Real-Life Birth Stories
My Totally Amazing C-Section
I was nearing two weeks overdue when we went for a checkup, hoping the doctor would finally find a softened cervix and some dilatation. Nothing! The baby was where she wanted to be and other than being emotional because it was the Friday before Mother's Day and I had counted on having a reason other than our cats to celebrate, I was feeling great. We put together a plan to meet at the hospital on Monday morning to start the gel for induction and joked about going out on our boat and bouncing the baby out. Later that day, I was finishing lunch and making plans to go shopping when the doctor phoned, stating that she had conferred with others and wanted to know if I wanted to have a baby that night.
How do you answer the question, "Would you like to have a baby tonight?"
We arranged to check in to the hospital at 6:00 p.m. for an 8:00 p.m. c-section. While sitting in the lobby waiting for our room, we were like a couple going off for the weekend, giggling and cuddling while watching waiting room dramas unfold. We listened to conversations about friends screaming their lungs out due to contractions, and the woman whose family who had been there for three days while she was only dilated to 3 centimeters.
When we were called I almost skipped to our room. We met our amazing nursing staff that we would spend the next three days with, reviewed our birthing plan, talked with our doctor, and met the OB who would do the c-section. We joked with the OB that we hoped he had done his workout that day as we were expecting a 9-pounds-plus baby girl. While hooked to the monitor, I wrote in our daughter's journal about what we were doing and watched my husband play with everything in the state-of-the-art room.
While being monitored the nurse came rushing in to see how I was handling the contractions. I had to laugh as I did not feel a thing. The time came to go to the surgery room, so I walked down the hall, met the surgery staff and jumped up on the operating table. They asked what music we would like if the current selection was not okay. Who would have thought?!? The only bad thing was that I felt like we were in an igloo it was so cold in the room.
The worst part of the whole thing was getting the sterilizing wash on my back before the anesthesia as it was so cool. They quickly brought me warm blankets to keep me snug. Keeping true to my entire pregnancy, I threw up the entire time in surgery. Picture my husband at my side in his space suit, holding a sick bag in one hand and a camera in the other. At 9:45 p.m., after lots of tugging her out, my doctor, with tears in her eyes, presented us with Charlotte Grace weighing in at 8 pounds, 3 ounces and 20 inches. All the nurses cheered the moment we all heard her cry and celebrated every moment with us. Upon arriving back to our room and having a bath/massage given to her by her Daddy and the nurse, Charlotte latched on and has continued to breastfeed like a champion. About two hours after getting back to our room we went for a little walk with her wrapped up in her rolling bassinet. We spent the entire night just staring at her. We felt like it was more than we could have ever asked for and not the sterile, unemotional c-section we had envisioned.
--Diane D., Kirkland, Washington
I Did It My Way (Mostly)
My birth story is a pretty crazy one. I was extremely scared of childbirth. I DO NOT handle pain well at all. I have been fortunate enough to avoid any kind of surgery or stitches. I cry every time I get a needle. My entire pregnancy I kept asking my doctor how bad labor would be. He responded, "I promise you it won't be that bad." Then I would proceed to tell him that I would not have an episiotomy, nor would I have a c-section. I was determined that it was going 100 percent my way.
My doctor and I planned for me to be induced on Friday, December 7th.
My husband took the afternoon off from work on Thursday to spend with me, and we made plans to go out for our "last meal." Everything was going well until after dinner, my cell rang and it was the hospital. They told me not to come in for my induction in the morning! My spirits were crushed! They told me that they would call me when a bed became available. I knew that the hospital had been on diversion for the past few weeks but it never dawned on me that they would cancel my induction. I called my mother-in-law, who works at the hospital. She told me that they weren't even taking women in active labor! So my husband and I went home to try to get some sleep, though I didn't end up sleeping at all.
