The Perfect Birth Plan
“After my experience giving birth to my son, you’d think I’d be nuts to want to go through it again. Check out Jaxon’s Birth Story to see what I mean.
I won’t lie… I was terrified. Everyone tried convincing me to just schedule a C-section so it wouldn’t happen again. Could it happen again? Would I suffer through that same horrific nerve damage as before? It had been two years, and my leg was fully healed. Did I want to go down that road again? Once we found out I was pregnant with Charlotte, I did research for hours. I poured over birth stories, and I read posts on my, ‘Moms with Femoral Nerve Damage’ group on Facebook. I decided my chances of re-occurring damage were very slim, so I started planning for a natural birth with no medication this time.
Considering I had almost made it all the way without drugs with Jax, I figured it couldn’t be much worse, right? Despite many protests from friends and family who called me insane, I was stubborn and wasn’t budging. I knew my epidural didn’t CAUSE my nerve damage, but if I hadn’t been numb, I would have felt the pain from having my nerve pinched, and wouldn’t have stayed in one position for so long. I knew what it felt like to not have numbness go away for MONTHS, and I was determined to not relive it again.
My pregnancy with Charlotte was completely different than the first time. I had horrid sciatica and back pain, and a few scares with vertigo and fainting. I was basically miserable the entire third trimester. Despite how much being pregnant SUCKED, I tried to focus on my hypnobirthing tracks, and prepare for a natural delivery. I had a very specific birth plan (I should have learned the first time, birth plans are a crock of sh*t), and spoke with my husband and doctor about what needed to take place so I didn’t have re-occurring nerve damage — no epidural, freedom to walk around and move, calm atmosphere with lavender and soothing music, I was to hold my own legs, and not push until I felt ready.
When the time finally came, lo and behold, all meticulous planning went right out the effing window.
Contractions & High Blood Pressure
I had a scare with high blood pressure at 35 weeks pregnant, but after a day or two of monitoring, it went back down. I didn’t have a history of high blood pressure, no issues my first pregnancy, and I didn’t show any other signs of preeclampsia.
A few days before I hit 37 weeks, I was having steady contractions. They were painful and frequent, but right as I would hit that magic number, within an hour they would go away. This went on for two full days. I couldn’t sleep, and I knew something was off. I was getting super frustrated, and finally, I called the doctor. He told me to come in and they’d check me out.
The morning of my appointment, I woke up and took my blood pressure, and it was HIGH. I tried to relax, took a bath, and tried to clear my mind. My husband was at work, so my mom came over, we loaded Jax in the car, and headed to the doctor. I was hooked up and was definitely having contractions, but they were spread apart. He went ahead and did a cervical check, and I was SURE I had to be dilated as I had been having two days of bad contractions.
Nope. Nothing. Nada. Closed up like a fist and not effaced at all.
I couldn’t believe all those contractions were for nothing, and just figured I had three more long weeks ahead of me. I had forgotten about my high blood pressure from earlier, but when they finally took it in the office, it was even higher. He told me they needed to wait 30 minutes, take it again, and if it was still high, I had to head next door to labor and delivery to be monitored for a few hours.
Sure enough, it didn’t go down. I mean, come on. Like the stress of already being an anxious person, being nine months pregnant, having consistent POINTLESS contractions, and trying to get my toddler to stop climbing the walls in the doctor’s office was going to lower my BP.
We headed to labor and delivery and I was hooked up to all the monitors. My dad soon joined the party, and so did my husband. Thank God I had JUST packed my hospital bag the night before, and he brought it just in case. We were all joking around and trying to get me to relax. It didn’t work. After three hours of monitoring, my doctor came in and said my BP hadn’t come down enough, and for the safety of Charlotte and I, they needed to induce me. At 37 weeks on the dot.
I knew she was technically full-term. I knew everything would most likely be fine. But this was not my plan. Needless to say, I put on a smile and prepared to meet my daughter. Three weeks early.
The next 24 hours were spent receiving FOUR doses of Cytotec to try and soften and dilate my cervix. It was THE WORST. You had to lie still for two hours to let the medicine work its magic, all while having contractions and having to pee constantly because hello… you’re pregnant. Finally, the next day, at around 3 p.m., my cervix was soft enough to start me on Pitocin. Now, up until this moment, my contractions were painful but manageable.
I was still on track to deliver naturally. I was praying the Pitocin would speed things up. Due to my high BP, I wasn’t allowed to get out of my bed (didn’t these nurses read my damn birth plan?), but finally, I convinced one of them to let me just sit and roll on my birthing ball for a bit. I knew if I let gravity do its job, it would help. What do you know, I was right.
