Almost as quickly as we find out we're pregnant, we begin to envision the labor and delivery that will define our birth story. Some of us have very detailed plans and some are comfortable with letting things play out however they will. I assumed I was going to be a very natural type of deliverer. I didn't want an epidural. I didn't want intervention. And I didn't even read the chapter on Cesarean Deliveries in my childbirth prep book.
My due date came and went and I sat in the rocking chair in my baby's nursery and bawled. How is it possible that my due date has arrived and I didn't have my baby in my arms? Fast forward 10 days and I finally felt a twinge of what I thought could possibly be the beginning of my labor. Of course, I rushed to the hospital. I was so excited and ready to have this baby. Once I was in triage and examined, I was disappointed to hear the nurse tell me I was dilated to "almost 1". My contractions were barely registering and certainly not consistent. Rather than sending me home to wait it out, they decided since I was 10 days overdue, they would admit me and encourage my labor along. In the span of a few minutes, I heard "this is a really big baby", "10 days is too long to go over" and "baby has a huge head".
At this point, my birth story was no longer mine. Someone else was writing it for me. I definitely take the blame for some of that. I thought I had done adequate research and had prepared as best as I could, but really I had barely skimmed the surface. I remember feeling so anxious. I had no idea what was about to happen and I already felt defeated because of the comments I'd just overheard.
Before I knew it, I was admitted and the Pitocin was started. I wasn't encouraged to get up and move around. I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything. I was connected to fetal monitors. I was basically sitting in my hospital bed feeling the contractions come at a more intense and consistent pace but not much more. Every time they would check my dilation, it was evident that I wasn't progressing. After 18 hours, things started happening, but again, nothing I was orchestrating. Artificial Rupture of Membranes, Internal Fetal Monitor, Elevated Blood Pressure, Decreased Fetal Heart Tones and ultimately a cesarean delivery. As a result of a more emergent Cesarean, my newborn aspirated fluid into the lungs and was taken immediately to the NICU for observation.
It was almost 5 hours later that I was finally able to touch and hold my new baby. The beauty of my birth story is that my little one was healthy and actually quite perfect. So all was well. Except, I felt like I had just watched someone else's birth play out. None of it had gone as I had planned. I spent a good portion of my postpartum time thinking about what I could have done differently rather than thinking about what an amazing birth I had just had.
Now that I've been trained as a Birth Doula, I can see how everything fell into place to create the birth story I had, but didn't expect. My mission became wanting to help pregnant women know what their options are in childbirth. Helping women write their own birth story. Even if it doesn't go exactly as planned, it's good to know that you at least have a say in how everything plays out. You can make decisions based on knowledge you have and not the recommendation of everyone around you. Birth Doulas are able to help you make decisions about how and where you labor, what medications and interventions you're opposed to and with what and when you would be comfortable if medically necessary. But most importantly, we help you think through a situation before you make a final decision.
You are the author of your birth story.