A few weeks ago, when I was still very pregnant, a few people including my dr. asked me if I had a birth plan. For those that don’t know, a birth plan is essentially a guideline of what you’d like to happen during your birthing experience. With all of the modern medicine and technology, child birth can pretty much happen any way you like, of course at your dr’s discretion.

Well, my answer to the birth plan question was always, “I just want my baby to arrive healthy and happy.” I knew I more than likely wouldn’t be able to have the baby natural and without any pain meds. I also knew that I was pretty open to whatever procedure that would’ve been medically necessary. I trusted my dr. and knew he was capable of helping us with difficult decisions, should we be faced with any. Looking back now, I’m so thankful that we went into our induction and child birth experience with an open mind. In many ways, that open mind is what saved the day in many ways.

At about 8pm on September 27th, about 24 hours after arriving at the birthing suite, many hours of IVs and labor-inducing drugs, it was finally Go Time. It was time to have this baby! I remembered Jeff calling my parents who were burning a hole in our rug from all of their pacing and waiting. I vividly remember Maria, the head nurse cheering me on and telling me the “key” to a successful delivery was to concentrate on pushing the right way– like you have to go #2 really, really bad. Lovely.

I also remember looking at the clock and thinking, I hope Jack will be one of those babies who just pops out. haha. What a silly thought that was!

Once everyone was in place, the doc studied my monitors and told the whole crew that the first round would be practice. We were supposed to wait for my next contraction, which would occur precisely within 3 minutes. Waiting for that first crescendo of a contraction was the longest 3 minutes, ever. And then, there it was.
The doc counted to 10, instructed me to hold the count and push, the nurses held my legs and I kept my eyes shut, praying for this to all be over soon before my epidural wore off. I did what I was told, but I knew it wasn’t nearly enough. The first round, even though a it was a practice round, didn’t give me much hope. I couldn’t help but think about the epidural and how it was completely turned off. Then Maria the nurse reassured me that I did great, although I had to concentrate harder and push with even more force. I had to do it, I thought. I had to have this baby. We came this far, worked this hard and I wasn’t going to be pessimistic about the way it was going to all go down.

So, I pushed and pushed over and over. Every round got even more difficult, but after the first hour I knew I was making progress. In between the contractions, the nurses and Jeff would watch My Name is Earl and then The Office as I laid there, eyes completely closed. When it was almost time, the nurses, dr and Jeff would then stare at my monitors, waiting for the contractions. After awhile, I was able to tell them when it was about to begin. The start of the contraction was like the calmness of the beginning of a wave as it approached, just as it was about to break. It started subtle, reached a peak and when the height of the pain from the contraction and the effort from all the pushing met, progress was surely happening. But sadly, not enough progress was happening.

And then about 2 hours into the pushing regime, the doc got super serious and pretty much told us we had to make a decision. I was even more exhausted and downtrodden at that point. Jeff held my hand as the dr. spoke to us. Doc said, I could either try pushing a little more with the help of a vacuum or we could just go straight to a C-section. The doc told us the risks with both and said, the vacuum might help, but nothing was guaranteed, meaning it might not work and then I’d HAVE to have a C-section if it failed. With the C-section, we knew what the final outcome would be. I looked at Jeff, Jeff looked at me and very little words were said. He basically said that he supported me and knew whatever route I’d choose would be the best way. As much as I knew how difficult recovery would be, my first instinct was C-section. I knew the baby had to come out within minutes and I also knew my body was done. After all those drugs, contractions and pushing, I knew my limits.

As soon as I told the doc that I wanted to go the C-section route, the baby showed even more distress on the monitor, voices started to flare and wouldn’t you know it, my epidural ran out. So, not only was I completely terrified about the baby, this major abdominal surgery and the recovery, I was also in the most awful pain I’d ever felt in my life. It was a little after 10pm at this point. The dr. and nurses were putting on the surgery gear and wheeling tools into the OR. My eyes were still shut, but no longer out of fear and for complete concentration, I feared that if I opened them, my eyeballs would bulge out from all the pain and moaning I was feeling. For those next few minutes, while the nurses prepped me for surgery, I don’t remember much other than them transferring me to a gurney, giving me another catheter and telling me it’d be ok. I somewhat remember them directing Jeff what to do next. I also heard a nurse from a distance if they should tell my parents who were in the waiting room. I screamed at the nurse and begged her not to say anything until after the surgery. While I didn’t want to withhold important information from them, I didn’t want them to have heart attacks either!

All these quick decisions, piercing pain and major events happening all at once– it was almost too much. All my brain could absorb was the feeling of my uterus wanting to implode! And then it was time to be wheeled off to the OR. Jeff had to wait in the birthing suite until they came and got him. I remember Jeff kissing me and telling me he’d be there as soon as he could. I forgot I said this, but Jeff said right after he kissed me, all I could mumble back to him was, “it hurts. it hurts so bad.” And they wheeled me off.