Tag Archives: c-section

Because I Can Never Do Anything “Right”: A Birthing Story

I guess I had always imagined that when my water broke, there would be this dramatic deluge of liquid coming from between my legs. That’s how they show it on TV anyway. In reality, it doesn’t happen like that. Most people have it manually done at the hospital, like I did my first time. So color me confused when I began to feel liquid slow leaking from my nether-regions on a random Monday.

I don’t know why I couldn’t rationalize that I was in labor. Like…duh. I was two weeks out from my due date, I had already started nesting at home, and here I sit, at work clueless, waiting for the situation to resolve itself. Except it didn’t. I finally decided that my situation was getting a little too “liquidy”, and just maybe a little abnormal. So I drove myself to the OB’s office expecting to be checked out and sent home to rest or something. Instead, she sent me straight to the hospital. Do not collect $200, do not pass “Go”. As a card-carrying member of procrastinators-r-us, I didn’t have a bag packed or any arrangements made for someone to watch my son like a smart, prepared mother would, because well…me.

Three hours later, I finally make it to the hospital. I was able to relax for a quick second before my doctor and nurse came in and started explaining what was about to go down. Apparently I’d been having some pretty healthy contractions already. “Oh? Contractions that you can’t feel?” I thought to myself. This is would be easier than I thought!

You see, some of you may remember that I had an emergency c-section with my first, and I was adamant about trying for a “normal” birth this time–very risky, as is having several c-sections. So, to avoid complications, my doctor advised that I wait until I was 4cm dilated before I got my epidural. Piece of cake right? I’m already having contractions that I can’t feel, so getting to 4cm without pain med’s should be a breeze…RIGHT?!

But then…ohhh but THEN. She started talking some mess about me not being dilated at all.  The solution? A foley bulb. They attach a plastic balloon to the end of a catheter, insert that into your cervix and blow it up with saline, or water, or whatever they use. Sounds fun, huh? Not only did that process feel like hell, but Helllloooo contractions! *waves* I can feel you now! AND I can’t even get an epidural until this ball has stretched my cervix to 5cm and it falls out on its own. So I sucked up the pain for the rest of the day…and overnight…and well into the next day until the bulb fell out.

This is a foley bulb. Use your imagination.

This is a foley bulb. Use your imagination.

I was so relieved to finally be cleared to get an epidural, that I almost didn’t notice I wasn’t in pain anymore! I considered asking for the epidural anyway as a precaution, but hubs coached me to continue “thugging it out”. The pain had subsided anyway, so I tested my gangsta and held off, because I’m trill like that.

But THEN, they started me on a Pitocin drip. And this is where it got real. Pitocin is a drug that basically makes your contractions stronger so they can be more effective. Part of the reason I had to get a c-section last time is because my contractions weren’t strong enough to progress me past 8cm. You can’t push until 10.

Anyway, the pain drastically increased, but I thugged it out like hubs said, until it became unbearable. I quickly traded my gangsta credentials and asked for my epidural, complete with my own button to push when I needed an extra dose of it. All was well…for like 15 minutes until the pain slowly crept its way back in. Y’all. When you get an epidural, you’re not supposed to be able to feel anything from the waist down. I knew something was wrong when I could still feel my legs, not to mention those damn contractions. So I asked epidural guy to come back and he did, armed with another dose of epidural straight into my back. I wait and wait for the pain to go away and for the sensation in my legs to disappear. It didn’t. Guys…GUYS. My epidural wasn’t working and the pain was kicking in.  And guess what? The doctor said I couldn’t have another one. By this time, I’m like 9cm. 1 more cm to go. I had to quickly come to terms with the fact that I was about to complete my birthing experience without effective pain meds. Cute. Sure people do it all the time, but I hate it had to be me.

Maybe 30 minutes later I let the entire floor know that I was ready to push. The doctor finally comes in and is basically like “Ok girl,well prop your legs up and push.” Just like that, huh? Did I tell y’all my epidural wasn’t working?

Anyway, I pushed for about 5 minutes and out popped Monroe and that was that. And no I didn’t poop on the table, you nasties. Now give me my gangsta cred back.

