Beautiful Surgical Birth Story

I want to thank one of my clients for sharing this beautiful story of her unplanned surgical birth for severe pre-eclampsia.  Surgery does not have to replace the act, the mindset, or the spiritual connection of birthing.  In my client’s words:

“During 2012, I had what I considered to be a dream pregnancy… Some mild morning sickness and fatigue in the first trimester and lots of energy in the second trimester. I walked almost everyday, did Kundalini yoga, meditated, relaxed, taught my regular yoga classes, and built the foundations of a soul relationship with my baby.  I had vivid dreams, one of which was extremely defining early in the pregnancy, where I dreamed I was psychically communicating with a baby boy who was “mine”, I was nursing him, he was a soul who had been a soldier and was strong and knowing and confident and able, and I was somehow not worried about him like one would worry about babies… he seemed to know how to survive on his own.  We were on a beach and running away from a big wave.  He told me “you don’t have to worry about me, I have everything under control, I totally know what I’m doing.”  I felt that my baby had given me a gift in this dream, to let go of worry and fear, and it is something that I will try to remember throughout his life, that his soul knows its path and destiny and that I can trust in it.  I am pretty certain I was aware of the moment of conception.  I looked up at the blue sky and saw one cloud streak that somehow spoke to me.  That week I went up to Tahoe to visit my family, and had more intuitive moments of knowing on top of the mountain where I just knew.  I felt the baby speaking clearly to me. My husband (and writing partner) and I worked hard on meeting our goals and deadlines during most of the pregnancy. We  gave ourselves a break in April and went to Palm Springs for a weekend getaway where we relaxed by the pool, swam and lounged in anticipation.  I remember swimming in the sunlit pool, feeling the baby swimming with me.  I felt the spirit of my grandmother and great-grandmother swimming with us too, as we swam countless weekends together in the same desert oasis.  The third trimester hit during summer, and LA was hot, very very hot, I got increasingly uncomfortable, went to see movie matinees on a regular basis to escape the midday heat, rested in front of our AC unit in the bedroom, and drank homemade iced hibiscus tea as prescribed by one of my yoga teachers.  I read all of the natural birthing books nonetheless and skipped over the chapters about pain meds and Cesarean births.  I was so convinced that my vision of a drug-free natural birth would come to fruition, but I still had never seriously considered a home birth, probably because I come from a family of doctors and was pre-med myself.  I felt that I would be more relaxed in a hospital setting with my longtime doctor there.  At week 37 my blood pressure went up at a doctor visit, and I had some rapid weight gain which was cause for closer monitoring.  I came in the following week at 38 weeks and the blood pressure was up again.  My doctor asked me to come in two days later.  I went to get a massage that night to try to relax, as I thought that maybe the whole thing was a stress-related.  But the next morning I went in with my husband (and a packed suitcase) and sure enough there was protein found in my urine, which clearly indicated that I had pre-eclampsia.  (The only way to cure pre-eclampsia is to have the baby).  We checked into the hospital an hour later… It was all very relaxed and matter of fact; I wasn’t in pain, just extra swollen.
When I got into a room, I was immediately hooked up to an IV with a magnesium drip, a catheter, a blood pressure machine and a fetal monitor.  Definitely not the first line on my birth preferences sheet, which didn’t even make it out of the suitcase.  I was induced at 1cm.  Nothing happened.  I listened to my meditation music on headphones, stayed quiet, stayed relatively positive even, but knew that this was not going to end the way I had imagined.  Halfway through the day, my doula Becca Gordon came to the hospital.  It was then that I was starting to meltdown.  My main complaint and feeling was “I can’t believe this is happening.”  This is exactly why one hires a doula; Becca held my hand and helped me cry through the feelings of disappointment, and said something to the effect of “this is what’s happening right now, let’s just be present with it, you know how strong you are, you know you can handle this.”  I needed Becca there to fully break down and go through the experience of completely letting go of what I had envisioned and turning towards this new experience, whatever it was going to be.  The day progressed, but my vaginal birth did not.  By the evening my blood pressure was spiking, I was on even more meds via IV, was completely uncomfortable in the bed as I could barely move from one side to the other.  I did not understand how I would be able to do all of my squatting and birthing poses that I had planned to do in this position, and most of all I was starting to get scared (pre-eclampsia can lead to seizures).  When the nurse said that my doctor was coming in (at 8pm), I knew I was going to have a Cesarean.  I was so relieved to see my doctor walk in and we all quickly got on the same page about operating.  He knew that I had really wanted to have a drug-free, natural birth, but I told him that I was “over it” and really relieved to be having a Cesarean.  I was born via Cesarean, and I started to feel a kinship with my own Mom.
It was all very exciting after the decision was made.  I was happy, relaxed and intensely in the moment.  The nurses were amazing.  I felt so taken care of and supported.  Instead of feeling defeated or disappointed, I was so thankful to be fortunate enough living in this era, in this country, and in this city with this kind of medical care.  Being in the operating room (with my reggae labor mix playing through the speakers), my husband at my side, so excited, an amazing doctor (and one of his partners who happened to be there) operating, I was going deep into laborland even though it was not the way I had planned.  I was undergoing the transformation.  I took myself through the deep conscious breathing and meditations while all around me people worked, prepped, injected, etc.  I put myself in the right zone for the peak experience that I had wanted and was promised in my birthing books.  It didn’t matter that the baby was coming out this way or that I was becoming a mother this way; I trusted my baby, myself, and the universe, and I “labored” with the same attitude and attention the way I would have if things had gone as planned.  When the doctor said “you’ll feel some pressure, the baby is coming down” I felt a surge of pressure and movement… He told my husband to stand up, and he said “Oh my God–” like I have never heard him before, and then I saw my little purple crying boy, covered with hair as he held him up for me to see… This was the peak experience, this was the magical, mysterious moment, and it was mine forever.  Our boy was now present, completely here in the room, on earth, and I absorbed the enormity of it all.  I stayed peaceful and quiet while my husband and the nurses attended to my son’s needs.  I had a telepathic communication with my baby that I would be with him shortly, but knew that I needed to continue taking care of myself (to get sewn up!) and I knew that he knew that, and wanted me to take care of me.  It was special for my husband to have those first moments with him as well.  I watched the activity with this state of mind and felt satisfied and at ease.  I received my baby in the recovery room, which was the site of amazing memories and moments.  Becca helped him latch onto my breast immediately, where my husband and his folks surrounded me (my family would join us shortly, they were all coming in from out of town), and I felt so full, so present, and so filled with gratitude for my precious gift.  This is my idea of going with the flow of birth, not being attached to plans and outcomes, letting go of expectation and wanting, and approaching the experience with presence in order to go through whatever emotions do come up so that you can experience it with peace and positivity no matter what transpires in your transformation into motherhood.”

Connect with Me

Receive my newsletter and updates by e-mail.

One Response to “Beautiful Surgical Birth Story”

  1. Bob Sweeney January 25, 2013 1:45 pm #

    I think this is a wonderful testimony to the variety of human experience and the value of remaining flexible.

Leave a Reply