First off, let me just say that I had an amazing pregnancy. I loved every moment that I was pregnant. This was my very first pregnancy and everything was perfect! Nothing like what most of the books I'd read said it would be like. I had no morning sickness, no heartburn, no water retention and if it wasn't for the ever growing belly I would have questioned being pregnant at all!
My husband and I planned for a natural birth, we attended over 12 weeks of Bradley Birthing Method classes in preparation for our son's arrival. I had previously worked in Labor & Delivery at a local hospital for over 4 years. Seeing over 200 births, I knew the benefits of going natural and the serious recovery involved with c-sections. This was something I wanted to avoid at all costs.
When my due date came and went we decided NOT to be induced. We had done our research about the increased c-section rate with inductions and we didn't consider this an option for us. Most women FEEL ready for there babies to come out and when my due date rolled around, I didn't. He never dropped into my pelvis so I had 0% effacement and was only dilated 2 centimeters. Our doctor agreed with our decision to not be induced but asked we come in to be monitored to make sure our son was still doing ok.
I was 41 weeks and 2 days pregnant when we went in for my first NST (Non-stress test). From the moment I got up that Monday morning, I felt different. Something wasn't right. Riley (our son) was always a mover and a shaker in my belly, but not that morning. Even after I ate a full breakfast (when he usually moved the most) I could hardly feel him.
I will never forget the look on the nurses face when she hooked me up to the monitor. I could hear Riley's heartbeat so I wasn't concerned until it started making a sound that was like a galloping noise. Something I had never heard it do in all our previous prenatal visits. She immediately said she was going to get the doctor to come and look at my strip. She returned with the doctor, who was much more calm then she was. He said, "Let's have a look see shall we?" and I nodded. He simply stated that we should head over to the Labor and Delivery unit for extended monitoring because my strip wasn't reassuring and I was what they refer to as "post-dates" meaning over due.
My husband and I walked over to Labor and Delivery and were set up in a bed almost immediately. I was then placed on the monitor and the nurse said she would be back momentarily to see how I was doing. We could hear Riley's heartbeat so this comforted us. Suddenly, an alarm sounded from the monitor. The nurse came back and said that she needed to give me some oxygen and that the baby's heartrate was dropping. She asked me to roll to my side as she lowered the head of the bed and placed oxygen on me. Within a few seconds, Riley's heartrate went back up. It had dropped to nearly 60 bpm when the normal should be between 125-165 approximately. This happened 3 times in the course of maybe 10 minutes. Not okay.
A wonderful female doctor (not the same one who had been following my pregnancy) came to see us. From the moment I met her, I loved her. Looking into her eyes gave me a sense that everything was going to be okay. She explained to my husband and I that I wasn't in labor yet (no contractions seen on the strip or felt by me) and after checking me, I wasn't anywhere near being ready to go into Labor or a canidate for induction. She told us that labor in general causes a stress on the baby and will cause the heartrate to drop a bit with each contraction. Since I wasn't in labor yet and the baby already was showing signs of distress she thought it best for me to have a c-section. I couldn't believe it! We asked for a moment to ourselves to discuss it. We both wanted what was best for Riley and getting him into the world safely was our number one priority.
We decided to go ahead with the c-section.
The doctor returned to the room and sat next to me on the bed. She grabbed my hand and with tear filled eyes apoligized that I couldn't have the natural birth I had planned and hoped for. She told me that if I wanted to have another child she would double stitch my uterus so that I could attempt a VBAC next time around and she would gladly be my doctor. This warmed my heart. I knew her intentions were nothing but true.
That being said, I was prepped for surgery. They were calling it an "Urgent" c-section, not an Emergency c-section but within minutes it seemed I was on the operating table. I was shaking like a leaf so the nurse held me with a warm blanket while they did the spinal anesthesia. All the while I was still hooked to the heart monitor so I could hear Riley. My husband joined me in the OR and held my hand as we waited. They told me I would feel pressure when they were taking him out and boy was THAT an understatement! It felt like someone was standing on my stomach when it came time for them to pull him out. Having seen c-sections and deliveries in my past I knew what was going on and what WASN'T going on.
I heard them say, "Call the team!" meaning Respiratory team. Then I heard the doctor say, "No, they won't make it in time...there's meconium in here...nucal cord times two...he's not breathing...". My heart sank. I kept telling my husband, "He's not crying! He's not crying! Why isn't he crying?!". The cord was wrapped around his neck twice. The next thing I saw was my son's limp little body being carried to the warmer. Not crying. Not moving. There were at least four nurses and the doctor working on him. I couldn't breath and my husband didn't say a word.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I heard my son cry! He then peed all over the warmer. Hahhaha! He was okay! He didn't swallow or inhale any of the meconium (there first stool). The wonderful nurse brought him to me almost immediately and I got to touch him and kiss his sweet face. They let my husband cut his cord too.
Once I was all stitched up they brought me to recovery where we got to be skin to skin and he latched immediately. I was so worried about the "Golden Hour" following birth and how important it all is for breastfeeding and bonding. The nurses cared about it too which made all the difference in the world. Riley never had to go to NICU and was with me from that moment on.
It didn't happen the way we had planned it but I'm glad we had a c-section. Had we not, Riley may not be with us today. The doctor later told us that the cord was wrapped so tightly (twice) around his neck that the pushing from labor would have caused the situation to end up being an emergent one instead of the urgent one we opted for.
Now, 13 months later when I look at my scar I'm reminded that it was all a reality. That the sweet little boy running around, eating everything, came from my body and thankfully was brought into this world safely. Next time around we will try a VBAC. I put it in the Lord's hands though, he knows what is best and as long as it gets my babies here safely then I'm okay with it.
Mrs. Reyna Brown