That's all folks!

That’s all folks!

 

 

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The Last Time I Really Felt Cheated

After the initial anxiety of pregnancy subsides (very quickly). You begin to bubble over with excitement about the prospect of nurturing and raising a child of your very own. Images of toting around little mini-you, or mini-him dance around in your head, and on top of the hour you normally spend in Target, tack on an extra 45 minutes for wandering aimlessly around the baby section. What will I teach him or her? How will I feel when I hear “Ma-Ma” for the first time? Will I cry at the sight of first steps? (picture that, me? cry?) But first, you have to actually BIRTH  the child. Go through labor and delivery. The hard stuff.

When the third trimester announces itself with sleepless nights and swollen feet, the anxiety comes back full-force. This time it’s all about pain. I wonder what that first REAL contraction will feel like? So…you’re going to stick THAT needle in my back? Wait…you may have to manually break my water? EPISIOTOMY!? *wide eyes* But you try to remain calm because, well…you have no choice. The baby has to exit your body one way or the other, and you may as well feel like you have some semblance of control over how this happens. Come up with a birthing plan, they said. It will make you feel more comfortable, they said.

Fine.

So this was my plan:

Hospital birth because I wanted to be around Doctors and have access to pain medication and emergency intervention

Epi-DAMN-dural Because are you out of your mind? I’m not passing 7 lbs of human flesh and bones through my barely-there hips, without ALL of the pain meds. Just no. Idc.

Go into labor naturally as in, not inducing the labor. I wanted to let the baby bake as long as he needed to, even if it was past his due date.

THAT’S IT! Simple requests right?

Well, boy was I shaking in my boots, when the Dr. came in around my 44th hour of active labor and said

” We’re going to have to do a cesarean”

She said some other stuff like “the baby’s heart rate…” and “…water being broken for too long” but that was all a blur. All I heard was cesarean. I. Did. Not. Plan. For. This.

I’ve prepared my mind to push, now you’re telling me that I don’t get to push, but instead I will lie awake on an operating table while you slice my stomach open, remove organs, yank my baby out, put said organs back, and then STAPLE me closed. Like…why is this even a thing?

But I had no choice. My plan was out the window and I was being wheeled into the operating room for an emergency c-section. I “delivered” a healthy, alert baby boy and for that I was so thankful. But after that pain medication wears off? Yea, that’s when you realize that you have 14 staples going across your stomach. Standing up straight? Fuggedaboutit. Walking? Laughable. And even after the super-tough two-week long recovery.  I still couldn’t help but feel weak compared to the other moms that got to push.I felt like I didn’t do any work,  I felt cheated out of my birthing experience.

My little burrito. Fresh out of the oven.

My little burrito. Fresh out of the oven.

This morning, a friend that I grew up with and his girlfriend delivered their second baby boy. It was especially sweet to see him speak so highly of her strength, and to see her speak so highly of his support during her labor and delivery.  I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of jealousy. Not at their beautiful exchange of love and support, but simply at the fact that my husband and I didn’t get to exchange that type of praise. Was I still strong even though I didn’t do the hard work that most other women do? Was I still strong even though I didn’t get to physically bring my child into the world by my own force? No matter how hard I know a c-section was on my body, I still feel less-than, around all of the other warrior moms who didn’t get an epidural and pushed for hours, or even pushed for minutes. I feel like pushing is a mother’s rite-of-passage. I missed mine, and I may never get the chance at it.

I’ll never forget binge-watching documentaries on birthing, where the resounding theme was.

“I am a woman. I can do this. My body was made for this.”

Here I am, with a body that God designed perfectly for birthing children, and for whatever reason, I couldn’t do it on my own. My body WAS made for this…right?

The feeling that my body didn’t do what it was designed to do is unshakable. And I’m still jealous of all of you whose bodies did do what they were supposed to. But I have my son, and he’s everything. Besides, there are at least two pros to a non-vaginal delivery: I didn’t have to worry about my son’s head being mis-shaped while passing through the birth canal, AND since I didn’t have to deliver him vaginally, I’m still perfectly in tact, if you know what I mean. *wink wink* And that’s quite alright with me.

 

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