A dear friend of mine shared her first son’s birth story in light of last month being C-section awareness month. An encouraging story for all mom’s who have gone through an unexpected c-section or are facing the options or birth plans in the future.
Source: C-section Awareness & My Story
Last month was c-section awareness month. This topic is near and dear to my heart. Why? Because my first born was an emergency c-section. Most people don’t know that. They don’t know that I had one of the worst and scariest experiences of my life. They don’t know that at one point I had thoughts that my baby might not make it. They don’t know that I suffered after my son’s birth because it was so traumatic. This post isn’t for sympathy but to make people aware of the circumstances some have been through to meet their child.
Everyone’s birth story is different. Some go as planned while others turn out to be something you never expected. Before I tell my birth story I want to tell all you moms that are expecting your first, have an open mind and be prepared that anything could happen. I wish I had known that before.
When I was pregnant with my first son, Elijah, I had a pretty simple birth plan and didn’t think too much of it. I sat through the birthing class and when the topic of c-sections came up I don’t think I paid any attention. I thought…I don’t need to know any of this…I’m having a regular birth. My well thought out plan was to go to the hospital, get an epidural and push that baby boy out.
The last few weeks of my third trimester I was so anxious to meet my baby. I envisioned holding him for the first time and who he would look like…me or my husband. I pictured it like you see in movies: You push for a couple minutes then boom you’re holding your baby and crying tears of absolute joy.
On September 13, 2013 at 2:00 in the morning my contractions began and I arrived at the hospital around 10. To my surprise I was already 4cm dilated. YAY! Only 6 more to go! If you know me, you know I do not do well with pain…which meant I knew I definitely wanted an epidural.
As the contractions grew stronger I was given the option to get the epidural at that time or wait an hour. No way was I going to wait with those contractions getting stronger, so I was administered the epidural within 10 minutes. Wow was I scared out of my mind. I had heard that there is a possibility of paralysis if you move while they give you one. The anesthesiologist sticks a giant needle in your spine (I HATE needles) and tells you to try your best not to move…my question…what if I get a contraction? His answer…try not to move. It hurt and I hated it, like expected, but I got through it 😉 A relief to me the pain was not felt about 15 minutes later. Now all that was left to do was wait until it was time to push.
After getting the epidural my contractions slowed way down and I was given the option of pitocin to speed them back up. Without knowing what it could do to my baby, I accepted.
Around 6 cm Elijah’s heart rate dropped to a scary low rate and with that a team of nurses rushed in. A LOT happened in just a short few minutes. All at the same time they were trying to flip me to other side, one nurse stabbed my arm and gave me a shot (I had a huge bruise until Elijah’s first birthday), there was talk of the baby being in d cell, and they were prepping me for an emergency. I was scared out of my mind. No… [I thought] I don’t want a c-section…
Finally, after what seemed like a lifetime, they got Elijah’s heart rate back up. My doctor then told me if it happened again they would have to get the baby out. After that I thought I was okay…just a scare. Wishful thinking. At 8 cm the rate on the monitor dropped again. Little did I know at the time that it was probably the shot of pitocin that I was given to speed up the birth process.
My doctor gave me two options: I could either wait until 10 cm and push him out and warned me that it might take me a few hours or they could get him out now, not knowing if something was wrong. Talk of a short umbilical cord was mentioned.
I wanted nothing but the safest thing for my baby. GET HIM OUT!
After being in labor 16 hours I was about to meet my son, but there was one problem…I was completely exhausted, emotionally and physically. I had only gotten a few hours of sleep the previous night and my body was ready to give out. I was scared for my son. Scared to lose him. Scared something was wrong. I thank God every day for my husband and he was there, through everything, holding my hand.
After wheeling me into the prepped surgery room and pumping me with some anesthesia he came to my side and prayed for me. In a blur they made the cut, pulled out my insides and pushed/pulled Elijah out. I can’t tell you how weird it was to literally feel EVERYTHING.
After everything that had unfolded the last almost 17 hours my son entered this world at 6:45 pm. He was 7lbs 6oz and my heart was never the same after hearing that first cry. I was officially a mom…
Unfortunately, my experience didn’t end there.
After taking him out they said that his heart beat was faint and they thought he had popped an air sac on his lung after his first cry, which could mean the air filled around his heart. They brought him over to me for a second before taking him back to the warmer and I saw his beautiful face. I wish so badly I could remember the first time I saw him but I couldn’t. I was in a haze. I was done. My body and my mind were done.
