Just as every individual person is unique, it seems as though each person also has their own unique birth story. I’ve heard stories told of many relentless hours spent in the birthing room with a long tedious painful labor, I’ve heard of some births that were swift, quick and easy, and then of some births that despite their best efforts ended in c-sections. When I began planning how my “dream” birth would go I kept in mind from day 1 that in all reality I had absolutely no control. I knew how my “ideal” birth would go, but that I had no control over whether this ideal would become reality or not. In my “ideal” birth I would go into labor, spend the majority of the time laboring at home, go to the hospital, and not be hooked up to fetal monitoring or receive any pain medication. At the hospital I would progress naturally to a 10, begin pushing, and have my baby girl. Looking back that sounds way too easy, right? Ha. In order to help in preparing for this “ideal” birth I had every intention of attending Bradley Method birthing classes, but because of my grad school and work schedule could not find time to fit them into my schedule. Instead I settled for reading a book about the Bradley Method. Preparing yourself for a natural birth by reading a book sounds silly, huh? I can honestly say that I felt as though it did the job. I knew what to expect, how to relax during contractions, and when I should head to the hospital (almost blew it on this one.) One thing I did not expect however, was to have back labor. I had a hard time determining that I was actually in labor because I did not have any contractions in my adominal region. EVERYTHING was in my back.
On April 6th the day we had been waiting 9 months for finally arrived. I had felt for weeks that Kinsley was going to make her appearance early, instead she chose to come right on time. I had been having back contractions randomly for days but before going into labor I had blew them off as simply a backache. I never imagined that my whole labor would be in my back and so I did not readily identify them as contractions. Monday night, April 4th, I started having very sporadic pains in my back. It continued for a couple hours so I decided to try to time the pains. I found that they were about 5 to 6 minutes apart and lasted for only about 20seconds. They were so short that I knew it couldn’t possibly be real labor, however I continued to time them. These contractions continued for about 6 hours until 1:30am on the 5th. At 1:30 I got up to go to the bathroom and noticed signs of dilation and cervical change. I was sure that I had to be going into labor as I had lost my mucus plug several days prior and now I was having regluar contractions and showing signs of dilation. However, after going back to bed I went to sleep and woke up to my alarm the next morning. Disappointed I got ready and headed to work. Throughout the day I had random contractions in my back, however nothing regular.
Tuesday night (April 5th) I went to bed around 11:00pm and woke up numerous times to back contractions. After what happened the evening and night before I figured it was just false labor again so I didn’t time anything. At around 1:30am I got up again, just as I had the night before, to go to the bathroom and my water partially broke. I was so excited, finally a definite sign of labor! I stuck my head out the door to tell Ryan that my water had broke, well partially. He didn’t really know what to do so he kept asking, “Well, what should we do?” I told him nothing for now and that I needed to start timing my contractions to figure out where they were. I tried to climb back in bed, but it was pointless at that point because of excitment. So Ryan and I both got up at around 2. I decided to take a shower and wash my hair since it desperatly needed it. By the time I got done with my shower my contractions were about 3 minutes apart, but only about 40 seconds long. Everything I had read said they needed to be 60, so we continued to wait. I blow dried my hair, put on some makeup, and continued getting ready. Pretty soon things started to change. My contractions started getting so strong that I had to lay down and concentrate so they wouldn’t hurt as bad. Several times while I was putting some make-up on I had to dart for the bed to lay down after one started. There was also another change that I didn’t know how to read. I started having mini contractions between big ones. I would have a big contraction, then about a minute later a mini one would start, and then about a minute later another big one would start. They were getting so close together that I told Ryan we should probably go ahead and go. I didn’t want to make the mistake of going to the hospital too early and being stuck there for hours and hours, and so I was very cautious and wanted to make sure I wasn’t just being a baby with the pain and going too early. I had the small reassurance that since my water broke I knew they wouldn’t send me home. The big contractions were still only about 40 seconds long, but they seemed as though they were right on top of each other and so at 5 we headed to the hospital.
