An hour or so later, my doctor arrived and talked through our options. Either I got a Pitocin drip and hoped that would help me reach 10cm so I could have a go at pushing or I opted for a caesarean. He warned me that if I did choose the Pitocin, I probably had a 50/50 chance that I wouldn’t be able to get him out and I’d still need a caesarean anyway. We opted for the Pitocin and pushing, knowing that if I reached 10cm and pushed, there was a chance of complications because of him potentially being a long way down when they had to pull him out. It was a scary decision to make.
With the drip up at about 6:30pm, my contractions quickly reached 2 minutes apart. I tried to sleep, but I was terrified of the 8pm deadline I’d been given to reach 10cm. 8pm came and went and no nurses or doctors arrived. I managed about 10 minutes of sleep, but that was it. Just after 9pm 9pm, my doctor arrived and checked me. I was terrified… but it turned out that I was finally complete and almost allowed to push. He said he’d let me push for 3 hours. Everyone left us for a few minutes, so I let the BZ ladies know my good news!
I started pushing at about 9:25, watching in a mirror. I couldn’t feel a thing, so watching the bulge really helped me relax, knowing that I was pushing right. My doctor then came in again, and there were now so many people around me that I couldn’t see the mirror, which really upset me. They gave me oxygen and all stood watching the monitors behind me (that I couldn’t see) with worried faces between contractions, but told me everything was fine… and I think it really was, but of course I was convinced at the time that they were keeping something from me. My doctor then told me I’d have the baby out in 2 or 3 more pushes. 8 pushes later, I was really worried something was wrong… and the contractions kept coming and I kept pushing and they kept saying “This time! This time!”, but nothing. Then suddenly I was handed a baby. Of course I love him to pieces now, but I felt no bond to this baby at first, as I’d felt completely disconnected from the delivery, and I just felt that the doctor had stolen my ‘in utero baby’, whom I’d bonded with for 9 months, and replaced him with this unknown baby. I didn’t feel guilty for not immediately bonding with him, and felt confident that it was a ‘normal’ response. The feeling has passed now, and I’ve grown to know and love my little Sander.
A short while after delivery, DH called his family, and, as soon as we got to the postpartum room, I skyped my parents and each of my three siblings. I’m so glad we live in this day and age, as I miss them all terribly these days in particular, so it was very special to show them all our little man within 2 or 3 hours of his birth.
Lessons learned: Next time around(!), I’m going to try to be more involved in what happens, and not just allow things to be done to me. I’m not going to allow very minor breaking of my birth plan (like checking my cervix) just because it seems easier to allow the doctors to do what they want to do, as that one small deviation from my chosen path could lead to a huge chain of unwanted interventions, as it did this time. I’m going to try to focus inside myself and ignore the problems they throw at me, and I’m going to use my inner strength to fight the contractions, not let them get the better of me. I’m going with a team of midwives… and I am going to have a labour I am proud of, not one that makes me feel like a failure.
As my nurse joked towards the end, “The only thing from your birth plan that you actually got in the end was ice chips, but that’s something, right?” Yeah… I suppose so!
Jen & Chris
happy parents to the beautiful Sander