I was then wheeled to the recovery room and they brought him in for the miracle hour (skin to skin) and put him on my chest. I couldn’t even see him…I couldn’t wrap my arms around him because I couldn’t even lift them. I was devastated.
Again I was given options: I could either do skin to skin for an hour or have him go straight to the NICU so they could figure out what was wrong. HELLO PEOPLE!!! Take him to the NICU! Even more devastated, I had to watch as they wheeled him away, sending my husband with him so that he wasn’t alone. I sat and cried as I watched a family next to me was celebrating the birth of their baby. Thinking they probably had that movie pictured birth. Smiling, kissing their baby, tears of joy. All the while I’m wondering what in the world just happened? How did this happen? Why? I was alone and worried for my baby. My dream shattered.
Thankfully, my sweet nurse could tell how upset I was and let my mom come in to comfort me. She tried her best, but what can you really say to a first time mother that had just went through something like that? Next thing I know I was passing out (falling asleep) from exhaustion. An hour later in the recovery room I started to have a bad reaction to the anesthesia. I began to throw up and the nurse had to hold a pillow over my incision because I felt like it was ripping apart. She then asked me if I wanted to go up to the NICU to see Elijah and my heart broke even more as I told her I couldn’t. How could I? I was throwing up, shaking, pretty sure I had a fever and I could barely keep my eyes open. So I was wheeled to my room passed out, only waking to throw up.
I then woke up to my husband, mom, dad and step-dad in the room. They had come back from seeing Elijah in the NICU and were trying to explain to me what was going on. Apparently he had pneumothorax; where an air sac on the lungs pop causing the air to escape between the lungs and chest wall. Luckily it was very common and there was hope it would dissolve on its own. They asked if I wanted to see Elijah through a monitor on a computer. I said no and thought I don’t want to look at him through a screen, I want to see him, hold him, kiss him, but I couldn’t and passed out for the night. When I awoke the next morning I still had a fever and was not able to see Elijah until it went away and was able to keep food down. I decided to look at the monitor while I waited. He was beautiful and I couldn’t wait for the fever to go away.
Around 11, I was given all liquid foods to see if I could keep them down. Nailed it. My temperature was checked. Nailed it. I was ready to be wheeled up to see my son for the first time (Technically the third, but felt like the first time).
The first time I saw my son and I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. For the first time I didn’t care what had just happened. What it took for me to see him was worth it. That face was so beautiful. God knit that precious boy in my womb, deciding I would be his mother. I thanked God over and over again that he was okay.
I finally got to hold him and I was head over heels.
It felt real for the first time. We were a family of three!
To continually monitor him he had to stay in the NICU and could not come down to our room.
Such a different experience than I expected but I was also able to get quite a bit of sleep, seeing that my body really needed it.
We spent the next 4 days in the hospital and each day the air dissolved on its own. On the day we were supposed to be discharged Elijah was having trouble regulating his body temperature and we were told he might have to stay an extra night…no way was I leaving without my baby. My motherly instinct told me to do skin to skin, something I had not yet done. Problem solved!
We took our bundle of joy home. God had my sweet little boy in His hands the whole time and I was thankful for that.
Having my baby home I realized in the weeks ahead that I would be suffering. I didn’t feel a connection with my baby and to this day I believe it was because nothing about his birth went expected. I felt traumatized. I was in so much physical pain from basically having a major surgery. I was having thoughts no mother should have, crying every night, feeling alone and thought no one could understand. My heart loved my son immensely but my mind was so clouded. I never reached out but I eventually got through it.
My birth story was nowhere near what I thought it was going to be. An emergency c-section left me unable to truly connect with my son at first but I was so overjoyed to be a mom.
I once read an article that some woman had the nerve to say that women who have their children through c-section doesn’t count and that they are weak, or it is nothing compared to women that do it all naturally. Some women, like in my case, have no choice or make the decision for the safety of their child and I can guarantee that it takes a lot of strength to have an emergency c-section. It takes strength to have your birth plan and your dreams shattered. It takes strength to push through feelings of depression that usually comes after having an emergency c-section. It takes a whole lot of strength to care for a child after having a major surgery. Like I pretty much started out with, all birth stories are different. Mine: not expected but so much beauty came from it. I became a mother to a beautiful boy.
I hope my story encourages mothers that had the same experience or will have the same experience, you are not alone and you are strong. Your scars are proof of that. I am encouraged by all moms, no matter their birth story.