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Old 02-09-2012, 09:47 PM   #1
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Avoided a c-section, but with mixed feelings

Upon learning we were pregnant for the first time, I made an appointment with an OB at our nearest hospital. I knew they had a group of midwives in the same office, but I thought I should see an OB first. The male OB turned out to be curt, dismissive of the miscarriage I "just thought" I'd had (turns out I probably did have one right before that pregnancy) and responded to my desire for a natural, drug free birth with "Yeah, that's what every woman says at first."

Last appointment with that OB! I went straight across the office and became a patient with the midwives. They were caring, attentive, and very knowledgeable. When I told other people I was using midwives instead of an OB, I got a lot of concerned looks. My mom kept asking "so will a doctor be in the room at least?" My birth was at a hospital, and yes, there were plenty of doctors available, but I wasn't going there for the doctors. I was going there for the group of amazing midwives!

Jump ahead 41 weeks... still no baby! At 10 days overdue my midwife did a membrane sweep and I visited family still feeling years away from labor. We spent the evening playing cards and chatting. I went to bed late, and 30 minutes later awoke with what were unmistakably contractions! I stared at the clock and thought "noo, that can't be right..." They were coming 8 minutes apart. I ran a bath and tried to relax, but they only got closer together. I woke my husband who didn't believe labor would come on this fast. Soon they were 5-3 minutes apart and very painful. I got my shoes on and announced I would drive to the hospital myself if he didn't!

He drove, and by the time I was in triage the contractions were so heavy I was vomiting with each one. I knew I might vomit during labor, but after 4 or 5 times in a row it was getting pretty unpleasant. My midwife and I agreed to start IV fluids, and later added a dose of Zofran; not things we'd planned on but the puking had to end. Once the nausea lessened and I was hydrated again, the contractions were much more bearable. The next 6 hours were spent with me standing over the bed, then letting my face fall into the mattress to moan out each contraction. Six hours is probably a long time to most people, but it felt completely timeless and calm to me. My husband and doula squeezed my hips at every contraction, which helped immensely. Over that time I went from 2 to 5 cm gradually and with a slow, gentle leak of amniotic fluid. My bag never ruptured with a dramatic gush.

Then, somewhere between hours 7 and 8 my cervix kicked it into high gear... I went from 5 to over 8 cm in less than 45 minutes. There's probably a moment when every mother realizes what her pain level is, and that was mine. I never said epidural or drugs, but I did look at my husband and cry for him to help me. No one ever offered pain meds, but continued to tell me how strong I was and that I could handle this. I wasn't sure I agreed.

My baby's heartrate had been dipping with each contraction, but as I approached 10 cm baby's heartrate was starting to plummet with every contraction. We tried different positions to see if the heartrate would improve. The most painful laboring position for me was flat on my back, and that's just what the baby seemed to need. It was a pinched cord; laying on my back the cord was still pinched during contractions, but not as severely as when I stood or squatted. I labored on my back for an hour, and the baby was moving down, but the heartrate kept getting worse.

When baby's heartrate dropped into the 60s during a contraction the room suddenly filled with people. Doctors, nurses, residents, a second midwife... uh oh. I was just getting the urge to push when I heard a man's voice. The midwife told me they had called an OB in to perform a vacuum extraction because the baby was in distress. I looked up and guess what OB was on call that day? Yup. It was the doc that sent me running to my midwives 9 months ago. He reached in and felt around before announcing he would need both the vacuum and the forceps. My husband and I pleaded for them to not *extract* our baby, but our midwife explained that the baby couldn't wait any longer. I pushed for several contractions while the OB got his equipment, and baby's heartrate kept falling. When he returned to attempt the vacuum baby's heartrate was in the 50's, and he said the baby wasn't down far enough for him to attempt extraction. For a brief second I was relieved.

The OB watched me give another push, checked again, and casually turned to a resident, saying, "She can't do this, it'll have to be a C." Now this part of the story comes from my husband, because I don't remember doing this: Apparently I heard the OB say that I couldn't do it, and immediately I sat up, looked him dead in the eyes, and yelled "F*CK YOU!" Then I started pushing like hell! I hadn't cursed or said a rude word to anyone during 11 hours of labor... but don't you dare say I can't push out my baby! Forget contractions, I just pushed. Hard. My midwives, husband and doula coached me as the OB stormed out. My husband's mother was just outside, and she got to witness what happened next: The head of OB was called to my room, and she ran into the male OB. He was insisting on a c-section, and everyone could hear me pushing like mad inside. The head of OB looked at the baby's strip, watched me push, and then came out and instructed the male OB to give me 10 minutes. If after 10 minutes the baby wasn't out he could do a c-section. Again, he said there was no way.

