Thursday, June 20 the NBA championship game is on tv. San Antonio Spurs vs The Miami Heat and it’s a close game! I don’t know if it was the excitement or the constant ball bouncing during the game but finally I had a true contraction! After having braxton-hicks all day, everyday, I had never been so happy to feel a cramp! I didn’t want to get too excited but I couldn’t help it, I had one after another about 10 minutes apart. Then, they got closer together and closer together until they were 5 min apart. I thought “this is it! The real deal!” until, to my dismay, they fizzled out just as I finished packing my hospital bag at 4am! This on and off labor continued all weekend and my due date came and went. That day was epically unclimactic.
Monday morning l had my doctor appointment and contractions yet again. He agreed we could start try cervadil that night because I had a lot of scar tissue on my cervix. To my surprise, my contractions continued all day and got stronger as we were leaving for the hospital. Again, 4 min apart and painful but bearable. I was admitted and the cervadil inserted to soften my cervix. About a half an hour into it, active labor began! Contractions were very strong and close together now. I was was finally dilating dilating and effacing. After 2 hours, I needed no more help and they took the cervadil out and let me labor on my own.
My plan was to labor naturally and I was sticking to it. They told me she was high up at -3 station so I decided to let gravity work it’s magic and I labored standing up. The pain was intense and all encompassing, not to mention, I was having back labor but I thought I was doing a great job dealing with it. Peter massaged my back between contractions, soothing music played, and a relaxing scent filled the room. The nurse came in to check me. At 6am, I was 4 to 5 cm but to my disappointment she was still at -3 station. The nurse assured me that my bag was bulging and once it breaks she will come down.
About 30 seconds after she left the room, it happened. There was a huge pop during a contraction and then a gush of fluid and then another and another and to make it more gross, it was green. Just as dramatic as my water breaking, I burst into tears. Not really sure why, maybe it was the pain that had me loopy or the fact that it hit me that there was no turning back now. The contractions intensified even more now. They checked me a while after and I was at 5cm and this stubborn little girl was still at -3. I was disappointed but not completely discouraged…yet. The nurse suggested the epidural to help relax my abdomen and that may help bring her down. I agreed. Although, you could have told me eating pickles and ice cream would bring that baby down and I would have said bring me a gallon and a whole jar!
I’m not sure what all the hype is about the epidural because I hated it! Not only did it take forever for it to work on both sides but it felt like when your foot falls asleep but all over my entire bottom half. Not a fan at all! I got some rest, my contractions continued on the monitor and the peaks were off the charts by now. Contractions were coming every 2 min. Several hours later, they checked me again. Just 5cm and -3 station. Still. After 14 hours. The dr said those words that I dreaded hearing, “at this point, I’m going to recommend a C-section”. I didn’t know what else to do but agree but my instincts told me that it was the right decision. Here come the water works, take two.
I really wanted to try longer but I knew I didn’t want to get to 10cm and pushing and chance having a more emergent c-section. I was rolled to the OR, by now I’m delirious and everything is a blur. I remember feeling at peace once we got there, how comforting the staff was, and the relief of getting the spinal that made the awful tingling go away. Before I knew it, there were a bunch of weird abdominal sensations and all of the sudden a cry, the most beautiful sound I could ask for. Cosette Michelle del Sol was born at 11:29am weighing 9lbs and 1.5oz.
What felt like forever went by but they finally have her to me all wrapped up and perfect. It wasn’t long enough before they took her to the nursery for observation, while I was wheeled to recovery. I lay there alone, shaking from the meds, and in a completely surreal state of mind. My phone rings and Peter is on the other line with the most unexpected news. Cozy couldn’t keep her oxygen levels above 85% and was being transferred to the NICU. They say it may be because she aspirated on the meconium tainted fluid so she would need to be monitored for infection also. From the sheer stress of everything, I only remember bits and pieces of the next couple days. I don’t remember holding her when they brought her to me in her little incubator on the way to the nicu or when after 12 hours I could finally go to the nicu and see her. What I do remember were the emotional breakdowns. My perfect little girl was sick. I had a hard time coming to terms with the fact that her first 24 hours of life I was with her just 15 min of them.
I couldn’t breastfeed her and couldn’t do skin to skin and I was devastated. What made it worse was everyone would tell you about this overwhelming feeling of love that comes over you after birth. Honestly, it wasn’t there. Sure, I cared for her and felt that I would do anything for her but love? I don’t think I was there yet. She didn’t even feel like mine. She was a stranger I would visit every 3 hours. I struggled with these feelings for days. I felt guilty for feeling them but I couldn’t help it. It wasn’t until later that I accepted these feelings and that it was ok. I hadn’t been able to build a bond with her yet. Our routine in the hospital was almost robotic. Nothing had gone according plan. I think at one point my written down birth plan that I found in my bag actually laughed at me. After ups and downs throughout our stay in the nicu, we could finally go home. I couldn’t have been happier at that point. I looked forward to finally being able to build that mother-baby bond everyone talks about.
Over the past year I have beaten myself up with what ifs, criticized myself for not being knowledgeable enough to be confident I made an informed decision but as her one year came and went yesterday, I realized that I don’t need to. I had done the best with the resources I had and the only thing I can do is to improve on it. Cozy and I had a lot of catching up to do but we made it. She is an essential part of who I am and everyday our bond only grows. I will have my opportunity to have the birth I want but this time it won’t just be for myself, it will be for my family and our bond together.
Written by Jennifer del Sol
You may find Jennifer Del Sol Doula at SolBirthing