I was still hoping to labor as naturally as I could going forward (no pitocin–hooray!), so my initial thoughts were that once I got cleaned up and was able to start moving, things would become more manageable. Instead, once they finally let me up, my contractions went from bad to worse. I was having intense back labor, and it was so bad when I couldn’t relax my entire body that I couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe, could barely even think until they passed. As long as I was laying down, I could breathe through them, do my Hypnobabies and be just fine. Having a contraction sitting up, standing, or walking was beyond excruciating, though. I forgot I even had a light switch, much less that I could turn it off. I think the fact that I was exhausted from a night of no sleep and pain made it a lot harder for me to get a grip on myself when I wasn’t able to be totally still.
I quickly realized I wasn’t going to be able to walk around. The only way I was going to be able to cope with the contractions was in bed, and I was worried that my lack of movement, accompanied by my exhaustion and tension, were going to cause me to labor for a very long time. So I asked for the epidural. My hope was that I would be able to relax some, get some sleep, and hopefully progress my labor along and be a more active participant later on. The epidural was completely painless, other than the contraction in the middle of it, and as soon as it was over, I passed out.
I woke up an hour later when the nurse rushed in and said I needed to move onto my side and start taking oxygen. The baby had had a major decel. I looked up at the monitor as they got me rolled into the right position, and her heartrate had completely fallen off of the display. The doctor happened to be monitoring me at that moment and came in a few seconds behind her. Apparently baby’s heartrate had been not good all along (just as it had for most of the night) and this decel was a sign that something was very wrong. They thought the cord might be prolapsed or that she might be tangled in it. The doctor said, “We need to do a c-section,” and after seeing the monitor, I couldn’t agree more.
Before I knew it, they had me prepped and in the OR. They brought Kellen in and at some point, I asked when they were going to start. They said they’d already started. Shortly after that, I heard a cry, and Kellen bent down and kissed me, told me he loved me. I asked, “Is that her?” and it was.
Then he got to go hold her, and I started having problems–actual psychosomatic problems. The drugs had made my hands go really numb and weak, do they’d strapped one of my arms down. Between that, the cloth divider thing actually going up over my head and the oxygen mask, I was feeling extremely claustrophobic. I basically just sort of panicked, so they gave me some sort of anxiety medication. I got to see Isla from a distance for about a second before I passed out.
When I woke up, I was being wheeled back into my room, and Kellen was sitting in a chair with Isla wrapped up in his jacket. Once they had me set up, he handed her to me. We got to do skin to skin, and when we tried to breastfeed, she latched right on like a pro. She was such a funny critter, with these huge eyes that were drinking in everything. She looked so much like Kellen, it was almost uncanny. She was in every single way perfect.
We ended up spending the next 3 days in the hospital while I recovered from the c-section. Not fun, btw, and certainly not my preference. However, we found out after the fact that the reason why Isla wasn’t tolerating labor–and the reason why labor hadn’t started on its own–was because Isla was sunny side up (something I’d been told at my 38-week appointment but hadn’t really thought more about since most babies do turn on their own.) Her head couldn’t get low enough to cause my cervix to dilate, and when the contractions were started artificially, they were basically crushing her head down into my pelvis. She couldn’t come out on her own. While I guess I could have waited another week instead of being induced at 41 weeks to see if she would turn, my feeling is that she probably wasn’t going to. The L&D nurse also told me that my placenta had already started degrading, and it was a good thing we hadn’t waited. So in all, I’m okay with the fact that I had a c-section. I feel like it’s probably the only way she would have come out regardless, and since it resulted in my gorgeous, healthy, happy baby, I really could give a flip about the means.
In the last week, she’s already changed so much that I’ve started to mourn the fact that she’ll only be brand new for a little while. I never thought I’d say that I’d enjoy my baby being a newborn, but I love her being so small and so sweet. Everything about her is absolutely fascinating to me. My favorite thing to do is snuggle up with her and just watch her. I keep trying to burn memories of each funny face, weird mannerism and adorable feature into my brain, but I’m afraid the sleep deprivation and oxycodone will probably ensure that 90% of it, I’ve forgotten by her first birthday. Thank god for cameras. And c-sections. And perfect babies.