C’s Birth Story

C’s Birth Story

Mama: Jessica T.

Stats: 11 lbs, 3 oz

Type of Birth: C-section

Birth Location: Hospital

Primary Care: Obstetrician

At 39 weeks and six days pregnant, we were eager to meet baby C, and had been telling him many times a day for weeks, that we were ready to meet him if he decided it was time to come join us on the outside. 

I had been having Braxton-Hicks contractions for weeks, but nothing regular and nothing incredibly strong, so I was feeling discouraged and impatient… especially as the doctors were all saying that he would be a big baby and were suggesting we might need a cesarean section. They never insisted, but one went so far as to say, “It would be easier for everyone to just schedule a c-section, so if you change your mind, just give us a call.”

We had taken Bradley Method classes, and were aiming for a natural birth in the hospital. My mom had three kids at home using Bradley (one of which was a large baby, 10 lbs 13 oz), so I was confident we could do it. And we had chosen to have the baby in a hospital mostly because I didn’t want to even think about having to prepare for— or clean up after— a home birth.

We were getting ready for bed when my water broke around 11 p.m. on Thursday. Since we knew we had a long road ahead of us, we decided to try to get some sleep before going into the hospital. About ten minutes after lying down, the contractions got hard and pretty regular. A couple hours later when the contractions were about five to six minutes apart, I woke my husband up to let him know I needed help coaching through the contractions. This was all within our birth plan using the Bradley Method.

By 4 a.m. we had to make the decision to leave for the hospital or wait until after morning traffic. We live in greater Los Angeles, and with morning traffic it could take us upwards of two hours to get to the hospital, but without traffic, only about 25 to 35 minutes. With double peaking contractions about three to four minutes apart, we decided it was time to go.

My mom met us at the hospital at about 5:30 a.m. on Friday. She was to be my husband’s backup or assistant, or to run interference with the doctors/nurses if they were interrupting labor or suggesting things we didn’t want or have in our birth plan. In the pre-admittance monitoring room at the hospital, I had clear, strong contractions, about two to three minutes apart, but they were clustered in duplets or triplets, and I was only three centimeters dilated, 60% effaced, and at -3 station.

Due to my water being broken for a number of hours already, they did admit us and we got settled in a labor and delivery room around 8 a.m. Once we were settled, things started to slow down. We were allowed to move freely, and only had to be on the monitors for ten minutes each hour. But even with getting up and walking around, using the birthing ball, and trying several different positions, the contractions didn’t get closer together or stronger.

After my water had been broken for about 20 hours —at about dinner time on Friday (although I had lost track of what time of day or which day it was, even with a window and view)— the doctors checked my cervix again, and I was only at five centimeters dilated, 70% effaced, -3 station… where I would stay for the next 15 hours.

The doctors really wanted to get labor started again, or go for a c-section, as they wanted to avoid infection setting in from having my waters broken for so long. There was still plenty of fluid, baby C was not in distress and I was showing no sign of infection but contractions were only ten minutes apart and no longer so strong that I couldn’t handle most of them on my own. My mom and husband were able to take some short naps that afternoon and my mom had taken a walk and brought back some dinner. We had a very helpful nurse who didn’t interfere and let me eat my vegetable soup without protest.

After another eight hours of attempting to naturally stimulate labor (foot/heel pressure point massages, nipple stimulation, shoulder massage, moving, new positions, squatting, walking, etc.) we started Pitocin. This was at about 1 a.m. My mom bargained with the OB and the nurses and got them to start me on the lowest dosage and to increase it every 30 minutes instead of every ten minutes. It started working immediately, but didn’t get things really going for a couple hours after several increases. The dosage was increased until the contractions were two to three minutes apart and VERY strong, still with no pain meds per our birthing plan. This was really intense.

My sister came at some point in the night to bring my husband’s phone charger and she was SO helpful to me through this difficult part of labor. Her presence calmed me and helped me to focus; I was so focused that I describe it as almost an out-of-body experience. As a contraction would start, I would ask someone to push on my feet so that I didn’t point them and could relax my lower back and I would ‘go to another place’ to let my body do the work of preparing for birth.

I have very little recollection of the time from when Pitocin started and 6 a.m.— I do know that I was hot and a cold towel or some ice chips from my sister helped, but even the ice chips didn’t stay down when we were in this heavy stage of labor.

When they checked me again at 6 a.m. on Saturday, and I had made no progress despite five hours of HEAVY Pitocin labor, we decided it was finally time to agree to what the doctor’s had been suggesting from the beginning: baby was just too big to descend and be born naturally and we would need a c-section.

I had tolerated the contractions really well with the help of my husband, my mom and my sister for the past 30ish hours. But once we made the decision for the c-section, I lost it mentally and couldn’t manage the contractions. They had been intense before, but now that I was no longer committed to natural birth and ‘pushing through’ the sensations, they felt painful. The nurse immediately discontinued the Pitocin, but it didn’t stop the contractions, and even though they were much milder (per the monitor), I was no longer able to breathe through them. At 10 a.m. we were walked over to the operating room and I received an epidural.

At 10:48 a.m., Baby C was born. Because of the epidural I was SO SLEEPY that I could barely keep my eyes open.

Not quite what I had wished for my state to be when first meeting my son, but I think we made the right decision in the end.

We sure gave natural birth a good try and we were so happy to welcome him to our family.

As it turned out, the doctor’s were right. He WAS too big, weighing in at birth at 11 lbs 3 oz and with a 40 cm circumference head!

Guest Mama Jessica T. is a born and raised southern California native. Mother to C (no longer a baby, he’s 3.5 now!), and hoping for a 2nd, she is involved with her local Waldorf School where her son attends preschool and she works full-time outside the home. She claims to be a moderate “natural” or “attachment” parent, but thinks these are really just labels and don’t really define the way she has come to understand parenting, but they do inform and influence her parenting style.

One Response to C’s Birth Story

  1. Fantastic story, thank you for sharing!!!

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