Our birth story doesn’t begin with the positive pregnancy test. It begins years before. David and I got married in Jan ’99. Like most young couples we wanted to wait a few years before having children. So after about 4 years we got off birth control and didn’t really “try” but we didn’t prevent it. We thought if it happens great, if not it’ll be ok too. But after a year of this we really started wanting to get prego. So we started “trying”. Late 2004 David found a knot in one of his testicles that was very sore. So he went to a general Dr. and was told it was probably an infection but he’d refer him to a specialist if he wanted. One visit with the urologist and David called me to say the Dr. thought it was cancer and 2 days later he was to be in surgery. The Dr. wanted to see if it was cancer and if it was remove the whole testicle. It 3 weeks till Christmas, we were selling our house and David had cancer. The next month David went in for his monthly CT scans to make sure it hadn’t moved up his limp nodes in his stomach. Jan was clear, but Feb showed cancer. We had a decision, another surgery to remove the limp nodes, or chemo. Now most people know that chemo can sterilize a person and that definitely was on our minds. We didn’t feel comfortable with the surgery option so after banking some sperm, David started chemo treatments in March. I won’t go into all that here but it was a rough 3 months. The end of May gave us good news, no more cancer. For the next year we healed and half heartedly “tried” again. But we didn’t feel very hopeful. Then one day we talked to a chemo nurse and she said that none of her patients were sterilized permanently, and she said give it about 2 years. So we just kept trying and praying. 2007 came and we were serious about it again. We tried hard to do everything right to get prego. In Sept I went looking for a new OB/GYN and had a consultation with one. I told her I was late and we were trying. She wanted to know if I wanted to be tested but I declined. I’d been taking tests for months and of course they all said negative, so I didn’t really expect a positive and in the back of my mind I thought if there was a chance it was positive I didn’t want to tell David over the phone. So I waited another 2 days. I woke up Thursday morning dreading taking the test, but I did it. When I went to look at it I went into shock, there were a lot of lines! So I ran to the trash can to get the instructions and double check myself. David had woke up and saw me running around and asked what it said. I was barely able to croak out “I’m pregnant”. He jumped out of bed and I had him double check it. We were both in shock, we’d waited for a long time to get this baby! For the next couple of months we did the usual OB appointments and I started doing research on everything labor, birth, baby related. This was fall/winter time and everyone was getting flu shots. I never get one, I don’t get sick very easily and I don’t remember really getting the flu. I also wasn’t very comfortable with getting one while being prego. So we went to our next appointment and they wanted to give me my flu shot. I told them I wasn’t sure I wanted to do get it. My OB comes in and says that I should get it because I wouldn’t want my baby to get it and die. Yep, she played the dead baby card. Now I certainly didn’t want that but I didn’t feel comfortable with it either. So, I agreed to it, which I ended up regretting. This visit was a changing point for me; I no longer felt I could go to a hospital to have my baby. I knew women had been birthing forever and it was a natural thing and I didn’t feel like going to a hospital where they would insist on regulating everything. I also have never liked hospitals, that’s where you go for surgeries or to die. So I researched birth centers and midwives. When I couldn’t find a birth center close to home, I started considering home birth. A bit of background here: I’m the oldest of 4 girls, my mom had wanted to have me at a birth center but her labor stalled after a couple days so ended up at the hospital, the next 2 sisters were at a birth center and the last one was at home. So home birth wasn’t foreign to me. The more and more I researched the more and more I got excited about it and knew it was right for us. I had to convince David but after showing him lots of info he really liked the idea too. We found Heaven Sent Birth (HSB) midwives who do home births and after meeting with them, hired them. I loved going to visit with them for each appointment. It was so laid back, they were fun to talk to, we could just chat about whatever was going on or questions I had. I also knew exactly who would be at my birth, as it was just the two of them Margarett and Anne. It was fun, not routine. I was a client, a friend not a patient. Anyway, I had a great pregnancy no complications other than extreme back pain from my office job. Thankfully, my position was being eliminated by the end of June, and in May it was almost nonexistent so I asked to be able to go home. I’d been having Braxton Hicks starting in May and was hopeful that it wouldn’t be much long (due date June 14th). Well my due date came and went, then my birthday (20th), then July started, then it was the 4th. We did our usual holiday activities and I had been having contractions all day; but since I’d been contracting for over months I didn’t really take them seriously. When we went to bed about midnight they had picked up. By 3:30am I