It’s still not real to me.
Well, it’s real, especially at 3am, but it’s equally not real at the same time. I still can’t believe that we created this life and that my body grew, delivered, and can now sustain an itty-bitty perfect little person.
This whole delivery thing was complicated. And painful. And didn’t exactly go according to my natural child-birth plan.
So, I was due on March 29, and was sent for an exam and a non-stress test on the 30th, since I was then “overdue,” to monitor the baby’s activity. The internal exam showed zero signs of labor, and the plan was to induce on April 4th or 5th… which scared the crap out of me and was really the opposite of what I wanted, but there was still time.
The stress test showed a slight dip in baby’s heart rate during one (false) contraction so we were sent straight to the hospital for a longer test. The longer test fortunately showed no issues, and a second internal exam confirmed no signs of labor. We left the hospital around 4pm on the 30th with nothing more than a parking ticket. So I took a nap because I was pregnant and tired and frustrated and I hate hospitals.
Around 7, I woke up with painful contractions and excruciating back pain. I didn’t believe it was anything real, since I just got sent home from the hospital, but within an hour the pain was so bad that we started timing the contractions. At about 10:30, hubby called the OB since they were getting stronger and were about 4-5 minutes apart. I took a hot shower (which didn’t slow the pain), ran over my hair with a straightener (bc I wasn’t about to go to the hospital with curly hair product sitting in my hair for days) and we went to the hospital.
And then I got sent home again. This time I was actually in labor, but I wasn’t enough in labor to stay at the hospital or get anything for the pain. So I went home at about 1am, took a bath, yelled at my husband (sorry hunny), and eventually went back to the hospital at 4am – for the third time in less than 24 hours – because the pain was INSANE.
And finally I got admitted and got an epidural because I’m not actually sure how anyone can possibly suffer through contractions without it. From there, NOTHING went according to “plan.” The contractions were coming like they were supposed to but I wouldn’t dilate. They reluctantly tried pitocin to see if stronger contractions would work and broke my water to move him down but with each intervention, despite my doctor actually giving it time to work before pushing for more, nothing progressed. 18 hours of labor and I was only 6 cm… including the doctor stretching half of that manually.
Long story short, I had a leep procedure like 7 years ago and I had too much scar tissue for this whole labor thing to go smoothly and timely. I might have tried for longer, but the baby’s oxygen dropped multiple times and we all (me, hubby, and the medical team) agreed, around 2pm, that it was time to just accept that I needed the c-section.
And I don’t care. I don’t care that I needed medical interventions or that I couldn’t deliver “naturally” because the second I heard my baby cry, at 2:15 pm, I knew everything was okay.
Holding him for the first time is and forever will be the greatest moment of my life. It doesn’t matter how I got there. It matters that I got there. That I got to hold my child against my chest and feel his heart beat and his lungs breathe.
Of course I will remember a long, difficult 18 hour labor. I will remember shaking on the operating table. I’ll remember my husband having to leave for the epidural and it breaking my heart.
But what I’ll really remember is that it was raining as we drove back to the hospital while no one else was on the road. I’ll remember seeing my son against my husband’s chest and the tears in our eyes when we got to experience all of this together. I’ll remember my wonderful l&d nurse who saved momentos for my baby book and the nurse who managed to make our first family photos look a little less “surgical ” and the woman who helped me feed my child for the first time despite not having any feeling in my body.
I’ll remember this process not as something that didn’t work, but as the moment, or moments, that changed us forever. They are the best moments of my life.