Posted in Aurelie, Blog, Featured, Mother, Wife

The birth plan

On the day my son turned 4 months old, a good friend of mine had a post-dates induction.  As excited as I was for her, I couldn’t help thinking, “thank goodness it’s not me.”  I actually surprised myself by how strongly I felt this sentiment.  I even involuntarily shuddered a little, thinking about waddling into the labor and delivery unit, eyes wide and hopeful, clutching the long-packed bag of things that mostly go unused (I mean, underwear?  Does any woman ever actually wear her own after delivery?).

As my friend weathered the storm of foley bulb cervical dilators and Pitocin (which by the way ended in a vaginal delivery of a healthy baby boy, though of course not without the drama of 3 hours of pushing and an initially low and scary APGAR), I harkened back to my own labor story.  Although seemingly a lifetime ago (a life where I slept, and my husband and I had good quality together time, and I had ME time), the emotions were still brimming at my mind’s surface. Isn’t the pain and trauma of delivery supposed to be drowned out in short time by the sheer joy of motherhood?

I realized that this, perhaps, was another lesson in expectation adjustment.  Although I do have friends who were pregnant again when their first child turned 4 months old, the mere thought of embarking on that journey right now makes me kegel a few times and check for my IUD strings again.

I remember thinking a lot during the labor, delivery, and post partum process, “why isn’t anyone telling the truth about this?! This is SO hard!”  Complicating the picture was the fact that I have been a part of many deliveries as a medical student, resident, and full-fledged family doctor.  I had assumed that years of being on the blue, sterile side of it all would somehow better prepare me for swapping roles and putting on the patient gown.  I think in some ways it did.  But in the most fundamental ways, I was knocked down and thrown for loops with the best of ‘em.

I had purposely left the obligatory birth plan sheet vague and blank.   Under goals for birth I wrote, “a healthy delivery for mom and baby, preferably vaginally.”  For desires for pain control I marked, “I am open to pain medication if labor becomes long and difficult,” secretly hoping for a quick, natural delivery where much of the laboring was done at home.  I was sure my tactic of having a short birth plan would translate into a manageable labor and delivery.   I’d seen too many women with tome-like birth plans end up in c-section after 48 hours of labor, 3 hours of pushing, and chorioamnionitis.

Fast forward to my water breaking at 39 weeks 3 days.  And no contractions.  At. All.  All day.  I waited 7 hours before giving in and calling the midwives to let them know. As I begrudgingly headed to the hospital, I couldn’t help but mourn the fact that my measly, bare bones birth plan was already completely foiled.  This explains why I burst into tears as my midwife explained the need for starting Pitocin (Oh, did I mention I was GBS positive as well?  The clock to 17 hours of ruptured membranes meaning a prolonged hospital stay for me and baby had long been ticking.).

My original birth plan crinkled and untouched in my bag, the nurses hooked me up to the obligatory lines and monitors and started the Pitocin.  At that point, we were so far off the original plan, my expectations had crumbled around me.  I hunkered down and tried to mentally prepare myself for a good long haul.

Fast forward 3 hours.  In the tub.  Excruciating pain every 1-2 minutes.  Needing to push?!  Why was I needing to push?  My nurse checked me (always fun to have the first cervical check butt naked in the tub, hooked to 3 iv lines and 2 belly monitors) to find I was 6 cm dilated.  I decided I could no longer stay in the tub with the waves of unimaginable pain tackling me.  With only a sheet wrapped around me, I attempted to walk back to the labor suite.  A contraction hit me on the way and forced me on hands and knees in front of the nursing station, naked, screaming in pain, gushing fluid all over the floor.  I managed to muster an apology to the nurses for soiling the carpet (Wouldn’t tile have been a better choice?), and somehow made it back to the room.  My sudden propensity toward blood-curdling screaming with each contraction prompted the midwife to recheck my cervix.  Fully dilated? Time to push?!

Fast forward 45 minutes of pushing to the most intense, horrifying, traumatic pain of crowning (I remember feeling as though my pelvic floor was being cut by thousands of razor blades while my urethra was being blow torched).  And there it was.  It was a he!  Pink, screaming, perfect.  On my chest, ready to be loved and to expand our hearts like we never imagined.

But then there was the aftermath.   Postpartum hemorrhage, cervical laceration, a trip to the operating room to repair said laceration (after, thankfully, a good long hour of skin to skin and breast feeding time), spinal anesthesia (After a non medicated vaginal delivery?!  Really?  Now that was one option omitted from the birth plan!), vomiting all over my face while in the operating room, fears of choking on my own vomit, uncontrollable shakes during the surgery….

Even now, in the retelling 4 months later, I momentarily have PTSD-type flash backs to the intense and indescribable pain and feelings of complete and utter lack of control that was my labor and delivery.  Yet, now something else joins the mix of raw emotions.   That crucial newfound piece is the realization that from all that fear and terror came little man J.  My giggly, smiley, shrieking son decided to make his entrance into the world in that way.  Well, he’s pretty stinkin’ great, and I wouldn’t change our story for anything.  And I have a suspicion that I may just feel the same way about his sibling.  In a good long while, that is.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *