Stacey’s Birth Story
It’s very common for women to have a certain idea about what is going to happen during their labour and delivery. Some even write out a birth plan and hope to follow it to a tee! Stacey was one of those women, and she’s going to tell us her birth story and how it can be good to be ready to go with the flow. She shares with us very raw emotions about her experience and the disappointment she felt when things didn’t work out the way she had hoped. Thank you so much, Stacey, for sharing this with my readers. Her post was originally posted on her blog, you can find it here. I will add some info about labour and delivery where I think some more explanation is needed, with her permission.
Alright! Let get this week’s birth story going…
The Induction Process Begins
It all started on a Friday, one of the coldest nights of the year. The next 36 hours would be a blur of emotions.
Here I was, 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant, the day of my induction. My little squishy apparently had no plans of joining us anytime time soon. I had 3 sweeps done, and I had not even dropped.
A “stretch and sweep” is when your obstetrician or midwife inserts two fingers in your cervix and manually tries to stretch it open. At the same time, they try to separate the amniotic membrane from the uterine wall around your cervix, that’s the sweep part. This can cause you to start having contractions. Sometimes those contractions will put you into labour, but other times it’s just very uncomfortable and you will contract a lot, without going into real labour.
So early afternoon I had a gel inserted to help jump-start his evacuation…his rent had come due, haha. The whole induction process went well. We were told to go home, relax, and come back about 6 hours later so they could see if I had started to dilate or if they would have to repeat the process with the gel.
The gel that Stacey is referring to is a prostaglandin gel that is used to soften the cervix and help with the induction process if the cervix isn’t “ripe”. Your health care provider will insert the gel using an applicator so the gel goes rights up against your cervix. Most often you will have to be monitored for some time before being able to go home. Some hospitals might admit you to keep a closer eye on things.
More from Babytalk: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Inductions
Contractions Start – It’s Go Time!
When we got home, we had some dinner and I felt some mild cramping but nothing I had not already been feeling for about 20 weeks, so I decided to go and take a nap. Well, I could not sleep for the life of me. I was way to pumped to meet my little man. A few hours after my induction I started to feel tightening, so exciting! My hubby and I started to time my contractions, and about an hour before we went to the hospital my contractions were about 5 minutes apart…go time!
Just like I mentioned in Haley’s birth story, it’s so important to try to rest before the contractions become regular and painful. This is hard! Of course you are excited that you are meeting your baby soon. But even just lying down and relaxing can be helpful. Take a nice bath and do some deep breathing exercises. Or, try some light yoga and meditation. There’s an awesome app called Expectful that is tailored to pregnancy and birth. Sometimes a 20 minute meditation can be more invigorating than a long nap.
Getting On With The Induction – At The Hospital
At this point, I am not going to lie…I started to feel sick with nervousness. I knew I was having a baby for 9 months, but when I knew I would be meeting my little squish any time, it all became very real. Even though I was having contractions I was worried that I would not be dilated enough and they would send me home…I was expecting that to be honest. Well, the doctor checked me out and all I remember hearing is “2 cm… let’s break this water”. I was shocked and ecstatic. Finally! It was all happening. When she unpacked what I could only describe as a GIANT crochet hook I got nervous. That was painless really and was over quickly.
Artificial Rupture of Membrane (sometimes called ARM) is standard care during an induction. Basically it’s a vaginal exam, but your health care provider will also make a little hole on the bag of waters surrounding your baby. This will not hurt you or your baby. They use something that looks exactly how Stacey described it, a giant plastic crochet needle. Sometimes there is a big gush of fluid after this, but sometimes the fluid just leaks out slowly. This is supposed to speed up your labour, it’s supposed to make your contractions longer and stronger. And it usually works! Check out Babytalk’s post on inductions to find out more.
Walking With Pain
We were told I could walk around to try to jump-start the dilation process, so we walked. I could only do a few laps of the ward because my contractions came on HARD. It is hard to describe the pain. It pretty much felt like the little bowling ball I was carrying was trying to fall out.
