Daddy and Lyra are cuddling on the couch together, so I’m taking the time while I have it to tell of my birth adventure. My original plan was to have a natural birth, at Kaiser, with midwives and a doula. I boned up hard for this test, took classes, read books, did birth affirmations daily, stretched my muscles, and mentally got over any fear of pain, and planned for my birth to reflect the warrior woman I thought I was.
Last time I went to the OB/GYN, I was all ready at 4 cm and this made me even more sure and determined to have this baby naturally.
I was almost halfway dialated before labor even began. I went to acupuncture several times in the days before labor began. Sunday night I made up my mind to have a baby and began in earnest by using essential oils, blue cohosh, baths, nipple stimulation and orgasm to turn my here and there contractions into labor.
It worked. Maybe too well. The contractions began to establish a pattern around 7 pm Sunday night. I tidied up some last minute things in between, and when one kicked my ass to the ground, I called the Doula. Then I hopped in the tub.
By the time Sherri arrived, I was really laboring, contractions about 5 min apart, about 1 min long. I was so far, though it was difficult back labor and really coming on strong, still able to breathe through and moan out the energy. Around 11 I got out of the tub and went to bed, where things began happening even faster.
It was intense and unpleasant, but I had this idea in my mind that I was dilating really fast and going to have this baby soon, and that I was bad ass. It got really heavy around midnight, contractions about 1 min apart, hardly any breaks between them, so I said I was ready to go, and off we went.
Contractions in the car suck, BTW. Obstetrics triage also sucks. Having contractions in those 2 places really set me off in the wrong direction for awhile. So I was even more bummed, I cried, when the triage nurse said I was at 4 cm. Still. At this point I’d been in labor for 6 hours and had not progressed AT ALL.
Let's backtrack to the 37th week, two weeks before Alice was born. Henry and I went to my weekly check-up together, to have "The Talk"... Read more
I got my room, got naked, and got in the tub. It was awesome, but the work was still hard. I was trying not to go to a scary place about how long it would take and how much it would hurt. I was in the tub for 2 hours, contractions still right on top of the other.
I got out and labored on the bed for another 2 hours. I was crying and saying “I don’t want to, and can’t do it anymore”. I asked to be checked. I decides as she was checking me, that if I were closer, I would tough it out. If not, I would get an epidural.
I was only 5 cm. I got the epidural. Husband and doula did a great, commendable job of talking me out of it, but I was resigned at that point. I got one. It was wonderful, I could sleep. At this point it was 5 am.
At 7 am, they checked me again. Still 5 cm. They wanted to do pitocin. I said no. I used a breastpump instead. It worked, just not enough. At 9 am, I consented to pitocin.
At 11 am, 2 hours of pitocin and still no dilation.
At 1 pm, they break the water bag. Still no dilation.
At 3 pm, they inserted a device that measured the intensity of the muscle contractions, and found that my uterus was working, and working well, it was the baby’s head, turned slightly cock-eyed, and not pressing down on the cervix that was causing me not to dilate. At this time it was 4 pm.
I’d been in active labor for 21 hours and dilated 1 cm, with no signs of improving. I consented to a c-section, and at 5:31 pm, Lyra was born.
The c-section was weird, but over quickly, and I get to see and hear my baby as she was weighed and measured. 9 pounds, 22 inches, tons of hair, and she peed right away. I asked Joe what it was and he looked over the screen and said, “She is a boy”.
After clarification I was told she is a girl. The nurse who talked me through everything asked me her name and I said, “Lyra Magdalene”. Then Joe took Lyra to the nursery. They bagged up my placenta for me, and did not wash Lyra, as I had asked.
An hour later, Joe came into recovery with Lyra and she got right to nursing. In the nursery, she sucked on her hand while she was evaluated. She scored 9 on both Apgar. We got moved to our tiny room, and I was given essentially a diaper to wear for the blood, some drugs for pain, and my baby.
We spent the next few days like this, until Lyra came down with jaundice. She had to be in an incubator for 24 hours, which broke my heart, but I was still able to hold her and feed her every 2 hours, and she got better very quickly
We came home Friday and hopped into bed. We have been cuddling and nursing ever since. My milk is low at this time, which is typical for a c-section, so I pump and supplement with formula, about 1/2 and 1/2, using a syringe and a tube taped to my nipples so that she does not have to take a bottle, which may cause nipple confusion.
