January 13, 2009, I woke up with some intense Braxton-Hicks contractions, around nine I went in for my routine prenatal doctor's appointment only to discover that my blood pressure was 160/90, protein was spilling over into my urine, and was 2cm dilated. My doctor asked me to go into triage at the Women's Hospital to be screened for pre-eclampsia. Deep down I knew we would not be leaving without a baby so I went home first to gather my bags and husband.
We got admitted into triage rather quickly (whoever invented pre-registration was a genius, kudos to you!) where I was strapped to all kinds of fun monitors; Baby heart rate contraption-check! Contraction reader-check! Evil painful blood pressure cuff-check! And because the hospital finds it necessary to hire blood hungry vampires I got one of those too! Just for kicks and giggles, I managed to muster up a whopping 180/120 BP and a killer migraine. My nurse said the forbidden C-section word so then I had no choice but to pull out the birthplan (a tool that makes every O.B. nurse cringe) and informed everyone that no matter what I was having this drug free, minimally invasive , beautiful birth despite my condition as long as the baby wasn't in danger.
There really was no choice but to have my membranes ruptured due to rising blood pressure, things needed to be moved along. Around 5pm the dam gates were released and I braced myself for the long hours ahead. Warm showers, long walks, birthing ball, back massages, a double cheeseburger smuggled from Burger King, a lot of love, and an abundance of prayer became my sources of sustenance for the next 14 hours of drug free back labor.
I had mentally been preparing quite some time for having this baby naturally as possible, but my body physically failed me. After putting my best efforts forward to avoid drugs the news that my cervix wasn't dilating served as a punch to the gut. For the record, the 14 hours of natural back labor that was endured was not in vain as it now serves as a treasured belief that I can do anything!
The next 12 hours passed in a blur as I experienced everything from pitocin to 2 rounds of epidural, a husband that almost passed out, and still no precious baby in site. At this point we had passed the 24 hour mark of broken water and according to hospital policy Cesarean section becomes imminent, but my godsend of a doctor believes in birth, and most importantly believed in me. My mother led us in prayer and within an hour I went from 6cm to 9 1/2cm. I never became a complete ten due to a mal-positioned cockeyed baby but with the assistance of a vacuum I pushed baby out like our lives depended on it.
My labor process took 34 1/2 hours. Conditions were less than ideal resulting in the very necessary interventions, I did not achieve a drug free childbirth but I tried my very best and at the end of two very long days of preeclamptic back labor it is a miracle that surgery was avoided, I consider my birth experience successful and am looking forward to trying again.