This is the story about Joelle’s birthday. And how a few minutes out of many hours and days can make the good out weigh the bad.
My first daughter, Corrine, was a breech baby meaning she wasn’t in the head down position. Unfortunately, she would be delivered via a scheduled c-section. I never experienced labor and felt cheated out of the initiation into motherhood. I wanted to know what it felt like to push and have my newborn be laid on my chest only being seconds old.
With my second pregnancy I found a doctor that would support my efforts for a VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean section). She said I was the perfect candidate as long as baby #2 was positioned properly. Thankfully, she was.
As the end of my pregnancy drew near, I started getting anxious and antsy. Although it was my second pregnancy, it would be my body’s first time going through labor and delivery. I wondered what it was going to be like, how I was going to handle the pain and if I was strong enough. I joked with friends that I was going to regret choosing to experience the pain of labor once I really felt what it was like (they were right).
Labor started really slow for me with mild sporadic contractions on Tuesday night. I tried my best to get some sleep that night because I knew that it was all about to go down. I went through my day on Wednesday including a doc’s appointment to confirm I was actually in labor. My doc said to get to the hospital when the contractions are “too much to handle”. What the hell does that mean???
Again, this part was sloooooooow to progress. A friend of mine advised me to “stay at home” for as long as I possibly could. So Dave and I walked about 2 miles around the neighborhood in the drizzling rain to get things moving. Later that night, my contractions went from a little nuisance to full on can’t talk and had to calmly breathe through them by midnight on Wednesday. Now, the contractions weren’t to the point where I wanted to scream and blame Dave for all my pain, but they were making themselves known. Mind you, Dave is now fast asleep in bed while I’m taking these contractions on one by one in the recliner in Joelle’s nursery. I thought it was fitting to experience the labor she was causing me in her room.
I finally decided these contractions were “too much to handle” at about 2 am on Thursday morning. I wake up Dave telling him it was time to go. His response: “where are we going?” Are you kidding me?!?! We’re going to the freakin zoo! Glad he was getting his rest!
We made it to the hospital only to be told I wasn’t that far along but my contractions were too frequent to send me home but they couldn’t admit me yet. We had to walk the empty halls of the hospital at 3am for 90 minutes. That was creepy. Walking worked somewhat and thankfully they admitted me to labor and delivery. We were escorted upstairs to our room.
After another 4 hours of walking the hallways upstairs, I had only progressed to 4cm. Probably should have worn my pedometer. I bet we walked 5 or so miles. The lack of progress really got to me and this was my breaking point. I had been up since 5:15am the day before and the thought of laboring for hours and then pushing the baby out gave me a panic attack. My doctor gave me the choice to either go home (to a 2 year old….ya right), be induced or have breakfast and reassess afterwards. I chose option 3.
Hospital food isn’t that great but I hadn’t eaten since 6pm the night before, anything tasted good. I tried to nap but those damn contractions had just enough edge to keep my absolute full attention. They were getting to the point where I would curse and pace around the room. I was sure something had changed in that hour.
Nope! Still at 4 cm. I wanted to scream!
I had an open mind when it came to my birth “plan” or lack there of. I said I would take it one step at a time and be open to all my options to help me. When my doc recommended a small dose of pitocin to speed it up, I said bring on the epidural please. I wanted to feel what it was like to be in labor but honestly, I was scared of pitocin induced contractions.
My nurse anesthetist was my new best friend. The epidural allowed me to actually close my eyes and get some rest for the next part. Without it, I don’t think I could have found the strength for what was to come.
Although I never slept, I doozed a little but I spent alot of time preparing myself mentally with positive affirmations while Dave was on the couch watching videos of Will Ferrel and Kevin Hart. Glad he was entertained 🙂
Fast forward to when I was complete and ready to push. That’s when the nerves started to kick in. Could I do it? Would she get stuck? How would it feel? I told the doc flat out that I was nervous so she reassured me that I was ready. This was the moment I was waiting for.
I started pushing and right away my doc could see the baby’s head. She asked if I wanted to know her hair color. Now, Corrine is the spitting image of Dave with her blonde hair and blue eyes. My doc knew I wanted this baby to look like me. With a huge grin on her face she said “she’s got brown hair.” That was all the motivation I needed to push her out. I wanted to meet my daughter that could possibly look like me.
The moment she was placed on my chest was one of the best moments in my life. I had finally felt what it was like to push my child out. And let me tell you, I felt like a bad ass. I felt so empowered. That’s the feeling I wanted and those moments made what came next all worth it.
Sparing you the gory details, I had major complications involving a significant amount of blood loss, almost 3 times the average amount. My doc took 90 minutes to control and repair the bleeding in which my blood pressure was at one point 62/20. That was the scariest feeling. Dave of course saw everything and didn’t pass out, didn’t let me see the worry on his face or most importantly he didn’t drop Joelle.
My doctor would later tell me that this delivery made her most memorable list. I don’t know if that’s a list I want to be on! And she told me that if by chance a third baby is in the cards for us, she’s recommending the C-section and I had to agree 🙂
But that’s not the end of the story. Stay tuned for Part 2 where we encounter a couple bumps on the road to recovery.