My Emergency C-section

To say unprepared would be an understatement. I had just got my very first apartment with my then-boyfriend now-husband and we had an air mattress. I'm not kidding, (we also had some pots and pans from the thrift store but does that really count?) We were so proud of ourselves for our first place not only by ourselves but together, a one-bedroom apartment. I was thirty-two weeks pregnant. I was ready to slowly learn how to live with another person. It was exciting. We ate dinner on the floor of our living room together, until we were able to purchase sixty dollars at the salvation army. (The same table we have five years later.)

My daughter was breech and I had hope that maybe I would be able to flip her. (I wish I had known about mugwort and the moxibustion process I talk about here) I felt like everything I wanted out of my birth was slowly being taken away. I was unable to find a midwife, in the area I lived in no doctor would do water births and now my baby was breech. I wanted so much to have a beautiful natural birth experience and I was set up for absolutely none of that. It took me a couple of weeks to come to terms with the fact I would be having a section and this surgery could stick me in a position to only have c-sections. (I am pleased to say that it didn't) I felt that I needed to mourn my wants in order to accept the very real possibility that I would be going through this. I was terrified. C-sections have higher risks of most things. I also felt like my body failed my daughter. I was not able to successfully deliver a baby and may never be able to.

At my thirty-six-week appointment, there was an issue. The doctor was not able to find my baby's heartbeat with the doppler. I could see the worry on his face and I started to get scared. The doctor rushed out of the room to get an ultrasound machine. Unfortunately, the heartbeat on there was slow and faint. I was terrified. My doctor looked worried and told me he needed me to go to the hospital immediately. I, of course, started crying. He assured me that he was going to do everything he could to make sure my baby was going to be okay.

After I got to the hospital, my doctor arrived shortly after, the nurses got me hooked up to the fetal monitor and the baby was fine. I stayed for about an hour being monitored and everything was fine. Just to be safe the doctor wanted me to come back weekly for non-stress tests to check on the baby. I went home shaken up but ultimately relieved.

The next week I went into my non-stress test ready to go and then leave. My boyfriend was at work, I was ready to get home. But that was not going to happen. Very shortly after I was hooked up to the monitor my baby's heart rate started to drop again.

The next few moments were scary. Nurses started rushing into the area I was in and one let me know what was happening while another started putting an iv In. I didn’t understand what was happening until a nurse looked at me and said “you are not leaving without a baby.” that is when I called my mom, who is three hours away. She dropped everything and rushed over to me. I called my mother in law who was two hours away and then finally my husband who was about 15 min away.

I was taken back and set up in a room waiting for my surgery. Eventually, my boyfriend and then my mom arrived at the hospital and stayed with me. We waited. I was terrified. Then they came in to bring me for my surgery and they wheeled me into the operating room. There I received my medication and they got everything set up. My boyfriend was brought in to be with me during the surgery, and honestly, from how he described it to me I am surprised that he didn't pass out.

A c-section is an interesting thing because you do not feel pain but you do feel what they are doing to you. My doctor, whom I love, was very kind and he always let me know what was happening and what he was going to do to me before he did it. He let me know that I was going to feel her come out. It was the weirdest feeling ever. I felt a nurse push down on the top of my stomach and I felt my daughter come out.

After the doctor took her out, he let me know he was delaying the cord-cutting. I had explained to him what I wanted out of my birth and he knew most if not all would not be happening, he made sure I knew that he was doing this one thing for me.

The hard part about the c-section is not the beginning, it's not when they take out the baby, it's the end. After the baby was out I told my boyfriend to follow her and I was there open, guts out, on a table and impatient. I started to freak out. All I wanted was to hold my baby and she was somewhere else in a room and I was here. All of the emotions hit me and in my distress, I tried pulling at the sheet keeping me from seeing my opened-up body. I was "threatened" or "warned" by the anesthesiologist that I would be put out if I didn't stop. It felt like the longest most drawn-out thirty minutes of my life. I just wanted to be done and with my baby.

After the longest thirty minutes of my life, I was taken to the recovery room and finally with my baby where she had her first meal. Breastfeeding seemed to be really difficult for us, and instead of help or support, I was just given a nipple shield. (This became an issue later on)

I was taken into the postpartum room after about two hours and that's when I started to get the feeling back in my body and I got sick. I started throwing up. Throwing up after major abdominal surgery feels like your body is being torn open. It was torture. It took about six hours for me to stop throwing up.

Over the next three days I struggled with breastfeeding, attempting to get off the nipple shield and it didn't work. I was discouraged and eventually just stuck with it. Because of my daughter's low blood sugar and sleepiness from being premature and the drugs, I hand expressed colostrum with a syringe and supplemented with it.

My experience with my c-section was the most traumatic birth I have experienced. My daughter ended up being fine. There were no heart problems or decels after she was born. She is now almost five years old, incredibly smart, and very mathematically minded like her dad.

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