Against all odds: The birth story of Jonah Charles
The birth story of my son was a wonderful, crazy, […]
The birth story of my son was a wonderful, crazy, unexpected 24 hours! It was a Tuesday, and I was 38 weeks along and helping out at my dad’s retail store. I had been having random Braxton Hicks contractions all day, but didn’t think much about it. My husband and I left the store at 6 p.m. and got some Subway for dinner. (I was craving something super spicy and full of jalapeños and chipotle sauce!) We were sitting down to eat when all of a sudden I had the most horrible back pain I have ever felt in my life; I could barely speak.
My husband immediately called the doctor, and they advised us to come right in. We went to the hospital to the labor and delivery triage, and they checked me all over, checked our little boy’s heartbeat, contractions, etc. and said they didn’t see signs of quick active labor. They told me I could walk around for a while and get checked again in two hours. I was determined I was not going home—I was going to have my baby!
I walked around, sat on a labor ball (all the while with horrible back pain) and waited the two hours. The nurse checked me again and tried to find the baby’s heartbeat, and she was having some trouble finding it. (Side note: I had a very uncommon condition in the last few weeks of my pregnancy called polyhydraminos, a condition in which there is too much amniotic fluid. If the fluid is not ever flushed out, more just keeps producing. They don’t know exactly what causes it—more on that later.)
Basically I had a good size baby “swimming around” in there with close to double the amount of fluid I should have had. Depending on the baby’s position, this made it very hard to find his heartbeat. Anyway, the nurse was checking and pushing on my belly for a good five minutes, but no heartbeat was found. All of a sudden—POP—my water broke. I found out later there were traces of blood in the fluid, which is not a good sign. Unknown to me at the time, the nurse had already contacted labor and delivery with fear of my baby being in distress because of the blood and the inability to find the baby’s heartbeat.
I was rushed up to labor and delivery, and I had a team of 15 or more nurses and doctors waiting for me when I got there. They explained to me they were going to try to find baby’s heartbeat and do an ultrasound to find out what was wrong. They also said they were prepared to do a C-section within minutes if need be. Meanwhile, they handed a pair of scrubs to my husband and said, “Put these on, we might operate!” They scared that poor first-time dad half to death.
They did the ultrasound and an exam, found nothing wrong with the baby and finally found a good strong heartbeat! Everyone in the room breathed a sigh of relief. The doctor said they were going to let me continue with labor, and they would check my progress. After this all finished, my mother-in-law and mom arrived. We all waited and waited and waited throughout the night.
They gave me Pitocin and an epidural at about 11 p.m. to help the process. Every hour or so, a nurse would check my progress: 1 cm dilated … to 2, 3 and 5. By morning, I was only up to 6 cm, and it was slowing down. They kept on the Pitocin, hoping something would happen. We continued to wait, and by around noon, I was only up to 7 cm dilated. I was having plenty of contractions, but not a whole lot of progress!
We kept waiting. They wanted to check the position of my baby boy and found that he was not only upside down (facing the floor), but he was trying to come out forehead first—what they called brow presentation. By about 2 p.m. the doctors had determined it would not be a very safe option to deliver my baby naturally, and they wanted to do a C-section. I was absolutely defeated. I had been laboring for so long, preparing myself for a natural birth, and they were telling me it wasn’t possible? I was scared too, but of course I wanted my baby safe!
My husband, mom and mother-in-law prayed—for a safe delivery and that he was healthy. A little after 3 p.m. or so, they took me into surgery with my husband. I was shaking, nauseated (from laboring for so long and not eating) and scared. They started to deliver my son, and I felt no pain. I knew we would meet our baby very soon! At 4:02 p.m. he was born and, aside from a few bruises from being brow presentation, perfect. He cried almost immediately!
My husband brought him over to me, and I was still shaking, so I said I didn’t want to hold him because I didn’t want to hurt him with my shakes. Seeing and kissing that perfect face made everything totally worth it. From all we had been through together, he was healthy, and I was healthy—how lucky we were! I was finished with surgery by about 5 p.m., and we went to meet the family. He is now 3 years old and still thriving!
After he was born, I did research on the polyhyraminos condition. I found out that it occurs in 1 percent of pregnancies and that 50-65 percent of the time they don’t know what causes it. I did find out that a lot of the time when you have this condition, you can be more at risk for a C-section because the babies wiggle themselves into weird birthing positions (forehead first and upside down like my boy). He is now a perfectly healthy 3-year-old, full of energy and no sign of his almost-traumatic entry! I always said I would do it all again to have another beautiful child—I did two years later to have a girl. But that’s another story!
Send us your birth story! Whether you had a home birth, hospital birth, 37-hour labor or emergency C-section, we’d love to read the tale of your little one’sgrand entrance. Write up your birth story (click here for tips on getting started) and email it, along with a few photos, to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!
By Caroline Mack