It has taken me three months to gather the courage to write out Wesley’s birth story. The birth itself wasn’t traumatic, but the knowledge of what could’ve been is what gets to me.
On Friday, April 5th, we went into the hospital for a stress test, and at this point I was 10 days past my estimated due date. Wesley didn’t pass the first stress test, and barely passed the second. The doctor that conducted the tests said that I could technically go home, but that she would rather me stay. She didn’t like the decels that Wesley’s heart was taking. We asked if we could have a few minutes to talk it over, which I recommend to everyone and anyone who is up against any big medical decision. When the doctor left I had a good cry and came to the conclusion that although I didn’t want to be induced again, I didn’t want to risk going home and having something happen to Wesley (even though the likelihood of something happening was slim).
We first got to the hospital at 9am, and we were admitted and in our room by 11:30am—everything went so quickly! When we were admitted I wasn’t dilated at all, so the first step was the Foley bulb induction. A Foley bulb induction is a procedure where a deflated catheter is inserted into the cervix and then inflated with saline solution. The balloon is meant to put pressure on your cervix to encourage dilation. The doctor that inserted the balloon said it would take me to about 4-5cm before falling out. This process can take up to 24 hours, so Benny and I knew we were in this thing for the long haul.
After a couple hours I started having some good contractions, which was a good sign; the contractions meant that the balloon was working. While I had the balloon in, we were able to do intermittent monitoring which meant that I had to be hooked up to monitor the baby for 20 minutes every hour. This whole cycle actually made time go by pretty quickly! I would be monitored for 20 minutes and Benny would sit on my hospital bed with me and we would watch Queer Eye, and for the rest of the hour we would do laps around the delivery and postpartum wards.
After about nine hours, the balloon fell out. Then we started Pitocin. Shortly after the Pitocin was started there was a shift change and we got a new nurse. Now, I don’t like talking crap, but the team we had that first night was for sure my least favorite thing about the whole birthing experience. First of all, as soon as this new nurse came into our room she told me it was “hospital policy” that I could not get out of my hospital bed since I was a TOLAC (trial of labor after cesarean), she also told me that I was no longer allowed to eat or drink. Mind you, the doctor on duty had told me that I could do both of these things. So we argued and argued until that same doctor came in and told us that the nurse was right. I want to take a brief pause here and say that no matter what hospital policy is, you have every right to refuse. Many people will disagree with you, but you have that right. Since it was after 10pm at this point, I decided to stay in bed and try to sleep—but I did keep eating and drinking. In my opinion, saline solution isn’t enough to get you through labor!
I labored with the Pitocin for a few hours before the doctor came in to break my water. Before she broke my water I got up to use the restroom and when I was walking back to my bed I had a weird and annoying exchange with said doctor. She started asking me how much I weighed, how big my first baby was, how big I thought this baby was, etc. She then made a comment about my pelvis being too small to birth a baby—red flag! This is one of the many reasons why our night team was such a let down. They made me feel like I had already failed.
The doctor then proceeded to break my water around 1am on the 6th. Side note, anyone else feel like sitting in your own liquids is the worst part of childbirth? I labored all through the night and early morning before I got a cervical check only to find that I hadn’t dilated at all since the balloon had fallen out—so disappointing. When I could no longer talk through my contractions I decided to get an epidural, and shortly after I got the epidural there was another shift change—thank God!
The thing about epidurals is that you want to be rolling over from side-to-side every 30 minutes in order to keep everything open, but we quickly realized that Wesley didn’t like any position other than my right side. Every time the nurses would roll me to my left side, or to my back, he would have decels. At the time, I didn’t realize what this meant, but every time I wasn’t completely on my right side these alarms would go off and three to five nurses would rush in to move me and check on Wesley. After one of the decels, the newest doctor came in to see me and asked if she could do another cervical check. I agreed, and found that I still hadn’t progressed at all. It was at this point that she told me she didn’t like the situation. Wesley’s decels were increasing, and I was still hovering at around 5cm. Again, we asked to talk it over alone.
This was the hard part. I wanted my VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) so badly. I did everything I could to make it happen. I vetted doctors until I found the one that was most on my side, I exercised throughout my ENTIRE pregnancy (moving your body at almost 42 weeks pregnant is not easy), I saw a chiropractor, I did spinning babies, I did the Miles Circuit—I did so much research and it all came crumbling down. Looking back, I’m so thankful that Benny and I always took a few minutes alone to discuss our options and make our decisions. It can be hard when things don’t go as planned, especially when your body is involved, so I’m thankful that we took the time for me to cry and to accept the reality of the situation. And the reality was that our baby seemed to be having a difficult time, and I would never be able to live with myself if I had chosen to continue laboring only to have something happen to him. So we made the decision to have a RCS (repeat c-section).
Now, we may have had a not so great team the night before, but our team on the 6th was amazing. The doctor that performed my belly birth, and all the nurses that were prepping me were great. They comforted me when I needed it, and they made the whole c-section experience personable (if you’ve read my birth story with Amelia you’ll find that my experience was quite unpleasant). The nurses had me shaved and ready rather quickly, and then it was time!
One thing that I loved about Kaiser Harbor City compared to Kaiser San Canyon, was that Harbor City allowed Benny to take video and photos throughout the c-section, so we got to actually see Wesley’s birth (although I couldn’t look at the photos until I was all healed). The c-section itself seemed to take much longer than Amelia’s, and this was because Wesley was stuck. He also had the entirety of the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and stomach. There’s actually one video of his birth that Benny almost deleted so I wouldn’t see it. It was taken right after they unwrapped the cord from Wesley’s body and he’s not making a sound. All you can hear is the doctor saying, “I don’t like this” as she’s forcefully rubbing Wesley’s back. That video gets me every time.
Wesley Joseph was born on April 6th, at 12:22pm.
If you’re interested in hearing about my postpartum journey so far, I’ll be writing a separate blog post on the topic, so check back soon!
I always love hearing from other belly birth mamas, so please share your stories in the comments below!