Most expecting parents research and research their impending labor and delivery, not me. I had a goal to have a natural sans medicated birth. I knew it was going to hurt but I felt I would be able to breathe through the pain and just get it over with quickly, I wanted to just be blissfully unaware. I think because I had a very easy pregnancy I assumed I would have an easy labor and delivery as well. I was wrong. My due date was October 18th and because I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes I was set to be induced October 15th. I really wanted to go into labor naturally and that was a joke. I tried everything anyone recommended, bouncing on the labor ball, walking, sex, we even went to this restaurant to have their world famous labor inducing eggplant parmigiana and that didn’t work either. My wannabe “crunchy mom” dream was slipping through my overly swollen pregnant little fingers.
The night of the 14th my husband and I checked our bags to make sure we were completely over packed and talked about how we couldn’t believe that the very next day, we would become parents, completely unaware that just because you’re induced doesn’t mean you’re having a baby that day. All my research of watching Teen Mom went right out the window. The morning of the 15th was finally here, we woke up, showered and said our goodbyes to our pets, we reassured them someone was coming to stay with them and we would be home in a day or so with their new sister. We were walking out the door when I heard the words no wife ever wants to hear, “do you have the keys”? Now my husband and I have this fight almost daily. I never have the damn keys. We have an entire key holder by the front door but the keys were not there. My check-in time was fastly approaching and my patience was fastly dissolving. I waddled to the car, annoyed while my husband was frantically searching for the keys.
The car started, meaning the keys were somewhere in there, but between our luggage, car seat, labor ball and snack bag it was going to be a while searching. At this point, it’s like fuck the keys, the car is started, I have to be there in about two minutes and we need to leave. Luckily we live about two miles from the hospital where I would be delivering but of course as we were pulling into the hospital, my last bout of pregnancy brain reared its ugly head, “Did I turn off my hair straightener”? I truly couldn’t remember. My husband tells me to just go in, get checked in and he will go back home, make sure my straightener is turned off and find the car keys. In my mind he is for sure going to miss the birth of our first born baby.
Because we are living through a pandemic, I get sent all around the hospital before I actually get to check in. Finally, I’m directed to the right desk where I give them my ID and insurance card. I’m told to take a seat and I’ll be taken back to my room shortly. This is where the waiting begins. I wait and wait. My husband shows up and we both wait some more. Finally a nurse comes out and tells us we get to go to our room. My stomach falls into my butt, I’m really about to have a baby.
We go in our room and I’m given a gown to put on, confused because prior I filled out a little survey about how I wanted my labor to go and I checked the box that said I wanted to wear my own clothes, but fuck me, right? I put on the gown, even though I bought my own “designer” Frida Moms one. She tells me she is going to place an IV and get fluids going and then she leaves. The waiting continues. At last, my midwife comes in and checks me; I’m one centimeter dilated. She suggests using a foley bulb and cervidil. I agree, grinning that I’m going to have a baby in the next couple of hours. She places everything and I know I’m about to kick labor’s ass, because all that messing around down there didn’t hurt at all. Soon after my contractions start and the pain is manageable but getting worse. I dilated to about seven centimeters in 45 minutes. The pain was starting to become unbearable, my crunchy mom status was completely gone and I asked for the drugs, not an epidural yet, just pain medication. Within a moment. It felt like a warm blanket was being wrapped around me and I was off taking a nap, it was great, for about an hour.
Once “the drugs” wore off, I was back breathing through the contractions. I was certain it was almost time but nothing else was happening. The next morning I was checked, I was still seven centimeters and I was annoyed. All this pain and not one centimeter was gained? #pissed. They decided to start me on pitocin, and it was about an hour after that I decided to get the epidural. For me getting the epidural placed wasn’t painful but it was awkward with a huge ass stomach in the way and them telling me to round out my back and relax my shoulders. The COVID test was more uncomfortable than getting the epidural. I finally felt at ease, the epidural was amazing for the entire three hours it lasted.
I kept being told I would feel pressure and that the epidural wouldn’t take that away, but I was feeling pain. I told them how I was feeling every contraction and I needed another dose. They finally agreed and that dose only lasted about two hours before it wore off. I was now about nine centimeters and in complete pain, I begged for just one more dose and they gave it to me. Unfortunately for me that one also wore off even more quickly than the first two. I was ten centimeters and my midwife wanted me to start trying to push, so I pushed. I did say I wanted an unmediated birth, but fuck it hurt. I was expecting my baby to just shoot out any second and when she didn’t I thought something could be wrong. Turns out she was too high and no progress was being made. I figured since I was back to square one I would get more medicine in my epidural, I was wrong. I was told that since the epidural failed three times, if I wanted it again, they would need to replace it. *Side note* I have this fear that an epidural will lead to back pain for the rest of my life or something worse could happen, I know it’s stupid but it is what it is. I talked with my midwife who was so supportive about what my options were. It was 6am on October 17th and I opted for a C-section.
Within an hour I was being prepped for surgery and my husband was getting dressed head to toe in PPE. The same epidural port that had failed me so many times was being used again. I felt pinching and pulling and that’s when I heard it, the faintest cry. I looked at my husband with tears in my eyes and asked if that was her. Before he even had a chance to answer, a loud wail of a scream echoed throughout the OR. The doctor lifted her up over the curtain and she looked like the cutest little alien I’ve ever seen. My husband was able to hold her while I was stitched up, and yes my epidural started failing and I felt myself getting stitches. People say all the time that when you see your baby for the first time, you forget about all the pain you went through and I’m here to tell you; that’s bullshit.