On June 8th, I was a week away from my due date and had spent the day in bed, resting. The week prior was a busy one.
On the 6th my sister, mom, aunt, cousin and sister’s mother in law were all busy bees planning my surprise baby shower!
Man was I surprised! As I walked into the backyard it took my brain a second to process why all these familiar faces were in the backyard all at the same time LOL.
Seeing my family and friends after many months in lockdown was the greatest joy I’ve felt in a while!
But what my sister didn’t know is all of those same people (minus her) were planning a surprise for her the very next day! My sisters boyfriend (now fiancé) was planning an incredible marriage proposal for her on the 7th.
Those two back to back days were incredible! Filled with so much oxytocin I kept thinking ‘okay – baby is for sure on the way.’ So when I woke up on the 8th feeling weird (is the only way I could describe it)- I listened to my body and slept the day away.
At about 5pm my mom called and asked what we were doing for dinner, I said “taco’s! Are you coming?” and who says no to tacos? Of course they were on their way.
We ate tacos and revelled in the joy that was the past two days.
But in the middle of our taco dinner I realized week 38 of my pregnancy was ending (we had been documenting my pregnancy growth through polaroids) & I hadn’t done my polaroid photo! I quickly stood up and asked Andrew to come take a polaroid photo of me.
Everyone looked at me like I had a third eye, but non the less, no-one-questions-the-prego! So Andrew and I excused ourselves & quickly went to snap the pic.
Once done I weirdly said “I’m feeling kinda crampy” & Andrew replied “okay!” (We both had no real clue what was right around the corner!)
Back to the tacos we went.
After dinner my mom recommended we wash the bassinet cover, just incase. As we walked downstairs towards the laundry room, my right foot hit the final step and I felt a distinct pop & a gush of water.
Pop goes the weasel!
My water broke!!
As soon as I felt it break I knew exactly what was coming our way and I couldn’t wait to jump in the car and begin this journey.
But first I had to talk to the Midwife to even see what our next steps were!
So as one does – I sat on the toilet waiting for my Midwife to call me back.
I was hysterically laughing at the chaos that was ensuing outside of the bathroom walls. My step dad was freaking out “SHE’S A WEEK EARLY! A WEEK EARLY!” my husband was running around packing his own hospital bag. (He later told me he packed 4 sweaters only to think “wait wtf am I doing??? It’s the beginning of June!”)
The men were in total distress, and meanwhile my mom was calmly hanging my washed pants outside the bathroom door.
The dynamics were comical.
I finally got a hold of my midwife & she decided we should meet at the hospital in 30 minutes. She concluded I was likely having mild contractions for longer than I realized. As mentioned, I noticed the cramps earlier that evening but thought really nothing of it since they were so mild. Looking back now, I realize at my sisters engagement I was likely already having mild contractions, as I kept thinking how ‘weird‘ I felt.
So once both Andrew and I packed our hospital bags, all my post birth gear ready to go – it was en route to the hospital.
I was going to the hospital as I was Group B Strep positive, so we wanted baby out sooner rather than later. This meant induction & antibiotics.
Upon arrival at the hospital, I began the antibiotics for Group B Strep and the induction began!
The contractions with an induction (which is synthetic oxytocin) are extremely intense as the midwife/nurse/OB are able to adjust how much oxytocin you receive (oxytocin is what is responsible for signalling contractions).
The midwife administered the maximum strength and dosage which resulted in my contractions being a minute in length and less than a minute apart. (*ouch*)
For the first 3 hours I was able to breathe through them and find my place of solace.
I was dilating super slowly, so I was listening to my hypnobirthing & even tried some visuals as I read that can help your body dilate.
Yet when I was reaching hour 5, with still 2.5 cm dilation I found myself slumped over the edge of the bed thinking “why the **** do people have more than one child???” 😂
Despite the unearthly pain, I found my labour to be an incredibly spiritual experience.
When I felt my mind slipping to that “why the f…” space, I really got into my head and told myself I need to find my peace. It was in that moment that I found myself in a luscious green field.
The field was the same field my family would gather at to toboggan down in the winter. Parents, grandparents, my sister and I laughing and screaming as we sped down the hill.
Yet in this vision, we stood in the field in summer. The green grass glistens as it moved with the wind. I saw my mother in the foreground and behind her were my two Omi’s and my great Omi Amalia.
