I still can’t see the c-section scar over my swollen belly, but I know its there. I can feel it when I get out of bed in the morning, and it’s the reason why I breastfeed my son in football hold. I didn’t have a birth plan. I was confident that I was completely flexible, and that I’d be fine with whatever needed to happen to get my son out safely. That was until things didn’t go the way I imagined they would.
I was diagnosed with a uterine fibroid early on in my pregnancy, so through weekly ultrasounds we watched as it grew. It never really seemed to concern my OB. He was very cavalier about the whole thing, and felt I would be able to push my son out as I had hoped. I trusted him. After all, he was the Chief of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, so if I couldn’t trust him, who could I trust?
My hospital experience begins on week 38+6. Due to the fact that I had gestational diabetes it was recommended that I be induced early, and so one week prior to my official due date, I headed to the hospital for a foley bulb induction and then sent home to wait. Once home, I got myself into a warm bath and prepared myself for the contractions to take over. But they never came, so when the bulb fell out the next afternoon, I was shocked and a little skeptical that any progress had been made. We headed back to the hospital to await the next stage of induction, but due to a rush of emergency c sections, we had to hold up in a triage bed for 7 hours. When we were finally admitted to labour and delivery, I requested the epidural, and 4 hours later the Anesthesiologist showed up. This is when the real work began. I was in “labour” for 20 hours. 20 hours of Epidural, Oxytocin and Nubain. 20 hours of being 3 cm dilated and not making any progress. 20 hours of feeling completely and utterly defeated, and closer and closer to the operating room. 20 hours of waiting for active labour that never came.
After my 4th examination in 20 hours, A Doctor finally decided to review my fibroid x-rays, and with one look he knew what I knew; that Lucas would be taken out, not pushed. He told me that the fibroid was the size of my sons head, and there was no way I was ever going to have a vaginal delivery. Through fear filled tears, I agreed to a c-section, and I was officially declared a “failure to make progress” patient. So now, after being drugged all through the night and into the next evening, I was about to be operated on. I was terrified.
The operating room was the scariest place I’ve ever been. I was shivering from cold and fear, laid out on a table, and listening to doctors as they talked about the tools they would use to slice through my abdomen. It was the longest 20 minutes of my life, as I waited for my husband to join me. Finally, Dom walked in and they sat him beside me. He instantly leaned in as close as he possibly could, and with his fingers placed in my ears, he tried his best to block the sound of the doctors discussing the step by step procedure. Looking deeply into my eyes he implored me not to listen, so I stared into his eyes for what felt like an eternity….and then I heard it, the most beautiful cry, and for the first time in 20 hours I finally felt warm. I heard my husbands voice take on a tone I didn’t recognize, and I knew that he could see our son. They placed Lucas beside me, head to head. I kissed his blood stained face and held his blood stained hands as I tearfully introduced myself as his mama. I had him beside me for about 15 seconds before he was taken away. My husband went to cut his cord and I laid there to be stitched back up wondering how long it would be before I was reunited with my baby boy.
When all was said and done, the Doctor leaned in to tell me that the procedure went perfectly, but that the fibroid would have to come out sooner rather than later, and more importantly, that the procedure would likely damage my uterine walls. He asked me if I understood what this meant, and I nodded even though I didn’t. Nothing was registering. I just wanted to hold my baby. Once I was in the recovery room I had my first moment alone with my son. The nurse placed him in my arms, and I instinctually put him on my breast to feed him, knowing that I was doing it wrong but trying anyway. While I winced through the pain of that first feed, the Doctor’s words rang again in my mind, this time registering more deeply than before. I wiped away my tears and adoringly looked down at my baby boy as he did his best to feed. He stared back up at me with his fathers eyes, and with that first look I knew the doctors news didn’t matter. I already had everything I needed right there in my arms.