A Cesarean Story

She was born July 29th 2012 at 4:04pm via cesarean. 8 pounds, 5 ounces. Just one ounce shy of my guess. Her birth story or pregnancy were not that simple though.

I always wanted to be a mother, no, a mommy. I have two step daughters that I love with all of my heart and I wanted another little one to love and adore. One that wouldn’t have to go back and forth for weekends and holidays. My husband and I asked the girls, “do you want a baby brother or sister?” Absolutely they did. So we tried.

We started by going to see my OB because we knew this wasn’t something we could do alone. I have polycystic ovarian disorder (PCOS) and had been told by my doctor years before that conceiving might be difficult, and probably would require medication. At first I was put on clomid to make me ovulate and after a few months of that with no luck I asked about adding metformin, (a diabetic medication), to my regimen. This had worked for a friend and I wanted to give it a try.

The first month with this combination worked! We were pregnant! I made my appointment to see my OB and was told to discontinue use of the metformin. It finally came time for the appointment, the anticipation was overwhelming. I had been to these appointments before with friends and I knew what to look for on that monitor, but I didn’t see it. There was no little flutter on the screen. No heartbeat. As horrible as it sounds, I wasn’t too surprised. I felt like I didn’t deserve the happiness a baby would bring me. I chose to try and let my body sort the situation out, but eventually had to have a D and C. I tried not to stay discouraged and started my regimen of medications as soon as I was able.

Three more months and we were pregnant again. We had a heartbeat this time! The little flutter from my little bug was right there for us to see. This time I continued to take the metformin until eighteen weeks. I don’t know if this had anything to do with the success of the pregnancy or not.

The forty one weeks of this pregnancy were long and torturous. Not because of the pregnancy itself, but because of the previous loss. I was constantly terrified something would go wrong. 

Weeks thirty nine and my due date came and passed with no baby. Week forty was a bumpy ride though. We made several trips to the hospital with some pretty intense and close together contractions and lots of leaking, only to be sent home because I wasn’t dilating.

Finally, at forty one weeks, one final trip to the hospital, we were admitted! We were finally having our baby girl.

My birth plan: natural as possible hospital birth. I planned to walk the halls, use a hot shower, jacuzzi tub, etc. What I did was lay in the bed, curled up into a ball in pain, so tired from an entire week of contractions that I caved. At first I agreed to just a shot of fentanyl. No help at all. Then, a shot of morphine. Sweet relief. I relaxed for the first time all week and suddenly I was dilating, making progress. It was at this time I became terrified that it was my fault I hadn’t progressed sooner. I wondered if my body didn’t know what it was doing or if I could have just relaxed… I then agreed to the epidural, fearing it was the only way I would relax and get my baby girl here safely.

Then, we waited. All night, all day. My best friend and step daughters hanging out with me. My husband and father in law watching the Nascar race. Nurses would come in, check me, update us, and then come back and do it again. Mid afternoon of July 29th we were told that I had finally reached nine and a half centimeters and just a little pitocin would get me the rest of the way. Again, I caved. The pitocin worked, a little too well and my cervix started to swell. I was losing ground! It was also about this time my husband had actually stepped out for the first time to get some air. I spiked a fever, the baby was in distress, nurses flooded the room.

It was at this time I was approached with the option to go ahead with a cesarean now, or continue with labor and possibly find ourselves in an emergency situation later. The choice was in my hands and I chose what I thought was best for our girl, a c-section now.  They prepped me, cut me open and pulled her out. There she was all purple, brown hair. Something was wrong though, her breathing. 

The next thing I recall is being with my family in a recovery room, without my baby. I wasn’t allowed to get out of bed for twelve hours after delivery and my babe couldn’t come to me because she was hooked up to an IV and on oxygen. She was born with a pneumothorax, or a partially collapsed lung. My little girl that lived inside me for forty one weeks, was in a nursery with strangers. No skin to skin, no nursing, no bonding.  The first time her big sisters saw her was through glass, hooked up to tubes and monitors.

Daddy was going back and forth, check on baby, check on mommy. He was supportive and had been through it all before with his daughters but this was different for him. His older girls were born with planned inductions.

This was the longest night of my life, the last hour being the worst. 3:00am I was awake and any sedation I was given had worn off. I was amped up and ready to be with my girl. They took out the catheter and I got up. The nurses were surprised, apparently I was supposed to ride in a wheel chair. I walked down the hall, IV pole in tote, to meet my baby girl that I had been waiting for my whole life.

I don’t blame the hospital, the doctors, the nurses or even myself too much for the way Natalie came to be with us. In fact, without medical science she might not have ever been conceived.  Her lung healed, the IVs ended and we eventually figured out breastfeeding. I do however plan on spending the rest of my life trying to help inform other women about their choice to birth naturally.

My girl is now a very active and smart twenty month old. Still breastfeeding, much to the dismay of others.