Saturday, September 8, 2012

Jadon's Birth Story, Part III: The Hospital

Even though the car ride from our apartment to the hospital was less than ten minutes, it felt long to me. I remember bracing myself through the tight turns. It took a lot more concentration to relax through contractions in the moving vehicle. My doula sat with me in the back seat, telling me I was doing great.

We pulled into the hospital parking lot shortly before 4:00 am. All of us, my husband, my doula, and my midwife and I, walked into the building to find a wheelchair waiting and a few staff ready to escort us to the labor and delivery floor. I remember experiencing a few more contractions sitting in the wheelchair, riding the elevator, and rolling down the halls.

When we arrived in the room prepared for us, the hospital staff seemed very ready to act. For all they knew, my home birth transfer had turned into a very serious medial emergency. I think they relaxed a little once they realized that I was able to walk to the bed myself, answer questions, and still work through contractions with no more sound than relaxed moans.

At this point, my memory gets a little hazy. They started hooking me up to machines and asking me tons of questions. How long was I sitting there, all the while pausing to moan through my ever intensifying contractions?

"Is this your first child?"
"I'm going to hook you up to the fetal monitor just to check on baby's heartbeat, okay?"
"Do you have allergies of any kind?"
Contraction. Breathe.
"Yup, the ultrasound shows that baby is indeed breech."
"Do you have HIV?"
"Can you roll this way so that I can check and see how dilated you are?"
Contraction. Relax.
"How has your blood pressure been during pregnancy?"
"Did you get tested for gestational diabetes?"
"Um, I don't feel any cervix. She's completely dilated."
Completely dilated! Contraction. I did it. Breathe. I made it all the way to ten centimeters!

When the doctor walked in, she seemed a little flustered. She had been called from home to come and deliver my son. I can only imagine the thoughts going through her mind, knowing she was playing "home birth rescue" tonight. Did she think I was foolish? Would she consider delivering a breech baby naturally?

The nurses quickly acquainted her with my situation and status. She then informed me that although she had delivered one breech in her career (a second twin), she would not be performing a vaginal breech delivery tonight. "If you want a natural labor," she said in a forceful tone, "you can get back in your car and drive to the next hospital."

Although my heart sank, I replied, "No, I understand that I came here for a c-section. Thank you for accommodating us at such a short notice. We really appreciate the care."

Her demeanour changed immediately. "Taking care of you is my job, and that's exactly what we're going to do."

The room continued to buzz with directions, questions, and preparations. Suddenly, another contraction came on. However, it was different than the others. I had an extreme urge to push, and I felt three distinct pulses from my uterus that caused me to double over slightly. "Um, I hate to interrupt, but I really feel the need to push."

Everyone kicked into action. I was unhooked from machines and quickly rolled down the hall into an operating room. My husband was handed a set of scrubs and told to wait outside until the anesthesiologist  had finished administering my spinal tap.

Little did I realize, while I was inside getting a needle stuck in my back, Jon was insisting on another set of scrubs for our doula, knowing that I really wanted her to be present in the operating room. At the last minute, she was allowed to come inside. I'm so thankful that she was there, not only for her support, but she captured the birth in the precious pictures that follow.

A little nervous, but ready to meet Jadon
Soon I was on my back and my husband and doula were admitted into the room. Jon wanted to watch me get cut open, but they asked that he remain seated. They didn't want a fainting husband on their hands. My doula, having worked as a nurse, stole several glances around the blue curtain to see how the surgery was progressing. "He's almost here, Alison!"

I felt a lot of pulling and tugging, but no pain. I'm going to see my son soon. Will I hear him cry?

All of a sudden, I felt my belly deflate like a balloon. A weight lifted off my body and spirit. He's here! I heard a cry and saw his little body lifted over the blue curtain for me to see, but only for a moment. "Jadon!" I said. They immediately carried him over to a warming center where they began to clean him off. "Jon, go be with Jadon," I begged my husband.

Luckily, Jon and Jadon were still in my line of sight as I was stitched up on the operating table. I will never forget the next ten minutes of watching the two of them bond. Jadon stopped crying after he heard Jon's voice. Jon stood there and stroked his little head, protecting Jadon's eyes from the bright lights above him. Then Jon began to sing a hymn, the same hymn we would regularly sing to Jadon when he was still in my womb. Jadon seemed so calm while Jon sang. I didn't even care that I couldn't hold Jadon yet. I was falling in love with my husband all over again. 

Soon enough, the doctors finished attending to my incision. I was ready to meet Jadon up close.

They handed Jadon to Jon to carry over to the operating table.

Jon held Jadon tenderly over my shoulder. I looked into Jadon's dark eyes for the first time and stroked his little forehead with my thumb. "Hi, Jadon!" I said in a hushed voice. "It's me, your mommy! We've waited a long time to meet you, and we're so happy that you're finally here!" I couldn't believe that I was actually looking at the beautiful life that God had chosen me to carry for nine months.

Our first family photo
After a few more moments together, it was time to head back to the labor and delivery room where I would be recovering for the next three days. All I wanted was to hold Jadon on my chest, skin to skin, and allow him to nurse for the first time.

Within a half-hour of his birth, Jadon was nestled safely in my arms. He was alert, awake, and completely calm. I loved the closeness and warmth of those first moments.

Finally together
Even though I did not get the home birth I planned for, I cherish the memory of Jadon's birthday. I feel very proud of the fact that I labored naturally until I was fully dilated. The doctor later told me that this makes me an excellent candidate for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-section) in the future, as VBAC births cannot be induced or highly medicated.

God knew how Jadon would arrive, and he answered our prayer from a few hours earlier. We had asked Him for strength and wisdom, no matter how long or hard our labor would be. Thanks be to God for his faithful provision for our little family!

When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, 
for joy that a human being has been born into the world.
-- Jesus (Jn. 16:21 ESV)


  1. Aww! This is so beautiful and something to cherish forever. I am proud of you too, Alison, like you said! Although it wasn't the home birth you wanted, you were able to labor naturally and only deliver differently than planned (and I won't speak for everyone but that's really the hardest part of the labor process, as far as not needing intervention or medication). I loved how you described yourself as the one God chose to carry Jadon into this world. That is a beautiful way to reflect on motherhood and it really touched me.

  2. just want to clarify I meant that the labor (contractions) is the harder part, in comparison to the pushing/delivery :-)

  3. Kaden was c-section and then I just did my VBAC with Levi so there is still hope!!! :)