Nine minutes later the OB reappeared, ready to wheel me away. When he walked in the midwife yelled "You need to do an episiotomy, she can get him out on the next push!" My hubby said that I wanted to tear, but my midwife explained tearing could mean several more pushes and we didn't have that. They did a small cut and baby was indeed out on the next push. It was a boy, and he came out kicking and screaming! Little boy didn't need any extra medical care. He was just fine, and so was mommy.

Every nurse and midwife in that room said they never saw anyone so close to a c-section. And frankly, if I hadn't been a patient of the midwives I would have been cut open hours earlier. I'm also certain that if I had received an epidural or drugs I wouldn't have been able to focus and push as hard and as fast as I did. Everyone around us had been worried that our natural birth with midwives wouldn't be safe, but it turned out to be the best possible decision.

Holding my son, knowing I had given birth to him the best that I could, I felt like super woman. My husband told me he couldn't believe how strong I was, and I realized I was a different person now. No one could ever intimidate or bully me, no one could ever tell me I couldn't do something for my child. It was the most empowering moment of my life.

That's the positive side of the experience. The negative side is the guilt. My baby was in distress. My baby could have died. I told myself a vaginal birth was best for him, but maybe it was also selfish. I wanted to push him out. I needed to push him out. I can't reconcile that instinct to give birth with my knowledge that I was putting him in jeopardy by not letting them cut him out sooner. Everything turned out fine, but what if it hadn't? During the last few minutes of pushing I was frantically apologizing between grunts. As soon as I caught my breath I would turn to my husband and sob that I was a horrible mother, my body had endangered our baby. When my son was born everyone congratulated me for pushing so hard and so fast... but it felt wrong to be proud of myself, still feels wrong, because that pride comes from a moment when my baby could have died.

I know this is a happy story with a happy ending, and I want to encourage every woman to believe that she is stronger and more capable than she had ever thought. But whenever I tell it I end up sad and wanting to hug my little boy close. I guess giving birth was my first lesson in being a mother: you will do the best work of your life, and still wonder if it was good enough.


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Old 02-09-2012, 09:58 PM   #2
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Re: Avoided a c-section, but with mixed feelings

Honey I think your mommy instinct worked just fine just like it was supposed to!! I ended up with a repeat csection even though I wanted a vaginal delivery but while getting ready for my surgery I was having labor contractions. With each contraction ds heartrate dipped quite strongly in what would have been termed very early light labor. I got scared at one point (granted I was an hour away from a scheduled csection) and almost begged to be taken back RIGHT THEN!! but his h/r came back up and they were able to keep it up. When I had my surgery his cord was wrapped around his neck 2 times....he never would have tolerated true labor. So my instinct was CUT CUT CUT and your instinct was PUSH PUSH PUSH and it was right. Sometimes we just have to listen to our bodies.

Congrats on your little bundle
Wife to my soulmate since 7/12/03 mom to dd 2/9/09 and ds 1/5/12 and angel baby 10/07. Infertility survivor!
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:01 PM   #3
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Re: Avoided a c-section, but with mixed feelings

Let go of the guilt if you can. There will always be "what ifs" in life as a parent, always, and you can't dwell on them. If the midwives you trusted had said, "no, you need a c-section or he will die", what would you have done? You wanted to tear but your midwife (again, the medical professonal that you DID trust) said you didn't have the extra pushes so you made the decision that didn't line up with your wishes. That shows you aren't a selfish mother or not thinking of your son's well being.

