I was 2 days away from my official due date when the real contractions finally began. It was 7:00 in the morning when I called my husband on the phone and asked him to come downstairs because I was having painful contractions. He had been sleeping up in our bedroom and I was sleeping downstairs in the recliner because it was much more comfortable for me. The contractions started out at about 8 minutes apart, but very quickly went to 2 to 3 minutes apart. I felt like I wasn’t getting a break. I called my doula Kendra and she headed this way. I took her advice and took a hot shower and tried eating some eggs for breakfast. I was feeling a little nauseous, so I didn’t really eat much.
My mom was already staying with us, so she made some phone calls to tell the rest of the family that we were pretty sure that this would be the day. Once Kendra arrived, she listened to the baby’s heart beat through a contraction and he was doing very well. We didn’t stay home long though because the contractions were very painful and very close together. My oldest son stayed home to watch the other two boys as we headed off to the hospital. My birth photographer was out of town, so Kendra found another one for me. I was so happy to be able to capture these moments.
I really wanted to have a completely natural birth, but by the time we got to the hospital, it took all I had to not request an epidural. After being there for some time, I did ask about other pain relief options were available to me. I ended up getting a shot of Stadol to take the edge off. It was such a help to me! As that one wore off, I kept watching the clock to see when I would be able to get my next (and final) pain shot. The baby’s heart rate had a few dips in it which caused me to be completely monitored, but he always recovered well and the nurse didn’t seem overly concerned about it. I however, was extremely concerned because the baby’s heart rate was what led to my last 2 cesareans.
I made it to 8 cm! The doctor came in and said that she would like to break my water. If I would allow her to do that, she said we’d have a baby within 2 hours. I was SO ready for all of the pain to be over with, so I agreed to let her break my water. Unfortunately, this is where everything took a major turn for the worse. When she went to break my water, it didn’t break, but blood starting gushing out. I knew from their reaction, that something was very wrong. It seems like it was only a matter of seconds that she was telling me that she’s sorry, but we are going to have to do another c-section. My heart broke, but I was still very drowsy from the last pain shot. I’m glad I had the pain medication because I think it helped me to deal better with the c-section.
Aaron was getting his scrubs on and they were going to let my mom go to the OR too, but I think I was loosing too much blood because they picked up the pace even more and the anesthesiologist said, “Only 1”. I felt so sorry for my mom because she wanted to be there so bad as she had missed the last 2 births. They wheeled me away and made Aaron go into a separate room as they put me on the operating table to prep me. They moved faster than they did with my other c-sections. They sat me up on the table and the anesthesiologist gave me a spinal. As he was doing it, I felt a big gush (more blood). Everyone in the room was moving even faster. Next thing I know, Aaron is beside me and they are cutting me open. The burnt smell was awful. I guess they cauterize your skin as they cut you open to minimize bleeding.
Aaron was watching as they pulled him out. They had to quickly unravel the cord that was around his neck 3 times. They took our baby over to a cart across the room from me to clean him up and assess him. I told Aaron to go get pictures. He did and then he brought the camera over to me to show me what he looked like. I was pretty out of it from all of the medication they had given me, but I was so grateful that he was out and I knew that he would be okay.
Now that I wasn’t worried about him anymore, I started worrying about myself. I didn’t know what was causing the bleeding. I just asked them if I was okay and they kept reassuring me that I was. Finally, Aaron brought G4 over to me. He kind of put him on my face though and I was slightly annoyed. I couldn’t really see him because I was strapped down. He lowered him and I finally got a good look. My focus was finally taken off of what they were doing to me as all of my attention shifted to him.
I don’t know if they put me out for a bit or what because the next thing I realized is that I was in recovery and shaking terribly. In the mean time, Aaron had followed the nurses and G4 to the nursery, where he took more pictures of him and my mom and dad got to watch him through the windows. I don’t know when my dad got there. Everyone kept encouraging me to hold the baby, but I just couldn’t because I was shaking so badly. I think I shook for 2 hours before I finally held him and nursed him.
At some point after all of this had happened, we thought I was fine, so Aaron went home to get the boys so they could come meet their baby brother. While he was gone, I started bleeding too much. They gave me Pitocin to help my uterus contract like it should. That wasn’t working, so they gave me a shot of something in my leg which also didn’t seem to work, so they gave me some suppositories. Thankfully, I barely remember that part. After all of that, I was still bleeding way too much. That’s when the doctor on call had to manually go up inside of me to remove 3 large blood clots. I was so worried that I was going to end up back in the operating room. I didn’t realize it at the time, but if the bleeding hadn’t stopped, it could’ve ended up in an emergency hysterectomy. I went through so much that day, but God was truly with us! The bleeding had slowed enough that they just monitored me closely. Finally, I was on my way to recovery.
It turns out that I had so many things going against me, that even if I hadn’t started bleeding, I still would’ve had a c-section. The reason for the bleeding was mainly from the placenta detaching. They call this placental abruption. My doctor told me that as soon as she took the baby out, the placenta came completely detached. If they had been seconds slower in their decisions, my baby could’ve died; I could’ve died. I thank God for the life that he has given us. I feel like I’ve been given a second chance at life. The doctor also told me that my old scar had started bleeding. This could’ve led to uterine rupture, which could also be very dangerous for both of us. I have a new scar now, which is about an inch above the old scar. She said she had to give me a new cut in order to not damage my bladder. She also mentioned that my bladder could’ve helped save the baby. I’m not sure how, but I found that interesting. I also found out from my doctor that my uterus was paper thin. She said that if the baby had stuck his hand up, she would’ve been able to see it through my uterus. She highly recommended that I don’t have anymore children. As heartbreaking as it was to hear those words, Aaron and I had already decided that we wouldn’t risk my life or a future child’s life by getting pregnant again. It’s going to take me a while to grieve, but I know I can get through it with God’s help.
Finally, things had calmed down and Aaron made it back with my other 3 boys. I had missed them so much that day! Just seeing their faces put a smile on mine. G3 was so adorable. He loved on his baby brother. It’s like they already knew each other. G1 & G2 seemed more concerned about me, but I could tell that they were happy that their baby brother was finally here.
It was great seeing everyone, but G3 was pretty loud and I had enough action for one day so I tried to nicely persuade everyone to leave. Aaron stayed home with the boys because we thought it would be best for the other 3 boys to have their dad at home and because his neck and hospital couches don’t like each other. Finally, it was just me and the baby. I welcomed the silence and tried to just bond with him through the night. I kissed him a thousand times.
After all that I had been through, I only had to spend 2 nights in the hospital. They treated me extremely well. They removed IV’s and the catheter early on. I was walking around in no time. Aaron visited me on his lunch breaks and after work. My parents and my pastor also visited me during my brief stay. I would’ve had more company, but I really wasn’t up for it so I encouraged others to just catch up with us after we were home.
During my last night, Aaron and I enjoyed a congratulatory meal complete with New York strip steak, a bottle of sparkling juice, and yummy dessert. It was so delicious!
On my final day there, G4 was circumcised. I hated being alone as they wheeled him away. I felt so bad for him. He was a champ though. While they were taking care of him, that’s when I finally got my first shower. It felt wonderful to be clean and have the bandages removed! I felt slightly more human again. I was shocked at how much my stomach and feet were still swollen though. By 1:00 in the afternoon, they were ready to discharge me. My parents surprised me by coming down to help load up things. When Aaron arrived we were ready to go. I just had a few papers to sign, they cut G4’s alarm off of his ankle, we put him in the car seat and we were on our way! I was SO happy to go home and begin my journey as a mom of 4 wonderful boys; my warriors!