In honor of Cesarean Awareness Month, we are featuring some great birth experiences from moms who ended up having a cesarean for different reasons and moms who have had vaginal births after a cesarean.
These are Crystal’s Cesarean Birth Stories.
Caleb’s birth: August 2010
We get to the hospital the afternoon of August 25 for our scheduled induction and they hooked me up to the monitors. I was already having contractions about every 3-4 minutes but nothing painful. Pretty soon they started the pitocin, the contractions got a little more uncomfortable but nothing too bad. At about 3:15 that morning, I got up to use the restroom when my water broke! One giant gush. After that the contractions got a lot more uncomfortable and I made it until 6 before getting the epidural (I knew I wanted it!) The epidural was AMAZING. So awesome 🙂 🙂 I couldn’t feel ANYTHING until around 11:45 when I started getting uncomfortable again. Turns out I was at about 9.5 cm–I was at a 3 when my water broke at 3:15 am so I’d say things went quick after that. I started pushing an hour later–they wanted to let me “Labor Down” to see if he would get in place and to help pushing go easier.
I pushed from 12:45-2:45 when they decided that it had been long enough. They said I was a great pusher, but he was completely STUCK. At this point I was so exhausted that I was pretty much like “yeah, whatever… C-section… Ok” No fight or anything even though I was ADAMANT that I had wanted to avoid a c-section. I think I was just so exhausted that I didn’t care. Off to surgery we went. And he was STUCK. One person tried to push his head back up and another was pushing so hard on my ribs I thought they were going to break them. It felt like it took an eternity, but they finally got him out, then it was another eternity while they cleaned him up before I got to see him for 30 seconds and they whisked him away. Turns out his first apgar was only a 2 or a 3 and so they needed to take him and help him. He recovered and his second apgar was a 9.
I ended up having major hemorrhaging–they said was partially attributed to the suction that had developed during pushing and also because he was too big for my body. They “threw everything they could think of” at me and I still wouldn’t “clamp down” (to explain it as the doc did.) I ended up getting 4 units of blood because the bleeding was so bad and they had to put a Bakri balloon in my uterus to try and control the bleeding. Apparently this is very rare and all of the nurses were interested in this procedure. They later told me that if the balloon didn’t do it’s job, it was back to surgery for me with worse case scenario resulting in a hysterectomy.
My recovery from this c-section took a long time, which is not a big surprise considering that it was a pretty bad c-section. Caleb recovered from his first apgar and will be 6 this year!
So Elijah’s birth was so much better than Caleb’s! I had to get to the hospital between 5:30-6:00 am. I’m pretty sure I didn’t sleep more than an hour the night before just because I was so nervous about the c-section. I was really worried that I was going to feel it (again) and they would have to put me under. We arrived at the hospital and got checked in pretty quickly. They had me change into a gown and Josh and I just waited in my room for something to happen. Pretty soon the nurses (there were 3 of them that morning and no other patients so they were all helping me out! Plus they knew I was high-risk) came in and started having me fill out the final paperwork and getting me prepped. They put an IV in each hand (normally you just get one but I had to have an extra one in case I needed blood) and then we waited for the doctors to arrive. At this point various team members for the surgery started coming in an introducing themselves to me, but I don’t remember exactly who all came in!
My surgery was scheduled for 7:30 am but ended up being late. Of course we had some light snow this morning and all of the roads were really slick so the doctors were late! To kill some time, one of the nurses was explaining the procedure for me and when she started talking about the spinal I had a little meltdown. This is also when I found out that they don’t keep Kleenex in the hospital rooms, you have to ask for it!!!
