Zoey’s birth story (warning: very long, with f-bombs sprinkled throughout)
The best way to cure the struggle of writing something hard is to go ahead and write it.
I know that. I’m a writer.
But it’s taken me a month to be able to gather enough courage to write Zoey’s birth story. It was too fresh. Too painful in my mind. Even now, it’s still painful. I think with that type of trauma the only thing you can do is keep moving forward and allow the memory to fade. Besides, with a baby to take care of and a recovery to manage, you don’t have time to dwell all day on giving birth.
Anyway, I went into my doctor’s office on Monday, December 29th and did my routine ultrasound / pee in cup / get felt up combo. Still no progress on the cervix (closed up tight), no contractions that are productive, yadda yadda. My doctor was busy so another OB was handling my appointment that day. They sent me back for the ultrasound and the tech had trouble finding fluid. At one point, she looked alarmed but tried to reign it in so I wouldn’t panic. Too late. I figured I was going to be induced by the look on her face.
The attending OB read over my results. “Hmmm…it seems you have low amniotic fluid, but that’s ok because you’re only 40 weeks.”
I paused. “Um? I’m 41 weeks.”
“41 weeks. Actually, 41 and 1 today.”
The OB looked panicked and told me to wait right there before running out to flag down my doctor. She came back in 5 minutes later looking nervous.
“Er, your chart was wrong. Sorry about that.” She took a deep breath. “Since you’re 41 weeks with low amniotic fluid, your doctor would like for you to be induced.”
I shrugged. “Ok.”
Doc looked relieved. “Oh good! I’m so glad you’re taking this well. Most women would be upset. Dr. V will call you to schedule your appointment.”
I think, to be honest, I was glad I was getting induced. I was tired of people asking me if the baby was here, even my husband was getting on my nerves with his excitement and even though I personally could have waited until I was well over 42 weeks before I gave birth I was glad to be making some kind of process.
Then I went home and reality hit. Oh shit. I was getting induced. The scary I word. Fuck.
My doctor called and asked me if I wanted to go in that night. Me, not knowing that being induced takes 12 hours and doing it at night makes sense so you can sleep, said, “Nah. I’ll go in the morning.” We decided on 9 a.m. and after I hung up I proceeded to have a small mental breakdown before Googling “induction” and having a larger mental breakdown after reading all the horror stories.
We arrived at the hospital and the registration nurses laughed. “You guys look like you’re off to the guillotines!” one cracked. “Must be new parents!” My husband laughed, I did not.
“Are you excited?” the other one cooed at me. Ugh.
“No. I just want to get this over with,” I responded before signing in. They assured me they would put me in a room with a window and they did. The room was actually quite nice for a hospital.
A super nice nurse came in and proceeded to put all my fears at ease. She put in my IV, refusing to do in on the top of my hand (“That shit hurts,” was her reasoning) instead opting to put it in the crook of my arm. At the time, I was grateful. Turns out, having it in the crook of my arm was NOT a wise decision.
She also predicted that Zoey would be born on the evening of 12/30. She hooked me up to the fetal monitoring thingy and then snuck me a bunch of snacks because ‘she didn’t believe in starving women that were being induced’. Awesomesauce.I liked this lady. Time of induction: 12:30 p.m.
Cervadil was inserted and the waiting began. My husband and I chatted, I dozed and in between dozing had fun chatting with the nurse. Around 4 p.m. I started to feel a deeeeep cramping that wouldn’t go away. The nurse told me I was contracting and that was excellent. I asked if I could move around to deal with the cramps and she hooked me up to the wireless monitoring thingy. Unfortunately, the position of my stomach and the baby were making it hard for the monitor to keep track of her heart rate and my contractions. The nurse didn’t seem to concerned though. I asked for a yoga ball, but the balls they kept bringing were too short. (Note: Do tall women EVER give birth in that damn hospital?? Seriously. Get a bigger yoga ball. Gah!).
The contractions started to pick up and they were HURTING. Around 9ish that night, I finally requested an epidural. Around 10ish they came and by 11 pm I was feeling good. At 12:30 a.m. they took out the Cervadil (I was soft but not dilated) and began the Pitocin.
At 12:00 p.m. the next day, I requested they up the current epidural, not realizing it was failing. We brought in the anesthesiologist and spent half an hour troubleshooting why I’m still in pain. The Nurse suddenly decided to check me and discovered I went from 5 cm to 9 cm in 1 hour, 15 minutes causing the epi to fail. The pain I’m feeling is real, and I’m struggling to stay present with the contractions. Zoey’s heart rate starts to dip again so they cut the Pitocin.
At 1:30 p.m.- I consent to a SECOND epidural with a spinal block. I’m numbed from the armpits down, happy as a clam.
At 2:30 p.m.- The epidural fails again. I’m stuck in the bed, in excruciating pain with nothing to help me get through it.
At 4:45 p.m.- I hit 10 cm. They start to prep for me to deliver. I’m babbling with pain at this point, the baby is definitely sunny side up. It feels like I’m trying to pass concrete. I start to cry and ask where the fuck the doctor is and if she wasn’t fucking coming soon they shouldn’t have prepped me to push (verbatim). The nurse scurries out to find her.
At 6:41 p.m. on New Years Eve, Zoey was born after 25 minutes of pushing. It was the worst pain that I’ve ever felt. I cried, begged, pleaded for a c-section. I kept hyperventilating and was screaming even though the doctor and nurse instructed me not to scream (said it wasted my energy). I’m sure I scared all the other pregnant women but who gave three fucks?! My husband cried at my side. I, at one point, attempted to get up and out of the bed to escape the pain. I thrashed and pleaded some more.
Then, my doctor informed me that the baby wasn’t doing well and her cord was wrapped around her neck. She told me that she really, really didn’t want to do a c-section, and asked me to push her out. So I obliged. Two pushes, and there she was.
As I was being cleaned up, I heard the doctor tell the nurse that I had ‘resisted’ the entire pregnancy. She then came up to me and told me that I did great, that some women can deliver more easily than others. Those words echoed in my head for days afterwards. I felt like I had failed for some reason. I had a shitty pregnancy and a shitty delivery. Clearly, I wasn’t cut out to create and push out life.
The ending physical damage was a 2nd degree tear. The mental damage was me not wanting to hold my baby for about an hour after she was born (my husband had to do skin to skin with her because I was in shock and refused), having nightmares until I was almost 2 weeks postpartum, crying as I went over my labor and delivery with my husband over and over again trying to come to terms with it.
There’s really no nice and pretty way to wrap this story up. I suppose this is where I say “but I got a beautiful baby at the end!”. That’s true, but I’m not going to minimize the mental anguish it took for me to get her. And to be honest, I’m not sure I ever want to do it again. So there you have it, our little girl’s birth story.