This is an abridged version of my birth story (the last part). I was feeling nostalgic (DD just turned 6 months) so I read over the long version, cleaned it up, and boiled it down to the culminating moment.
I had planned a natural waterbirth using Hypnobabies. I was 42 weeks, and in order to still have a shot at my waterbirth with my midwife in my birth center of choice, I "had" to be induced. Please feel free to visit my blog and read the long version (parts 1, 2 and 3).
Thanks for reading, ladies.
"Lindsay, sweetheart, you're still a two. Your baby isn't going to be born this way."
Even with all the reading and research I had done regarding what “medicalized” birth might lead to, I never thought it would be me. Yes, I was two weeks late. Sure, I wasn’t dilating and my “big” baby wasn’t dropping. I had accepted that my planned water birth was swirling down the drain, and had altered my Hypnobabies practice to deal with an induced labor. But it simply could not end this way. Not for me. Not for my baby.
“This is not MY birth story,” I thought.
A sob escaped before the tears had a chance to start flowing in reaction to what my midwife was telling me. My wife held my right hand and the nurse held my left while my midwife gave my leg a sympathetic squeeze. I cried bitter tears, agonizing over the hard work I’d done the past 26 hours – intense, induced, pain med-free labor – knowing then that it was all in vain. As they streamed down my hot cheeks and onto the cool bed sheets, so fell my hopes for The Perfect Birth. The one I'd been envisioning since before the test screamed “Pregnant!” The one that ended with my slippery baby peacefully swimming out into the world and up onto my chest. The Perfect Birth that left me feeling proud and empowered and capable. In single moment, it was gone.
I continued to sob as my midwife expressed her concern that the baby was just so big, and my uterus stretched so much from the quantity of fluid it had contracted against yesterday, before my water was broken. She gently told me what an incredible job I had done, that it was time to meet our precious baby girl.
I sighed with a shudder, simultaneously grieving and trying to accept what was about to happen. I trusted my midwife, and knew she would never try to “talk me into” a c-section unless it was necessary. I changed into a hospital gown, and my wife into scrubs. I donned my funny mesh hat and my wife her booties. When I was escorted into the blinding white sterility of the OR, feeling alone and frightened, I reminded myself that my wife would be by my side in no time. I sat on the cold metal table, rounding my back and hugging the baby in my belly one last time. A spinal block was administered, and it was time.
After what seemed like hours measured in minutes, my wife’s masked face appeared. Seeing a familiar bridge of nose, pair of eyes, and forehead calmed me. As the surgery began, her gaze never left mine; I tried to escape deep inside her eyes, away from what was happening. As long as I was swimming in those blue-gray pools of love and concern, I knew my head was still above water. There was slurping, suctioning and crushing pressure. My body shook and rocked as gloved hands pressed on me, urging our daughter through her artificial exit, taking my breath away.
Suddenly, the pressure released and an excited "here she is!" was declared by a voice beyond the curtain. We heard a hearty cry, and a sob escaped my throat for the second time that night. I cried right along with our baby, in new mama-daughter harmony. Cadence James – all ten pounds, nine ounces, and twenty-two inches of her – had finally arrived, at 8:43 on the evening of October 15.
Immediately following her delivery, I felt woozy and confused. The baby I was briefly allowed to see seemed like a stranger’s baby, whisked away as quickly as she arrived. Voices below the curtain took on a concerned tone, and I begged my wife not to leave me. She stayed by my side as my blood splashed to the floor and the surgeon slapped and manually contracted my uterus, trying to stop the hemorrhaging. My wife lovingly held my hand, assuring me I was okay as the surgical team began reassembling my insides. I started to feel pain. Thinking maybe some Hypnobabies relaxation techniques might help calm me, I moaned "peace” and “relax” over and over. As soon as she was convinced I was going to be okay (and after I received a sedative) my wife was called away to approve some medical interventions for our newborn Cady while I was stitched together again.
All I could think about as I was cleaned up, stuck with a fresh IV, and receiving a blood transfusion was Cady. I needed to feed her, to bond with her, to get to know her. Finally, my beautiful wife – a proud new mommy still in her scrubs – walked our daughter in to meet her mama. "This baby," I thought, remembering the stranger's baby I’d met an hour earlier, "is most certainly my Cady." As her wide and alert eyes locked with mine, we instantly knew each other. Although I was in pain, I held her. While receiving my transfusion, I fed her. I was clueless, but she guided me through it like a champ, knowing exactly what to do and how to do it.
I couldn’t possibly know if anyone else in the room fell as instantly and deeply in love as I did, but they marveled over her and exclaimed at her size and beauty and overall perfection. They told me what an amazing job I did, and how proud they were. I didn't realize it until it was all over, but it was The Perfect Birth. It’s the birth that brought our amazing daughter into our world and our arms. It it the story of Cadence; one that I will tell her, beaming, of The Happiest Day of my Life.
For her, I'd do it again... a thousand times over.
Part hippie-chick, part type-A career woman, all mama. Enjoying life as a wife to my partner of 11 years, and a mama to our smarty-pants toddler, Cadence.
I enjoyed reading your condensed version with more of your personal thoughts, feelings, and emotions :) <hugs> mama, you did good!
Proud wife to my handsome husband Malachi David (2010) and Jeremiah Daniel (2012) joined our family via two lovely homebirths. Doula for 7 years and now finally an apprentice midwife!