Every expectant mother has an idea of what they want their labor and delivery to be like. They show up at the hospital, birth plan in hand, praying for the best. Yet a birth plan is just that: a plan.
I had always wanted to have a water birth at home, but insurance wouldn’t cover it. So, I hired a doula, read multiple books on how to have a natural, drug free labor and delivery, exercised regularly, and ate well. I ran my list of questions through the multiple doctors that could be on call when I went into labor. I had everything planned. Or so I thought.Friday, August 11th, one day past my due date, my water broke at 3:00am. Casey called my doula who had me monitor contractions and came over at about 9:00am. I labored at home until 5:30pm and then headed to the hospital.
They wanted to start me on an antibiotic since my water had broken so long beforehand. I signed a refusal form. I was doing this the natural way.
Each time they did an exam I was afraid I’d be discouraged by the progress.
I remember at one point I told the nurse not to tell me where I was dilation wise. I pushed through the agonizing pain, walking around the room, sitting on the birthing ball etc., only to find out I was not that far along.
More hours passed. I was progressing but VERY slowly. My body was growing weary. There came a time where the pain was so intense, my body was shaking, and I had the uncontrollable urge to push. “It’s COMING!!!! Where is Dr. Den Haese?!?!” I yelled. They legitimately thought I was in transition.
Still 6cm dilated and at station -2… This was after 32 hours of unmedicated labor! The doctor expressed his concern and explained that in his 15 years of practice, mine was the longest labor he’d seen. He recommended a c-section but knew of my desire for a vaginal birth, so suggested I get an epidural and pitocin to try and speed up the process.
I agreed to an epidural. I agreed to the minimal amount of pitocin. Both drugs I had read so many horrible things about. Both drugs I swore I didn’t want and wouldn’t take. . .After the pain of the epidural placement, the pain went away, but with it, I was unable to feel or move my legs. They assured me they could turn it down for delivery, as I wanted to feel the pushing—feel the process of my baby entering the world.
Hours passed. Still 6cm and -2 station.
They increased the pitocin to intensify contractions.
Hours passed. Still no progress.
That is when my doctor came in to have the talk with me about a c-section. He once again reminded me that how the baby enters the world isn’t nearly as important as how you raise him or her. He called me a tough cookie, saying most women are begging for an epidural at 2cm dilated but I made it to 6cm (for quite some time). I was tired. I agreed through the tears.
Would I connect with my baby? Would that bond be there since the hormones that are released during a vaginal delivery won’t be released? I had read about all of the complications with bonding and breastfeeding after a c-section. I had skipped over the chapters about the surgery because I wasn’t going to have one…
At 5:55pm on Saturday, August 12th, Shiloh James entered the world. I remember hearing him cry and tears filling my eyes. My doctor held him over the curtain so I could kiss him. I still didn’t know the gender until my doctor said, “Dad, tell Mom what it is!” (It was in my birth plan that I wanted it this way). Through the tears Casey said, “It’s a boy!” and my tears flowed all the more (I had been hoping for a boy). 🙂 They laid him on my chest and as soon as I was stitched up and taken to recovery, he was handed to me to breastfeed. I couldn’t believe it. Finally, after 9 months, after 38 hours of labor, my miracle was here, and I didn’t have any issues bonding with him. ☺️
The days recovering from major surgery were long. Due to all of the operations I have had, I wasn’t able to get much pain relief which SUCKED. BUT…I was healthy, and I had a healthy, handsome boy.
When I reflect on my birth experience, and how pretty much everything in my birth plan went out the window, I am reminded of a verse in the Bible:
“The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
I believe through this experience the Lord taught me that no matter how much I try to be in control, I am not. Thankfully I went into this pregnancy with an open mind that IF things didn’t go as planned and I ended up needing a c-section, I wouldn’t suffer from depression over my birth plan not going as planned. I shed a few tears before the surgery and got over it the minute I laid eyes on my healthy boy.
I had also planned to exclusively breastfeed for as long as possible and read books about that as well as the complications caused by giving a baby formula (not always). However, I’m not able to produce enough so have to supplement with formula (granted, it’s organic formula from Germany that is supposedly the closest thing to breast milk). 😉
I have learned a valuable lesson in all of this: hold onto your plans loosely.
So here it is, pregnancy and infant loss awareness day, and a year ago I was blogging about the baby I miscarried last May, yet today I am writing about my miracle child—my rainbow after the storm. I just looked at the pictures that my doula took of my labor at the hospital for the first time and this was the very last one . . . A faint rainbow just outside of the Women’s Center. How perfectly fitting.