This was my first pregnancy, and my due date was April, 9, 2011. I was super excited about this because my birthday is April 22, and I knew it would be really special to share the birth month with my daughter! My pregnancy got off to a rocky start: really bad morning, afternoon and evening sickness, placenta previa, and lots of bed rest (really tough for this workout-a-holic!). Other than that, it was a fun lived 9 months, and according to my OB was a “textbook pregnancy.”
There’s nothing quite like being the pregnant lady, wobbling around town with that “glow.” I have to admit, I did love all the attention I’d get from other women at the grocery store, the gym and at work! Being that my husband is a rescue helicopter pilot, we planned for an induced pregnancy; that way he wasn’t out flying in the middle of the ocean when my water broke and the baby popped out! We had attended all of the new parent/birthing classes, sat in the very front of every class, participated and took lots of notes! This was a huge, life-changing event that we weren’t really sure we were ready for (are you ever really ready?), so we were taking it all very seriously and planning the pregnancy/delivery out to a “T”!
My induction was scheduled for 8pm on Friday, April 8th. I’m such a “type A” planner, so feeling like I was in control of the situation really helped a ton with my stress levels! I had plenty of time to pack my “hospital” bag, my coming home outfit and Emma’s new baby things. We took our time getting to Touro and were super relaxed come check in. I got all “suited up” and took my place in that super uncomfortable hospital bed ready to be pricked and probed. And, not just by the nurses – Emma was a very rowdy baby in my belly: she kicked and poked and pushed on several different organs. It was very unpleasant, especially this late in the game!
Once all the tests were run and the IVs in place, we were smooth sailing from there, so I tried to finally get some rest. At about 2:00am, the nurses abruptly woke me up to start the Pitocin. Then, at about 7:00am the contractions hit me like a freight train! OUCHIE! That was some of the most excruciating pain I had ever felt. Whoever says that labor contractions are “uncomfortable,” not painful, is really mis-guided. And lying. Real contractions are excruciating and mind-numbing. I felt out of my body. I thought that I might not survive. And, I know the look on my face during those intervals scared the crap out of my hubby…poor thing!
Quick nurse, get me that epidural, STAT! Thankfully it kicked in really fast and subsided most of the pain. So, just when I think we’re in the clear, my water breaks! Wahoo! It’s PUSH time! Let’s get this baby girl out! Or not. The nurses weren’t very good at hiding their troubled faces. “Yep, you’re water broke, but we’ve found meconium in your amniotic fluid.” Marc and I stared at each other, “was that in English?” What does that mean? Well, it meant we’re moving on to plan B – this baby needs out so we’re going to have to prep you for a cesarean section. OH ME OH MY. That was definitely the “new parent” class where neither one of us paid any attention to the details of a c-section! We didn’t need to…from month 6 of my pregnancy onward, my OB had assured me Emma was head down and ready. Now to add to all the stress, not only do I need a c-section, but we were informed that Emma was frank breech, too! How could this be??? So when my doctor came in and told me it was time for a c-section, I cried like a baby. I was scared, sad, frustrated and unprepared, but I had no choice but to have surgery. I didn’t know what to expect.
I kept thinking, “This is what you see on A Baby Story, not what happens to me!”
So, it was now c-section prep time. I had a lovely anesthetist who talked me through the whole procedure and was very reassuring. I befriended her early on, because I knew she had the magic medicine to make me feel better! They took Marc away to get into his scrubs, and I got my spinal. When I saw Marc dressed in the scrubs I nearly cried again – not because of fear, but because of the sticker on his chest that said ‘DAD’. It made me so proud!
Everyone started acting all “Emergency Mode” at this moment and I was whisked into the O.R. before I could say anything else, such as “I want my mommy!” who at this point was still on the road somewhere between Baton Rouge and New Orleans trying to get there as fast as she could!
I don’t remember much after this. All I do remember was that it was so hard to keep my eyes open. Probably because I was so drowsy and tired from all the medication. Oh, and because the operating room is freaking bright! Nothing like what I had expected after watching episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. No dimmed incandescent lighting, just bright and beaming fluorescent lights. I kept asking (better known as “bugging”) the anesthesiologist, “Is she out yet?” and she kept reassuring me that she wouldn’t let me miss a thing. She better not! I also remember there being some tugging and pulling going on around my tummy. Nothing uncomfortable at all, but the sensations were very weird. I barely remember the OB leaning Emma over the infamous blue sheet and telling me to, “say hi mommy!” It all happened so fast! Before I could say anything, Emma and my hubby disappeared. She was having trouble breathing, and the fact that I didn’t hear her cry was mortifying. The last thing I remember was telling Marc to not take his eyes off of her and to never leave her side. He honored my every request.
Although still pretty groggy, the obvious highlight of my day was getting to hold sweet baby Emma for the first time. It was magical to see her, smell her and hear her stop crying as soon she felt my touch. It was the perfect bonding MOMent and I will forever remember it. My recovery was tough, but the best advice I was given was from a friend. She said, “take all the pain meds they give you – don’t be a martyr to the pain. It is much better to be drugged up and out of bed, than in pain and not able to move!” So even though I didn’t really feel like I needed a lot of pain relief, I took it anyway. It definitely helped with my mobility and a quicker recovery!
My daughter was born healthy and perfect, and I recovered well after the surgical birth, incision massaging (which really hurts!) and learning how to pee again after the catheter. But, something was still missing. I felt like I had missed my own birth. It felt chaotic, out of my control and scary, and it was hard to remember the small details.
Even if you think you won’t have a C-section, educate yourself! When it was time for mine, I felt lost and clueless and didn’t know what to expect. Afterward, I would suggest talking to other women
about how you feel about your birth. You’re not a bad mom for having feelings of grief because you didn’t get the birth you wanted. And remember: just because you gave birth via C-section, you’re not a failure at being a woman or giving birth, and you’re not any less of a mom. The best advice I can give is to be flexible. Research things so you know all of your options and be clear about what you want … but at the same time, go with the flow. Remember that the goal is a healthy baby and a healthy mom.
Also, enjoy every minute of it. If this is your first baby, remember that you’ll never be pregnant with or deliver your first again. All of the little things you think you’ll remember, you won’t. So write it down, soak it in, and enjoy it. Or get your hubby to take lots of photos and videos like I did!