Our pregnancy was anything but smooth sailing (that story is one for another time) and the delivery would prove to follow the same story line. Our delivery almost came as unexpected as most do, but at my 30 week appointment we were told that we might be meeting our baby that day! During an ultrasound it was discovered that our baby had restricted growth and we were immediately sent to the hospital for more tests and observation. After an overnight stay at the hospital for a 24 hour observation and some steroid shots to boost the baby’s lung growth, my doctor felt comfortable letting me go home and not delivering. However, I did have to start twice weekly non-stress tests, ultrasounds and visits with my doctor to monitor the baby’s growth and health. Note: we didn’t find out the gender until that little babe was delivered so you will see me only referring to the baby in a neutral term.
As the weeks and visits went by, my doctor discussed with us her decision to set an induction date at 38 weeks (which is technically full term). Even though I was being induced and the plan was to deliver naturally we did discuss that there was the possibility of a c-section. My husband and I said as long as the baby arrives healthy and safe, we were on board with any type of delivery. We went in on a Sunday evening to start the induction process, I was given the first round of medicine that night, and I would receive the next round of medicine Monday morning. After the second round is when things should really start moving along but this roller coaster pregnancy story wouldn’t end with a smooth delivery! Spoiler alert - labor didn’t start kicking into gear after my second round of medicine.
After the initial dosage of the second round of medicine my body wasn’t reacting, which means I wasn't starting to move along with dilation. My doctor tried increasing the dosage, decreasing the dosage, and increasing again throughout the day but dilation just wasn’t increasing as it should. Eventually I received an epidural (even though I wasn’t that far along with dilation - it was more to help with the pain from the medicine.) I had a fabulous team of nurses taking care of me over the course of my hospital stay and they turned into a little cheerleading team to help keep us encouraged. My husband stayed with me the entire time except for two instances when he left the room for maybe 5 minutes. The first time he left, I got sick from the epidural and when he walked in and saw the nurse helping to clean things up... he thought something had happened (I had eaten red popsicles!) The second time he left the room, my heart rate dropped and I started to get light headed, so when he walked in I was wearing an oxygen mask and a team of nurses was checking all vitals on myself and the baby. From that point on, the poor guy was nervous to even go to the bathroom, even though it was in our room!
For those of you that don’t know about epidurals, once you have one you feel nothing from your waist down. At one point my doctor came in to talk to us and she took a seat right on the edge of my bed. When she stood up her pant leg was all wet and she couldn’t figure what had happened. We then noticed my bed was completely wet...turns out my water had broken but with the epidural I had no idea! Even with my water broken, I still wasn’t dilating at the rate I was expected to having been induced. Therefore, my doctor said they would continue to monitor my dilation and vitals and if I wasn’t in labor by morning we would move forward with a c-section. My doctor had two surgeries already scheduled for the next day and unfortunately wouldn’t be able to perform the c-section herself. She told us she was leaving for the day and would check in with the nurses throughout the evening. She also told us she would stop by in the morning to see us before our respective surgeries. It was a little surreal to think we had been through so much this entire pregnancy and my doctor had been there for just about every high and low but now she wouldn’t be there for the delivery.
The nurses advised me to try and get as much sleep as possible (which was nearly impossible from all the adrenaline and constant parade of nurses coming in to check vitals.) At around 3am, a few nurses came in to let us know that my doctor was on her way in and I was going in for surgery at 5am. As promised, my doctor had been monitoring myself and the baby all night and made the call to move up the surgery. She also said there was no way she was missing the delivery and the baby’s arrival! The next two hours were a blur as the team of nurses and anesthesiologist (for the spinal tap) started to prep me for surgery. It was a bit surreal because the last few days had been going so slowly and now it was gametime!
After 34 hours in labor, we delivered a happy and healthy little girl! We always knew a c-section was a possibility and we were 100% okay with that option if it was necessary...as long as the baby was safe, healthy, and delivered in the way that was best for the baby and myself. What I didn’t realize until after I gave birth was how many people there are with very negative (and frankly awful) things to say about c-sections and even the women that have them. Some even say it’s the “easy way out.” When it is a medical decision and all you want to do is welcome your baby in the best way, does it really matter how they enter the world?! It is shameful to put any mother down that has gone through a c-section. Let me tell you, there is nothing easy about the actual surgery (major surgery I will add) or the recovery (physically, mentally and emotionally.)
To all my fellow c-section mamas out there - don’t ever be ashamed you didn’t have a natural birth! You were doing what was the best and safest option for the health of you and your baby. And everyone gets comfortable with their scar on their own time. Some days you love it and others days...maybe not so much. But remember - your scar is a sign of your strength, love and of being a bad ass mama!