Throughout my pregnancy my husband Brad and I had attended Bradley Method classes hosted by my Doula, Karina Robinson. I felt totally prepared for whatever was in my future and I had the birth plan to show for it. In fact, I even printed out three copies of my birth plan and had them laminated so that the nurses could use them without fear of ruining the paper. I was 110% prepared for my natural, unmedicated birth!
I anxiously waited as my due date grew closer, and since we had done IVF I knew that my due date was as accurate as you could possibly get. Unfortunately my little miracle boy had other ideas. Despite me doing circuit training workouts regularly during my pregnancy he was content to stay put. The time came to make a decision, and after 3 days past my due date we set an induction date. Saturday, November 23rd was the day that I was on the books to have this baby (or so I thought). I waited all day for my phonecall from the hospital telling me it was my turn to come in. By the time 6pm rolled around we decided to go out to dinner to pass the time and make sure I was fueled up with healthy food before my delivery. At around 6:30pm I got a phonecall…”Hi Natalie, we have a bed for you in L&D, can you make it in within about 30 minutes?”
We all rushed to finish our meal and get home. Luckily I had all of my bags packed, and honestly Iooked at this as a blessing because it was all scheduled out for me. No water breaking at 2am and rushing to the hospital for this mama!
November 23, 2019
By 7:50pm we were all checked in and assigned to a room. Karina helped us petition for a different room with a bathtub because I had planned to labor in a tub at least part of the time. Luckily our nurses happily obliged. After getting all settled into the new room and finishing all of the check-in questions we started Cervadil at 9:30pm as I was only 1cm dilated and 60% effaced with baby at -2 station. After that I was pretty much left alone and advised to sleep as the drug slowly took effect.
I woke up at 2am in active labor. I remember thinking to myself “oh shoot, I feel like I need to get up and walk this off…am I allowed to get up? Maybe I should just lay here…” but I eventually decided I was allowed to do what I felt I needed to do. Brad was sleeping peacefully in the window bed and I did my best not to wake him as I silently started freaking out with excitement. “I’ve TOTALLY got this” I told myself confidently. I eventually decided to lay back down and somehow managed to fall back asleep.
November 24, 2019
I woke up to continuous contractions about 1-2 minutes apart at about 7:45am. We called Karina and let her know that things were progressing. Even though the contractions were getting more powerful, I still felt excited and in control. By 9:00am I was dilated to 2cm and 80% effaced. Since my water hadn’t broken yet, we did an artificial rupture of membranes (AROM) at 9:55am. “GAME – ON!” I thought because once my doctor broke my water things started progressing rapidly. I moved from my bed to my birthing ball and continuously apologized and worried about my water getting all over. That was definitely one of the oddest feelings I’ve ever had because there was SO MUCH fluid! My contractions got stronger and Karina helped me and Brad utilize our Rebozo techniques and go through the MILES Circuit. As we were doing the first step of the MILES circuit which is very much like the “cow” pose in yoga Brad said to me “Do the cow pose” and I replied with a snarky, but wholeheartedly serious “this is more like a dying cow,” as I spoke through a powerful contraction.
Luckily for us our hospital had a room which allowed for a birthing pool. At 11:25 we switched rooms so that I could take advantage of this service. Let me tell you something…getting into that pool was a GAME CHANGER for me. As soon as I was able to relax in the pool I could concentrate on getting through my contractions again. I was finally seeing progress! I COULD DO THIS! Unfortunately, baby Brandt didn’t like the pool as much as I did and the heat from the water started causing him some distress so I had to get out. Let me tell you something else…getting out of the pool was ALSO a game changer. All of a sudden I could feel my contractions again, stronger and longer than ever! I was now at 4cm and 90% effaced and it was tough. Finally at about 3:00pm I asked for my first medication (hey at least I had made it 13 hours of active labor right?) and they gave me a hefty dose of Fentanyl. It honestly could’ve been a placebo for all I knew because it did NOTHING for my situation…so I asked for more….and again nothing. I remember yelling “THIS ISN’T DOING F*CKNG SH*T! I WANT THE EPIDURAL! I WANT THE EPIDURAL!” I couldn’t believe I was asking for that because it went against EVERYTHING I had mentally trained for and my entire birth plan…but you know what, sometimes you have to do what your body is telling you to do. So, at 3:30pm I was given my epidural and I was FINALLY able to relax again.
