I enjoyed a blissfully smooth pregnancy. I was spared morning sickness and food aversions, gained a healthful but modest amount of weight, and swam laps up until two days before I delivered. Everything was going wonderfully to plan; I couldn’t help but assume that my delivery would follow suit.
Which of course meant that it didn’t.
Two weeks before my due date I was dilated 1 cm and 80% effaced and thought, “Awesome, I’m packing my bags tonight!” However, I remained at 1 cm at 39, then 40, then 41 weeks, and then my doctor scheduled me to be induced at 42 weeks, on a Tuesday. I was eager for our baby to arrive but also glad that my lateness meant we could attend a dear friend’s wedding, as well as a Labor Day BBQ with friends the Sunday before my induction. That Sunday, the weather was gorgeous and the food was delicious.
Regretfully, however, the macaroni salad I ate apparently was foul.
I felt fine throughout the BBQ, but as we headed home I started to feel unwell: cold, shivery, and sick to my stomach. We got home and I crawled into bed. But when I reclined, I didn’t feel the typical gymnastics that our baby was prone to when I was prone. I changed positions a couple of times and waited for movement. I spoke to my belly. I took a few deep breaths. No response. I started to panic.
We called the hospital and they suggested we come in. We sped off and by about midnight I was admitted, had thrown up (food poisoning), was administered aspirin in a decidedly un-elegant manner (mystery fever), and remained dilated at 1 cm.
Having purged the foul macaroni salad, I was feeling a bit better, but our baby was not. The doctors told me the baby was in distress and I needed to have an emergency C-section. I begged to be induced, still hoping to deliver naturally, but the doctors said there was no time. Had I been 6-7 cm along they might have considered it, but I still was at 1 measly cm.
The numbness I proceeded to feel was due to more than the anesthesia. I was shocked, sad, and devastated. I was so looking forward to laboring in a tub and feeling the natural course of delivery. Now I literally felt nothing — not a single contraction (though apparently I was having mild ones), and once the C-section was underway, I felt merely like a body being done to. I laid on the operating table and cried — not from pain, but from disappointment.
Then when it was over, Jon brought the baby to me. It was a girl; she was swaddled and completely calm, not making a peep. She had my little nose and my husband’s big eyes, through which she peered from side to side, taking everything in. And finally, I felt something: gratitude, amazement, love. Things may not have gone to plan, but ultimately the end result was the same and that was what truly mattered. Laurel had arrived — healthy, beautiful, and ready to rock our worlds. And she’s done just that; every day since has been a gift, with plenty of experiences felt.
Note from Design Mom: throughout my pregnancy, I posted advice, memories and stories about pregnancy, childbirth, adoption and growing a family on Wednesdays. My baby has now arrived — here’s her birth story and her newborn photos — but the series has been so popular that I’m continuing it indefinitely. You can find all the stories in this series by clicking here. Have a story you’d like to share? I’d love to read it. You can send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.