When my husband and I went to bed on Sunday night July, 11th and I was 2 days passed my due date, we were both discouraged we had to start another week without our baby. When I got up in the middle of the night for a routine bathroom break, I got back into bed and while trying to get comfortable felt a tug in my belly. It was the strangest sensation, almost like someone plucked a guitar cord inside me. Though not painful at all, the feeling was so strong I could almost hear it. I thought nothing of it, but was putting myself back to sleep thinking about labor for the millionth time and when it happened again, my water broke about 1.5 seconds later. I had heard it could be a gush or a trickle and in my case, a “gush” was an understatement. I hopped right up and yelled to my husband “it’s happening it’s happening!”.
After getting up and washing a load of sheets, we started getting ourselves and our things ready to go. My contractions started about a half hour later and didn’t feel any different than the ones I had been having on and off for the previous couple of weeks. The only difference this time was that they were consistently coming about seven to eight minutes apart. They started getting a little bit stronger right away too. We left our house and headed to the hospital about an hour after my water broke and did a little bit of waiting there. By the time we got into our room at around 6am, I needed my husband’s help through each contraction. Lisa checked me I was only dilated to 3 ½. I thought (I was hoping) I would for sure be at least 5cm. Nope. But, I kept laboring and taking each contraction one at a time. I got in the tub right away and that felt great!! Believe it or not, sitting in the squat position over the toilet felt really relieving too. So for the next few hours I went back and forth between the two. After having the urge to push Lisa checked me again and she said I was 7-8cm now. It was about 9:30am and we realized labor was moving along fairly quickly for me! That was such an encouraging place to be. Knowing that I had done the work and gotten that far, made me feel like I could do it the rest of the way. About an hour and a half after that the urge to push was coming a little bit more frequently. Tiffany was taking care of me at this point and she decided to check and I was dilated to 9cm! That was awesome! At that point different people started coming in and getting the room ready for delivery. I started thinking, “I’m so going to be holding this baby by noon, and you’re practically done!”
Now, the urge to push was coming every couple of contractions and there is no way you cannot bear down when your body is doing what mine was doing. Tiffany checked me again and this time the news was much less encouraging. I could see the look on her face and as I was laying there in the tub she said “Well, you’re still a 9…and since you’re not fully dilated and you’re having the urge to push, your cervix is swelling”. That was a blow I was not prepared for. I had gotten so far and in my mind I was so close to the finish line!! At that point Tiffany was suggesting that I get an epidural and pretty much the only way to avoid doing it, would be to resist the urge to push and lay down on my side until the swelling went down…how ever long that would take. My contractions at this point in labor were really interesting. I was having several that I could sit and breathe through and then one or two that were really intense and gave me the urge to push. My husband asked Tiffany to go out and talk and when he came back he and I talked and we agreed that the epidural was what needed to happen. The anesthesiologist was called but I gave myself a mental pep talk and thought, “Okay, it was mental you can get through them, don’t push! If you can go without pushing until she gets here then you don’t need the epidural!” Right then I was having several less intense contractions that I was able to relax and breathe through. Then, as the anesthesiologist walked in I remember bearing down yelling “I have to push”. That was just confirmation that we were doing the right thing. So, I got the epidural and laid on my side for three hours switching from side to side every half hour.
Sure enough, the epidural did what it needed to do and the swelling went down and my cervix completely dilated. Yay! At this point the baby was at a +1 station and they decided that they wanted him to come down just a little bit further before I began pushing. I really wasn’t able to feel hardly a thing with the epidural so it was fine with me to wait. After another two hours the baby hadn’t come down any further so one of the nurses came in and we started pushing. Pushing with the epidural was a lot different than I was expecting. The nurse told me I was doing great, but I wasn’t able to feel like I could get a good grip since my legs were dead weight and I was numb everywhere. At first the nurse’s input was really encouraging and she kept saying what a great job I was doing, but the pushing seemed to be getting longer and longer and longer and her responses started to change a little bit. After an hour and a half Tiffany came back in and wanted to “observe” my pushing and I knew something was up. We tried some different positions and she told me my pushing was great. That was a relief to hear. Then she checked me and told me that the baby was transverse so every time I pushed he would hit my pelvis and turtle his way back up. That was causing his poor little head to swell and although it wasn’t harmful to him at this point, she could only let me go for another half hour before he needed to be out.
When she informed me of this, I knew I was in for a c-section. I remember looking at her and saying “just tell me”. And, she did. She told me I was doing a great job, but that she was out of tricks and techniques and there was just no way the baby going to make it out vaginally. I instantly felt disappointed in myself and like a failure. My husband asked to have another word with Tiffany and she explained it all to him. After my husband came back and we had a few minutes to ourselves to talk and accept what needed to happen, we surrendered to the c-section. Tiffany came back in she reassured me of how great I did laboring and that we weren’t giving up, we were just doing what needed to happen now.Still pretty disappointed we prepared for the c-section and my 8 pound 14.2 ounce, lopsided-cone headed; baby boy was born at 8:46pm that evening. Hearing his cry was a miracle. He was healthy and finally here.
I didn’t get the experience that I had wanted going into labor, but my experience was amazing nonetheless. I’m so grateful that I was able to experience labor without drugs up to 9cm and even after having an epidural I was still able to experience what pushing was like too. That being said, one of the most important things that I learned throughout this process was how important it is to be able to trust your caregiver. Tiffany wanted me to be able to deliver my baby just as naturally as my husband and I did. She did everything she knew how to do to get us there, but thankfully; she was wise and experienced enough to know when it just wasn’t going to happen. Her goals were my goals and because we did everything that we could physically do to reach them, we didn’t give up and I didn’t fail. For that, I am grateful that Dr. Martin was able to perform a c-section to deliver my beautiful son, Noah. He didn’t come the way that we had hoped, but he came the way he needed to. It would have been nice to have a natural childbirth experience, but I wouldn’t change the experience that I had for anything. I learned so much about myself throughout the entire process. Labor and delivery is an amazing experience no matter what, but thankfully, Bethany’s does VBAC’s and I’ll get to try it all again next time! I’m anxious and looking forward to it already