Thursday, February 2, 2012

This Is A Story All About How

I know, I haven't posted in awhile. And there are so many subjects I could post about. How cute my baby is. All the amazing things he's been doing lately. How we FINALLY finished Star Trek: The Original Series. How amazing our holidays were.
Instead, I'm going to post about something that's been on my mind for a long time. A little over seven months, actually. I just haven't wanted to write about it before.
However, inspired by my friend's post HERE, I think it's about time I set down in writing our birth experience.
So here goes.

Leading up to Arthur's birth was a crazy time in the life of our family. Skyler was sent to Wisconsin in February for work and despite visits (me to there, him to home, us to Missouri) I was feeling pretty sad about not having my husband there for the vast majority of my pregnancy. I also had gallstones, an incredibly inflamed gallbladder and a baby growing right in front of that organ (thus, inhibiting my doctor's ability to operate). Then, I got laid off in April. Suddenly, our plans for the future were completely up in the air. Luckily, he got an offer for a permanent position in Wisconsin. They wanted him to start July 1st. My due date was June 6th. So now we needed to sub-lease our house, find a place in Wisconsin, move across country and oh, yeah, have a baby sometime in the middle of all that.
I felt so prepared for birth. I was scared and nervous, because you'd have to be sort of crazy not to be, but I was prepared. I was educated. We had made very informed birth decisions. After a lot of research, discussion and planning we were prepared for a home birth. We had found a midwife and created an outstanding relationship with her. In fact I think she was one of two reasons I stayed sane in the time Skyler was away (the other being my co-workers...well, former co-workers). I had confidence in my bodys ability to birth. I was having a normal, healthy, pregnancy (aside from the gallbladder issues). I was motivated to have a successful, natural, love-filled, at-home birth.

Our Home Birth Set Up. I was feeling pretty organized!

Getting in and out of bed was getting pretty difficult. 

When Skyler came home he took a lot of pictures. This is what I thought of that. 


3 days before my due date, Skyler came home. My due date came, and no baby. My mom and sister had come to Colorado, but after many days my big sister had to leave. The next day, my little sister (who's not actually related to me...long story) came out to replace her.

Finally, on June 14th (remember when I said my due date was on the 6th?) I began to go into early labor.  It was like nothing like what I expected. It was so uneventful. Painful, yes. But more exhausting than anything else. I was in just enough pain so that I wasn't able to sleep. But not enough pain to actually make any progress. I was feeling nauseous too. Eating was the furthest thing from my mind. My midwife came and went. It wasn't time yet. Get some sleep. Rest. Let your body do the work. Let go.
None of those things are things I'm good at, it turns out. In any case, I finally hit "active labor" although, to me, it didn't FEEL much different. I was told it was different. That I was making progress. I was spent a lot of time in the shower. A lot of time on my birth ball. A lot of time in the birth tub. And on the birth stool. I sweated. I whined. I groaned. I rocked. I whined some more.

Notice all the boxes behind me. 

Finally, sometime in the afternoon (Skyler could tell you when, but I sure can't) my midwife asked me if she could break my water. I said yes and she and the assistant midwife got to work. It seemed easy and quick and wasn't painful at all. Unfortunately it gave us bad news. There was meconium in the fluid and that meant a transfer to the hospital. I was crushed. To me, this was a failure. I think this was the point where I gave up the idea of my body being able to this great, powerful thing called Birth.

Things went quickly. I gathered up some clothes and things, because of course I hadn't packed a hospital bag. I was so sure I wouldn't need it. My mom and Peyton drove separately and my midwife, Skyler and I piled into our car to head to the hospital. The assistant midwife stayed behind to clean up. (She did a phenomenal job at it too, according to Skyler...which is amazing because she had come to our house after an overnight labor and delivery).

We got to the hospital and they were surprisingly nice and accommodating (with the exception of one nurse). They let me continue laboring naturally. Which I did. For hours. Still no progress. After I time, I was told that my best chance of having a vaginal birth was to be given Pitocin. I was not happy about this idea. Not at all. At this point, though, I really didn't feel like I had a choice. I had literally exhausted every other option. And myself. I was so so so tired. Since Pit creates unnaturally strong contractions, I insisted on getting an epidural before they administered the Pitocin. I figured, at this point I knew I wasn't going to have a natural birth so why not be comfortable? I refused to go through Pit contractions without help.

After an hour on the Pit I had progressed to 10 centimeters. It was time to push. So I pushed. Or, I thought I did. I couldn't feel a thing I was doing. I couldn't feel much pain, true. I also couldn't feel my body. I pushed for an hour. The doctor said I could go for another hour and then we would have to talk about surgery. I pushed for what felt like 3 minutes and 3 days at the same time, he came back and said it was time to perform a C-Section. He insisted it wasn't for his convenience. He told me he would do everything he could to make sure I could have a vaginal birth next time. I asked for a few minutes to decide and I asked Skyler and our midwife what they thought. They both said it was time.

The next thing I really remember is being strapped down on the surgery table, both arms spread out to my side, telling the anesthesiologist that  I was going to be sick. That is the only feeling or emotion I can remember about the birth of my son. Naseau. It's all that comes to me. Skyler came in and talked to me but I can't remember what he said.
They told him he could stand to see the baby being born. He says by the time he stood up he was almost completely out. They took him over to clean him up and continue working on me. They were worried about bleeding. The nurses call Skyler over to be with the baby. I think they showed him to me, but I'm not sure. Then the two of them were gone and I was wheeled out to do preliminary recovery stuff. After about half an hour, Skyler came with Arthur and I finally got to hold my baby and try to nurse him.

I look how I felt.

He's awfully beautiful. 

We stayed in the hospital for four days and then we went home.

And now, seven and a half months later, I'm putting it all down in writing. I'm still so sad and disappointed. I know that I did everything I could to avoid the outcome we ended up having. However, I don't really know how to not be disappointed, mostly in myself.
I'm healed. My baby is happy, healthy, and developing way ahead of normal. I'm still nursing him, if not exclusively.
I catch myself thinking about next time. Hoping that it will go differently, thinking that it probably won't.


  1. This made me teary. It is good to know that while our stories are not completely similar, the feelings are. Here's to successful VBAC attempts next time! LIOB!

  2. i'm so sorry it wasn't what you wanted...I know that an induced labor and cecarean were my two biggest fears while pregnant with the girls. While I was blessed with two beautiful tub births I also endured so much worry during the pregnancies, being told they'd be born premature, having to deliver at a far away hospital...then having Louise at the hospital while I was home...I don't think there is a "perfect" birth. But their our births and our stories with our children...each one is unique and special. Your next one won't be just to same, it will be your story with that baby. And Arthur is so beautiful and you are wonderful mom...that's all that really matters, right? :o)