April is C Section awareness month! In honor of spreading awareness I am sharing my personal birth story and offering some information about how you can make your C section experience more natural/beneficial for you and baby VIA the “gentle”cesarean.
I will begin by saying I had full intentions of having a natural water birth with the midwife who had cared for me for all those months, no drugs, lots of skin to skin contact, maybe some essential oils, even our birth mix tape with Jack Johnson on in the background, but none of those things happened. I was very confident in my choice to have a natural birth and after the emergency C section I got asked “Do you feel like you missed out on your perfect birth?” “Well you know, a real birth”. It may not have been my fantastic Ina May worthy water birth but I labored and exerted more courage than I ever knew I had, as do so many women who in turn are burdened with the ideals of how others view “real birth”. I can assure anyone who is reading this that, while there is no one size fits all way to give birth, anything that brings your little one Earth side IS BIRTH. There is always some level of anxiety in sharing a story as personal as this but I am happy to share my experience in an effort to spread awareness and offer support to all expectant and fourth trimester mamas alike.
The Unexpected Birth
My pregnancy was healthy and without complications for the entire 36 weeks up until the night that Oliver was born.
I woke up at 12:40, which wasn’t unusual due to my overactive “hey, there is a baby sitting on me” bladder. On this night though, I sat up and began to have anxiety that something just felt off. After a sitting up for a few moments I felt a pop sensation in my abdomen and I began to panic. I ran to the bathroom and as soon as I entered there was blood pooling around my feet. “No no no no no, no” This was all I could think or say. I proceeded to call my midwifes on-call line and explain exactly what had occurred.
“Have you been feeling unwell today? Have you noticed that the baby is moving less?“
Oh no, what does that mean?
“I can not advise you because I am not able to see your condition. You need to get to a hospital”
I collapsed on the bed began sobbing all I could think was:
Why did she ask about his activity? Please be okay. Nothing can be wrong with him. What will I do?
We left the house at 12:50 and were at the hospital by 1 AM.
Once I was wheeled to the maternal unit they put a heart monitor on my belly and I began hearing his heartbeat. For the first time since I woke up I felt a sense of relief that he seemed okay. At first, they believed that my water had just broke and that I as going to have to deliver that night but we needed to have the OB confirm. This was the first shock. Once the OB arrived he examined me and I will never forget the look on his face or the words following.
“Oh no, this is a severe placental abruption. We will need to preform a C Section immediately.”
I went from panic to full blown crisis mode.
“I know you would like to have a vaginal birth but there is no time to wait. You are loosing blood at a rapid rate and the baby is loosing oxygen. This is the only way to ensure you and your sons survival.”
After this everything is really a blur of questions about what allergies I have and a team of people getting me hooked up to IV’s. I can really take this moment to be thankful for the amazing partner I have in Jim, he was the only reason I didn’t completely freak out during all of this. He kept assuring me that everything would be okay and I can’t in my whole life recall a time that I felt more scared, truly terrified, than the moment they wheeled me away from Jim and into the OR.
“Don’t worry he will be able to come back in for the birth”
They administered an epidural and within a few seconds I couldn’t feel anything below my ribs.(Lets just say they held my leg straight up and I didn’t even realize they were touching me till I looked down). I have always been a person that needs to see whats happening and ask a million questions to feel secure. Once the laid me back and put the curtain up I was completely out of control and couldn’t tell what was going on, which was not my favorite feeling I might add. I am thankful for the poor nurse that was standing behind my head listening to all of my nervous questions.
“What is happening now. When can Jim come back?”
“I don’t think I can do this. I’m so scared.”
The nurse smiled at me.
“Well honey, you already are.”
Then I heard the sweetest tiniest little cries followed by Jim’s voice.
“Hes here. Look, he’s here.”
I looked over as they weighed him.
“5lbs, 12oz! Welcome to the world little man!”
All I could do was laugh and cry, everything was okay he was alive and all my fear dissipated into amazement. Thankfully, even though he was exactly a month early, Oliver was healthy enough to not be dependent on an incubator or oxygen. We attempted to do skin to skin contact but I started to feel very ill due to the epidural and he and Jim left as they finished stitching me up.
I was reunited with Jim and Oliver in the recovery unit. I was shaking uncontrollably due to the reaction I was having and the physical shock of surgery. It was difficult to even get words out. Even so I was determined to nurse him and though it wasn’t glamorous, because I was shaking him all over, he latched on (as a preemie they weren’t sure we would at all!). I am very proud of that moment, when just hours before when I didn’t know if I would walk away with my son to feeding him for the first time, finally seeing his sweet face. After he ate I was still not able to regulate my body temperature and they put me in what I can only describe as an adult incubator and finally I began to stabilize and feel better.
At 8 AM, 7 hours after this all began, after this complete burst of energy, emotion and physical exertion, we were wheeled to our room on the mother-baby floor. Me, Jim and Oliver were finally all alone. The room was silent as we just stared at each other and then back at Oliver in an exhausted, shocked haze. “What just happened?” “Can you believe he is here?” ” I can’t even believe he is real”. These were the only words spoken for the first while.
Since Oliver was doing so well we able to go home after 3 days!
Written with love by: Kaitlyn Russo (@lovelightplantmother)