My Son’s Birth Story
The following post recounts how my son was born. It gets detailed at times in terms of body language but that’s just par for the course in describing these kinds of stories. Buckle in; it’s a long read.
On Thursday, February 6, 2014, I was scheduled for a Caesarean section at 12:30 pm. I was to arrive at the hospital between 10 am and 10:30 pm.
But God and my son had other plans.
You see, February 6 would definitely be my son’s birthday, but on his own time and not some doctor’s scheduled one.
Due to an unforeseen power outage thanks to a bad ice storm on Wednesday, February 5, the apartment my husband and I live in had no heat. So with my mother (who just made it to Philly from New York on Amtrak) in tow, my husband and I made reservations to stay at a hotel near the Philadelphia airport for the night.
I rarely felt my son move that night while I slept and became increasingly concerned and anxious about his health. (I immediately regretted not grabbing our fetal Doppler to set my mind at ease, but did my best to trust God.) At 3:18 am on Thursday, I woke up needing to use the restroom. I stayed awake for about 15–20 minutes trying to feel my baby move and praying that everything was all right since he remained so still. I feared the worst but figured I would learn his fate by 12:30 that afternoon. I fell asleep again.
At 5:30 am, I woke up feeling a gush of water in my underwear. I ran to the bathroom and saw not only clear liquid but also a yellowish mucous substance of egg white consistency. I was instantly alarmed. Trying not to wake my husband up, I woke my mother up and told her I thought my water had broken. For her, she said it was a “pop.” I wasn’t sure as I did not experience a “pop” rather than a sudden awakening (literally) that something was amiss with my cervix. My husband overheard the conversation between me and my mother and, in the midst of sleep, deduced that I should contact the midwife on call of the birth center of which I was a patient. Then he rolled over and went back to sleep. Five minutes later, the midwife who was paged returned my call. I explained my situation to her and she advised that I brush my teeth, shower, then head to the hospital.
An hour later, my husband, mother, and I left the hotel. By this point, I began to have contractions that were not intense but relatively close together. After an uneventful drive riddled with potholes, we arrived at the hospital 20 minutes later. I went straight up to labor and delivery and briefly explained my situation. I was whisked into a room where I was to get dressed into a hospital gown. To my dismay, my contractions grew more intense and closer together to the point where I began vomiting even though I hadn’t had anything to eat since 10:30 the previous night.
After feeling abandoned for quite some time as I battled stronger contractions, my nurse (who had just started her shift as soon as she entered my room) began the routine drill of asking me questions. Due to my increasingly intense contractions, it became more difficult to answer her. Then THANK THE GOD, the doctor who was scheduled to perform my C-section waltzed in. He was a pleasant, jovial British man at first. Then he checked to see how dilated I was and became alarmed when he felt a foot. He instantly went from easygoing to emergent at that moment. “She needs a C-section right away,” he said.
My nurse sprung into action. As my contractions grew even stronger and more painful, she alerted me that she was waiting on an anesthetist before she could bring me to the operating room (OR). After a few minutes, she appeared annoyed on my behalf at their delay. I don’t know how long it took but an anesthetist soon showed up and began doing my intake. I signed papers of permission to treat without reading them because I was in so much pain.
Soon, I was off to the OR. My contractions had reached maximum height and I was ready to push. Although in my mind, I knew that wouldn’t be a good thing since my son was a full breech and would come out feet first. I willed my body into NOT pushing with all my might. In the OR, I was greeted by anesthetists and surrounded by a surgical team including my awesome nurse. As the anesthetists began inserting my spinal tap in preparation for my C-section, I had severe, painful contractions. I had to hunch over, arch my back, and relax my shoulders but it was extremely difficult. I nearly crushed a poor nurse’s plastic belt buckle with my hand because I was in so much pain. They had trouble inserting the spinal. When someone suggested putting me to sleep, I jumped all over the idea. The contractions plus attempts at spinal insertion were beginning to become unbearable. Finally, the anesthetist had me straddle the OR table in one last shot at getting the spinal in. The new position did the trick. I was down on my back and getting numb from the waist down in no time.
My nurse brought my husband in the OR after the screen separating my boobs from my belly was lifted. I was told I would feel pressure and tugging but no pain. My contractions ceased immediately. Before I knew it, the doctor had me cut open and was tugging at my insides. I really did not feel any pain. A few minutes later, my midwife appeared near my husband and I then announced, “Your baby is born.” My first reaction was, “Oh really?” Then I asked why he wasn’t crying. The midwife simply shrugged and suggested he may be a quiet baby. “He’s alive?” I asked. The midwife responded in the affirmative and said he was just looking around curiously, taking in his surroundings. She borrowed my husband’s phone to take pictures of him on the warmer. To my surprise, he was awake and alert but without crying. After his Apgar score had been taken (8/9 out of 10), he was placed in my husband’s arms. He weighed just under 5 lbs and was 17 inches long.
That’s pretty much the end of my son’s birth story. I could tell you about freaking out about feeding him, being on a machine to prevent blood clots in my legs, having a catheter hooked up so I didn’t get out of bed, but alas, that’s no longer my son’s birth story. It’s my postpartum story. I’ll eventually write up a post about my pregnancy story with him. How I planned to go au natural with a midwife at a birth center but ended up with a breech baby who needed to be taken by C-section. It’s an interesting story to me as it’s a reminder that my ways are not God’s ways.
Thanks for reading. I posted this birth story mainly for myself—to remember how painful contractions are, that a C-section isn’t the worst thing in the world, and that my son came into this world healthy despite my worrying. My goal, ultimately, was to have an empowering birth and God, in His providence, made that possible.