I have been hesitant to tell my birth story because I wanted to avoid processing for as long as possible. King is now 8 months old so maybe now I should give it a try. After being told that my eggs were old, in low supply and that my one fallopian tube was blocked; I miraculously conceived a child. That was easy! Now on to the hard part, where and how did I plan on delivering? I come from a family of light workers, my mother has always been what people now call “new age”. I just call her Mom. Natural child-birth seemed like the logical choice for me. A birth free of medications, and minimal interference was a no brainer for me. There was one hiccup, Papa bear. He is very accommodating and acquiesces to most of my non-traditional shenanigans but there was no way I was having a home birth on his watch.
A happy compromise for him was giving birth in a birthing center. So I began my research, there are limited choices in northern Virginia area. The Birthcare Center located in Alexandria Va., seemed like a feasible prospect. I attended an information session and had a couple of appointments. The benefits of this place were that my insurance covered the visits and possibly some of the birth experience which is an anomaly. They also have registered nurses as well as midwives on the facility. Insurance rarely covers any birth experience outside of a hospital. Birthing babies is big business! The disadvantages were the place was less than hygienic for my personal taste and the front desk people were trained at the personnel school for the snarky, unprofessional and unenthused. I was certain if I had to deal with one of them checking in for delivery; they would have been sufficiently cursed out! I don’t need to deal with people who will bring that out of me or maybe I need to exhibit more self-control. Either way Birthcare was nixed.
The second place we visited was Nova Birth Center located in Chantilly Va. I fell in love the minute I walked through the door. The facility is modern, with state of the art equipment. The information session was traumatic for Papa bear. They were talking about placenta encapsulation. Whoa, this is his first visit let’s not scare the poor man! We had options of different rooms we wanted to labor in and every room had a large birthing tub. A con of this facility was it cost $3200 to give birth there plus your prenatal visits. Insurance covered zip. If you had to be rushed to the nearest hospital you were not refunded. For me, none of the women being RNs was also a con. There was also the 45 minute commute to the facility. If you have disposable income and have given birth before with no complications, I highly recommend this place. We made a different choice, the traditional hospital route. The horror!
King stayed in my womb 5 days past his due date and I wanted to evict him. My doctor(s), it was a practice of rotating doctors which I loathe, scheduled me to be induced. I was on my way to the last supper before checking in to the hospital when my water broke. A little trickle, nothing major, I put on a sanitary napkin and went on my way. At the restaurant I went to the bathroom to change the napkin and the levies broke. Water forcefully escaped my body and flooded the bathroom stall. Oh my God! Then the mucus plug came crashing onto the floor. Oh my God! I’m standing in a public bathroom with pants around my ankles trying to clean the floor. OOOH –MY-FREAKING-GOD! I texted Papa Bear to tell him to pull the truck around front; I planned on running and jumping into it. Have you ever seen a fat, pregnant woman with soiled pants run? Trust me, you don’t want to. Sitting on a towel I leaked on Papa Bear’s new leather seats. Luckily, the hospital was around the corner. I pre-registered in hopes that I would be admitted quicker. No such luck. I stood in public leaking answering question that I had answered 12 times before. Then we went upstairs to labor and delivery only to answer the same questions again. “Is it possible for me to sit somewhere since I’m leaking and having contractions?” I asked.
Finally the nurse took pity on me and admitted me to my room. I refused the Pitocin and labored through the night. They did put a hep-lock in my arm and gave me fluids. I wasn’t dehydrated and I couldn’t move hooked up to all those machines. Sigh. Babies are big business! The doctor checked me, I was only 2 cm dilated. What? I’ve been at this for 6 hours now. Early the next morning I was checked and still only 2 cm. They promised the Pitocin would move things along. Well it did move the labor along but it also brought with it the most excruciating pain I have ever felt in my life. Each time I had a contraction I felt like bones were breaking. I finally yelled at Papa Bear “Do something!”
He assisted me with moving since I was hooked up to machines. Moving freely to get into a comfortable position was almost impossible. I did find some relief in standing and bending over while having a contraction. It became too much. My mother wasn’t there to Jedi mind trick me and I asked for the epidural. Well what did I do that for? They were in my spine for ages trying to get it right. Meanwhile, I was having contractions but I had to remain still so that I wouldn’t end up paralyzed. Ugh. I cried out for my mother it hurt so badly. Yes, 36 years old crying out for MY mother. This was almost worse than the contractions themselves. But I survived and quickly felt no pain. Laboring was easy now but I still wasn’t dilating. By this time I was on my third doctor rotation. King’s heart rate dropped. I turned on my side and went to sleep, my mother finally arrived. Around 10 AM the following day the doctor checked me, then the baby. His heart rate was still low and they wanted to operate. A c-section? Really? Wow. Everything I wanted to avoid was happening. I didn’t feel in control of my body, the decision making, or anything. Mom consulted a couple of her midwife friends, did some reiki/prayer on me and I was rolled into surgery.
Lucky thing they cut me open. The umbilical cord was wrapped around King’s neck three times. I have heard from other doctors, doulas, etc. that there still could have been a way to deliver him vaginally. But who really knows? We are all speculating here. King was delivered at 9lbs 3oz covered in meconium with full strong lungs. He was perfect. The nurse cleaning him kept commenting on how big his testicles were. I told her to shut up from the surgical table, gut wide opened, I had already transitioned into the lioness protecting my cub. Because of anesthesia I had to wait an hour to nurse and I wouldn’t allow them to feed him formula. King and I had skin to skin contact until it was ok to nurse then he latched on like a champ. Recovery was slow and I stayed in the hospital for four days.
My birth plan ended up simply being a writing exercise. Nothing went the way I planned. I think I suffer from post-traumatic stress due to my birth experience. No matter how messy the process the end result is pure bliss. I have a healthy baby boy who has deepened my capacity to love. And for this I am grateful.