Part of what I wanted to experience with the trial of labor was the actual labor part. With Isabelle, I was induced with Pitocin and pretty much immediately received an epidural when things got the slightest bit painful. I was afraid of what was to come and I don’t remember contractions, and I certainly didn’t have any on my own.
This time, my body was doing what it was supposed to do. I was so thrilled that things were progressing without any medical intervention, I knew it increased my chances of having a successful VBAC. I felt great. Especially since my hair and makeup were mostly done, suckas!
So I was admitted, given an IV and taken to our large birthing suite. I swear, an elephant could have given birth in that room it was so ginormous. We had an ultrasound to confirm our fears that the tiny baby ninja was indeed posterior- meaning his face was up instead of down. It makes it harder to progress since the baby’s head isn’t pushing down correctly, and it makes for some DELIGHTFUL back labor.
We had a wonderful nurse who was super supportive of our vbac attempt, she is usually the charge nurse and doesn’t always get assigned patients. Lucky for us, that day she was actually on the floor and I know it wasn’t just by accident. For the next three hours I labored on my feet. I don’t know how anyone could labor laying down in a bed, it was MISERY to lay down when they had to check me. Because I had a previous c-section, I had to be on the monitors for my entire labor so we could keep track of the baby’s heartbeat at all times. They have these fancy wireless monitors so I was able to walk around and SWAY and SWAY and SWAY. I’ve always seen women in labor lean on stuff and I never understood why that could actually be comfortable but seriously, it helps.
|Hi, I have to wear two gowns so my bum doesn’t show.|
At noon I was checked and found to be 5 cm dilated. A five! For me that was huge because I never progressed past a four with my first labor after 15 hours on pitocin. Already I was more successful than the first time! There is this line from Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth that says something like ‘your body is not a lemon.’ When I read that, it really connected with me and I kept going back to that during labor. After that point the contractions moved alllllllll into my back. It literally felt like someone was using a backhoe to tear my body in half. Every four minutes I would yell OKAY JAZZ PLEASE GO NOW. And he would rush over and push on my lower back with all of his might until the contraction was over. Good as gold, that man.
I also started to make some quiet noises. Again, I never understood why women made weird moaning noises during labor but for some reason it helps, don’t ask me. Jazz says I sounded like a soft version of that part from Kung Fu Panda where Po says “I love kung fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.” Labor is weird and I seriously wasn’t worried about being embarrassed by saying weird things since basically most of the hospital saw my naked lower half and some point during the experience. Modesty = Totally gone.
We labored like that until 3 when I started dreaming of the epidural. I was checked and was a 6! I was so proud of myself- one that my body was doing awesome and two that I made it that far without pitocin or an epidural. I kept saying, “Look at me go!” High five. Now, please push on my back some more.
About 3:30 I received a wonderful epidural from the tallest anesthesiologist I have ever met. It was enough that I couldn’t feel pain but I could still feel the tightness from the contractions. I realized that I wouldn’t be standing up again until I delivered the baby! Exciting. I had been experiencing contractions for a good 20 hours and most of that was spent on my feet rocking and dancing on my tiptoes. I was tired! But did I tell you they let me eat? Last time I wasn’t allowed food all day and I actually forced Jazz to sneak me a granola bar when no one was looking. This time I was given snacks and meals- graham crackers have never tasted so amazing.
|At some point, Jazz ran to the condo to shower super quickly. These are the items that Isabelle put in a bag and sent “for mama”- a leaf, a couple rocks, a lemon she found outside, and her favorite play people. I cried.|
New OB tried to turn the baby around. Of course, the baby was stubborn and would not budge even an inch. Again, doc said in his opinion a section would be the best course. I asked for two more hours. And I prayed for the baby to turn.
At 10 pm I was 8-9 cms but still had a posterior baby. He would not get past a 0 station in the birth canal, meaning basically he would not descend. Doc said he would try to turn him again and he did- quite aggressively. It took a few minutes of wrangling, but the baby finally turned the right way! Everything was working out.
And then we immediately lost his heartbeat. Code was called, nurses and doctors flew in the room. The chief was paged. I was flipped on my side, given oxygen and a shot in my arm to stop my contractions. People were unhooking me and rehooking me to new things in preparation for an emergency c-section. Never before have I cried out in prayer like I did then, pleading to my Heavenly Father for everything to be alright. Jazz stood in the corner, stunned and helpless. An ultrasound machine was wheeled in to find the baby, and after a very long minute the heartbeat came back very, very slowly. I laid on my side and sobbed into my oxygen mask feeling so selfish for wanting to birth this baby MY way and for thinking that I could control anything.
After that it was clear that there would be no more turning the baby, no matter what. I agreed. The pitocin was shut off since I was contracting on my own, and we were given some time to just rest and recover from the situation.
At midnight, my doctors came in to check me again. I was fully dilated and ready to go but the baby was not descending. At all. My doctor explained to me that from what he could tell, my pelvis is shaped differently- that the front is a normal width but the back is very narrow and was not allowing the baby to pass. The term cephalopelvic disproportion was used. It was probably the reason why my babies sit posterior- there is more room in the front and it is more comfortable for them to settle that way. And, as a bonus, when he checked me he found that the baby had turned back to posterior position. He and his team recommended a c-section.
I asked for some time to discuss it with Jazz. We had come so far and I felt so close to the birth I had always wanted, I could not believe that I wasn’t going to experience it. I looked at the empty baby warmer and knew that none of my babies would ever be cleaned off over there while I looked on lovingly from my bed. Jazz held me and kissed me and told me what I good job I had done and I believed him. I had done everything right. I went into labor on my own and labored all day and dilated and did everything that I was supposed to do. There was nothing else I could do to change the fact that my body is shaped in a way that does not allow for a baby to pass through my pelvis. Period.
At 1 am, the doctors reassembled and I consented to the surgery. After the decision was made I felt like a load was taken from my shoulders- relief. Peace. Understanding. Acceptance. Gratitude.
Jazz gave me a quick kiss and I was wheeled into the OR and strapped onto the table. Medicine given, doctors called in, and the surgery underway. Jazz massaged my forehead and talked to me to distract me from the weird feeling of having people’s hands in my abdomen. A few minutes later, time was called and the baby that had spent almost a year inside my body was pulled from me and ushered into the other room for the nicu nurses to examine. I heard him cry.
And just like that, little Lincoln made our family of three into four.
|His poor little head was a bit bruised/scratched from all the turning.|
|Baby Linc, 60 minutes old|