At 9:15 the next morning, the hospital called and told me to come in. Just as I was about to be shown to my hospital room, a lady came in, pregnant with twins and needing an emergency c-section. She took priority, and I was delayed again. About an hour later I got moved into my room and my induction got started. I, amazingly, only shed a few tears after they finally managed to get the IV into my hand. They started the meds to induce labor and I felt fine. I was feeling light contractions for about the next two hours. I was thinking, "Wow, this is nothing, I can handle this," but didn't dare say it out loud, because I knew I was going to be asking for an epidural later.
At 4:30 p.m. my doctor walked in, and I was happy to see him. He checked me and said that he was putting an internal monitor on the baby, and then all of a sudden this horrible pain started!! My doctor had broken my water. I was so upset. I had asked him not to do it unless he was 100 percent sure I was going to deliver vaginally. Well, he knew how I am about pain, so I guess he had his reasons for not telling me. After he did that, the contractions started to become more intense. They told me after an hour and two bags of fluid that I could have my epidural. So I sat there, waiting. The contractions started getting painful after about 20 minutes. I started to hold my breath a little bit throughout the contractions. And my husband was there, telling me to just breathe. Finally after exactly one hour and two bags of fluid I started pushing my call button and asking for my epi!
After I got the epidural, I felt so comfortable that I actually slept (and so did my husband). The only time I woke was when they came in to turn me and check me. I really wanted to have my baby on December 7th, but that dream was fading fast. At about 1:15 a.m., I started to feel a bit more pressure. They checked me and I was not quite there, so the nurse put me into a position where my feet were elevated and my head was lower than the rest of my body. I was skeptical about this but she said it would help me dilate faster. I started feeling sick so they put me back upright, then I started feeling sick every time I reclined and finally I did get sick twice, and after that the nurses let me lie on my side. The nurse left and I tried to get some more rest. About 10 minutes later I felt so lightheaded and about to faint, the monitors are going off and the nurse rushed in and put adrenaline through my IV. Apparently my blood pressure had dropped to a dangerous level. After that ordeal, I started to feel these twinges in my lower right side. So I got a booster from the anesthesiologist and felt fine. After I got my booster, my progress was checked and I was ready to start pushing, so my doctor was called immediately.
The nurse got my husband, Stevan, to come over and they told me to try a few pushes. I started to push and after two pushes she said "STOP pushing!" She grabbed my call button and told them she needed another nurse NOW and to break the bed down. I was like, "I feel pressure and I need to push!" She insisted that Dr. Jones would be there in a minute. After what seemed like 10-15 minutes, he finally walked in and sat down. The nurse said, "Dr. Jones, you need to get up and come over here and catch!"
I got determined at this point, and was ready to go. I started to push, and I'm pushing with everything in me. Then he tells me to stop! WHAT?!?! Stop why? Apparently, the baby was crowning. Then I was allowed to push again, and out popped Colin. After everything was calm, Stevan called up to the floor where his mom works and called her to come down and meet her first grandson. Colin was born 12/8/07 at 3:44 a.m. He weighed 7 pounds, 15 ounces and was 20 1/4 inches long. I didn't tear nor did I have an episiotomy or a c-section.
I learned so much from this experience. It brought my husband and me to whole new level. I saw a side of him that I didn't know existed. He was wonderful. He fed me ice chips, and made me as comfy as possible. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. This experience has made be a better, stronger person.
-- Crystal B., Bumpass, Virginia
The Longest 4 1/2 Hours of My Life...
It was early July and I was still pregnant. Very, very pregnant. My June 25th due date had come and gone. I had lost sight of my feet about three months ago. After two weeks of practically begging my doctor, he agreed to induce me.
My baby was measuring big and my doctor was concerned that with my petite frame, I would have a hard time delivering naturally. We discussed my options, and he felt it would be best if I went into labor and attempted to deliver my baby naturally. I was fine with that. I had always thought of a cesarean as a possibility, and I doubted my own ability to deliver naturally. I really had no idea what to expect when it came time to have this baby.
I was admitted to the hospital at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 5th. After six (yes SIX) separate attempts to insert my IV, they finally succeeded and hooked me up to a bag of fluids. After that I was hooked up to a fetal monitor and I was given my first dose of medication to begin the induction. The nurse inserted a small pill, placing it on my cervix. This was supposed to soften my cervix and induce contractions throughout the night.
