I think the most requested post since Benjamin was born, has been for me to share his birth story. And what better time to do it, than in the first post on this new blog? Keep on reading to find out how the birth of my baby went.
BEFORE THE BIRTH
Benjamin’s due date was the 1st of March, but I had a feeling he would be making an appearance early. After all, the calculation is based on the size of the embryo at the first ultrasound and is not an exact science.
On my last appointment with my gynecologist, I told him I was afraid that I’d have to have a c-section – I couldn’t pinpoint why, it was just a gut feeling that kept creeping up on me. He told me he had the same feeling, but he also couldn’t tell me why. He is very experienced and wouldn’t say something like this unless he really felt so. So I made an appointment at the hospital in order for us to discuss it.
The doctors who saw me (it was never the same one, unfortunately) told me they did not see any reason preventing a vaginal birth. They did offer me the possibility to schedule a c-section, which I refused. Why would I willingly agree to have surgery, unless absolutely necessary? I am a firm believer in avoiding unnecessary surgeries – after all, there is always a risk!
THE WATER BREAKING
On the 22nd of February at roughly half past midnight, I woke up with a weird feeling. I wasn’t in pain or anything, I just felt weird. Since I was already awake, I decided to go pee – a glamorous side effect of pregnancy! On my way to the bathroom, I felt like I was going to have my first “accident” during that pregnancy. It’s the only way I can describe it – it felt like there was something on its way out and I had to hurry.
The moment I sat down on the toilet, I felt a gush – my water had broke and I was officially in labor!
Fun fact, THIS is how I told Markus, while standing at the bedroom’s door waking him up with only the corridor light on: “Honey…honey? My water is out.” Markus is already used to my word “inventions” and after a moment of confusion immediately got up! We went to the hospital and got there at around 1 am.
The midwife, whom we knew from the childbirth class, hooked me up to the CTG machine. Then I had a talk with the doctor on call – who smelled like alcohol and had definitely just woken up. I felt extremely uneasy by this, and the fact that he didn’t even bother checking if I was dilated. He even asked if I was “sure” my water had broken! Then he sent me back to the midwife and since it was already past 2 am, she said it was best if I went to bed and we would check again in the morning for changes.
THE FIRST INDUCTION
I still wasn’t having any contractions, nine hours after my waters had broken. So the doctors decided to induce me, with a stripe inserted directly near the cervix, which is supposed to kick off the contractions. During the next check-up, while I was hooked up to the CTG machine, I felt my first contraction.
Unfortunately, the contractions were very irregular but very painful from the beginning. Usually, they start “weak” and get stronger – maybe due to the induction, my contractions started very strong. Once evening came, the doctors gave me Buscopan to ease the pain, but the only thing it did was make the contractions come further apart and even more painful than before. They had already removed the stripe because it was making the contractions too strong and Benjamin’s heart rates were showing he was in distress – although they did not inform us!
At the last check-up in the evening, the doctor decided to sweep my membranes, without informing me. (this is when the membranes of the amniotic sac surrounding the baby are separated from the cervix. It is done manually by a doctor.) Doing this without informing the patient is a violation of its right, but I was too distressed and tired to even realize what had happened.
THE SECOND INDUCTION
The next day we saw another doctor, who decided to induce again, this time with pills. After two hours we would have a check-up again. At first, there was no progression and after two hours I took the second pill. I then “sent” Markus home to sleep, because he hadn’t slept much in the two previous nights. I was still having very strong, but irregular contractions.
At around 3 pm they started coming every 5 minutes. My next check-up was at 4 pm, so I waited to see if they would still come consistently. They did. I called Markus right before meeting the midwife at 4 pm and asked him to come back to the hospital. This check-up was when things started going wrong.
I informed her that I was having contractions every 5 minutes, which were clearly visible on the CTG machine. However, the midwife refused to call the doctor to examine me. She said it “wasn’t necessary” and pushed me into taking the third pill. I was alone and exhausted, after 27 hours of very painful contractions and two days of no sleep. So, even though I did not want to, I gave in and took the pill. I trust the midwife, against my own instincts.
WHEN THINGS WENT SOUTH
Back in my room, things got worse very fast. Markus got there and I was having much stronger contractions, now every 3 minutes. He wanted to go back to the birthing rooms right away, but I was scared of not being taken seriously again. So I endured the pain until 5 pm when he finally convinced me to go.
Though the pills had made the contractions closer together, I was still only 2cm dilated. It was 5 pm when we first got into the birthing room and around 45min later I felt Benjamin turn the wrong way. His back was now against my back and my gut told me something was wrong.
The staff was changing shifts. The midwife appointed to us – the one who had forced me to take the pill – simply left us alone without informing us of the shift change. When I felt Benjamin moving the wrong way, we immediately rang the bell. She then came and said, in a very rude and annoyed tone, that they were changing shifts and we should wait.
THE EMERGENCY C-SECTION
Once the midwives and doctors from the evening shift came in, I was finally examined. The doctor said I was 5 cm dilated and they would allow for an epidural. Waiting for the anesthesiologists to come felt extremely long. Once they finally got to us, I was given something to stop the contractions. I had been having strong contractions for over 30 hours and that break felt like heaven!
Unfortunately, the anesthesiologists couldn’t find the correct place, so they had to call the head doctor. We had to wait for what felt like an eternity, but the head doctor managed to insert the epidural catheter. We then were told we had to wait for 10 minutes to see if it worked. During those 10 to 15 minutes, I kept having strong contractions, still 3 minutes apart. Between those contractions felt the baby pressing against my pelvic bone. I also felt dizzy and seeing “stars”.
The doctor came again and examined me again. She then told me I was 9 cm dilated. The epidural had been administrated too late and therefore did not work. I had dilated 4 cm in 45 minutes, being already at 9 cm when the catheter had been inserted.
That moment something inside me told me that was it and I immediately requested for a c-section. Everything happened quickly, too quickly. They already had everything prepared to bring me to the surgery ward. Later I realized they knew it was going to end up in a c-section. I was then wheeled to the surgery ward, while Markus waited in the birthing room for Benjamin.
Though they are routine by now, c-sections are risky because they are major surgeries. Some blood loss is always to be expected. However, I started bleeding out more than expected. Much more than expected. When Benjamin turned the wrong way, his head started pressing against my pelvic bone. It would have been impossible for him to be born via a natural birth. Had we tried, he would likely have broken his neck. My instinct saved my baby’s life.
My c-section took longer than others because doctors had to stop my bleeding. I lost over 1/3 of my blood supply. If I had lost more, I’d have needed a transfusion. The doctors weren’t aware this was going to be an emergency c-section, expecting it to be a normal procedure. Normal c-sections usually take 45 minutes from start to finish. Mine took almost 2 hours, due to the complications. Benjamin was brought up to Markus as soon as he was checked by the pediatric doctor.
I woke up an hour after the end of the surgery – and immediately asked for Markus. The nurse at the waking station said he was with his father. I was momentarily confused. The nurse noticed it and said “the baby is with the father!” and I replied with “Markus IS the father”. Because I was the only one in the room, they allowed Markus to go with the midwives when they brought the baby up. Benjamin was the cutest little thing, sleeping soundly.
This was my birth story. It was very traumatic and the recovery was very hard, due to it being an unexpected emergency c-section. However, Benjamin was the perfect baby from the beginning! I was lucky to have Markus home for the first month, without him the recovery would have been much worse.