Letting Go of Control: My Labor and Delivery Story
Updated: Apr 15, 2019
When I was approaching the end of my pregnancy, I found myself constantly on the internet reading labor and delivery stories, maybe like you are doing right now. From vaginal, to cesaria. From hospital to home birth. Natural to medicated. Let me tell you, I read it all. But here’s the thing: It didn’t help me a damn bit. First of all, every woman’s birthing story is different. There is no set guide for how your labor and delivery will go. And secondly, when you’re in labor, everything you thought you knew, every plan you thought you had, goes right out the door.
So one thing about me is that I have a little control issue. Tyler is actually laughing at me right now as I'm typing this because I guess thats a little bit of an understatement. I am a massive control freak. Which is not a good thing to be when you are expecting because if there is one thing more unpredictable than labor, it’s kid. But that is a different topic for a different time.
I was scheduled to be induced on July 17, 2018. And man oh man did this control freak like that. I knew exactly what day I was going to have my baby. I knew the day I was going to walk into the hospital and the day I was going to walk out with my daughter. No surprises. No waiting and wondering. We had a plan. But you can probably guess what I am going to say next. You know that saying “if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans” ? Well, the day I had my daughter, God laughed.
My mom, Tyler, and I walked into the hospital at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday July 17, 2018 for me to be induced. Once I was checked in, weighed and changed into a hospital gown, they placed two monitors on my stomach. One to track my contractions and the other to monitor the baby’s heart rate. They have to stay on your tummy the whole time and it is seriously hard to get comfortable with those things on.
After I was all settled in, my mom said goodnight and Tyler and I stayed waiting for the doctor to come tell us what we were going to do next. A few moments later, a doctor and a nurse came in together. They explained that I was about to be induced and what that meant. The doctor then told us that the nurse was going to administer a medication called Misoprostol and that was going to soften my cervix. Next thing I knew the nurse was elbow deep in my lady parts trying to shove something in my 1cm dilated cervix. It was beyond uncomfortable and made me super nervous for the next 8 pound thing that was going to get shoved through my cervix.
By 10 p.m. my contractions were in full swing. The thing about being induced, is that it isn't natural. Your body gets pushed to get the baby out before it is ready, which is why women are only induced if it is the very best option for mom and baby. Because of this, I went from having zero contractions to have one giant one every three minutes. This was the first of many times God would get to laugh at me during the course of my labor and delivery. See, I didn’t want any pain meds. Not because I’m some super strong warrior woman or because I was nervous about drugs getting into my baby. No, it was honestly out of pure curiosity. I was that type of kid that would touch the hot stove just to see what it would feel like, and that's essentially what I was doing by not asking for any pain meds. But when you get induced, you contractions can be much more intense and frequent than if you hadn’t been.
By midnight I was screaming for an epidural. Let me just say that one more time. By 12:00 a.m. I was literally SCREAMING for an epidural. The reason I repeated that is because I wanted to make sure you got the full reaction when I say this; the anesthesiologist didn't get to my room to give me an epidural until 6:00 a.m. SIX HOURS AFTER I ASKED FOR IT. He finally stuck the needle in my spine and I got to relax a little. But the epidural wasn't apart of my plan, and that started to make me nervous.
The rest of the day people popped in and out, saying hi and helping us pass the time. At around 4 p.m, a resident and the nurse that had been taking care of me since I checked in, came in to check how dilated I was. They told me I was 10 cm dilated and it was time to do a couple of practice pushes. I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be. I was ready, I had been preparing for this for months. I had a plan, remember?
I did two practice pushes when the resident told the nurse to call my doctor and see where he was because my baby was ready to come out. The nurse came back in the room and said that my doctor was stuck in traffic. This made me anxious. Definitely not part of the plan.
Shortly after the resident and nurse left, my mom got a phone call from my dad. Apparently, a truck carrying oxygen had crashed into a hospital one exit up from us. Long story short, the traffic was horrific. My dad was only one exit away from the hospital I was at, and he had been stuck in traffic for two hours.
When I realized that was the traffic my doctor was stuck in, I started to panic. Big time. In the midst of my little anxiety attack the nurse came in to make sure my baby wasn't on her way out. Tyler asked the nurse who was going to delivery our baby, and I kid you not, this is what she said to us:
"Well, there are two other OB's in the hospital right now...But they are both in emergency C-sections right now. I can do it though, I have done it once before." Once before. ONCE. Before I had time to panic, I realized I had to use the bathroom. And not the kind of bathroom that my catheter could take care of, if you're picking up what I'm putting down. But, it wasn't a feeling that a bathroom break could cure. It was my baby girl telling me it was time for me to start pushing.