I woke up around 6:00 a.m. and according to the monitor, I was having consistent contractions every four to five minutes. Lucky for me, I didn't feel a thing. My doctor came in and checked me around 7:00 a.m. and said everything looked great, although he was concerned that my contractions were not progressing and I was not softening or dilating. He explained to me that my body was just taking its time with the medication and hopefully things would pick up soon.
Two and a half hours later my doctor came back in. By now it was around 9:30 a.m. and I was sitting there laughing and joking around with my mom and the nurses. I was still only dilated to 1 centimeter and I was not progressing at all. My doctor decided to go ahead and break my water to see if that would help move things along. He inserted a long white hook and popped the amniotic sac. It felt like Old Faithful was nestled between my legs. Once the looooong gush of fluid slowed down, my doctor patted my leg and said, "If you're still smiling in an hour I am going to start you on some Pitocin."
Needless to say, I wasn't smiling 10 minutes later. I started having hard contractions right after my water broke. He checked me and I was dilated to 3 centimeters, which wasn't far enough along to receive an epidural yet. Soon after, my contractions moved right into my lower back. Back labor. I had heard so much about it and I had hoped I wouldn't experience it, but lucky me, I had it and I had it BAD.
By 11:00 a.m. I was still only dilated 3 to 4 centimeters and I was in serious pain. My doctor gave me a shot of Fentanyl to take the edge off the contractions. It was my miracle medicine...for about 10 minutes. Then the contractions were back and harder than ever.
One of the nurses suggested I go sit in the Jacuzzi tub to help relax. I was open to try anything at that point. With the help of the nurses, I made my way down the hall to the Jacuzzi room. I slid into the tub and was almost instantly relieved. My belly felt weightless and the hot water relieved the tense muscles in my back. I was very relaxed and was feeling well enough to joke around with the nurses a little bit. Then suddenly, about 20 minutes later, nothing, and I mean NOTHING was funny anymore.
My contractions became more intense than ever and not even the hot bubbly water could relieve the pain. The nurses helped me out of the tub and back down to my room. We had to stop twice in the hallway because the pain was so intense it was all I could to not to crumple to the floor. The contractions had begun to hit four in a row with NO warning. I couldn't feel them coming on at all, they were suddenly just there, at their peak. I would get about 15-30 seconds rest in between each one and they would start all over again.
My doctor came in and checked me. I was dilated to 6 centimeters, which was far enough along for an epidural. Since my doctor was taking a patient into emergency surgery, the other OB doctor came in to administer my epidural. I sat up and leaned against one of the nurses, the pain was so intense that no matter how hard I tried, I absolutely could not sit still. They had to give me a second shot of Fentanyl just to relieve the pain enough to get the epidural in. The doctor had to try twice to get the epidural in place. He almost had it in and I felt something heavy and that unmistakable urge to push. I told my doctor, "Now wouldn't be a good time to tell you I think I have to push would it?" and he replies, "Hold on honey, I have to get this in." He finally got my epidural in place and checked me. Sure enough, I was dilated to 10 centimeters. I had gone from 6 to 10 centimeters in a matter of minutes. Thankfully my epidural kicked in fast and I was feeling great.
Although I was fully dilated, the nurse and the doctor said the baby was still very high up and that I had at least 1-2 hours of pushing ahead of me. The doctor decided to walk back to the practice to check some patients and he would be back in about a half an hour to see how we were doing. The head nurse told me to push and hold for a count of 10. I pushed and before I knew it she was yelling for the doctor to get back in the room stat because we had a baby that was coming NOW.
