I want to write some beautiful poetic post on the birth of our son a few weeks ago, but I unfortunately was asleep, and my husband Chris was not even in the room. Not what was expected, but so it goes.
We had planned and prepared for a home birth and as the time approached I was getting more excited and more relaxed about it. Friday I was dilated to four centimeters but wasn't really feeling any contractions yet. Saturday morning, October 17th, my contractions started and I was feeling really well and rested. I wanted to go walk around Trier with my mum and sister a bit, but things went faster than I expected and by lunch time my water had broken.
I waited a few more hours to call our midwife, and she came around dinner time just as we were sitting down to some Chinese food (I was trying to get some food in my system but it didn't end up being much, and I threw that up almost immediately). I then spent much of the evening rolling around on Danielle's huge exercise ball in front of the fireplace in our living room. It was strangely a wonderful and relaxing time as I mentally prepared for the night ahead. I read about how you can open your throat and your cervix will follow and so I chanted "Ommmmm" in a low, deep voice over and over (which actually annoyed me quite a bit by the end of the night but I just didn't know what else to do by then, haha..) Chris and Tricia helped out greatly by massaging my lower back through each contraction and I was able to get in the tub for a while. For hours I envisioned flowers and wiggly newborns and relaxing places....
Fast forward to almost 4 a.m. The midwife had taken a bit of a nap and Tricia woke her up because it seemed that my contractions were almost 10 minutes... or numerous with no breaks in between, I honestly couldn't tell you. I had been sleeping in between them and was throwing up some more and wasn't paying attention to times. When she checked my cervix again it was.... four centimeters.... Still.
I wanted to be relaxed and just let this baby flow out of me into the world, but I started to get scared. All the meditations I know, all the visualizations, all the little things that we learned to help the baby out, none of it relaxed me enough to simply have him there in our bedroom.
The midwife recommended we go to the hospital for a little pain medicine to maybe help with relaxing. I really, really didn't want to go, in fact I told her I didn't because I was afraid of having a C-section. But in the end I felt like he wasn't coming on his own. I was sick to the point of throwing up nothing and having these long contractions that were doing nothing to help things along and I just knew he should have been there but wasn't coming. We could have waited a few more hours but I think they would have had to call an ambulance to get me downstairs and into a car. So while I was still mobile we headed to Trier. That wasn't the hospital we had been seen at for the whole pregnancy, but it's the one the midwife worked out of and I wanted to stick with her as opposed to going somewhere where I didn't really know the nurses or most of the doctors. So we made our way out there, it was about a 20 minute drive ~ but my car has heated seats :) and thankfully I didn't get sick IN the car.
Once there she administered a pain reliever which worked nicely, took the edge off anyway. I still felt everything but was much more calm about it. But then it all stopped. One contraction an hour was about how it was going. I've heard of that happening to women once they get to the hospital, it's a fight or flight reaction if they don't feel safe or comfortable. I thought it strange though because I felt okay being there with her and Chris and Tricia. It was quiet and the lights were not too bright and there were no doctors or nurses in and out, so I'm not sure what happened to stall my labor. In any case, it was stalled long enough for her to recommend pitocin, which meant an epidural (artificial contractions are more painful than natural contractions, and can cause stress on the baby so an epidural is given to help with the extra pain and to help calm the mother). I put it off by trying acupuncture and walking up and down the stairs with Chris, but I was very, very tired as well and once I settled down again they all but stopped once more. Finally, I relented. An ultrasound had shown that the baby's head was twisted in the wrong direction to descend into the birth canal and after hours and hours of changing positions, walking, dancing, rolling around on the ball, ect., he hadn't budged.
The pitocin worked, and the epidural was not so bad since it was a "walking" one and I could still move around. My contractions started up and were regular for the duration of the epidural, which eventually started to wear off and had to be re-administered. The second time was not as fun since something was blocked and I felt everything on the right side of my body by then. The entire labor at home wasn't as bad as that hour!
Still though I was only six centimetres when they checked me again. The baby was still in his stuck position, although his heart rate was fine throughout.
Finally I just realized that he wasn't moving. I had been talking to him all day, asking him to drop. Without his help my body wasn't going to open up enough to be ready for his birth. He was not too big, just in such a strange position.
The head doctor of gynecology came in and checked things out and she was very kind. She said that he wasn't moving and that a C-section would be the last option here. I felt it really was the last option, and at that point I was worried about the loss of fluids, the artificial contractions around the baby, the drugs... I wanted him out safe and sound where we couldn't meddle with him anymore. I knew that he would have been there at 4 a.m. had it all gone well, but it hadn't and this was it.
So off we went. Chris and the midwife got scrubbed up and someone prepped me, they didn't waste any time! I was okay knowing Chris would be there, nervous but it would all be done soon I kept thinking. I'd see our squirmy baby emerge and he'd be in his dad's arms and everything would be fine soon.
I was strapped down to the table, legs and arms spread eagle, and the docs and anesthesiologist started on the numbing. The epidural wasn't working so I thought I'd be getting a spinal block. Nope. I had already had the highest dose of epidural meds so a spinal block was out of the question since it can travel up too far and cause you to stop breathing. This is the hard part for me. I had to be put under general anesthesia and Chris then had to leave the room. The midwife was still there and it was nice to have her by my side, but I was terrified nonetheless. As I was falling asleep I was sobbing and I'm sure it was a sad sight!
So thirty hours after my labor started Johnathan made it safely into the world- with both his parents sadly missing it.
The first thing I said as I woke up was, "Is the baby okay?" The man watching over me smiled and said, "Of course."
He stretched and landed like that, haha...
I had five long days in the hospital to spend thinking about how things went, but mostly I sat with Johnny and just loved on him. I'm still quite sad about it, even though it all resulted in a lovely and healthy baby boy. I feel like a huge part of our lives is completely missing from our big picture and I would do almost anything to be able to go back and witness him being born. Many times I think that I didn't do enough, that I could have waited longer or calmed myself more. And then the rest of the time I'm able to remind myself that, regardless of what I could or couldn't do, it's done and past and the best thing I can do for Johnathan and myself is simply move on and make the most of now. :)