Sunday, August 30, 2009

Birth Story - Ainsley

Birth stories are very powerful. Every mom I know has shared their's with me and I have shared mine with them. There is even a TV show that revolves around the birthing experience.

When I was pregnant with Ainsley, my eldest, I fantasized about her delivery. I dreamed about going into labour, calling my loved ones to come to the hospital, and delivering her naturally and quickly. I figured it would hurt and that I would have my epidural, push her out and then cuddle her and all would be well.

I started to get an inkling that my dreams would not come true when I had my 32 week ultrasound which indicated that she was face up. I googled this and found out that being face up during delivery made a natural delivery more difficult and often came with back labour. I read this and thought that won't happen to me. The baby will turn.

When I finally went into labour 2 days before my due date I was so excited!!! My water broke at 10:30pm just as we were getting ready to go to sleep. I then googled what this meant. The website said my contractions would start probably 12-24 hours later. I decided to have a shower and then try to go to sleep. Well, 40 minutes later my contractions were 4 minutes apart and Brett and I were heading to the hospital.

Thank goodness we went when I did because within 20 minutes of arriving at the hospital the contractions went from uncomfortable to down right unbearable. I was having contraction on top of contraction (they never told me about this in my prenatal class) and I couldn't get away from them. Yes, I was having back labour.

When the doctor came to check if my water had indeed broken, I asked if my baby was face up and she confirmed that indeed that was the case. That is when I had a sickening feeling that a natural delivery may not take place.

Soon after this I was begging for the epidural and as soon as it went in about 45 agonizing minutes later I started to feel much better. I was also 8cms. I was hopeful that maybe things would go as planned and quickly. However, when I was 10 cms, Ainsley was not making her way out and no matter how hard they tried to turn her she wouldn't budge.

I pushed for two hours and would have kept going but when they came in to check on me after pushing I could see in their faces when I asked if they thought I could deliver her naturally, that they really didn't think so.

So my dream scenario did not happen. In fact, my worst case scenario happened and I was not prepared. I had come into the hospital saying that my birth plan was to avoid a c-section and that was what I ended up having.

The c-section was not great for a number of reasons (other than having major surgery). I didn't get to see Ainsley for about an hour after the delivery which is a long time to wait to see your new baby. My milk didn't come in right away so she lost a lot of weight and so breastfeeding also did not go as I had fantasized. My body felt alien to me. I was swollen and in pain. It was hard to not be able to get up to change my new baby's diaper because it hurt so much. I felt inadequate.

I mourned the loss of a natural delivery for months and to this day I still feel a little bit sad that I will never experience that. I intellectually know that I am lucky to have had a healthy baby and to have recovered well from the experience. However, emotionally I was not prepared for this eventuality. We never talked in our prenatal class about how we would feel if our births did not go according to plan. We didn't discuss what would happen in the post-partum period (other than depression) and how we could deal with these situations.

If I could do it all over again with what I know now, I would have searched for a prenatal class that talked about our hopes and dreams but made us look at our fears and how we would deal with them should they happen.