Walking is a great way to get the contractions more regular. Plus, gravity helps to get your baby into the optimal position. Don’t forget to combine the walking with some rest!
After a few hours, my doctor gave me morphine for the pain because I could not get my epidural for a little while yet. At that time I felt like Morphine was a big lie. I was still in pain, I was just slurring my words.
Usually, if labour is well established, morphine won’t really help with the pain that much. Sometimes it is given in conjunction with a medication called Dimenhydrinate (Gravol in Canada, Dramamine in the US), because morphine can make you nauseous. This medication will make you sleepy and is maybe why Stacey felt she was slurring her words. At this point is sounds like she was in proper labour, because the morphine didn’t really help with the pain.
Epidural came around, which was a BREEZE. It did not hurt me at all, but it took a long time to kick in, and later come to find out the baby was in a position which can cause extreme back labour.
I think Stacey’s baby was in what is called an OP position (occiput posterior). That just means that her baby was trying to come out with the larger part of his head first. Her baby was facing up towards the ceiling instead of looking down at the floor, which is the more optimal position. Stacey was walking around in early labour which in theory should help to get the baby into the right position, but this doesn’t always work. When you’re baby is OP, you might experience a lot of pain in your back during contractions. This is thought to be because of how the baby’s head is lying in your pelvis.
Eventually, the pain went away…thank the lord for epidurals. It is about 10 pm and was told just get some sleep….right. I tried, did not happen. They came in to check me periodically and I was making progress.
Sleepless Night and No Progress
Eight am rolls around after a long sleepless night. I was nauseous and throwing up due to the pain medication, and then they tell me that I was stuck at 6cm. I had been at 6 since 4 am and had not progressed further. They told me that they could let me keep labouring, but the baby was starting to get a bit of a cone head trying to come down, and I started to get a mild fever, so it was in my best interest to get a C-section. I was devastated.
It sounds like Stacey was starting to get an infection. That can happen if your waters have been broken for a long time or if you have been in labour for a long time. Sometimes if you do get a fever, it can affect the babies heart rate. The fetal heart rate tends to increase with a fever, and that is not good if it goes up and stays up. Your health care team will be monitoring your baby’s heart rate throughout your labour and intervene if necessary.
Logically I knew it was okay, it happens, but I felt in that moment that my body had failed me. We had trouble to get pregnant, and now my body can not even push out a baby. Why was my body fighting me constantly? I felt like I could not do what came naturally to everyone else.
It is normal to be disappointed when you get the news that you must have a c-section. If at all possible it is important to debrief with your OB after the surgery to understand fully what happened. In the moment there are a lot of emotions and it can be hard to process all the information. Check out more information about c-sections on the blog!
The Operating Room – A Bright, Lonely and Scary Place
At that moment I felt scared and alone, even surrounded by people. They told me they were booking the O.R and that my hubby could come in once I was prepped.
No time at all they were wheeling me down, not even 2 hours later. The whole process was very quick. I remember feeling so scared and cold as they took me in the operating room. The room was bright, sterile and cold. They started the spinal block and poked me and said “can you feel this” and I said no…until the last time they asked me. I felt them poke me with something sharp on the left side of my belly. We waited a few more minutes and then they checked again…I could still feel it.
They then said this sometimes happens and they were putting me under general anesthetic, so I would be asleep. ASLEEP for the birth of my child! I asked if my husband would still be able to come in, and they said no. I broke down into tears.
Stacey’s spinal didn’t work so they had to do a general. General anesthesia can be very scary. You are basically put to sleep and then are not aware of anything until you wake up in the recovery room. Luckily this is not very common, but it is a very real possibility. It might be helpful to add some information into your birth plan about what you want to happen with your baby and partner if you have to be put to sleep for any reason.
