My beautiful son is one month old today. My memory of his birth is foggy at best, and pieces are slipping away.
I wanted a natural water birth. We did everything to prepare - 3 months of Bradley classes, eating right, walking and swimming all the time, gallons of raspberry leaf tea, evening primrose oil in both ends, chiropractic, etc. I was looking forward to labor as an opportunity to prove to myself that I was amazing. I wanted to feel strong and powerful.
Instead, my water broke on December 17 at 6:30 a.m. at 41+ weeks. We went in for a scheduled appointment that showed low fluid (no surprise) but baby was doing fine. The midwife sent us home to try to get labor going with instructions to come back the following morning to make sure he was still ok. In spite of some brisk walking and hours bouncing on a birth ball, contractions never started.
The next morning we took our time, and then got a frantic call from one of the midwives telling us that we had to be there NOW. When we got to the hospital, I still wasn't having any contractions. Two different midwives asked why we were there. We said we were there for monitoring. We were wrong. We were there for an induction.
After much discussion of what would be appropriate for a patient like me (I lost track of the number of times the midwife dismissed options because I'm fat - she must have said "obese" at least a dozen times), I got a double dose of cytotec and a double foley bulb, and did lunges up and down the hall with my doula. That got me from 3 cm and not effaced to 5 cm and 60%. I got a third dose of cytotec in the evening.
I wanted to have intermittent monitoring only and be able to move around, but I kept being told "just a few more minutes" for hours at a time and during the night was put on oxygen and not allowed to get out of bed. The nurse kept claiming that there were heartrate decels, and that the oxygen was helping. When she pointed out the timing of the oxygen and my baby's heart rate picking back up, my wife popped up and yelled "she ate honey then! Could it possibly have been that instead of the oxygen? Correlation is not causation!"
The second dose of cytotec did nothing so we decided to try pitocin early on the 18th. Before starting I told my wife that I'd need to talk to someone about pain management. She thought I meant an epidural and reminded me why I didn't want one. I just meant I wanted to stay out of bed, and to be allowed to get in the shower even if the tub was off limits. An internal monitor was applied (it took 3 tries for it to stay in), and I was allowed out of bed.
This was the only part of labor that felt anything like what I'd expected. I sat dozing on a birth ball, and with each contraction would lean back on my wife, who was sitting on a stool behind me. She held me through each one.
After 7 hours of hard contractions on pit, I started crying and saying that we would be there forever, and that I couldn't do it any more. Everyone thought that I had hit transition, so they started talking me into letting my cervix be checked again. I kept insisting that I did not want to get in bed for it, and that bed was not my friend. Contractions lying on my back were excruciating. I finally got on the bed, and the midwife checked my cervix. I was still at 5 cm and 60%. I wasn't in transition - I was right that we'd be there forever. I think I gave up at that point. Everything was overwhelmingly awful, and I kept telling everyone that I did not want to be in bed. The unused birthing tub in the corner infuriated me and I started sobbing every time I looked at it - It was such a potent reminder of what I wanted and couldn't have.
By this point it had been far more than 48 hours since my water broke and too many people had stuck hands in me in the filthy hospital, so we were worried about the risk of infection. My birth team and I talked about about what options were left and what we felt comfortable with. After a lot of crying, I agreed to get an epidural and try pit for 2 more hours.
When the anesthesiologist came in, he announced himself by saying "I heard you were wanting the epidural." I cried at him a lot. I didn't want it. After it was set up, my wife went home to walk the dog, and I rested.
Even with the maximum dose, nothing happened so we were down to the last possible option and I got a C-section. The anesthesiologist said "I heard you were wanting a C-section," and then spent the entire procedure fiddling with his iPhone.
Harrison was born at 9:18 p.m. on December 19, 64 hours after my water broke. He came out 100% perfect, but I was shaking too hard to touch him. It turned out he had been completely posterior and very high. What felt like bum and back was actually his giant feet. After closing me up, the OR crew nearly dropped me between the operating table and the bed, and I had to crawl over the gap.
I love my baby desperately, and I'm miserable about how he got here. I feel like my body failed me, and like I failed him and my birth team. At this point I barely remember the 2 days of labor in the hospital. I'm torn between wanting to forget completely and wanting to remember and analyze every detail.
Healing is hard. Physically, part of my incision is healing slowly. I keep hoping that if I forget about it, it will go away, so I do things like carry loads of laundry up stairs while wearing a baby, and then I hate myself for making it worse. I just want my body to be mine again. I want to ride my bike and buy the economy-size bag of dog food. Emotionally, I don't know how to deal with it. I went to an ICAN meeting but wasn't ready to share my story. To keep myself from completely falling apart, I'm letting myself cry about it in the shower (washing the area around my incision and my still-numb butt triggers some serious crying), but trying to forget about it the rest of the time. It isn't working too well. I'm sick of feeling so fragile and damaged and broken.