I woke up Tuesday morning, September 4th, at around 3:30am and had a contraction, it hurt a little more than the Braxton Hicks contractions I had been having for weeks before. I got comfortable and then another one came, then another, and another. I stared at the clock across the room and watched for the next 45minutes and tracked my contractions that were happening every 5 minutes. This was the first time I had tractable contractions and I remember getting a little flutter in my stomach that it was happening. My OB clinic didn’t open until 8am; I was remembering this at 4am. I woke Shane up and told him I was having contractions for the last hour every 5 minutes. I tossed and turned and went pee a bunch. In the back of my head I knew it was happening and was a little scared. When I did go pee there was light pink blood too. Something had to be happening.
By 9am I was ready to go see Megan my Midwife to see if I was dilated. We called the clinic and they told us to come in. We grabbed all the things that I had ready at the top of the staircase for me and Rad and Dad, the nursing pillow, the diaper bag, my over night bag, and the car seat. We waddled to the car; Shane had all our stuff, and scurried to lock the door behind us.
We got to the clinic and when we got to our room it was probably 9:45am and we were waiting for our Midwife. She came in at asked me questions about the distance between my contractions and wanted to check my dilation. I was only a one! I couldn’t believe it; my contractions were getting so intense. She told me that she expected baby to be here by 5pm tonight. When we pulled her hand out from checking me, lots of blood came out, this was something Shane wasn’t ready for. I had never seen him that shade of whitish green before. He was ready to pass out! Megan gave us the option to go home and relax, take a bath, walk off the contractions and to come back when I cant handle it anymore. We decided to go home. She left the room and Shane had to sit down to regain his unstable stomach. We laughed so hard in between my contractions at the fact that he got so sick.
When we got home I took a bath and it seemed to help my sore back and the contractions seemed less intense. Shane sat with me in the bathroom. I thought that I had lost my mucus plug probably a week before but then I actually lost it, which scared me, it looked like a big blood clot. Before I could even finish the sentence, “oh my god what is…!”? Shane grabbed it out of the tub and threw it away; he could obviously see I was freaked out. I laid down in the tub and the contractions seemed to space out a bit. I got out of the tub and got dressed to lie down in bed. I wasn’t there long; my contractions were coming back strong again. I walked the hallway, put my face on the bed, sat in my big chair…nothing was really helping. It was 12:30pm and the clinic opened back up at 1:30.
The contractions were getting bad. We decided by 1:30 that we were going to go to the hospital to get checked in. We made it inside and I said I didn’t need a wheel chair but I didn’t make it too much further and Shane ran to get the nurse and she brought one. We got set up in our room, which was very big. Our nurse was Farah, she ended up being our favorite nurse, and she felt like family. She checked my dilatation and I was only between a 1 and 2, which was shocking because I was in so much pain. Like so much.
They wanted to give me some pain medicine through my IV and we decided that we would try it, even though I didn’t want to have any medication, I was in so much pain at only a 2 that there was no way I would last with out it. They gave me the drug and I immediately got cross-eyed and felt loopy but so much more relaxed. By 3 O’clock my contractions had kind of disappeared, everything stopped.
My Midwife was called in and she checked me and I was still only a 2, she said that the drug could do one of two things, either speed things along or stop things. For me, things stopped. My midwife told me I could go home and come back when things have progressed more naturally. I was super frustrated. Shane was super positive and was trying to help me stay positive. Because I was only 38 weeks the Dr wasn’t technically allowed to help me move my labor along unless there was a problem. I got changed back into my regular clothes. My nurse Farah came back in to tell us that we weren’t being released. She talked to Megan again and because I was still bleeding that they wanted me to stay and walk the hallways and get on the ball to see if I could get things started again.
Shane helped me change back into my gown and we started walking the hallways of the hospital. My nurse told me to walk like I meant it, so I was power walking through the halls. The nurses were smiling at us telling Shane to keep up with me. I was so determined to have this baby. My contractions got to about 2 minutes apart, and they were super intense. I was stopping every 2-3 minutes to brace myself on the wall to breathe through my contractions. Shane was my hero the whole day, I always knew that if for whatever reason he had to care for me he would but I didn’t think I would see that until later in our life. I got to see that side of him much earlier because I totally underestimated how difficult my labor would be and how caring and protective he would get over me in the hospital. There was many times during all the drugs I was given that I was “out of it” and that’s when Shane would kick in to Daddy mode and check and double check everything I was given, make sure nurses were moving my body in the most gentle way, he would even help the nurses move me or he would change my lady diaper or pad…yes babes, you will all be rocking the adult sized diapers during labor and for weeks after…and you will love it. Anyways back to the walking and contracting…they got so intense, to the point I couldn’t walk anymore. Shane helped me back to our room and I got on the ball. That’s when things got real. I was growling and grunting like a mad mama bear. Shane rubbed my back and reminded me to breathe because through all the pain I was definitely forgetting that I needed air.
