A Birth Story

Monday, March 5, 2018

July 3rd, 2016. I remember the day like it was yesterday. There I was, sitting in my bathroom staring down at yet another pregnancy test. At this point I had probably peed on well over 200 tests (I don't even want to add up how much I spent on those things). This time I waited. I waited the full two weeks. And here I was. The day of my missed period and something felt different. But didn't it always? I was hosting a girls weekend with a few friends from college and had just finished a margarita because surely I wasn't pregnant. After nearly two years of trying I was exhausted. This was honestly the first month that I was too busy to devote every waking second to hoping. My sister was visiting for a month from Mexico and we had two family weddings. So, I was just busy enough to keep my mind off of what I had been hoping and praying for. I assumed it would be another month of no's. But there I was in my bathroom staring down at that little plastic stick watching it saturate. And there it was. The line. It was there. It was clear. I. was. PREGNANT! The next few minutes were a joyful blur. I screamed for my husband and everyone in the house knew what that meant. We both stared at the test, cried and had a private moment of pure joy. I hope I never, ever forget that moment in that bathroom.

Moments after finding out we were expecting!

Fast forward 40 weeks to March 5th, 2017. The day after my due date. Feeling so ready to meet the little mister I had been growing and nurturing for 280 days. The anticipation was getting the best of me. I was ready to have this baby! To this day, I wonder if my impatience may have led to my C-section. This is my son's birth story and I had a C-section.

March 5, 2017. 40 weeks, 1 day. This is the day I went into labor.
There are many words that begin with the letter C that people hope to avoid in life. Cesarian section is one of them. I remember sitting in my birthing class and the whole class revolved around how to avoid needing a C-section. I recently went on a hospital tour with my sister [who is due in one month!!] and every mention of the C-word was preceded by 'God forbid'. I remember being in my 30th hour of labor asking if a C-section was going to be necessary to be told by my doctor 'Don't even say that word'. Because of a stigma, I was not prepared for a C-section. I had no idea what would happen during the procedure. How long it would take. How long I would have to wait to hold my baby in my arms. I had no idea that you could bring a camera in the operating room. I had no idea what recovery would be like. I was not prepared because people don't want to talk about C-sections. But why? A Cesarian section is how my son was brought into this world and he was born safe and healthy. C-sections save lives. So, why the stigma?

Those first few days after my C-section my head was spinning from hearing 'All that matters is your baby is healthy' 100 times a day that I began to believe it, even though deep down I was disappointed about how my son’s birth evolved. Of course all that matters is that my son was born healthy and that both him and I were safe. But, that doesn't take away the pain and sadness I felt after having an experience I so looked forward to robbed from me.

I want to make it very VERY clear that I am in no way trying to shame C-sections. Quite the opposite actually. But, I would be lying if I didn't say that I do feel like I missed a very special moment in life. I wish I was given the chance to prepare emotionally and physically for my C-section. I wish people didn’t turn their noses up at those who have had them. I wish people would stop referring to vaginal birth as ‘natural’ (inferring that those of us who have had c-sections gave birth ‘unnaturally’). There are so many things I wish went differently which is why my son’s birth story upsets me.

I’ve heard that writing can be therapeutic so I’m taking a break from my regularly scheduled DIY and decor posts to share my heart with all of my readers.

This is my son's birth story.
It was 9:00pm on Sunday, March 5th and I was laying in bed watching HGTV while my sweet husband was rubbing my feet (something he did throughout my entire pregnancy- he was is the best husband!). 'Ouch... that one hurt'. I officially had my first real contraction! So, of course we busted out the stopwatch and started timing contractions.

I was not one of those women who feared labor. I was actually excited for it. I have no idea why, but I was just excited for the experience of bringing a baby into the world. Life can be so mundane and maybe I was excited for a new experience, I don't know. All I know is I was not scared.

