Camilla Lidia Andrade was born on January 23rd, 2021. Her birth was nothing like I pictured it. At all. Literally, nothing went anywhere close to my “birth plan”. I want to document the story so I never forget the details and to one day share it with Camilla. Also, I love reading other people’s birth stories so I wanted to share mine too for all those curious!
As I stated in my third trimester recap, we had set a scheduled induction day for January 23rd when I would be 40 weeks and 2 days. I had hoped she would come earlier on her own but we set the date so I knew I would have an “end date”. This helped my anxiety, but she was also measuring very large and I was afraid to go too much past my due date for fear of complications from her size. I didn’t think I wanted to be induced, but I also didn’t think I would go past my due date so this was the first thing that didn’t go “according to plan”. Being induced meant I had to be “hooked up” to IVs, be constantly monitored and potentially have a longer labor. All things I wanted to avoid, but I wanted this baby out. I ended up liking that I picked the day, and that it was a Saturday, as I was able to finish up the work week, prepare for the baby and Miguel would be able to maximize his week off of work.
So we arrived at the hospital at 7:30 AM to start my induction. We checked in and got settled into a labor and delivery room and met our nurse and doctors. They also did an ultrasound to confirm baby was head down before we started (especially since she was previously breech and we flipped her). Because I was only about 2cm dilated, the first step was to insert a Cook Catheter to help me dilate a little more. They said this could bring on some cramping and boy were they right. It brought on full blown contractions for me. And they were happening right on top of each other, about 30 seconds of rest in between, and they were intense. I tried to watch TV (there was an Office marathon on TV) but I ended up in tears because it hurt so bad. I told the nurse/doctors that I was in a lot of pain with little relief in between and they offered me some IV pain medication and some heat packs. This definitely took the edge off and helped me relax a bit.
Around noon when they checked me, I was about 4-5 cm dilated which meant they could remove the Catheter and start me on Pitocin! They also asked if I wanted an epidural at this time. They said the anesthesiologist was super busy that afternoon and if I wanted one I should consider getting it now, because if I waited, it could be a few hours before he could get back to me. Since I had already been brought to tears from the contractions that morning and I knew Pitocin was just going to make them stronger, I opted to just get the epidural right away. (This also deviated from my plan as I had really wanted a natural and unmedicated labor/birth).
I don’t regret the epidural at all, as I felt no more pain as they started Pitocin. The nurse brought out the peanut ball for me to use to help me progress quicker and also even out the epidural. After less than 30 minutes on Pitocin and using the ball, my water broke. It was a huge gushing waterfall and it didn’t seem to stop. It was a weird feeling but I was happy because I felt that meant I was progressing quickly.
I pretty much just chilled for the next couple of hours watching TV. Later in the afternoon the nurse came to check on me and said that she would get the doctor in here to check my progress. She said she bet I was progressed quite a bit and maybe I would even have the baby before her shift was over! This obviously made me super excited as the day had gone by pretty quickly for the most part.
A doctor and a resident doctor came in to check me, and the resident frowned and said “It still feels like only 4-5 cm”. I was so disappointed because it had been hours. But then I was even more disappointed when she said “And that feels like fingers, not a head.” The staff doctor said he wanted to check too – he confirmed that I had not progressed and also said he did not feel a head anymore. He ordered another Ultrasound so we could check out baby’s position. This is when I started getting nervous and a few minutes later it was confirmed that baby was now laying sideways. The doctor looked at me and said “You know what this means, right?”. I nodded slowly but was absolutely devasted – the exact thing I was trying so hard to avoid was a reality – I was going to have a C-Section. Sometime after we started Pitocin (and most likely after my water broke) this baby had turned. The doctors and nurse left us alone so we could have a minute while they could get everything ready for surgery. I absolutely lost it at this point, I was so, so sad.
The next steps are kind of a blur. I only slightly remember getting rolled into the operating room and getting laid on the table (since I already had an epidural I couldn’t walk). I was reunited with the amazing anesthesiologist (seriously he was my favorite) and he upped the medication in my epidural while sheets were draped over me and I was hooked up to more monitors. Since I had already had my ECV in the operating room, I was slightly prepared for what it was like in there.
Miguel came back and then I started having terrible shoulder pain. It was so painful. And apparently uncommon as the anesthesiologist had not seen it before and wasn’t sure what to do. They gave me more pain medication in my IV, but that just burned at my IV site and made me more uncomfortable. The anesthesiologist ended up giving me a shoulder massage for most of the surgery because I was in so much pain. During a C-Section, you can still feel pressure of them getting the baby out, which I did not really enjoy. You can also hear them explaining what is happening. It felt like an eternity getting the baby out (and I found out later that it was the quickest part) but I learned later that because of her transverse position and her size, it was difficult to get her out. And my incision ended up tearing more, which resulted in more blood loss than there should be. I didn’t know that was the cause until later, but I was aware that my blood pressure was dropping and I started feeling extremely out of it (in addition to my shoulder pain) and was given more medication.
Camilla was born at 5:38 PM weighing 8 pounds 5 oz and was 21 inches long. The first thing Miguel said to me was “she’s perfect”. Miguel was able to go over and see her immediately and hold her. He brought her over so I could see her and I really wish I could say I was able to enjoy it more. I was so happy she was born, but I felt so sick that I wasn’t really all “there”. Miguel was able to go back to the nursery with her and was able to hold her, learn how to feed her, burp her and swaddle her. I am so happy that they got the special bonding time. Meanwhile, I was learning that the “long part” of a C-section was actually the stitching back up. It took what felt like ages. I felt terrible, my baby was taken to a different room and it didn’t seem like an end was in sight. Finally, they said it was over, got me onto another bed and wheeled me to a recovery room.
I stayed there for 2 hours feeling miserable. My blood pressure dropped to 80 over 60 and I required 2 medications for that and fluids. I just laid there in a dark room, feeling like crap, praying it would be over soon. I still hadn’t even held my baby, I had barely even seen her. It broke my heart when they asked if I wanted her in recovery with me and I had to say no, as I couldn’t even open my eyes I felt so sick.
Eventually, around 9 PM, my vitals were back to normal and I felt well enough to be wheeled into our Mother/Baby room. This is where I was finally able to hold and feed my baby. Miguel was right, she was absolutely perfect. Even though my labor and birth were nowhere near perfect – it was worth it because she was.
We ended up staying in the hospital until Tuesday around noon, so three nights in the hospital. They had to continue monitoring my blood and vitals as some of my levels weren’t the best and I almost needed a blood transfusion, but luckily, I did not. I was so happy as things slowly started getting taken out (IVs, catheter) and I was able to start walking, using the bathroom on my own and getting less blood drawn. But honestly, I didn’t mind the long stay. The nurses were so nice and helpful and I needed to rest and recover, which I was forced to do in the small hospital room. I honestly could’ve stayed longer, but Miguel would disagree lol.
I still struggle with the fact that I had to have a C-section. I feel like it’s not fair. And having to recover from major surgery and also care for a newborn is almost cruel. But she tried to tell us from the beginning that she was not meant to be born vaginally and I am slowly starting to accept it. The doctors said that I would be a good candidate for a VBAC in the future (if my next baby is not breech) and I will try to attempt that if possible.
I will get into more of the post-partum period later as this is getting very long – but it was a long and complicated story and I wanted to include all the details. So, thank you for reading this far if you are still here. We absolutely love her to pieces and I would do it all again.