Jessica’s Cesarean Birth Story

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The top of our birth plan said our main goal was a healthy baby and healthy mommy, and that’s what we got… Just not exactly in the way we wanted it. But I can say with certainty Lexi is 100 percent worth everything we went through. Just a warning- this story is long…

The plan was for a med free birth. I read every book I could get my hands on to help prepare and we hired a doula to help us achieve our goals. I can proudly say I went though 28 hours of labor with no medication and 4 of those hours I was on pitocin… So in a way I got to experience part of the med free birth I wanted.

Lexi’s birth story started on Thursday January 19th. I was 4 days overdue and had to do labs earlier in the week to make sure my high blood pressure hadn’t turned into anything worse. I had been on bed rest 6 weeks for high blood pressure- doing labs weekly to keep it in check. At 10pm I got a call from the on duty midwife at the hospital- the labs had come back and they were showing mild pre-eclampsia. It was time to induce. If I went any longer it could be bad for both me and the baby.

Nick was on his way home already, luckily, because I was a crying mess. Neither of us slept much that night- we were too worried and excited.

We were told to come to the hospital the morning of the 20th. The midwife said either 6 or 8am. We chose 6 because we wanted to get it over with. This was the beginning of a very long 2 days.

We arrived at the hospital and the nurses looked worried. It seems there was a baby boom. We were told there was only one room left and it had no hot water. So we sat in triage for about 3 hours while they did more labs and monitored the baby and me.

We finally got a room, a very nice large one too, at about 9am. But there were too many women in labor so they couldn’t start my induction but wouldn’t let me leave. So Nick and I sat around, until finally at 4pm it was go time.

We started with Cytotec. It’s a gel to help ripen the cervix. I had to be on monitors the entire time but used wireless ones so I could walk in between each round. It made me crampy, but nothing painful. We did a round at 4, 8 and then midnight. With the midnight dose I got a sleeping pill to help me relax. Little did I know it would be the longest stretch of uninterrupted sleep I would get to this date. When I fell asleep I was having light cramps but nothing strong.

At 4am my nurse came in and let me off the monitors for a break. That’s when I noticed I was having real contractions. Nick was asleep and I didn’t want to wake him just yet so for the next 2 1/2 hours I labored in bed trying to conserve energy. Around 6am I texted our doula, Jessica, and told her I was getting close to needing her. I asked her to leave her house around 7am.

At about 6:30am I woke Nick up. I also ordered breakfast. Just before 8 my breakfast arrived but I was too preoccupied to eat. I went to the bathroom and felt a big gush- my water had broken. Nick called the nurse and she confirmed it. I went back into our room to sit on the rocking chair to eat breakfast and there went another huge gush- my water was definitely broken!

And that’s when things got fun. Just the thought of my breakfast sitting there made me sick. Jessica arrived as I finished changing my soaked yoga pants and I started throwing up. The puking would be a big theme of the day. Everything I ate and drank came back up again all day.

The contractions continued to pick up pace and soon I decided to get in the bath tub. I spent a few hours laboring there. The warm water felt great. The contractions weren’t super painful, just intense. Jessica taught me how to moan through them which helped a lot. She also made it so peaceful. She turned off the lights and lit battery operated candles. It was very relaxing.

Sometime around 11am I had a few contractions in a row where my body started bearing down. I was out of control and just pushing with everything I had. Jessica noticed the change and called our nurse Katie to come check me- I was 7 centimeters. They told me to try not to push but it was very hard. My body was taking over. Katie told us the baby was so low she was trying to push her way out even though my body wasn’t ready. Each time my body tried to push it would also make me heave. I remember sitting in the relaxing bath with candles all around throwing up into a bucket while Nick and our doula had the leave the room because I was heaving so hard! Once the contractions that made me throw up would end, I remember laughing to myself about how funny that had to look.

Even at this time I wasn’t ready to ask for medication. I was handling it just fine. Nick tells me I was laughing and joking with everyone in between contractions. I remember some of that but so much is a blur.

Around 1pm I got out of the tub and tried sitting on the toilet backwards to open up my pelvis more. Lexi didn’t like this because her heart rate dipped. I had to get back in bed for more monitoring. At this point Katie insisted I get an IV. I had avoided one until that point and I agreed. I knew it was best for Lexi.

