist had to adjust it, working between my 3 minute apart contractions.
After that I was more relaxed and was able to get about 2-3 hours of sleep. When I woke up we realized my water had broken. There was a window of time that was fuzzy to me, I suppose as a result of being exhausted and on meds.
Next thing I knew it was about noon and I was 9.5cm. I somehow developed a fever so I was being monitored more closely as it was time to start pushing. I felt every urge to push as the contractions were coming and I was pushing like hell with all my determination. Baby girl was in posterior position, meaning her head was down but facing up, so the doctor was in there trying to flip her to be face down. She was able to rotate her but after two hours of pushing it was evident that this little one was just not going to fit. I wanted to refuse that it wasn’t going to happen naturally but my mom and Chris saw where she was getting stuck and both told me that the doctor was right. The doctor had been super encouraging and patient with me but at that point she was suggesting that I go in for a c-section for the safety of me and the baby and before more happened down there so I wouldn’t be nursing two wounds.
They let our parents come in one at a time to kiss me before going into the operating room. I was balling. Again, not how I wanted things to go but I was praying and trying my darnedest to be flexible and reassure myself it would be well worth it the moment she arrived.
The OR was so cold and Chris was escorted to another room to get scrubs on while they prepped me. I could hear everyone bustling about and I felt so alone and helpless laying there knowing I was about to be cut open. The nurse tending to me was so sweet, she put a heated blanket across my chest and asked what kind of music I wanted to listen to and the doctor told her we liked upbeat music because we had been listening to a playlist with artists like Major Lazer and George Ezra while I was pushing.
Soon after, Chris was in the room with me and I instantly felt secure again. I could feel tugging and pressure and could hear and smell everything and just like that I heard Heidi’s little cry for a few short seconds. SHE’S HERE!! Praise Jesus!! Our sweet baby girl was finally here after the most challenging 24 hours of my life.
But again, I was in for disappointment. They whisked her away to clean her up and get her measurements and such. But because of my fever earlier, my placental infection and our different blood types she needed to go to the NICU for antibiotics. I didn’t get the chance to take advantage of the “golden hour” or stare at the little thing I had just worked so hard to bring into the world. Again, a crying mess. I guess I should have mentioned that I’m a pretty sensitive person as is, in addition to all the extra hormones that were pumping through me at that point.
Chris was able to go with her to NICU and stay with her while they stitched me up. Afterward I was taken to the post partum unit to rest and wait. And wait. And wait. I was able to see family but Heidi wouldn’t be brought up to our room until about 5 or 6 hours later. It felt like forever and I was hurting and feeling sad.
Once I had her in my arms I never wanted to let go! She was so pathetic looking with all the monitor cords hanging from her and her little IV splint. But what a strong little human at the same time.
The next three days in the hospital were some of the hardest I’ve ever experienced. I was so swollen and could hardly move because of my incision. I never could give myself enough credit that I had just had a major surgery done. Getting in and out of bed was a chore. We so take for granted being able to do simple things like going to the bathroom. We also had some challenges with breastfeeding and latching to start as she had been given formula in the NICU and I was pumping to supplement with colostrum.
I am eternally grateful for the care that the nurses provided to me, emotionally just as much as physically (because I was a crying mess several times). I could also never thank Chris enough for being so supportive and helpful and for seeing past the unattractive things he had to see as my body began to mend and learn how to provide for our new baby.
Child birth is a process and while it’s definitely a thrill it also comes with its challenges and things you just have to experience to understand. We had educated ourselves before the actual labor and delivery but even then no one tells you all the details. You could probably never be completely prepared for this sort of thing. But then again, sometimes ignorance is bliss!
I was glad I didn’t have a birth plan that I was married to. I had a vision for what I wanted but ultimately I knew I wasn’t in control, just like I wasn’t really in control throughout pregnancy. I’ve learned time and again that God has a way of working things out and our story is no less special than the next so there’s no reason to beat myself up over something that wasn’t fully in my hands.