At the beginning of May, I had my last ultrasound. Aurora was measuring at 6.5 pounds, in which we were told that she would grow at a half-pound per week. Her due date being on June 9th, meant that she would be about 9/9.5 pounds. My jaw fell to my chest, but I knew that it was a possibility. I had been diagnosed with gestational diabetes at the end of March and was able to maintain everything with just diet and exercise. This did not fully surprise me on her size.
My husband and I expressed our concern about her current size and questioned whether or not a cesarean section would be expected. We were told that ultrasounds are usually off by a pound or two, give or take. GIVE OR TAKE?! I couldn't imagine she was more than that! All I knew was that she was "feeling" heavy. We were told that we would not go past 40.5 weeks and induction would happen if she didn't make things happen by her due date, due to my gestational diabetes.
June 9th approached quickly and in our last prenatal appointment, we learned that I was not dilated, at all. Induction was scheduled for that Monday, June 10th, at 8:00 am.
My husband and I went over all of the possibilities and ran through all of the "what-if" scenarios. We had a birth plan that we knew would be altered but went through it again in all types of ways with different outcomes. We had discussed the c-section route before but never knew what that entailed. We did a small amount of research but weren't really mentally prepared for it.
Walking into the hospital on the morning of June 10th, I was so unsure of what was to be expected, all I knew was that I couldn't wait to meet my baby girl!
As I rode the elevator and shuffle/waddled while slightly arched forward due to the heaviness of my belly, I knew that I couldn't wait for my baby girl to be here, no matter what. We didn't have a preference as to how we wanted to give birth, just that we wanted our daughter here safely. I fully knew that I wanted to try my hardest to push off an epidural as long as I could, but wanted to have the epidural for comfort more for the anxiety of the pain. I knew that I personally wasn't going to be able to have a "natural" birth, and was not opposed to anything that needed to be done.
At 9:25 am the induction started, Pitocin drip. I sat as comfortably as I could, in a hospital gown and tall socks, watching a movie marathon on TV. As the hours went by, my husband and I passed the time with the humor of funny videos, every giggle was accompanied by a nurse walking in to increase the Pitocin. (Note to self, watching funny videos helps take the intensity of the pain down). As the hours of the morning quickly turned into the early evening, progress was being made, but very little.
Between the frequent dilation checks, staff shift changes and my water being broken by the midwife, I FINALLY started to feel the Pitocin working. Labor pains started to increase. I wanted to labor in the water so my husband assisted the nurses to make this happen for me.
I hadn't had the epidural yet, because I wanted to hang in there a little longer.
The Pitocin was increased again before getting into the labor bathtub. All of a sudden I was vomiting over the railing of the bed and on to the floor. Apparently, the quick increase of the Pitocin did not agree with what my body was trying to do.
As I got into the bathtub the contractions were VERY strong. The bathtub helped the contractions, as I sat there letting my lower body float on top of the water.
I finally requested the epidural and then instantly asked if it had arrived, just seconds after asking for it. (Note: if you want an epidural, ask for it as soon as you know you want to have one and start to get uncomfortable, you will not be reminded and it takes a while.)
I got out of the bathtub to try to find a better position to be in until the anesthesiologist arrived with the epidural. What felt like forever, only 30 minutes, the anesthesiologist finally arrived! The computer system got locked and they could not process through the epidural prescription. At this point, my contractions were very close and I was in active labor. I had no control over pushing and it was a strange feeling.
Apparently, you are not able to have an epidural when you are in active labor.
As my contractions increased, with the Pitocin still dripping through my IV line, it was getting close to impossible to sit still. Your body contracts and pushes all on its own, this was interesting to experience, as it felt I had no control over my body.
The epidural finally went in and now my body was able to focus on the task at hand, time to push! As the epidural kicked in, I started to not be able to feel my legs. I couldn't tell if I was really pushing my hardest or not.
My husband was holding my legs as I pushed, and the midwife said she should be out in an hour. ONE HOUR?! That seemed like a very long time. Fast forward FOUR HOURS, that's right, FOUR HOURS of pushing later. We were faced with the decision of having to use the "vacuum" or do a c-section. The midwife told me I would only have three pushes to get her out, or she may be in distress if we used the vacuum.
