I am a planner. Always have been and probably always will be. Three months prior to my due date, I put the finishing touches on my “perfect” birth plan, printed four copies, and schooled Hubs on the purpose of each line. We had a plan and, although it was flexible, I knew exactly how baby Hammie was going to grace us with his or her presence.
Yeah, sure. Maybe in a perfect world.
Two weeks and a day before my due date, we went in for a routine weekly appointment. My ankles were twice their appropriate size, blood pressure was increasing, and my tolerance level was dropping rapidly. After concerns about my kidney function, the physician requested that I return the next day for further lab tests and an additional ultrasound.
Up to this point, Hubs had been to every appointment, and I mean EVERY appointment, no matter how insignificant. He was a trooper and put up with my mood swings as we waited over an hour for our appointments (they were changing computer systems – Karmic punishment). Since this last appointment was so last minute, he was unable to attend and sent Grannie in his place – and she was all too eager to fill his shoes.
That morning when she picked me up, she said “Are you sure you don’t want to bring your hospital bag?” I was in my now normal state of cranky and told her not to get her hopes up. Every appointment I got excited that something would change or it would be ‘time’ but was disappointed to the point of tears on multiple occasions. – Seriously, they promised me an early baby and I was miserable at 38 weeks?
Everything was perfect in the ultrasound – Hammie was growing and had over a centimeter of hair (not sure where that came from but I guess the heartburn wasn’t for nothing!). When the physician walked in the room, she could tell I was miserable. My ankles were ‘water marshmallows’ and I had retained an additional five pounds of fluid overnight. It was determined that I had preeclampsia and needed to be admitted immediately.
I don’t know it if was shock, relief, or terror but I called hubs on the verge of tears. “You need to leave work. They are admitting and inducing me.” For weeks, if not months, I had told Hubs I didn’t want to be induced. I didn’t want to do that to my body. I wanted everything to happen “naturally” and for Hammie to come at his/her own pace. I had worked so hard at keeping Hammie in and now they were telling me that they were going to force him/her out? No, I was going to do things according to the PLAN.
So at 38 weeks, I was wheeled into the maternity ward – I must have been in a state of shock because I didn’t protest. They admitted me and started drugs to dilate my cervix. In retrospect, I guess both Hubs and I got what we wanted. I got a calm wheelchair ride from the clinic to the birthing floor (with my momma) and he got to run around in a mad dash to pack everything and make it to the hospital. (I always wanted a relaxed process and he felt it wouldn’t be exciting unless there was an element of panic!)
So at this point my birth plan could continue as I had planned… hahaha, right. Nope. After 24 hours and six doses, my body hadn’t responded to the medication. I was still only dilated to one centimeter. The next step was to manually dilate with a balloon – terrifying. But there was another catch. They had no way to guarantee that they would insert the balloon into the correct cervix SOOOO we could spend the NEXT 24 hours forcing my cervix to dilate – which I can only assume is insanely painful based on what it does – and there is absolutely no promise that it will lead to my baby coming vaginally.
I sobbed. My brain knew that the only solution was to allow a C-section. To completely give up my “Plan” and give up all control of my Hammie’s arrival. I wouldn’t be the first person to hold him/her or look into his/her eyes. I was asking a physician to forcibly remove my warm and comfy baby from the only home he/she ever new. It completely broke my heart so I sobbed. Then I threatened to go home. The whole process was stupid and I no longer wanted any part of it. I was taking my bump and going home. Hubs begged me to not be so irrational but in my mind Hammie had decided that he/she wasn’t ready to come. And what type of mother ignored the needs of her child?
At this point, I am fairly certain all of the nurses at the nursing station knew who I was and the ruckus I was causing. But I didn’t care – I was devastated. Finally, after about an hour of crying, I caved.
Less than three hours later, they were putting up the surgical curtain and calling Hubs into the room. Fifteen minutes later, my perfect baby girl was born. Just as expected, she was as suborn as her momma. When the physician went to remove her, she dove back in and had to be taken out by her feet. (I knew she wasn’t ready to leave her warm home.) And just as he promised, Daddy held Hammie’s hand until she was safely delivered to my chest.
Her tiny body was nothing compared to the huge weight of responsibility I now felt. She was mine. This was real. The emotions were indescribable.
I guess there are pros to C-section – perfectly round heads and missing out of the lady-bits pain. Even so, I was still devastated. I am still devastated. Hindsight being 20/20, I wish I would have gone home and put myself on bedrest. Maybe that would have prevented the induction but maybe not. Everyday, I get a little closer to being okay with how things played out. Someone once told me (not sure who) that it is okay to grieve the loss of a “dream birth”. It is okay to feel sadness that things didn’t work out the way it was planned.
So I cuddle my little Hammie a little closer and allow myself to feel the sadness that brought me such joy.