I’ve decided to write about my birth experience and emergency c-section because I read negative things every day about c-sections, especially on Twitter. I spend a lot of time on Twitter. My love of Twitter grew right after Jackson was born. I joined twitter before I was pregnant and turned to the site for support during my pregnancy and met a wonderful group of ladies who were all due around the same time as me. I had planned to tweet my labor/delivery and everything! That is, until things didn’t go according to my “plan.”
My pregnancy was pretty much by the book. I never had any morning sickness and I felt great the entire time; the only hiccup was at our 18 week ultrasound when our baby (we didn’t want to know the gender) was diagnosed with a Choroid Plexus Cyst. After a couple days of panicking and consulting Dr Google, we had a Level II ultrasound with a Fetal Maternal Specialist who reassured us the cyst was nothing to be concerned with and we had a perfectly physically healthy baby. His exact words were “I don’t want you to even think about this cyst any more.” After that appointment, the cyst rarely crossed my mind for the next 5 months.
Greg and I attended the hospital childbirth class when I was 35 weeks and I’ll be honest, I thought it was a complete waste of my time. I had learned more from Twitter and lurking at TheBump.com’s message boards than the 4 weekly classes. Or so I thought. The class was very basic but definitely beneficial for the mother’s partners who had no idea that a baby had to come out of an orifice that starts out the size of a cheerio. That was a REAL eye opener for Greg. There was also a brief section on cesarean sections. I barely paid attention because I though: “oh it will never happen to ME, I’m so healthy, etc.” I did hear her talk about how c-sections worked in the hospital and how many people would be in the OR. I also heard the instructor when she said if you start bleeding when you are laboring to get to the hospital. She actually said “Do not pass go, go directly to the hospital because that could be a sign of a placental abruption.”
Fast forward two weeks after the class ended and I went into labor. It started with contractions in the middle of the night and progressed throughout the day until I was 7-8 minutes apart at around 9 pm. For some reason it felt better for me to sit down when I had contractions and at one point in the early evening I sat on the toilet and noticed I passed a giant bloody plug (sorry to be so graphic). After that came out, the flood gates of blood opened up and I called Greg over. We decided it would be best to call my Dr and head to the hospital. Of course, no one from my OB’s group was on call but the covering physician reassured me it was probably just my bloody show but to come on down anyways.
The 15 minute drive to the hospital was the longest 15 minutes of my life, complete with me sticking my head out the window and panting like a dog during contractions. We got to triage, checked in and my blood pressure was sky high. Mind you, I always have super low blood pressure, even throughout my pregnancy, so this was new for me. The nurses checked my urine for proteins and seemed like everything was fine and had me go sit in the waiting room while waiting for a room to open up.
In the waiting room, there were about 4-5 other very pregnant women with much larger bellies than me sitting around. Apparently I was the only one in labor though because they all looked at me like I had a third eye when I stood up and tried not to cry during contractions. I tried not to be irritated by them all looking at me like I was crazy and I kept running to the bathroom to fill the toilet bowl with blood. I kept walking to the nurses’ station and telling them about the blood and they assured me it was just my bloody show. I remember thinking to myself “this is no bloody show!”
After a 45 minute wait, my name was called and we got a room. My biggest concern at the time was not being dilated enough to stay, I just couldn’t imagine being sent back home at this point. When they checked me for the first time I was so relieved to hear that I was 5 centimeters dilated. Then I knew something was going wrong when they couldn’t find the baby well on the monitors and kept having me switch the side I was laying on. I really knew I was in trouble when the nurse left and came back with 5 other doctors, residents and nurses. I remember telling the nurse and my husband to get the baby out ASAP and that I didn’t care what it took. It was approximately 11:30 at night now and my good friend, a L & D nurse had come in on her day off to check me in to the hospital. I was positive something was wrong when she greeted me in the hall as I was being wheeled to L & D and had a look of concern on her face as she told me she was going to go upstairs with us. Even though something was clearly wrong, I felt a calm sense of relief and knew I was in good hands.
The next 30 minutes were a blur. My Mom arrived from from Florida and was able to meet Greg & I upstairs. I met the covering OB, a young woman who was probably around 35. She mentioned it seemed the baby was either sleeping or having trouble and she was going to do a few tests and also mentioned the possibility of a c-section for the first time. I remember a calmness in the room and completely trusting this woman with our lives. After using some sort of probe and trying to physically shake the baby awake, she broke my water to find meconium. She confidently called the c-section and calmly let me know the baby was in distress. She also told me they were not going to let the baby cry without cleaning him or her up first because of the meconium. Greg wasn’t in the room at the time because he had gone to the car to get our cord donation box and was chatting with his Mom and almost missed Jackson’s birth. He came up and a nurse threw scrubs to him as I was being wheeled into the OR.
Fifteen minutes later, Jackson was born with the cord wrapped his neck four times and was completely silent and white. His first APGAR he scored a 1. My Dr also discovered my placenta had abrupted, found a softball sized clot in my uterus and I hemorrhaged almost 2 liters in the OR.
There is a lot of talk about c-sections on Twitter; people who are angry about theirs and others who are pissed that there are too many in general. While I respect everyone’s feelings about them, I am extremely grateful for mine. I am so happy to hold a healthy 8 month old in my arms and I can’t imagine the alternative if I had not gotten the c-section when I did. If my Dr hadn’t called the c-section so soon, Jackson could have suffered from a number of disabilities or even died, not to mention I could have bled out as well. I am thankful for modern medicine and forever grateful to the physician who saved my son’s life (and possibly mine).
I felt compelled to write this to get a positive story about c-sections out there. In my opinion, c-sections save a lot of lives. Even if Jackson had been born via c-section and had no issues with the cord or placenta and scored a 10 on his APGAR, I would have viewed my experience as a positive one. I wouldn’t want to find out the hard way that a c-section was truly “necessary”- I’d rather be safe than sorry. If a baby appears to be in trouble and the OB feels safest way for he or she to be born is via c-section, I trust the physician. My scar will heal eventually and is the last thing on my mind at night when I rock my sweet son to bed. I’d never forgive myself if I had refused my c-section or decided to “wait” and my son had to live with disabilities or possibly not have even made it.