In the heat of late August and two days past my due date I was determined to get labor moving. I had been having Braxton hicks for a week and was already 3 centimeters dilated. My doula and I met up for a walk around our local University campus. Despite the summer sun and high temperatures, I walked for hours with no progress. That evening my contractions began getting stronger and I was bouncing and singing to my son hoping to convince him to move down. Little did I know that his slow, stubborn early was a foreshadowing of what was to come.
That night my contractions began to come more frequently, but I wasn’t convinced this was the real deal yet. My husband went to work the next morning while I baked and prepared. I was convinced that baby was going to bake another two months. Late that afternoon my contractions were longer, stronger, and closer together. I called my doula to come over and she and I had a sweet time together- walking, baking, and lots of counter pressure. My husband came home and we continued the hours upon hours of early labor. After a Chinese food dinner, I was feeling nauseous and exhausted. We turned on a movie and my doula encouraged me to try to rest. Within minutes I could feel a shift in my contractions and baby lowering. We determined it was nearly time to trek to the hospital, despite my secret wish to have birthed at home.
Labor slowed in intensity as we arrived at the hospital around 10 pm. I paced the halls, stopping every few minutes to let a wave of contractions pass. Nurses checked me multiple times and all said the same thing- He is head down, 90% effaced, and 4-5 cm dilated. Finally, around midnight (that’s the last time I looked at the clock at least), I was officially in active labor. In the middle of one of my contractions I heard a loud burst and felt an unstoppable gush flowing from me. This is the moment my labor shifted from my dream birthing experience to a nightmare.
To this point I had no medical intervention and my goal was to have a natural birth.
My doula soothed me and encouraged me as a shift in the room took place. She whispered a message to my husband who walked out quickly to get a nurse. A team of nurses rushed in and quickly assessed that due to large amounts of meconium (baby poop) in my waters it was time for emergency procedures. My doula kept me focused and “in the zone” despite the urgency around us. An OB came in to check me and determined the baby was breech and an emergency C-Section was necessary. My husband spoke up and asked if there were other options, but we determined this was best. Unfortunately, my body did not get the message to pause while we changed plans. I was ready to push. A slew of paperwork was thrust at me to sign and date. I could only manage to scratch the paper. For the first time in the whole labor process I felt what I would call “pain”. As long as my mind was focused, the pain was manageable.
I was wheeled back to the OR while my husband prepped. An anesthesiologist came to administer a spinal tap to numb me- I was terrified. I hugged the nurse holding me and tried to pretend she was my husband who had faithfully held me to this point. As my doctor cut, ripped, and pulled I decided to sing. I cried out with my all my might, singing Jesus lover of my soul. As my son was pulled out of me, I felt a pang of sadness and thankfulness all at once. I wanted to hold him immediately, but due to the meconium medical interventions were necessary. It wasn’t long before a nurse placed him on my chest and my doula was able to help him latch within an hour of birth.
To this day, my son Is a stubborn yet loving boy who does things his way no matter the cost.
My son’s birth did not go exactly as I hoped, but I know the challenges I faced in those moments prepared me for the countless times plans would change in the years to come as a mother.