Thank the Lord, just then my doctor came through the door ready to deliver my baby. Now, I bet you are thinking thats the end of my story. That my doctor being stuck in traffic was how my labor delivery story went off my plan. Well, think again.
Let me just start by saying, pushing is so weird. I really does feel like you need to go number 2, except times a thousand. The pressure is insane, and that was my experience with an epidural. And there are different types of pushing which I had never heard before. Sometimes they want you to breath out the whole time you push while other times they want you to scream, it’s so odd and it all felt the same to me. It honestly all felt exactly how you think it would feel to push a little human out of your vagina.
While I was pushing, everyone was just chatting. The doctor and nurse were betting on how much the baby was going to weigh. My mom and Tyler’s mom, who were both holding my legs, joined in on the conversations too. It was extremely casual, considering my legs were spread open for everyone to see and I was trying to push something out of a 10 cm hole in my vagina.
In the middle of all the chatting, the doctor quickly and quietly ordered the nurse to do something. I didn't make out what he had said, but next thing I know the nurse pushed a button on the wall, jumped on top of me, and straddled, her back toward my face. She started pushing on my stomach and the doctor grabbed some kind of suction looking deceive. I looked to my left there were a group of people who came out of no where in the room with us and a little cart only big enough for a baby. It was the NICU team. I begged for someone to tell me what was going on. The doctor told me that the cord was wrapped around her neck and she was stuck in the birthing canal. She wasnt breathing and her heart rate was tanking fast.
The doctor put the suction device on my baby's head and ripped her out of me. He immediately handed her to the group of people that had recently joined us. Tyler walked away from me and stood by our daughter. She wasn't crying. Why wasn't she crying?
No one would tell me what was going on. No one would talk to me. Tyler kept telling me that she was okay and that everything was okay, but I knew he was lying. I could see it on his face that our baby girl was not okay.
“She’s not breathing.” “Suction her lungs.” “Her heart rate is too low heart rate we need to get it up.” “We gotta get her to the NICU.” These were all things I heard them saying about my baby. I tried to stand up. I tried to go see her, but my legs wouldn't move. The epidural still had me stuck in that bed. The doctor told me not to move because I needed stitches.
They started to take her away, and if it wasn't for my mother in law speaking up I wouldn't have even gotten to see her. I was only able to see her for a second because they had to get her to the NICU. She was so little and naked and vulnerable. In the one moment that I was able to see her, I could tell immediately that she looked like her daddy. She was beautiful.
After my baby left the room with her team, my nurse cleaned me up and brought me into the postpartum wing of the hospital to start my recovery. I still had yet to hold my daughter. I still hadn’t even really seen her. Everyone was in the room with me. Tyler, my parents, my mother and brother in law, my sisters and my best friend all stood around me. No one said a word, what was there to say? My baby almost died. I didn't even know if she was okay. It was nothing like how I had pictured this moment. It was nothing like I had planned.
Everyone left to let me and Tyler rest. I didn't get much sleep, I was too worried about my daughter. No one had even come to update us. Someone came in to draw my blood around 3 a.m. At that point I demanded to see my daughter. They wheelchaired me to the NICU where I finally saw my baby. I even got to hold her. She had so many tubes and wires attached to her, it was terrifying and heartbreaking. I sobbed as I held her little body in my arms. I was so thankful she was alive but i was so scared of what would happen next.
The next couple days were brutal. There was so much uncertainty around when we were going to get to bring her home. Tyler was my rock, I could not be more lucky to have had him to go through this experience with.
Two days later we got to bring home our beautiful baby girl. Paisley Ann Reeves was born at 6:06 p.m. on July 18, 2018. At 7 lbs, 15 oz, and 19 inches, she was a fighter from the start. Today, she is 9 months old and the happiest and healthiest baby you’ll ever meet.
Now listen mama, I didn't share this story to scare you or to make you anxious for your delivery. If you're anything like most of the other moms I have met, you are already scared and anxious for your delivery. The point of this story is that absolutely everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. Nothing, I mean nothing, went according to my plan. But everything ended up exactly the way it was supposed to. Life is full of twists and turns, and the main thing I took away from my experience that you cannot control everything. Trust me, I've tried. So take a deep breath, and let go. Give it to a higher power. For me, I gave it to God. But if thats not your thing, find something that calms you and helps you release control. Being able to give up control has helped me to be a better mother, and a better partner. So I encourage all you mamas out there, whether you're about to have a baby or you already have one, find something that gives you peace, and practice it! You got this mama.