It was about a week and a half before my due date so I still thought I had plenty of time. After all, I'm late for everything:) Boy, you really don't know anything the first time around, huh? I had read all the books and magazines. I had my birth plan all worked out - no drugs, no unneccessary interventions, etc. I was going to be great at this whole birth thing. Of course I thought I was going to be great at the whole pregnancy thing, too, and that hadn't gone exactly like I planned what with the never-ending morning sickness and all. And I had been on semi-bedrest for two days due to slight pre-eclampsia. But I was determined to "do" birth just right. I couldn't wait!
On Saturday night we went to a family Christmas party where I ate as many cream puffs as I could hold and complained about a nagging backache (to which my aunt replied "please don't have that baby right here"). The next morning I woke up having very mild contractions and decided to skip church. I just told Casey I didn't feel like going - no need to panic him just yet:) I rested up while he was gone and got a few more things unpacked. We had just moved from our apartment to a house and I was still trying to find everything. I had to unpack so I could pack for the hospital.
When Casey came home the contractions were still irregular and pretty far apart. We hung out for most of the afternoon until about six when they started coming about every ten minutes. We called my mom in Texas and called my doctor to let him know we'd be coming in sometime. We lived about an hour from the hospital so I'd been well-warned not to wait until the last minute. By 9:00 the contractions were every 6 minutes and getting painful so we headed out the door with that last "life will never be the same" look back. It was a long ride down to the hospital.
And of course when we got there I was no where near as far along as I thought - barely 2 cm dialated. My doctor didn't want to send me home so we walked. My aunt arrived almost as soon as we got there with my grandparents right behind her. Casey was a little annoyed with everyone. I think he felt like they thought he couldn't take care of me or like this should be a special time for just us. I would have agreed with him up until they actually got there:) Then I was so glad to have some company! Someone to baby me a little (not his strong suit, although he's come along way since then).
We walked for hours until I hit about 4 cm, then they wanted to hook me up to the fetal monitor. I readily agreed because it meant getting to lay down! My contractions felt a lot stronger than the little chart showed. I will never forget Casey saying "look, that one only went a third of the way up!" I was not terribly upset when he suggested running to my Granny's for a quick shower at about 7 that morning. Not that I was glad to see him go, of course. My grandfather fussed a little at him, but we figured we knew what we were doing. So my grandmothers sat with me for awhile. My doctor offered me stadol "to take the edge off" but I was still holding out. I noticed myself getting very cranky - my grandmother's conversation with each other was really getting on my nerves. "Why weren't they paying enough attention to me?" Until I had a contraction and then it was "why are they talking to me, can't they see I'm busy?" About that time I got very suddenly, very violently sick. The "nice" nurse washed me off and let me get up long enough to wash out my hair in the sink, but wouldn't let me take a shower. By the time I got back to the bed, the contractions were a lot harder and I was doing every breathing exercise I could remember to get through them. But, upon inspection, I was still not dialated very far. So, with Casey back by my side, we agreed to the pitocin. The contractions were suddenly off the chart and coming in no predictable pattern at all - one on top of the other. I think at that point they gave me stadol, but I don't really remember anything except feeling totally out of control. The next thing I remember is Casey saying that the baby's heartbeat was getting really low. He was watching that machine like a hawk. The nurse checked me and called the doctor, who inserted that internal monitor and checked me again. That was probably the most physical pain I've ever experienced. The doctor was talking, but I had no idea he was talking to me. At that point I really felt like I was going to die and just hoping that Casey would tell him to do whatever he needed to do to save them baby. I heard the doctor say "we need to get the baby out now" and when I didn't respond he shook my foot and said "Shannon, I need your consent." I was shocked that he thought I was even following their conversation - I had no idea he'd been talking to both of us.
From then on things went fast. Casey kissed me and I tried to smile at him as they wheeled me into the OR. The nurses weren't talking to me and I honestly didn't now what was going on. I didn't read the part of the book about c-sections since I wasn't going to have one. I know one nurse was particularly annoyed because I'd left my bra on! I remember the catheter being really painful on top of everything else. They were giving me oxygen and for some reason I assumed that's where the stuff to knock me out would come from. Also I was slightly hyperventilating so I was really sucking on that oxygen mask! About that time I saw my doctor standing over me with a scalpel. I've never been so scared in my life. I was so sure he was about to cut me open while I was still wide awake. Thank the Lord, he saw the look on my face and understood. He leaned over and said "I promise I won't hurt you, you'll be fine." Then they knocked me out.
I came to in the recovery room after what seemed like hours. Casey was there telling me he loved me and my cousin came in. She said "he's so beautiful. he has a head full of hair." And I thought, "who is she talking about it?" I was still a little out of it when they wheeled me into a room because when the nurse stopped by the nursery window and showed me my baby, I didn't know which one she meant.
But when they brought him to me...that was a whole different story. Here was my baby! I recognized him right away - he was the exact baby I'd been dreaming about my whole life. Just exactly like I'd always imagined me baby. Almost all of the baby boys in Casey's family had been fat and blond so I kind of assumed that's the kind we'd have, too. But this was MY baby. The perfect size, perfect features, perfect dark hair:) It was literally like being high - I was above the moon.
My doctor came in shortly to talk to me about what went wrong during the birth. He spent a long time talking to me and apologized several times that he didn't have time to talk to me more first and explain things, since he was well aware that I wanted to avoid a c-section. But Levi's cord had prolapsed and was coming first -everytime I had a contraction his head pressed on the cord and cut off his oxygen supply. Apparently he had a few dicey moments in the OR when they had to give him oxygen. I thank God for that doctor and for that surgery. I can't even let myself imagine what might have happened.
That night I had a fever which puts me at higher risk for uterine rupture now so I will probably always have c-sections from now on. But even though I was very depressed about it for a long time afterwards, I think I've managed to accept it now. I do regret that I won't ever be able to physically give birth, but I also see now what an idol I'd made out of "all-natural" childbirth. I have so much to be thankful for, including modern medicine which saved both our lives. Thanks be to God that I have my son and my daughter here healthy and that I can go on to have more children.