This is not an easy story for me to retell. In fact, I'm still having actual nightmares about it. But I want to get it down in writing since it's the story of how my sweet Hawthorne made his entrance into the world. It wasn't unlike his brother's birth in that it was dramatic; however, he decided to one up his brother by nearly killing me.
I started having contractions on Thursday, November 7, around 2:00 pm while Emerson was taking a nap. Emerson woke up from his nap and we went over to a friend's house to play. I was still having contractions. Layton asked if he should come home early and since they had been about 10 mins apart for hours, I decided it wasn't any rush. I fed Emerson dinner and then went upstairs to rest. We put Emerson to bed and I continued to have contractions. Around 11 pm they were pretty strong and my doula decided to come over. At around 1:30 am they were getting pretty close together and I was shaking really bad. My doula decided it was time to head to the hospital.
We got to the hospital and after they checked me we found out that I was only 1 cm dilated, but the baby was extremely engaged. Everyone said that they'd never seen a baby's head so engaged and the mom only be 1 cm. They checked me in and got me a room. Then the back labor started. It was even worse this time around then when I was in labor with Emerson. I tried getting in the jacuzzi tub and that didn't work. Walking, the yoga ball, massage, and counter pressure didn't work either. After 22 hours they checked me again and I was only 3 cm dilated. At this point I couldn't even stand up on my own. Layton had to hold me up I was shaking so bad.
We finally decided that I should get an epidural. My doula thought I needed the rest and thought that might possibly help me dilate quicker. Then the doctor came in and suggested a Foley catheter to help my cervix dilate. They'd leave it in for 12 hours and hope that I had dilated more when they took it out. After awhile my epidural started wearing off, so they came in to give me another one. When they took the Foley out 12 hours later I was dilated to a 7! They gave me a little pitocin to try and get me the rest of the way. It took about another 7 hours, but I was finally dilated to a 10.
It was time to push and I was so excited because I thought I was finally going to get my VBAC! I couldn't believe that I was actually going to experience birth the way that God created my body to. I couldn't believe that I was going to be able to pull my baby up and place him on my chest, not have to be separated from him for over an hour while they sowed me up after a csection. I just couldn't believe that I was actually doing it.
I pushed for 2 hours and nothing happened. The doctor came in to check me and informed me that I was now only 7 cm dilated. Apparently, a person's cervix can go back in dilation. They told me I needed to stop pushing. If you've ever had a baby, you know that this is impossible to do when the baby's head is in your pelvis! So they gave me a drug through my epidural so I didn't feel the urge to push. At this point, Hawthorne's heart rate started to drop after every contraction.
We decided after nearly 46 hours of labor that it was best if we did a csection. I was devastated. I was crying so hard that I could barely breathe. I knew it was the best thing for my boy, but I felt like a failure again. They started wheeling me to the OR when I started having this horrible, unexplainable, searing pain in my lower left abdomen where my previous csection incision is. The pain was worse than any of the labor I had been feeling for the past 46 hours. I told the nurse what I was feeling and she started running. They got me into the OR and called a "CAT Code", which means everyone hurry because it's an emergency. Layton and my doula were out in the hall waiting to come in and they saw all of the doctors and nurses running into my OR.
The emergency was that I had a "window" in my uterus where my previous incision was. This means that my incisions was starting to come apart, my uterus was getting dangerously close to rupturing, and I could bleed to death. Because of this, they only completely numbed my stomach where they'd be cutting, so I could feel quite a bit of pain everywhere else on my tummy. His head was so wedged in my pelvic bone from all of the labor and pushing that they almost had to vacuum him out. The tugging, pulling, and pushing was so excruciating that I was screaming! They finally got him out, showed him to me really quickly over the curtain, and then gave me so much medication that I fell asleep. Layton quickly made sure Hawthorne was okay and then had to leave he was so overwhelmed.
The next thing I knew I was waking up in the recovery room holding and nursing my boy.
Is this the way that I wanted to birth my baby? No. Did I want a ton of interventions? No. Did I want to be lying flat on an operating table again during birth? No. Do I still struggle with our birth story almost every day? Yes. Do I still get angry inside when people say to me "At least you have a healthy baby!"? Yes!
For some yet still unknown reason, this is the way that Hawthorne was meant to come into this world. For some yet still unknown reason, I will never experience that unmedicated, vaginal birth that I so desperately wanted with both of my boys. Someday I know that I'll see some lesson in both of my births. Until then I hold onto the fact that I can pretty much do anything after the labor and delivery of Hawthorne. I AM STRONG because of everything that my body went through to bring him into this world. I AM ALIVE and so very thankful for modern medicine.