Melody Ann Crawford
8 lbs 12 oz, 21 inches
March 17th, 2011, my due date. And I was pregnant. Still. But that was ok because I was educated and I knew that half of first-time moms see their due date come and go without any sign that baby is ready. I trusted my body and I trusted my baby. I was educated and knew that inductions were used much too liberally and without the evidence to support their 'necessity.' I knew of the snowball effect that one intervention can create. I would not choose to have an induction. I would wait patiently. I wrote my darling baby a letter, the first entry of her journal. I told her about Morning Star and I told her of our midwives. I told her of my faith in her. I told her I would wait patiently for her. And wait is exactly what my little one had in mind for me.
March 19th, just before 11am, my membranes released, warm liquid flowing onto the bed as I lay down to rest and catch my breath. I was filled with an excitement that felt holy, divine. I paused for a moment, waiting for the sensations to begin. I was educated and knew that usually membranes do not release until Mama is in labor, but if Mama isn't in labor already, it most often begins immediately. I felt nothing. I went to get my husband and tell him that today would be a great day for a birthday. I called Paula. At some point that day, my contractions began. It must have been within a couple hours of my membranes releasing. We had chosen to do IV antibiotics since I was GBS+, so we went to the birth center to get my IV started (we live just outside the territory that the nurse from the outside agency would travel to). We visited with Paula for awhile and then went home to wait. I used the breastpump to attempt to stimulate labor. I slept in short spurts. I knew I would need the energy for my marathon. I tried not to be too excited-quite the task!
March 20th we went to the birth center so Paula could check on baby. She was strong and healthy; I was strong and healthy. But we were still waiting. My contractions just weren't coming frequently enough to be considered active labor. Upon Paula's suggestion I got acupuncture. The people were so nice and friendly. It was not their normal day to work but they saw me anyway. Two rounds with a short walk around the neighborhood in between sessions on that drizzly day. Then back home to wait. Catherine prescribed me some Ambien so I would sleep. I had a marathon coming up, after all.
March 21st I drank a castor oil smoothie. And puked up a castor oil smoothie. We went to see Paula again. Mama and Baby were still strong and healthy. Paula checked my cervix for the first time. I was dilated to 2cm. She stretched it to 4cm, and then when she released it, I was resting at a strong 3cm. We were still waiting patiently. At one point, my contractions had gotten to be 6-8 minutes apart for an hour, but had now really slowed down. We talked about our plan. By the next morning at 11am, I had to be in active labor or would have to transfer out and be induced, as we would be at higher risk for infection. We decided that if baby was showing no signs of being ready for her birthday by 7pm, we would contemplate going to the hospital. I had not been getting much sleep and I was concerned that another night without sleep would leave me exhausted for my marathon. At 7pm, we called Paula and then headed to the hospital. During the hour-long car ride to the hospital I had zero contractions. I knew the correct decision had been made.
We checked into the hospital. The nurse asked me my pain level and I asked her to refrain from asking me that question. I did not want to think of myself as being in pain, as I did not want to get treated for pain. We agreed to talk about the strength of the contractions rather than the pain they might be causing me. I was dilated to 5cm and the Pitocin was started at 10:45pm.
March 22nd I was in labor. All day. At one point Brook came and then Catherine came. They were my advocates. Any time an intervention was suggested, I told the nurses no and then talked to Brook and Catherine and my husband and then let the nurses know if I had changed my mind. Most of this day is a blur.
March 23rd, midnight. I was finally 10cm! I could push! I pushed for over 5 ½ hours. Then I couldn't push any more. 6:37am my daughter was born without a single family member to welcome her. I was unconscious and Daddy had been booted from the room. She was resuscitated and brought to the nursery. I met her around 9am, but I was still waking up from the general anesthesia so my memory of this is very foggy.
This is not the birth I wanted for my daughter. I wanted an unmedicated water birth in a beautiful birth center, but God had other plans for us. I continue to grieve for this birth, but am working very hard to accept God's birthplan for my daughter. I know that I did everything I could to give my daughter the birth I wanted her to have. I had all the support people helping us. I worked so hard. And yet, as an educated woman, I know that while incredibly overused, cesarean births are sometimes a necessity. I am so grateful to Paula, Catherine, and Brook for being there for us, for supporting us. Without them, I know the cesarean would have happened days earlier, and I would be left not knowing whether or not I could have prevented it.