Don’t panic! Everything will be okay! This is entirely normal! BREATH! That’s it just breath!
One of the most stressful experiences that I have experienced to date is the waiting to meet your little bundle of (insert your word here). My experience wasn’t any different from most parents, mothers, in relation to the pain and being absolutely freaked right out nature of child birth. However, I need to give props to my nurses and my doctors (Foothills Hospital, Labor & Delivery, Calgary, Alberta, CAN) for making the experience a little less traumatic.
My son was late, 10 days late. At 6 days overdue I went for an ultrasound to make sure that everything was still okay. Everything was, but I was also told that it was very likely I would need to have a Cesarian section to deliver my son due to the size of his head compared to the size of my pelvis. I am not a tiny person, but average. The doctor who read the results of the ultrasound was estimating the weight of this child to be 9+lbs, based on the head size that they could see.
Alright – in set panic! Not about the weight of the child, not because of his size, by the C word. I was, still am, extremely afraid of needles in my spine. It wasn’t the surgery, but the needle in my spine that sent me into panic. I went home, cried and then researched a little more about the Cesarian procedure. Which didn’t help ease the panic. After talking with my husband about my fear I pushed it away as in reality I would do anything to have a healthy child.
I had also been told that he hadn’t dropped (engaged in the pelvis for birth). While this was not necessarily concerning for the doctors as sometimes this doesn’t happen until labor starts, looking back I would have asked a few more questions in relation to the umbilical cord and it’s placement.
I got told that if I hadn’t gone into labor naturally in the next couple of days I would be called to be induced. I got the call on Sunday morning May 9 and went into Labor & Delivery for 2pm that afternoon to be induced. Nothing happened until about 11pm (I was admitted to the hospital), but didn’t progress through labor other than having the pain and water breaking. By the time I was admitted to labor and delivery it had been 8 hours after my water broke and my cervix was at 2.5 cm, I had already received two hits of morphine, and hadn’t eaten anything since 7pm the night before. So I was sick, dizzy and not entirely present.
I don’t remember much about the room I was in for delivery, other than it was big and there were lots of machines and being told it was the best one in the ward. My focus was on my child’s heartbeat, which was being monitored. What I kept noticing is that the heartbeat would drop, make the machine beep, and then come back up to normal, not entirely bad, but not quite right either.
I still hadn’t really progressed in my labor in relation to cervix dilation. I kept thinking back to being told that I would likely have a C-section and that I had come to accept this as an eventuality, especially with not progressing through labor.
So between 8am and 12:30(ish) I went through pain, gas mask, oxygen, and trying to rest, but having to move from laying on one side to another to help keep my son’s heartbeat in an acceptable level. When I got asked about an epidural I jumped at it, I am still PETRIFIED of having needles in my back. My instinct at the time was that we would be heading for a C-section. Something wasn’t right, I hadn’t progressed past 3 cm and every time I contracted my son’s heart rate would plummet, a couple of times bad enough the nurse called for the doctor.
Through all of this the nurse was open and honest with me. She told me what she was seeing, not necessarily what it might mean, but what was happening. The doctor was also honest about what was happening, not what it meant, but then they really didn’t know. Everyone started to prepare for the eventuality that we would be doing a C-section. I was stable, my son was stable, so there was no rush, but they stopped the drugs that were attempting to progress my labor.
The actual surgery I didn’t feel much other than the pressure and a little nausea, to be expected when people are messing around with your innards. However, I remember not hearing him cry. It took him a while to take the first breath. I found out later that it was because the umbilical cord had been wrapped around his neck twice. I had given birth to a fighter!
While this all sounds traumatic, scary and down right horrific, I have to say that the experience itself wasn’t anything like that. Maybe we forget the horrors when presented with a bundle of child.
The two things that I remember as being bad about the whole experience was that I went into labor without my partner and had to work through the first 8 hours on my own. Okay, not really so bad. The second thing was having the epidural wear off. I have never been so cold or had the shakes so violently in my entire life.
We all hear horror stories about giving birth. I went through a lot for full-term delivery. And we are all fine, happy and growing! And guess what? I would do it all over again!