After a couple of hours of timing contractions I felt it was time to go to the hospital. My doctor was part of a group that only delivered at a hospital 45 minutes away so I felt it was better to go early. Little did I know how absolutely torturous a 45 minute drive would be to a woman in labor. Every bump in the road felt like a pothole from hell and seemed to bring on another contraction. My husband was literally weaving around every bump he could see (thank goodness it was in the middle of the night- because sometimes he went on the other side of the road!). We arrived at Labor & Delivery and were escorted to a triage room to check if I was in labor. 1cm. I was 1cm dilated. Talk about being disappointed. I was 1cm at my last doctor's visit so this was not good news. I was given a few options at this point; A) Go home and labor on my own or B) Do some walking and try to progress. I was not about to hop back in the car and spend another 45 minutes in pot hole hell so I chose option B. There I was, walking in circles around the Labor & Delivery unit. It was 1 o'clock in the morning and I was exhausted already. This was 4 hours in.

After what seemed like 100 laps later I made my way back to triage to be checked. Nothing. I had not progressed at all. Time to go home.

Birthing classes are interesting because they teach you the stages of labor but I still did not feel prepared for early labor. I had no idea how to breath. Every time I felt a contraction coming on I would hold my breath instead of trying to relax. I tried everything at home. I bounced on an exercise ball. I took a hot bath. I stood in the shower. I walked around the house. I tried to sleep. I did it all and after 10 more hours of laboring at home I was ready to go back to the hospital.

This time we arrived a little after noon and the hospital was a completely different sight. Visitors filled the waiting rooms, balloons floated in the air filled with the smell of fresh flowers being delivered to new Moms & Dads. I stood at the Check-In counter wearing a Magnolia shirt clenching the counter bearing down for another contraction while a nurse tried to make small talk about a recent visit to Waco, TX. I will always remember feeling so bad for ignoring her small talk and even made my husband go apologize on my behalf. 'All of our triage rooms are full' was the next thing I heard. 'Let's find another hospital' I yelled to my husband. And somehow they found an open room.

I waited in an open delivery room for a nurse to check me. Was this the room I would deliver my sweet baby boy in, I wondered? After a few minutes, the nurse came in to check me. 3.5 cm. I was far enough along I could be admitted! Time to trade my Magnolia t-shirt for a hospital gown... It was show time!

In addition to being excited for labor, I was also one of those women who thought my 'high pain tolerance' would exclude me from needing an epidural. 'I am going to try to have my baby naturally' I would say to everyone (by the way- I now hate the term 'naturally' and since having my son refuse to use it in regards to labor).

I remember sitting in that hospital bed when another contraction started to come on as the nurse tried to coach me through it. This was the moment I was asked if I wanted any drugs for pain relief. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to just wait a little longer. But you cannot change the past. As soon as I was offered that first pain-stopping cocktail I took it. Then, it was time to talk epidural. I had been to the birthing class and I knew that every intervention could lead to a possible C-section but I also knew that I was ready for some relief from the pain, and not just temporarily. So, they ordered my epidural.

At this point I had met several nurses before being introduced to the official nurse who would be my labor and delivery nurse. Her name was Maria and I will never forget her. Maria came in to help me prepare for my epidural. She sat in a swivel stool in front of me and held my hands tight while we waiting patiently for the doctor to arrive to perform the epidural. 'He's the best' is how my anesthesiologist was described to me. I remember nearly every nurse that I met having nothing but amazing things to say about the doctor who was going to do this procedure. I am not sure why... maybe I was giving off a nervous vibe? But, I was definitely being put at east.