The doctors barely had time to get their gloves on before Isaac Ray was born. The doctors passed him to the nurses who began to clean him up. They were suctioning out his mouth and nose but he wasn't crying. It took him a few seconds to take his first breath, and when he finally let out his first little cry, my heart just melted. They wrapped him up and laid him across my chest. I looked down at him and kissed his tiny forehead. He looked exactly how I had imagined he would. He had little wispy tuffs of hair all over his head and the softest skin. He was so precious and content and he opened his eyes and looked up at me and it was that moment that made me realize everything I had gone through was totally worth it and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
-- Jeanna B., Dufur, Oregon
Is It Time Yet? Three Days of Contractions
My son was born on a hot day in July and I had been in mild, aggravating "is-it-time?" labor for three days. I was tired of going to the hospital only to be told that I wasn't ready. The night before I delivered him I decided that I would keep moving until this baby decided he was coming out of me.
I was three days past my due date, and I was huge and it was hot. We were living with my mother at the time and my sister was visiting us. She decided to keep me as happy as she could and agreed to accompany me to the mall. We walked the distance to the mall (no more than 1/2 a mile there) and had lunch at a family restaurant. I was pushing my 14-month-old daughter in her stroller and every so often I would stop and bend over slightly using the stroller for support as a contraction ripped through my body. All day long, strangers would stop and stare at me as I would work on managing my pain. At one point my sister had stopped in a Dunkin' Donuts for an iced coffee and as a contraction came up on me I gripped the back of a chair and closed my eyes, breathing through the pain. When I opened my eyes I found myself staring into the eyes of a woman sitting only a few feet away who begged, "Please don't deliver that baby here." :)
By late afternoon the contractions were severe enough and coming frequently enough that I felt confident that it was time. We made the 1/2-mile walk back to the house and waited for my mother to come home. I called my husband and told him to meet us at the hospital. As soon as my mom came home and saw me on all fours on the floor breathing through another contraction she agreed that this was the real deal. I left my daughter with my mom and my sister drove me to the hospital. A funny little side story...I'm a huge Family Guy fan and there was one scene in an episode that focused on Wilfred Brimley and those medical commercials he now does. During my entire pregnancy just the mere thought of this scene could have me laughing hysterically. Once I'd registered myself and my sister had me in a wheelchair and we were on our way to labor and delivery, this scene popped in my head. I began laughing hysterically, to the point where tears streamed down my cheeks. My sister was worried that the nurses would see me laughing and send me home again. Instead the nurses mistook my tears of laughter as tears of pain and kept trying to soothe me through my pain. I had a quick epidural and as with my daughter I was told that it would be several long hours before I delivered. My son was delivered less than 5 hours after my check-in. Perrin Eugene was delivered at 11:12 p.m. and weighed 9 pounds, 3 ounces, and was 21 inches long.
--Kimberly L., Manchester, New Hampshire
Birth in the Ambulance!
The day my second daughter was born, I went to work like normal after dropping off my oldest daughter off at Great-Grandma's while I worked.
I was due the following day, but started having Braxton Hicks contractions that morning. They would come and go. I ate lunch with some friends and the contractions went away. At 1:30 p.m. I started to have regular contractions every five minutes. They were not painful. I called the doctor's office at 2 p.m. They told me to come to the office. I work at the hospital where I planned to deliver, and the doctor's office is about 20 minutes away.
I got to the office and had to wait for the nurse practitioner. The lady who took me back disturbed the nurse practitioner because at that point, my contractions were one on top of another. The nurse practitioner came in and checked me and I was ready to push! My water still hadn't broken.
They called 911 to get an ambulance to take me back to the hospital. The dispatcher sent a paramedic unit and a basic unit. All the while, my husband is on his way to the doctor's office. He walked right past the ambulances. He got to the office and the receptionist told him I was just taken by the ambulance. Meanwhile, during my ride back to the hospital my water broke as my daughter was crowning.
There were three paramedics in the back with me and none of them ever delivered a baby! I'm glad I found that out after they delivered her. At the hospital an ER doctor was waiting with two L&D nurses in the bay, and he jumped in the ambulance as the EMT was opening the back door, only to find the baby had already come. My husband arrived 5 minutes after me and went into the ER asking about a pregnant lady in an ambulance. No one knew what he was talking about until someone I knew overheard him and informed him that no ambulance arrived with one pregnant lady...because two people came in that ambulance, me and my daughter.