She is a voracious eater, so I’m reasonably sore. She is also a little tongue-tied so getting a good latch is sometimes a challenge.
We’re all in love. Joe and I are closer than ever and even more in love. His family is very supportive and loving. People have been so nice, and with a few exceptions, the nurses at Kaiser were phenomenal and treated me with love and kindness.
So, it just goes to show, you can have a great attitude about natural birth, be educated, informed and prepared to do it, and still, life throws a curve ball in the form of a c-section. It wasn’t what I wanted, but ultimately, my goal was to have a healthy baby and that’s what I got.
Comments on HunnyDu’s birth story
Great birth story! I love c-section stories that show how mom was able to take ownership over a situation that starts to feel like its out of your hands. I had a c-section also, after planning a natural birth but i was able to plan my c-section since Alice turned breech at 36 weeks, and the hospital had a strict no-breech delivery policy.
Thanks for writing this, Nena. I had a very similar experience, except that you seem to have a much healthier attitude toward your C-section. It was pretty traumatic for me, and three years later I still feel frustrated, like my body failed me. But you're right, it's important to keep your eye on the prize–a healthy baby at the end of it all!
Wow, Im so stoked to be one of the first posts on this great new site. Kate, when I think back on my c-section, there were pros and cons to it, and I still wish I could have pushed her out myself, but as the nurse I loved told me, "you came here to have a baby and thats what youre going to do". She is nearly 4 months old now, and the c-section is a distant memory completely overshadowed by the intense love I have for my daughter.
What a great story. I'm so glad that you had such a fabulous birth, even when it went contrary to your expectations. And now you're enjoying the consequences! Congratulations!
This story should be required reading at birthing classes. What a great way to introduce what has to be a basic tenet of parenting : "You can have a plan. Things might not go to plan. Try to accept that." Lyra is a lucky little girl to have a mommy like you!
It's nice to see stories like this one. I didn't plan for a c-section either but thats what happened due to something out of my control. It wasn't the worst thing in the world. It was scarey more than anything. The recovery is probably the hardest part. Hopefully next time we won't have to have one but if it turns out that way, whatever. As long as we have a healthy baby in the end that is all that really matters. 🙂
I love that this is one of the first birth stories. I also had a cesarean. I live in Seattle, which is a natural birthing culture headquarters.
I had a full day of laboring, and was fully dilated and began to hemorrhage unexpectedly. They just took her immediately, without much discussion – it all happened very quickly. I think a perverse gift of that for me was – – no looking back. Thank God she's alive.
My experience was that I recovered right away. I had enough milk for triplets, I'm not kidding here. I was like a heifer with the milk. I gave birth on Friday eve, and the immediately following Thursday I cooked Thanksgiving for everyone, and loved it. I'm a foodie.
If you end up with a cesarean? Attitude is a huge part of this piece. And keeping eyes on the prize: A healthy baby is the golden ticket here, not a vaginal delivery.
thanks for sharing, hunny du – great story and your openness about the whole process is a real gift, thanks cheetah!
i'm so glad you shared this. shamefully i am very quick to judge when someone says "c-section", this story shows me that i need to stop and listen and understand every birth, every mom, every birth is different. thank you.
Just as an after thought, is it the norm that babies in the US are washed straight after birth? In Ireland that never happens. The baby is washed whenever the mother washes them.
True story: the nurses at my hospital informed us that newborns are technically considered a "biohazard" until they are washed, because they're covered with blood and other bodily goos. This BLEW MY MIND. I was able to convince the nurses to just wipe down my son (and let us bathe him later) but they wanted to make sure I knew my baby was a biohazard.
yup, they told me the same! DANGER BABY!
Even MORE reason to give Danger as the middle name!
Ariel, that's crazy!! As an RN I have to say that that logic is absolute crap!! Unless there is some known infectious element to the bodily fluids/vernix etc, then there is certainly no reason for it to be considered hazardous in the least. Damn medicalisation of childbirth!!
Thank you for sharing your birth experience. I read the second c section story on your blog and then read this one. I also want natural birth, but because of high blood pressure, we have a c section scheduled for Monday and I don’t feel emotionally ready for it. Hence I’m researching experiences to better prepare myself.