I am a sap if you haven't noticed. I also like to make a big deal of birthdays if you haven't noticed. So, in honor of Peanut's 1st birthday this Saturday, I will be doing a lot of looking back, crying, telling fun stories, crying, and generally celebrating the 1st year of my child.
I woke up in the middle of the night to a little popping sensation. It was about 2:45 a.m. Friday and I was scheduled for induction Tuesday morning, Peanut's due date, against my wishes.
I crept out of bed, grabbed the laptop, my pregnancy week-by-week book and a towel and went to sit in the living room to try to figure out if my water just broke. Seriously. It wasn't a gush. Just a trickle and I wasn't convinced that I hadn't just peed a little bit. So I spent 45 minutes researching and came to the conclusion that, yes, my water broke.
Our doctor and the nurse at the birthing class had told us that all bets were off if the water broke and that we needed to get to the hospital ASAP. I wanted to labor at home as long as possible so I was a little sad. I began fiddling around the house, wiping off the counters and decided that I should wake the husband.
I crept back into our bedroom and gently shook him.
"Honey, don't freak out but I think my water just broke."
My lovely husband who sleeps like a rock and takes awhile to wake up was out of bed quickly and trying to push me into the car within the minute.
I told him I was calling the doctor. Unfortunately our doctor, whom I loved, was on vacation. I had the possibility of two others - one that I met briefly but instantly liked and another who told me if we didn't induce on my due date that the infant mortality rate increased. Needless to say, I wasn't a fan of his since he insisted that I be induced.
I got the doctor I liked on the phone and he told me I needed to go to the hospital now. I was more willing as the contractions were coming on stronger.
We got up to the maternity ward and they confirmed that my water had indeed broken. I was moved to a labor room and we began to call relatives. We promised my mother and MIL that they could be in the room when I delivered so we had to give them time to get there.
Everyone assembled in the room in less than two hours staring at me - my mom, dad, sister and MIL and of course the husband.
I wasn't dilating and they wouldn't let me walk around except to go the bathroom since my water broke. The nurse came in about once an hour to check and each time she shook her head and told me we were nowhere close, even with the help of Pitocin.
I flipped from side to side trying to get things moving. I breathed and tried to concentrate. The husband rubbed my back with the pink tennis balls he bought for the occasion.
The doctor who tended to me ended up being the one I didn't like. Turns out I had good reason other than his lack of bedside manner. Six months after Peanut was born, his license was suspended again for alcohol abuse. Great.
Everyone in the room saw my pain and encouraged me to get the epidural. I think sometime after noon I agreed to the epidural, which was administered by a mean man who kept snapping at me to hold still. I wanted to shove the needle in his head.
I felt no pain after that. I thought it was the epidural but it turns out they stopped the Pitocin without my knowledge. Peanut wasn't tolerating the contractions well and her heartbeat dropped every time.
No one told me at first and I don't know how long it was going on. But the nurse started coming in more frequently and told me I needed to stay on my right side since she seemed best when I was there. Apparently that still was not good enough because they put me on oxygen.
I still wasn't dilating. I think I only ever made it to 3 cm. Probably around 4:30 p.m., the nurse came in to tell me the doctor was considering a C-section. This was my worst fear and something I was adamantly against.
They began prepping me before I agreed. The doctor came in and flatly told me that while it wasn't an emergency we really needed to consider a C-section. He told me I could keep doing this for hours with nothing happening and still end up with a C-section.
I began crying. I was frightened and didn't know what to do. We asked questions although I can't remember exactly what they were.
I just kept thinking that Peanut wasn't tolerating this. Her heartbeat was dropping. Was I willing to risk her just so I could not have a C-section? After a brief, private discussion with Lucas we decided to go ahead with the C-section.
He was the only one allowed in the room and he was suited up in scrubs. Before I knew it, I was wheeled to the operating room. They took me in by myself with Lucas waiting in the hallway. I was given medicine which made me sick as I laid there on my back. They didn't give me anything to throw up in so I just kept turning my head and puking.
I was scared as the doctor and nurses talked about inane things around me. Every once in awhile, someone would ask me if I was OK. I kept telling them I felt sick but no one would respond.
They finally let Lucas in the room and he was placed at my head. I relaxed a fraction.
I could only see the reflection of what was going on in the dome of the light hanging above me. It was blurry but gave me an idea. The doctor cut into me and began leaning on my stomach, pushing down hard. I remember thinking that was going to hurt later.
I kept fighting the urge to close my eyes. The drugs made me so drowsy but I knew I didn't want to miss the birth of my daughter.
Soon I could see a blurry little being pulled from me. What I didn't see was the doctor flip the umbilical cord so that it was no longer around my daughter's neck. She was pulled out and she was quiet.
Some of this I remember, some of it my husband didn't tell me until a couple months ago. Peanut was passed off to the nurses who began working on her. A button was pushed to call the neonatal doctor to the operating room. I remember hearing the nurse say "Come on, baby. Come on, baby." Lucas tells me they were preparing to intubate her when Peanut finally let out a cry. It was only 10 seconds but it felt like an eternity.
My husband looked down at me and said "She has my nose," and we both started crying and he kissed me. All I could hear was my little girl crying and I thanked God.
She was wrapped up and handed to Lucas who put her near my head. I told her I loved her and she stopped crying. I cried more.
Lucas took her away to show her to our family.
The second she was taken away, I began throwing up again and violently shaking all over. The nurse told me I was going into shock. It didn't make me feel better. I just wanted my daughter.
Instead, I continued to throw up and shake and listen to the doctors talk about sailboats. I wanted to scream.
I was moved to recovery and had to be there for an hour. A nurse promised that she would take me past the nursery to see Peanut before I went back to my room. After that, I would have to wait another four hours to see her again.
I held my daughter for the first time in the hallway of the maternity ward with cameras flashing and family members crying and laughing. I cried when the nurse said I had to give her back after just a couple minutes.
I rested in my room impatiently, wanting just to be with my daughter again. They finally brought her to me. I remember wanting to count all of her fingers and toes but feeling too doped up to complete the task. I felt silly asking anyone so I kept quiet.
Instead, I just took in her squishy face and tried to remember a time when I was so happy and so thankful.
I'm happy my daughter is healthy but I'm upset I had a C-section. I feel like I missed a rite of passage. I feel like I took the easy way out and I'm sad that I will probably never have that opportunity to push.
I've read about other women who were allowed to walk around after their water broke and I wonder if that would have helped me. I wonder if my doctor talked me into the C-section because it was just more convenient for him. I wonder if I had been braver and insisted that I be allowed to do more to help the labor if things would have turned out differently.
But when I go too far down this road, I try to remember the most important thing: I have me daughter. She's healthy and wonderful and in the end, that's what really matters.