I had been doing all my birthing exercises from spinning babies to bouncing on the birthing ball in order get ready for Decker's big arrival. I was going to make this last delivery count, since we had talked a lot about being done having kids. I had my essential oils ready, I'd read "childbirth without fear" and marked it up with highlights and notes. I was even drinking my red raspberry leaf tea. Doing everything right, so I thought. My whole pregnancy was wonderful. Perfectly healthy and uncomplicated. I had never even needed to take anything as little as Tylenol during the pregnancy. I was healthy as a horse.
Monday afternoon, my doctor checked me and said I was so close. The baby was engaging and I was starting to open up. I was so excited. The next morning, Tuesday, five days before my due date, I felt what I thought were lower back contractions or period like pains. I welcomed these. I was feeling a little nauseous so I decided to take a bath. I had some intense contractions in the bath. When I got out I felt dizzy and immediate fever chills set in. Thinking this was part of early labor, I decided to rest in bed on my side for awhile. Around 11 am I checked my temp, it was 99 degrees. My hips, back, joints and head were aching. I was miserable. My temp rose to 100 by 2 pm, so I decided to call my doc. By the time they got back with me at almost 4 pm, the on-call doc told me to immediately go to the hospital.
My friend Michelle who watches my kids drove me to the hospital with the kids tagging along. My mom was flying into town that night, and nobody was home to watch them. On the way, I mentioned to her that as bad as I felt--and if this baby had to arrive today--I didn't care if they had to "cut the baby out of me". That's how miserable I was. Tanner overheard this and responded "what?!?!?! They're going to cut Decker out???" We assured him that we were just joking...but little did we know.
I was admitted. Baby's heart tone's were in 160s to 70s and not budging. Compared to just the day before, his heart rate was beautiful at 130s and very reactive to contractions. They put me on Tylenol and my fever went down slightly, and so did baby's heart rate (150s).
Next morning, the doc was almost satisfied I was doing better but still wanted to watch me until that evening just in case. The word chorioamnionitis was being thrown around. It's a bacterial infection in the amniotic fluid. One doctor was convinced that's what I had, but my doctor was not so sure. After my next dose of Tylenol, I started shaking violently from the fever. I thought I was dying. The on-call dr came in and suggested we start pitocin to induce labor because baby's heart tones were up to 190s - 200s at this point. I was literally freaking out! I called my husband and mom to get to the hospital as quick as they could.
The rest is a blur. At some point the shakes stopped for awhile. I was put on pitocin to speed up contractions. I hate pitocin contractions. My husband and mom were there putting ice packs and rags all over my burning body. My doctor arrived and broke my water to speed things up further. Baby's heart rate was off the charts. I was trying to labor and relax in all kinds of positions. The shakes came back. The fever sky rocketed even after medication. Baby's heart rate decelerated after contractions, which, in the world of labor & delivery, is not good at all. In fact, it's frightening.
I wasn't progressing. Only 50% effaced and dilated at a 3. Dr said baby couldn't tolerate this after 8 plus hours of labor. And neither could I. So she recommended a c-section. My world collapsed about then. But I knew it had to be done. As crunchy as I am...I know when I am in need of modern medicine. It was hard to sign those papers and be wheeled into a stark white operating room. I was beyond frightened. Frightened for my baby and for myself. I was having a panic attack when they strapped me down. So, my husband consented to letting them put me out with a little medicine. The only thing I remember under the influence of the medicine was hearing voices, seeing colors, and thinking, "this must be what it is like before you die. I must be dying...and I think I'm ok with that". Some time in that dreamlike state, I heard a baby cry and people cheering.
I didn't see the birth of my son. I heard he came out wailing beautifully and had Apgar scores of all 9s. My husband made sure that they put him skin to skin with me before whisking him away for blood tests and a spinal tap. I guess when they laid him down next to me he stopped crying and a few tears streamed down my own face. I don't remember any if this.
My son was born at 2:56 pm on Wednesday, June 18, 2014. He weighed 8 pounds 9 ounces. I wish I could have seen it. Before they took Decker to the nursery, Brent stopped and asked the doctor if I was going to be ok. She said that in all her experience with c-sections, no husband had ever stopped and asked if their wife was going to be okay. They usually were too busy trailing behind the baby and the crew of doctors to the nursery.
It took two hours in recovery. I was anxious to see my little one. I had heard he was so cute! I was afraid I wouldn't be able to bond with him because that first moment of contact right when the baby is born was gone. When I finally saw him, it was love at first sight. He was so beautiful. He had done so well when they took his blood and did the spinal tap. I was able to start nursing him right away and he latched so easily. What a champ!
The rest of our 4 day stay was rough. My fever spiked over and over. I got a spinal headache from the anesthesia--which is like a migraine times 1000. Both Decker and I were on heavy duty IV antibiotics. It was nuts. Every 15 minutes some machine was beeping or a nurse was checking vitals. We didn't get sleep for two days.
Finally Friday rolled around and things calmed down. All our blood tests and cultures came back negative for bacteria growth. And my fever instantly stopped. It's a mystery as to what exactly just happened that week. Why I was so sick. My doctor was and still is baffled. I guess we will never know.
We were released on Saturday. It was so good to sleep in my bed and snuggle with my baby and nurse all day long. The scenes of the week haunted me all weekend long. But I've resolved to feeling that this whole experience was very much divinely guided. There were so many miracles along the way and so many people helping to bring this perfect little child into the world. My mom arrived from Utah at just the right time. My husband was there to give both me and my child (placing his hands on my belly) a priesthood blessing. The words he said were very much what I needed to hear. To have trust that Decker was ok. That God had a plan for his arrival and that my body and mind would know what to do when bringing him into the world. I guess in that car ride over to the hospital, I knew I was going to have a c-section--even though I was joking about them "cutting him out of me". But I knew...
It is what it is. I had a cesarean section in one of the lowest c-section rated hospitals in this country. For that I am glad. I can't even believe it happened though. But the care I received there was top notch. They were so great and so wonderful. And so open to me using my "natural" stuff like essential oils for recovery, and they loved that we had our little co-sleeper bed for Decker so he could sleep with me. Skin to skin was pretty much constantly done and encouraged from day one. It was great. I am grateful.
Thanks for reading. This was hard for me. I am so pro doing things naturally. But I saw a beautiful balance between natural and medical that week, and for that I am also grateful. I now have a new respect for moms who have needed or chosen to have "medical" procedures during childbirth. Every story is different. Every story unique. And no story any less important in that mommy and baby's life. Childbirth, no matter what way it happens, should be celebrated and regarded as sacred. I am truly grateful for caring doctors and nurses, and midwives who have the skills and expertise to help safely bring children into this world.