They tell you to make a ‘birth plan’ so you are prepared for labor. This plan can consist of what music to play, do you want drugs, who do you want in the room with you, would you like the lights dimmed? etc.
Let’s all laugh together!
While this is helpful for some, and a few women are lucky enough to work their plan (Ie: one of my best friends), this is not everyone’s story. And it certainly wasn’t mine. I was due on May 4th (hello StarWars fans…) and excitedly saw the day come and go. Day by day we waited for our little bundle of love to arrive.
Then it happened. Wednesday, May 11th at 3 pm. I was sitting in my Mom’s chair, talking to her and my sister who had flown from Vancouver the week previous. These pains felt different and I knew right away I was in labor. I excitedly told them “THIS IS IT! IT’S HAPPENING! TODAY IS THE DAY!”. My husband got home from work and we waited, checking the time between contractions, excited. 3 am Thursday morning we went to the hospital and got sent home because even though my contractions were close together, I was only 2 cm dilated.
I remember my Mom and I saying “Today is the day! It has to be!! We’ll go back later today!”.
Contractions continued but didn’t get worse until the following night. Friday morning at 4 am I said “okay, this is it for real. I am ready to have this baby” and we went in and were told I was still only 2 cm dilated!
They gave me the option of staying to see if I would progress soon or to go home, to which I said: “I am not leaving until this baby is in my arms! Today is the day!“. I was to be induced that morning around 9 am!
Have I mentioned this is now Friday the 13th, with a full moon?
Well, plans quickly changed as the floor went CRAZY with expectant mothers in active labor. It was truly chaotic. Nurses came and went, but no induction happened. “Soon” they would say, as another Mom-to-be came through the doors. I’m not exaggerating, babies were born in non-birth rooms, there were women in the hallways, it was CHAOS. Needless to say, they did not have time OR room to induce me. At about 3 pm a nurse came in (mid- contraction) and asked if I wanted any pain meds yet.
Now, my BIRTH- PLAN said “NO DRUGS”. I was convinced I was going to have a smooth, natural childbirth and feel every step of it. After I said no, my sister looked at me in complete horror and simply said “Why not?! Julia, just get the drugs!”.
Until this point, I hadn’t even considered it. Why? Because that wasn’t my birth plan. But I can tell you that being in labor that long was also not in my birth plan! I realized I had this ideal situation in my head “the perfect birth story”. One that would be talked about in the hospital for days to come. I know it sounds silly but I was convinced my story would be fast, pain-free (relatively) and inspiring.
I called the nurse back and got some morphine ASAP. Ah, what a relief. I actually slept a few hours, it made my contractions slow down and I was okay with seeing so many women coming in and out with babies. At this point, I was 4 cm and I felt like we were getting somewhere!
Fast forward to Friday night when things had calmed down and it was finally time to induce me! As I walked from my room down the hall into a delivery room the nurse station cheered me on “YAY! It’s finally your turn!” (these ladies had all seen me come in 2x, gone home and slept, had their days, and returned for their next shift). I’ll probably never forget that. I laughed as they cheered because, at that point, that’s all you could do. Laugh.
We got into the delivery room and all got comfortable. We got set up, they began monitoring Baby and began the induction!
This hurt A LOT. If you’ve had to be induced you know what I’m talking about. It speeds up your contractions, and they become much stronger. But the thing was, I was stuck at 4 cm. Because of the intense pain and lack of sleep, I decided I needed the epidural NOW. But there were 2 people in front of me who asked for it and the only doctor who could give it was in a meeting.
2 hours later, I got my epidural *I just want to say there is no shame in getting drugs people. Get the dang epidural. We are all warrior Mama’s and taking a painkiller in labor doesn’t change that* and we were on our way.
By this time it was passed midnight and my sister had snuck out sometime between me screaming at the doctor giving me the epidural and nurse telling me what pressure should feel like *rolls eyes*.
TODAY. HAS. TO. BE. THE. DAY.
Things weren’t changing and I felt a real sense of loss. I felt numb from emotion, I could feel the contraction pain, but emotionally I had nothing left. I was out of jokes, out of smiles, out of tears. I hadn’t slept in days and I was done. Then my water broke and I snapped back into the moment, and things got scary.
My beautiful God-send of a nurse who had been happy and encouraging the entire time until this point suddenly got very quiet, her face dropped and before I knew it another doctor and nurse were in the room with us.
A few moments passed and a few more doctors were in the room, talking to each other, whispering, one had their hand inside of me holding up my babies head up and I knew this wasn’t normal.
My baby girl’s heart rate was dropping, and they couldn’t find the problem. The cord wasn’t wrapped around her neck but she wasn’t coming out, “go on all fours Julia”, “try laying on your side” “put this pillow here” “don’t move” “are you comfortable?”.
They decided to ‘restart’ my induction and it happened again. Our beautiful baby’s heart slowed down and they had to hold her head up to keep it at a normal rate. A new doctor came in and finally gave us some sort of answer. “We can wait until it is really scary and we have 4 minutes to get this baby out of you via c-section… or we can go now and take our time.”.
We, of course, said “GET HER OUT OF ME” and my husband looked at me asked”Who do you want to come in with you? Me or your Mom?” um, YOU OBVIOUSLY!
As Neil changed into the gown, they rolled me down the hallway into the operating room. My whole body shook uncontrollably. I couldn’t wrap my mind around what was happening.
*I must confess at this point I was also thinking a lot about Grey’s anatomy and all the things that could go wrong. If you are heading in for surgery or birth, I don’t suggest binge watching it on Netflix for the month leading up to your big day*
I was anxious, scared and full of questions. In that moment I just wanted to feel peace. I knew God was in control and He must have some sort of plan. But what was it? Why hadn’t He given me the birth story I wanted so badly? I started humming “You are my all in all” and the most beautiful thing happened.
A nurse hummed along with me.
I on melody, she on harmony. And while the nurses and doctors prepped to cut me open and made jokes with each other during the single most terrifying moment of my life, she held my hand and we gave praise to our King. Neil walked in and took my hand, I felt them cut into me, and a few moments later there she was.
Saturday morning, 6:19 am, our beautiful Zoe Bella had finally arrived.
Neil held her first which was a beautiful thing. I’m glad he got that honor. I was too shaky and weak to hold her so he held her close to my head and we looked at our perfect little girl. The previous days faded from memory and all we saw was our special, beautiful, perfect little girl.
God has been teaching me a lot to this day about our birth story, and I’m excited to share with you what some of those things are in my next post.
It wasn’t the story I wanted, but it was the one I needed.
Read Part 2 of my story here, talking about what happened after the hospital, Mom guilt and learning to deal with all those fun emotions. 😉