Ellie's Birth Story

The Birth of Ellie Kay 

Here’s a little background on me: My first birth was a disaster. I was unnecessarily induced at 41 weeks because my doctor told me it was time to “get this baby out”, and I, being the naive first-time, trusting woman I was, believed her. After 4 doses of Cytotec (which I was told was Cervidil) I finally dilated to 1cm. I was then put on Pitocin. After a few hours I was dilated to 2cm so they broke my water. Contractions worsened and became one right on top of the other. I couldn’t handle it, with my dreams of natural childbirth flying out the window, I got an epidural. Then I’m sure you can guess the rest: the dropping of the heart beat, the stopping of Pitocin, the restarting of Pitocin, again the dropping of the heart beat= emergency c/s and a broken woman. My son was born October 11, 2005 at 9:03am. He weighed 9lbs 5 oz. and was 21″ long. 

This time I was not going through that again. I believed in my body. I wanted to have this baby in the safest way possible, and a repeat c/s was not safer for either me or the baby. But there was a problem–no hospitals in the area allow VBACs. So, we explored the homebirth option. We met with a wonderful midwife and planned to birth our baby that way.  But labor and birth don’t always go as planned and my home birth turned into a transfer and repeat c/s. Even though things didn’t go as planned this was a very healing labor for me. 

Here is my story:

I was 41 weeks 1 day pregnant and had finally come to terms with the fact that I was going to be the first woman ever to remain pregnant permanently. It was Wednesday May 14, I hadn’t had any sort of contractions or any labor signs all day. That night we were watching “August Rush” (great movie by the way) when my water broke in a huge gush (what a strange sensation! and mess!). It was clear!! It was about 9:45pm. So, I got cleaned up and called Patrice, she said to call her when contractions started. Contractions started around 11:30pm. They were 5 minutes apart and about a minute long. Nothing too terrible but it made sleeping hard. I called Patrice around 12:30 to let her know that contractions had started and were regular. She said to call her back when they got closer or when I felt that I needed them to come. So, I tried to sleep in between them all night. They never got closer but they did increase in intensity so around 6am we decided to call the midwives, and my mother-in-law. We then sent my son off to his great grandmothers’ house. 

Barb arrived around 7:30-8ish.  She checked the baby’s heartbeat and everything looked great. By this time some of the contractions were 1-2 minutes apart and some were 5. They were much more intense. By about 1pm I was feeling sort of pushy at the end of the contractions so we decided to do the first vaginal exam (I was also feeling pressured by my mother-in-Law and all my family who had been calling every half an hour at this point. They kept asking her how many centimeters I was dilated and she had nothing to tell them so she put pressure on me. My plan had been to have no vaginal exams at all because I knew what would happen if I did….and it happened just how I thought it would).  Patrice checked me and I was at a 3-4. I was devastated. This was as far as I progressed with my son when they decided to do the c/s. I was defeated, I was a failure and couldn’t do it just as everyone always suspected. Contractions stopped. (oh how powerful our minds are!). Patrice suggested that I rest for a bit and see if that would help me. It didn’t, I had given up. I even told them I wanted to go to the hospital. So, Patrice, Barb and Amanda sat me down and gave me a sort of pep talk. Reminding me that I was the only one who could have this baby and that I had to decide to do it. They suggested that my husband and I go for a walk around our back yard for a change of scenery and some fresh air. It was just what I needed. We walked and walked and talked through my feelings and everything. (my husband was so wonderful throughout the entire labor!!) I was ready to have this baby. Contractions started again. But we were back to 5 minutes apart and not too intense– like they were in the beginning. I’m not sure what time it was at this point, I think probably around 5pm or so. Being upright caused the contractions to strengthen and become closer together but I was so very tired I couldn’t stay standing through more than 3-4 contractions before I had to sit down. And then the contractions would slow and space. It was frustrating. This continued throughout the night and the next day.

When Patrice had done my vaginal exam she had told me that she wants the baby to be born 24 hours after the first vaginal exam when the waters have broken. She feels the risk of infection after that point is just too great for mom and baby, and I agreed. My first vaginal exam was at 1pm on Thursday. So, at noon on Friday we did another vaginal exam to see how far I was. I was at a 6-7!!! Wow, I couldn’t believe I had made it so far. I was elated, but at the same time so very sad. There was no way I was delivering this baby in an hour. So, we had to make the decision to go to the hospital which would result in an automatic c/s.

 My husband and I were at peace with the decision. We knew it was time and couldn’t risk the health of our baby. I am angry that the hospital wouldn’t even consider anything other than a c/s since I am a VBAC. 