Contractions in the car on the way were not fun, but fortunately we only live about 5 min away from the hospital so it was not something I had to endure long. When we got there we were unsure of where exactly to go. Ryan and I, being the slackers we are, of course hadn’t gone to the hospital previously to figure out where we should go and so we had to wander around for a bit trying to find the check-in desk. Ryan was walking quickly ahead of me trying to find our way, while I wandered slowly behind stopping every so often to let a contraction pass. Thankfully check-in was easy since I had pre-registered and so I just signed a few papers and was escorted to my room. The nurses came in to get everything ready, gave me a robe, and then started checking to see where my progress was. I didn’t want constant fetal monitoring so they promised they would check to make sure everything was okay and then take it off. So after getting me all hooked up the nurse went ahead and checked my progress I was already dilated to an EIGHT. I could tell she was a little shocked, as was I! I’m pretty sure that this was the point that they realized they should call the doctor in who was on call. My contractions were right on top of each other and I felt as though I rarely got a break between them. (Apparently this is common with back labor) Shortly later my water broke the rest of the way, and before the doctor on call could get there another change had been thrown my way, I was getting the urge to push! When I told the nurse this she checked my progress again and I was already to a 10 and completely effaced. Unfortunately since the doctor wasn’t there they told me to try not to push during contractions yet. This was the most miserable part of the labor. I didn’t feel a lot of pain because I was concentrating so hard on NOT pushing, however I could not deny that natural urge my body was giving me. At this point I was still hooked up the the constant fetal monitoring because they had noticed that Kinsley’s heartbeat was dropping really low during contractions. Finally, the doctor got there and I got to start pushing. Kinsley’s heartbeat kept dropping lower and lower during pushing contractions and so they gave me an oxygen mask, which helped her heartbeat some. It is the most frightening thing to hear your unborn child’s heartbeat go from a “thump thump thump thump thump” to a “thump ……………………….thump ……………………thump.” After a very short period of pushing Kinsley heartbeat began to stay low even between constractions and so they told me to stop pushing during contractions and try to just let her progress down the canal slowly. Denying the urge to push was practically impossible and Kinsley’s heartbeat continued to drop, so the doctor decided it to be necessary to perform an emergency c-section. Everything from this point happened so fast that my head was spinning. Nurses were pulling the plugs from the monitors, my hair was being pulled down and a cap being put on, and before I knew it I was out the door and in another room. Since I had not had a spinal or an epidural they knocked me out completely with general anesthesia. All I remember at this point was thinking “Please just knock me out before I get the urge to push again!” It’s a terrible feeling to try to deny your body of a natural instinct however feeling like that natural instinct could be hurting your child.
When they took Kinsley out they said that her cord was not only wrapped around her neck, but also her waist, and leg. She was tangled. How wrapped up she was may have caused her cord to be compressed during contractions which could have been the cause of her decreased heartrate. I guess I’ll never know exactly what went wrong, but that doesn’t really matter at all.
Did I have my ideal birth? No, of course not. However the end goal of those 9 long months was to have a healthy baby girl. On April 6th that goal became a reality. In my mind that means that the birthing process equaled success.
Sadly because I had been knocked out I didn’t get to see her right away. I was out for about an hour after the surgery. It was only about 15min before they wheeled her out and Ryan got to see her though. After I woke up I remember the first thing I asked was if Ryan got to hold her yet. For some reason the silly boy hadn’t and was waiting for me to get there to be the first to hold her. They gave her to me right away and I got to start nursing her.
It was an amazing feeling to finally have my precious little girl in my arms however until recently I didn’t realize that I had a disconnected feeling at the time. I didn’t get to see her right away when she came out and after everything that happened I was just trying to get my head to stop spinning from how fast everything had just happened. I didn’t get to just sit back and enjoy her. I do feel as though I missed out on that initial bonding experience. I look back now after 4 weeks and realize that even though I thought I loved her more than anything then, it doesn’t compare to how I feel now after having her practically connected to me for the last month. I can’t explain the emotions that run through me when I look at her. It’s amazing.
I can’t believe Kinsley is already almost a month old. I’m afraid I’m going to blink and she will be crawling, blink again and she’s walking, blink again and she’s driving, and blink again and she’ll be getting married and starting a family of her own. I plan to savor every minute with her.