Congratulations on your little boy and I hope you can move on from this.
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:14 PM   #4
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Re: Avoided a c-section, but with mixed feelings

I lived this SAME thing.....every detail....its kind of crazy how identical our stories are. I also saw the midwives but when things go to a certain stage of "bad" they are required to call in the OB. I HATE their overseeing OB. Just like you. He wanted to cut me open but I could feel my daughter "right there." His response, "well, if you must push, I'm going to put the vacuum on her." I just told him to get my midwife. I knew she believed in me, which she did. And she said, "push as hard as you can." I did, same as you, with and without contractions and Felicity was in my arms 10 mins later. The OB was setting up his stupid vacuum and when I saw that I bore down through the pain and just kept going till her head was out. It was out before he had put his vacuum together. Anyways, here's my take on it. IF they had decided to take your son C section, it would have taken them at LEAST 10 min to prep you. So, you probably got him out quicker than if you'd let them do a C. I know that's a fact with my daughter. B/c he was telling me C section and 10 min later she was in my arms. I'm sure they couldn't have wheeled me to the OR, prepped me, drugged me, etc in that time. So Mama, pat yourself on the back. Your discernment probably got him out faster and with less trama to you both. You did amazing. Don't ever think you put him in harms way. He needed to get out, and you got him out faster than they would. You rock!
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:23 PM   #5
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Re: Avoided a c-section, but with mixed feelings

You are amazing You did what you felt was right. As parents that is all we can do.
Married to of my life (12/08/2012) and mommy to Issac (8/26/03) and Dyllan(5/8/10), with my baby girl due (09/27/2013)
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:35 PM   #6
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Re: Avoided a c-section, but with mixed feelings

hugs you shouldnt feel guilty mama. Things could always go a diff way in every decision we make so try to not to stress over it

congrats on your baby
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:40 PM   #7
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Re: Avoided a c-section, but with mixed feelings

I think your mama instinct did you well! I think you would have known when enough was enough, personally I don't always think that an OB can make that decision for you, especially ones who are quick to cut anyways. Don't beat yourself up, it sounds like you learned a valuable lesson though (hopefully you won't have to employ it with future babies, though!) and a sweet, perfect newborn. Congratulations!
K&K My little firecracker Lennon 10.09, crying before he fully emerged and My little sweetheart Indi 6.12, born smiling
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:48 PM   #8
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Re: Avoided a c-section, but with mixed feelings

Like the other mamas said, let the guilt go! You did great, and what matters is he and you are both here, now, healthy and in love with each other. I've had three c-sections. The first was after a 68-hour induction that ended with 4 hours of pushing and a stuck forehead (he really did get wedged, and I wasn't retaining consciousness). I knew I had reached my energy max and opted for the c-section before one of us crashed and the decision was made for me. Control freak much? Yes, but no regrets. My second was unnecessary but a result of miscommunication on all fronts (new doctor, new hospital, OB didn't fully understand why I had my first and I didn't pursue the matter fully). Third was a result of a hospital ban on v-bacs after two CS's. And in this case, it was a good thing. I was allowed to wait until after 40 weeks (my babies all come late) and I actually went into the first stages of natural labor before the section. When they hooked me up, they noticed her vitals were dropping with every ctx even before I was feeling them! When they pulled her out an hour later, the cord was double-wrapped tightly around her neck. I was frustrated going into the c-section over the hospital ban, but in hindsight I am grateful considering the unforeseen circumstances. I refuse to feel guilty for not birthing naturally, but I still feel natural birth is the best option unless mom and baby are in imminent danger.

My point is simply this: guilt is nothing but destructive. Take what you've learned, celebrate your wee one, and move forward. You bore your baby. He is here now. You beat the odds and perhaps because of you that OB will think twice in the future!

Jeanne, blessed wife to my best friend EJ , SAHM to
spectrum E 09/06, 06/08, Wyn 10/09, Rose 10/11 & River 03/14

Last edited by Havah; 02-09-2012 at 10:50 PM.
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Old 02-09-2012, 11:17 PM   #9
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Re: Avoided a c-section, but with mixed feelings

holy crap! mama you are awesome! congrats. wow!

eta ok i feel like i have to add something to my first reaction, which was amazement! its amazing that you stood up to the doctor that strongly to do what you knew was best. and it was best, the results are pretty clear. if something had happened to your little one you would REALLY be questioning yourself. not saying that it would have been wrong if the outcome would have been bad, but just try to focus on what really delivered your baby your way and you did GREAT!!! i hope you can let the pride overwhelm the guilt, because you have nothing to be guilty for and so much to be proud of!
I, mama to dd A (3-08) dfs J (10/11) and in love with newbie dfd N! (10/13)
hopeful pre-adoptive foster family

Last edited by newmommy13; 02-09-2012 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 02-09-2012, 11:24 PM   #10
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