Baby J – A Birth Story

I’ve been contemplating writing baby J’s birth story for months.  I feel reluctant to write it for many reasons.  It’s a long story to tell.  There is a part of me that is embarrassed by my story, by the fact that it did not go as I imagined or planned it to go.  And for fear that I won’t be able to do my memory and emotions justice with my words.  Yet here I am, as my baby turns the corner into his 11th month I am finally sitting down to tell our story.

3:30am pregnancy test

Baby J was late to his own party….2 weeks late to be exact.  I had been waiting and waiting for two weeks for his arrival, two weeks that to me felt like an eternity.  Every pinch, every movement, any slight tightening of my belly had me running for the bathroom to check if anything was happening.  And every time I was faced with a false alarm.  Finally my doctor scheduled an induction, for 7:30am on March 8th, 2011…I would be exactly 42weeks on that day.  I was certain that I wasn’t going to have my baby that day.  We planned for M to go to work and for my mom to come and take me to the hospital at 7am, for what was sure to be a long long day ahead.

Already my plan for a natural, medicine free birth was beginning to go south.

At 2am I woke up from a painful braxton hicks contraction.  This was pretty normal as of late, so I thought nothing more of it.  I turned over and went back to sleep.  20 minutes later I was woken up again…by the same pain, but a little differently, sharper, lower, deeper.  I waited and waited to see if it would come again, and it did…20 minutes later.  This time I knew that I was in the beginning stages of labour.  I was so excited!  My little guy knew he was hours away from a most unpleasant eviction and had decided that he’d better just do it the right way.  I quietly nudged Michael, whispered that I was in labour.  I told him to go back to sleep, that I was in labour, but that it might be a long time until we had to go to the hospital.  I promised to wake him when it was time to go.  And much like the day I found out that I was pregnant, he fell back asleep without any problems…perhaps he was still skeptical about his son’s imminent arrival.

I went downstairs, booted up the computer, chatted with a friend on facebook and timed my contractions.  Within an hour they went from 20minutes apart to 5minutes apart.  I quickly went back upstairs, put on my makeup, did my hair….after all there would be pictures taken, and I couldn’t have my son seeing me with my messy bed head for the first time.  This took a  while.  I had to stop every 5minutes to breathe and let the pain pass before continuing on.  At 3:30am I woke up Michael and told him I was ready and that it was time to go.  He got up, had a coffee…no I’m not joking, he made himself a Nespresso, but he did take it to go with us.

We arrived at the hospital at 4am and I was quickly ushered into an exam room.  The nurse informed me that I was only 3cm dilated, but since I had an induction scheduled already they would check me in.  We were encouraged to walk around, have breakfast, and come back in a few hours.  So we did just that.

We ordered breakfast from the hospital coffee shop…I ate none of mine….Michael ate both meals.  We walked, then I walked alone.  I paced and paced for over an hour, with small breathing breaks while Michael sat on a bench watching and waiting.  The pain was bearable, although coming every 3-4 minutes, it was manageable, and my excitement was through the roof!  All I could think about was how close I was to holding my little boy.

photo of me walking and pacing at 5am

At 7am we went back to the birthing suites…tired from the pain, eager to sit down.  I was sure I was at least 5-6cm.  The nurse came in, checked, and promptly informed me that I was only 4cm dilated.  She moved us to a birthing room, I lied down, tried to rest.  At 10am the doctor came in, I had not progressed at all in my labour at this point…still 4cm.  He broke my water hoping to speed up my labour, and noticed meconium in the water.

Michael and I had decided to labour and deliver alone, together, and have family come visit later.  To be perfectly honest I don’t remember him much at this time.  I was consumed by the pain, and just wanted to be alone.  Alone with the pain.

I laboured more.  At 12pm the nurse checked again….4.5cm dilated.  My contractions now felt stronger, harder and sharper.  My back ached.  I heard 4.5 cm dilated and became discouraged.  I asked for an epidural.

At 12:30pm I received the epidural.  It didn’t take.  At 1:30pm the anesthesiologist redid the epidural, and this time it worked.  Finally I had some relief.

I slept.  I relaxed.  I joked around with my husband, and the nurse.  We made plans and got more and more excited.  I felt the contractions, but not as sharply.  I continued to feel my legs, my feet, and the pressure.   A couple of times J’s heart rate dropped, but it quickly picked back up.  The nurses though it might be a faulty monitor.

