Maggie’s Birth Story, Part 2
It’s the second and last installment of the birth story!
So, it’s Day 2 of labor, and I’m now on the third shift of hospital staff. The new shift of residents and doctors take a look and decide that labor is not progressing adequately. Even though I was 9 cm a few hours ago, everything is not happening how they think it should be.
Earlier that morning when my new nurse Vanessa started her shift and I was anticipating that delivery was right around the corner, I explained to her how important it was for me to have that “golden hour,” the hour right after delivery where it would just be me, JD and Maggie, and I would try to breast-feed. I had read all about how important this hour was for future breastfeeding efforts as well as for good, healing hormones to kick in. I had been greatly anticipating this wonderful time where JD and I get to celebrate our new addition and properly welcome Maggie, just us three. This is the one part of the birthing process that I didn’t want to budge on.
Fully understanding how important this golden hour is, Vanessa was gentle but broke the news to me: the doctors are going to tell me that a c-section was definitely the next step, no way around it. This was really upsetting news… I was pretty distraught. After 30-something hours of working hard to make this delivery happen, it felt like I had gone through all of this labor for nothing, plus it meant no golden hour. I was very emotional, mostly because I was exhausted from so much laboring but I also felt a little like a failure. Both JD and Vanessa were extremely encouraging and reassuring, explaining that the most important thing was to have Maggie here safely, and a c-section was the best way to do that. No one was going to fault me for how this had progressed, and I had definitely given it my all. (I had to agree with that!) At this time, we didn’t know why the labor wasn’t progressing, but chances were, it was not from my lack of strength or what I had done to get to this point.
Because Vanessa truly understood how much I wanted to have that golden hour, she pleaded with the doctors to give me a few more hours just to see if her “pretzel” positioning idea would make things happen naturally. I really appreciated her efforts, since it was hard for me to not see the doctors as the “bad guys who wanted a c-section.” Unfortunately, the two hours of “the pretzel” did not work, and when the doctor finally came in to deliver the final news about the c-section, I was mentally prepared for the decision.
Once it was established that we were definitely doing a c-section, for the first time in two days, things started happening quickly. I barely had time to Google “c-section” on my iPhone before the surgeon was in the room prepping me. Sadly, I don’t remember the doctor’s name who did the actual surgery (EDIT: JD says his name was Dr. Kellett, so there’s that), but when he came in to talk to us, he was calm, funny, and kind. Right before he left to prep, he turned and fist-bumped me, and I thought to myself: how funny… that’s how JD and I started all of this as we left the driveway to our home 34 hours ago. A fist-bump began the journey, and this is how we were going to end it.
The c-section was about an hour long including prep and post-op. I was completely numb from stomach down, and there was a huge sheet blocking my view. I tried not to think about how claustrophobic it all was… the sheet was 2 inches from my chin, and my arms and hands were stretched out and strapped down. Instead, I focused on how finally (FINALLY!) we were going to meet our girl.
I don’t remember much about the surgery except that I was crying my eyes out the whole time. Noticing my tears, JD and the resident anesthesiologist (also very cool and kind) taking care of me were both alarmed, asking me if I was ok. I assured them: I was just boo-hooing because I was so happy. It was all finally over… our daughter was actually arriving! Not only was I full of relief and release after 34 hours of labor but also after three years of waiting. The moment we had been anticipating was here, and behind that flimsy blue sheet, I could hear her crying!
After he was convinced that I was ok, JD went to meet Maggie while they did all the beginning post-op tests and cleanings. I could hear him talking to her and I just kept crying. It didn’t matter at this point how she got here… she was here, and we were talking to her! I was so giddy imaging what she looked like… I would soon know! JD brought her over to me, and there she was… a pale and pink, puffy, alien-looking baby. She was beautiful. And she was all ours!
Maggie was born at exactly 12 noon on February 24, 2012. She was 7 pounds, 7 ounces, and 21 inches long.
As it turns out, Maggie was faced the wrong way (not breech but facing up instead of down), and that was the reason she was not dropping or being delivered correctly. Her big head — 95th percentile, we would later learn from the pediatrician! — had essentially gotten stuck in the canal. It took the c-section for the doctors to discover this.
JD got to go with Maggie back to the nursery where they measured and did more tests while I was fixed up and wheeled back to our room. Wow, was I completely exhausted. I remember thinking I wanted to rally so that, by the time JD and Maggie got back, I could hold her, but I was feeling very cold and nauseous from the anesthesia. The resident gave me an alcohol swab to smell so the nausea went away (and it did! Need to remember that one!), but I was so weak. When JD brought her back in, I could barely hold her for a few seconds before I got so faint I had to give her back. But, after a little while, I gained some more strength, and holding her was wonderfully surreal. The “golden hour” was completely out the window, but I didn’t care. It was magical being with her and JD even with the nurses and doctors around monitoring us, post-operation.
The rest of the afternoon was a blur, but I remember being utterly weak and could barely talk. We switched from the L&D room to a You’re-Now-Parents room at some point. Anyway, I was wiped out! Our families got to meet her, and then we communicated the news to other family and friends. It was the best afternoon… Maggie was here.
So there you have it! I hope I didn’t leave you in too much suspense after Part 1, but it was such a huge process. We’re still so excited to be parents. As I still tell friends, “We’re not babysitting… she’s actually ours!”