My last scheduled OB appointment was set for July 24 (my due date was July 26) and I just knew I'd have my baby by then. I didn't. After declining to have my membranes stripped to possibly induce labor, my doctor scheduled another appointment July 30 to do another ultrasound, measure the baby, check amniotic fluid level, etc., but neither of us thought I'd make it to that appointment. I did.
During the ultrasound, my baby looked nice and healthy, was doing a fair bit of kicking, and had a strong heartbeat. But then, dun dun dun, the doctor came in and said that because of dangerously low amniotic fluid, that baby had to get out - NOW. If I never mentioned it before, the two things I never wanted to happen were induction and c-section. I cried and cried and cried some more because I WASN'T READY TO HAVE MY BABY FORCED OUT THAT DAY! After heading home to get the animals squared away and pack a few last minute things I didn't have in my hospital bag, Chris and I headed to the labor and delivery unit to get checked in and have me induced. I cried a lot more.
Dr. Sadist (we'll call her that) came in and promptly stripped my membranes and dared me to cry (not really, but I bet she would have since she was not friendly or gentle) and started the induction process with Cytotec; pretty much immediately, contractions started. When I checked in, I was about 3cm dilated and 70% effaced, so I hoped that the quick-onset contractions meant labor and delivery would happen sooner rather than later. Several hours later, after there was no change, Dr. Polite broke my water and started me on Pitocin. Surely things would start moving right along now. One of the nurses on duty kept telling Chris, my parents and I that we would have a baby soon, soon, soon, but still, there was no baby. A couple shift changes (and a day) later, Dr. Handsome said that I would have a baby by midnight. And that made me nervous - a baby on a schedule means possible c-section.
It turns out, a blue full moon brings babies out of the womb and into the world right and left. Because the labor and delivery unit wasn't staffed to handle such a busy birthing night, patients were prioritized; I wasn't progressing very quickly, so I was a low priority. My pitocin was turned off and I was left waiting, water broken, with diminishing contractions since my body wasn't ready to have a baby, and every second that passed made me more sure I would end up having my baby cut out rather than pushed out. When Dr. Passive came in, she didn't want to turn the pitocin back on, but wait around to see what happened instead, and that was the first mention of a c-section. Not too long after that, after using everything they had in the unit to induce labor and monitor me and 9cm dialted and 100% effaced, my baby's heartbeat suddenly slowed and was difficult to locate. Tubes and wires were flying, nurses were stabbing me with needles, Chris was given scrubs, and the nurses were running, pushing my bed to the operating room all for the safety of my baby - I had to have a c-section.
Although the epidural eliminates pain, it does not eliminate sensations and pressure, so I could still feel, in a sense, everything that was happening to my body, all while worrying that I might never get to meet my baby. Naturally, I had a panic attack. It was so embarrassing. And, naturally, Chris wanted to watch, and later relayed to me that nurses were yanking on either side of the incision as if they were trying to rip my flesh with their bare hands (that was the awful, jerking sensation I was feeling while laying on the table), and that my uterus was laying on my chest as they stitched it up. Gross. And they fixed a hernia while they were up to their elbows in my guts. BUT I HAD A HEALTHY BABY GIRL!
My Lucy Adelaide was born on July 31 at 9:27pm with long fingernails, weighing 7 pounds 14.5 ounces, and measuring 21" long.
Was the experience at all like I'd wanted or hoped it would be? Absolutely not. Would I do it again? I would do it a million times over for my baby Lucy. I had (and still have) a lot of feelings about needing to have an emergency c-section. I feel I was cheated out of the birthing experience; I know there are women who look at c-sections as an easy way out, but it wasn't easy - both physically and emotionally - and it wasn't my choosing; I didn't get to have the skin-to-skin contact after birth that experts all say is so very important; and I wasn't the first one to hold my baby - the baby I'd been carrying for nearly 41 weeks. It doesn't bother me as much as it did, but the feelings are still there, and when I think about it and get bummed, I just remind myself that I have the most beautiful baby girl, and that's the only thing that matters!