Contractions began 5 days after my due date. My husband drove us to the hospital, we arrived around 6 pm. My contractions were irregular but continued throughout the night with little dilation.
I didn’t sleep much (or at all). As each hour passed the pain intensified. My water didn’t break on its own. Finally dilating, I could no longer take the pain. The next morning I opted for the epidural. My opinion was, why must this profoundly beautiful experience be the most painful? This is MY body after all. This baby is in no hurry to be born, F^#* it! We’re going to be here for hours.
I continued to labor for 17 more hours (32 total) pushing with my doctor for multiple sessions. I would rest and then I would try again. With no sleep, no food, and what I would compare to a marathon, I was beginning to lose my mind. I was delirious. At this point, I was cut from ass to vagina but that was not enough. Our baby was stuck.
The doctor came back with a vacuum tool to extract our son lodged in the birth canal. I wish I had been a bit more educated and stopped that from happening. However, she proceeded to try to extract him multiple times. The vacuum suction would pop from my son’s head on each attempt to pull him from the birth canal. Blood and guts flew across the room. I was not sure if the blood was mine or our baby’s. My husband stood calmly beside me never showing any panic or fear. It wasn’t until much later he described a different emotion.
I was rapidly weakening. Meanwhile, I was beginning to feel pain again. I sobbed and with what felt like my last breath of life. I begged, “Please stop, I can’t do it, I’m so sorry.” I know it sounds silly now, but I thought that was it for me.
The doctor finally said, “We’re going in for a section, prep the OR.” At that moment I felt that I may live, but I have disappointed myself and others…and what I felt were their expectations of me. Myself aside, I just wanted my baby to be safe.
The c-section was quick and our son had arrived. The doctor showed him to me for less than a second. He looked giant but very handsome, from what I could see… And then he was taken away. My husband, having his own experience and birdseye view saw something very different. He saw our baby with a hematoma on his head so big that he believed our son was born without a skull. Coincidentally at that very moment, an alarm sounded. He thought one of us was dying and made a snap decision to go with our son in case he did not make it. I’m proud of him for that, even though the alarm had nothing to do with either of us. Our son was born healthy, with a subcranial hematoma from the vacuum.
After the cesarean, my body reacted to the epidural and anesthesia. I went into convulsions. I had my partial whits about me, but I was uncontrollably shaking. I could not hold my baby. After some time the shaking stopped and I went back to my birthing room. Nurses stood on ladders scrubbing blood from the walls and ceiling. It looked like a murder scene. My family was there and they were all so happy to see me and know we were okay.
The fear of being judged is something I create in my mind. It was clear that only love and compassion were present in that room. My husband and our baby arrived in the room shortly after. That was the moment I met Eli.
The trauma to Eli’s head caused him to develop jaundice over the next couple of days. He was admitted into the NICU where we stayed for 9 additional days. With some time in a light tank and plenty of TLC Eli was fine. I was sliced six ways to Sunday with miles of stitches and staples, so recovery was a bit slow for me. In the end, we all came out alive, healthy, and without blame or judgment.
It’s okay to start with a birth plan, that doesn’t go as planned. You never know what will happen with your body during childbirth or your baby. Ultimately however you get them out, you are a badass powerful warrior!