My Birth Story - Transitioning into Motherhood - PT. 1
Let me begin with an overview of my pregnancy. 40 weeks of pure perfection. Yes I use the word perfection because thats what it felt like. Every doctors appointment was filled with good news & tears of joy. I never once threw up or got sick, I slept like a rock, I was able to eat any & everything, plus I traveled constantly. The genetic testing & anatomy results came back without any issues, his heartbeat was always strong - you get the idea - like I said, perfect.
[This isn’t the prettiest or easiest birth story you’ll read, I hesitated to even share my story. My view on social media is to keep things light, positive & fun- in other words my instagram is my highlight reel. You won’t see the good & the bad, I choose to only share the good. I wanted my blog to be the outlet where I keep things super real & balance it out. Behind every picture is a thousand words. I choose not to contribute mindless negative things - the world has enough of that - if that’s what you’re looking for just turn on the news.]
I did everything I could to try to “control” the outcome of my birth experience. I read ALL the books no exaggeration - my husband & I took a hypnobirthing course together (2.5 hours a week for 5 weeks) & I hired a private Doula to guide me. I repeated positive affirmations daily & spent lots of time visualizing my dream birth. I wrote a wish list for the hospital & consulted my doctors at every appt - my message was loud & clear I wanted a NATURAL birth NOT a C-section.
*Warning: I ended up delivering a beautiful happy healthy baby but I did have an emergency c-section, if this is something you’d rather not read about then stop here. (During my pregnancy I specifically avoided anything mentioning c-sections, looking back I wish I had educated myself more to all possible situations & scenarios because if there’s one thing I learned it’s that you can’t control how your baby arrives. (with a bonus lesson to always follow your intuition!)
My due date was July 8th, 2019. Coincidentally that is also my husband’s birthday & we were expecting a boy. As soon as I heard this I immediately took it as a sign from the universe, ok then, baby will arrive 7/8, not a day before, not a day after. I was fixated on this date & the prospect of joint birthday celebrations- it just seemed meant to be.
The big day came & I had zero signs of labor, not even a practice contraction. I had my 40 week ultrasound planned for that morning & a tentative induction scheduled for that evening just in case.
I had been in conversation with my son daily, “ok Shai you’ll be born on July 8th! I’m so excited! I can’t wait”, he agreed, he always moved with joy, it felt as if we’d made a pact. (also no I’m not crazy - chalk it up as mother’s intuition).
On Monday July 8th the ultrasound looked great, we saw the baby, we listened to his heart, I was 40 weeks exactly. I asked my doctor’s advice, to induce or not to induce - the big question that day. He took a more natural stance & recommended that I wait an additional week to allow time for the baby & labor to arrive on their own.
But something was off, he wasn’t arriving on his own. I remember looking at my husband & saying somethings wrong, he needs help coming out. My husband quickly corrected me, don’t use the word help that implies that theres something wrong- which is exactly how I was feeling.
I went home frustrated, I was mentally & physically tapped out, I spent the rest of my “due date”/hubbies birthday - crying.
I didn’t make the wait. By Thursday afternoon I was demanding an induction aka 40 weeks + 3 days. I wasn’t able to communicate with Shai as much as I had previously. He wasn’t moving around in the same patterns as usual, for the first time in nine months I felt completely disconnected from my baby, he needed help & I knew it.
We were admitted into the hospital at 7pm on Thursday 7/11/2019. They checked me for progress & again I had made none. 0% dilated, & my cervix was high & closed tight. They explained the schedule of the next 24 hours, I was expecting a long chemically induced vaginal delivery. The plan was to start on cervidil to soften the cervix, wait 12 hours, then begin pitocin to stimulate contractions then if I was lucky I’d be pushing by the following evening. Sounded good to me, I was so ready to meet my son.
They evaluated my vitals, my blood pressure looked good, I was hooked up to an IV, then they placed the fetal monitoring straps across my belly. That's when the course of events took a major turn. His heart rate was not stable enough to begin the cervidil. His heartbeat wasn’t stable at all. 20,30,40,50 to 120,130,140,150. Spiking super high & dipping dangerously low. The nurse mentioned it, I thought that’s strange his heartbeat is always strong & steady. My exact reaction was: maybe the batteries are low on the monitoring machine, can I switch machines? or switch rooms? I literally thought the fetal monitor straps were malfunctioning. I was so confident that his heart was fine, it always had been. They told me to get up & walk around, switch from laying side to side, left to right, right to left, to see if the baby would move.
After about an hour the charts were still reading the same. The nurse told me that the doctor was watching remotely from an iPad at his house. He didn’t like what he was seeing & he would be at the hospital within the next five minutes. Sure enough he arrived within five minutes & hooked me up to an ultrasound. He looked at the screen, his face turned serious, all he said was— we need to get this baby out right now.
My heart sank.. I knew exactly what that meant. I was rushed into an emergency c-section, the rest is such a chaotic blur. The umbilical cord had somehow wrapped twice around his neck tightly in the span of time from Monday to Thursday.
I was spiritually, physically & mentally unprepared for the possibility of a c-section. Because of that my recovery was rough & our breast-feeding journey got off to a rocky start. As someone who appreciates Eastern medicine so much, this time I have to thank God for Western medicine- fortunately my doctor, Dr. Bitran, knew exactly what to do & the necessary medical intervention quite possibly saved my sons life.
All things considered this is a story with a very happy ending. I would do it all over again a million times. I’ve fully recovered & I’ve been cleared to exercise since 4 weeks pp. He’s 11 weeks old now - he’s so happy, so handsome & so healthy. He’s perfect.
Shai Alexander Schultz was born Thursday, July 11, 2019 at 11:10 PM, weighing 7 lbs. 15 oz. & 19.75 inches at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Miami Beach, Florida.