If you've had an epidural you know you must try to remain very still. They start by numbing the area around the incision site. "Doctor, we need you right away'. A nurse burst into the room requesting the anesthesiologist come right away. 'We have an emergency C-section'. Literally as he was injecting the numbing medication he was being whisked away. I sat there, half naked on a hospital bed with my hands still in Maria's thinking to myself 'That won't be me'. I sat there and said a quick prayer for the woman who was about to have an emergency C-section thinking to myself that wouldn't be me. We didn't move from this spot until the doctor returned. I was surprised he returned as quickly as he did. A few minutes later and I was pain free.
The next few hours of labor seemed so long but also so short. When you have an epidural it's mostly a 'hurry up and wait' situation. I couldn't feel the contractions coming on. I had no idea when they were happening and at what frequency. Every so often my nurse would come in and check me and tell me to try and rest. But how could I rest? I was so excited that I was going to meet my son at any moment! I had a few visitors that afternoon and evening to come check in and see me in the delivery room before it was really time. Around 8:00pm my doctor came in to check me. I honestly cannot remember how dilated I was at this point but I remember my water had not broken yet. She gave me a few options; A) Wait a little longer for it to break on its own, B) Use Pitocin to move things along and C) Break my water. I chose A remembering that every intervention leads to a C-section. Literally as my doctor was leaving the room I heard a pop. My water broke, almost on command. It was another moment I will probably never forget. Everyone was impressed that I could break my water on demand, haha! Finally, I felt that things were progressing. Around 10:00pm I was able to shut my eyes and rest.

Waiting for Baby Boy to arrive!
Somewhere around this time my nurse Maria went home. She said Goodbye and introduced me to my night nurses, one of which was an 'intern' (more on that later). I wish so very much that Maria could have stayed with me. I am not kidding when I say she was an angel.

I dozed off for an hour or so and woke up around 11:00pm. In this moment, I was again impatient. In labor for over 24 hours at this point I wanted to know what was happening. Was I progressing? Was I ready to push? What was the status.

This was when, in my opinion, things went wrong. This is when my labor became traumatic for me and even writing about it now brings tears to my eyes because I wish so badly it could have gone differently.

I did not feel the need to push. I felt the DESIRE to push. I wanted to push because I wanted so badly to be ready. I wasn't advised against it. My nurses said 'Fine' and let me start pushing. I had two nurses, my night nurses, who I will not name. One of them was a Labor & Delivery nurse and the other was an 'intern'. I am not sure if this is protocol or not. All I know is it seemed strange to me. I started pushing. The nurses helped me count and helped me try to understand how to feel that I was pushing correctly.

1 hour passed.

The L&D nurse left for a break. She was gone for what felt like an hour while the intern nurse coached me through more pushing. She would count, sometimes. Mostly she would tell me when I was contracting and tell me to push. This felt wrong. I didn't feel I was getting the help I needed during this stage of labor.

Another hour passed.

After two hours of pushing and little progress I asked for my doctor. Something just wasn’t right. I was upset. At this point it was around 2:00am in the morning so it was no wonder my doctor arrived minutes later with very sleepy eyes. I had obviously woken her up. She did a routine check and noticed that the baby was face up.

At this point I had so many questions filling my head- how were we just now realizing this? Why hadn’t the nurses noticed this? How could they have let me push for over two hours and not noticed? How long would they have let me continue pushing before getting my doctor had I not requested it? Like I said, my head was swirling with questions.

I do not recall exactly the events that happened next but ultimately it was decided we were going to try to turn the baby. Yes, we were going to try to rotate him 180 degrees while also continuing pushing. Another thing happened. My nurses were changed. Two new nurses were brought it and they were amazing. They were coaching me, encouraging me. They righted the wrongs in my eyes.

So we started rotating. I had not requested a mirror for my delivery but above my bed was a large fluorescent light and its cover was glass that I could see my reflection in. So whether or not I liked it I saw everything happening. I am not exaggerating when I say that my doctor was elbow deep trying to turn this baby. Even with an epidural it was one of the most painful experiences of my life. We would switch between rotate and push, rotate and push. We tried pushing many ways. Every way you learn about in the birthing class. Rotate and push, rotate and push. In between pushes I remember asking my doctor if I was going to need a C-section. She told me not to even mention it. Rotate and push, rotate and push.