At 6pm the nurse checked me again, I was 9cm.  So so close.  At this time I developed a fever.  The nurses weren’t sure what it was from, was it the meconium?  the long labour?  They used cold compresses to help me cope.

Between 6pm and 10:30pm I didn’t dilate at all.  My contractions were strong, one on top of each other and long…but it was no use.  He was stuck.  At 10min to 11pm the doctor came in and informed me that my labour was no longer progressing, and that I would most likely have to have a c-section.

Hearing him say this was crushing.  I instantly began to cry.  This was not what I wanted.  I wanted to birth my son on my own.  I saw a c-section as my failure as a mom.  I couldn’t even birth by own son.  How could I possibly be capable of raising a baby if I couldn’t even do this basic maternal function?

The doctor left to help deliver another baby, and promised to return and discuss my options some more.

Within 5minutes of him leaving the room baby J’s heart rate dropped again.  52bpm.

Alarms went off.  Nurses rushed in.  They turned me.  They massaged the baby.  His heart beat stayed low.  Slow.

I broke down.  I stopped breathing.

Within minutes I was wheeled into the OR.  They took off the baby monitor to move me.  While I could still hear the slow beating I at least knew that J was ok, that he was alive.  Once the monitor came off, I lost it completely.  I no longer knew that he was ok.  I didn’t know what was happening, and Michael had been asked to wait outside.

The anesthesiologist came in as they were prepping me.  He didn’t have time to do a spinal.  He gave me two large doses of morphine and an extra syringe full of epidural medicine.

They strapped me to the table.  Inserted the oxygen line.  And put up the tarp.  They frantically paged the doctor who was delivering another baby.

They called Michael back in.  I was scared.  The anesthesiologist told me it was ok, that I wouldn’t feel anything, that they had already started cutting.  I thought J was dead.  It had been so long since the monitor had come off.

I turned to Michael and told him I was sorry.  I apologized for my failure.  For the potential loss of our baby.

Then I felt a hard pressure on my belly, and heard his sweet cry.  I felt instant relief, happiness and joy….but these words don’t even begin to touch on my exact feelings at that moment.  It was 11:39pm.

I broke into tears…only this time they were tears of joy.

The nurse showed him my son, crying, fighting, and strong.  9lbs 5oz and 22inches.   They quickly whisked him away to be examined by the doctor.

I forgot about everything in that instant.  I could only look at my baby from away.  I was so happy.

The anesthesiologist went over to the warmer, took my son and brought him to me.  He unstrapped my arm so I could hold him.  I kissed his sweet little eyes, his perfect mouth and little button nose.  He was so perfect.

Michael took him while they finished stitching me back up.  We were taken back to the recovery room.  I was shaking uncontrollably, and could barely hold my baby.  I tried to breastfeed but I couldn’t.  This part for me is a blurr.  I remember Michael with him, but that’s about it.

We spent the whole night together, just the 3 of us.

Later the doctor told me that baby J was big, that my birth canal was small, that he was coming at a funny angle and that he’d gotten stuck, which is why I didn’t progress in my labour.

Part of me still feels guilty and even to this day I still wonder.  Had I kept walking.  Had I not lied down.  Had I not asked for the epidural.  Would it have been different? Would he have come on his own?  Would he have been safe?  I feel guilty for not walking more.  For lying down, when I knew it was bad for me.  For not being strong enough to bare the pain, and not delivering my son naturally.

I have no way of knowing these things…no way of knowing how things would have turned out had I made different decisions along the way.

I know I have to let go, and I’m hoping to put it to rest once and for all now.  I have an incredibly bright and healthy son.  Who amazes me every day, and inspires me to be better, work harder, run faster, push more.  I am blessed and I need to focus on that.

1 day old, fast asleep after a good nurse

fast asleep in momma’s arms {1 day old}

headed home

sweet kisses

Comments

  1. Natasha says

    Your birth story is beautiful! Makes me very emotional, possibly because our stories are very similar. I still can’t remember the first 2 days of Brody’s life because I was way to drugged. Just loved reading it, and knowing that there are so many other mothers who have such a crazy birth story but got through and are stronger for it!

  2. Bluebird Kisses says

    Thank you Natasha. I definitely think it made me stronger, and really the most important thing is that we have healthy, beautiful babies. In the end I think I need to remember that the means of how they got here is not as important.

