Since the whole surgery happened, I never got the chance to write about my birth story. I wanted to do this for posterity’s sake since Caylee was officially my last baby.
I also hope it will encourage all those, who, like me, are crazy enough to brave the pain that comes with a Lamaze or Bradley birth.
My pregnancy was relatively easy this time around. Although I dealt with more discomfort and pain that usual because of endometriosis adhesions, I was able to carry Caylee to December 1, just eight days shy of my due date.
Like my previous pregnancies, I effaced and dilated over a period of three weeks. This isn’t uncommon for me. I can be 2 to 3 cm for two weeks. In this case, I was 4 to 5 cm for two weeks! (Until effacement happens, my dilation happens slowly.)
With this pregnancy, I actually had some very strong contractions on several nights leading up to the actual birth that became false alarms for us. Caylee just wasn’t ready to come out. She must have enjoyed my womb so much and didn’t descend into my pelvis to cause regular contractions.
To facilitate things, my doctor encouraged me to walk around, and to have intimacy with Edric. Yes, we are one of those couples who has sex all throughout our pregnancy and up until we give birth. Why not, right? For as long as the doctor says it’s okay, married couples should!
Anyway, we had to stay close to the hospital because we live far away from St. Luke’s BGC traffic-wise. On a Sunday, it takes us thirty minutes, but on any other day, it’s at least an hour and a half. Since I tend to birth quickly once I hit true labor, this was something we needed to consider.
We did two weekends at a hotel in BGC to be within walking distance of the hospital. Edric and I actually enjoyed our stay and made the most of our time together.
During my last clinic visit as a pregnant woman, it was December 1. By this time, it was getting difficult to walk without doing the waddle. There was increasing pressure, and I just wanted to get Caylee out. I hoped she would come sooner than her due date so I would have time to recover before the Christmas celebrations began.
When my doctor did an IE, she was like, “Oh, you are now 6 to 7 cm and 100% effaced!”
“Really?!” I mean I had been having contractions but nothing regular. Caylee wasn’t fully engaged yet which is why the contractions weren’t getting as strong as they needed to be.
My doctor went on to say, “I can break your bag of waters in the delivery room and you will give birth quickly.”
I believed her because this is what happened with my two other daughters. My bag of waters had to be broken for them to fully engage into the pelvis, and they were delivered soon after, within thirty minutes.
She told me to go on ahead to the birthing wing of the hospital, and she encouraged Edric to pick up the kids at the hotel so they could be there when Caylee arrived.
I walked myself to the HRPU, waited for the kids and Edric. When we were complete, we all prayed together. Then I was examined again, and monitored for contractions and the baby’s heartbeat.
The contractions were getting more painful, but I could still converse with Edric and smile. This wasn’t the hard part yet.
When my doctor arrived, she suggested that my bag of waters be broken in the delivery room so we didn’t need to spend for a stay in the HRPU. That was very thoughtful of her.
I walked myself to the delivery room, and Edric joined me shortly after. Since I had prepared a playlist for the hospital, I requested that he play the music to make me relax.
My doctor broke my bag of waters at 8:30, and the contractions began to be closer together and to escalate in pain. It was an all too familiar sensation to feel my abdomen tighten and squeeze, and my back ache. As the contractions got stronger, I went from 7 to 8 to 9 cm pretty quickly. It must have been 45 minutes later when my doctor said she would help to stretch my cervix to 10 so Caylee’s head could engage fully, and I could start to push.
I was starting to get tired at this point because the contractions were very intense and excruciating. Whenever I looked over at Edric, he was calm and composed, praying for me, whispering words of encouragement. We had been through this six times now, and he knew how I labored and gave birth, and didn’t seem surprised by any of this.
In the meantime, I prayed to the Lord for this all to be over, for Caylee to descend and finally emerge. Since I had been used to my last two babies coming out very easily after my bag of waters was broken, this felt longer than usual. There was no turning back now. I had to stomach the pain and press on, ever hopeful that Caylee would arrive soon.
About ten minutes later, my OB told me it was time to push and I also felt the urge to do so. Having trained my abdominal muscles by working them out even during pregnancy allowed me to control one long push that was very efficient.
Caylee came out at 9:30 PM, an hour after my bag of waters was broken which means that God was extremely gracious to me. He permitted just an hour of painful labor! Caylee’s vitals were normal. She was healthy, strong, and well! (At the time, I didn’t know that my first month post birth was going to be one of the most difficult months of my life.)
Edric and I were ecstatic! The rest of our kids had fallen asleep on the couches of the reception area because they waited until I recovered, but they got to have photos with Caylee to celebrate the moment.
That first night after I gave birth was quite trying as I familiarized myself with caring for a newborn and breastfeeding, as well as healing from the episiotomy and dealing with the post-delivery uterine contractions. We stayed just two days in the hospital since everything seemed normal.
It was probably the easiest of all my births except that I found the pushing part to be much harder than all the others (except for Elijah, my oldest.) I understand now that this was due to the large cyst that was wrapped around my uterus and part of my intestines, which probably made my pushing more challenging.
Caylee is now three months old, and I am nearly ten weeks past the day I had my surgery that involved a total hysterectomy, a resection of my intestines, removal of my cyst and appendix. By God’s grace, I am alive, getting stronger every day, and Caylee is a healthy baby. This last birth was the easiest, but the recovery was the hardest of all!
I believe God decides how many children a family should have, and he put a definite period on ours at six. The other day my kids suggested that I have another one, not fully understanding what total hysterectomy means.
Well, that’s it, kids! We are officially done. My season of childbearing and birthing has ended. Six is exactly the number God planned for us to have, and we are grateful. Childbirth is always a miraculous experience for me, and this one was no exception. God got me through it and continues to help me cope with the demands of an infant and recovery from major surgery. Every birth is different and unique, but every single one is a testament to his goodness and faithfulness!
Nowadays, this is me…breastfeed, break, repeat…