When I got pregnant with our first son, David, I knew I was going to have a natural birth. While I realized that it would be painful and there is little I can do to fathom what type of pain it would be, I was deeply determined to experience a birth the way God designed it. I thought I trusted God in my plan, but came to realize later that I needed to trust HIS plan. My pregnancy was a breeze: I was healthy, glowing, gaining just the right amount of weight, eating the way I normally ate, and just moving along closer to the due date. In discussing birth plans with my OBGYN, I remember him saying that he’d do everything possible to follow my desire during the childbirth experience. However, he advised me to be open to the birthing process and the fact that sometimes it does not go as planned. In retrospect, I wish I had listened. It was probably the one best piece of advice I received as the expecting mother. It was a quiet Thursday evening, week 42 of pregnancy, snuggles with my husband and a relaxing TV show, when I started to feel contractions. I did have a false alarm the week prior, hence I did not rush to the hospital but was trying to figure out if it was go time. When the pain was starting to be uncomfortable, we headed on in. Upon admission, a triage nurse told me I was barely dilated even though my contractions were pretty uncomfortable. After walking around the hospital for an hour, they admitted me with 1cm dilation. At that point I was in the natural birthing room with huge space, a fancy birth tub, bouncy balls, stand up waterfall shower and a team of nurses to help along the way. Fast forward 7 hours later. After “trying it all,” I became exhausted. I was having back-to-back, unbearable contractions with no progress to show for it. I felt defeated. I was told that my contractions were of the strength that should provide progressive dilation, however I was still at 1cm. In my mind I felt like a quitter because I finally requested an epidural. One thing I knew was that I could not handle another ten hours of this pain even if I start dilating immediately! Thankfully my medical team agreed to give me a smaller dose of it so I could still feel my legs and slight contractions. After all, I wanted to go natural, and was still hanging on to the last chance at it. They started Pitocin and broke my water to help with the process, which was working but not very effectively. At that point, I had already spent almost a day working to birth David. Thankfully, my doctor said that as long as the baby and I were having stable, healthy vitals, I could keep going. I arrived at 9cm by hour 34 and tried pushing. Nothing. There was nothing. At some point I was offered a C-section which I was completely against. I was so delirious, hungry, and stubborn, that no gentle explanations or my husband’s pleas to go into surgery worked until all started to go wrong. All I can remember is that the room started to fade from my sight. A team of medical personnel came rushing into the room and were trying to do something for me. There was strange beeping from the vital signs machine, a few minutes of rushed preparation and, before I knew it, I was being wheeled into an operating room. David was born at 2:14pm on a Saturday via an emergency C-section at 8.5 lbs, with almost 40 hours in labor, and God only knows the number of hours previously he had worked tirelessly with his baby attempts to be born. He simply got stuck. His poor head looked like a gnome hat, and he spent the first two days of his life in a care unit. Thankfully, he was healthy, and all the hours without the fluid and being stuck on my pelvic bone did not leave a negative health mark on him. He is my fighter. I am endlessly grateful to my OBGYN who “flew” from the downtown hospital to where I was giving birth to perform an emergency C-section. I only trusted him to do it, and it gave me so much comfort to have him be by my side in this circumstance. It is through this experience that my doctor and I both learned that my pelvic bone is so narrow I am unable to birth a child over 7.5 lbs. My kids happen to be giants and my husband is to blame. (ha!) I have often reflected on my birth story with David and on the many lessons it taught me. I will repeat myself and say that the most important lesson I learned was that one has to have an open mind in childbirth and life in general. I can and absolutely should plan. However, I need to have enough humility to accept the fact that in the moment things might change, and I might need to adapt. I learned that having a team of professionals you can trust and who can help you feel at ease is essential in childbirth. To this day, I only see my one OBGYN though the practice has many doctors. He has gone above and beyond in many health experiences I’ve had. I trust the fact that he has had my best interest in mind as well as considered all my desires for childbirth which put me at peace in the process. It is also important to discuss plan of action with your husband or whoever is supporting you in childbirth in advance because childbirth can cloud decision making skills. I wish my husband and I had a plan B for childbirth should the natural route not go the way I planned. I had not talked to him about what I would want to do if natural was not working. Instead, we had to figure everything out on the spot which only added stress. Lastly, I have had mixed feelings about whether I am grateful that I was allowed to try to go the natural birth route or whether I wish I did not do it the other way for all those hours. However, it happened the way that it did. Therefore, I keep in mind that because I tried all methods of childbirth from natural to epidural to Pitocin to C-section, I do not have to wonder whether I could or could not deliver naturally. The bottom line is this: any child birth is a miracle. Just the process of carrying a baby is already heroism. I have had a heart for natural birth, and yet I am beyond grateful for modern day medicine for making a way for David to be born and for me to survive such a birth.
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