Waiting For Baby
I was a wreck as my due date came and went with no sign of
labor. I was convinced that I'd never have this baby and would
be the size of a Thanksgiving Day parade float forever. My biggest
fear was confirmed by my obstetrician - the baby hadn't even
started to drop, making induction an impossibility, and making a
cesarean section likely. I had already had a C-section with my
first daughter, Jillian, and the thought of another one made my
One day passed, then two, then three. Then - finally - I started
to feel contractions. They became more regular, and by the
following morning, I was sure it was time to call my doula. But 2
hours later the contractions stopped. I went to see my obstetrician
only to find out that I wasn't ready to have the baby yet. My
husband, David, and I were crushed.
When the contractions started again later that night, they were
coming every 15 minutes with a strength that knocked the wind out
of me. In the morning, we got the news we were waiting for - I was
in labor! But I was only 1 centimeter dilated, and the baby was
still very high. The doctor told us to go out to breakfast, walk
around, and stay active for a few more hours before returning to
her office. Exhausted and ecstatic, we went on our way.
It was around noon when we returned. The nurses chuckled as they
watched me waddle down the hall to the exam room one more time.
"This has to be it! No more false alarms," one of them
it! I was admitted to the hospital.
The Hard Work Begins
I spent the next hour hooked up to machines that monitored my
contractions and the baby's heartbeat. As soon as I was able, I
got out of bed and walked . . . and rocked . . . and showered . . .
and I leaned against the windowsill, watching the people below come
and go . . . and I held onto my husband.
Soon my doula arrived, and she helped me focus as the
contractions got stronger, encouraging me to relax and visualize,
and letting me hold her hand and lean on her when the pain was too
much. I kept telling myself that every time a contraction ended, it
was one more contraction I'd never have to experience
Seven hours later, I was shocked and disappointed to learn that
after all that effort and all that pain, I was only 3 centimeters
dilated. I wanted to quit with frustration. At that point, I made
the decision to have an epidural. David and my doula didn't
really want me to have it, but they respected the fact that it was
my body and my pain. A little while later I was also given pitocin
to help move things along.
When the doctor finally announced that I was at 9 centimeters,
we were so relieved that we cried. I had gotten past the
6-centimeter mark, which is where things had stalled with my first
child - and which meant I was getting closer to having this child
vaginally. However, the baby still wasn't dropping as well as
she should have been, and the doctor reminded us that we still had
a lot of work ahead of us. As it turned out, she was right.
I started feeling ill and dizzy, and I couldn't stop
shaking. I vomited quite a few times. I felt like I needed to push,
but the nurse told us that the baby was lying on her side instead
of facing down. The nurse helped me roll onto my side in hopes of
getting the baby to flip - and flip she did. I can't even begin
to describe what a strange feeling that was. With the baby now in
position, I began to push.
Welcome, Miracle Baby
Soon my body, with a little assistance, did what everybody
thought it couldn't do - it pushed the most beautiful baby into
this world. At that moment, every ounce of disappointment and
failure I had felt when I had my C-section vanished. But the birth
was not without some complications. Katie was born with the cord
wrapped twice around her neck. She was immediately taken to the
warming bed, suctioned, wiped down, and inspected thoroughly. She
was fine. Tiny, pink, and beautiful, she weighed 6 pounds, 13
Since her birth, Katie has woven her way into our world so
thoroughly that I can't imagine living without her. She's
my miracle baby and I'm thankful every moment of every day that
she's with us.
Steve Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: June 2008
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice,
diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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