Tired and exhausted, I sat there and agreed to attempt the vacuum approach. The midwife and doctor on call, called in the team. After further consideration and seeing how exhausted I was, my husband made the executive decision to opt for a c-section instead. I agreed it was the better option as well.
He consulted the midwife, nurses and on-call doctor about this decision. They prepped me for the surgery and gave my husband a pair of scrubs. His face looked worried, mine was exhausted and relieved that she would be here so soon. I had no idea what was ahead but I knew that it was almost over and soon our daughter would be in our arms.
I rolled down to the operation room, where awaited 12 on-call staff members, all waiting to do this. The time was in the early AM of June 11th. Everyone looked tired but had high spirits and positive vibes for me. Each one excited and distracting me from the intensity of the room.
I wasn't scared, everything seemed safe with so many people in the room, ready to help if needed. The anesthesiologist helped me get comfortable with more medication to numb everything from the waist down. I was ready to go, they called my husband in.
He was nervous, I was reassuring him everything would be okay. The anesthesiologist stayed up close with us to talk us through distraction. He asked if we had a phone or camera and if we wanted him to take pictures. We were too afraid to watch, so we preferred the curtain to be up.
The room was a nice temperature, as I was hot upstairs while pushing. It felt cool but not too cold. The medication caused me to shiver, but I didn't feel cold.
Moments later I hear a little squeak. I looked at my husband with instant tears in my eyes and asked, "Is that her?!" He looked at me and said, "Of course it is, she is here!"
Tears fell down my face and his as well. She was whisked away to the on-call pediatrician to evaluate her. Just a few seconds later I hear a small cry, she is carried over to me and was a chunky little muffin! She was placed on my chest and instantly stopped crying. She touched my face and my heart melted. At 4:33 am, Aurora Leigh was finally here and she was perfect! Aurora means "dawn" and just as the sun was rising, she came into our world.
At the end, it didn't matter to me the way that she got here, just that she was safe. This unplanned c-section led me to the happiest of endings, still getting to hold my daughter. As the doctor was putting everything back (shiver), he said that her shoulders were so broad that she probably wouldn't have "fit" the "other" way with ease. It looked like we made the right choice.
We went into the recovery room for one hour, to be sure that the medicine was wearing off nicely. There Aurora was latched on to breastfeed. My husband, Aurora and I were able to bond during this time, as doctors were coming in to check on us. We were over the moon.
After that hour, we were brought back up to our room in the maternity wing. Not long after, I was asked to stand and try to walk a little bit. Movement is key within the first day, to help your recovery and to make sure the blood is flowing in your legs.
I first stood up and my legs were shaky, it was weird to stand and notice that I was no longer pregnant. You will still feel small contraction type feelings in your belly for a little while. That was weird to me. Noticing that just 24 hours earlier, Aurora was in my belly and kicking away and now she was laying in her Dad's arms as I relearned how to stand.
After practicing walking and moving and finally going into the bathroom alone, I definitely recommend taking all of the assistance that you can get at first. For me, I am not someone who likes assistance and find it difficult to ask for help. After the c-section, it was easy to ask for. I physically could not do much.
Before my c-section, I wish I was more educated on the process, and normalcy of it. Today, we are all normalized with wanting a "natural" birth that it makes it challenging to accept the reality of anything else. I had my thoughts and opinions on how I wanted to give birth and any of the ways had pros and cons and the reality of it was, she was coming whether it was my "dream" way or not.
Thinking back to my surgery and the days and weeks and months that have followed, I don't have any regrets and am comfortable with the choice that was made. I was still able to bond well with my daughter right away and so was my husband. Especially with how large she was, 9 pounds and 4.5 ounces, it is a fair assumption (as the doctor said) that he positioning wouldn't have allowed her to come out any other way.I am grateful to have such an amazing support system and a husband who can advocate for our family.
The recovery process was challenging, only because I couldn't do a lot on my own for a while. I was lucky to have my husband home with me for two weeks. Those two weeks allowed me to rest and have assistance doing things throughout the day. Today, at almost 5 months postpartum, I have a slight soreness in my stomach where my pant line lands. I am still wearing leggings or my maternity jeans for comfort in that area, hoping it will pass with time.
My husband and I discussed what we would like to do for our next child, and though my incision allows me to attempt a vaginal birth after my c-section (VBAC), we have opted to have a c-section for our second child, whenever that may be.
Good luck and know that you are not alone!