I’ve wanted to write this post for a long time, but to write a birth story seems so daunting! With Emmett’s 3 month birthday coming up, Princess Kate’s birth, the arrival of my sister-in-law’s baby last night, the Duggar’s talking about Jill’s c-section, it’s had me thinking a lot about what happened to our little family the day he was born. And the fact that I already feel like I’m starting to forget what happened those couple of days, I decided that I need to get this down today so I can always remember. As a reminder, I write this blog mostly for myself (and my family), so the thoughts that I’m going to share about hypnobirthing, c-sections, etc. are just how I feel. Every one is different and has different birth experiences obviously, and they are all equally important. Okay, here we go!
Let’s start this story last summer soon after Ryan and I found out I was pregnant. I started doing a ton of baby/birth research and heard about a method of birthing called Hypnobirthing. The idea of it immediately interested me: it’s a method of getting your body to relax through self-hypnosis that allows you to give birth naturally (ie: no epidurals or interventions) and relatively pain free (at least that’s how it’s advertised). I was never totally opposed to medication because I had no idea how I would be able to handle the pain, but I wanted to set myself up for having a successful natural birth if I could. I was worried that if I had an epidural, my baby would be born drugged up and he would be too sleepy to breastfeed right away, which I knew was essential. Ryan was on board with checking out the classes so for about 5 weeks last fall we went to Hypnobirthing classes each week. The classes mostly taught us about the birth process and gave us tips for having a natural birth. We were sent home with a CD of relaxation music and affirmations for me to practice the relaxation techniques. Ryan would also play a part in this type of birth by reading me scripts that would help me slip into hypnosis. We practiced this maybe 5 times. This could be foreshadowing to what actually happened when it was time to have the baby, haha.
Remember on my due date, February 12th, when I said I was going into the OB to check and see how I was progressing? Well they had us start with an ultrasound and the ultrasound tech immediately said, “You’re having this baby today!” Uh, what? I wasn’t having contractions so I was surprised that it was already time! My OB confirmed that I would need to have the baby today because his fluid levels were high. I had no idea what that means (still don’t), but I trusted her when she said we should go home and grab our bags and head to the hospital. We went home, grabbed our stuff, kissed the dogs, ate some frozen yogurt and headed to the hospital.
It was surreal and exciting to know that we were in the car heading to the hospital to HAVE A BABY! The next time I would be home, we would have someone else with us. It was a crazy feeling. So back to the hypnobirthing part. When I envisioned how my labor would go, I would have been having contractions at home where I could relax on the couch, take a shower, sit on my birthing ball while listening to my affirmations, maybe eat some toast. I would stay at my house as long as possible before heading to the hospital. That would have been the ideal situation. Instead, I was heading to the hospital to be induced (one of the things I didn’t want to happen because I knew the contractions would be stronger without any medication). But we were excited and in a daze so really hypnobirthing was the last thing on my mind!
We waited in the lobby at the hospital to get checked in…
and then they wheeled me up in a wheel chair to the maternity ward. I gave the nurses my birth plan that described the natural birth I was hoping for and requested that I wear my own clothes instead of the hospital gown. It was around 2pm when my OB came over and broke my water since I still wasn’t having any contractions. She knew that I wanted to try to have a natural birth so we agreed that we would start by just breaking my water to see if the contractions would start on their own. And they did. They weren’t so bad at first! Ryan and I would walk around the halls, stopping every once and a while when a contraction would hit. I sat on the birthing ball and Ryan would rub my back with a tennis ball. We listened to music and hung out waiting for the progression.
The contractions started getting closing together and MUCH more painful. No new position that I could put my body in to or any amount of visualization or hypnosis was going to help me deal with this level of pain that I was experiencing. It felt like I only lasted about 10 minutes of these strong contractions before we started talking to our nurse (who was awesome by the way) about getting the epidural. I was feeling a little guilty about wanting to get it and was asking Ryan if I was giving up too quickly. He of course didn’t want to see me in pain and was assuring me that it was the right thing to do. My nurse asked “Why don’t you want the epidural?” – I thought about it for a second and when I couldn’t think of any reasons that seemed logical at that point, I was like “call that guy in” – you know, the one who gives you the drugs. The epidural SAVED MY LIFE. I went from writhing in pain to totally relaxed in my bed, watching Chopped, with these amazing compression boots on my legs (to prevent blood clots since I couldn’t get out of bed) that made me feel like I was at a spa getting my legs massaged.
