When I was pregnant I loved reading about people’s birth stories. It gave me so much excitement for my upcoming delivery. I was that pregnant woman who had everything ready a month before my due date. The nursery was completely ready and our bags were packed for the hospital. We just needed a baby. We waited and waited and waited. On my due date, the doctor saw no signs of labor. We made a plan for induction at 41 weeks but she assured me that the baby could still come any day.   I walked more than I have ever walked. I even tried running. I was determined to get this baby out. I tried every tip and trick I could find to induce labor naturally. I ate so much pineapple that my entire mouth burned for two straight days. Still nothing. The day before I turned 41 weeks pregnant we went into the hospital for a scheduled induction. That night they started with Cervidil. The next morning the doctor checked me and we were no further along in the birth process. Nothing. I wasn’t dilated, I wasn’t effaced. This baby had no intention of coming out. Pitocin was started and I had some very minor contractions throughout the day. After a day of Pitocin the doctor estimated that I was maybe dilated to a one. A one?!? You must be kidding me. I have been here for over 24 hours and still a one. I knew that I officially had the most stubborn baby. The doctor decided to take me off the Pitocin for the night so I could eat and give my body a break. I didn’t want to eat and I most definitely didn’t want to take a break. All I wanted was to meet my stubborn sweet baby. I didn’t have much of a choice. The doctor said that this approach was best for the baby and my body. We ate dinner and then walked laps around the hospital. Still nothing.

The next morning, the doctor said if I could bear the pain she could try to break my water to help move things along. Of course I could bear the pain. At this point, I could bear anything other than waiting another second for this baby to decide to make his or her entrance. She wasn’t lying about the amount of pain. I was barely dilated. How she even managed to break my water I don’t know and I didn’t care. FINALLY labor started. I had contractions all day. At about noon I decided to have an epidural. Prior to labor, I contemplated getting the epidural. I was pretty certain I wouldn’t get an epidural because I was more afraid of the pain and complications from the epidural procedure than I was of actual labor pains. But when the time came I figured what the heck? Let’s get the epidural. After all, I had little hope that this labor process was going to wrap up anytime soon so I might as well have a little less pain. To my delight, the actual epidural process was not as scary and horrible as I thought it would be.  Sam on the other hand, passed out. Yes, he passed out while a giant needle was being inserted into my back.

At 9pm I was finally ready to push. I pushed. I kept pushing. My due date was June 22nd so I felt fairly confident that my baby would be born in June. I had bought an ornament the Christmas prior, that had a man and pregnant woman on it. It said ‘special delivery coming in June’. We also bought a chalkboard to track my growing belly. The chalkboard had in large letters ‘coming in June’. For Valentine’s Day, Sam bought me a picture frame that said ‘We can’t wait to meet you in June’. Everything said June. I wanted this baby born in June. As the final day in June came to a close I tried bargaining with the nurse. I asked her if we could just write a different time on the birth certificate if the baby was born after midnight. I assured her no one would know.  Shortly after this request, she went to get the doctor. I think she thought I was losing my mind. I don’t think she understood. Everything said June.

I pushed for four hours. This baby was not coming out. The doctor said we had two choices. We could try to use the vacuum method which  may allow me to still have a vaginal birth however, there were risks associated with this. The doctor explained that it was likely that the baby was stuck for a reason and using the vacuum method could cause damage to the baby. The second option was a C-section. I never even considered a C-Section before. I didn’t research C-Sections. I skipped over the C-Section birth stories because I was confident that this wasn’t going to be part of my birth story. We were told we only had a few minutes to make this decision. This possibly life altering decision. I slept for approximately five hours in the past three days and now you want me to make this decision. A decision that could potentially change my babies life. There were complications with both procedures. I certainly didn’t research C-Section vs. Vacuum. How was I possibly supposed to make this decision? Luckily, I didn’t have to make it alone. Sam was there. We talked through it calmly and ultimately decided to proceed with the C-Section. The vacuum would have likely ended with a C-Section anyways so we decided to limit the risk of having both procedures.

Everything after this moment is kind of a blur. I was so exhausted that I kept going in and out of sleep. I could feel them cutting into me. They had to stop the procedure and administer more anesthesia. I wish so badly I could have seen the moment they pulled my baby out. But instead all I could see was an ugly blue curtain. I do remember that amazing feeling when I suddenly no longer had a giant bowling ball resting on my internal organs.  It was such a sense of relief. I asked Sam if it was a boy or a girl. He looked at the baby and then looked at me and said ‘I’m not sure’. This was the moment I had been waiting for since I found out I was pregnant. What do you mean you don’t know? ‘I think it’s a girl’. I had never heard better words than those. I secretly {or maybe not so secretly} wanted a baby girl so bad. My entire life I dreamed of having a daughter. I never imagined I would be so lucky to actually have a baby girl. I instantly started crying.

It didn’t take long for me to realize something was wrong. All of the doctors were rushing around. Lulu wasn’t crying like I knew she should be. I kept asking what was wrong. No one would tell me. I couldn’t see anything and I couldn’t move. This baby who I was solely responsible for over the last nine months was now in the care of strangers and no one was telling me what was going on. The nurse could tell I was starting to panic. She explained that my baby was having some breathing difficulty but it was nothing to worry about. She said this is common with C-Section babies. I don’t think she realized that I didn’t care about what was ‘common’ or what happens with other babies. All I cared about was what was going on with my baby. I wanted so bad to hold her. To have skin to skin with her. To look over her body and count her ten fingers and ten toes. Instead I was told that she was going off to the special care unit and I would be heading to the recovery room. I had to beg to just let me see her and kiss her. The nurse persuaded the doctor to let me have just one moment with her.  She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

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She was in the special care unit for about a day and a half. She had a hole in her lung which led to it collapsing. Babies are absolutely amazing. Her little body was so tough. The hole closed and her lung was able to function normally. Almost a week later, we were finally released from the hospital. The real journey was about to begin.

It took a long time for me to want to talk about my birth story. For me it was an incredibly traumatic few days. I realize now that these difficult days led me to Lulu. I need to celebrate this birth story. It was all worth it. A miracle happened in that hospital. My baby was born and my life forever changed.

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