My midwife confirmed that my early labor started exactly 8 days before my actual delivery. I started laboring hard at home Saturday night and into Sunday. My contractions were every 15’ish minutes apart the entire day. I was wildly uncomfortable and it was getting increasingly worse. Sunday night and into Monday morning my contractions were a constant 7 minutes apart without fail. I was writhing in pain. I started to question if I could do any of this. Laboring for a full week had left me exhausted. The contractions had taken a serious toll on my body and I honestly wasn’t quite sure if I’d have the endurance to go all the way unmedicated.
Monday, December 7th
5am: I hit my breaking point. I was rocking and sobbing. I looked at Kevin and said, “Something isn’t right. I know this is supposed to hurt, but something doesn’t feel right.” We called the Midwife who heard me laboring and she told Kevin I was in in active labor and get to the hospital NOW.
530am: Kevin reminds me to eat. I can barely choke down a banana with peanut butter because I’m so nauseous. Kevin yells at me to stop loading the dishwasher and get in the damn car.
6am: We are on a way. We get stuck behind a Coca Cola 18 wheeler and I’m still in good enough spirits to be able to laugh about it. My energy is high and good and I’m excited. FINALLY – after 6 days of this shit at home it’s time to get the show on the road.
6:45am: We are all checked into our room and my Midwife checks me. I’m dilated to 6cm and 100% effaced. Midwife says my Birth Plan looks good! Woohoo! Now we just wait. My folks show up and Nurse Mom is ready to doula me with the husband. Midwife says I’m good to go and after 20 minutes on the monitor I’m free to get up and roam, labor in the shower, walk, whatever I want.
7am: Shift change. New Midwife shows up and says they’ll take me off the monitor in a minute.
8am: Midwife informs me that baby girl’s heart rate keeps dropping so they want to keep me on the monitor. No big deal and nothing to worry about. She said to keep laboring and they’ll come back at noon and check me. If my water hadn’t broken by noon they’d do it for me.
8am-12pm: Labor and eat granola bars. Make jokes. Pee a lot. Have a few really hard contractions and regain some confidence that I can do this. The adrenaline has kicked in and I’m feeling good. Nurse Mom and Husband doula the shit out of me and do plenty a hip squeeze, sacrum punch and knee presses. They keep things light and jovial, but keep me focused through the contractions.
12pm: Midwife comes in and things instantly feel…different. She tells me that at my last ultrasound 39w4d my amniotic fluid was dangerously low and my placenta was a grade 3. I’m really confused and told her that they told us everything looked good, she reiterated that they didn’t and we needed to get girlfriend out ASAP, especially since her heart rate keeps dropping. She checks me and I’ve made no progress. She says my labor is stalled. She also said she thinks my water has already broken which brings a whole new set of complications. She wants to know if it broke yesterday. I tell her that I thought at one time I felt a little wetter than normal, but I had done the home test (sit on the toilet and cough) and it didn’t seem like I had. Now they’re concerned about infection, as it would have been at least 18 hours since that happened. They also comment that it’s a pretty good indicator of how low my fluid was if it had broken and I had no idea.
She tells me they want to start me on the lowest dose of Pitocin for just a minute to see if they can get my contractions to progress. I’m hesitant, but since girlfriend is struggling and it’s that or a C at this point, I tell her to go ahead. They realize that every time I contract she goes into fetal distress and her heart rate drops.
Now it all starts to get crazy.
I’m on the Pitocin for a whopping 10 seconds before shit takes a turn. I start having a contraction and they can’t get it to end. They immediately stop the Pitocin. I’m climbing the walls. My blood pressure is dropping and baby girl’s heart rate is now in the 60s (instead of the 150s). I vaguely recall someone saying I’d been in a contraction for going on 10 minutes and they needed to get me out of it. That the baby couldn’t handle it any longer. Her heart rate had been too low for too long. My mind is racing and I’m suddenly concerned about things like still birth and brain damage.
Someone says they’re giving me a shot of Fentanyl. It makes me goofy. They’re telling me they need to put a sheet/mat thing under me to move me from the bed to the gurney. It looks like one of those mats that they move beached whales onto and transfer them. I laugh and ask them if that’s what it is. They all laugh and assure me it’s not. They keep putting blood pressure meds in my IV to try and get it to stabilize.
It felt like suddenly there were about 20 people in my room. Everyone had a job and everyone was doing it. There was no lollygagging. There was that buzz and everyone had pep in their step. They’ve put me on Oxygen and Nurse Mom is holding my face and making me count to stabilize my breathing. I can see the fear in her eyes and I realize that none of this is normal. Husband is dressed in scrubs. I have an epidural now. My entire birth plan has turned into a list of shit that’ll never happen.
“We need to get her out now. You’re going into an emergency C.”
From the start of the Pitocin to me being in the OR was about 20 minutes.
The OB on call is the best in our area for C-Sections and I know him. It makes me feel a little better. I’ve never had surgery before, let alone major surgery. The Operating Room is cold and sterile. It’s not at all what I had imagined my birth to be like. They finally let Kevin in and he holds my hand. We just look at each other and he tells me he loves me and is proud of me. I tell him how scared I am. He wipes my tear. Within minutes they tell me she’s out. I don’t hear screams or cries immediately and I start to panic. And then it comes. A song like I’ve never heard. It’s beautiful. It’s not offensive to my ears, it’s music. She isn’t screaming, she’s singing this beautiful song. A song I know every word to and I’m instantly in love.
I immediately ask her APGAR score and it’s 8 – 9. Instant relief. They tell me she’s perfect. And she is. They place her in my arms and I’m crying. I’m overwhelmed with love and happiness. It’s unbelievably surreal. We did it. We actually did it. And every single fertility drug, trigger shot, loss and heart break feels worth it. Because she’s perfect.
Our OB tells me that I never would have had a successful vaginal birth. There were too many internal complications. She was too high up, the cord was wrapped around her neck, there was meconium in the little fluid she did have, and she was sunny side up.
Someone asked me if I was really upset that I didn’t get the birth I wanted. My response? I did get the birth I wanted – a healthy, happy, beautiful, baby girl. Nothing else matters.
Brooke Marie Sanders was born on December 7th, 2015 at 1:43pm weighing 8lbs 6oz and 19 3/4 inches tall.