***This has been in draft for awhile waiting to publish. Babe is now 9.5 week old***
There is a lot of talk about birth plans out there. Throughout my pregnancy I didn’t have a birth plan. At an OB appointment during the end of the second trimester my doctor asked me if I had a birth plan. I answered “Uh, to let you guys get the baby out.” I had some ideas, like I knew I would probably need pain management (because I can’t get through most weeks without taking Tylenol for something….) but beyond that I really didn’t have any plan.
Now that I am home with my son I can tell you I am so glad that I didn’t have my heart set on a birth plan because nothing about my labour was according to any “plan” that you would want. Just before I hit 37 weeks I got a cold. At my 37 week appointment I said to my OB that I had a cold.
“I am coughing so much and every coughing fit causes contractions. I am afraid of inducing labour.”
The OB said it could happen but it was more likely that it would just help “ripen” my uterus and make labour easily when it did take place. Well, this took me by surprise because I thought my fear was unfounded.
After a week of being sick and having contractions brought on by coughing fits, on June 30th at 11:30pm, after a day of binge-watching “House of Cards” on NetFlix with my husband, I went to the bathroom which was quickly followed by me saying to hubby “I think my water just broke.”
“Are you serious?”
“Yes, I thought I peed myself, but it is definitely my water”
“Well, let’s get to the hospital…”
To which I responded, “But we were just about to do dishes!” Hubby laughed because clearly that wasn’t the priority right now. So I showered and had him at least rinse them off and neatly pile them in the sink. Because of course, I didn’t want to come home after 24 hours to dirty dishes (however, 24 hours is not how long I would be gone).
So off to the hospital we went arriving at midnight on July 1st. Canada Day.
After labour progressing well all night, and my pain being effectively managed by the wonders of the Epidural things started to go down hill. My baby’s heart rate fell – and it wasn’t coming back up.
At the time my husband was in the room and my Mom apparently was just arriving at the hospital, the nurse had to page for a Doctor to my room and I ended up having 2 doctors, 2 nurses and a resident all around me while my husband looked on worried and my Mom waited blissfully unaware outside the maternity ward waiting for Husband to get her text message to come out and get her.
After getting baby’s heart rate up to an acceptable level, the OB that was brought in said that if it happened again, we would have to do an emergency c section. Over the next hour and a half, we watched the baby’s heart rate monitor and watched as his heart rate fell with every contraction. We also watched as the contractions began to slow down, becoming shorter and weaker. One OB said, “It’s as if her body is shutting down the labour process. This baby isn’t going to come out.”
Then the heart rate fell again and stayed low for a while, and the team of doctor’s and nurses came back. That’s when the OB said “We’re getting this baby out now.”
We were going to have to get the baby out via an emergency c-section. This is where I am very glad I had no birth plan. When the doctors confirmed it would be a c-section I said “Ok I understand.”
The nurses and the doctors were shocked with how well I was taking the news. My Mom said that this reminded her of my birth. I, too, was born via an emergency c-section after being in distress.
Apparently, many women don’t take the news of a c-section very well. The nurse told me she has patients who end up so depressed by having an emergency c-section that they require counselling after the fact to deal with the disappointment of “losing” their birth plan and that she was surprised to see me handling the news well.
I took the news well because I believed that having a c-section was what was best for my son in this situation. I also trusted the medical staff at my hospital. They had been wonderful the whole time and I knew they wanted what was best for me and my child. Finally, understanding that my son was in distress, I believed that keeping myself calm would be best for him. Anxiety on my part wouldn’t change the outcome and wouldn’t be good for my son.
The operation went well and my son came into the world at 1:02pm on Canada Day. Two weeks early.
My husband held him near me as they put me back together and I finally got to hold my son as they wheeled me to recovery. I got to hold him for all of 20 minutes. At this point, baby’s breathing was laboured and when the nurses couldn’t clear it off to NICU he went. We were told that he would be there for 5 hours. It turned into 3 days.
They had to give him formula. I didn’t have the ideal amount of skin to skin. My husband couldn’t cut the cord, and we couldn’t do delayed cord clamping. Banking the cord blood was also now out of the question. I wasn’t able to breast feed him until the next morning and it didn’t go well. For three days I tried unsuccessfully to feed him – resorting instead to feeding him the colostrum I could pump with a syringe. Daily I wheeled myself down to NICU several times a day to see my tiny boy hooked up with so many wires and IVs poking into him.
By the end of the week we finally got to go home. After all that, I didn’t care that the labour didn’t go according to any kind of plan. I wasn’t heart broken when I realized I wouldn’t be able to have a vaginal birth. When I look down at my him I can’t be upset by how he came into the world, just that he is here and we are a family now.