March of Dimes | My Birth Story
I remember it like yesterday, lying in bed one Friday morning, nine months pregnant and having weird tummy pains. In all honesty, I thought it was gas. “What did I eat last night?” Eventually, I realized these tummy pains seemed to be coming every few minutes. So I downloaded an app to track contractions. And when I saw they were about 5 minutes apart, I woke up hubby, and we called my parents. We met at the hospital around 7 am that day, and we were turned back because I was hardly dilated.
All that excitement quickly turned into confusion as the nurse told me this could go on for days. Yes, I was having contractions, not Braxton Hicks, but it could take a day or a week for me to dilate enough to be admitted.
We went home. The contractions kept coming every 5 to 10 minutes, but they were manageable. Hubby and I went to lunch, and mom and dad went home. And when we got home, I tried to nap. Napping was impossible because the intensity of my contractions seemed to get worse the minute my eyes would shut. So I sat uncomfortably and watched TV all day.
And when night time came, I could no longer take the pain. I walked around the house, took showers, and then a bath… nothing helped. So finally, at 10 pm, I told my husband it was time, and if they didn’t admit me, I wouldn’t leave.
Next was another painful pelvic exam to see how dilated I was… I wasn’t. But the nurses took pity and gave me a strong pain reliever which would allow me to sleep for a few hours before they would check whether I could be admitted. I finally slept in the hospital. I still felt every contraction, but it was doable. And when I was checked a few hours later, I was dilated enough to be admitted.
At this point, they gave me my epidural and popped my water. They began to induce me because they didn’t feel I was dilating fast enough. I think they did everything too soon, and I stopped dilating.
I was in the hospital until that Sunday evening before they talked me into an emergency c-section. I remember panicking when I realized they would cut me open while I was awake. My mom was with me… “I don’t wanna do this anymore, mom!!!” she just smiled and calmed my nerves the way only a mother could. “He has to come out one way or another, love. You’re strong. This will be fast,” she said as she rubbed my head. I caught her wiping her tears as she tried to hide them to be strong for me.
She was right. Our firstborn baby boy was out within minutes. The violent shaking that the Spinal caused was immediately stopped by another medication that could only be administered once the baby was out. I remember hearing my mom cry about how beautiful he is. Then I heard his sweet cry as I tried to stay awake to see and feel him.
I couldn’t stop staring at him, even in that state. Feeling him on me instead of in my belly. Finally, seeing what had been growing inside me all those months… was mind-blowing. He truly was beautiful… is beautiful.
I had two c-sections in my life. The first was an emergency, and the second elective because I was too scared to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). The first birth took its toll on my sweet hubby as well. The inability to help me in any way was one of the most challenging things he’d ever had to experience, and I couldn’t put him or my family through that again.
I had excellent care at the hospital and felt confident and comfortable. I was afraid to leave the first time around because I didn’t want to give up the wonderful nurses. They were kind and helpful and knew way more than I did about babies.
Both births were special and intense, and beautiful in their ways. And I get to tell my boys truthfully that they were taken out of my tummy by a doctor when they ask how they came out—a definite bonus.
I want to thank @MarchofDimes for partnering with me to share my story and creating a world where babies survive, thrive, and grow to reach their amazing potential!
March of Dimes found that 8 in 10 maternal deaths are preventable. According to the CDC, reducing the rates of Cesarean births may improve maternal health outcomes. March of Dimes report shows that low-risk Cesarean births are increasing at an alarming rate, with the highest rates among Black moms (31.2 percent). Cesarean delivery rates increased from 31.8 percent to 32.1 percent in 2021 and represented nearly one-third of all births. By reducing the overuse of this procedure when not medically indicated, we may prevent more maternal health risks and deaths.
Although my experience was c-sections, the preterm birth rate in the US is at an all-time high of 10.5%. That is 4% higher than it was just last year. Factors like socioeconomic status, structural racism, and poor maternal health play a huge role. We must work together to change the course of this maternal and infant health crisis.
This year, the U.S. overall scored a preterm birth grade of D+. Look at the report and check out how your state was graded.