  3. Carly says

    Thank you for sharing, Ana! I’ve been hesitant to commit to a “birth plan” for the reasons that you mentioned. I don’t want to be disappointed if it doesn’t turn out the way I planned. While your birth experience wasn’t what you envisioned, it happened exactly as it was supposed to. You can’t feel guilty for having a small birth canal. You have to remember that your husbands a very tall man who makes big babies! I’m babbling, but I just wanted to give my support and make sure you knew your story was appreciated.

  4. Bluebird Kisses says

    Thanks Carly. I know you’re right…the logical part of me always reasons that way too, but then the irrational Ana takes over and sometimes makes me feel guilty. Although I have to say that the guilt is less strong now than it was 11months ago.

    I didn’t have birth plan written down and I always said “what will be will be” but in the back of my mind I had expectations of myself I suppose.

    Like you said though, what was supposed to happen happened. Thank you so much for your support! I think your outlook on your labour is perfect :)

  5. says

    So lovely reading your birth story. I wept through most of it recalling such familiar memories. My first labour was also similar and I struggled with the idea of failure, but my little girls are growing up now and as time goes on, the realisation that the way they enter the world has little importance on how they grow helped me. Enjoy celebrating the first year. It’s a special day for Mummy and I cried through a lot of it! You sound like a lovely mummy. X

  6. says

    Your story and mine are a lot alike friend. Except mine was a scheduled C-section because Cohen was breech. I guess in a way this made it easier because I got over those feelings of failure before the actual birth…but it’s still hard when things don’t go the way we hoped and planned.

    • Bluebird Kisses says

      It really is hard. But things happen for a reason. There was a plan and it happened like it was supposed to I guess :)

  7. Silje says

    Such a powerful story Ana and beautifully written! I too was moved as it brought me back to Davis’s birth and the parallel’s between our birth stories. It’s unfortunate that there is a stigma out there that somehow having a drug free or natural birth makes you a superior person, a better mother. Our birth stories have nothing to do with what sort of parent we are nor should they be a barometer by which to measure our worth and strength as a woman. Births are complicated and quite often simply out of our control…you should be proud of your birth story and the beautiful ending you had <3

  8. says

    Oh, how scary! I had to have a C-section too because the baby’s heart rate dropped during contractions/pushing, but it didn’t happen quite as fast. Upset me too at the time, but c’est la vie! Be proud of doing what needed to be done!

  9. says

    It feels good to write these things down, doesn’t it? It amazes me that for every woman, there’s a different perspective and “wish list” for childbirth. It truly is a unique experience! I had a late baby, failed induction due to failure to progress, and a c-section. I also experienced the shaking after the c-section. That’s the one part that upsets me the most – that I could barely hold my boy for 5 sec. But otherwise, I don’t regret the surgery since it’s what needed to be done. We’re lucky that technology exists to save our babies (and us!) when things go awry. That sort of experience prepares you for the fact that motherhood is all about the unexpected!

  10. says

    This was such a beautiful story… I’m so glad you wrote it down. I understand why you feel the way you did about the C-Section. I would have felt the same way. BUT, you did exactly what you needed to do and when you needed to do it. The thing I kept reminding myself when things didn’t go to plan was that while childbirth is a natural event ,many women died or their children died before epidurals, inducement medication, or C-sections were around. These advances help make it possible for you and I to have our wonderful little boys. Be proud of yourself…. you are one STRONG mamma. I can’t believe how strong you must have been during all of that and the recovery. Congratulations!

  11. Maggie says

    Looks like you had a healthy baby and a healthy mom. That’s great. As an OB nurse I can tell you, sometimes the C-Section just can’t be avoided. Try not to beat yourself up– from my view it looks like you did everything right! But that dip in heart rate changed everything. Not your fault! Congratulations on a healthy, happy boy!