Once we made the decision to transfer my labor again stopped. I felt like I was having my period–just uncomfortable cramping. I get kind of fuzzy right here because everything got a bit chaotic. We had to pack bags for me and my husband for the hospital; the midwives were packing up their stuff. My mother-in-law and sister were calling everyone and telling them we were going to the hospital. And I just kept thinking this can’t be happening, I planned everything right, I did everything I was supposed to. Why is this happening to me? It was crazy. 

Patrice drove my husband and I to the hospital. The entire car ride there she went over everything that we would be encountering at the hospital and reminding us and helping us to remember what we wanted to refuse for Ellie (eye drops, vit. K shot, heb b vac, etc). She also told me there was no reason I couldn’t have a home birth after this, and that she had just done one a couple weeks before with a woman who had a similar situation to mine. That was like a healing balm to my wounded heart. There was hope. 

She dropped us off at the hospital (they knew we were coming, she had called ahead) and the nurse took us right up to L and D. The second I walked into that hospital I was terrified. This was the last place I wanted to be! I started shaking uncontrollably at this point. This would continue until I was in my room about ½ hour after the surgery. I think it made it scarier that I was getting cut open for no reason. There was nothing wrong with me or the baby, and yet I was headed for surgery. My life was being put in danger for no other reason than a hospital policy. They never even checked my cervical dilation, nothing. Just immediately started prepping me for surgery the moment I stepped into that room.  

Back to the story…..

So, they took me into a room, made me strip out of my nice comfy clothes into a cold hospital gown, strapped the monitors on me, and gave me an I.V.  Then they said that the doctor and anesthesiologists were having a debate on when to do the surgery. They could either do it at 2:30 (it was about 1:30 at this time), or the next opening would be at 5:30 that evening. Looking back now I wish with all my heart they had not been able to get me in at 2:30 and I could have walked the halls and maybe let labor continue more…who knows what could have happened??  They decided on the 2:30 surgery. This is where any choice I had over my body was completely taken from me. I asked for an epidural, they said no, you must have a spinal. I had had an epidural with my son so I knew how I reacted to it and didn’t know how a spinal would affect me—it wasn’t nice to me, after surgery I itched all over for the first night, and had headaches for the first few weeks…nothing like that happened with the epidural I had with Timmy. I also wanted the catheter after the spinal…no we can’t do that. Okay I want Patrice to come with me to recovery so I don’t have to be alone (after surgery I was told that I would go to recovery for half an hour, while my husband went with the baby) no sorry no one can be with you in recovery. 

I wish I had had some fight left in me. But I was so tired and vulnerable I couldn’t do anything but say okay. I was also so scared at this point that I was shaking so hard the entire bed was shaking. They kept asking me if I was cold over and over. “No you idiots I’m terrified you’re going to kill me!” Is all I kept thinking. 

So, they wheel me off to the operating room and my husband had to go sit in the doctors’ lounge while they prep me.  He told me later that by the time they came and got him they had already started the surgery. I don’t know, I couldn’t feel or see anything.  I would rather not remember this part, but I will record it so others can know. They wheel me in the room and then I had to climb up on that operating table, by myself. That was really hard, everything in me was screaming not to do it, but what other choice did I have? They put the spinal in and laid me down and did all the washing stuff, etc. I felt some pulling and pushing sensations as she left my body. She immediately began screaming, the doctor said It’s a girl! I’m ashamed to say that when they showed her to me I thought, that’s not my baby. They may as well of pulled a tumor out of me and told me to love it. The anesthesiologist had to take my hand and make me touch my own little girl. That is the worst feeling in the world, to be so indifferent to your own baby. I never want to feel that way again, and I wish I could forget those first few moments–how awful is that? This is what the medical community does not understand. 

 My husband went with her and they finished my surgery. It seemed like an eternity before they were done. 

My nurse was great. She completely broke the rules and brought my husband and Ellie to the recovery room with me where I got to hold and nurse her for the first time. It was wonderful. I’m so thankful that she did that. All my nurses were wonderful and supportive. If I hadn’t been forced into surgery it would have been a lovely hospital to birth at.

This labor was so healing in so many ways for me. I learned a lot about myself and my own strength. I know if I had not been “on the clock” that I could have birthed this baby.  I cling to that knowledge now, for it is the only thing that keeps me going and struggling through my feelings.

Ellie Kay came into the world perfect and screaming at 3:04pm on Friday May 16, 2008 41 hours after my water had broken and almost 40 hours after labor began. She weighed in at 10lbs 4oz and 19 1/2 inches long.

Recovery this time is so much easier. Which I am thankful for. I think because this time it was my own decision to go to the hospital even knowing that it meant a c/s has made a huge difference. I am so proud of myself for laboring for so long. I really gave it my all….time just wasn’t on my side.  But– there is always next time!