After an hour of rolling on the birthing ball, I went to the bathroom, saw my mucus plug (thank you Jesus), and when I got back in bed, I felt a huge gush of fluid pour out of me. Gravity sure as hell did its job. It broke my water!
This is where it starts to get a little fuzzy to me, and guys, this is where SH*T GETS REAL.
Nobody told me when you have Pitocin, it takes your little sweet baby contractions and turns them into full blown head-turning, exorcist-style, DEMON contractions. Not to mention, without cushy water for baby to float around in, it makes it even more excruciating. My pain went from a 5 to a 10 in a matter of minutes, and my contractions started coming every 30 seconds to a minute. There was no break. I thought I was going to die.
All those hypnobirthing techniques I learned and practiced were freaking bullsh*t, and any woman who chose to put themselves through this pain voluntarily was bat-sh*t crazy. At least, that’s what I told myself at the time. (In reality, anyone reading this who’s given birth with no drugs is MY ULTIMATE HERO. No really, you are a goddess, and I bow down to you.)
Bring on the epidural. I just made sure to tell the nurses and anesthesiologist my story, and I needed to be super cautious. I remember having the worst pain I’ve ever experienced in my life as contractions were ripping through my body and I was expected to sit still so someone could jab a huge needle into my spine. Once it was in place, I just welcomed the relief in hopes I could finally get some rest and let myself dilate completely.
Wrong again. The next hour or two was a complete blur to me, but my husband would describe it as one of the scariest times of his life. Charlotte’s heart rate kept dropping, and the nurses were having a hard time finding it. They kept flipping me over and over to try and change the position. Right side, left side, hands and knees (all while numb from the waist down mind you.) Come to find out, her cord was wrapped around her neck, and without the cushion from the amniotic fluid, it was constricting her airflow.
They tried transferring fluid, and the doctor tried to help my cervix dilate further. They started preparing the room for delivery, but her heart rate was still dropping. Finally, the doctor came in and said he would give me 30 more minutes to try and get to 10cm so I could push, but if not, we had to do a C-section to get her out. I remember feeling so defeated, but I trusted him completely and wanted to do whatever it took for Charlotte to be here safe and healthy.
He came in and checked me again and I was almost 8 cm, but it wasn’t enough. They prepared me for surgery and wheeled me into the OR. Brett updated our family (ALL of whom were gathered in the waiting room again), and then got suited up himself and waited outside to be called in. They gave me the spinal in my epidural to completely numb me for surgery, and I could see everyone bustling around the OR getting ready. I was absolutely terrified, and I just tried to breathe.
Just as they were putting the sheet up to block my view, I saw the doctor between my legs. All of a sudden, I started hearing everyone scream PUSH, PUSH, PUSH. I could see two nurses holding my legs up, and the anesthesiologist was holding my head and telling me to bear down.
Wait, WHAT? I was so confused. Push what? I’m pretty sure there isn’t any pushing involved with a C-section. Was I tripping from the drugs? I was on the freaking OR table!
Apparently, Charlotte’s head was crowning, and something told my doctor to check again down there, at the last minute. I had absolutely no feeling in the lower half of my body, so I had no earthly clue if I was even really pushing, but I just told myself to pretend I was taking a huge poop, and pushed with everything I had! Then, it dawned on me Brett wasn’t there, so I started yelling for someone to get my husband. Once he appeared next to me, it took three more big pushes, and she was here.
At 10:43 p.m., after God knows how many hours of scary labor, I naturally delivered my beautiful baby girl, Charlotte Jean. On a cold, steel table in the operating room just minutes before I was to be cut open for a C-section.
After they got me onto a real bed and handed me my perfectly healthy new baby, I was wheeled into my room. I had the most horrible shakes and chills, but I only had one thing on my mind. The nurses gave me some time to regain feeling back in my lower half as I was completely numbed for surgery, and then they came in and asked if I was ready to try and walk to the bathroom.
I took a deep breath, swung my legs over the bed, gripped onto Brett, and gingerly put pressure on both legs. I was a bit wobbly, but I could freaking stand. I could stand! I slowly made my way to the bathroom by myself, and successfully put my OWN diaper on this time. I can’t describe that feeling, knowing I’d been through hell and back getting Charlotte here, but I could walk. It was incredible
I had a daughter. Three weeks early, but healthy and gorgeous. I had a loving husband and a beautiful son who stayed up WAY past his bedtime to meet his little sister, and it was perfect.
But yeah… I think we’re done now. I don’t even want to know how I could top these two births, and I don’t think I ever want to find out.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Mari Ebert. You can follow her journey on Instagram, Facebook, and her website. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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