Kiara's Birth Story Part II

Part II

By 5:00 am Saturday morning, I was exhausted. I’d been awake for almost 24 hours, laboring for about six. The nurse was optimistic. She said I was reacting well to the Pitocin. We would surely have the baby before April 1. She went off duty at 7:00 am when I was about 5 cm dilated. She was our good luck charm. When she left, things went downhill.

I asked for pain meds which they gave through an IV. Those meds sucked me into a fitful sleep. I couldn’t keep my head up, but I could still feel the tug and pull of contractions through the soupy fog of a darkened room where nurses and doctors came and went. They asked me questions, but my responses were sluggish and confused. I eventually asked for the epidural. I suppose this was my surrender. I didn’t want to hurt anymore. It was so much work.

There were a couple of C-sections happening, so the anesthesiologists couldn’t get to me for a while. When she did, she reminded me of one of my students. I was still under the influence of the first pain meds. I tried to play it straight, like the meds weren’t making me completely loopy. I was a drunk trying to fake sobriety. I wasn’t convincing, but I followed her instructions, at least I think I did.

The epidural froze me to my bed. I couldn’t move. My body was asleep but I was wide-awake. I couldn’t stop shivering. My body tensed, fighting the drugs that urged my muscles to relax. Finally, someone pulled a blanket over me. I warmed up. I fell asleep. I was still only 5 cm dilated.

The doctor decided to break my water. She pulled out what looked like a long chopstick. I think it was then she mentioned that in a couple hours, if I still hadn’t progressed, we would need to go C-section. I heard her, but I was still telling my body to open, urging the baby to drop, to let me push her out.

I didn’t progress. It was almost April first, a day for fools. The doctor said they’d prep me for surgery. The baby would be here before midnight. Through exhaustion and the epidural, I struggled to accept that there would be no pushing, no vaginal delivery.

My family arrived from Portland. As I’d struggled through 24 hours of labor, they survived a harrowing flight and arrived in LA before the baby. Through weary tears I told them we were having a C-section. They told me it would be okay.

The epidural started to wear off. The pain of contractions seeped back in. I told the nurses, but they were busy prepping me for surgery. They replaced the meds, but the pain persisted and then they had to unhook my IV to transport me.

As they rolled me to surgery I told them, “I’m not numb. I can feel the contractions. I need you to know I’m not numb.”

They told me not to worry. The anesthesiologists would make sure it was all right.

Click here for part III


  1. Oh, Honey! You're so brave! Bringing me to tears.

  2. I am getting the chills just reading this...afraid to read the next part...