Editor’s note: We believe that all birth stories and all birth experiences matter. This post is part of an ongoing series of birth stories submitted by readers and fellow bloggers, featuring a diverse range of women and their birth experiences. Like many women, Chrissy’s recent birth went nothing like how she’d planned. This is her story of how she ended up with an induction and C-section despite her plans for a natural birth. If you would like to share your own birth story, please visit this post to learn how. ~Olivia
I am a bit of a type A, control freak, and a firm believer in living a more natural life. My husband and I got pregnant with my daughter on our first attempt for a baby. We were so happy, we joked that my control issues allowed me to control my own body. I was ready for a baby and I made it happen. I was starting to think this was true when I went into labor on Margot’s due date.
I had a novel length birth plan that detailed as few interventions as possible. My doctor warned me to call this plan my preferences and that there are no guarantees. I knew this and was okay with this. I was okay with the thought that it might not happen exactly the way I planned, but I wasn’t expecting it to veer so far off track. I wanted to give birth in the hospital for the reason that anything could happen and if I truly needed medical intervention I wanted it, but I still wanted to have a natural birthing experience.
I started having contractions irregularly in the early evening on a Tuesday. That night I woke up with strong regular contractions and tried to sleep through them. Once my husband was awake we waited for the contractions to be about 5 minutes apart for over an hour and then headed to the hospital.
I had already been 80 percent effaced and 3 cm dilated when I had my last prenatal appointment the day before. So I was thinking this was it for sure, it was my due date, it is go time, so we headed to the hospital. We didn’t even get far enough to decide if it was active labor because my blood pressure was high and my blood pressure had been high the day before. My doctor wanted to induce.
I was given three options for induction, none of which were on my birth plan. I did not want to be induced. I knew labor would come on faster, stronger and more painfully with induction. I wanted to slowly build up to the stronger contractions. Induction was at the top of my list of things I wanted to avoid, but the doctor didn’t leave me much choice and I decided that the pitocin drip was our best option.
I was told that we needed to wait 20 minutes for a room and then they would move us to a birthing room and start the pitocin. After waiting two hours in a small triage room, with not a single nurse checking in on me I was feeling such dread. I was strapped to monitors and a blood pressure cuff that was running every 15 minutes and sounding an alarm every time my blood pressure was too high, which was often. The alarm would ding until I rang for a nurse to come in and turn it off. Talk about having high blood pressure, that situation they put me in was stressful: waiting with no updates, alarms ringing every 15 minutes, strapped to a bed and needing to use the bathroom, a pillowcase full of towels as they were out of pillows… My husband finally went to ask what was happening and our nurse came in not 5 minutes later to take us to our room. They had clearly forgotten me. My only thought keeping me going was that my contractions were getting strong and I was hoping I’d made enough progress to not be induced. But it wasn’t enough.
I was finally moved to my room and hooked up to the pitocin drip. I felt so much better instantly. The room was twice the size and although I was on an IV, I did get wireless monitors for the baby and was able to move much easier. I got a birthing ball, dimmed the lights and zoned out to my music. I was feeling really positive for several hours, but I still wasn’t making much progress and I was starting to really feel the pain. I was slowly starting to feel the dread again. I just wanted to meet my daughter. Not to mention I was starting to get very hungry and tired.
We had arrived at the hospital at 9:30am, and by this point it was about 7pm. I was really starting to think about the epidural. As much as I wanted to do this without medication, I just wasn’t sure I could. I hated myself for being weak in this moment and not finding the strength. It still disappoints me, really…I debated it for a while over many tears and finally decided to get the epidural, with an immense amount of guilt. My epidural was difficult and took a long time to get everything right, but once I started receiving the medication, I felt great.
It was such a relief to not feel anything and in that moment I forgave myself. I slept on and off for a few hours. I still wasn’t progressing well, and they wanted to break my water. At this point I was so far off track of my birth plan, that I just went ahead with it. The nurse told us that the baby was facing the wrong direction. We tried different very uncomfortable positions to turn the baby. Including me with my butt up in the air with the nurse and my husband rocking me back and forth. Margot did not change her position, so the doctor came in and tired turning her, which was terrible with the epidural, I can’t imagine the pain without it. They thought they successfully turned her, but after some pushing they realized she only made a half turn.
We continued to push and push and the epidural made it difficult to really push well. The baby wasn’t coming she was stuck in my pelvis. I pushed and pushed for probably about 2 hours. At this point it was 5am. I was starving, exhausted, and desperately wanted to birth my baby.
The doctor came in and told me I could take a break and then try pushing some more. To me this seemed crazy. I was not going to get more energy without fuel, I needed to eat to have more energy. She told me I could try again to turn her more or I could have a C-section.
I instantly said, “No, I don’t want a C-section”, but once they left I discussed it with my husband over more tears and we decided to get the C-section. I just didn’t have anything left in me after over 20 hours of labor with no fuel and no rest. I cried and was instantly disappointed in myself for not being stronger. Why was I not able to birth my baby naturally? But I made the decision, I needed to be okay with it.
This part all happened so quickly. Before I knew it I was in an operating room, and at 6:48 am my daughter was born. Hearing her cry instantly made me cry. I cried and cried, I cried out of relief that she was here and well, I cried because it was over and because I wanted to meet her so desperately. I couldn’t hold my baby I had to wait 30 minutes after she was born until I got to welcome her to the world and that made me sad. I lament the fact that after the surgery I was too tired and too drugged to really be able to enjoy meeting my sweet baby. I hardly remember the moment she was handed to me.
As disappointed as I was with my birth, we made the right decision to have a C-section. It turns out the umbilical cord was around her neck and there was meconium inside of me, which could have caused infection in both me and baby. The doctors and nurses were all amazing in making me feel that I made the right decisions and that there was no wrong way to birth a baby.
It has only been a little over a week since Margot was born and I cry every time I talk about this day, but ultimately my baby is perfect and healthy and we are together and that is all that matters. I hope over time that I can come to accept my experience. This experience was difficult, but the end result was a healthy baby and that is all we can hope for in the end.