By 6:30pm I had not progressed in dilation, we were thinking baby wasn’t coming today. My nurse’s shift ended at 7 and I really didn’t want her to leave. She felt like family for some reason and I wasn’t ready to have someone else take care of me.
It was so strange that I wasn’t dilating because my contractions were so intense. I was in so much pain, my body was so tired, and my legs were shaking. I must have been making quite a bit of noise during my contractions because a new nurse came in with pain medicine and reached for my IV and Shane kicked into protective mode asking her what she was doing and who authorized the medicine. She said I was due for medication. The last time I got medicine my contractions stopped. I wanted to see Farah, Shane found her. I asked Farah if she was leaving. The tone in my voice must have said more than my words. She replied with a, “no, I have to see this baby come into the world”. Farah staying was such a relief for me. We didn’t have any family here with us so for my stay in the hospital she felt like family. She contacted my midwife and no one had authorized the medicine. I ended up getting medicine soon after because of the pain I was in.
Next thing I knew Farah was telling me they were calling in the anesthesiologist to give me an epidural because they were going to break my water at 10 when my Midwife came back. I was so excited but so nervous. I just looked at Shane for reassurance that this was all ok. He just smiled at me and I felt like it was just what we had to do. I had an IV in already and they started me on more medication to ease some of the pain. It eased some of the contractions so I wasn’t in so much pain. By the time the anesthesiologist was there I was only dilated to a 3 and my medication was all worn off. They were telling us about how the epidural was going to go and what it would feel like. I was in a lot pain. My contractions were strong. The anesthesiologist was questioning why I was getting the epidural so early…he must not have known by the time he was seeing me I had already been in labor for some 19 hours and was OVER IT. Plus if he was considering not giving me the needle then he probably should have discussed that before he entered my room and I was promised drugs ha-ha. He continued with giving me one. They had me hunched over so my spine looked like a cat. I had nurses around me and Shane was in front of me. The nurses were talking and the anesthesiologist was making jokes and telling stories about a bird he had named Jesse. THIS WAS NOT THE TIME DUDE! Neither I nor Shane were amused by his bird story and Shane was getting quiet pissed about the fact that he was taking his sweet time while I was in the worst pain. He continued to say out loud that, “oh my god this is the tiniest spine I’ve ever had to do…which wasn’t exactly what you want to hear when you are naked, hunched over with your tiny spine about to stabbed and then a tube shoved down your spinal column. Shane was making all the comments under his breathe, but not completely silent about how he was feeling lol.
They were going to put a needle in my spine so it was super important that I didn’t move…so you would think they would use the time between contractions to stick you…I don’t know what the reason was but I didn’t get stuck in-between contractions…he stuck me during a contraction and I had to hold perfectly still… and I did, like a bosssss. The pain wasn’t like what I expected, they numb the area with a small needle, which hurts cause it goes into your spine, which is a super weird feeling but when you have been in labor for some 20 hours, the pain is nothing. Then they hit you with the big needle and then thread the tube down and then remove the needle. It feels super cold and icy uncomfortable for like 10 seconds and then you feel just relief. It was nice. The pain and strain from bracing every 5 to 2 minutes with the contractions for so long was so exhausting and painful.
I laid down and the magic juice worked its ways to my legs, which were immobile now, so the next thing that happened was a catheter, another first for me. Sometime between my epidural and 10pm I was developing an infection, probably from my dilation being checked so many times. When my midwife came in at 10pm I was feeling better from the epidural. They broke my water, something else I didn’t want to do but I was pretty go with the flow at this point. My midwife told me she wanted to see if I progressed in dilatation anymore from getting my water broken. I was also given Pitocin to help dilate me. I was only given a small amount because I didn’t want any more medication. I was getting used things not going my way. I expected to just sneeze and the baby comes flying out but it just wasn’t working out that way.
By 12 my nurse came in and told me that she was sleeping at the hospital to stay with me and she would be back at 2am.
I was one two antibiotics alternating and Tylenol and to keep down the fever I was developing. I was at 102 F, which was raising the baby’s heart rate. I was not feeling good. I was freezing one minute and sweating the next. My husband never left my side and was constantly giving me water, putting on and taking off my socks and blankets. I have never felt more helpless in my life and it was only about to be worse.
