An Unexpected C-Section and other Delivery Complications
Four years ago I experienced the joy of welcoming my first child into the world. Prior to my delivery day, I carefully crafted a birth plan, which I presented to my doctor in my third trimester. At forty weeks and four days, I went into labor naturally and as planned. We left the house around 9:30 pm and the drive was rather quick since it was Sunday night. This I was thankful for, since one of my many concerns about labor was delivering on the beltway in Washington DC rush hour traffic. The drive to the hospital was pretty painful and on my way I felt a small gush of water, which I later found out was my water breaking.
My husband pulled into the main entrance of the hospital and brought me up to labor and delivery. Once I got into the triage room a nurse hooked me up to the contraction monitor and took my vitals. A doctor came in to examine me and told me I was only 2 cm dilated. Mind you I was only 1 ½ – 2 cm at my 40 week appointment. At that point, I knew there was no way I was doing this labor thing naturally. So I told the nurse I will be need an epidural once I get to my room.
It took about 30-45 minutes to get into a room. My pain was getting more severe as the contractions were closer together and seemed to be lasting longer. It seemed like I waited forever for the anesthesiologist to arrive, but once he arrived the process was very quick. The hardest part about getting the epidural was just staying in the right position long enough to have it administered. Once it was in place, it worked in about 15 minutes and I had sweet relief!
I continued to labor throughout the night. Baby boy was having heart decelerations which seemed to be relieved by frequent position changes, where I had to roll to my right or left side. At some point during the night, I developed a fever and needed oxygen supplementation. I was so uncomfortable and hot! My husband continued to remain supportive and calm throughout the night. He really was amazing!
At the point where I was switching over to active labor, I began throwing up repeatedly. I hate throwing up! While it was nice to know I was making progress, I was miserable. When I was finally 10 cm dilated around 8:30 am, the pushing marathon began. Baby boy’s heart rate would drop if I was pushing on my back, so I pushed on my side. My husband held one leg and my nurse held the other. I could feel the contractions begin so had an idea of when to push, but the nurse told me when it reached the height and that’s when I began pushing. The doctor came in periodically to check on my progress, which seemed to be so very slow.
After three and a half hours of pushing, there was very little progress. My doctor explained that he was going to try a vacuum delivery. The doctor attempted assist delivery with the vacuum three times. Each time the suction popped off baby boy’s head, which I honestly thought was the head coming out. It was sad to know this wasn't true each time it happened.
I then had an episiotomy. First the doctor cut without lidocaine but when I told them I could feel the cutting they gave me some lidocaine. After sticking most of his arm up my parts, the attending finally came to the conclusion that my sacrum was tilted upward and the baby’s head was not getting past it. So the decision was made to deliver by cesarean. At this point, I was so scared and a bit sad.
Everything happened so FAST! One minute I’m trying to push my baby out and the next minute I’m on my back being wheeled to the operating room. In a matter of no time, I was prepped and surgery began. I didn’t feel a thing, as my baby boy was pulled out at 12:05 pm. Once he was out I didn’t hear any crying for what felt like forever. I swear those were the longest few seconds of my life. Once baby boy did cry, it was such a sweet sound. The MD handed my little boy to my husband, who brought him over to me. He was absolutely gorgeous! It was a surreal moment to actually see my baby boy. Words can’t describe how I felt at that moment. Incredible. Amazing. No words.
I then felt like I was wheezing, which it turns out I was desaturating down to the 80’s (normal oxygen saturation level is 100%). At that point, the MDs told my husband he needed to step out of the room. We thought it was just a normal policy that they have dad step out while they sew mom back up. Actually nothing normal was going on. I was becoming unstable. I don’t recall what happened next, other than I felt very uncomfortable in the position I was in. I remember complaining that my neck and jaw hurt. I was actually very hypotensive and the doctors were concerned that I had pulmonary edema (abnormal fluid build up on the lungs).
Eventually I made it to the recovery room where my nurse met me. My husband and Alexander came in, and the world was okay (sort of) again. I had a chance to hold Alexander and attempt to latch him on to start breastfeeding. I was pretty shaky and cold from the anesthesia, so it was a challenge to latch him. Alexander was then bathed and weighed him.
Much of the hours following recovery were a blur, but what I do remember is Arian taking picture and the both of us falling deeply in love with our baby boy. I had a lot of doctors in and out of the room. I also had an EKG done at my bedside followed by a CT angiogram. The doctors were worried about my heart and lungs, so I was then wheeled down to radiology to have a CT angiogram. By this time, I was scared and in tears. I just wanted to be with my baby and husband.
After returning from the procedure, I learned that I would need to spend the first night as a new mom away from my baby, so I could be monitored on the telemtry unit. I was absolutely heart broken. I wanted to be with my newborn baby, but instead laid in my hospital bed with what felt like miles between us. It was quite possibly one of the hardest nights of my life.