Here is the story of her birth…
Labor started on Friday evening of the 11th of September. The contractions were very mild and I wasn’t quite sure if these would lead to anything. They did include some mild pain unlike braxton hicks contractions.
On Saturday the 12th of September the contractions persisted but were mild enough to not stop me from running errands. Phil and I went to about five different stores, and even managed to get the car washed. We returned that evening and finished the last six episodes of Lost Season 3. At this point it was 10:30pm and the contractions had still not stopped so I figured we’d better get rest just in case. I took a shower then went to bed and timed the contractions, they were pretty close together but the pain wasn’t that intense. I called the nurse at Labor and Delivery and they said to come in when 2 to 3 minutes apart.
It is now 2am on the 13th of September and the contractions are getting extremely close together, Phil was worried I might give birth in the car so he insisted we leave without timing them. At 2:30am we arrive to UCLA Ronald Regan. I get put into the admitting room to be checked out to see if I’m far enough along. They asked me about my birth plan. I said I’m with the midwife group and want an all -natural un-medicated birth. I do not want to be continuously monitored. I also would like her cord blood to completely pulse into her body before it gets cut, and I do not want an episiotomy, I’d rather tear. Also I requested that she not be fed any formula and that I’d like to breastfeed.
They did a speculum exam to see if my waters had broken, which the results were positive. The sad news was that there was meconium present, which means the baby took a poopie inside. They do this sometime due to stress however all her vitals and mine were perfect. Then they checked to see if I was dialated to 4cm. I requested that I be able to go home if I was less than 4cm and they seemed cool with that. But the good news is that I had made it to 4cm and was considered in Active labor.
They moved me to the room where I was supposed to deliver. My contractions are now more painful and I have to stop talking in order to cope with each wave. They hooked me up to a continuous monitor which is hospital policy for the first 20 minutes of admission. I sat there in agony for several hours because they said that her heart rate didn’t accelerate during a contraction. I’ve never heard of this in my research on natural birth so I reluctantly went with it. Typically if a baby’s heart rate decelerates during a contraction this is cause for concern, though I’ve never heard the opposite to be true. I just figured maybe she has an athlete’s heart and its in great shape. Finally a few hours later they let me labor in the shower for 20 minutes at a time. This was a tremendous relief as by this point the contractions were so intense. I felt them in my lower back and underside of my belly. I did this agonizing hard labor for about 11 hours. Phil was my hero who stayed with me at every contraction, rammed his fists as hard as he could into my lower back with each contraction, and coached me on relaxing and breathing through each contraction. At one point I cried in the shower at the agony and wanted to be checked to see if it was time to push. They laid me down and checked and at 11 hours of extremely hard labor, I hadn’t moved past 4cm. I was devastated as well when they told me that my cervix was getting swollen because I had unknowingly been pushing through the contractions.
At this point they decided that my body needed to relax a little so they ordered an epidural. They also wanted to put me on a pitocin drip so that it would regulate my contractions and make them even stronger. I laid in bed, strapped to monitors, hooked up to countless IV concoctions, and stayed like this for 10 hours. Finally I was checked again, only to receive more sad news, I had only progressed to 5cm, the baby’s head was swollen, and she was still in the sunny side up position. At this rate everyone thought it best to get the baby out and not put her into stress. I agreed and off to the operating room I went at 11pm.
Willow Soleil was born via c-section at 11:34pm, September 13. I still do not know if I made the right decision to have a c-section, but I cannot predict what could have happened if I had continued on the epidural and pitocin for more countless hours. The fact that she had still not engaged in the birth canal signaled to me that she probably would have had to come out via an emergency c-section in the end anyway. At least my c-section was not an emergency so they could take their time and do it right.
I fell in love with my daughter the moment I found out I was pregnant and when they took her from my body and she cried, I wept like I had never wept before. I also fell even more in love with my husband as I marveled how we could create something so perfect and beautiful.
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