So when Ellery was born I wrote our birth story. I read it probably once a month and it is very accurate. I still feel mostly that way about how it happened, but recently I have felt the need to write down the real raw story of how our Ellery came into the world. I’m writing this for me and I’m writing it for her and I’m writing it to never forget, but please don’t feel obligated to read it. Although you are more than welcome to.
My labor was done to me, it didn’t happen. I can no longer watch torture scenes in movies or television shows because it reminds me of my birth experience. The nurses came in every 30 minutes on the dot to increase the pitocin and near the end I would beg them to give me just 5 more minutes. They always said no, “I had to keep on track” and within a minute or two my contractions would get more severe, it especially stunk that the pitocin did just about nothing for my dilation so it was completely pointless.
I will likely never again get an epidural. Not because it wasn’t the most magical drug ever because it.was.magical. But because if by chance I have to have another c-section after laboring all day long I want a spinal, getting a c-section with an epidural was absolutely terrible. Here are the gory details of this hour in our life.
The doctor came in and told me it was time for a c-section, it was around 2 o’clock the morning of Ellery’s birthday. I signed some paperwork, she went over the risks and we were off. They wheeled me into the c-section room down the hall and assured me they would get Andrew before we began. I was glad I had previously had surgeries because I don’t remember feeling scared. Once I was in there a team of people hoisted my dead weight body from one bed to the other. I remember feeling extremely awkward and very heavy. I thought I was mentally prepared for a c-section, I had seen them on television, but somehow missed two details. The first was they strap your arms down at the wrists like you are on a cross. The second was how close the curtain is to your face. Like suffocatingly close. I vaguely remember asking if they had to strap my arms like that and he said yes in case I needed an IV or something. Looking back I would have preferred to have no curtain at all, I would have really liked to have seen my doctor, but maybe the blood would have freaked me out, I don’t know. There were 15 people in the room, some dressed in plain old street clothes, not sure how that was sterile. I knew there were a lot, Andrew told me later 15.
They started cutting me open, as they are cutting the anesthesiologist starts asking who is going to “get the dad” someone says I’ll go in a minute and he said, someone needs to get him NOW! I remember starting to panic at this point. I knew I was cut open and facing the door so Andrew would see my cut open bleeding belly when he came through the door. My husband passes out nearly every time he gives blood so I completely expected him to hit the floor when he walked in, luckily he did not, he did however see my cut open belly, yikes! How did I know that I was being cut open? I felt it, not pressure like people talk about, but pain and felt every bit of the cutting on my right side. I had a friend that communicated her pain to the doctor and they knocked her out so I decided to very calmly let them know I was in pain. Every minute I would calmly say, “I have pain on my right side,” he would put more meds in my drip, and this continued for a bit until I gave up. I was so determined to see her that I didn’t really care if I could feel the pain of her cutting me open. I was secretly panicking, but didn’t want to say anything for fear of not seeing Ellery in her first moments. Andrew was nowhere near me (or that’s how it felt) and he was too tired to talk to me. Luckily the anesthesiologist sat right next to me and did his best to distract me and keep me calm.
Here she comes…I again expected pressure, um not so much. I screamed the whole time they were pulling her out and the doctor kept saying breath like it’s a contraction. They were pulling, I was screaming, and finally she was out. My OBGYN came around the curtain holding my sweet girl, in a childish voice she said,”here’s your baby” and then she was whisked away. After they did her tests and weighed her Andrew held her and I caught my first glimpse of her, I remember saying,”oh my goodness, she’s so precious.” And then they essentially put me to sleep. The doctor pumped me so full of Benadryl that I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I think he did this because he knew I was in pain, but maybe this is standard. Then I woke up on and off and would say,”I have to nurse my baby.” It amazes me that motherly instinct is that strong. I probably couldn’t have told you my name at that point, but I knew my baby needed to eat. After I did this several times my OBGYN leaned over the curtain, looked me in my eyes and said,”Laura you can’t nurse your baby right now, your job is to sleep. Your baby needs to breathe better before she can eat, you will nurse her as soon as she can.” It didn’t register with me that something was wrong with Elle, she was having breathing problems, a c-section complication, so I was pretty mad that I couldn’t feed her because our agreement was within the 1st hour I got to nurse.
It was time to go back to the room, hospital policy says only staff can carry babies in the hallways, so Andrew couldn’t carry her. My doctor asked if I wanted to hold her back to the room since I was being wheeled and I sadly told her I couldn’t because my arms weren’t working. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep in the 30 feet from the operating room to my room, I would have likely dropped her. Then they started working on Elle to clear her lungs, they did a chest x-ray and had her on oxygen, I would wake up periodically and ask Andrew to show me a picture of her because she was too far away to see. Then I came up with a plan. I told Andrew to go get some ice and shove as much in my mouth as possible. I wanted to nurse her so bad and I wanted to be alert enough to hold her. This didn’t really work like I had hoped and I continued to be extremely out of it. I remember at 4:30 the medical staff had cleared out and Ellery was left alone with us in her warming bed hooked up to stuff and had oxygen in her nose. My OBGYN came in and I asked if my family who was STILL in the waiting room could come see her. She said yes if I was sure I wanted people to come in, I said “of course” considering they had been there since noon the previous day and were waiting to see our sweetie. I vaguely remember them coming in, no one could hold Ellery because of all her tubes, so they saw her and told me they’d be back after they got a little sleep. I soon held Ellery for a few minutes with the assistance of our nurse, but after a few minutes my arms stopped working again and I had to put her back in her warm bed. Then I fell asleep holding her sweet little foot and every time she cried I would wake up, say “mommy’s here” and she would immediately settle down.
Looking back I feel like I was robbed. At the time I felt rescued. Time gives clarity, I’ve processed this for nearly nine months, and now it’s time to heal. I still love and respect my doctor, I still have no regrets about the day of the actual birth (we really did do everything we could), I don’t feel like a c-section hurt my bond with my child in anyway what so ever, and even though it wasn’t in my time frame I still got to nurse and she never had formula. I still got a beautiful, healthy, awesome kid out of the whole ordeal and I’d do it all over again for her without a second thought. Now I’m on a quest for an awesome OBGYN in our new town who will help me VBAC with our future babies or baby…one at a time.