Birth Stories

Persephone's birth story - Natural birth becomes a C-Section

WARNING:  Slightly graphic photo below.

On Monday, 4/23, I woke up and when I went to bathroom, noticed bright red blood.  I called DH to come home and we went to the hospital to get checked out.  They confirmed it was my bloody show and predicted that I?d go into labor in the next few days.  A cervical check showed I wasn?t dilated at all, but 90% effaced.  I went to work as usual, having contractions on and off.  They weren?t particularly painful. But they were stronger than my Braxton-Hicks and required some concentration.  Late that night/early Tuesday morning, just after midnight, I woke up to stronger, painful contractions.  I started timing and they were about 5 minutes apart.  This lasted into the morning.  Around 9am I noticed a lot of watery discharge and wondered if it was my water leaking.  At 10am I called my doula and she headed over.  DH had gone to work to train his replacement.  In the next few hours the contractions had started to come every 4 minutes, and the only way for me to get through them was to stand and rock my hips and moan.  At 1:30pm we decided to go to the hospital because not knowing how far along I was was driving me a little crazy.  I was disappointed to learn I was barely 1cm.  I told them my concerns about my water leaking and the nurse made a note of it, but didn?t check to see if it was amniotic fluid or not.  I was given a morphine shot to take the edge off the pain so I could rest a little, since I?d been in labor about 15 hours with little sleep the night before.  We headed back home. 

DH started squeezing my hips with each contraction, which eased the pressure a bit.  Sitting in the shower helped too, after DH hastily built a shower seat out of a board screwed to a plastic crate.  The morphine made me sleepy, but unfortunately did little for the pain.  I would fall asleep in between contractions, only to jump up out of my chair every time one hit, and DH would rush over to squeeze my hips.  By that evening the contractions had slowed to 6-7 minutes apart.  My doula went home to get some rest after we returned from the hospital, but she came back around 11pm.  By that time, I was tired and feeling pretty angry at the world.  DH went to take a nap at 1am and it was just my doula and I.  The contractions got more intense every time I went to the bathroom, and at one point I started hysterically crying from the pain.  The contractions were stronger, 5 minutes apart and 90 seconds long, and I could not make the decision whether or not to go back to the hospital.  On the one hand I knew it was in my best interest to labor at home as long as possible, but I also wanted to be able to use the birthing tub in the hospital, and get checked again.  My doula calmed me down with some deep breathing exercises and some words of tough love, and I?m happy to report this was my only out-of-control moment. 

At 3am I finally decided to go back to the hospital.  Thankfully it was only a 20 minute drive, I cannot imagine laboring in the car for any longer!  When I was checked again, I was told I was barely 3cm and 100%.  Talk about feeling defeated!  We waited in triage until 6am, taking walks and resting.  When they checked me again, I had not progressed.
I also mentioned my water leaking again, and the nurse immediately wondered why I hadn?t been checked for that when I had come to the hospital earlier.  They used the test strips, and sure enough, it was my water.  Unfortunately, this put me on a time limit ? I had planned a water birth, but hospital rules stated that I could only use the tub if my water had been broken for less than 18 hours.  At that point I getting really close to the limit, so it seemed like I wasn?t going to get my water birth after all.
I was admitted since my water was broken and continued to labor naturally in the hospital.  I was encouraged to walk to the halls, and was able to get in the shower again.  Around 7:45am I was checked again and was barely a 4.  I was starting to get frustrated, not to mention incredibly tired.  We walked and labored and I got into the shower again, until 1pm ? checked at 3cm.  The midwives finally mentioned induction, especially since now they were worried about the possibility of infection since my water had been broken for so long.  DH and I discussed it and ultimately agreed, although I was crushed at giving up my hopes for a natural birth.  I decided to get the epidural, because I honestly did not think I could handle the contractions on pitocin after 30+ hours of labor with almost no rest.  Once the decision was made, the anesthesiologist showed up quickly and did a great job ? he waited until I was between contractions and worked fast.  I did feel some pain with the local anesthetic, and just felt cold when the actual epidural was placed.  I experienced 2 more contractions after that and then I was numb.   They put in a catheter, started the pitocin drip, got me in bed, and I finally took a (blessed!) nap. 

While I was sleeping, the pitocin was turned up to max levels.  When I awoke, I was checked again and was told I was a 5.  The nurses rolled me on to my side and propped one leg up to try and get things going.  After and hour they rolled me over to the other side and propped my other leg.  That is when I began to feel low back pain, even through the epidural.  It felt like a muscle cramp and no matter what position I was in, it kept getting worse.  My epi was ?topped off? but I could still feel the back pain.  My midwife checked me again (7:45pm) and I was still a 5.  That?s when talk of a c-section started.  I simply was not dilating on my own, not even with maximum levels of pitocin.  I was given the option of continuing for a few more hours, but the midwives were skeptical that I would progress any further.  With some tears, DH and I agreed to a c-section.  They rolled me into the OR to prep me at 9:20pm.  I remember the room being so cold, and my legs being strapped down as the curtain was raised.  I was shaking so hard the anesthesiologist couldn?t even get a BP reading on me, and had to tape my glasses to my face because they kept falling off.  DH finally came in about 15 minutes later (seemed like an eternity), and I remember him chatting so nonchalantly with the doctor while I shook like mad on the table.  At 9:51pm, after 45 hours of labor, Persephone James was born! 

Looking back, I don?t regret anything that happened ? my 38 hours of natural labor, or that I finally did get the epidural and pitocin.  As it turned out, she had turned posterior (the cause of the back pain), was coming down crooked with the cord around her neck, and my cervix was swollen, all of which likely contributed to my lack of dilation.  I do not mourn the loss of my ideal birth, although obviously I would have preferred to avoid the c-section.  I really do think there was no other option for me to safely deliver.  The midwives were very kind to tell me that I?m in good shape to attempt a VBAC next time, and I think I will try to go natural again.  To all the naysayers who belittle those with a birth plan ? I?m happy I made a plan, even though it went out the window in the end, it gave me a goal to work towards and I think I did a pretty darn good job of it!


I actually love that DH got this photo of her birth!



Looking bit swollen after working so hard!



Bonding with mommy.  Smile

Due 12/20/11 ~ Lost our Muskrat at 9w2d
4/25/12 ~ Our angel, Persephone James, is here!


Re: Persephone's birth story - Natural birth becomes a C-Section

  • Wow what a birth story, thanks for posting. You are a very strong woman your daughter is very lucky to have you. 
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  • Congrats! She is beautiful!
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  • What a story!  Sounds like you did a fantastic job, and I'm glad you're feeling good about your birth.
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  • Love all the pictures!  Sorry you didn't get your ideal birth but you are still a strong momma!
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  • Wow--Persephone is beautiful. You did a great job. 

    Congratulations to you and DH! 


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      "It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness." - Eleanor Roosevelt


  • We have a similar birth story however they somehow got my baby to turn at the last "minute" but I totally understand that feeling of planning a natural birth (I was going to do out of hospital but that so didn't happen) and it not ending that way. You did AWESOME! Not all labors are created equal and yours sounds extremely exhausting. Your daughter is beautiful, congrats! I love her name too!
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  • Congratulations on your beautiful daughter and I love her name. It's good that you are content with your birth even though it may not have been the way you planned it.

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  • Congratulations !




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