Two hours passed.

It was four o’clock in the morning. I was exhausted and weeping. I knew what was coming. I asked to see my Mother, who had been in the waiting room for hours. When she arrived she said she nearly passed out from seeing me the way she did. My Mom has always been so good at comforting me and she was the one person I needed in that moment. I clung to her weeping about how much of a failure I felt like. Because at the time a C-section felt like failing. I wept and wept.
At some point along the way one of the nurses disconnected my epidural. For a short while, I felt what active labor felt like without drugs. All the while knowing I was going to need a C-section. I remember feeling anger. Anger that I was in any pain. I begged for them to make it go away. Begged. If I was going to need a C-section I didn’t want to feel a thing. I remember at one point one of the nurses said to me 'You're in labor, honey'. I couldn't believe she was being so condescending. Remember that amazing anesthesiologist? Well, he heard my screams from down the hall. He came in to find my epidural disconnected and assured me he would have the pain gone in moments. He really was as amazing as everyone said.
There was no more time. It was time to go to surgery. I don’t even remember saying goodbye to my husband. I only remember the anesthesiologist asking if my pain was gone and then falling asleep. It was the kind of sleep where you know what is happening around you. Like a lazy Sunday afternoon nap where you can still hear the football game in the background while you take a quick snooze. I was so exhausted from laboring and from those last few emotional moments before being wheeled into the OR that I let sleep take over. I heard my OB ask what type of music I wanted to listed to but I didn’t reply because at this point I just wanted rest. My husband recalls they were playing the instrumental version of ‘My Heart Will Go On’ when they started surgery which is fitting because Titanic is my favorite movie. I don’t remember that. The next thing I remember is hearing my baby cry.
4:54am. 9 pounds, 6 ounces. 22 inches long.
The sound of hearing my son cry for the first time is something I wish I could bottle up and keep with me forever to open and listen to. I often try to remember the exact moment to ensure I will never forget it. ‘Hes’ so beautiful’ my husband told me with tear filled eyes. And the next few minutes all I remember is asking to see my son. I have no idea how long it took from the moment he was born to the moment I laid eyes on him. It felt like hours. I had requested skin to skin but that didn’t happen until I was in recovery.

Holding my sweet baby boy for the first time, 53 minutes after he was born.
I was so in love from the moment he was placed in my arms!

One thing they don’t mention about C-sections is the shakes. I was shaking so much when they brought my son over to me I obviously couldn't’t hold him. I could only look. He was beautiful. Everyone was right. My beautiful baby boy. He was perfection. Up until now, I was feeling anger and resentment and hostility. All of that faded away the second I heard my son cry and the moment I laid my eyes on him. All I cared about laying there on that surgical table was my healthy baby boy. They are right when they say that is all that matters. Of course it is!

The moment my son was laid on my chest in recovery was the single greatest moment in my entire life. I am in tears as I type this just thinking about it. What a beautiful, amazing, scary, imperfect, messy journey it was to this moment of pure perfection.

Our first family photo!
One of my favorite photos <3

'Heaven blew every trumpet

and played every horn

on the wonderful, marvelous

night you were born'

-Nancy Tillman


  1. Such a beautiful birth story!! Every single story is beautiful in its own way. Bryce was posterior as well so I can totally relate to those feelings of anger over pushing for so long without anyone “knowing” and for feelings of guilt over possibly “rushing to push”. Just remember that no matter how they come into the world we do our best each and every day and they make our world absolutely amazing. Thank you for being brave enough to share!!!

  2. Thank you for sharing this, Bex. I'm so sorry you went through this but so glad you and Hudson are here and healthy and happy. We love you.

  3. Here I sit with tears running down my cheeks. (I wasn't even able to finish reading.) Our stories are so similar... so similar to the point that I quit reading when the nurse was elbow deep, rotating and pushing. I would love to share more with you in the future. I have never met someone with such a familiar labor and delivery.


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