“You have two options, to be induced or go for a c-section. However, we are not promising that you will have your baby with the induction, your chances are only up till 65%.“
Those are not the words you want to hear when for the nine months of pregnancy, all you have dreamt about is labor. When you have spent hours working on your birth plan, doing all kinds of exercises, having your best friend rub your feet to naturally induce labor, and other tricks. The last thing one would want to hear is that they were being booked for an unexpected c-section.
It has been a few weeks since my boy was born and recently had a few readers request that I share my birth story as they try to prepare for their own. I figured that it is December and I could be generous with my content. Hence, I have decided to share my birth story earlier than planned.
Let’s start from the beginning…
My birth plan
From the first time I had an ultrasound, I was told that my due date was slated for November 25th. With that in mind, from my second trimester, I threw myself in some serious pregnancy workouts. I would do yoga, thanks to Pregnancy and Postpartum TV, and would eat and drink anything that would ease up my labor.
Throughout the months, especially when my due date became nearer, I made it a point to ask if I was good for a natural birth at each appointment. And each time, I was assured that everything inside looked good. I cannot fully describe the relief I had when they told me that my baby had turned and that his head was facing down.
It obviously was the assurance I needed. At this point, I felt like the universe was giving me a sign that what I had been asking for was going to be given to me.
I made my birth plan in my seventh month. Let me be honest, I never knew what I was meant to have in the plan, but a quick read from Tommy’s and I had it rolling. Let me briefly share how it looked like.
|Birthing Hospital:||Dai Halima|
|Birthing Positions:||Squats to fasten up labor, then whatever position the nurses recommend|
|Music:||Jhene Aiko and Genuwine|
|Placenta Delivery:||Nurse’s recommendation|
|Any other:||Prayer before delivery|
|Backup birth partner:||Best friend|
Do not judge me but I was ready to risk traumatizing my best friend in case my mom could not be in the delivery room with me.
That was my simple birth plan, nothing too complicated. I was skeptical about not getting an epidural but I knew the hospital I had chosen did not offer them. However, I was hellbent on making sure that I deliver there that I was not bothered that I would be in so much pain.
Fast forward to the 24th of November, I asked my partner to take me to the clinic for a scan. I wanted to be assured that everything was still okay and was going as planned. I would feel contractions, but they were not as regular and so I knew they were merely Braxton Hicks Contractions.
The scan showed that everything was fine, however, there was one thing to worry about. The estimated weight of the baby was 4.1kgs, but I was still in the safe zone for a natural birth. Considering my due date was the next day, they still gave me an additional 18 days, and the concern was that the baby would have gained more weight in those days. I was told that I was safe till he measured 4.6kgs.
The unexpected c-section
The 25th of November came and went, with no sign of labor. I would laugh about it with the baby as it kicked that he was so comfortable in my tummy. However, everyday post due, I would feel more tired. I would pray to God that the baby comes.
I was so uncomfortable in my body and just felt done. As each day passed, I saw the worry on my mom’s face. She would assure me that it was normal for women to get to 10 months, however, she got to a point where she wanted me to have a second opinion.
On the 29th of November, I called my aunt who was stationed at Mlambe Hospital Maternity Ward and she quickly told me that I needed to see a doctor the following day.
As I went to the hospital, I thought I would be told to wait it out until the baby was ready to meet the world. A quick check and the same worry resurfaced. My baby was big and was getting suffocated in my womb. Leaving him there for too long would cause other complications.
That’s when I was given two options, whether to go for induced labor if I was hellbent on having a vaginal birth or to go for a c-section. The trick was that they would induce me and I would have labor pains for hours but still get booked for a c-section if anything went wrong.
To me, that was all I needed to tell them that I would rather be cut open instead. Because what would then be the point of having intense pains just to end up in the theatre room anyway.
They booked the c-section for the next day. I had to ask that I arrive at the hospital in the wee hours of the morning instead of being hospitalized on the spot since I had not prepared. They allowed it.
I never slept on this night. This would be the second time I would be in a theatre room at the same hospital, the first time being when I had a sebaceous cyst removed from my neck. I had to starve myself for 12 hours before the operation, and that did not go well with the human I was sharing a body with.
On the 1st of December, we arrived at the hospital at about 6:30 am. By 7 am, my clothes had been stripped, I had been canulated and a catheter inserted. My c-section had been booked for 8 am but I was told that I would be delayed as they had two emergencies to do before I would go in.
I was kind of relieved. It gave me time to properly settle my head and make peace with it all. My mum and aunt were with me cracking jokes just to make sure I did not overthink.
At 10:30 am, I was whisked to the theatre room. Everybody in that room was cracking jokes from the minute I got in and they were so caring. In a short period of time, a spinal (anesthesia) was administered. I slowly felt my belly down get numb.
They got to work, and at 10:53 am, our boy was born. He truly was a chubby little dude, who cried seconds after getting into the world. I could see him kicking as they cleaned him, after that, they showed me his face. I was met with curious big brown eyes, almost as big as my own.
When I was satisfied with what I saw, they took him away to the nursery to get checked. And that is how he met his grandmother.
What was left in the theatre was to clean me up then close me. As they did that, I kept feeling this burning sensation on my chest, not much to raise an alarm, but enough to let me know that something in my body had changed. My belly felt empty allover a sudden, and a bit of sadness crept in.
Those baby kicks I was used to feeling were gone for good.
At 11:30 am, I was good as new and was taken to my room for recovery. The numbness lasted close to 7 hours, but I was glad to have my baby with me.
I always felt a natural birth was how women showed that they are superhero, but man was I wrong. Any kind of delivery that a woman goes through is beautiful and shows their strength.
Natural or induced labor comes with pain, but so does a c-section. At first, I felt guilty and felt like I had failed myself and my baby. What I did not realize was that the ultimate goal was not about me, but making sure that you bring to this world a baby who is healthy and strong.
So, for any pregnant woman (especially first time moms) who might be told to go through a c-section, do not blame yourself or your body for not doing what most women do. Instead, understand that you want your baby safe and in your arms. Never underestimate yourself, you are beautiful and strong for going through it.
My second flaw was worrying that my body would never recover like it would with a natural birth. Again, I was dead wrong. A nurse pointed out other nurses who had gone through the same and had banging bodies. Yes, the process of recovering your body might be slower than others but you will get there.
Another lesson is that, you might not be able to breastfeed the minute your baby is out. That is because your body still thinks you are pregnant and so the hormones that make milk are not activated yet. However, still make your baby suck on the boobs to activate them. Word is, they are stimulated faster at night and with your belly touching your baby’s own.
With that being said, this is the tale of my birth story and an unexpected c-section. It was scary, but I am glad it is an experience that I had. Now that scar is a reminder of the door my baby used to get to this world. A new beauty mark.