After being five days overdue, I was getting quite impatient. However, I was so physically tired that I was dreading the literal labor ahead of me. I knew no matter whenever baby boy came I was going to have to pony up.
I had been feeling more frequent contractions all day but real labor began at five minutes apart with about one minute contractions later in the evening. They lasted two hours until we decided to head to the hospital around 8:30. The kids were asleep already and my in-laws were in town to hold down the fort.
When we arrived and got all the preliminary things out of the way (I was at an 8), contractions intensified and baby's heart rate began to drop. It was not coming back up quickly, even when the nurse started me on oxygen. My doctor suggested breaking my waters to get the baby out faster. I agreed and got on the bed.
Once she broke my water, things immediately picked up. My doctor was able to see why baby's heart rate was dropping. "You have a prolapsed cord. That's an emergency C-section," she said. (A cord prolapse is rare and occurs when the cord comes before baby, resulting in pressure, and cutting off the life support for the baby.) In an instant the room filled with nurses and I was told to not push--a very hard thing to do at that point. Before I knew it, an OB/GYN appeared and made the call that the baby was too low for surgery: his head was already engaged. The OB/GYN did an episiotomy, which I thankfully did not feel thanks to adrenaline! He placed a small vacuum on baby's head and told me to push with everything I got. Two pushes and he was out just before 11.
I don't think I breathed after delivery until I heard our baby boy cry. He was loud and healthy and after testing his cord blood, the pH levels confirmed that he experienced no distress.
From the moment my doctor said cord prolapse to baby's birth was about five minutes. The fluidity of the medical staff during that time was like an art performance. I am so grateful for the well-trained. Seriously, I just want to hug everyone who has ever helped me birth my babies.
I am still in shock at the sudden intensity of the situation but mostly grateful that our baby is perfectly healthy and I did not have a C-section (the thought of being wheeled down to the OR continues to strike panic into my heart). My doctor, who's been practicing for ten years, had only seen one cord prolapse before mine, and it was the only vaginal delivery of a cord prolapse the OB/GYN had done (an even more seasoned doctor).
Every birth is a miracle, but I know my family was being especially watched over that night. We're so happy to have our little boy.