Tyrel’s C- Section, the Beginning of My Journey

. . . This wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to hold him after all my hard work, I wanted my touch to be the first he felt in this foreign world.

My Pregnancy: First Time

When I started out with my son Tyrel, I was very much like most first time mom’s: excited, over anxious, over analyzing, and uneducated about everything to do with birth. Although I do have to say I wasn’t scared. For some reason deep within me I just felt that I could do it. That my body was made to do it.

I think the only true fear I had was of having a C-section like my mother who out of five children had four C-sections. I wondered about this but just tried to shake off the thought throughout my pregnancy.

HypnoBirthing

At about 25 weeks I took the HypnoBirthing class (the Mongan Method), and thoroughly enjoyed it. It just clicked with me. Your body wasn’t made to have pain in childbirth.

The studies of Dr. Grantly Dick-Reed when he observed that there was pain in childbirth only in cultures of high society, made sense. He concluded that when fear was present, there brought tension, which brought pain. It excited me to think that I personally could be different, that I could have a good experience.

My decision to switch to a home birth from a hospital birth

So I decided after taking the classes to switch over to a midwife. I loved the prospect of a home birth. Prenatals were great, and I daily grew more excited as the time to have my baby got closer.

Going Into Labor

In a matter of seconds I felt the night and day difference between comfort and pain as I went from being relaxed to being scared . . .

I was a week overdue when I finally started into labor with a bang. My water had broken at about 5:30 in the morning on August 3rd, 2006.

I had been laboring all night but didn’t realize it, and just thought I was restless. I awoke my husband, Laurence, and we loaded everything into the car to head up to my Grandmother’s house for the birth. (At the time we lived in a small apartment with a LOT of neighbors.)

I was ecstatic to finally have my baby coming. By noon I was at a five and thrilled that everything was going so well. We decided to get into the birthing pool and try that out for awhile because I wanted to try out a water birth. I stayed and stayed and stayed in the water. Finally at 2:00 in the morning. (Yes, 2!!!) I was ready to push.

You can imagine my exhaustion. I pushed for three hours before my midwife decided that we should go to the hospital. At that point I truly got scared, and I understood for the first time during my labor why to the standard woman birth was excruciating. In a matter of seconds I felt the night and day difference between comfort and pain as I went from being relaxed to being scared. All I could think about was relieving the pain.

Hospital and Cesarean Birth

I remember looking in Laurence’s eyes and saying ‘I think we should go ahead with the C-section’ and in my mind hoping that he’d tell me I could still do it. When he said ‘I think so too’, my heart finally gave up

We arrived at the hospital to a very unfriendly staff, which was the last thing I needed. After being heartlessly stabbed over and over by several nurses trying to get an IV in, being openly discussed as a “dirty birth” because I came from home, the doctor finally showed up. Unfortunately, the he was worse than the nurses. He arrived in all his glory, and very roughly and quickly shoved his hand up inside to check me without gloves. I was emotionally and physically in shock.

When he finally took the time to see that I actually had prenatal records, we finally got somewhere. He softened, and apologized for his rude behavior and checking me so roughly. Because I was so calm, he thought I had already had an epidural. He gave me the option to keep pushing, have an epidural, or go ahead with a C-section. I chose to keep pushing.

Fortunately the night shift ended and an angel of a nurse came in. Though this nurses presence was comforting, it wasn’t enough to drown out the discouragement all around me; the comments being made that my pelvis was too small, that this position ALWAYS works, and the fear in my husband’s and family’s eyes.

Out of sheer exhaustion, I finally opted for an epidural, and at seven thirty in the morning made the decision to have a Cesarean birth. I remember looking in Laurence’s eyes and saying “I think we should go ahead with the C-section” and in my mind hoping that he’d tell me I could still do it. When he said “I think so too”, my heart finally gave up. We wheeled out of the room and I was transferred onto the operating table.

I couldn’t hold him. I could hardly breathe, much less hold my arms up. All I could do is watch my baby be passed around in the arms of strangers.

I wanted to see as much of the birth as I could but couldn’t really see much through the reflection of the ceiling light. At 9:44 am, my baby boy was here. I could hear him screaming and I just started to cry. This wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to hold him after all my hard work, I wanted my touch to be the first he felt in this foreign world.

After what seemed forever I was finally sewn up and wheeled out. They tried to hand me my baby and I couldn’t hold him. I could hardly breathe, much less hold my arms up. All I could do is watch my baby be passed around in the arms of strangers.

We decided to name him James Tyrel. James after my dad, and Tyrel meaning “strong, powerful one”, because he had come out the stronger from such a traumatic experience.

Afterwards, my husband asked the doctor what went “wrong”, and why hadn’t the baby come, was the baby too big, was her pelvis too small etc. To this he replied “No, everything was perfect, he was just taking his time.”

C-Section After Labor and the Recovery

As all who have labored and had a Cesarean birth would know, the months recovering from my C-section were very painful and irritating. I couldn’t walk for days, I couldn’t laugh or roll over in bed for weeks, and wasn’t fully mobile for months.

Needless to say, I had plenty of time to think about what happened and what went wrong. I discovered a lot of things about how I could have changed my birth experience. I would never have chosen to have a Cesarean birth, but it led me to where I am today. I know that I can make a difference in birth and one at a time, make the world a better place.


Utah Doula Karen Bunker With Son Tyrel Giving Her a Kiss

Before you were born I loved you,

Before you were conceived I wanted you

Before you were here an hour I would have died for you

This is the miracle of life

-Maureen Hawkins

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