It's been three and a half weeks that I was in the picture above at 39 weeks pregnant and was ready to pop!! Now that I've had plenty of time to absorb this new life experience I figured it was time to tell my birth story.
For those of you who know me, you know that it was my intention to have a 100% natural birth in the hospital.
However looking back, as hard as it is for me to admit, I'm coming to grips with the fact that the way it ended up happening (in c-section) was perhaps the only way my baby was going to arrive here safely.
When I say I was ready to pop, I mean that literally. Sunday night on September 14th (the night before my birthday) around 11pm, Andrew and I were sitting on our bed reading and getting ready for bedtime. As I was browsing Facebook on my phone, I heard a "clicking" sound in my lower abdomen that I had never heard before and immediately it alarmed me. It sounded kind of like someone popping their fingers, and there were two clicks. I jumped up out of bed and told Andrew what I heard and I hurried to the bathroom. Surely enough, my water broke.
Being a first time mom I got so nervous as soon as I realized my water broke! It was a mixture of scared, excited, happy, thrilled and terrified! I called my mom right away and told her what was happening and I couldn't stop shaking out of nerves!
I went from scrambling around, pacing, to trying to sit and calm down. When I realized there was no pain and that I was going to be fine for a while, I started to send out my work emails to make sure everyone knew what was happening and that I was going to be out for the next little while. I also started re-organizing and adding to my hospital bags. I'm so glad Andrew was with me during this time. He was excited and he was helping me prep everything.
We took our time, and about an hour and a half later, we were out the door and heading to the hospital.
At first I was all smiles and laughs as you can see in the first picture above (top left).
We got settled into the hospital and were joking and having a good time. I had already been at 3.5cm dialated over the weekend which I thought was a great start. In the hospital they had to put me on an IV to administer anti-biotics and they informed me that baby had released meconium into his water (his first baby poop), which would require NICU specialists to intervene and clean out his lungs during the first moments of his life. They hooked me up to a baby monitor and a contractions monitor.
Soon they settled me into my own room where I came head-to-head with a rude nurse who took it upon herself to warn me right away that I would need pitocin and that I was on a time limit and if I didn't follow the labor curve timeline, I would certainly have a c-section. Needless to say, those were NOT the words I wanted to hear just a couple hours into being admitted at the hospital, and trying to have an all natural birth. She also seemed to have a chip on her shoulder everytime I asked her for help with moving around, since it's not very easy when you're tied up to a million gadgets!
At that point it was about 4am and contractions were happening but I couldn't feel anything, just mild period cramps but no pressure, or tightening on my belly and nothing to make me feel out of the ordinary. Soon my rude nurse was off her shift thank goodness!
A new nurse came to help me who ended up being one of my favorite people in this whole experience. I didn't catch her name but she was an angel woman. Young, petit, short blong hair and sharp as a tac. Without even having to be asked she helped me position my pillows, changed my bed pads and did everything to make me comfortable. She also reassured me I would be given plenty of time to dialate and that it was still way too early to worry. She also helped to get me in positions that caused my contractions to intensify, and oh boy did they ever!
After a few hours I dialated to 5cm and was in the worst pain of my life.
One aspect of this journey I would have changed was that I would have made sure to get a doula or a midwife to coach me through this pain. Going through that pain felt impossible without a coach. At one point my nurse gently told me "breathe" and the moment she spoke those words, it soothed my soul and I was able to breathe through that contraction. However she soon left and there I was alone, experiencing the pain all by myself while my husband and aunt who was there with me, sat and watched.
When I realized I didn't have the strength do this alone, I caved in and asked for the epidural. My sweet nurse who was supportive through each of my desires, ordered it right away. Soon my husband and nurse were holding me as I sat crunched over while this super cheerful Asian anesthesiologist administered the drug, and almost instantly I was in heaven. What a relief it was to have the epidural! I thank the Lord for the advances of modern medicine and how far we've come!
I was in labor for a total of 30 hours.
They put me on pitocin shortly after I had the epidural since I was dialating slowly. The day passed in bliss with my beloved nurse at my side and my pain killer.
However when the evening hit and I still wasn't dialating very quickly, things became tense and I began to feel the pressure of the doctor (who wasn't my original OB). She had a "talk" with me at about 8 cm that I may need a c-section. I stayed at 8 cm for about 5 hours. When I hit 9 cm I was so happy but my time was running out. I ended up staying at a 9.5 cm for another 5 hours, until my nurse informed me that my cervix was beginning to swell. :-(
By this time it was Tuesday morning around 1:30 am (remember my water broke Sunday night at 11pm). Since so much time had already passed and the nurse was doing everything she could to help me dialate and buy me more time from the doctor, I eventually was told that I would certainly need a c-section, since I was beginning to swell.
