By Guest Blogger Katie Kaley, author of the blog Words from a Mama
You always hear no two children are the same, and oh boy is that true! But it’s also true that no two labor and delivery stories are the same. For anyone who has been advised by their doctor to deliver by C-section, or for anyone contemplating a VBAC or a C-section instead of a vaginal birth, I wanted to share my story.
My first born daughter, Parker, ended up being born via emergency C-Section, and I was told by my obstetrician that I was not a good candidate for VBAC. Given that, I was all set for second baby to be a scheduled C-Section. My OBGYN schedules all planned C-Sections for week 39, so I was put on the calendar with the doctor that I wanted. As a strong A type, I loved the idea of being able to pick a day AND pick the doctor that I wanted to deliver. I was all set and just counting down the days and hoping things went smoothly. Unlike my first pregnancy, my blood pressure had stayed within normal ranges even as I approached the end. Everything was looking good to go…
The week of my scheduled delivery date, I had started feeling nauseous, and I really wasn’t sleeping well. Then early on a Tuesday morning at around 1:30AM, just a few days ahead of my scheduled date, I sat up in bed to go to the bathroom. When I stood up, my water broke. And the game was on. So much for the scheduled part. We had to call my brother to come and watch our daughter (who was awesome and rushed over in the pouring rain so that we didn’t have to wake her and move her in the middle of the night). He arrived, and my husband and I set off in the rain to the hospital (with lots of towels to protect the car).
We arrived at the hospital and were sent to the waiting room and then brought back to triage. The nurses connected fetal monitors and confirmed my water was broken. They also asked several times if I was sure I wanted a C-section. Yes, I confirmed, I absolutely do. Last time was a nightmare.
From there, we played the waiting game as my contractions got worse. Finally the doctor came to check how dilated I was. 6cm already. Unfortunately, there were two other C-sections ahead of me that we had to wait on. I desperately wanted the surgery to happen before I was in full blown labor. It was going to be another hour or two, but they began prepping me for the surgery with an IV and antibiotics. The nurses and doctors left…and we waited…and waited for what seemed like forever. I was corded and strapped with fetal monitors and couldn’t move with the IV. My biggest memory from this moment is that I really had to go to the bathroom…like every pregnant woman at any moment in time…and there was no one to be found. The hallways were completely empty. My husband eventually had to walk out and flag someone down to get help. Then it was back to waiting.
Finally, hours later, they were ready for us. They moved me to a wheelchair and wheeled me back through the winding hallways to the operating room. This time I knew the drill. I went in with the staff and left my husband behind. I had also warned the anesthesiologist about the troubles they had getting in the spinal during my first C-section. This time was a breeze. First try and it was in. Everything started to go numb, and I was laid down and strapped in.
This time instead of poking me with a needle, they tested if the anesthetic was working by using a brush with water. Eventually I couldn’t feel anything below my ribs. Amazingly, they did such a great job, I didn’t have any of the crazy long numbness that I had had the first time. It was beautiful. I could feel my lungs, and I felt like I was actually breathing. I didn’t feel any actual pain, but I could definitely feel tugging and pressure this time as my insides were moved around to get baby boy out. The doctor did tell me how things were going along the way and asked how big my daughter was (9 pounds).
Eventually, at 5:51AM I heard the doctor say “Here he is” and he held up my son Oliver over the barrier so I could just see him before he was whisked to the side to be monitored and cleaned. Oliver didn’t cry immediately like my daughter, but did after just a few moments. For some reason, every single time a baby is born, my own births or watching birth videos, I cry like a baby. So I was blubbering, while everyone kept assuring me he was fine, and I tried to get peeks of him.
There was a wonderful nurse taking care of Oliver who I could hear. She was telling him he was the most handsome baby she met that night and oohing over how big he was. Ten pounds they called out, and they said he was perfect! Then my husband was called over to cut the cord and take him. I then got to really see Oliver as my husband brought him over for pictures. My heart felt like it could explode, and I reached out just to touch him for the first time. This time even though I had some shaking from the anesthetic, it wasn’t really bad at all. Especially not compared to my first experience, so I was able to focus more on my little one.
Then we waited for the doctor to finish putting everything back together. I swear it feels like 10 minutes to get the baby out and then 40 to out to back together. I’m not sure how much of that is accurate, and how much is just wanting to hold your baby once they are out. Lots of tugging and pushing and pressure, but again, no pain. Eventually everything was done and the doctor said how well it went. She removed some scar tissue from my first C-section, but said everything looked great. They then transferred me to a rolling bed, and tilted me a bit so I could finally hold my baby boy. I was rolled out and off to a temporary recovery room.
It was all over in under 5 hours from the time my water broke! A total whirlwind, but an absolute blessing. It was so much less traumatic than my first delivery, and I couldn’t have imagined it have going any smoother. If any of you out there had a challenging delivery with your first, hopefully my experience can share some proof (and give some hope) that the second time around can be much easier. I’m forever grateful for this experience and for both my beautiful children.
Recovery went really well, with only one minor set back, where I pulled a muscle trying to get out of bed when I was back home. I actually thought I ripped out a stitch, but it turned out to just be a pulled muscle. So all in all, an easy recovery again this time around. I’m super lucky, and I’m incredibly grateful for that.
I hope you enjoyed reading my experience, and for all you expecting mamas, I wish you all the best in your journey.
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