I asked my amazing readers back at the end of March/ early April if they would be willing to share their precious birth stories with me. I so enjoy hearing about others' experiences and I just knew that I wanted to compile them in some way for others to enjoy as well. The response was so overwhelming of moms wanting to share their special stories with those who wanted to hear them and thus, the "May Birth Series" was born (see what I did there? hehe!). To kick off the "May Birth Series," Sarah tells the story of her sweet baby Tyler...
The birth of your first baby is a scary and magical moment. One that is slightly a blur, maybe because of the medicine or your bodies own endorphins that are released during childbirth. But in the end, it's a moment you would give anything to relive again. This is the story of that journey as it happened to me.
On Friday June 19th, 2015, the adventure to have Tyler began. We had family and friends over for dinner to celebrate the arrival of the baby (who was due on July 1st). Our guests left at 9 PM, and contractions started soon after. Not having any Braxton Hicks prior to this night, the contractions came quickly, seizing my body for thirty seconds at a time. By 11:30 PM, contractions were stronger and happening every 3 minutes. I was on the couch writhing in pain each time. My toes clenched tightly and hands gripping the couch in a death grip.
Over and over I questioned if we should head for the hospital. But my husband, having two children previously, said we needed to wait until we were absolutely sure this was the "real deal." So I continued to endure, each period of contractions intensifying. My step-daughter, who was 11 at the time, watched on in horror each time they came. Finally, it was her that said, "Dad, won't you please call the hospital?" Finally he gave in and called the hospital. They told us to come in, and to call 911 if the baby decided to come during the car ride.
After calling Grandma to come stay with the older children, we headed out in the night to the hospital. They admitted us and told us that we'd be having a baby today. It was scary and surreal to realize this moment had finally come. The nurses began hooking me up to machines. They asked if I wanted an epidural, to which I replied, "Of course! I'm not trying to win any awards." They gave me the epidural and then it was the long period of waiting. We waited, waited..for the time that Tyler would be ready to come out. At 4 AM we were still waiting and they were nervous because he was very low in the birth canal and breathing funny. A nurse had me wear oxygen so that it would help the baby breathe. I remember worrying that something would go wrong. I thought of the people I knew who had birthing complications and I prayed. Over and over, I prayed to God to make sure I delivered a healthy, happy baby. Luckily, the oxygen and a change of positions helped.
Then we found out Tyler's head was facing the wrong way (he was OP, whatever that means). So the nurses had to help me shift into a position where I was on my hands and knees (think doggie-style). A very humbling moment when the nurses had to help me into this position because I couldn't move my legs on my own. I laid uncomfortably like this for an hour in hopes that Baby Tyler would roll over.
They moved me back after awhile, and continued to monitor my condition. At about 9 AM they checked my cervix and I was 9 cm dilated. "You'll push in the next hour," they told me. Then there was a flurry of nurses coming in and out of the room, setting up for my delivery of Tyler. They came in and laid out all the instruments as I watched. My heart started to beat as I thought, with fear, about what was coming next. The part I'd been most afraid of, pushing! I was excited to meet my baby but petrified of pushing. Would it hurt? Would I endure?
I was never able to answer these questions. At 10:00 AM, the nurse did a final check and said, "oh honey, you're back to 4 cm. You're swelling shut. We are going to have to go to emergency c-section." Before I even had time to register, the tears began to flow. I was afraid of pushing, but even more afraid for this outcome. Thus, the instruments in front of me lay quietly as they geared me up for surgery.
The moments after were all a blur. My parents coming in .... more tears. Meeting the anesthesiologist... sitting up for morphine injections. Watching my husband suit-up in his gown, booties, and hairnet. Being transferred to a stretcher and wheeled to the operating room. Another transfer to the operating table... my legs and body so numb they don't even feel like my own. Finally being strapped down, Jesus-style, to the table, all the while being asked if I'm okay. It was like having an out-of-body experience.
Then began the surgery, another blur. They struggled to get Tyler out. He was stuck! I remember through the clouds of pain medicine, the urgency to get him out. "Get the forceps!" "Where are the forceps?" "Someone needs to go get forceps NOW and sterlize them." I remember the pushing, like someone was trying to pull out my belly button. "Amanda, you push from the other side." More movement, more pushing. It's cold and my teeth are chattering. "Are you okay? Why are you squinting?" they ask me. Because there's so much pulling and I'm tired.
They finally pull him out but I hear nothing. "Is he okay?" I wonder as I look to my husband for assurance. They quickly take Tyler to the corner of the operating room with their table waiting to test him. Finally, after much pushing and prodding, I hear that most precious sound... the first sound of baby wailing. I hear through the buzz of morphine that Tyler's chin was hyper-extended on my pubic bone. They had to push and use forceps to finally get him out. I heard the doctor tell my husband, "Amanda had her arm half-way up your wife's vagina."
It was a difficult delivery, yes. It was 14 hours I've never experienced before. But that moment that they placed him next to me made it all worth the while. Seeing his beautiful little face, I choked up. I had created this beautiful little miracle! Would I do it again? In a heartbeat!
About the Author: Sarah Peterson is the “Victory Mom” of her blended family. With 4 children, this teacher turned stay-at-home mom writes at Peterberries about life with four kids including: recipes, budgeting, parenting, and occasionally even struggles of the stepmom.