My mom snapped this photo above of me and my baby as they wheeled me out of the surgery room.
I cried. I cried so hard that I could hardly communicate with the doctor or nurse. Thank goodnesss my mom had taken the previous 24 hours to catch a flight from 1,000 miles away and come join me all the way out from Ohio (I'm in California). She was there with me for the last several hours and was there to support me through this transition. After laboring for this long, and making it all the way to a 9.5 cm dialation, you can imagine my disappointment in accepting the c-section.
After I conceded, it was decided that my mom would join me in the surgery room and my husband would wait outside where he felt comfortable. He is one of those types of people who faints at the sight of blood or gets weak when you even mention it, so there was no way I wanted to put him in the scare of being in that room, and he agreed.
The happy Asian anesthesiologist was on her 24 hour shift and she came back to grace me with her happy presence one more time. Man that lady was so cheerful. I really enjoyed her. She was like a fairy godmother spreading her sprinkles of miracle drugs around the hospital. She gave me the drugs for my c-section and it began.
The first drug made me shake uncontrollablly, so they gave me medicine for the shakes, which caused me to be drowsy beyond control. When my baby was born I heard his sweet little cries behind the curtain, and my heart filled with a sweet peace as I lay there in a dream state of drowsiness. Moments later he was brought right next to my face, and we looked at each other, both with one eye open (since I couldn't hardly keep my eyes open due to the drugs) and I kissed his soft cheek twice. The nurse was sweet enough to hold him by my face for a good while of time, which I appreciated.
I refect on that moment with such tenderness in my heart.
No matter how my baby got here, he got here safely and that's all that matters.
I found out shortly thereafter that they discovered the umbellical chord had been wrapped around his neck and that he was face up in the birth canal, both things which were not safe for a vaginal delivery. In the end I'm happy I chose to deliver him by c-section to know that it was what was best for him.
My gentle mother held my baby while she sat beside me as I lay there struggling to keep my eyes open. She comforted me and told me not to worry, just to close my eyes and rest. Her supportive words helped me to stop being anxious that I couldn't enjoy my baby's first moments the way I wanted to, and helped me to relax and rest knowing he was loved and safe in her arms and that the world was at peace, after such a long struggle. I could hear her sniffling tears of joy as she held him and I knew everything was going to be okay.
We named him Galax Gabriel Frick and he was born on September 16th at 5:14am, just one day after my birthday.
I was in labor all day on my birthday!
Haha what fun stuff. Can you tell in the photo above on the top right that he has my eyebrows? :D!
Andrew is such a loving father. He changed Galax's first 2 diapers and loves his baby boy so much!
After 3 days in the hospital, I decided I would forgo the fourth that I could have taken, and instead go home. Surprisingly, you don't get as much rest as you think being in the hospital. Between nurses coming to bother you and the baby every half hour, family visits, and taking care of a newborn baby, it was really hard for me to get any solid amount of rest. After 3 days of this, I yearned to take my baby home where I knew it would be peaceful, quiet and comfortable.
A week into being home, and Andrew gave Galax his first bath!
His daddy loves him so much and loves to participate in anything he can with his baby. It makes my heart full to see them together.
All in all, I am one happy mama with my new baby and my family. Recovering from a c-section at home has brought it's own challenges. For example getting in and out of bed was really hard at first and I couldn't bend over at all. Since they cut your lower abdomen it feels like you don't have any core muscles to support you. Laughing was impossible and sneezing was too. But since my family are all joksters, I found myself resisting the urge to laugh a lot! My feet also swelled up really badly for about a week.
I am not sure when I will start working out again. But not anytime soon. I am only walking now, and I have three more weeks of official "recovery" time by doctor's orders. I am going to take it one day at a time and always listen to my body first. I certainly don't want to cause any sort of permanent damage, and I want to focus on healing as my first priority.
Overall I'm working on adjusting to all of these new changes.
...my new post-baby body with a c-section, stretchmarks and sagginess, but with it's advantages in the boob department.
Other changes like caring for a newborn, breastfeeding, and this new lifestyle as a whole is challenging but rewarding.
Not that I'm planning on having a baby again anytime soon, but for the next one, I'm definitely going to try to get a midwife or doula and go all natural again if I can! It sounds crazy, even to me, but hey it's worth a try since it is on my bucket list. ;-).
Do you have a birth story? Feel free to leave a link in the comments.
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