As her first birthday is just two weeks away, all I have been thinking about is Evan’s birth story. I wish things had gone much smoother than it actually did, but either way this is how she became our Rainbow.
My whole pregnancy, I never trusted my body, as I have said many times. I would not feel that my baby girl was safe until she was earth side. I wanted her to be ready and healthy before she made her appearance, but I can’t lie when I was hoping that my 36 week cervical check would show signs of a baby coming soon. That obviously didn’t happen, because I made it to my 39th week appointment, on a Friday. My doctor, knowing my anxiety with this pregnancy, offered to induce me that Sunday. In two days. I was stunned and got even more anxious. I wanted this to happen naturally. However, she offered me an end to this worrying 24/7 and the chance to meet my baby so soon, I couldn’t help but say yes.
That weekend was my scheduled weekend at work, so I decided to go to work on Saturday, hoping I would work myself into labor naturally and not even have to go through induction the next morning. I remember talking to some of my friends at work about it, and another nurse joined the conversation. To this day I will never forget what she said to me. “Why would you ever choose induction? Why would you do that? Don’t you know there are more risks with induction if your body isn’t ready, and there is a higher risk for a cesarean?” I simply responded, “Because I don’t feel my baby is safe inside of me. She has to get out of me before something happens to her. My doctor offered me something I could not refuse,” and walked away. I already felt as though I was letting myself down by taking the “easy way” out. This only made my guilt grow.
The next morning, my husband and I made our way to the hospital. It was a much different trip than with our other daughter. I wasn’t urging him to hurry because my contractions were increasing. I was calm, quiet. Scared.
I was starting at 4.5cm dilated when they started the pitocin, so I had hoped it would a be relatively quick labor. I got an epidural before contractions really set in, and my body did not respond well. I started getting numb not only in my lower half, but my shoulders, arms and fingers. Then my speech started to slur and I couldn’t stay awake. I kept waking up to alarms ringing at my bedside. My blood pressure and heart rate dropped. I tried to stay calm, and told my husband it was just the medication, and my body relaxing. The nurse ran in to reposition me after about two hours, saying the baby’s heart rate was dropping. After some maneuvering, things were fine again and she went out of the room.
A few minutes later the alarm went off again, and she ran in. She said she was going to stay in the room, and I knew something wasn’t right as she called for the doctors to come in the room to help. Evan’s heart rate was in the 70s, and even hit the 60s a few times, and multiple staff members rushed in. Can I just explain how awful it is when your nurse acts calm, but you see her eyes making contact with the other staff members and you know what they are saying, because you are usually one of them. I knew the possible outcomes to this situation, making this an even more stressful situation for me. They decided to stop my labor, shut off the medication, give me a different medication to stop contractions, and then turn me over onto my knees with my chest to the bed. As they do this, they also put an oxygen mask on. This whole situation would scare anybody, but as a nurse and having knowledge of what may be in the near future left me with no option but to break down and cry as I faced the monitor watching her heart rate sustain in the 70s. I remember looking at my husband, telling him this was all my fault, that I did this. If I had gone into labor naturally she would be able to tolerate it. The words from the nurse at work were screaming so loud in my head I had never been so disgusted with myself. I will never forget that feeling, and have to choke back tears every time I think about it.
After being on all fours for well over an hour her heart rate was back to normal, and we decided to try a different position. Within half an hour I was fully dilated and they wanted me to start pushing. I was so hesitant that I stalled a little while, fearing that pushing would decrease her heart rate once again. The nurses were amazing and reassured me that I could do it. While pushing, we discovered that she tolerated the process better if I pushed with every other contraction, and one nurse was designated to vigorously rub my belly continuously where Evan’s butt was positioned. Apparently I rubbed her my entire pregnancy, and it was so comforting that it kept her stable during this stressful time.
After 40 minutes of pushing, with the help of forceps, Rainbow Baby Evan made her way into this world. She was placed on my chest and stayed wide awake observing the huge number of people in our room, since we were pretty close to an emergency cesarean. She was very content, and made her way to the breast where she nursed for a long time.
There are many details I have left out, but they are not forgotten. I will never forget either one of my birth stories. I must say however, I always get a feeling of disappointment when I think of Evan’s birth. It was nothing like I had hoped it would be. I’m disappointed I couldn’t trust my own body enough to let things happen when it was ready. I am left with the foreshadowing words of the nurse at work the day before her birth, and the awful feelings I had for a majority of this labor. It is what it is, and I am working on accepting it and being proud of myself for this birth, but even after a year it is taking some work. No matter how she got here or how I feel about the entire event, the most important thing is that our baby girl is here, she is safe and healthy, and about to turn one!