The OB didn’t think that my labor was progressing fast enough so she suggested that I get the Pitocin to speed up my labor (another thing I said I didn’t want to do). At this point though, I had already drugged my baby with the epidural and I wanted to be holding my baby already, so I gave the go ahead. After the Pitocin, things were happening pretty quickly. The nurse had me starting to push. I didn’t feel any pain, but I could feel the pressure of the contractions so I knew when to push. I cannot imagine how I would have done this without the epidural! I pushed for about 2 hours without much progress. They sent in the whole nursing staff (practically) to cheer me on – it was hysterical looking back on it – kind of like a movie! I was so freaking exhausted I felt like I could barely stay awake. And the position that he was in was really starting to hurt my back.
The doctor came in and she told us how she didn’t think he was going to come out on his own without a vacuum. Note the appearance of another intervention I didn’t want! However, at this point, with the 3 hours of pushing and intense back pain (oh and the puking and the shaking from the hormones!) I was ready to just get him out. I gave the okay on the vacuum and watched and she tried with all her might to suction my poor baby out. Next thing we know, the doctor is telling the nurses to “get the bigger vacuum”. Good god, this baby was not coming out the old fashioned way. Once again, the new vacuum wasn’t working either. It kept slipping off his little head. The next thing was to get ready for surgery. I was going to have the c-section I also never wanted. You know what? I could have cared less! Bring on the c-section. I wanted this baby out and I didn’t care how he was going to get here anymore.
After 12 hours of labor the c-section took about 10 minutes. It was amazing. Before I knew it, I could hear the doctor and nurses exclaiming how big he was and how they couldn’t believe he fit inside my stomach! They weighed him, cleaned him up, wrapped him up and brought him over to us.
At 8 pounds 9 ounces, the doctor told me there was no way I would have been able to give birth to him the normal way. Even if his head would have come out, his shoulders would have been stuck. Can you imagine how horrible that would be?? After having every kind of labor experience possible, it was a relief to hear the doctor say I did everything I could, but that a c-section would have been inevitable no matter what. Emmett wasn’t drugged up at all and latched on right away when it was time to eat. Everything I was worried about was for nothing.
When everything was said and done, I couldn’t have cared less that his birth story wasn’t what I had envisioned. I was proud of everything we had been through and how Ryan and I went with the flow. If there’s anything I could pass on to first time moms, it’s to be flexible. Turns out you have zero control of how that baby is going to come out. The only thing that was on my birth plan that actually happened was that I was able to wear my own clothes. And really, who cares?
I can’t believe that it is even a thing that there are moms that are ashamed of having a c-section. Why did Jill Duggar even need to come out and say that it’s “okay to have a c-section”? When has it never been okay? I’m just so surprised that this is even a thing. I had the girls from my hypnobirthing class over a couple weeks ago and when we each told our birth stories, I felt like they felt bad for me that I had to have a c-section! (I was also the only one who couldn’t do the hypnobirthing, haha). But I went through major surgery to have my baby! I think it’s something to be proud of. Plus, I can’t wait until next time when I have a scheduled c-section and I get to have my baby in my arms 10 minutes later 🙂
In the end, I have a great story to tell, I feel like I experienced everything I possibly could, and I had a beautiful, healthy baby boy to hold at the end of it all.
I am so thankful for my husband for being so supportive and being a great coach during these crazy, gross, intense 12 hours that ended in the sweetest couple of days snuggling our newborn in the hospital.
PS:You saw those pictures of Princess Kate leaving the hospital right? She looked amazing. This is what I looked like:
I was so drugged up I’m surprised my eyes were even open for this picture! haha. Me and Kate: we’re practically the same 🙂