My first pregnancy was rough on my body. During my first trimester I had severe nausea and fatigue. In my second trimester I experienced daily headaches, nosebleeds, severe swelling, back pain, and weight gain. At 27 weeks I was placed on bed rest for pregnancy-induced hypertension for the remainder of my pregnancy. Still, I was eager to experience birth. I had taken a hypnobirthing class, prenatal yoga, and I hired a doula.
At 38 weeks, I was four centimeters dilated and 75-percent effaced. Unfortunately, my blood pressure was 160/100 and the doctor said to head to the hospital immediately for induction. We discussed induction options, and because I was already dilated and effaced, my doctor agreed to break my water, and give me an hour to see if that was enough to start labor.
Our doula, Ella, met us at the hospital. They took some blood and started an IV. Because of my high blood pressure, there was a chance I had toxemia and would need medicines to make sure I didn’t have a seizure.
My doctor broke my water, which I didn’t even feel, and then she got this very strange look on her face. She said, “I’m going to go grab an ultrasound machine.” I asked if everything was OK. She said, “I’m not convinced that what I’m feeling is the head.” She brought in the machine and sure enough, the baby was breech. So, a C-section was scheduled for 8:30 PM.
I knew that we were both going to be OK, but I was very anxious about having a C-section. I would need an epidural, and the thought of being cut open while I was awake was very scary.
After about an hour, the anesthesiologist came in to give me the epidural. Ella and my husband were both supporting me as I leaned over and tried to use my relaxation breathing to zone out from what they were doing. It only took around 20 minutes, but it seemed to take forever and I just wanted that part over.
After the epidural was in, they started to wheel me into the OR and I began to freak out. I was babbling at the nurses about bedside manner and bad jokes. I started shaking from the epidural, and the anesthesiologist very bluntly told me not to worry, and that if I “bottomed out” they would put me all the way under.
Ella wasn’t allowed in the OR with us, which would have been really comforting to me. I thought I was pretty panicked but John and the doctor both said I was doing well. There were all these monitors and things beeping and people calling out my vital signs. I had a sheet over my neck so all I could see was my husband and all I felt was SO much pressure.
I think I was moaning. They push you and shove you to get that baby out! I was trying to breathe and relax. After only a few minutes they said, “It’s a girl!” They quickly showed me my daughter over the curtain, and then whisked her away.
They cleaned her up a little and brought her back for me to see, and then she and my husband went to recovery, and I had to stay while they finished putting me back together. They pushed and pushed on me. It really felt like they were trying to smother me. The epidural was starting to wear off on the right side, and the anesthesiologist said he couldn’t fix it unless I wanted him to knock me out. I said no.
I was finally sewn up, stapled, and taken over to recovery. I had been told I could breastfeed in recovery but the nurse there wouldn’t let me. She wouldn’t even let me hold Catie! She’d given her a bath and her temperature had fallen, so she stayed in the warmer. I didn’t have the strength to fight with the nurse.
After an hour we were moved up to a postpartum room and I was finally allowed to hold my daughter. Seeing those sweet eyes gazing up at me made everything I had gone through completely worth it. I was a mommy at last!