When I discovred I was pregnant, I both surprised and estactic. Sure, we were trying. But we didn’t expect it to happen quite so easily. I went off the pill June 30th, saw double lines on August 26th and was confirmed by my doctor on September 11th. And the rest, as they say, is history!
Pregnancy was smooth and wonderful. It was something I always wanted and had been preparing for for several years. Yes, years – prenatal vitamins, various (natural) detoxes, getting myself in tip-top shape and mentally preparing for all of the changes (personal and external) that come with a baby. I was pregnant in the Winter, which some say is preferable, but it came with its own tribulations. Hello, itchy dry skin!
I decided that my ideal birth would be vaginal, medication free and beautiful. My body loved being pregnant and I was so happy to show off my baby bump. We decided to wait to find out the gender and our little “Fluffy” continued to grow and thrive. Then at 36 weeks, we found out that Fluffy was in a frank breech position – buttocks down – with little room left to turn. We ruled out external cephalic version, so our OB encouraged us to consult others to try to flip the baby; my doula referred me to a chiropractor, a fellow yoga instructor suggested moxibustion, my mentor suggested somersaults in the pool, my husband brought home an inversion table. Ultimately, we decided not to force Fluffy into the “ideal birth position” in case something was wrong that we couldn’t detect and at 37 weeks, scheduled our C-Section for the doctor’s recommended 39 week point. We went over what to expect, some safety information, what to do if I went into labor and that was that.
After this appointment, I was definitely upset. The birth that I worked so hard to achieve would not become a reality this time around. But I can’t say I was wholly disappointed. In my 20’s, I was all about having a scheduled C-Section. It was only in the last 5 years that I actually considered a natural birth. I think my husband was more upset than I! That’s about the time all hell broke loose. We found mold, packed up our entire apartment and bounced between two temporary locations before our landlord moved us into a temp apartment, all while finishing my last week of work before my maternity leave. After one week at our temporary place, I spotted a bed bug on the wall. Two nights later, they found us while we slept and our landlord dragged his feet when it came to fulfilling his obligation.
The third night after finding bedbugs, I went into labor. Now at 38 weeks, I knew it was a possibility but I wasn’t really expecting it. I mean, my delivery date was scheduled. I had been feeling Braxton-Hicks contracts for a while and at 7pm on April 23rd, they felt noticeably different but not painful as my husband and I watched a movie. At 9pm, I nudged my husband and told him contractions were coming more often than usual. He suggested I start timing them and fell asleep. I found a handy app and after about an hour of timing, a notification popped up saying “you should consider going to the hospital!” But since my C-Section was already scheduled, I called the hospital and spoke to the OB on call for the evening and she suggested that try to relax and if it got worse to come in and get examined. I rested as best I could, turned on a meditation and found that doing seated pelvic circles help to alleviate the pain.
Wait….pain…labor…11pm. My hospital bag was mostly packed. I grabbed a few last minute items, brushed my teeth, then tried waking my husband. He grunted and rolled over. So I threw back the covered and screamed…bedbugs were feasting on him! That woke him up and he screamed. Then I said, “Oh hey, I think we need to go to the hospital. I need to get checked out.” So he threw on some shorts and flip flops. Still in my PJs, I grabbed a jacket and my bag and we headed out. Once I was up and about, I started feeling nauseous and barely made it to the elevator, which was literally 5 steps from our front door. He was tired, it was dark and I felt every bump in the road on the 2 mile drive to the hospital. It was not pleasant when he decided not to take the yellow light and instead came to a quick halt.
11:30pm we arrived at the hospital and I was examined. Somehow, I had managed to get to a respectable 4 centimeters without going nutzo. We were admitted around Midnight on the 24th and our families were notified that Fluffy would soon be on dry land. Another emergency C-Section was just finishing, then room was prepped for me. In the meantime, the nausea was still present and my heparin lock was put in place. From that point on, my sense of time became discombobulated. My husband was given scrubs to put over his clothes and I was wheeled into the OR. We barely reached the 8 hour fasting mark but I was progressing quickly, so they had to take the risk. I was given an epidural and a spinal block which took me into a very happy place and they estimated I was at 7 centimeters by the time the drugs took effect. I remember the needle was sharper than I had anticipated. I remember asking for my husband. I remember they couldn’t find the clear drape that had been set aside so I could watch my baby being born, so the anesthesiologist volunteered to hold up a mirror for me. My husband watched the entire process starting with the incision and kept checking in to make sure I didn’t feel any pain. Nope. I felt a little fuzzy, but I was fine.
At 2:20am, I saw a leg pop out of my belly. The most beautiful leg I had ever seen and it made me gasp. Then there were two legs and the booty came sliding out and they held up the baby so my husband could tell me the gender. “It’s a girl!” He exclaimed and he was whisked around to cut the umbilical cord. I remember hearing her cry for the first time and I felt so helpless laying on the table. I called out, “Olivia! It’s ok baby,” then asked to see her after what felt like an eternity. My husband came back declaring her beautiful and perfect. When she came into my arms, I was stunned by her beauty and my heart melted. This birth, while not what I had originally envisioned, was still a magic moment that I will never forget. Olivia nursed then and there while I was stitched up and we were moved into recovery for two hours. She stayed on my breast much of that time as we snuggled together and I barely slept. Around 4:30am we were moved to our postpartum room where we would spend the next 4 days getting to know each other and be cared for by some of the most hospitable people in the city.
It was my beautiful birth.