I woke up with cramps around 5:15am on the morning of June 20, 2012. Within an hour, I realized I was having consistent contractions spaced about 10 minutes apart. With a routine Ob/Gyn appointment scheduled for a couple of hours later, I figured I would wait until the visit and see what they had to say. I knew that it could be another day (or more) before the baby could arrive, but for the first time, I knew things were finally happening.
Luckily, my hubby had taken the day off so he was able to take a walk with our toddler to give me some time to do some things around the house: laundry, dishes, and blog posts. (Nesting gone wild!)
We went to the 10:45am appointment, and as the hubby and kiddo watched the cars from the window, I headed into the exam room. As the doctor sat down and asked me if I had any concerns, I mentioned the contractions, but also some other symptoms that had developed since the weekend. As she delved into my symptoms, everything turned upside down.
One of the concerns I had raised became a nightmare; a virus. It required lab work for a definitive diagnosis, but results, even at rushed pace, would not be available for 24 hours. Yet, if I went into labor with a vaginal birth, the baby could become violently sick and possibly die. In order to avoid the worst, it would be a birth by Cesarean if I had to deliver before the results came back.
Since I was already contracting, I was told to go home on bed rest to see if I could postpone labor. The hubby drove me home as I was crying uncontrollably. I had wanted a drug-free natural birth so badly, and now I was worried about my health and my baby. My despair frightened my toddler, and it was hard to contain my grief to spare him. I realized that we needed help, so I called my Mom to come up and help with our 2.5 year old. She was there within 90 minutes and managed to calm my son down so I could rest, and the hubby could make several medical-related calls. I was in bed by 12pm, and I tweeted this:
Yet, this little girl had her own agenda and she wanted to make her appearance. Despite laying down for almost 3 hours, my contractions became 5 minutes apart and stronger. I knew I had to head to the hospital. I tried heading downstairs to spend time with my little man as he had been crying for me; not easy with the stress, the chaos and a little boy that was scared because of Mommy sad and in pain. I had to keep pretending that my knee hurt, and smile through the pain, to not worry him. I made it until 4pm when I said to the hubby we had to go (now!) and kept it together…until we pulled out from the driveway.
It was a tough car ride with the contractions now 4 minutes apart. It seemed like every idiot was on the road, on the phone while on the road, or over 80 years old and driving 8 miles an hour. We got there (thank God) and made it to the Maternity Ward around 4:30pm.
With my tear-stained face and guttural moans, they knew I needed to be seen ASAP and were expecting us per our call that stalling labor was not meant to be. After questions, IVs and a bout of vomiting, it was clear cut that this baby was coming. The on-call doctor came in, the same one the delivered my son vaginally 2.5 years before, and brought me comfort in a haze of fear. I was 7cm and had to have a c-section.
Anyone who has had a c-section knows “The Walk” down the hallway and into a scary operating room. Having never had surgery, having planned a vaginal delivery, and having a fear of the unknown virus, I had a hard time keeping it together (which means I didn’t keep it together at all.)
However, in the interim, I felt the urge to push as the contractions became excruciating. They checked & found I was 10cm dilated. The concern at that point (krikey, the concerns were stacking up) was the risk of a c-section was actually greater than the virus transmission. However, because the baby was not in the birth canal after all (strangely, my water hadn’t broken, which ended up being a huge blessing since she was protected) the c-section began. They attempted a spinal, but with my luck as it is, it was not taking. The pain rivaled the contractions, which I was still having. A backup anestegeologist was called and she managed to complete the procedure so I could be prepped for surgery.
The hubby was brought in and they did a test cut to start the c-section. However, I felt the slice across my belly. We waited a few more minutes and they tried it again. I felt it again. (It was not a sensation I wish to repeat.)
They whisked the hubby out of the room as the doctor put an oxygen mask over my face, which caused me to panic. I couldn’t feel my legs, I felt suffocated with the heavy face plastic, and had the knowledge I wouldn’t be able to hear my little girl cry for the first time.
With nine medical staff on hand, she was born less than four minutes later (at 5:58pm-just 90 minutes after arriving at the hospital) to avoid the general anesthesia having an effect on her. My husband was in the hall & heard her first cries. She was fine. He got to see her 5 minutes later & spent quality time with his little girl. However, I later learned that they followed some of my birth plan and enabled skin-to-skin contact between the baby and me. (You can see the picture here.) When I did wake up, the first thing I saw was the nurse standing next to the bed in the recovery area with my daughter in her arms. Despite all I had gone through the past eight hours, it all melted away when I held her for the first time.
These two nurses were so amazing from the time I walked onto the maternity ward. I cannot begin to tell you how their medical and emotional support helped me through it all, as well as the love from my fantastic husband. My nurse Laureen (right), that took me in when I first arrived, was still with me. She got me through the pain and fears. Kathleen (left), who arrived for the surgery, was wonderful to my husband. As she was running to and from the room before surgery, she assured him I was okay as he could hear my screams down the hallway.
