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Birth Stories


Stories of Birth, Pregnancy, and Newborns

Birth ButterflyThe 3rd Child and the Scare of a Lifetime

By Jessica McDowell

Most pregnant women hear the word "c-section" and tune out the rest. 'It-won’t-happen-to-me' syndrome takes over and then they hear no more. I know, I was one of those women. This is my story about the hardships from my caesarian section.

For a number of reasons I figured I was safe from having one. Of course I was wrong. One of the reasons for feeling secure was that I’d already had two healthy vaginal deliveries. Both went smoothly and two healthy babies came from them. I now know that this just decreases the risk for a c-section and nothing completely rules one out since there are too many unknowns that can and do happen during any delivery. This is why your doctor always brings up the topic in your prenatal visits, a  just-in-case type of conversation to prepare you for the chance. Some good free advice so listen! It really does help to prepare you if you do have one.


Beginning of Labor

My labor started off pretty normal. We had decided to induce since I had just passed my due date and I feared going too far over because my son had been so big. All was going well for the first couple of hours. I got checked in and they had tried to rupture my water before trying pitocin. I had been walking the halls trying to get the contractions I had been having to intensify.

Finally the second time around my water at least was punctured and my contractions grew in their pain level. I had asked for an epidural and all was well and progressing normally. I began to feel ‘different’ as I told the doctor. A little light headed and just not myself. Since I had had two other epidurals with my other deliveries they felt I knew what I was talking about when all I could say was something doesn’t feel right.

The doctor came in and checked my cervix. While I was dilating normally the baby seemed to move up and I was told that was very unusual and some cause for alarm. They were further alarmed when my babies’ heartbeat had dropped significantly. They tried turning me from side to side.  When I was asked to get on my hands and knees I knew what was coming.


A scare of a lifetime

I remember my doctor calmly leaning down and getting my spoken permission to perform the c-section, while the rest of the room was in a sort of structured chaos. Nurses seemed to be everywhere at once unplugging things from walls, throwing scrubs at my husband, and making sure I was prepared to head down the hall.

The staff was wonderful and constantly reassured me in what they realized for me was a scary time, even though it was a practiced routine for them. Looking back I appreciate that greatly. It calmed me that they didn’t panic or worse ignore me.

While in surgery I was awake, since I had already had the epidural in place. They only had to increase the medicine.  Since I was awake my husband got to be in there with me. That was a big help to calm me too.

It only took about ten minutes for my little girl to be born once they got me into the surgical room. Once she was born my husband got to bring her over for me to see her. It was extremely tough not being able to really touch or hold her. I got to see her for about five minutes before they needed to get her into the nursery to be weighed and checked.

My husband went with her and while I was glad to know she wasn’t alone, I was nervous about being alone myself. The anesthesiologist however was very good at his job. He kept me talking after my baby was born and my husband had gone with her while they finished sewing me up. It truly kept my mind busy with something other than just what I knew was happening even though I couldn’t see or feel it.


Birth of our precious baby girl

My daughter was born at 12:09 pm, but I wasn’t out of surgery and recovery until about 3:30 pm that afternoon. I don’t remember it feeling like that long, probably because I was in and out of sleep during my time in recovery. My family told me that it seemed like an eternity before they got to see me for themselves and know that I was truly okay.

Being in their shoes I could see how they felt. Personally I’m glad it didn’t seem like that long because I would have been going nuts to be with my little girl if it had.


Recovery and relearning

The first eighteen to twenty hours after my c-section went fine. I didn’t have much discomfort because they had given me something to keep me numb even after the epidural was removed. At about twenty seven hours is when my journey back to myself began and it was extremely painful to say the least.

All my pain medicine besides some Motrin and Percocet had warn off and it was time for me to get out of bed for the first time since surgery. The benefit was I also got to take a shower so that was a good incentive since I felt beyond filthy. It was the worst pain of my life. I had to relearn everything it seemed, since for awhile at least the things I was used to doing I couldn’t just do.

Most were very simple things such as sitting up or trying to get up had to be reprogrammed into me. I had to use only my arms and legs to lift myself without using my middle. Getting out of bed became a series of rolling onto my side, adjusting my legs, and simultaneously lowering my legs to the floor while using my arms to pull myself  upright. All the while I felt this white-lightning burning pain throughout my stomach.

When I finally got the courage to stand, my thinking that the pain couldn’t get worse was way off base. I remember crying but wishing I could stop because it hurt to cry since it moved my inside stomach muscles. Those first few steps I took to my first shower were the hardest I think ever in my life.

Without my husband and a wonderful nurse, I don’t think I would have gotten through it at all. My husband held me and fought tears himself, but his solid presence helped me tremendously. My nurse was amazing. She didn’t belittle my pain or rush me through anything. She kept encouraging me to think past the pain and remember my baby and children at home was why I was going through this, so that I could get back to them.
Once back into bed she promised each time I got up it would be a small bit easier. She was right. I didn’t feel relief the next time I got up and it was still a huge pain, but it did get easier in small bits. It helped that I was determined to get home to my older kids and I wanted to be my old self again. It was very slow going, but I left the hospital two days later with strict instructions to take it easy.

Believe me I did. I found that I actually missed those uncomfortable hospital beds since at least they helped to sit you up or get you out of bed. I ran into some depression since my recuperation was so much longer as well. It was hard to just be able to barely care for yourself. A trip just to the bathroom that first week would wear me out to the point of complete exhaustion. It was all I could do to have the energy to nurse my baby and try to read stories to my older kids so that I could have some type of time with them.

However, my nurse was right, and after two weeks I could move almost like my old self. I didn’t hurt nearly as bad and I didn’t tire quite as easily as the first week. My depression eased too as I was able to do more and more of the things I did before.


My happy ending

I am now into my fifth week of recovery and over all I’m doing wonderfully. I still feel some pain when I have a day where I overdo it, but a hot bath usually does the trick now. I love being able to play with my kids again, although picking up the older ones is still too much for me. The two older kids have been an excellent help through these past weeks and love their new baby sister.

I believe I’ve fallen in love with my husband all over again throughout this whole ordeal. I’ve seen sides to him that I’ve never seen before and while I don’t wish to repeat the experience, it’s brought us unimaginably closer. While I know some women who are emotionally still scared from their experience with a c-section, I’m glad that I had the support emotionally to physically get through and come out whole in spirit and in body.

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