Not only had my body robbed me of being able to witness my child being born, my body robbed the chance from my husband too, that made me feel terrible. The nurses tried to be comforting, but nothing made me feel better, I just wanted my husband and my baby. They told me to count back from 100…I made it to 98.
Recovery – Hearing Your Baby’s Voice for The First Time
I woke up in recovery. I opened my eyes, confused, I completely forgot for a moment where I was and why I was there…Then I heard a cry. It’s hard to explain that moment when you first hear your baby cry. By the time I woke up, the baby had already been checked over, had his tests and ate. I missed it all. I cried.
It’s normal to be very emotional when you wake up after surgery. You know that lots of things have happened, but you missed it all. That, plus all the hormonal changes from birth and the grogginess of the drugs. I have to say that I’m surprised the nurses did all the checks and fed her baby before Stacey woke up. Usually, it doesn’t take long to wake up from a general, and all those things can wait until the mother is awake. In the mean time dad can cuddle baby. Every hospital is different, so find out from yours beforehand what the policies and procedures are so you can make a plan for your birth.
Postpartum – A Happy & Healthy Baby
Of course, I was so happy and thankful our baby boy was here and healthy, but I felt robbed. I always dreamed of the moment you deliver your baby and they put them on your chest and you are one of the first people they see. That did not happen for me. I missed the first few hours of his life. I was never going to get that back. At that moment I felt like a terrible mom. It still plagues me to this day.
I feel so bad for Stacey and what she went through. It’s totally normal to feel robbed of this experience and it’s important to work through all the emotions. If you’ve had a similar experience, don’t hesitate to find someone to talk to about this, for example a therapist or family doctor. Experiences like this can lead to postpartum depression or other mental health issues.
The rest of the time at the hospital was standard. I was not in too much pain thanks to trusty old painkillers.
It’s great that Stacey stayed on top of her pain and took the good drugs. Some women tend to shy away from the stronger pain meds due to the fear of being addicted. The stronger pain meds like morphine and oxycodone are great right after a c-section birth. You’ll only need them for a few days, but I would recommend to take them. It will help you to start moving around way quicker, which will in turn aid in your recovery.
When we got home though, I needed lots of help due to the cesarean. I could barely lift my baby, I couldn’t even walk standing upright. It was all very emotional. I felt like a horrible mom and was worried he would resent me.
Eventually, I came to realize, he does not know what happened. I came to realize I tried, I tried to stick to my birth plan, but I couldn’t. I tried to do everything for him when we came home, but I couldn’t. That’s okay!
I think every woman should have a detailed birth plan. It’s so awesome when the health care team and the patient are on the same page regarding their care. That being said, things can change so quickly in labour and delivery, it is necessary to be flexible and aware that your plans can change with a drop of a hat! Check out Babytalk’s post on how to make the perfect birth plan.
The Guilt and Shame of Motherhood
As mothers, we are so quick to judge and shame other moms. “Oh well I gave birth with no meds” or “I was able to push out the baby”, or even “I was able to breastfeed exclusively for a year”. Who are we to judge what works and what doesn’t work for another mom. We are still moms!
Everyone has different experiences. That’s what makes life interesting! Wouldn’t it be weird if we all did everything in the exact same way? We’re not robots! Every single birth is different, everyone copes differently with pregnancy, birth and being a parent. People are just different, and that’s OK. We should be supportive of each other instead of tearing each other apart!
No matter how you gave birth you are a mom. You expelled that child from your body…good for you!
I also want to add that your body MADE your baby! Never forget how awesome you are!!
C-sections are not easy and recovery is usually a lot worse than having your baby naturally. My point is, try not to doubt yourself, and don’t beat yourself up. You cannot control everything, believe me, I tried. All that matters, in the end, is that you have your happy healthy baby in your arms. Cherish it.
Amen Stacey! This is especially true in parenting. There is no way to control everything, sometimes you just have to sit back and go with the flow.