My nurse returned at 2am and checked me, told me I was about 7cm dilated. I was very happy but I still had my fever. She called my nurse and she was coming at 4am to see my progress.
When she came in she decided that I was not dilating as much as I should have by now and my cervix was stuck around the baby’s skull. It wasn’t peeling back. Her and nurses watched my contractions and baby’s heart rate and it wasn’t looking good. She sat on the end of my bed and said the words I was not prepared for. Something that NEVER crossed my mind. She told me with tears in her eyes that I was going to probably have a C-section. That my placenta was failing my baby. She said that if my cervix was peeling back more that she would probably be comfortable with letting me push but that I had already been in labor for 24 hours and that Radley’s heart rate was over 185 and my fever that it wasn’t safe to wait anymore. I. Was. Crushed. I felt like I had failed, I felt like my body had failed me, I felt like I forced this by walking the hallways and getting all the medications. With tears in my eyes I looked at Shane who was next to me holding my hand and I guess I was looking for reassurance that all of this was ok. I was so scared. I’ve never had surgery, never had anesthesia, and this was the furthest thing I thought would happen to me. I thought that if anyone could have a baby naturally it would be me. And literally my “birth plan” that was in my head just went right out the window, every part of it. If I have one piece of advice for mamas, it would be, just be open. Go in to labor and delivery knowing and accepting that anything can happen, anything can go wrong and the most important thing is that your baby comes out healthy. Shane knew I was terrified but he kept a strong front, which is what I needed.
My midwife was so sad. She called in the emergency doctor and we waited for him and his team to arrive. She told me that she felt like I should have been the one to have this baby naturally and reassured me that I hadn’t “made” anything happen that wasn’t already happening. She comforted me like family would have.
The emergency Dr arrived around 5 and checked my dilation. They sat my bed up a little and he asked me to push. I was a little confused at how he wanted me to push. I had no energy and couldn’t push. I was so sad. He decided that I going to need an emergency C-section. They called the OR team and prepped my room. The Dr., nurses and midwife left my room. Left me and Shane to think about what was happening. He told me that this was what needed to happen to get the baby out and that tons of girls have C-sections and that it was ok. I just sat with that and tried to process it. 5:30 came around and the team came in and was getting me tagged up and told me to take off all my jewelry. I felt numb, not only from the epidural but mentally numb. I was so disappointed in my body. I kissed Shane goodbye and they rolled me away. They moved me into the OR room, just like the ones on Grey’s Anatomy. They picked up my body and put me on the table, strapped my arms down to two tables beside me, and put up a huge blue curtain right at my neck. Jack my anesthesiologist sat at my head and shot up some medicine that made me feel very cold and super super numb. He reminded me about exciting it was that I was going to be a mama in just 15 minutes. I smiled. I heard Shane’s voice, I looked over and he was in full Dr.’s outfit. They asked me if I could “feel this” and started cutting and Shane with a nervous voice asked quickly, “babe can you feel that?” and I replied, kind of feeling out of it, “no not at all”. Radley was so stuck in my canal that they were going to try to push her back up, they were jerking my body around so much and then there was a huge release of pressure and then all you heard was a room full of screaming. I frantically started looking back and forth trying to get a peak at her. The Dr.s kept saying, “oh look at how alert she is”, Jack pulled the left curtain over a little bit so I could see her. All I could see was flailing limbs in this little silver dish. Shane just said oh babe she has so much hair. Radley was screaming and they wrapped her up and brought her to my face.
Radley Haze born at 6:10am weighing 6lbs 10oz and 19inches long. It was all real now. Everything. She was everything. My heart lived outside my body now. The moment her faced touched mine, she stopped crying and I started. She was sucking on my nose and I was kissing her sweet face. I wanted to absorb her. As weird as that sounds, you will feel the same way or if you are a mama already then you know what I’m talking about.
A couple minutes went by and they handed Rad to Shane and they left the OR room to go back to our room. Shane and I had already talked about what we would do incase of an emergency and something was happening to me or the baby that he was to follow the baby wherever they took her, no matter what. So they sewed me up, took out my epidural and I went to recovery. They told me I couldn’t go back to my room until I could move both feet. I tried so hard to move them and they wouldn’t budge. I laid there on the bed and the two nurses talked amongst themselves waiting for me to wiggle my toes. It was the longest 30 minutes of my life.
