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After giving birth the old-fashioned way to two bouncing baby boys, I assumed I’d be able to deliver any future babies the same as the previous two. However, every birthing experience is different, so it’s best to be prepared for more than just the traditional delivery.
Mama and Baby Were Doing Just Fine
I attended all of my scheduled appointments and was always met with the same news: The baby was healthy, and we were both doing just fine.
My two previous pregnancies both went to 41 weeks gestation and required scheduled inductions, so I was preparing for what I thought would be the long haul. I honestly don’t recall my initial due date, but I do remember that everything was on track and according to schedule.
Do Not Go Home
Nearing home base with my pregnancy, my two sons and I headed to what would end up being my last prenatal appointment.
Feeling like a typical woman in her ninth month of pregnancy, I sauntered into the exam room and assumed the usual sonogram position. The technician performed the exam and then excused herself from the room. She soon returned with one of the perinatal specialists. They both peered at the screen and took more images. They left the room and then quickly returned to inform me that they were concerned about the reading from today’s exam.
The doctor insisted I go directly to the hospital. I suppose she could see the apprehension on my face because she reiterated, “Do not go home!” I became infuriated and remember thinking I had other things to do and having a baby that day was not one of them.
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We’re Having a Baby Today
Upon arriving at labor and delivery, I was hurried into a room and hooked to machines to monitor the my vitals as well as my daughter’s.
Once my family arrived the doctor informed us that the reason for the emergency admittance was due to my baby’s low heart rate. She said my labor would be induced and I would be given some medications to get the ball rolling. Needless to say the ball truly rolled, as my body reacted adversely to the medications. I became cold and my teeth began to chatter as I watched my heart rate and blood pressure readings drop on the monitor. I was quickly brought back to the land of the living with a medication reversal, to which my doctor said “looks like we’re having a baby today!”
Let’s Do It
I was given an epidural, and my husband was prepped for my emergency C-section as if he were part of the surgical team. I had never had surgery before and was quite taken aback by how cold the operating room seemed.
I was terrified but was assured by the anesthesiologist that I would be well taken care of. I felt helpless under the big lights as I was transferred to the operating table.
My husband was soon by my side, and my doctor and her team arrived in the room. I remember thinking I never want to do this again. I asked my doctor “Can you please tie my tubes?” She explained to me that she couldn’t because we hadn’t previously discussed it, nor had I signed any consent forms.
She explained I might feel some pressure but no pain. The anesthesiologist promised to take care of me, and had given me a pretty hefty dose of meds to the point where I had no idea that the surgery had even begun. I could hear my doctor speaking quietly to her staff, and was able to recognize some of the medical terminology being used. She also alerted my husband and I as to the various steps of the procedure. The time seemed much longer to me, but apparently within minutes my daughter was up and out of her warm cozy environment.
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I heard my doctor say “cord times one,” meaning that the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck one time. This had been the cause of her low heart rate and the need for an emergency C-section.
I was allowed to give her a kiss and hold her for a moment before she was taken to the awaiting incubator. She was slightly jaundiced but was a healthy seven pounds, seven-and-a-half ounces.
Slow and Steady Was the Pace
I recovered with a self-administered morphine drip, while my daughter basked with nothing more than a pair of cool-looking sunglasses under the blue lights of her phototherapy sessions (an ultraviolet light therapy used to treat jaundice).
We were scheduled to be discharged and to my surprise (if memory serves me right), I was informed that my staples would be removed prior to being released. Every time I tell this part of the story I’m met with gasps from other women, who can’t believe their ears. However, once home my recovery was slow and steady.
If I had taken into consideration the possibility of other delivery methods, such as a C-section, I’m sure I would’ve been more prepared. Although no one wants to think about all of the different ways to give birth, it’s important to consider. In hindsight, I wish I was more prepared for the surgery and recovery.