  12. says

    I am in tears reading this story. You are so brave. Thank you so much for sharing it. I think so many women have something that that they carry with them that makes them feel “bad” or somehow “not good enough” – why do we do this to ourselves? You are an amazing mother! I had somehow convinced myself that I wasn’t a real woman bc I tried and failed to conceive for years. When it finally happened via IVF I still didn’t feel like it was good enough. And now I have my girl and I can’t believe that I ever thought those things. The feelings were very real and I still wish that I was able to get pregnant on my own but then I wouldn’t have Lucia and I simply cannot imagine my life without her in it. She is my warrior and my miracle. Baby J knows and feels what a loving and strong mom you are and really, at the end of the day, that’s what matters. xo

  13. Yifat says

    Hey Ana,
    Don’t be hard with yourself! – easy to say not easy to do – I know…
    I think first labor is never the one you dreamed off, especially if you wanted a natural one. For me and from what I see around me it gets better the second time. Above all these amotions (that should not be avoided and must be dealt with) you have a lovely boy!
    I am sure that you are a great mother !

  14. says

    ahhh what a beautiful little story!!! Im gonna be a new momma in September- so all these birth stories are just amazing to me- natural, epidural, c-section- you are all brave women to me!!! ;)

  15. elif cetin says

    what an amazing story! i was in tears, it wasso emotional and so much like my story: 30 hours of labor and then unsuccesful natural delivery and had to have c-section. The worst part was that the baby was loosing oxygen and they said since it is hard for me to push, they can take the baby with a forcep or do a c-section and the choice was up to me. When I asked doctor what the disadvantage of a c-section is, she said it is risky b/c they can CUT the baby!!! WTF!! I think I REALLY WANTED TO KILL SOMEONE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE! Then I ended up having a c-section without issues and had my healthy baby girl in my arms in an hour…

  16. also a Toronto mom says

    Late to this party as well…however…

    Beautifully, viscerally written and parts blinded me with flashes of my own cesarean. Thank you for being honest and brave (I myself have not found the courage to write our story in words but this makes me wish I had!) since it’s comforting for moms to hear stories from all across the spectrum of birthing experiences.

    Curious: you mentioned you were in a hospital birthing suite at first – which hospital was that? Ours (St. Joe’s in the west end) didn’t have birthing rooms at the time of H.’s birth but I think they’ve expanded since then.

    • says

      We just moved to roncensvalle actually so super close to st joe’s. I chose to go to trillium in Mississauga. Although we lived in liberty village I did some research and trillium seemed like a better option for me even though it was farther out. I loved it the nurses were amazing.

  17. Lisa Stradling says

    What a beautiful post. A beautiful birth story. I have been debating whether or not to write and post my birth story of my almost 1 yr old as well. Reading yours just gave me my answer. Every birth of a new precious baby on earth is something worth writing down whether it happens the way it was planned or not. You brought a beautiful baby into this world, and regardless of how it was done, you are blessed for that, and will be blessed for that. I am one of the worst when it comes to “what if’s” so i can completely feel your guilt as you talk about the what if’s BUT never underestimate your strength as a women and mother. I feel like things happen the way the happen for a reason, and birth is DEFINITELY NO EXCEPTION. We are human and want what we want, but it happened the way it did for a reason. And a reason that you may never know, but have confidence in that and believe that. Your words were beautiful and raw. There are no words to really explain the moments a baby enters this earth through you and into your arms, but you did it beautifully. He’s such a cute little boy, and they are the joy of a mothers life. But let’s be real…..IT’s THE HARDEST THING WE DO!!!!!!

  18. Ann says

    What a beautiful birth story. Yours is so similar to mine, too. I still haven’t written my son’s birth story, and he’ll be 3 years old next month. But it’s etched in my head and heart forever. Maybe one of these days I’ll put it down on paper. :)

  19. says

    Hi there,

    I think your story is beautiful and thank you for sharing. I’m in love with birth stories these days as I’m 25 weeks pregnant with my first and getting ready for the big day! They all have me in tears all the time! It’s amazing how we have these ideas and expectations and our little babies will come into the world whenever they are ready and however they want. I look forward to that amazing day. Thanks again for sharing!

  20. MINA says

    I came across your blog and its a blessing to see everyone goes through life as it goes. life is not perfect but its how we make it…and sometimes things don’t go accordingly how we plan it. hearing your birth story was so touching that it reminded me when I had Zoe 8 yrs ago. those feelings of guilt, fears and joy at the same time. for me I was an emercency C-section and my daughter was born with lack of oxygen to the brain which something happen in the delivery room and now she has Spastic Cerebral Palsy. she was born 2 1/2 months early of weighing 2lbs 10 ozs. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story. It is very touching. God bless

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>