couldn’t sleep and woke David up. We timed them and when they were about 3-5 minutes apart we called Anne and Margarett, and then everyone else (our parents and our best friends). I was checked and told we still had a ways to go. So I labored well into Saturday. By late Saturday I hadn’t progressed very far so they sent everyone home and tried to get the contractions to slow down so I could get some sleep. I slept fitfully that night and I think we ended up calling them back by Sunday morning, as things had picked up again. I was checked again and still not as far along as I should be, so I went for walks and paced the house between contractions. Sunday night was the same as Saturday night and Monday morning came and at about 7am while being checked, my water finally broke, but it had meconium in it (sludgy meconium). Anne and Margarett were concerned but since I had started feeling the need to push we just went with that for a while. I pushed for a few hours but wasn’t getting anywhere. They said I was only dilated to about 8cm and it seemed like his head was getting stuck because of it. By early afternoon I was exhausted, having not eaten anything since Friday dinner because I’d throw up at every contraction and I wasn’t getting any sleep. My contractions were slowing down and my labor was coming to a halt, and by then every time I pushed his heart rate would drop. So Margarett finally said that she thought it was time for me to go to the hospital. I didn’t like that idea at all, but David and I talked about it and then asked my mom what she thought (she’d been helping me since Sunday) and everyone agreed that I needed to go to the hospital. So they rushed me out of the house, with a lot of help getting into to car. Mom drove with David in front and Margarett with me in the back checking Trey’s heart rate and calling the hospital, while I sat sidewase holding onto the seats for support. We rushed to OU Health Center and Mom dropped us off at the door and David carried me in till someone was kind enough to find me a wheelchair. We finally got into a room and they started monitoring me. They put a monitor on Trey’s head and a catheter in me (yuck). They watched me for a couple hours hoping that his heart rate would pick back up to the point where they could give me some pitocin and I could deliver him vaginally. But it wasn’t going up and I had gotten to the point where I was so exhausted that I couldn’t have pushed him out. They said that I should consider (I like that they asked me) doing a c-section. After talking to David, Mom and Margaret I agreed to the one thing I never wanted from my birth experience. They were considering this an emergency c-section since his heart rate was low and not picking up. After everyone came in to say hi before I left, they wheeled me out and David was going to follow as soon as they got me ready. They put a spinal in and then they asked if I could feel certain things at my waist and every time they asked me, I could still feel it. So they said they would have to “sleep” me and that meant that David couldn’t come in with me. I don’t remember much after that, except that they had put the curtain up between my head and belly and they stretched my arms out beside me (I felt extremely vulnerable). Then I was out and I knew there was lots of movement and noise and colors, then the colors changed and they pushed on my stomach and I almost came off the bed, I could feel it but not quite. Then I heard David talking to me and I asked him if we had a baby. He said yes and put Trey in my arms.
I know that some people would say that it was because I was at home that all of this happened and that it was dangerous of me to try to birth at home. But as I look back on my decisions, I don’t regret any of them. They were exactly what were needed at the time. I am actually very glad I was at home even though I had to go to the hospital. If I’d been at the hospital the same things would have happened there too, but I would have ended up with lots of interventions and ended up with a cs sooner. And then I would have looked back and thought that I didn’t do something right and that’s why he had to be born that way. Instead I know that no outside force or interference caused his birth to be the way it was. I know that I was a true emergency cs, and looking back I know I made the right decision to not get pitocin. If I had been in my normal mind I would have said give me pitocin, but my labor mind knew better. If I’d chosen pitocin I really think we would have lost him, it would have been too much for his little body to handle.
Having Trey was hard on all of us, David and I both missed the birth of our son but I think it was best that way. It would have been terrible to watch helplessly as they tried to resuscitate him. I was the last one to see my son, all family and friends got to see him first. Thankfully David was very careful in not letting anyone hold him until after I did. I had told David while prego that I wanted skin to skin, and since that wasn’t possible for me, as soon as he got Trey he striped his shirt off and put him skin to skin because he knew it was important to me. I definitely didn’t get the birth that I wanted but it turned out to be what was needed for Trey. I don’t know why God wanted Trey to be born the way he was; maybe I needed to see both sides of birth, maybe I need to be an advocate for natural births, home births, &/or VBACs. It’s definitely leading me on a journey.