Warning: there is some (what some would consider) slight grafic medical terms.
My Precious little Jasmine Joy's birth story.
"Please" I said "I don't want a C-section" I begged with true tears stinging my eyes.
"You are 38 weeks, your baby is transverse. It is too dangerous if you go into labor with a transverse baby."
I looked down at my huge belly, it was square and moving. "What if she changes positions?"
My Doctor shook her head. "she is a big baby and is running out of room to move."
"I don't want a c-section."
"You want a live baby don't you."
I cried freely as I nodded my head.
She took pity on me. "We will give her till after Thanksgiving to turn, if not then I will have to section you."
I went home and the next few days I spent more time crying than not. I tried to talk to many people yet nobody seemed to understand me. 'people have c-sections all the time its not the end of the world' so I heard time and again.
Well, it was a big deal to me, I didn't consider major abdominal surgery the equivalent of an in grown toe nail removal. I didn't want scar tissue 2 inches deep, from my stretched marked skin to my bladder. I wanted a live baby, and I didn't know any better but to wallow in fear and dread.
Was there someone, somewhere who understood my fear of being cut open? Was there someone somewhere who could understand that I wasn't being selfish and thinking only of myself but that I was just genuinely terrified of surgery?
I talked to my brother who is a pastor missionary in Mexico, who encouraged me to substitute my complaints and fears for time in prayer. And so I did. God gave me strength to confront my fears, but I never did have total peace about it.
The morning I was suppose to go in for my last sonogram at the doctors office I drew my bath and lay in the warm soothing water with my 19 month old with me. I prayed silently while she splashed in the water, and I jumped when my phone started ringing. I reached over and picked it up. It was my doctor.
"Have you eaten anything yet? Good, don't eat and don't drink anything because I am going to have to do surgery on you."
"yes ma'am" I said my voice sounding hollow and dry, I imagined I sounded like a woman on death row without hope.
I quickly finished my bath and got myself ready as Nubun dressed Evie.
I couldn't stop crying.
I had so many emotions flying around in my head I couldn't calm down to settle on one, I had no peace about it all. I should have just trusted in the Lord, but I knew something was wrong and was ignorant on what it was.
I thought doctors knew it all and should be trusted.
C-sections are not that rare, what was the big deal? I kept asking myself. I felt guilty about not being excited that I was to meet my new healthy baby soon. I cared for the well being of my baby. Yet I was terrified to be cut open where my innards would be exposed to the open air. I was terrified of the pain I'd have to go through afterwards while taking care of a newborn and a toddler. I was terrified of the cold, metal table I'd be laid on in that sterile room at the hospital.
I shook my head as to clear it while brushing my hair I stopped and looked in the mirror, the eyes looking back at me were sad and empty. I tried smiling but it just looked fake.
As I was headed out the door I handed over my toddler to my little sister, it was the first time I had ever left her for more than 10 minutes at a time, and it made me ache, to leave her now. Nobody could say I didn't love my babies, even my unborn ones. Then I said good bye to my Mom, and I had tears running down my cheeks and dripping off my chin.
"Mom, I'll take the pain of childbirth. I won't take any pain medicine if only I don't have to have a c-section! Pray for me."
She gently wiped the tears off my cheeks and said she would.
As we walked into the doctors office my doctor looked at me and let out a loud sigh of relief.
"Thanks to you I couldn't enjoy my turkey." She went on to explain that she was so worried about me going into labor with a transverse baby that she couldn't enjoy her turkey and dressing on Thanksgiving.
I grinned, strangely enough I found that statement endearing.
I lay down on her examination table and waited for her to tell me the position of my baby. She felt of me then frowned and reached over for the machine to give me a sonogram.
"Is she head down?" I immediately felt a ray of hope.
She didn't answer but went on to do the sonogram. She looked at the screen and looked at it again. "Your baby's head is down"
I couldn't believe it! Oh me of little faith! I had prayed for that but I couldn't believe it! I started screaming with sheer glee and I reached over and grabbed my doctors hands and kissed it like a dork.
"Thank you thank you thank you!" I kept on repeating and although I was looking at her I was thanking the Lord for looking after me and my 'selfish' desire of a vaginal birth.
I was breathing heavily with excitement, I was in a state of childish glee and I couldn't snap out of it.
"Do you want to go over to the hospital right now and get induced before the baby turns again?"
"YES!" I couldn't shout it out fast enough. "Yes, right now!"
Compared to a c-section induction sounded mighty friendly to me.