The breeze blew through their hair as my contractions surged through my body.
As I inhaled, it was as if I was breathing in the wind – they were providing me with the breath I needed.
In the most painful moments I was reminded of the powerful women before me, who stood behind me, providing me strength to bring another powerful woman into this world.
My visions helped me withstand the contractions but also helped me humble myself.
I was so set on having an unmedicated birth. I read every article, listened to every podcast, took a course on it all – I was ready! But hour 8 of enduring contractions that were less than a minute apart and a minute in length lead me to exhaustion. I got to the point where my legs could hardly hold me up as my contractions hit and I had become physically ill from the pain.
To top it off? I was only 4 cm dilated.
I closed my eyes, after hurling into a bed pan (for the second time) and I heard my mom, “they offer the medication for a reason. Take the help when you need it.”
I asked for the epidural & tried to stop my body shakes as the anesthesiologist tried a second attempt at injecting my epidural.
As I breathed through the surges, hunched over on the hospital bed, the epidural was in & I’ve truly never felt more grateful.
The contractions were so intense from the induction that I was still able to feel my contractions through the epidural, but finally my body was able to relax. I slept 4 glorious hours, meditated and enjoyed my blue popsicles the midwife provided.
However I was still not progressing past 4 cm. My progression was slow. Because we were dealing with Group B Strep, my midwife didn’t want my baby expose to it for too long.
They decided to do a “flush”. This meant, take me off the induction- wait -see how my natural contractions are and then re induce me. This would shock my body and try to get things open.
We tried and after two hours, still no progress. The midwife also noticed that baby girl was showing signs of “looking tired” after that flush.
Up until then her heart rate was textbook, but now they were noticing a change.
The OB came in to discuss some options, and waiting was one of them.
With waiting however, there was a chance of baby turning from tired – to stressed.
The thought of a c-section had never crossed my mind, which is pretty comical. Like I said- I had prepped mentally & physically for a natural birth (I even had the vaginal birth recovery items packed in my hospital bag).
But it was in that moment that I truly felt the first sign of “momtuition“. Your gut talks to you.
I knew in my heart what I wanted to happen. I quickly said,
“what are we waiting for? Let’s get her out,”
Off to the operating table I went.
I was SO thirsty, I kept asking the midwife if she could slip me a sip of water, but obviously that was a definite no.
What I got instead, was a drink to prevent me from vomiting. I was honestly so excited for this drink because all I wanted was liquid touching my tongue. I kid you not – this was the saltiest shit I’d ever tasted LOL. It only made me more thirsty!
But on June 9th, 18 hours later (and 10 minutes after they cut me opened) we heard Amalia Hope’s incredible little cry!! Baby girl had arrived!
The cesarean took longer to stitch me back up than it did to get her out.
While they were stitching me up, Andrew and Amalia were getting to know each other by having plenty of skin on skin time.
We were really strict with not letting her out of our sight, they even drew blood in our room. (So little tip for you Mama’s! You can do whatever you’re comfortable with. We weren’t comfortable letting her out of our sight so the nurses accommodated towards our wishes.)
Once I was all done, it was my time to feed and bond with baby girl (but I was truly excited for my ice chips LOL. This girl was no joke – so.damn.thirsty).
I’m eternally grateful to our magical surgeon/OB. Not only for my healthy baby, but for my scar.
I didn’t know what to expect with my scar, so when I took the bandage off 24 hours later (as instructed) I asked Andrew to be my eyes. I was nervous what I’d find. I’m really thankful and lucky, he did an incredible job. My scar is barley noticeable and placed incredibly low. I am using a scar cream (use code ALEXA for 15% off) and doing a scar tissue massages (when I remember).
I share my experience in hopes that it sheds light on the beauty of an unplanned cesarean. And the reality of delivery not going as you had initially planned!
At the end of the day, the only thing that matters in a delivery is a healthy baby and healthy Mama.
Vaginal birth is what every course tries to prep you for, but cesarean is no less powerful.
There is so much incredible power, energy and force that surrounds birth – no matter vaginal or cesarean.
Whatever birth comes your way, if you and your baby come out healthy and happy – that is the biggest miracle. The greatest gift in life.
Wishing you a safe, healthy and beautiful journey.