The next few hours were pretty uneventful and I don’t remember much since I was sleeping most of the time. By 9:30pm though I was 6cm and I had developed a fever. Things weren’t looking great for me at this point but I was DETERMINED to get through the natural birth part, even though I couldn’t do it unmedicated. At 11pm I got a new nurse…let’s call her Andrea, because that was her name. I really blame her for the following events in my birth unfolding the way that they did. I told her I didn’t feel well and she told me that I “did my best” and “there’s nothing wrong with having a c-section” which OBVIOUSLY there isn’t but that’s not what you tell someone who is hell-bent on a natural birth. Then, she did something that changed everything. She flipped me flat on my back to check my progress. I immediately felt like I couldn’t breathe and I told her that. She wasn’t listening. My husband even repeated “she said she can’t breathe!” and then as she was checking Brandt’s vitals, it happened. Immediate decelerations of his heart prompted her to hit her emergency call button and in less than 10 seconds there were about 15 people in my room throwing oxygen on me and flipping and turning me every way. I couldn’t even tell you how many people had their hands on me in that moment. I started to panic and kept saying “please just save my baby!”
November 25, 2019
My doctor, luckily, acted quickly and professionally to stabilize both me and Brandt. She asked Andrea what had happened and she told her that nothing caused it, it just happened. Well, both Brad and Karina decided to fill her in on the REAL cause and Andrea was promptly fired from my care. At that point I was spooked. I just wanted my baby safely in my arms. I didn’t want to wait any more, and my anxiety grew by the minute. In those moments I realized how tired I actually was, and I didn’t feel like I had the energy to push even if I had to. Looking back on it, I’m sure I could have, but I cared more about getting the baby out of me ASAP because I was worried about his safety. This was my first real “mom” moment, because without even thinking about it I put Brandt’s needs before my own wants and needs. And honestly, because of that I have no regrets and I know that I would do the same thing again now if I had to do it over. So, at 4:27am I was rolled back into the ER for an “emergency” c-section.
At this point, I was excited again! I was FINALLY going to meet my baby! Brad handed his phone to my anesthesiologist and he took some of the most incredible pictures over the curtain for us. They didn’t strap me down or restrain me at all and I was free to move my arms (and dry-heave) as much as I needed to. I had to laugh because as my doctor was opening me up she commented on how “amazing [my] muscle structure is” and it was such a quirky and funny thing to hear in that moment. At 4:58am as she lifted our little boy from one world to the next and I heard him cry for the first time I got tears in my eyes. Almost simultaneously I heard my doctor and the nursing staff say “WOW! THAT’S A BIG BABY WITH A LOT OF VERNIX” and they were right! Weighing in at 9lbs and 15.5oz my BIG boy was just 1/2 ounce shy of 10lbs. I’m still a little peeved that they didn’t leave just a bit more cord on him before they weighed him to give him that even 10lbs…oh well! No one could believe that I had a 10lb baby hiding in there, and it was reassuring to know that I had opted for the c-section at that point. The immediately whisked him away to the NICU since he had expelled meconium in-utero and needed to have his lungs cleared.
I had hemorrhaged during my procedure and had lost about 1300cc of blood so I was pretty out of it afterwards. I remember being stitched up and put on the bed to go back to the room but I don’t even remember leaving the OR because I passed out. Apparently it was about an hour before he was brought back into the room for me to meet him. It was the most unbelievable feeling! They just wheeled him in and said “here’s your baby” which is the most bizarre thing to hear for the first time. They handed him to me and I looked him in the eyes and the first thing I said was “Hi, I’m your mommy” and I swear on every fiber of my being, that he smiled.
Brandt Austin Wilgus
Born: 11/25/2019 at 4:58am
Weight: 9lbs 15.5oz
Head Circumference: 38cm
Eyes: Dark Grey
Hair: A LOT of Dark Brown hair
Apgars: 8 & 8