Since trying to conceive, I read every book, magazine, and blog to prepare myself for being happy pregnant and delivering a healthy baby. I exercised and ate clean, all while closely monitoring my Lupus to ensure my baby had the best of everything. I can honestly say, I was blessed with an amazing pregnancy. Aside from nosebleeds, headaches, a touch of costochondritis, and a third trimester battle with thrombocytopenia, I had gone against the Lupus odds and carried a perfectly healthy little boy to term.
As of my 39 week OB appointment, I hadn’t softened or dilated one bit. I stressed to my doctor that my birth plan was to have a natural vaginal delivery and she agreed they’d wait at least another two weeks to intervene and induce labor. I respected her for assuring me that this was my birth and I had control of how I wanted it to play out.
Three days later, on Friday September 27, I woke in the middle if the night with stomach pains and noticed I had lost my mucus plug. A few hours later, my water broke. It all seemed to be moving so quickly. However, once admitted to the hospital, we discovered I still wasn’t dilated at all. The gameplan was to receive Cervadil and insert a balloon to open my cervix. As the hours rolled by, the contractions quickly became unbearable – coming once per minute and lasting at high intensity for several minutes at a time. Surprisingly, I still hadn’t dilated, so the doctors decided to try inserting the balloon before giving the medication. They were unable to do so because I was closed so tightly, and the pain of their attempts was excruciating.
After the first attempt, our baby’s heartbeat fell off the monitor. I was given an oxygen mask and placed on my side – all while enduring these now strengthening contractions. I knew I had to try to stay calm to keep my baby calm. We regained his heartbeat, but doctors were hesitant to give me the Cervadil because the baby was not handling my labor well. We were left to labor with hopes I would dilate more over time. Hours later, the balloon was successfully inserted at barely 1 cm dilated and I was to wait until morning to be checked again.
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The pain of the contractions and the now inserted balloon was unlike any I’d ever experienced or could even imagine. My body shook with each contraction, and I closed my eyes and cried as each one peaked, but did not fall. Against my original birth plan that I swore I wouldn’t deter from, I agreed to have an epidural, and was given Ambien to help me sleep to prepare for delivery in the upcoming hours. I apologized to my husband for giving up on my birth plan. At that point, both he and my parents agreed it was best to allow myself some relief. I started to fall asleep between contractions, but was woken as the doctors came rushing in to tell us they had once again been unable to stabilize baby’s heartbeat and an emergency c-section was necessary: the umbilical cord had been wrapped around his neck several times.
I cried and told my husband and parents how scared I was, but realized it was absolutely necessary to make sure my son was safe. Within minutes, I vaguely remember feeling nauseous as they quickly administered necessary anesthesia and corticosteroids. I was delirious at this point, having begun my active labor over 16 hours before. Despite attempts to stay calm, I was becoming overwhelmed by the stress of the situation. I asked for my husband who had been waiting in the hall. I fought to keep my eyes open, asking questions that I’m sure didn’t even make sense. The doctor announced she was making the incision, and within what seemed like seconds, I heard Luke cry. Almost simultaneously, I let myself close my eyes. I guess knowing he was out and safe was all I needed to allow myself to rest.
A little while later, I held Luke for what I thought was the first time. Despite photographs my husband had taken of me touching him and looking in his eyes in the delivery room, I didn’t have any recollection of meeting my baby. I sat up in my hospital bed in recovery and cried as I kissed my beautiful baby boy.
What my body went through those 25 hours is unlike anything I could’ve prepared myself for. Yet, true to what everyone told me, I’d do it a hundred times over to have Luke in my life. Words can not express the joy and true meaning he has brought to my life. He will certainly be an only child for quite some time, but someday, I might even try this again.
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’s grand 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!