So, at 9 am I was 7 cm dilated. I was on epidural, but I could hardly sleep. For one thing, I was hanging on to the sound of my baby’s heartbeat. Is it too slow? Is it too fast? Is my baby in distress?
Every hour or so someone would come in to check my blood pressure. My temperature. Baby’s vital science. Make me move, change the pose if the baby falls asleep (how could he ever “fall asleep” being squeezed inside me every minute for one minute, is a mystery to me). At one point, the baby’s heart rate got way too high – over 200 a minute. They made me move, they administered drugs…
About every 2 hours or so they would check my dilation, but after that euphoric “7 cm at 9 am”, things stopped progressing. They would shove their fingers inside me, and I would feel them stretching me, touching the baby’s head (he would respond by moving around), looking concerned. On the one hand, one side of my cervix wasn’t opening the way the rest of it did. It was asymmetrical. On the other, there just was no progress. 9 am – 7 cm. 11 am – 8 cm (they like to see 1 cm per minute). 1 pm – still 8 cm. The contractions kept coming 4-5 times in a 10-minute interval.
And that’s when things started to get really blurry for me. You know what happened? A very sharp pain started building up in my right hip. As if a dozen knives were being slowly driven in my hip, turned around their axes, released, and then driven in again. Remember, I was on the epidural!!! It wasn’t as painful as contractions, but close to it. And, unlike contractions, the pain never went away completely, it just stayed there. It was getting worse and worse. By 3 pm I was moaning and cringing and wailing again. There was nothing they could do to help with the pain and they couldn’t figure out the reason. And my dilation was still at 8 cm (and still asymmetrical).
So we had a talk and decided that it’s been long enough. Long enough for the pain, long enough for the overall labour experience (almost 24 hours since it started), and it was time, unfortunately, to move on to c-section. If it weren’t for the pain, we could have waited a bit longer, hoping for the contractions to pick up, but at that point – I couldn’t. I kind of hated myself, my weakness, but it just was too much stress, worry for the baby’s well-being – and waay too much pain.
So they went away to prep the OR. I stayed waiting for the super-epidural for the OR (the fact that no needlework was required – just changing the IV bags for the stronger stuff, only made me more impatient to get it, but they couldn’t do it in my room).
Finally they wheeled me down the corridor, sent my hubby scrubbing, wheeled me inside, made me move on my own to the operating table from my bed (I started wailing for real in pain), lay back (that was even worse for my pain) and started fixating me on the operating table, setting up the division so that my germs won’t reach the operating site, administering the new drug (almost instantaneous release of pain!). Then they let my hubby in, and he sat by my head. I was on my back, with my arms stretched both ways (like the letter T), with IV lines and monitors attached, shaking uncontrollably from the anesthetics, exhaustion, stress, and whatever else…
Did I mention my water had quite a bit of meconium when they broke it? I was worried about that, too. About the baby. About his well-being. It occurred to me then and there that the fact that I am about to have a “major surgery” as all the books call c-section, was the last of my worries. If it even were a worry.
And then I heard someone saying “oh my god, he’s a BIG boy” – and right away I heard him cry. I turned my head and saw them putting him on the table to wipe and get checked. He WAS big. So big he wasn’t even red or purple the way most newborns are. And seconds later I found out he was… 4.5 kilo!!! (that’s 9.92 pounds in case you’re wondering) and 54 cm long.
I was crying with relief, happiness that the baby is fine – and with the knowledge that we made the right decision. That I wasn’t weak or impatient or egoistic thinking only about myself, agreeing to have a c-section. I just plain COULDN’T give this baby the natural birth he deserved. He would’ve never passed through my pelvis. The hip pain was most likely his head trying to break through my pelvis. Literally break.
When they gave him to my hubby, I saw that he had a deep red angry wedge on his forehead – where he got stuck in my pelvis. And a swelling between his eyebrows – where the skin from the squished forehead sort of got “permanently” wrinkled (it’s back to normal now). The top of his head already became a “cone head” – where he descended and got stuck in the birth canal.
But overall, he was beautiful and healthy.
Everyone kept questioning my pregnancy, whether I had gestational diabetes – why would a normally-built me have such a huge baby? – and I was getting frustrated. Wasn’t I telling all along that big babies run in my family? That I was 9.7, my dad was 10, my nephew was 9? Didn’t I share my concerns with my OB at around 36 weeks about not being able to deliver my baby? And then about going over 40 weeks and having to deal with meconium? Wasn’t I right on both accounts? No, I had no diabetes, no issues!
They spent the whole first 24 hours of his life drawing blood from his heels (poor thing, it hurt him!) to make sure HE is not diabetic…
But these are really my thoughts and feelings now. At the time I was crying with relief. They gave the baby to my hubby, finished sewing me up, and wheeled us to some room while our private room was getting ready.
My hubby was sitting in a chair next to me, holding our baby, I was trying to stay awake, the nurses kept poking and checking and cleaning me. And then I requested the skin-to-skin and they gave me my previous baby.
I felt so calm and serene and… whole. He took the breast right away with a perfectly wide-open mouth. Perfect latch, I was told. Big, strong baby.
Many women talk about euphoria, adrenalin, instant bonding… Maybe I am different. Maybe the c-section made it different. I didn’t feel any of this. But I felt accomplished. Calm. Happy. And the bonding? It grows with every passing minute.
I’ll tell you about his first days later. I think he’s about to request a feeding, so I better stop in this logical place and continue my story at some later point.
Again – thank you all so much for you support. Receiving your comments meant a lot to me. It meanS a lot to me.
I’ll just finish by saying that we’re all home now. The new chapter of our lives has started!