On August 3rd, 2014, I was closing in on being a week past our due date. That afternoon, we decided to go swim at a relative’s pool to cool off. As soon as my feet touched the water, the contractions started. I told my husband that my stomach felt tight and we decided to stay in the pool and walk laps to see if the contractions would pick up.
After we left the pool, we grabbed a pizza on the way home and by that time, the contractions were every five minutes. Once we got home, we ate dinner, called the doctor and I soaked in the bath until the contractions were about two minutes apart.
Our hour long drive to the hospital felt so long! We arrived at the hospital shortly after 9pm. My husband just took over, talking the nurses through our birth plan, letting our family know what was happening, all while reassuring me that I could handle anything labor threw at me.
Once we were settled into our room, we were introduced to such a special lady- our nurse, Elizabeth. I still remember her calm voice and her gentle guidance. She encouraged me to stay on my feet as much as I could and to let my body take the lead.
We spent the next eight hours soaking in the tub, walking the halls and “dancing”. The tub was my security blanket that night. The water was so calming and having the nurse or my husband massaging my lower back through contractions was the best medicine. I remember just closing my eyes through the contractions, breathing so deep and trying to focus on holding him or her for the first time.
Every 45 minutes or so, Elizabeth would come in to check on us and check the baby’s heart rate. During contractions, I would stop talking, close my eyes and just breathe. Elizabeth would just hold my hand or rub my back and tell me that I was doing great. I had such a strange peace through the pain.
Around 5am, I shared with my husband that I felt tons of pressure and he went to get Elizabeth. I was 9.5 cm dilated. The doctor was such a blessing that night. Before we started to push, he was so encouraging. He gave my husband and I a moment to pray together before we started to push.
Up to that point, everything had been going just like I planned. But, things started to change. After the first few pushes, I noticed the nurses and doctors staring at the monitors. With each push, the baby’s heart rate would drop. When I stopped pushing, everything would return to normal. I started to get nervous and grip my husband’s hand a little tighter.
The doctor suggested that I take a break, let the nurses help me move around into some different positions for about thirty minutes to see if the baby just needed help getting into a better position. Resisting the urge to push for those 30 minutes was so difficult. I tried so hard to just pray and hope that the baby was okay and I would be able to deliver this baby.
Finally it was time to push again, but with each push, that heart monitor dropped. I felt desperate for this to work. By about the sixth push, I started to feel lightheaded. That’s when my heart rate started to drop, too. The doctor put an oxygen mask on me and told me to try to relax and breathe through a few contractions. I closed my eyes and tried to stay calm.
When I opened my eyes, my husband had been moved back towards the door and there were lots of new people in the room. An anesthesiologist and some operating room nurses. The doctor pulled a chair over in front of me and grabbed my hand. I will never forget his words, “you did it. You have been so strong. But, I can’t let your heart rate or the baby’s continue to drop so low.” And he told me that he would feel most comfortable doing a c section. At that moment, I was so afraid. I just wanted my baby to be safe.
The staff moved so quickly and before I knew it, I was hugging my nurse in an operating room, getting an epidural. Within minutes (it felt much longer), my husband was back by my side and the team was hard at work. At 7:24am, I had the most beautiful moment of my life when I heard my husband say the words, “it’s a boy.”
The doctor was very kind to us and stuck to our birth plan as much as possible. He waited as long as he could to cut the cord and let me see the baby for a moment before they had to check him out from his heart rate issues while I was pushing.
After my husband left the room with our son, I started to feel the weight of everything that had happened and I cried. The
poor anesthesiologist stood next to me, wiping my tears while I sobbed. I was happy and sad and relieved and tired. I had spent so much time preparing for a natural, vaginal birth and I blamed myself for the delivery not going according to plan. I let myself feel like a
Within about twenty minutes, I had my baby boy back and was able to nurse him. What a beautiful moment that was! I remember just looking at him, amazed that this tiny human had grown inside of me. He was perfect and strong and big!
It took a few weeks of being loved on by other moms, getting used to breastfeeding and reflection that I finally realized that every birth story is different. Heath’s birth couldn’t have happened any other way. The doctor was kind, the nurses were encouraging, and my boy was healthy. It may not have gone how I planned, but it ended how I prayed it would…with a strong, healthy baby!