Knox's Birth Story
Well here we are, about three months since Knox’s arrival to this world and I’m finally getting around to writing his birth story. Part of the reason it has taken me so long to write this is because I’ve been hesitant to actually write it. There are a lot of reasons for this hesitancy, which I’m sure you’ll understand as you read my story.
First off, let me back up and explain my birth plan. Even before I was pregnant, I knew that I wanted to have a natural delivery. I truly believe that God created my body for childbirth and there is no reason to fear the pain that comes with labor and delivery. Yes, I knew it would be hard. Most likely the hardest thing I would ever do. But, I didn’t want to be fearful. [This is just my personal approach to labor & delivery]. So we took a birthing class that would empower us to be a team through the whole process. We wrote a birth plan about all the things we did and didn’t want at the hospital. I didn’t want drugs. I didn’t want many exams during labor. I wanted intermittent fetal monitoring, not continuous. I wanted to labor on my own with few interruptions. I knew that even with a plan, things would probably go differently than I wanted. And I was prepared for that. I knew I didn’t have control.
While pregnant, I did share some concerns with my OB/GYN about the fact that I really didn’t want to be induced or have a c-section. She knew what was important to me and empowered me to do exactly what I wanted. I had so much trust in her (this fact will be important as we move forward).
Knox’s due date was July 15th. I woke up on July 17th at 3am and had to go to the bathroom. When I stood up, I had the sensation of peeing my pants and I thought “hmm, I wonder if my water broke.” I then laid in bed for about 20 minutes having what felt like strong period cramps. After 20 minutes, I woke Joel up and told him what was going on. I called my mom and realized that every “cramp” started to be stronger and closer together. And I thought “I guess these are contractions.” They were about four minutes apart when we called the hospital. Since we thought my water had broken, they told us to come in. We slowly got our things together and headed to the hospital around 4:45am. We fully expected to be sent home because that’s what we heard happened. We checked in and a nurse came to check to see if in fact my water broke. While we waited for the results, my contractions continued to be about 4 minutes apart, but weren’t too intense yet. I was able to easily breathe through them while we waited. The nurse came back, told me I was 3cm dilated and my water did, in fact, break. So, we moved to the labor and delivery room, my mom showed up around 7am and I was texting all my friends that I was in labor. I had full intentions of texting them throughout the day with updates on my progress.
I continued to lay on my side and labor because the tub was uncomfortable and I didn’t want to stand up. But, my doctor, nurse, mom, and husband all forced me to get out of bed around 8am and walk around. I could barely walk. I was up for about one minute before I begged to go back to the room. Immediately after that, everything sped up. The contractions were more intense, I started having back labor (which is TERRIBLE), and I was incredibly focused. My husband sat behind me the entire time with tennis balls pushing against my back to help with the back labor. My nurse would come in and want to check me for progress, but I either didn’t let her or she couldn’t get a good number and didn’t want to give a false dilation. So, I just kept laboring. At this point, the contractions were about a minute or less apart, but I had no idea how far along I was. It had only been a couple hours since the contractions intensified.
Then my nurse came in again to check on Knox and monitor his heart rate. She tried once and then tried again because his heart rate was dropping. After that, everything was a blur. I felt like I was pushing and I remember thinking “I wonder if this is transition.”
I had to be moved to the bed to get checked and all of a sudden the charge nurse was in my room. I knew something was wrong. After one of the most painful experiences, she informed me that I was in fact fully dilated to 10cm, but Knox was breach. His heart rate was dropping, my doctor was on her ways to give me my options, and they hooked me up to oxygen.
My doctor came in and informed me that I would be getting a c-section immediately and Knox would be here in 20 minutes or less. She knew that a c-section was my worst case scenario and for her to walk in and tell me that’s what was happening, I knew it was serious. And I trusted her.
Let me stop here and explain why I’ve been hesitant in sharing my birth story. As someone who is a little “crunchy,” I wanted to be able to naturally deliver Knox. The fact that I wasn’t able to felt like a failure. I didn’t want a c-section. For goodness sakes, I have naturally labored all the way to 10cm and was ready to start pushing. I wanted Knox to come through the birth canal. I wanted to at least give him that. I always knew that my labor and delivery would be different than expected, but I never thought it would end in a c-section. Of the stories I’ve heard, c-sections happened because the Mom had been pushing too long. So, that obviously wouldn’t happen to me. Because I would just get him out. I would be in control.
But that’s not what happened.
Knox’s booty was in the birth canal and receiving the contractions, so we had to get him out quickly. (The nurses believe he flipped during labor because he was so small and became breach. At all my doctor's appointments he was engaged, head down. Three days before I went into labor, he was head down.)
The next thing I remember is being whisked off to the OR, having one horribly painful contraction while sitting up and then complete numbness. They were able to give me a spinal block so I would be awake for the delivery, which doesn’t normally happen with such a quick c-section. My doctor was amazing and advocated for me. Within minutes, Knox was here.
I am still grieving part of his birth story. I don’t feel like I gave birth to him. Whenever I say “I grew him and gave birth to him” I feel like fraud. I know that’s not true and I’m working through it, but it’s still hard for me. This is my personal struggle with having a c-section and do not think this about other mamas who have had c-sections. This is my personal journey.
If we hadn’t done a c-section, Knox would most likely not have survived. So, I don’t have any regrets. I made the best decision for my son. Am I sad that his birth ended in a operating room and he wasn’t placed on my chest immediately? Of course. Do I wish it was different? Definitely. Am I sad that his birth was not as peaceful as I imagined? You betcha. But do I have regrets? Nope.
One nurse told me: “The good news is you can relate to all women. You naturally labored to complete AND you had a c-section.” And as someone who loves to connect with people, it kinda made my day when she said that.
As someone who loves to have control and know what to expect, his birth was the first exercise in parenting about losing control. In the few months of parenting, I’ve realized that parenting is all about teaching me how powerless I am. I am not in control. This was just the beginning of learning that hard lesson.
We are so grateful for Knox and we thank God every single day that he is ours.