On the way to the hospital which was about 4 blocks down I called everybody I could and shouted on the phone "She's head down! I'm gonna get induced before she flops again!" then I'd hang up and call the next person.
Nubun was excited also and when we walked into that hospital we were both wearing smiles from ear to ear.
I was immediately placed flat on my back and on that hospital bed strapped to a fetal monitor, another strap that measured my contractions, an IV and a clip on a finger to monitor my pulse, and they put a Cervadil in me to thin out my Cervix. I could not move, I was strapped down. I couldn't walk or the Cervadil would fall out. I was still on cloud nine that I wasn't being cut open, that I was 'given' the chance to labor, and I was so excited I was hyperventilating!
Because I was so excited I started to black out when the nurse was talking to me. She kept on asking me questions I couldn't answer because I couldn't concentrate. She got impatient, and frowned and looked me directly in the eyes.
"Pay attention!" she said and didn't stop to ask what was the matter with me. Even told her I didn't feel good to give me a second and she just ignored me and kept asking on. She didn't care, a person who cares acts like they care. After a while I settled down and quieted my excited heart so that I would breath normally. Then I was hungry, starving really but my doctor said I couldn't eat anything. I begged and begged the nurse to call her to let me eat. She kept saying no. My tummy growled loudly and after a while the nurse came in and said "ok Dr Rastogi said you can eat."
That stale and dry turkey sandwich was simply heavenly! I didn't eat -it I inhaled it whole!
Take two: I was gripping the side of the bed with one hand and squeezing the life out of Nubun's arm with the other as the second nurse checked me.
The second nurse couldn't find my cervix either so they called yet another one in. As the third nurse was putting those blue rubber gloves on I teared up and even jumped a little when I heard the snap as the rubber stretched. More torture. I braised myself once more. This one reached as far as she could for a long time, she had a confused look on her face when she finally stopped and asked me if I was ok.
"I'm ok" (I have learned since then that I have a posterior cervix.)
"That's good. I am sorry you had to go through all that. Unfortunately you are not dilated at all yet. I'm sorry, but it is ok we are here to help you out."
I looked down at my belly and could see my baby still floating around high up, I couldn't tell if she was head down or not but I definitely knew she was not in position or ready to be born at all. But I kept on thanking the Lord she was head down at least when the threat of a c-section had appeared. Before 6 that morning the nurse came in to give me Pitocen. I dreaded this moment because I knew once they gave me Pit my contractions would no longer be merciful. As she was putting the induction drug in my IV I asked her a little sheepishly. "Do I have to have that?"
She looked at me with a frown on her face, you know the type, 'Well, uh-duh.' But she actually just mumbled a "Yes" and continued on.
I immediately started getting hard contractions, but I didn't say anything except to my husband. After mere minutes they checked me for dilation. I was not dilated at all, still. The nurse reached over and upped the Pitocen.
The contractions started getting harder but were still manageable. "What's your pain level?"
"a three" I said bravely then was immediately sorry I said 3 because she reached over and upped the Pit some more. The next contraction slammed me and I opened my mouth with a silent scream My husband held my hand as I trembled through wave after wave of unnatural pain. The nurse left the room and came back in a few minutes later and asked about my pain level. I told her it was a 7 --I thought a 7 was suppose to be bad, but evidently my lack of pain was an annoyance to her because she reached over and turned the Pitocen on higher.
In under an hour she had started the Pit and turned it up 3 times and left the room. The next few minutes was the most intense and painful time of my life, my contractions were hitting me like concrete waves, they took my breath away, I couldn't breath, I felt like I was dying. My whole body shook and I couldn't talk even in between contractions, the room felt like a dark cave of liquid pain, I was looking through a tunnel everything was foggy and when the nurse came in she looked at me go through a contraction and then asked "What is your pain level...."
"TEN!" I screamed but I couldn't say anymore because the seconds between contractions were in the single digits. Finally! The nurse was probably thinking--she is in enough pain.
"You want an epidural now?" I couldn't talk I could barely open my eyes and I totally forgot all about not having an epidural but just violently nodded my head. She called the anesthesiologist and I suffered through contraction after contraction of the most cruel intensity, flat on my back. My baby was posterior also so it was intense back labor. After calling the anesthesiologist she put on her rubber gloves and checked me for dilation one more time. I was at an 8. In 45 minutes I had gone from a 0 to an 8. She quickly called the anesthesiologist and rushed her.
I was in a fog when she came and have no idea how I managed to sit up and be still for that needle to go in my back. They laid me back down and waited for the epidural to take effect. My next contraction came in full force and the worse one yet. After it passed by I gathered all my energy... "It didn't work!" I cried then tensed up with the horror of the next contraction.
