Courtney's Birth Story
My daughter, Courtney Elyse, was born February 17, 2000, by a repeat c-section. My first baby, Joshua, was a c-section becuase after 27 hours of labor and 4 hours of pushing I was still at a -3 station. No matter what we tried, we could not get the baby to drop into the birth canal. We also discovered during that birth that my body is hypersensitive to Pitocin. I had some contractions that were more than 20 minutes long. After the surgery I was told that due to the location and position of my cervix it is unlikely that I ever would have been able to deliver Joshua vaginally.
In the 32nd week of this pregnancy, I had an ultrasound due to the fact that my uterus was so large and the size of it did not match my due date. The doctor wanted to be certain that my due date had been calculated correctly. What the ultrasound showed was that my due date was correct, but the baby was large and I was carrying excessive amniotic fluid. From that point on I had to have fetal non-stress tests twice a week to monitor the baby’s progress.
By the 37th week, I was very uncomfortable. Total strangers would tell me how huge I looked and ask me if I was having twins. I discussed the chances of successfully delivering vaginally vs. another c-section with my obstetrician. While he was leaning toward VBAC, he did feel (as did I) that if I was going to be able to deliver vaginally I would have already gone into labor on my own. He did not want to induce me. So we scheduled another c-section. I felt that if I was not able to deliver a 7 pound baby at 41 weeks (my son), that a baby that weighed 10 pounds or more was not going to come out ‘naturally’ either. He told me that ultrasound is not an exact science and that the baby may not be that large. I knew in my heart (and my uterus!) that this baby was going to be bigger, so I wanted the section. The c-section was scheduled for the end of my 38th week.
This c-section was totally different from my first. Not having been exhausted from a long labor made the whole experience better. During the preop phase my son was there for part of it and we all joked and talked with the nurses.
Even the surgery itself was less traumatic. I was able to really follow what they were doing and ask questions during the procedure. I really felt like a part of my own delivery. I cried when they told me it was a girl (we didn’t know what the sex was prior to the birth) and I said “I told you so,” to the doctor when they told me the weight — she was almost 10 pounds. And even though she had a little trouble breathing and had to go to NICU just as my son did, I was alert enough to ask to just see her and touch her hand before they left.
After my son was born I was so tired that I couldn’t even stay awake to nurse him. Then I ran a fever and wasn’t even allowed to hold him until it went down. But with Courtney, becuase my membranes were ruptured at delivery instead of hours before, I never ran a fever. After the first night (when the anesthesia wore off) I was able to have her in the room with me all the time.
I am glad that I had a repeat c-section. Would I do it again? I don’t know. I think I would probably do what I did this time — wait it out, evaluate all my options, and decide what is best for me and my baby given the circumstances. A cesarean birth does not have to be a tragedy. I still have a beautiful baby girl. I still had some control during my delivery. I am proud to say that I know in my heart I made the right decision — for both of us.
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