I Would Not Have Chosen To Have an Audience When Giving Birth
The circumstances of the birth of my second child were extraordinary. I went into labor in the hospital bed where I had lain, pregnant and paralyzed, for 48 days. Labor had started on a few occasions during those 48 days, but I was given medication to stop its progression in order to avoid giving birth prematurely.
I landed in bed during the 26th week of my second pregnancy after I had a severe stroke. Emergency brain surgery stopped the bleeding in my brain and saved my life as well as my unborn baby’s. The goal became to keep the baby in utero as long as possible in order for his lungs to develop. The obstetrician attended the surgery in case the need to perform a C section arose. We avoided that procedure during the craniotomy, but it was expected that I would give birth via C section when the time was right since half my body was paralyzed.
On April 3rd, a full 48 days since I was admitted to the hospital, I went into labor for the third time. Nurses administered Terbutaline to try to stop its progression. Unlike on the previous occasions, it did not work. My parents were visiting as they had each day of my hospitalzation. My sister happened to be there, too.
As labor progressed, it became clear that the baby would be born that day. We tried to contact my husband so he could attend the birth. Cell phones weren’t yet ubiquitous. We left messages on our home answering machine for him, and hoped he would get them in time.
I was moved from my room to a labor and delivery room in the hospital. I was getting nervous that my husband wouldn’t make it. My parents and my sister moved with me. This was a comfort as I thought about my husband possibly not being able to make it. The labor pains were more intense than I remembered from the first time I gave birth two years ago.
My husband arrived looking flustered. He had been out hiking with our two year old son and a friend.
My sister had been holding my head through the worst of the contractions. I remember biting her some to get through them as well. My parents hovered in chairs on the side of the delivery room.
I decided to have an epidural. When I had my first baby, the epidural had been a godsend by completely eliminating all pain from the contractions during a prolonged labor and delivery. I was hoping for a similar effect, but did not get one. Fortunately, labor only lasted about six hours this time instead of 36.
In addition to the obstetrician who had been following me since the stroke, there was a team of neonatologists in the next room ready to step up in the event the baby needed help since he was going to be six weeks premature.
Nurses stepped in to help me push the baby out from my paralyzed left side.
After an incredibly stressful third trimester, I gave birth to a healthy, 5 lb. 6 oz. boy with a few extra, unplanned attendants. My parents and my sister were honored to attend the miraculous birth of their grandson and nephew. They have enjoyed a unique bond with him. I would not have planned to have so many people watch me give birth, but it was truly a serendipitous turn of events.
Thank you for reading :)