Sunday, December 9, 2018

My birth story

As many of you know, I gave birth to my son on March 6th 2015. He is my first child, and after two years of trying to conceive, having 2 miscarriages, we were finally blessed with our son CJ.

My pregnancy was normal by all accounts, normal amount of morning sickness, weight gain, blood pressure etc..., so I was expecting a normal as possible birth as well, but unfortunately I got anything but.

In my doctors appointments in the weeks leading to my due date the midwife had indicated that CJ was "sunny side up" meaning that normally babies are born with their faces toward your back, CJ was turned so that his face was turned toward the front. I tried to research this information, and discussed it with my doula, but was really not well informed or prepared for what that would ultimately mean.

My last doctors appointment was 3 days after my official "due date" but I wasn't worried, I knew from lots of research that about 70% of first time births occur after the due date, he would come when he was ready. The midwife asked to do a cervical check, which up until that point I had declined, but I allowed it at this last appoint. I was dilated to a 2, no effacement. She asked if she could rupture my membranes, so which I declined. The cervical check felt very uncomfortable, and I remember wondering if she had done it anyways, but my doula later told me that she didn't - it would have been much worse then I described.

It was a Wednesday for my doctors appointment, and I had taken the day off so that I could rest and recuperate but had planned to go to work the remainder of the week. I went to bed and woke up at 3AM to strong contractions. I labored with intermittent contractions until 6:00AM before my husband called my doula to come assist. I had planned to labor at home until I was much farther along in my labor, near the point of transition and then making my way to the hospital.

I tried to relax as much as possible, took a shower and tried to eat, but my contraction pain was unbearable, having what I now know as "back labor" due to my son being turned the wrong way - his skull was pressing down on my spine with each contraction causing a very sharp shooting pain in my back with each contraction.

My doula arrived at 8:00am. She had also suspected that CJ was turned the wrong way - and had suggested some positions of laboring to encourage him to roll over into the proper position, we attempted 3-4 positions of laboring until about 3:00pm that day, as my labor slowly progressed. I got into a situation where I was starting to having regular 4 minute interval contractions and the pain was becoming very intense, so I was hoping that we were close.

We arrived at the hospital only for me to discover to my dismay that I was only dilated to a 3. I persevered and continued to labor, unassisted in both the tub and in a standing position until about 7:00pm that evening, where I was finally convinced to use Pitocin and receive an epidural. Coming to terms with the fact that I would not be having an unmedicated birth was soul crushing for me, I had intended to give birth naturally and tired to mentally prepare myself for other possibilities, but in the end I was crushed when the decision to use medication was reached, I felt like a failure and I felt defeated, which I think also affected the remainder of my labor and delivery, looking back on it now.

The Pitocin and epidural slowed my labor process down even  more, and I didn't reach 10cm until about 5:00pm the following day, the epidural kept wearing off, and I was experiencing something known as "dead spots" where spots of my abdomen had complete feeling, while other spots did not - and while continuing to have back labor - was not providing much relief from the pain at all, they ended up redoing my epidural twice. By this point I had labored for about 41 hours at that point, I was beyond exhausted when it finally came time to push.

I pushed for a full hour, every contraction, without taking a break, and he barely crowned, he was stuck. I started to experience a rapid drop in blood oxygen levels from exertion, and I started to spike a fever. The baby's heart rate began to rise rapidly as well, and so they told me I would need to have an emergency C-section at that point.

When a baby becomes stressed during labor they will actually poop of some of the meconium in their systems, and the doctors told me that this had happened during my labor at some point, and combined with my fever they were worried that the baby was developing an infection. I did not hesitate to agree to the C-section at this point, I was barely conscious and I was not in my right mind at all. I can remember when they told me that I needed to consent to the C-Section I just broke down and began balling with my husband, it felt like forever, but we just cried in each others arms; relieved, scared, defeated, worried - every emotion was going through my mind.

I can distinctly remember thinking that I was too tired to stay awake for the surgery and being worried that I would miss the birth of my son from my overwhelming exhaustion. The doctors had to change my epidural medication to something stronger - for fear that I would feel the surgery take place - something that at the time I couldn't care less about - but in retrospect, should have been terrified given the dead spots I had experienced earlier.

The prep and surgery took less than 30 minutes and my son was born at 7:27PM. When my son was handed to me I had to focus all of my energy on not dropping him, and I had to hand him back to my husband because I was so scared I would. I kept slipping in and out of consciousness and tried to rest as much as possible while they stitched me back up.

In the recovery room I wanted to do skin to skin as quickly as possible, so they striped him naked and laid him on my chest, where he proceeded to poop out a large quantity of that tar like meconium all over me, but I didn't mind at all. I finally had my perfect little miracle and I knew that we would be alright after that. We both lost our fevers, and while I had to remain on oxygen for the next 24 hours to get my blood oxygen levels back to normal, everything else worked out fine.

This also marks that start of my continued (still one year later) deficit of sleep, for which I feel I will never fully recover. We ended up leavng the hospital a day early because the nursing staff would not stop waking us up to mess with us, and I wasn't getting any recuperating rest during our stay. My son is a horrible sleeper as it is - and I am just now starting to get consistent full nights sleep one year later.

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