Finally my doctor made it to the hospital, we found the 2nd doctor, and the anesthesiologist came in and started talking to me and explaining the procedure in terms of what she would be doing. They had me walk down to the operating room and asked Josh to wait outside until they had me prepped. I walked in and they had me get up on the table and immediately started prepping for the spinal. I thought I would break down again, but surprisingly I didn’t! The doctor gave me that initial numbing shot and had me “slouch over my baby” to get the spinal in. It took a long time–a lot longer than I thought it would! She said it’s pretty difficult to find the exact spot because they have a very small window to work in and it has to be exact. I had this weird tingly sensation every so often when I think she would hit a nerve…it would make my hips tingle/feel bruised. Very difficult to describe! After probably 10-15 minutes she got the spinal in and they had me lie down (assisted me is more like it.) I could feel my feet and legs getting VERY heavy and eventually couldn’t feel them at all!!!!!! The nurses did their final prep (catheter, I don’t know what else) and then the doctors came in and got started. The anesthesiologist actually tested me this time and we KNEW I was numb–it was awesome! I didn’t feel a thing!!!!!!
I felt like the surgery went quick once they started. It was maybe 10 minutes or so (I think…I’m not entirely sure when they started cutting) before I felt TONS of pressure and then my doctor said “He’s peeing on me!” After that I heard the other doctor say “That is a BIG BOY!!!!!” and a few seconds later they lowered the drape so I could see him!!!! He was so beautiful, of course I teared up–I think I was relieved it was going so well and overjoyed with my new son. They took Elijah to the room adjacent to us (the door was open) and I could hear him crying while they cleaned him up and weighed him. He had LUNGS!! Caleb didn’t cry at all, but then again his first APGAR was a 3 and Elijah was 9 and 9 (I think…it might have been 8 and 9.) Josh went with while they cleaned him up and they were letting Josh come in to announce just how big he was, so it felt like a LONG time while they were away! I had guessed 9 lbs 4 oz when I saw him and Josh came back and said 9lb 2 oz and 22″!! My doctor made the comment that he would have been 9.4 if he hadn’t peed twice before they weighed him 🙂
After they had him cleaned up and wrapped in a blanket, Josh and Elijah were able to sit next to me for the duration of the surgery! It was soooo awesome and exactly what I wanted 🙂 We admired our new baby while the doctors finished sewing me up. They finished…we took a couple pictures in the operating room with my doctor, and then they put Elijah in my arms and wheeled us down the hall back to my room where we did recovery for an hour (basically, the nurses stayed in the room with me–it was the same L&D room we started in!)
While we were in recovery, I was able to start nursing Elijah! We actually unwrapped him and did skin-to-skin and let him do the newborn baby crawl to my breast. It was SOOO cool to watch him slowly making his way over! One of the nurses got a little handsy and came over and moved him…I don’t think she understood that I was watching him make his own way over (and he wasn’t upset about it, just going slow) so we latched at that point and they covered us with some blankets. The whole thing was awesome! I think we made it back to the room around 10am or so (Eli was born at 8:50am) and did “recovery” until about 11.
We wanted Caleb to be the first one to see him so eventually we called my parents (they were watching him) and said they could bring him up. They were out eating lunch and it took them probably another hour before they arrived. Caleb was so good! I could tell he was intimidated by the hospital setting, but it was amazing to watch him come in and give his new brother a kiss. He seemed to “get it” too–that this was the same Elijah who was living in my belly. We had told him that we were going to the hospital and Elijah was going to come out of mommy’s tummy and come home with us. I think he understood! Caleb gave Eli a blanket and a security animal and Elijah gave Caleb a bag full of new cars (Cars movie toys and matchbox cars) and Caleb still will pick up the cars from Eli and say “Eli gave me this!!!!!!” It’s adorable.
The pain has been so much more bearable this time. The worst part–one of the nights we were there, I was sleeping and so the nurse didn’t wake me to give me my pain meds overnight. I had no idea when I could have them again so I was waiting and waiting for them and I was in a TON of pain by the time she came in. I had asked to keep on top of the pain meds, I didn’t want to get behind because I didn’t want to be in pain! After that I made sure to ask how long between pills and call them if it seemed to be getting close. I’ve already been out walking and am feeling great.