We’d put a lot of thought into what type of birth we’d wanted to have this time around. We’d decided on a natural birth (if possible, of course), and we’d studied the Hypnobabies Home Study course. It was important to the husband to be able to see our daughter being born, and it was important to me to be able to provide that for him. Our birth story was going to be perfect, and it was going to be everything that the husband had hoped for. We’d studied, planned, and fallen asleep listening to the Hypnobabies tracks on a nightly basis. I was doing everything possible to make sure that our birth story worked out to be the wonderful natural birth that we’d hoped for.
I’d started having prodromal labor at 36 weeks and 5 days. I was absolutely sure that I was going to have Eudora at exactly 37 weeks, just like I had Andy. And then 37 weeks pregnant went by. Then I hit the 38 weeks pregnant mark. Every day, I was hoping that it would be the day when she’d finally get out. I grew increasingly crabby and miserable with each passing day. On Wednesday, March 21, I woke up having contractions. It was the first time that I’d had regular and sustainable contractions even when I was lying down. And they stayed regular all morning, around three minutes apart. We called our doula, and she came over for a bit. I tried to get everything ready before she got here: dressed, hair done, ready to leave.
I didn’t anticipate eating a bowl of strawberries for breakfast and promptly throwing them right back up. But I did, and I’m just not a person who throws up by nature. The entire time I was pregnant with Norton, I think I threw up twice… and one of those times was because I gave myself motion sickness while playing Mass Effect 2, but didn’t realize that’s what was going on. I hadn’t thrown up at all the entire time I was pregnant with Eudora, until that day. Nor was I expecting the other forms of, um, “tummy troubles.” (Of course, I’d heard of them happening to other people, but Norton was a c-section after two failed inductions and I’d never had those issues with Andy.)
At that point, the contractions weren’t too bad. I felt them, and it was a bit uncomfortable, but I wasn’t in the screaming agony that they show on TV. It was just tight, and it was rather bothersome in my back, but again, nothing that I couldn’t cope with. I chalked it up to a combination of family history of painless childbirth and effective studying of the Hypnobabies technique. Either way, this fit in with my plan of laboring at home as long as possible so that I could hopefully avoid any unnecessary interventions.
When my contractions were two and a half minutes apart and lasting a minute, the doula suggested that it was time to go. So we went.
You’d think at that point, labor would be in full swing and a baby would be eminent, right? I know I did. But I thought wrong.
When we got to the hospital a few minutes later, there was no drama or screaming. I’d calmly called them on my cell as we’d left the house to let them know that we were on the way. The husband drove the speed limit, and everyone was calm… although I’d be lying if I’d suggested that the husband was anything other than nervous. He dropped me off at the door and I made my way to the labor and delivery area as he parked. I was still at the counter when he and our doula caught up. All of the assessment rooms were full and it was a busy day, so they put me in one of the delivery rooms.
And then I was disappointed. I wasn’t going to get to soak in the wonderfully large whirlpool tubs in the delivery rooms. Instead, I would require constant monitoring since I was going for a VBAC delivery. The nurses hooked me up to the monitors, but it was difficult to find out what the baby was doing. She was squirming and going nuts in there, so we were constantly adjusting the monitoring devices to find her heart rate. It was elevated, around 173 beats per minute. Then the nurse checked for dilation. I was only 2 centemeters.
After all that, and two weeks of prodromal labor, I was only two freaking centemeters?!
Not fair. Not fair at all. And my excitement over having a baby that day was dwindling once more. Especially when the nurse told me that they usually send mom-to-be back home.
But they were going to keep me and monitor me longer.
Maybe, just maybe I was going to have her that day. I was so tired of being pregnant, and I was crabby and miserable. I just wanted her out.
The contractions got more intense, but that wasn’t the bothersome part. I could deal with those. What was difficult was the cramping that was continuous between contractions. And our daughter’s heart rate was increasing… when they could find it. This was not the birthing experience that I’d studied for.
The nurse made the decision to call my doctor in, and she was there quickly. By that point, my daughter’s heart rate was peaking out at 200 beats per minute on the monitor. My doctor did another cervix check, and I was still only 2 centimeters dilated. As for position, she was still high up. My doctor had said that she would be at “negative four, if there was such a thing.” So, yeah. Not even remotely in position for birth, which is probably why I wasn’t dilating. This same thing happened with my failed inductions with Norton: he refused to descend. My doctor looked at me and said, “You’re talking yourself into a c-section.”
Dr. K, the chief of obstetrics, was in the hospital doing his own thing, so my doctor grabbed him for a second opinion. Eudora’s heart rate was sstill up around the 200 beats per minute mark, and was not dropping below 190… again, when they could find it. She was just going nuts in there. As for me, I was staying firm. No drugs. The contractions were still not the problem; the cramping in between was. It was growing increasingly painful.
My husband, being the wonderful man that he is, stayed right beside me, holding my hand whenever I wasn’t being examined.
Dr. K told me in his trademark gentle but firm manner that a c-section would be the best way to go at this point. Our daughter’s heart rate was too high and it would be better for her to come out sooner rather than wait for labor to progress on its own. I agreed and he told me he’d be back around in a bit with the consent paperwork. The anesthesiologist would also come by to talk with me before surgery.
At this point, I felt even more calm and relaxed. I knew that an end was in sight, and I had complete confidence in Dr. K. Really, he’s as good as it gets in Prince George. He’s the one who helped me get pregnant with our daughter in the first place through Clomid, etc, and I knew that we were in good hands. He’d get her out on time and everything would be fine.
I was disappointed, of course, in not being able to give my husband the birth experience that he’d wanted, and I was more than a little apprehensive about the recovery aspect, but in terms of her exit plan? I was fine with it.
The husband, however, was a different story.