Warning this contains graphic information. Okay here it goes…….
On Thursday November 20th, 2014 I was checked. I just hit 41 weeks and was at a 3 and 80% effaced. No contractions or anything. I was excited to be that far and felt empowered, so I spent all Thursday night and all day Friday just walking. Friday night I went to the mall to walk and contractions started. I walked the mall for 2 hours with contractions painful enough for me to hold on to the railings on the second floor. At one point a guy even walked by me and said ” pregnancy is not doing that girl good”. I just kinda chucked and kept walking. I tried to go home and rest but active labor started that night at 10 pm. I was having consistent contractions and they were 5 min apart so we headed up to the hospital. I was excited to meet my baby and ready for “Battle”. I knew exactly what I wanted for my birth. I planned a all natural birth with no interventions. Ideally I wanted a beautiful water birth just like I saw in the loads of birth videos I watched. Julian and I had done over 60 hours of natural birthing classes and felt prepared to deal with whatever may come our way. I knew that it would be painful but was mentally ready to go. I was going to show everyone including myself what “God made a womens body to do”. I was going to be strong in my birth and not take orders from anyone. It was gong to be peaceful and empowering! We got to the hospital and I waited to be checked by the midwife. She said “You look great! Your a 3 and 80% effaced” My heart sank I really thought I was further than that. Despite the disappointment I was still ready to birth this baby. She said we would watch my progress for a bit and see what happens. We went walking the halls and a hour later she checked me again. Nothing changed, so she recommended stripping my membranes and I agreed. Another midwife took over and in a few hours I jumped to a 6/7. I got in the tub and labored for several hours just rocking back and forth in the water. I thought I was progressing by the intensity of the contractions. The contractions were so strong in the water I was almost slipping under the water during them. My family was holding my up during the contractions. I started to feel the need to push so I started “pushing” some but they wanted me to stop because I was not ready. It was almost impossible to not push. I felt as if my body did it on its own. At one point another midwife was called in because they thought I may give birth at the same time as someone else. All of a sudden things started to change. I stopped progressing. my water broke but nothing more, so my Doula suggested getting out of the water. I vividly remember the feeling of getting out of the water. I was so cold. I felt like I walked into the freezer. I headed to labored in the shower to keep warm but that didn’t help, so I got “dressed” and then labored on the toilet for a few hours. I still did not make any progress. My Doula asked me if I even wanted to consider other options and I told her “No I’m going to do this the way I said I was!”. Even though I was in pain, I was determined to not give up. I was not going to give in to the modern way of birthing. In my head it didn’t matter how I felt or what was happening to me my baby was going to be birthed with no drugs in his system. I am a pretty stubborn person if you don’t know me. This is one major event in my life that started to teach me that I’m not in control. God is and sometimes he needs to show us that even if its painful for awhile. I was going to stand my ground despite putting myself through torture. A few more hours went by and I got to a 9. Once I reached the 9 problems really started. I got to 9.5 and was stuck for 4 hours. They “let me” start pushing now even though I really never stopped pushing. The top of my cervix was not thinning out. I kept bouncing between a 9 and 9.5. They had a nurse that they called the “Push Nazi” (I do not mean for that to be offensive) come in and work with me. They brought me the peanut ball and she worked with her hands to help thin things out. This was the most excruciating pain I have ever felt. To this day seeing or hearing the words peanut ball brings back flashbacks and the fight or flight mode kicks in. I was willing to try anything though to get this baby out naturally. I knew despite all of it, that if I accomplished my goal, it would be all worth it. She worked with me for a few hours and got my cervix to thin out, but when they checked me again a hour later I was back to the 9. All I kept saying to them was ” You mean to tell me if I push really hard, he could come out”. They were like “Ya maybe, but I don’t know”. I know they were trying to just encourage me but could hear the doubt in their voice. Eventually I made it to a full 10! I started to feel relieved but things weren’t going any quicker like I thought they would. My Doula started asking questions and they said Lincoln was not moving down far enough. They could feel his head but he just wouldn’t progress downwards. The midwife told me at this point my body is so exhausted that she really recommend a epidural. If that did not work we would try forceps and if that did not work a c-section. I told her I didn’t want any of it so she let me labor a little longer. Lincoln still did not progress he was stuck at a +2 and was not moving. The midwife came back in and said ” Your getting a epidural not because you want one, but because I’m telling you that you have to. Your body and baby are not changing. This is your best bet for a vaginal birth. If this does not work we will try forceps and then a c-section”. Again trying to control the situation I told her fine I would do the epidural but I was not having a c-section and she told me we would try to avoid it but that may be what we have to do. I was ready to fight. I was not going to have anyone tell me I cant birth this baby. My midwife really had to put her foot down with me. She spoke to my Doula and despite my stubbornness, I was logical enough to know that a epidural was better than a c-section. I was coming to the point of exhaustion and fighting just to fight, not because it made since any longer to do so. So here I was at a 10 and 25 hours into labor getting a epidural. They let me rest and sleep on the epidural for a hour which was honestly the best part of it all. I needed the rest and so did my birth team. They had labored beside me the whole time with no break. I was able to wake up with more strength and ready to have this baby. After I slept for about 45 min they had me push for another hour. Lincoln still did not progress and his heart rate was sky rocketing and the plummeting. The Midwife went and got the OB and he came in and took me to the surgical room to try forceps and prep me just in case of a