On November 28th, 2016 I had my last prenatal appointment. I remember in the car on the way to the doctor’s office talking about how I would not walk out of that office until my OB agreed to induce labor. It was my due date and I was d-o-n-e. Sure enough, my blood pressure was high, and my doctor wanted to induce at 6 the next morning. I let it soak in that it was my last day pregnant, the last day of my life before I became a mother for the first time. I was anxious and oddly calm. I was ready to meet my baby girl.
The morning of the 29th was dark and rainy. Allie was driving the massive white rental truck that I had while my car was in the shop. In the back seat was Cadence’s diaper bag stuffed full of shit we wouldn’t need, and clothes and toiletries for us that I wouldn’t really need, either. I wanted everything to be perfect. I had spent 9 months organizing a nursery (that’s trashed now) and I refused to miss a thing.
Once I got set up in my hospital room, I was comfortable, warm and ready for labor. The nurses started the Pitocin and I prepared my mind and body for a natural delivery. I waited patiently while family came in and out of my room, nurses came in and out of my vagina, and contractions got stronger and stronger. Finally I felt “the urge” to push, and the show was on the road. One of my nurses told me that usually you only push for 10-15 minutes and the baby would be here! So I prepared myself for 10 minutes of pushing, which turned into 30 minutes of pushing, which turned to an hour, and then finally 2 hours. I can’t describe the grueling pain I was in once we hit the 1 hour mark. I don’t even want to know how it would have felt without the epidural, which proved useless at that point. I was begging for a c-section. At first the doctor and my mom laughed, and told me it was hard work, and that I could do it. But I couldn’t do it and I knew I couldn’t. I wasn’t asking for a c-section because I just really wasn’t feeling like doing the whole vaginal birth thing, I just could. Not. Do. It. I was pushed past my limit. I lost so much blood, I began blacking out and the baby’s heart rate started to decline. At this point the contractions were a minute apart and from the way the baby’s head was stationed, pushing was inevitable, even though it was getting us nowhere. At one point I was actually saying “help me”. I don’t have words for what my body was going through in this moment. I refused to stop asking for that c-section. I knew I needed it, and finally they called it. 30 minutes later I was being wheeled to the brightest white, freezing cold room. I got a spinal tap and I breathed the biggest sigh of relief as everything from my chest down was completely numb. No more contractions, no more hell. Allie sat by my head as they did god-knows-what behind the sheet. I still can’t bring myself to watch a video of a cesarean birth. It’s still slightly too frightening and real to see what my body went through. I heard my doctor tell me that she accidentally nicked the baby’s head with the scalpel and I drunkenly told her that was fine (which it was- there’s a tiny scar but I think it’s cute) and soon after I heard my baby girl cry for the first time. I had never heard a better sound in my life. I can only compare it to hearing her heartbeat for the first time- multiplied by a million. They brought her around and put her in Allie’s arms, and then took her away.
As I was getting sewn up, I was relaxing for the first time in 24 hours. My baby was here and she was healthy and beautiful. I was done with the birthing process. Everything was fine in that moment.
The recovery has had its ups and downs but now I am free of pain. I still have numbness around the incision and I am still a little shocked when I see the stomach that has replaced the one that was formerly flat and stretch-mark free, but it doesn’t bother me. Not like I thought it would. I am just proud to have gotten through the part of life where women tend to collect their horror stories, and honestly I am pretty honored to have a horror story of my own.