A Cesarean Birth: Sage’s Birth Story
Before going into labor, I had intended to labor at home as long as possible and aimed to give birth without an epidural. However, when my water broke the day before my due date (Saturday), it had meconium in it, which meant the midwives wanted me to go to the hospital within four hours. When I got to the hospital, I was having contractions that were not painful, and I was not dialated at all. They put me on Cytotec to try to soften my cervix. I went to sleep and the next morning, they put me on Pitocin.
Throughout the next day (Sunday), the contractions came more regularly and more painfully, but they were manageable. The midwives did periodic cervical checks, used a Foley Blub and manually tried to get my cervix to expand, but I was still only 2 cm dilated. The nurses upped the Pitocin every few hours, and as they did that, the contractions became more painful and closer together. By midnight, the contractions were extremely painful with almost no break in between. A couple of times after they increased the Pitocin, Sage’s heart rate dropped, and nurses rushed in to put me on oxygen which brought it back up to normal. By 3 am the contractions were excruciating and coming back to back. I was crying hard and loud. I was anxious and exhausted. At that point, I asked for an epidural. It was magical.
By noon on Monday, I was only 4cm dialated. The midwife said a cesarean was probably in my future. The supervising OB came in and said the same thing. They wanted me to be at 6 cm to consider a vaginal birth because after 48 hours they worried about infection. My husband and I had decided that we would go ahead with the cesarean if I was below 5cm the next time they checked. If I was at 5cm, we hoped to advocate for a vaginal birth. When they checked again three hours later, I was still at 4 cm.
Once the cesarean was decided, everyone went into action. Thirty minutes later, I was in the operating room. At one point, I felt a lot of pressure on my upper abdomen, and Sage came out crying loudly. It was so beautiful. I got to see her right away. They rolled me into the post-op room, and I got to hold her. Our doula helped her latch. I held her and whispered to her while they rolled us to the recovery room.
Even though I wanted a birth with little intervention and ended up with the complete opposite, I am grateful to live in a time and place where a cesarean was available when I needed it. I was not expecting to feel this way AT ALL. I thought we were going to have to advocate for our preferences at every turn, but the nurses and midwives were patient and supportive. It was the most vulnerable, raw and amazing experience of my life.