When I could finally move my toes they wheeled me back to the room and Shane put the baby on my chest under my gown. Shane and I had tears in our eyes that we were together again and plus one more. Shane told me that he was so scared for me to have the surgery and that he wished it was him because he knows I hate to take medicine or drugs and I had just been pumped with drugs for the last 48 hours non stop. He was scared to lose me he was just stressed out and I could see it now. I love him so much more after going through all this together. He is my rock, my protector and had never felt so lucky to have him. He said and did everything right. I would say I am a pretty private person and having so many people take care of me was hard. Changing my bed pads and getting a catheter and just all around being exposed and having no control over my bodily functions was hard for me. He made me feel so comfortable. I wouldn’t want anyone else watching over me and making sure everything went as right as it could. He was my hero and I know that no matter what ever happens to me that he will be there.
Anyways! I had to stay flat for some 6 hours after surgery and then I could start to sit up with my bed one inch at a time. They also told me I couldn’t nurse her. I was thinking in my head, of course I cant, nothing so far had gone my way. They told me they gave me a drug during surgery and I couldn’t nurse for 4 hours. On top of all of that, since my feeling was coming back to me pretty quickly, I was feeling an extreme burning sensation ‘down there’ like I had given birth naturally or something. I mentioned to the nurses and told them I was on fire and I didn’t know if it was normal. They asked me if I was allergic to latex and apparently I was. So without any anesthesia or numbing they removed the latex catheter and replaced it with a non-latex one. Well now at least I know I’m allergic to latex. I was so swollen down there I can’t even explain to y’all. It was like I had given birth naturally. It was not pleasant.
So I laid there for hours before I could feed her and then feeding her was a struggle because I couldn’t move my body at all, I was in so much pain. Like I had been run over by a truck and whip stitched back together. Any movement at all was literally gut wrenching. Probably because I had had 26 hours of labor before having the surgery it was just so much worse.
The Dr came in and told me I couldn’t have solid food until I passed gas, to insure my body was working properly. The thought of going to the bathroom was so scary at this point, pushing at all, all I could imagine was splitting open at my belly. So I was restricted to a liquid diet.
My legs were numb, they felt like the Jell-O that the Drs wanted me to eat, full of fluid and just puffy. My belly was puffy. I had been poked and stabbed probably 6 times because my blood was clotting up at the IV. I was inching my way up in the bed hour by hour and constantly asking Shane to readjust my body. He was the only one very careful with moving me. He didn’t even let a couple of the nurses move me because he thought they weren’t strong enough or careful enough. I was still on antibiotics every hour and pain medicine because my fever kept coming back.
The hardest thing for me was watching Shane do everything for our baby. I could see the stress in his eyes about handling a newborn and dealing with me coming out of surgery. But he did so well. It was hard for me because I didn’t get to change her diapers, or give her a bath or take all the sweet pictures I had imagined. I couldn’t even move my body or pick her up to nurse her since I was flat and in so much pain. Every time she cried or needed to be nursed, I had to hand her off to Shane. I struggled with that. Shane even mentioned to me that he felt like I wasn’t connecting 100%. That was enough for me to hear, I told myself to snap out of it, I had too. I had made it already, I was safe and Rad was safe, and Shane kept reminding me that I would feel better.
The nurses told me I had to walk around by tomorrow and take a shower. That was terrifying! I was still battling my fever and swollen everything.
Tomorrow rolled around and I was juiced up on medication and I was determined to get up out of bed. Let me tell you guys, a C-section is no joke, you will get out of bed and feel like the oldest lady there ever was. Literally 90 years old. But after you get up once you will feel stronger. You aren’t going to split open, even though that’s what you feel like. The nurse removed my catheter and I struggled, I was so scared to move and it was so, so painful. But Shane and the nurses helped me sit up and move my legs to the side of my bed and I reached with my toes to ground and I stood. I walked very, very slowly to the bathroom for the first time and it hurt to pee, it hurt my belly. I had no control of how fast my pee came out. My core muscles had been cut in half and it was the strangest feeling to be so weak. Also strange to being wearing diapers myself too, which oddly enough I only wanted Shane to change for me.
A few hours later I got to take a shower and it was a slow process. I felt like a new person after a shower and getting to brush my teeth. I got changed into my shorts and t-shirt and I really was feeling like a million bucks. I got to feed Rad and change her into her cutie outfit I brought for her.
I battled the fever for a few more days and the pain from having to turn over and adjust myself in bed. They wouldn’t let me go home until I could get out of bed by myself with no help. It was really hard but I did it. Shane took everything to the car and we tried to figure out the car seat for the baby. We got everything set and got her in the car all buckled in and we finally left the hospital, Saturday evening to go start our fourth trimester and the rest of our lives.
This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. The most painful physically and mentally. But I’d do it all over a million times the same way to get to her. My baby. The whole thing was a fight. You have to fight to hang on and stay strong. Mamas, you will leave stronger than you could ever imagine.
Jesse Truelove, XX