"She dilated too fast" the nurse explained "the epidural didn't have time to catch up."
Hmmmm... I wonder why I dilated so fast? Could it be that she over dosed me with Pitocen? Even after I told her I reacted fast to it with my first baby?
They checked me again, and only a little past an hour after they started me with Pit and I was fully dilated. Since the epidural didn't work they gave me a spinal and numbed me from belly down. I didn't feel anything. I cried with relief and smiled as I wiped sweaty hair out of my eyes. The doctor came and and looked at me, not my face, but down there.
"How are you feeling?"
"I'm ok now" Yes, after just a little past an hour of the most intense and excruciatingly painful Pitocen contractions I was fully dilated and effaced, but she was at a -2 position. Nubun said he could barely see her head she was way far up there.
"What should I do?" I heard my doctor say, talking to the nurse "Go to the break room and have some coffee?"
The nurse told her "yes" and she left me.
The nurse reached inside and told me to push. I tried but couldn't feel anything to push. She would shake her head and say "you are not pushing hard enough" I would apologize like an idiot and push harder with the next contraction. She was trying to turn her manually from a posterior position to anterior with each contraction and push. I don't know how long we did that but it seemed like hours. (it wasn't that long) Finally my doctor finished her coffee break and came in to catch the baby. Unfortunately my baby was still way up high and not ready or willing to come out yet.
I can not remember the order of things my memory of that time is foggy, but at some point and time she broke my water. I had polyhydraminios and it came gushing out faster than a fireman's water hose, spraying the doc right in her face, thankfully for her she had a clear mask on, but I thought that was pretty cool and I still chuckle two years later thinking about it.
I pushed for the doctor again and again and again. I still remember the machines in the back ground beeping and the nurse counting "One, two, three, push! Four, five, six...." After a short while the doctor got out her scissors and cut a long episiotomy down my perineum and kept on stretching me and stretching. When the baby still didn't want to come out she got her scissors out again, and cut on the side this time. When that didn't produce a baby she cut me down the other side and reached in with both hands and stretched in the most gruesome way. Nubun told me later that the two nurses that were 'observing' the procedure looked away it was just so. Well. Gruesome.
There was blood everywhere and Nubun held my hand tight, but didn't tell me a word of what was going on to me, till days later.
Finally after a little less than an hour she came out, sunny side up and blue but she was out and plopped onto my belly. I looked at her and started crying.
"Why do you want to know?" and never told me.
I was so excited and happy I finally got to hold my baby and nurse her. She was hungry and nursed very well right off the bat!
I remember Nubun and I gazing at her that day, I was holding her in my hospital bed and she was just so beautiful, so stunning and so perfect. I played with her little toes and tuched her dainty little fingers, I didnt have to count I knew she was just right.
After a few hours my pain medication and spinal wore off and I was in excruciating pain! Again, but this time it was a different kind. When I think about Jasmines birth I try to avoid the post birth memories but I can't help it, I am still hurt emotionally from it, the pain afterwards is still so vivid and so traumatizing, even humiliating. It took me a long time to recover.
What is worse is that I know Jasmine had a rough start, it wasn't a walk in the park for her. It wasn't gentle or sweet the way she was born. She struggled and I am sure she was scared and miserable.
Jasmine has brought so much joy to our lives, with such a different character. She is sweet, hard headed, stubborn, and extremely loving. She is crazy about her big sister, and can't get enough of her baby sister, and would be happy if her Mommy or Daddy held her all day, everyday. I love her so much and thank the Lord for His mercies in giving me my beautiful baby girl.
Jasmine Joy 8lbs 3ozs
19 and a half inches
December 1, 2009----she truly is my little JOY!
Just a note: I look back on Jasmines birth and I think I could write a book on where it all went wrong, how it could have been different, how unnecessary the cascade of interventions were and how shamefully ignorant I was.
After my 6 week post natal check up, I said good bye to that doctor and never saw her again, and I never looked back.
Jasmines birth pushed me to educate myself about natural birth for my third time around. I also had sweet and knowledgeable friends that helped me along. And as I predicted, with my third baby I once again had polyhydramnios and a high transverse baby by my due date. Yet, because I knew better, and matured in knowledge and characterI had perfect peace, no fear, an uneventful, natural, and intervention free third birth. 11 days past my due date, out of a hospital--- with an experienced midwife. That's another story though.
As underserving as I am, God has been good to me!