All in all my labor was one and a half hours. Thank goodness my next two babies were induced. I do not want to go through that again!
--Brenda M., Racine, Wisconsin
The Best Christmas Gift
I was due on Christmas Eve, but they decided to induce me on Friday, December 21st, since I had been measuring big for about four weeks before my due date and the two ultrasounds I had during those four weeks showed he was going to be big. The week before it looked like he would be about 9 pounds 4 ounces, but I really didn't want a c-section, so that is why they decided on induction.
So I went in Friday at 11 a.m. They started an IV drip and after blowing the veins in both hands, my nurse decided to call anesthesiology to get an IV started in my arm. I received my first dose of Misoprostol around 1:30 p.m. When they checked me at 5:30 p.m. I hadn't dilated very much so I received my second dose. At the check at 9:30 p.m. I had dilated to 4 centimeters. They started me on Pitocin at that time because the contractions from the Misoprostol were too close together.
When I got up at 1:00 a.m. to go to the bathroom, I thought I had peed on myself because when my husband helped me up, I felt like I had leaked a little and it dripped down my leg. I just thought I really had to go! So I made my way into the bathroom and after wiping, more came out, so I wiped again and it happened again. I called my husband in and I told him "I think my water broke" and I showed him what was happening. My nurse had just come in and I told her and she said that is what it was. I waddled my way back to the bed with a gigantic pad between my legs and no underwear because the doctor would probably want to check me. I lay in bed for several hours with no underwear, a pad between my legs, and those pads they lay underneath just leaking water everywhere. Gross!
When they checked me again in the morning, I was still at 4 centimeters. They kept increasing the Pitocin and checked me again mid-afternoon. I was barely 5 centimeters. They put on a new bag of Pitocin and dropped it back down to 20 units because my receptors might have been overloaded and hopefully this would help reactivate them. I chose to get the epidural around 3 or 4 on Saturday afternoon. What relief after he finally got that sucker in my back! I was finally able to get some sleep!
When they checked me again around 8 p.m. I was back up around 36 of Pitocin, I was still only at 5 centimeters and not progressing so the doctor and I decided that a c-section would be the best option because I had already received so much Pitocin and not much had happened.
At that point, everything went so fast! It seemed like I was an emergency c-section! I swear that every nurse on the floor was in my room finding out what needed to be done, they were throwing the jumpsuit, booties, and hat at my husband to throw on. I was telling him to grab the camera and baby book and to call my parents (who had just left since we thought we weren't going to know anything for a while) and they wheeled me away while he was still getting ready. I believe they started the c-section at 8:30 p.m.
The anesthesiologist was getting the medication in the correct places and I really didn't feel too much of the pain except when they used the bladder retractor and I had sharp pain down into my crotch. They said that must be the window in the medication and there wasn't anything they could do. Other than that I just felt the usual tugging and pulling that everyone describes with c-sections.
Bradyn was born at 9:02 p.m. and was crying as soon as they pulled his head through the incision. They showed him to me and then started putting me back together. At that point I got very nauseous and almost threw up. They injected some kind of medication into my IV for the nausea and he said I might get sleepy. I did. I was out cold. I don't remember any of the stitching or stapling or when they checked him out there and whisked him away for his bath. My husband went with him and my parents and brother were waiting by the nursery to see him get wheeled in.
I think I woke up around 11 p.m. and they said they would be moving me to another room in the postpartum section. That was the worst bed ride in my life! I was so sore and I had to hold onto the IV in my arms so it wouldn't get ripped out. We must have run into every wall and every door frame on the way to my room.
I stayed in the hospital until Wednesday. On our way home I stopped at our local CVS to fill my pain prescription, and they were all out! What pharmacy runs out of a common pain med?! I was so emotional I started to cry walking back to the car! I ended up being able to fill it the following day at a pharmacy at the grocery store but I called first to make sure they had it in stock.
Everything has been going well since I have returned home. Breastfeeding was tough to stick with but I did it! He is growing well and is happy and healthy.
--Melanie L., Spencer, Massachusetts To share your birth story, visit community.parents.com/birthstories
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