Every woman’s birth story is different. And more often than not, a woman’s birth story is very different from the one she envisioned in her mind.
I had a healthy first pregnancy, not terribly enjoyable (as I don’t particularly love being pregnant), but everything went well. We (me & baby) were both very healthy. In saying that, I ASSUMED delivery would go as expected… which society and my professional background led me to believe was on time, natural, and without drugs.
None of that was the case with my delivery. I was a week overdue and in fear of complications if she stayed in the womb too long.
I was induced at 9pm (7 days post due date). They had to break my water the next morning because I hadn’t progressed on my own. After a few hours of labor, and a lot of pain, I opted for an epidural. I then labored for another 12 hours and dilated to 7cm. I was on oxygen and the nurses were assisting in flipping me over frequently. Up until this moment, I was still convinced that I was going to have a natural delivery.
Nearing 10pm (a little over 24 hours later), my fever spiked and our baby’s heart rate went through the roof. To date, it was one of the most frightening moments of my life. That was when they informed me that she could go septic if we waited too long. At this point, the decision was easy. All I wanted was my healthy, living baby.
They performed an emergency c-section nearly 30 minutes later. I was awake, my husband by my side. I remember her cry. I remember my husband cutting her cord. I remember holding her. Then my husband was asked to take our daughter out and he spent the next 30 minutes with her on his own while they stitched me up.
When the surgeons were done closing me up, they brought me to a quiet room and set our baby on my chest. I not so gracefully proceeded to nurse her for the first time, just minutes after major surgery (which, in looking back, still blows my mind).
The whole birthing process was beautiful. Not my plan, but beautiful.
Nonetheless, it took me awhile to grieve the delivery I believed I should have had. I felt a guilt for my decision to be induced, and I felt like it was my fault that I’d had a c-section. The truth is, you don’t earn a medal for pushing a baby out. Your medal IS your healthy baby, no matter how you spin it. There’s no shame in making the decision that seems safest for you and your baby at any point in time.
In getting older (and hopefully wiser), I tell women and patients to always trust their instincts, no matter how unpopular they may seem at the time. You and your children will THANK YOU later.