When Plans Must Change: A Cesarean Birth

Here’s a Mama with some unexpected twists and turns in her pregnancy journey that result in an empowered and beautiful cesarean birth.  (Thank you to my dear old friend, Megan, for sharing your lovely story of becoming a mother.)

–Emily (The Birth Walk Doula)

I’ve always wanted to be a mother. When I was little, I was one of the girls who would wander around with a baby doll that was my “baby.” I wanted to do other things with my life as well, but it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be a mother.

However, in my teens, I had some difficulties that caused one doctor to caution me that I might not be able to have children of my own. Devastated by not deterred, I considered my other options – adoption maybe? When I eventually met the man would would become my husband, we discussed children – both natural and adoptive. We agreed that sometimes doctors are wrong and we would just have to wait and see.

Several years later, when my husband was in his last year of graduate school, we decided to give it a shot and see if we would be able to get pregnant. Well….It turns out that doctor was wrong in a big way…Within just a few months of trying (and the day before my husband’s 30th birthday), we found out we were pregnant. Excited doesn’t even touch it. Right away, we encountered problems…At about 5 weeks, I ended up waiting in an emergency med center for 6 hours while the doctor determined why I was having agonizing pains in my lower back and abdomen. It turned out to be nothing, but made me fearful and nervous of every little thing from there on. (Luckily, one of my best friends is the nurse for my OB and was gracious enough not to block my calls, even when I was freaking out at 4 am.) At that point, I had to coach myself and tell myself that whatever happened, so long as the baby was healthy, everything would be okay.

My husband and I signed up for every class we could to help us prepare. We came up with a birth plan, made notes on what my husband should do during labor, and found a doula. Everything was going great. I felt great (little morning sickness and my energy was fine). I actually felt a little guilty about how easy I was getting off for this whole pregnancy thing.

Then….It happened. At 31 weeks pregnant, I was supervising my 5th graders during recess time, and I thought I felt my water break. I looked down to find that I was standing in a puddle of blood. I was stunned. I wasn’t in pain….What was happening? Did I lose my baby? I left my kids with the other teachers, headed for the bathroom, and had another teacher call 9-1-1. I called my husband – who was 2 hours away with work – to let him know I was headed to the hospital. The ambulance came and off I went. At the hospital, they hooked me up to a whole panel of machines and I head the reassuring “whoosh, whoosh” that meant my baby was alive. I cried…a lot.

An ultrasound followed and the doctor pronounced that the baby was okay, but they couldn’t figure out why I had bled. Unfortunately, whatever had caused me to bleed had also sent me into mild contractions. The contractions themselves weren’t a problem, but every time I would have one, my baby’s heart beat would drop. After 2 terrifying days hooked to machines holding my breath for each “whoosh,” it was determined that I would have to be transferred to the other hospital in town – which I did not want to go to- that had the higher intensity NICU. I trusted my doctor, cried, prayed, and was loaded into another ambulance and moved. At the other hospital, I had to sign a whole battery of forms in the incidence that an emergency c-section was needed. Three days later, it was determined that my contractions had been stopped – with medication – and I could be released on strict bed rest and with twice weekly appointments for ultrasounds and fetal heart monitors.

I spent the next 7 weeks on bed rest, celebrating each additional week that passed with the doctor and my husband. At 38 weeks, my doctor recommended a c-section. My baby was breech and stuck (they also discovered during my pregnancy that I had a septum in my uterus that was not allowing my baby to turn), and he was worried about the drop in heart rate that might occur if we waited for natural labor. I was disappointed (my goal had been a natural, vaginal childbirth), but I had prepped myself to be okay with whatever needed to happen – so long as my baby was safe.

On May 4th, my husband and I got to the hospital and readied ourselves for my c-section. The whole process turned out to be much easier than I anticipated. It was still major surgery, but the recovery was much easier than I had feared. The best part….I now have a happy, healthy boy. It wasn’t the picture-perfect pregnancy I had always dreamed of, but that didn’t matter once he was here.

The good news, my doctor says I am healing really well and it is possible that my next baby (sometime in the future) will be able to be a natural, vaginal delivery. Maybe I will still get that fairy-tale birth after all. Until then, I will sing praises that my little man is happy, healthy, and absolutely beautiful.

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