Expectations vs. Reality

We all have this idyllic image of how we want our birth to go. Some moms choose an at home setting and some choose a hospital. Some moms want a vaginal birth free of medications and interference, others want a vaginal birth with an epidural and any type of medical intervention that they deem fit. Some moms opt for a C-Section and some moms have no other choice than to have one. No matter what you choose, your birth plan is the way that you truly wish to bring your new bundle of joy into the world, and any way you envision is the right way for you. Period.

As soon as we found out Luca was going to be arriving I decided I wanted nothing more than an epidural or a water birth. Two very contrasting ideas when it came to giving birth. One meant I’d be in a bed until I birthed my child free of pain, and the other meant that I could freely walk around, hop on a ball, and soak in a pool till he was born; except I’d feel everything until he decided to arrive. For me, the deciding factor was the pain. I believe in the grand scheme of things my pain tolerance is not on the lowest of the spectrum, but it definitely was not high enough that I thought I could endure contractions and then pushing without some type of help. And that was okay. It was my birth and I deserved to have what I wanted and not be shamed for it.

Midway through my pregnancy I developed some pretty awful round ligament pain. For those who haven’t had a baby, your body has to stretch in all different types of ways to accommodate for a baby. The ligaments that keep your insides nice and tight need to stretch to accommodate your new houseguest, and for some this can hurt tremendously. Well for me, it definitely did. Pain very often is also a trigger for my MS symptoms because pain=stress & stress=potential flare up. Because of this out flew my birth plan of letting baby come when baby wanted to, and in came the discussion of possible induction at 39 weeks if the pain didn’t ease. Which it didn’t. In fact it got so much worse that I cried pretty much my last few weeks, but we are getting ahead of ourselves.

At 28 weeks I began to have steady cramping pain, which at the time I believed were contractions, but truly I was just dehydrated and my body was rebelling. But I remember when we arrived at L&D to be checked a nurse thought my water had broken, and when you’re sitting there only in the first week of your third trimester having the bed rest & NICU talk your heart kind of sinks, your anxiety begins to escalate to levels you did not know it could reach, and you pray. You pray until you can’t any longer. However, my water did not break and Luca was still snug as a bug in his little water home.

COME 38 WEEKS. As I sit there crying in the doctors office yet again, she decides we are no longer going to induce me because she doesn’t want to run the risk of a C-Section to possibly, if not inevitably, throw my body into a nasty flare. Now, with us being 10 months away from this conversation, I must completely agree with her decision. But then, immersed in pain, I was a very angry, very pregnant little firecracker. And that was that, I had no say. A few days later on April 6th I thought I went into labor. I did not, but She did strip my membranes (Oh My God did that hurt-the internet lied. I know, shocking.) which I think was mainly to help because in part I believe she felt a little bad.

Come April 7, 2017- one day short of 39 weeks- and I’m hopping on my yoga ball praying to the contraction god that this child would exit. I start getting pains again. Braxton Hicks or real contractions- the true question centered around every labor and delivery story. Drink some water and lay on your side, if they go away they’re Braxton Hicks. They did not. At this time I was also in the mindset of giving birth in the town we had lived in a few months prior, roughly 35-40 minutes away, even though there was a wonderful hospital about two minutes away. Again, getting ahead of myself. I time the contractions. 7-6-5 minutes apart. Okay time to call the doctor and see what she wants me to do. I did not, under any circumstances want this child born in my home or my car. I called the doctor in my old town to see what I should do, and low and behold out of the three I favored in the clinic I went to, none were on call. In fact the only doctor on call was the one I refused to go to because she was too nasty, and way too rough. She told me not to move until they were two minutes apart.

So me being the stubborn person that I am decided that if the doctor I did in fact like that was at the hospital near me (I had seen her a few times from my many false alarms) was on call I’d just go to her. Just in case. Lo & behold she was. She told me to come in to get checked. When we arrived they placed the normal band contraptions on my stomach to see what was going on and if I was actually in labor or not.

Side story: Due to my weight loss surgery I had a really soft tummy pre-baby because of excess skin from losing over 200lbs. It always took doctors FOREVER to find Luca because of this and each and every time I had to make a joke of it even though it bothered me tremendously to never have a “proper” pregnancy bump. One nurse told me at 34 weeks that I just don’t have a pregnant belly. I’m sure it was the hormones but I cried for a solid hour- yeah I’m pretty sure it was the hormones.

After twenty minutes of trying to find my typical hiding child they got both monitors in the correct place and found that I was indeed having contractions. Hooray, the hopping had worked! But had I progressed anymore than I was in the office only a few days prior? After the grueling cervical check, no. However, this wonderful doctor did order an ultrasound because of excess fluid coming out, and upon the scan realized little mans fluid was low. So at about 3:30 AM I was moved to a delivery room to be induced on the date I was originally meant to be induced on. Moments later upon being checked we had moved to about a 3/4. I was allowed to have the epidural whenever I wanted but me being the everlasting martyr that I am said I’d wait a bit and see what happened. Moments later my water broke, and I can still remember the nurse saying “Oh now the intense ones are coming.” I laughed. We all laughed. I was so naive. BUT did Luca have the best timing or what?

Five. Minutes. Later.

Have you ever seen an exorcism? Where the people are arched in the bed screaming as if the devil is ripping itself out of their body? That was me in labor. My entire body would go rigid and I’d scream. Profanities. Oh Jesus why me. Why me. I can’t do this. I change my mind. Hate to my fiancé. The works. The poor other women on the floor. Why no one told me to be quiet I do not know. I think it was time for that epidural, if only to save the other mothers who would also be going through this that night. So in comes a nice man with a long needle to put some nice stuff into my back. Anthony comes around and tells me to breathe- ha- and says count with me. Ladies who are pregnant: this is the most magical thing in the world. I managed to sit still through two or three contractions while they did my epidural and I don’t remember feeling the pain as intensely during that time.

My epidural failed. Oh how angry I was.

They tried again. Yes, I let that man stick me in my back twice. But you know what? I felt nothing after that until they switched it off at around 8AM when I had reached a 10.

2 hours of pushing later, out popped little Luca. 6lb 6.62 oz and 19&1/2 inches long.

My birth plan did not turn out the way I had originally envisioned. I didn’t get a magical epidural that worked properly or a beautiful water birth, but I did have a baby that was born healthy & alive. Isn’t that the end goal? To get them here and healthy? Let us try not to put so much stress on ourselves when it comes to the way in which we birth our children. If your plan goes correctly, great, but if not look down at that blessing because we go through the obstacles for them. To get them here.

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