For the next few hours Jessica helped me into various positions and I also walked the halls some- trying to get past the last 3 centimeters. All this while my wonderful nurse Lainey held the monitors on me so I could move around. I spent a lot of time in child’s pose trying to get the baby to move out of the funky position she was stuck in that was holding my labor up.

Late in the evening the on call midwife, who was more like a very cold doctor and just what I wanted to avoid by using a midwife, came in our room to check me. I still hadn’t made any progress. She suggested pitocin. It scared me but I agreed.

I don’t remember the contractions being stronger with the pit but I do remember not really getting a break. Nick says I’m crazy and it was much worse- I was pretty much screaming through them at this point though I just remember going into myself and zoning out.

After a few hours of pit and no change the midwife wanted to really up the dose. At this point I had only slept about 6 hours in nearly 2 days and needed a break. They gave me a shot of Nubain. The drug let me sleep in the 3 minutes between contractions but didn’t take away the pain. I had now been feeling the urge to push for about 8 hours and still wasn’t complete. With each contraction my body was pushing completely on it’s own. I was shaking from trying to stop it.

Around 7:30pm the midwife came in again. Still no change. She wanted to up the pit even more. I asked if she thought an epidural would relax me enough to help me along. Everyone agreed it was worth a shot.

I felt defeated and scared. I don’t even like blood draws and I was going to have a needle in my back! I was hysterical. At 8pm the most painful part of my labor began. I can honestly say the epidural was worse than the 16 hours of hard labor I went through. The numbing shot made me jump. Then the epidural felt horrible going into my back. The doctor kept wiggling it around and asking where I felt the catheter. It felt like forever. And after all that it only took away half the pain and never got rid of the urge to push. I could move my legs and lift my butt. My body was still bearing down but the pain from the contractions was lessened. But it was my last hope. The midwife told me Lexi was trying to mold through. She was lower than most babies are when it’s time to push and I still was far from that point. I hoped this would relax me enough.

Over the next 4 hours they upped the pit but it didn’t help. At midnight, a full 32 hours after the induction began, and 42 hours after we got to the hospital the midwife and doctor on call suggested a c-section. Once again I lost it. It was not what I wanted. Not what I prepared for. By this time I had developed a fever and was on antibiotics, Lexi’s heart rate was up and so was my blood pressure. I agreed but bawled my eyes out while Nick and Jessica worked to calm me. I just kept thinking- healthy baby, healthy mom.

At 1am on January 22nd we were taken to the OR. I had horribly painful contractions the entire way. Nick had to wait outside while they prepped me. My epidural had completely worn off so I had to be increased. But it wasn’t working. It took more than a half hour for them to get enough of the drug in me. I heard the doctors talking about having to put me under and I yelled at them that it was not happening! My entire body was shaking so hard from all the drugs they were pumping on me and from my nerves. I can remember not being able to fully feel my legs but hearing them hit the table as they shook.

Finally at about 1:40am I was numb. They started cutting and Nick was let in.

The doctor said to me- if it feels like someone is sitting on your chest it’s because they are– that’s how stuck Lexi was– a nurse was sitting on my chest and using a vacuum extractor on her butt to get her out.

At 1:44am our beautiful, not so little girl was out. One of the doctors said- look at those pouty lips. Another said- woah- you gave birth to a 3 month old! Lexi was 9 pounds, 3 ounces and 22 inches long! Her first cry is still the best thing I’ve ever heard.

Nick went to her while they cleaned her up. He was so nervous her forgot to take pictures. Then he brought her to me. I was in love. Before we left the OR Lexi was laid on my chest to do skin to skin contact. She was so alert and not even crying.

We got to recovery and I was told I couldn’t leave until I could move my legs. I quickly lifted them both up. The epi had worn off just as the last stitch went in, but I didn’t care. The nurses were shocked that it only lasted less than an hour. I still had to stay in recovery for monitoring. During that time I tried breastfeeding Lexi. She latched on immediately and perfectly. Jessica, who joined us in recovery, said it was the best first time, unassisted latch she’d ever seen.

We returned to our room around 4am. A family of 3. Exhausted and in love.

My recovery has been amazing. Considering I went through nearly 2 days of labor and a c-section I feel great and was never in much pain. We went home after just 2 days.

Am I sad I didn’t get the natural birth I wanted? A little. But I did get exactly what I wanted- a healthy baby. And I also learned just how strong I am. And just how great of a team Nick and I are. I’ve also got a pretty good prize to show for all my hard work.

Congratulations, Jessica, and thank you for sharing your story with us!

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