Something to Prove: The Conclusion of a Birth Story
It seemed like the minute the words came out of my mouth they were prepping me for an epidural. I didn't want it, not really, but I was too exhausted to say anything and too defeated to fight. Instead I just stood there, battling each contraction as they came – hoping to dear God that someone would speak up for me. They didn't. It seemed that everyone, save for me, thought the epidural was a solid plan. So, when the nurse finally asked, I just nodded my head. Sure, I would take the epidural.
As soon as we decided to go ahead with the epidural, reassurances starting coming our way. One nurse told me that I needed to rest. Another said that my baby was distressed and would benefit from a more relaxed mother.
I was told all kinds of things.
Even in the moments they were spoken, I knew they were lies. I didn't need to rest, I needed to labor for my child. I knew I was strong enough to do it. But despite my convictions, I couldn't seem to spit out the words necessary to convince anyone of anything . Instead, I just sat there, mouth shut, feeling even more defeated than before.
After just a few minutes of waiting, the Anesthesiologist arrived and my husband left the room. I was asked to lean over as far as I could and to stay perfectly still. I did as I was asked, bending as far as my contracting belly would allow. I stayed as still as a statue even as the pain of the ever strengthening contractions came over me. I was trying to hold on to the littlest bit of pride I had left. I wanted everyone to know, including myself, that I was not as weak as I seemed – even if I was crying.
My husband, the midwife, and the nurse were sympathetic enough, but ultimately agreed with the doctor.
I rushed to wipe the tears from my eyes before my husband or the nurse returned to the room. The anesthesiologist gave me a forced and somewhat sympathetic smile before leaving the room. I hated her. She had robbed me of the natural birth of my daughter. I know it was irrational. She was just doing her job and I guess I shouldn't have faulted her for that – but I did.
After the epidural was placed, I was told to lay down. And just like that, the pain from the contractions disappeared. I was asleep before I even realized I was tired.
When I woke up, I was faced with a harsh reality. The baby's heart rate was dropping and my labor had failed to progress at all. I was nearly out of my 24 hour allowance and needed to make a decision. I could continue to try and labor for another hour or two, or I could have a C-section. My OB urged me to consider the latter as the safest option since my daughter's heart rate dropped on the charts every time I had a contraction. He just didn't see how my situation was going to change enough in the next 120 minutes.
My husband, the midwife, and the nurse were sympathetic enough, but ultimately agreed with the doctor. Feeling like I had no other option and fearful for the health of my daughter, I agreed to the Caesarean.
They wheeled me into the operating room and strapped down my arms and legs. The area where the incision was going to be made was cleaned and the Anesthesiologist was brought in once more to make sure that I couldn't feel a thing. I was hysterical throughout the entire process, finding it difficult to catch my breath or even to look anyone in the eye. I was mourning the loss of my birthing experience.
Less than 30 minutes after I had agreed to have the C-section, my daughter was brought into this world. She was beautiful, even covered in all that blood. As soon as I looked into her eyes my heart filled with more love than I thought possible. The tears of agony and disappointment turned to joy just from the sight of her. My husband, shedding his own joyful tears, whispered in my ear, “That is our baby girl.” He reached out and held my hand tightly in his. Looking back to my daughter, my daughter, I lost total control of my emotions, tears freely flowing. One look at her had made it all worth it.
Was your birth experience completely different than you had hoped and expected?