I debated sharing this story on the blog. I have it written out for my personal memory and keepsake but something about making it public feels scary. Mainly because Camryn’s birth didn’t go as planned.
But, I’ve decided to share it because I was obsessed with birth stories during pregnancy and maybe this will help some pregnant ladies out there. Or, perhaps some of you can relate to a birth or experience that didn’t go as planned, but it happened anyway!
Buckle up – it’s a long one, so I’ve chosen to break it into two parts.
The days after Camryn’s birth were filled with so many emotions.
Pure exhaustion – I think I was up for nearly 48 hours, with maybe a couple 1 hour naps thrown in.
Disbelief that we actually “made” this sweet baby.
Awe at the magic, strength, grit and power of the human body.
Graciousness and thankfulness for the medical community.
I went into birth knowing that it’s basically all out of your control. You can do as much prep beforehand as you want, and to some extent, I think it can help. For example, being informed, knowing how to advocate for yourself, having a consistent exercise routine throughout pregnancy – all of these are good things.
However, when the baby comes, you go with what you got.
While April 4 will always be a fond one in my eyes for obvious reasons (Camryn’s birth!), there are still parts of the day that I wish had gone differently. I don’t think there’s anything I could have done differently.
But, part of me is a little saddened that I didn’t have my ideal birth experience.
However, a bigger (whole) part of me is overly excited and thrilled to have a healthy, happy baby.
The day before Camryn’s birth…and two days after her due date. Remember when I thought I’d have an early baby? Lol – false intuition there.
I had zero labor signs. My parents were here so it was a rather ordinary day. I walked 3.5 miles with my mom, dad and Tater that morning. It was a beautiful day and I felt good.
I had a doctor’s appointment that day. They started talking about the dangers of going over 41 weeks and brought up the idea of induction if I was still pregnant the following week.
I wanted to do everything I could for a natural birth so I wasn’t interested in induction and I declined a membrane sweep at the appointment. We left feeling a little uneasy that there were thoughts of rushing us along, but deep down, I knew that I didn’t want or need an induction.
That night, Ed, Tater, my mom and I went for another walk at a local park. Everything still felt pretty normal. We watched a movie, had dinner, I enjoyed some ice cream, as usual, and we went to bed.
I felt good and still hadn’t had any contractions. Throughout pregnancy, I’d had some Braxton Hicks contractions (not painful). Some women talked about having sporatic contractions throughout pregnancy but I didn’t really have anything like that.
I really feared that I wouldn’t know labor when it came.
I was definitely wrong about that…
Around 3:00 am, I woke up feeling a little nauseous. I had really only gotten an hour of sleep to this point – I hadn’t been sleeping well the past week, I guess from the anxiety and anticipation.
I never really get stomach aches so this was a little odd and a weird time for it. I hung out in the bathroom for a while and that’s when the contractions started – the real deal. These were semi-painful. I started timing them with my app.
They were all over the place at first, between 7-10 minutes apart and lasting anywhere between 20-40 seconds. But, they escalated quickly. By about 5am, I woke Ed up and was having more painful contractions with less rest in between.
I tried breathing through them – tried everything we learned in the birth class and books. I went into child’s pose position, tried laying down and taking a shower.
I texted our doula, who acknowledged that it probably was early labor and to try and rest because it “may last a while.” LOL – I look back on that statement and laugh. Because things escalated very quickly for me.
By about 6:30-7am, Ed and I decided it was time to go to the hospital. We said goodbye to my parents and Tater (who was so confused with my grunting and groaning) and off we went.
Everyone offered me food (Ed made me toast) and I knew I should eat because who knows what lies ahead, but I really couldn’t. I had no appetite and was just focusing on breathing through the contractions.
The ride to the hospital was a blur. I remember sitting backwards in the seat, moving around trying to find a comfortable position to manage the contractions. It was a rainy morning. We got to the hospital a little before 8-8:30am.
Some wonderful lady offered me a wheelchair after clearly realizing I was in pain and LABOR, and we went up to the 3rd floor for labor and delivery.
I feel like a wimp writing this, but you guys, the pain was so monumental. I hadn’t felt any pain like that before in my life.
I had gone into birth with the attitude that I was going to try to do it naturally, BUT if I needed the epidural, I didn’t want to feel ashamed or guilty. After all, this was my first experience with birth and I really had no ground level expectations.
Well, I decided that I wanted and needed that epidural.
As soon as I got settled on the bed, they hooked me up to some fluids and called the anesthesiologist. I was 5cm dilated (basically, in transition). They checked me about an hour or 2 later and I was already about 9 ½ cm. It all happened so quickly.
It took a while for the epidural to kick in but once it did, I felt so much relief and could relax a little. Cheers to the women who do labor naturally. It just wasn’t for me that morning. I probably could have (should have) napped at this point but I was feeling excited because basically all that was left to do was PUSH – supposedly the easy part. The epidural was in and I was 9 cm by like 9:30-10ish – I was convinced I’d be having this baby by early afternoon.
The epidural (once it kicked in) was magical, and had me feeling calm for a while. I was getting hungry but still couldn’t eat anything. Remember my decision to skip the toast in the morning? I was regretting that. I knew to eat but at that point, labor hit me hard and I couldn’t.
Now, I was just snacking on jello, popsicles, and ice chips – whatever they let me have. The doctor stopped in and said she’d be back in a few hours for the pushing but to just sit tight and relax for now.
Around 2pm, they came in and said it was time to start pushing. I was still feeling the heavy effects of the epidural and couldn’t really feel my legs or the pushing. Nonetheless, we tried. We tried for an hour or 2, with what felt like minimal progress.
I couldn’t push that baby over my pelvic bone. At 4pm, I was exhausted and asked to take a break.
At this point, my mental state was diminishing. I was very emotional, and the “what if’s” kept entering my mind – what if I can’t push this baby out? Would I have to get an epidural?
In tears, I asked my doula what to do and she reassured me that I was making progress and I could do it if we kept pushing. I wasn’t so sure.
I rested for an hour and the doctor came back with the nurses and we resumed pushing. We tried different positions for pushing, to try to have gravity working with me. Nothing was working. I was still numb from the epidural. We tried to lower the epidural dose, and then the contractions were too strong. We couldn’t find the in between. I pushed for two more hours to no avail. There was talk about trying forceps but the doctor said she didn’t think she’d be able to get the baby out. She mentioned a C-Section.
When thinking about my birth plan, I basically wanted to do everything to not have a C-Section. But at this point, I was mentally and physically exhausted, and I felt defeated because I couldn’t push this baby out.
It was 5pm, and I had thought I’d be well into meeting my baby at this point. All I wanted was her out safely and resting on my chest.
So, the C-Section seemed like the best option, despite every reason I had for not wanting it. It was safest.
The doctor said my pelvic bone was just too small.
So, the plan of attack changed. I had to sign some forms and I mentally prepared for the C-Section.
I just wanted to meet this baby!