Saturday, July 31, 2010

How our “all natural” birth plan changed into a cesarean birth story

We are loving our little sweet pea! (I know “sweet pea” isn’t the most original nickname, but it just seems to fit her.) It does, however, feel like ages ago when she was born (which was really just two weeks ago). For any interested, here’s how she made her debut….

I was a week overdue when we had the chat with our doctor. He was a bit concerned about her position- head down, but not progressing downward like most babies at 41 weeks. There was no clear reason why and he thought the best thing to do would be induce. I remember being so nervous the night before- as if we were flying somewhere (I really don’t like the anticipation of traveling) or as if I was going to speak in public or something. We couldn’t induce at the hospital where we had planed on having her, so I had to quickly adjust my visual to a different hospital I had never been to except on the day previous (hint: not the first adjustment of expectations in this story). When we arrived, I thought the doctor would put me on pitocin right away, but to my relief he said we should start by first breaking my water. The hope was that my body would then go into labor naturally. That hope didn’t pan out, but we spent the next day and a half walking around the third floor of the hospital over and over and over and over again trying to help things along. Friday afternoon came with little change (some contractions, but not much to speak of) and we were ready for something else. So I went on pitocin. And labor came. With strength. I clearly remember wanting to punch anyone who had ever suggested labor without pain medication. The hard thing is that I can’t compare or ever know if that’s what real, natural labor felt like or if it really was worse because of “the pit” (the anesthesiologist called it that and I thought it was fitting). As labor got stronger, I recessed deeper into a strange internal trance. Only focusing on breathing and my happy place, I was less and less aware of my surroundings. Very strange. I do remember at some point though that there were a lot of nurses and commotion going on inside my room. Our doctor appeared and explained to Greg (as I breathed and moaned- never thought I’d be a moaner) that baby’s heart rate had dropped below the acceptable rate for a time and, while it had regained its original rate, this was a sign things were not going as we would hope. We quickly decided that it was not worth putting our little babe through risky stress for a natural birth, so the prep for a c-section began. From there things happened very quickly. The anesthesiologist (who I loved and made me feel so safe) came in to ask me a few questions and I was wheeled down the hall to the surgery room. I can’t describe how wonderful it felt to have the spinal block put in and all my pain magically changed into warm and jello-y legs. Wonderful. Also wonderful was my doctor, who has continued to impress us with his professional yet kind demeanor. Also wonderful was the hospital, where I thought only the mean, anti-breastfeeding and anti-natural nurses worked (wrong). When baby was first delivered and set on a table near me to be cleaned, I couldn't understand how much peace I felt and love and joy all at once. I always thought c-sections were so horrible because baby can’t be with mom right away, but when I was in recovery all I could think about was how I had just had a baby and how amazing that was (all the while trying really, really hard to move my toes so that I could go up and meet baby). No sadness, just a profound peace knowing Greg was with her.

I got to see more of and hold baby about 2 ½ hours after she was born. She was perfect, of course, and seemed to nurse well right away. All in all, I’m not too disappointed with how things turned out. Recovery has been slow, but recovery can be slow with a natural birth too, yeah? Anyway, that’s how it happened.

Here's some documentation- no delivery pictures here (but Greg got some cool ones- so strange to see her being excavated from my belly!).

Me, in pain. Oxygen for baby, hat for surgery.

Greg, excited to meet his girl.

Ready for surgery! Not sure how I mustered up a smile....

Baby meeting mom for the first time.

She came out hungry! Dad's finger had to suffice until she went to mom. Also, she was in the NICU because she had swallowed so much meconium. A reason why this hospital was a better situation- the other hospital has no NICU.

First bath ever!
Baby and mom reunited.


Rebecca Henderson said...

That was a great post, Carrie! You explained a lot of emotions/feelings so well that I would have wondered about - how it would be like before & after a C-section! So cool to hear that you weren't sad! Praise God!

Sara said...

Congratulations Squires! She is beautiful. Can't wait to meet her.

The Giesekes said...

Hey Carrie, great story. Thanks for sharing it! I also ended up with an unexpected C-section after a long labor and I agree that there is no disappointment there, but just relief for a healthy baby (and the pit is horrible). Your "sweet pea" is a doll. Enjoy!!!