c-section. Things started to get scary and I started to panic not because my baby was in danger (I honestly was not fully aware of his heart rate) but because I realized I lost all control. I felt my worse nightmare was about to happen. He tried the forceps for 2 contractions and said that it was not going to work and I was immediately moved to the c-section table. Once on the table the Doctor took his hand stuck it “up there” and shoved Lincoln back up into the birth canal. This was necessary since he had made some progress but not enough to be birthed. Wires started to be hooked up and meds were administered to numb me for the c-section. the first dose of meds were not enough so they gave me a second dose. I was in a full panic! I knew my birth dream had just came crashing down. I knew my baby would be exposed to all the medication I was. I knew delayed cord clamping, good bacteria from the birth canal, liquid being naturally forced out of the lungs, releasing of endorphins plus all other benefits of a vaginal birth were just ripped from us. I knew my chances of successfully nursing him also decreased since lots of c-section moms are not able to nurse due to the medications given. I knew he would not be immediately placed on my chest and the first thing to touch him would be a surgical glove. I was ANGRY. All I could do was grasp on to whatever I could think of in the moment to make things “Better”. Once the doctor cut me open and got in there to pull Lincoln out he said “O yeah there’s no way this baby was coming out”. He had a asynclitical head and was posterior. The entire time all this is happening I’m a balling panicked mess. The only one outside of my husband trying to help me was the doctor that administered my IV meds. She was trying her best to talk me though what was going on but I was so distraught I barley heard her even though she was right above my head speaking to me. All the other doctors and nurses in the room where having normal everyday conversation. They even asked my sons name and started talking about Abraham Lincoln and how there was a rummer he was homosexual. I was still in panic mode and irritated by the doctors conversation. I saw them lift my baby up and start suctioning out his mouth with a bulb syringe. This immediately heighten my anxiety even more because I knew most the time that’s unnecessary. Julian immediately jumped up from beside me to go to Lincolns side. That’s when I started to actually her the IV Doctor talking to me. She told me he had some meconium and that’s why they were suctioning out his mouth. I asked for him and they said I was not able to have him till they finished stitching me up. Julian and I already had a plan in place for him to do skin to skin with Lincoln if I was unable to. Julian’s instincts kicked right in and as soon as they let him Julian got him all tucked inside his shirt (I still think to this day that’s why Lincoln liked him better as a baby haha). Finally after what seamed like forever I was able to hold him. They placed him on my chest and instead of the immediate feeling of safety I felt fear. They had administered enough meds that I ended up being numb from my shoulders down. I was unable to hold my baby on my chest without the fear of dropping him. I not only had to have help holding him but I couldn’t actually feel him. I couldn’t hold my sweet newborn baby by myself. I yelled at the Doctor that I couldn’t pick up my arms. I was so scared they were going to let go of him thinking I would grab him and he would fall to the floor. I had to have the Doctor pick my arms up off the table to wrap around him. All I felt was weight and tingling. the feeling in my body started to slowly return and although I was thankful to have my baby, but I knew I lost all opportunities for any of the natural birth endorphins (that help create that early bond with a mother and child) to be released. I truly felt like a failure. I felt the immediate mom guilt of not giving my baby the “best” start. I started looking back and analyzing everything that happened trying to figure out where it went wrong and what I could have done differently. The guilt didn’t stop there. I felt ashamed to share my story with anyone, especially my natural birth groups. I felt like I would be judged for the way my birth went. The guilt continued for months after. I even scheduled a appointment to talk with the midwife and go over my birth to see if I could have changed anything. The answer was “No” of course. You see birth trauma was not a thing then. They didn’t recognize that as a problem a mom may have after birth. There was no suggestions or resources for me. The term was never mentioned. It wasn’t until years later I would hear the term. After a total of a 27 hour active labor and about 34 hrs total labor Lincoln was born on November 23rd, 2014 mine and Julians 6th wedding anniversary! We joke and say Lincoln wanted to be sentimental. That was one way I coped with the reality that I didn’t accomplish the birth I wanted. I tell you this story of Lincolns birth to let you know you are not alone. Birth Trauma is a real thing and it occurs more often than people realize. There is not a ton of accessible help out there yet but if we start expressing our need for this, things can change. I also suggest talking to your doctor if you feel any type of trauma, depression, anxiety, or baby blues from your birth. It is not showing weakness to ask for help. It is showing strength. I encourage all women to share your birth stories. You see, I’ve learned everyone’s story is different. No two births are the same. We can encourage each other and help develop a real expectation of what birth is really like. Some births are wonderful and some are traumatic but all births are beautiful. Bringing life into the world is a tough job but someones got to do it! Through it all I am truly thankful for medical intervention when it necessary. Typing this out makes me see a comparison of my birth to our relationship with God. If I would not have given up control or had it taken from me there is a possibility that me, Lincoln, or both of us may not be here today. I’ve always known that God has a plan for us and is in control. Sometimes is hard to give up control to him. We may fight it. We may give a little but still try to be “In Charge”. Ultimately its only when we give up full control of our lives and give ourselves over to God is he able to save us. We may think we know better and have our own idea of perfection in mind but if we live that way we will only live in misery. We wont ever get to truly live. We would be alive but not truly living at all. I’m asking you today. What do you need to give God control of? Yes it maybe painful and not easy but the outcome he has for you life may just be your life saver!!!!!