It seems like a drug-invested big blur, but I am blessed that we are all doing well so far. (Update: I did have the virus. Because I spoke up, and they were on-top of everything, and a blessing from God, we saved her life.) So despite the fact it’s in the wee hours of the morning as I write this post, I wanted to capture what I could remember. The anesthesia (that made me feel like I went to a great party without actually being able to do that) has finally worn off and the pain meds have kicked in. So I’m feeling pretty good (and am loving my ice chips). Yet, I’m counting down the hours till I can get a Starbucks non-fat decaf iced Latte and a huge chocolate chip cookie. (Just sayin’.)
I’m devastated that things went the way they did. I wanted to avoid post-pregnancy pain and have a natural, drug-free birth, but Laureen made my day by saying that I have the knowledge that I made it to the pushing phase drug-free, and I’m taking comfort in that fact….and the fact that I have this new amazing family of mine with an amazing medical staff to thank. That is what really matters.
Oh Charlene. What a story. I’m so relieved you and your daughter are both OK. The birth is just one moment in her long, lovely life. You did an incredible job yesterday, and you have nothing to be devastated about.
Oh honey, I’m so sorry for all that you had to go through. You are right to focus on the end result and your beautiful daughter though. Bravo to you for the courage to go through all of this and document it so beautifully. You will have quite a story to share with her some day.
As a two-time c-section survivor, I totally understand how you are feeling. But knowing all decisions have been made for the health and safety of your beautiful little girl and her mama. I’m sure holding your little one in your arms today makes yesterday feel like forever ago (hopefully!). I cannot wait to meet her.
I’m so excited for you. Neither of my births went exactly how I would have liked but thanks to nurses like yours, i had a wonderful positive birth experience like yours. All that matters is you and that healthy little girl, whatever her name may be!
Wow, Charlene, that is quite a story! And a scary one!!! Hope you recover quickly! At least you get to spend a heat wave in airconditioning 🙂 Congrats!
My goodness, what a roller-coaster ride! I had a similar scenario with my second, so I can sympathize with a lot of it. And 8 years later I can tell you that it is all completely faded from my memory. Well, the parts that make me cringe, anyway. 🙂
You go mama! Scary stuff. So happy it all worked out. HUGS!
How scary!! I’m so glad she is perfectly healthy! Let me know when I can bring you that latte and cookie..
Hugs to you! You did what you needed to do to have a healthy baby and that’s what it’s about. How she gets here isn’t quite as important in the long run. Life rarely goes as planned…
Are you ever going to tell us her name? =}
Wow, my friend. That is an amazing story. I have goosebumps. (And as you know, I’ve read my share of birth stories.) So happy that your little girl (and you) came through okay. Let me know if you’d like me to personally deliver you a coffee and cookie. You deserve that and more after this ordeal. Hugs… Cindy
My friend, I am glad you are okay and the baby is safe. It sounds like you had an incredible medical team and they may have saved your life.
You are amazing in many ways, including for writing this post! I am sorry you had so much trauma but very glad all is well now. You daughter is stunning and lucky to have a super strong Mama!!
Congrats on your gorgeous baby girl. What a scary situation … I had no idea that a virus could be life threatening to a baby being born. I’m so glad it all turned out well.
I had a C-section for my first (she had an enormous head) and then did V-back for my next too (in case you want that and want more kiddos.) It’s possible!
Wow Charlene, you are a trooper and never cease to amaze me. I was in so much pain I was begging for a C-section with my second. So proud of you and your amazing daughter. Starbucks date soon?
YAY!!! Babies!!! 😉 SO glad you are ok after all that. What an experience mama!!
What a birth story! Glad you are on the other side of it and with such lovely results –
Oh wow. I’m so glad she is healthy (and gorgeous!!!), but what a journey. I hope the recovery goes smoothly for all of you!
terrifying! but you guys made it through like troopers. you’re some pretty tough gals! having caring nurses can make all the difference. I had wonderful nurses during my last two deliveries. had to send them flowers a week after i left. i was just so grateful to them.
Oh my Gosh, what a story!!! I was on the edge of my seat just reading it, so I cannot imagine actually living it! Came over from the SITS sharefest, and I am so glad I did! Your baby is beautiful, and in the end I hope you know that you gave birth (yes you did!) to a gorgeous baby girl who is healthy. 🙂 That is what counts!! Congratulations!
What a scray experience. I’m so sorry things didn’t go the way you wanted. I’m glad everyone is okay. How wonderful that we live in the time we do, when they are able to take this kind of care of mom and baby. How blessed you were.
Congratulations on your new little one. She’s beautiful!
Stopping by from SITS. Have a great weekend.
I’m sorry that things didn’t go quite as planned, but it’s so great that you are both alright. Lovely also that they tried to incorporate your birthing plan. Best wishes to you and your little girl!
Visiting via SITS 🙂
Wow, amazing! I love birth stories. Excellent job Mama, describing your symptoms to your doc resulting your babies safe arrival! I had a c section with my second because they estimated him to be 10 1/2 lbs and a high risk for shoulder dystocia. I was very disappointed too. But in the end I fell in love with my baby just the same : )