C- Section Awareness Month- Ashleigh’s Story

I used to fear C-sections and thought that even though my mom had 2 I could totally get away with having my babies naturally! While that may be the story of others, that was definitely NOT mine. I fully embrace the experience that I had during Haven’s birth NOW but that took me a good 2 years to really come to terms with what had happened. I don’t share this to scare you AT ALL because I truly believe that I was surrounded by the most amazing people who supported my every decision and ultimately.. my baby came out happy and healthy and thats really all that matters.

When we got closer to my due date I did what every mother (Or maybe just first time mom) does and drum up a birth plan. I asked one of my good friends, Tana, if she was willing to drive all the way down to LA from Las Vegas to be my Doula!!! You guys…. She said YES!!! haha I still can’t believe it. August and I 100% couldn’t have gotten through that birth without her, NO JOKE! I had my doctor all prepped on my wishes and made sure he had a copy of the birth plan in his files as well as a folder in our hospital bag with the birth plan and all other documents we may need for that day. I was PREPARED! From Snacks for my husband to way to many extra clothes for Haven.. You name it, I had it. Some would say I was over prepared.. I say that I was just being a first time mom. haha

Now are you ready for my 1st C-section story.

May 12, 2014 I was at home resting after just officially going on maternity leave like 2 days prior to that. I want to say that my last shift was a 12 hr one as most of them were, so you could imagine the pure state of exhaustion my body was in being full term and working 12 hour days. Sleep was my best friend in those 2 days! Other than being tired, which was the new normal, I didn’t feel like this baby wanted to come out any time soon. No contractions or any signs of progression and May 12th was my actual due date! August got ready for work that day and gave me the numbers to call just in case anything should happen. (Word to the wise: You should probably get this information way ahead of time! I think we were just so busy it never even crossed our minds that I might need a plethora of numbers to be able to reach him. lol) A friend of ours had called me shortly after August had left for work and asked if I wanted to go out for dinner and surprise August at his restaurant. We joked about my water breaking while in the restaurant and planned on meeting up after I took a nap. Kid you not.. about 20-30 minutes later I went to the restroom, went pee and then all of the sudden when I knew my pee was done water just kept flowing. I FREAKED OUT!! Immediately called my Doula, Tana, who confirmed that was my water that just broke and that she would be gathering her things and headed to LA. She advised me to try to get some rest because it was about to be a very long night. (The excitement and anticipation that my baby girl would soon be in my arms was way to high that theres no way I could sleep.) Now looking back I wish I would’ve been able to sleep because little did I know I was about to not have a solid sleep for 3 days! I immediately text my friend letting him know that dinner isn’t going to happen for obvious reasons and we had a good laugh about that followed by a phone call to August’s Job. We were all so excited but still nothing was really happening. I had to keep a towel in between my legs for a while because the water just kept trickling down but contractions really didn’t start for another hour to 2 hours later. When they started… they STARTED!!! There was no easing into these puppies. It felt like it went from 0 to 60 in 5 minutes and they just were not letting up. With August tracking my contractions and keeping Tana (My Doula) informed on what was happening, a few hours into it she advised us to go into the hospital because they were really close together and it sounded like I was in active labor. I wish I could tell you what was going on in my mind but honestly, I was just trying to focus on getting through the never-ending pain that I was feeling and getting to the car. haha Walking to the car.. it was like I would take 2 steps and have to stop. When I finally got to the car there was NO WAY that I was going to put on a seat belt! I couldn’t stay in 1 place. When we finally got to the hospital all of the nurses attended to me quick as they all thought I was in active labor and getting ready to have this baby any moment now only to find out after they hooked me up to everything and checked me that I was just hitting 1-2 centimeters…. WHAT!?!?!! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and everyone was so confused… All the signs pointed to further progression and it just wasn’t there.

After laboring for 10-12 hours without an epidural and only getting to about 4c in which I stayed there for a while, we decided to get an epidural. The epidural that is supposed to make you numb almost immediately, for me, it basically only took the edge off. The dang thing only numbed a little corner of my hip and nothing else so unfortunately, I was still having to go through all of my contractions. 50 hours later with very close monitoring by my amazing doctor who allowed us to exhaust all of our options, I landed at 7 cm and had plateaued there for a while so we had to prepare for a c-section. My doctor gave me a bit of time to grieve the fact that we were about to have a different birth than we had originally planned which I’m super grateful for! When the nurses had prepared me for surgery and wheeled me out to the OR, all of the other nurses were cheering for me and celebrating with us that we were about to FINALLY meet out baby girl. They knew how hard we fought for days but also knew how exhausted and done we were. We were SO ready to meet this chick already haha.

When I had arrived in the OR I was nervous as all get out. I had been inside of an OR previously having worked for orthopedic surgeons so I knew what it looked like, how sterile it feels and looks.. but nothing and no one can truly prepare you for being in the OR as a patient.. The one who is about to be cut open, exposed, vulnerable and having to trust that everyone around you knows exactly what they are doing because you & your babies life depends on their expertise. My heart was pounding and the emotions where everywhere. To top it off, I am allergic to a ton of medications and the list seems to be ever growing the more that I try different things when the time arrives. I only mention this because they tried giving me a certain medication while I was on the table and I immediately started having a reaction to it which resulted in them having to give me benedryl which I am extremely sensitive too. So naturally I was immediately super lethargic. It felt like I was there but I wasn’t fully present! I remember Haven coming out and everyone making a huge deal about how surprisingly big she was because no one was expecting me to have an almost 10lb baby! From there I unfortunately don’t remember much because the benedryl really took me out. I vaguely remember being in the recovery room and Haven was in the little bed thing they put the babies in, my mom came in and kissed my forehead… Tana(my doula) came in to kiss Haven and myself and had to say bye because she had to get back to her family and then from there I don’t remember the rest of the night.

Even though my story seems crazy, I learned SO much about myself through it all. There was something in me that just wanted to mark off all of the “what if’s” so that if and when I had the c-section I would have zero regrets! I found out about myself just how strong and focused I am when I want to get something that seems larger than me accomplished. I would be lying if I didn’t say that there were some disappointments that I had to process through later on but ultimately, I am so dang proud of myself for fighting, holding out to exhaust all options and for not majorly loosing my mind through it all!

So if you are a mom who is about to have a c-section or have already had one and are in the place of processing your birth I want to say this.. A c- section is not a death sentence, it does not make a birth any less powerful or make you less than. You are just as strong as all the rest of the women who have the priviledge of birthing naturally! You are a fighter, you are bad ass for just going through a major surgery to birth your child and then having to care for that baby at the same capacity as any other mom with a massive incision in your lower abdomen! At the end of the day, you are a rockstar and no birth scenario changes that status!!!

Happy C-section awareness month!

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