I walked into the hospital on a cool afternoon late in May. My bag was packed, my membranes had been ruptured for almost two hours, and my baby's head was firmly lodged in my ribs where it had stubbornly remained for the latter half of my pregnancy despite an attempted version and all the woo I could throw at the poor little baby.
On that blustery afternoon, I was by far the most pregnant I had ever been. I was also (understandably) apprehensive. This would be my fifth live birth and up to this point I had birthed babies every which way but medicated. I'd had two unmedicated vaginal births, one unmedicated VBAC and a miracle of an emergency c-section (at 29 weeks) that left me more mentally than physically scarred. I was afraid walking in. Afraid not of the surgery itself but that I would panic going into it and miss the beautiful moment that my baby was born.
We skipped triage. The nurse took one look at me and the hand towel I was wearing as a pad and declared me grossly ruptured before escorting me back to a labor/delivery/postpartum room. It was a Sunday and my ob was both not on call and out of town so while we waited for the on call doc. the nurse did my intake and my husband braided my hair to keep it from bothering me during surgery and the immediate recovery.
The anesthesiologist came in to check me out and between checking for airway accessibility and basic pre-surgery questions we bonded over the hell that is Vertebrate Anatomy, a class I had passed only two weeks before.
Everything checked out and as soon as the attending ob arrived, I was wheeled the very short distance down the hall to the O.R.
I'm really surprised at myself writing this because I never thought that I would feel this way. My c-section, the one that I walked into with such trepidation, turned out to be the favorite of my five births. I hopped up on the table and the anesthesiologist, upon seeing my surely obvious nerves showed a stroke of brilliance and began walking me through the procedure step by step using all the big sciency words that I love so much. He ran me through the whole procedure and then when he ran out of (non-alarming) things to explain about a spinal began comparing it to an epidural. I'll admit that I was so fascinated I didn't even realize that the doctor had started cutting until my husband started breathlessly walking me through the baby's delivery by body part. I almost died when they told me that we'd had a girl. They took her, suctioned out her lungs and weighed her.
Katherine Jamethiel was born May, 20th 2013. She weighed 6lbs, 8oz and was 20 inches long. She joined me for my recovery in the very same room we'd started out in after a brief 45 minute NICU stay for breathing difficulties typical of both breech and c-section babies. She was a breathtaking, perfect little girl.
None of this sounds all that special or momentous and, to be honest, it was a pretty average, everyday birth. I remember it though. Every little moment. I didn't with my other kids. When I gave birth this final time I felt safe and calm and well taken care of.
Natural birth is great, it's a rush, but it's also fast and dirty and painful and overwhelming and I'm so, so grateful that, just this once, I don't have to rely on someone else to tell me my baby's birth story.