T.M's Birth Story By Rachel Print
Birth Stories - C-Section Birth Stories
Monday, 17 November 2008 10:50
      I found out I was pregnant for the first time in August of 1995, and that I was due April 9, 1996. I was so glad! My husband and I had been trying for three months to conceive and we were so happy that God was blessing us with a baby.

      The pregnancy went well. It was pretty ordinary--the only real discomfort was the nausea and vomiting in the first trimester. By the time the end of the pregnancy arrived, though, I was definitely wanting to have the baby OUTSIDE of me. When I reached the stage where you go to the OB every week and have a physical examination, I began to be pretty downhearted because I was not dilated or effaced at ALL. Nothing. I was 41 weeks along when I went to the doctor for my usual visit--he told me to come in that Friday and we would decide on a date to induce labor if nothing was happening.

      Nothing was happening. I had been hoping that my OB (whom I really liked, by the way) would just say, "Well, let's hop on over to the hospital and get this done!". But he said to come on Saturday night, and he would prepare me for induction Sunday morning. Accordingly we went to the hospital. The doctor and nurses applied a synthetic hormone to my cervix which was supposed to encourage it overnight to dilate and efface, hoping that by morning we would have made a little headway before the administration of the Pitocin. There was no headway, but Pitocin was administered at 8 a.m. anyway. Since it was assumed that I would be laboring most of the day, I was given a liquid breakfast.

      However, there was a problem: After administration of the Pitocin, the monitors were detecting contractions (which I couldn't feel), and they were also detecting that the baby was not taking them well--his heartbeat slowed with each and didn't regain its normal tempo until it was almost time for the next contraction--also known as fetal distress syndrome. The doctor says that this was probably due to the age of the placenta (I was two days short of 42 weeks by this point). At nine a.m. he told me that I would have to have a Caesarean.

      This frightened me a great deal. I was really pretty unprepared as far as labor went--we live in a small town 45 minutes away from the hospital where I would be giving birth; there were no childbirth classes available in our town and our schedules wouldn't permit the drive after work to the classes at the hospital, so we had read some books (one of them a very good book) but we weren't really prepared for even a regular delivery--but a Caesarean! I had only a very vague idea of what to expect. I was introduced to my anesthetist, who spoke very little English, and to the surgical team who would be helping my doctor to deliver my baby, and by about 9:50 I was downstairs in an operating room.

      The operating room was very cold. I was naked in front of a dozen strangers and one familiar face, my doctor (my husband would be allowed to be there but for some reason he had to wait to come downstairs and had not arrived yet). The nurses were kind but not as facilitating as the OB nurses I'd been with all night, except for one who was very motherly and held me until my husband could be there. The anesthetist told me to "sit very still", which I did, and then I felt a very painful stab in the middle of my back. I hadn't known he was putting in a spinal block; I had known I would have one but I had received no immediate warning, and coming as a surprise the needle was almost debilitatingly painful (in reality it would not have been too bad if I had just known it was coming). Then before I knew it he was giving me another one, and telling me to lie down. I think my husband arrived at about this point.

      The anesthetist had replaced the oxygen mask over my face, which was there to give me extra oxygen to pass along to the baby. But the anesthesia was working, and I couldn't feel anything below my rib cage except that I was going to throw up. I kept taking off the mask and saying, "I'm going to throw up!" and he kept replacing the mask and scolding me for being a bad girl (I was 21), telling me that if I didn't cooperate he would have to put me all the way under. This happened about four times before he strapped the mask on; I jerked it off and threw up into a towel which the sweet nurse had put beside my head. The anesthetist said, "Oh! She is vomiting!". Arrgghh.

      The other discomfort of the Caesarean was that I couldn't feel myself breathing. The bottoms of my lungs were numb, and I kept panicking and forgetting to breathe. My husband, who was remaining completely calm, kept me looking at him and kept telling me, "Take a breath. Take another one. Another one," all through the ordeal.

      At 10:06 our son was born, with an amazing set of lungs and Apgar scores of 9 and 10. He weighed 8 lbs. 14 oz. and was 21 1/2 in. long. They held him up to my cheek, and I noticed that he had lots of black hair and my father's ears.

      The remainder of my hospital stay was very pleasant, with the minor exception of not being able to see anyone I knew for the hour or two I was in the recovery room (I wanted to see my husband so badly!). I enjoyed being able to get to know my baby, and having the assistance learning to walk again (the only time in my life I've ever fainted from pain was the first time I got up to walk after the Caesarean). In that way it was fortunate that the Caesarean was required; otherwise I'd have gone home Monday, 24 hours after the birth of the baby (the insurance company's policy, not the hospital's). I was able to stay until Tuesday night.

      Like another woman who wrote her birth story here, I am very glad for the hospital's machines and for the expertise of the doctors and nurses, who caught the problem with Tolley's heartbeat before the lack of oxygen did him any damage. God has given us a wonderfully healthy son, who at fifteen months is walking all over and learning to talk--already so much of the baby-ness is gone, and he's such a little boy.