“Just another birth story” by Katie
“Just another birth story” by Katie
I met Katie and Brian when they both took my childbirth class. They were funny and appreciated my sarcasm, which made me instantly like them. By this time, they had already hired two doulas, Erin and Jenny, from Ebb and Flow Doulas.
When Katie went into labor, Erin and Jenny needed help covering a four-hour gap. The opportunity to spend time with Katie and Brian at their birth was too great to pass up for this doula. I was honored to be a part of their special day and impressed with how Katie handled her contractions. The bond between Katie and Brian was evident, and Brian did everything he could to support her. Here is her story.
I consider my birth story as just another birth story because every parent who has ever given birth has a unique story to tell. My story is not different, but it is special to the three of us. It did, however, take four months for me to be able to share this without crying. Not because I was ashamed or upset but rather because the birth brought back every emotion I felt when it happened. But I also could not help but remember my overwhelming love for my husband and the bond I created with her son.
This birth story started on August 29, my due date. I woke up with some pain which turned out to be contractions. So I decided to labor at home for as long as possible before going to the hospital. One of my favorite memories is laboring by myself in the wee hours of the morning. The world was quiet and calm, and I felt so connected with Owen. I finally woke Brian around 4 am when the contractions were getting stronger and closer together. He was there to support me from that moment on.
At 5:30 am, I called my two doulas to let them know I was in labor. I had a doctor’s appointment already scheduled at 8:30 am, so I decided to continue to labor at home until then. When we checked my dilation, I was already 4cm dilated, so we decided to go to the hospital. Jenny, one of the doulas, picked up some french toast sticks for me on the way to the hospital as I hadn’t eaten.
At this point, I was excited to give birth. I love trying new things, overcoming obstacles, and giving birth checked both boxes. Not once had I been scared or worried about giving birth during my pregnancy. I knew it would be tough and involve pain, but none of that mattered to me. What mattered most to me was that I was connected to my baby and that he entered the world in a calm and happy space with his loving parents.
At first, I labored for several hours without pain relief measures. I used the tub in my birthing room a few times to help manage the pain. I was still managing the contractions well, and after some time, the nurse came to check my dilation. I made it 8cm dilated!
My water still hadn’t broken, so we manually broke it to get things moving along. The contractions and pain increased significantly after the nurse broke my water. Unfortunately for me, it did not end up helping me to dilate any quicker. I did make it to 9cm but was stuck there for some time.
By this point, I was completely delirious. The contractions were incredibly intense, and I was exhausted. All the emotions started rushing in then. I was falling asleep in between contractions because I was just so tired. I looked at my husband and could see how much pain he felt watching me go through this.
The pain eventually overtook me as I grew physically weaker by the minute, so I decided I needed an epidural to get me through to the finish line. After I finally got it, the room cleared out so Brian and I could sleep. It took about 2 hours for me to get to 10cm finally.
After the nap, I felt ready to go! I was ready to bring Owen into this world and wanted to finish strong. But, after 2 hours of pushing, my spirit was low, and I was tired again. I remember the overwhelming feeling of frustration that I couldn’t get my baby out. My doctor had said we’d continue trying to get him down far enough to use forceps to help get him out, but he still had a little way to go.
After another hour of pushing, the doctor checked the progress. She gave me the devastating news that Owen had not come down any farther. I use the word devastating because I completely broke down when she told me that. This meant I needed to have a c-section.
I asked everyone to leave the room so I could be alone with my husband. I just needed to cry. I needed to break down for a minute. He made sure I knew how proud he was of me. We took this moment to reconnect and shift our focus on the joy of meeting our son.
I finally got into the surgery room, and I was beyond delirious. I was falling asleep during the surgery, and I remember struggling with the guilt of feeling so tired and all I wanted to sleep, but yet I was about to become a mother.
Of course, the c-section wasn’t without its struggles. Owen had made it far down enough in the birth canal that he needed to be pushed back up to get him out. The joy we felt when we finally heard his cry was unimaginable 31 hours and 45 minutes later. Brian and I looked at each other with tears in our eyes.
After the delivery, I continued to struggle to stay awake. It made me so sad that I wasn’t strong enough to hold my baby boy after all that. Another saddening factor was that I couldn’t nurse Owen and have the skin-to-skin bonding time right after his birth.
Side note: I will forever be grateful to the wonderful nurse who expressed some milk (colostrum) from me while I was sleeping to give to Owen through a syringe.
Eventually, I got some rest and much-needed food and could finally hold my baby boy, do skin-to-skin, and take it all in.
Looking back at this birth story, I know I did everything right. I pushed my body to limits it’s never seen before. No part of me feels like I failed, or that I didn’t do enough, or feels “less than” because I had a c-section. The surgery is just one part of our story. It’s not the whole thing. I’m so happy to have labored for as long as I did.