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  • Writer's pictureCiarra Massey

My Birth Story: 05/04/2023

My husband and I got pregnant with our third baby in the fall of 2022. We were so exited because we had been trying for a few months!

I immediately contacted a wonderful doula who was at my home birth with my son, and hired her because I knew I didn't want to give birth without her support! I also contacted the midwife I had used with my second child and set up an appointment with her. She was AMAZING and the experience of birthing at home was incredible. I can't put into words how wonderful the entire experience was, and I knew I wanted that again.

When I was about 9 weeks along, I had a pregnancy related mini-stroke. Super scary! No one knows what caused it... I just had to be on blood thinners for the remainder of the pregnancy to prevent another one. Anyway, having a stroke required me to start seeing an OBGYN and plan for a hospital birth. That was not what I wanted, but I didn't have a choice. So my midwife and doula recommended a doctor to me, and he was wonderful! I am so grateful that even though I couldn't see the midwife I wanted, I had met a doctor who listened to me and actually really seemed to care.

Fast forward to 38 weeks: I was ready to get this baby out! I have always enjoyed being pregnant. It's an experience that is like no other, so I'm not usually impatient when I get close to my due date.

But with this pregnancy, it was different for several reasons:

• The blood thinners made me so weak that some days I could barely walk, and because of the weakness I had all but given up on exercising by the time I got to 38 weeks.

• I was huge. And I don't mean normally huge. I had developed a condition called Polyhydramnios. It means that I had an excessive amount of amniotic fluid... and I could tell!

• My shots increased to two times daily instead of one. I was on a blood thinner called Lovenox for my entire pregnancy, which is just one self-administered shot in the stomach daily. Once I hit 36 weeks, I switched to a medicine called Heparin. It was two shots daily because it had a shorter half-life and could be reversed, which was necessary just in case I went into labor. The shots took a toll on my mind and body, so I was ready to be done!

My wonderful doula had a recipe for a brew that had a great track record of putting women into labor. I was due on May 7th, so I decided to drink the brew the night of the 3rd. I didn't want to be in the hospital for more than one night, so I figured getting labor started on a Wednesday night was a pretty good idea.

My youth-pastor husband didn't go to church that night, but instead stayed home with me and our littles to get everything together. I put my children to bed around 8:30, then got up to make the brew so I could have it ready to drink by 9:30 that night.

After I drank it (it tasted pretty good, by the way!) I texted my doula that it was done and I was going to sleep. At least that's what I thought!

I started feeling light contractions within about 30 minutes, but I waited a little while to see if they would go away; they didn't. I texted my doula around 10:30 letting her know that I had constant contractions that were getting stronger. I knew the brew worked, we just didn't expect it to work that fast!

So I decided to stay in bed and try to get some sleep before things progressed. I was not able to go to sleep at all because they were not letting up, so I texted my doula and let her know I was getting a shower. She was heading my way! Then I texted my mom and told her my labor had started and asked if she would come over in case Jason and I had to leave for the hospital.

I took a shower, woke my husband to let him know what was going on, and waited for my doula to get here. She came and contractions continued until about 1:00 am. Then they suddenly slowed down.

Jason and I went to bed to try and get some sleep while my doula layed on our couch. A little while after I layed down, a strong contraction hit me and we were up and at it again!

The next few hours were a blur to me. I mainly just remember contracting on the couch while my doula sat behind me helping me through each contraction. At some point, I started to make noise with the contractions and that let me know that active labor was starting and it was time to go! We loaded up and drove the 35 minutes to the hospital. (By the way, driving a long way while having constant, very painful contractions and seemingly hitting every pothole imaginable was NOT my idea of fun... ha!)

On the way there I kept feeling the need to push! Once there, I checked in and they took me to a little side room to see how I was doing and monitor the conntractions and the baby's heartbeat. Trying to find her heartbeat was very difficult, so the doctor on call came in and did an ultrasound to see where her head was and it turns out that it was pushed to the side a little. But my contractions were SO strong and SO constant, I asked her to break my water for me so the pain would be over!

At about 6 am, they wheeled me to the room to try and do a slow breaking of my water. As I was climbing onto the bed, the doctor saw something very wrong: a prolapsed cord. That means the umbilical cord was coming out in the bag of water, before the baby. (I will explain this more at the end!) I'm assuming this happened because of all the extra amniotic fluid I had! Once the doctor saw that, she paused for a minute and said "We have to do an emergency C-section." She said my water could NOT break. So several nurses wheeled me to the OR, quickly but with calmness so as not to break my water. I was very quiet as I tried to process exactly what was happening. All I remember saying was "I had a stroke. I can't have an epidural!" and "Where is my husband?" In response to those statements, I actually couldn't get an epidural anyway because if they would have sat me up to put the needle in my back, my water might have broken, so I had to be put under anesthesia instead. And my husband was not allowed to go back with me because it was an emergency surgery, not a planned cesarean. I was devastated about being put under because that meant I wouldn't be able to see my baby or do immediate skin-to-skin like I wanted, but I honestly was in so much pain when they were prepping me (because I was laying flat on my back!) that I was just thankful that the pain was about to end.

There are several details from this point that I could add, but the most important thing is this: If I had not been in a hospital, my baby most likely would have died.

Someone told me that prolapsed cords are very common and don't usually result in emergency surgery's like mine did. So I mentioned this to my doctor and he explained it clearly! Prolapsed cords are common. But because I was fully dilated, since the cord came out first before the head, if my water had broken at that point, the baby's head would have come down and crushed the umbilical cord, therefore cutting off her own supply of oxygen. She would have died.

I see the Lord's sovereignty and graciousness to me in this situation. I had planned on a homebirth with this baby, just like I had with my second. But the stroke I had caused me to be required to deliver in a hospital.

Because I had a stroke, I delivered in a hospital. And because I delivered in a hospital, I was able to get the emergency surgery I needed for the situation I found myself in. In the Lord's goodness to me, He allowed me to have a stroke because He knew that I would need to be with experienced surgeons in order to save my babies life. As my doctor said: "I believe that was Providence."

I couldn't agree more.

Today I have a healthy, thriving 11 week old. The recovery has been more extensive, but I am so thankful for this little miracle that God has given to us! I am also grateful to my amazing doula for not only being with my throughout my labor, but also for staying with my during the entire surgery and then waiting with my nervous husband and newborn for the few hours it took for the doctors to finish my surgery! I am forever grateful.

This pregnancy and birth did not go as planned. But what I saw as inconvenient and disappointing, I now see as a loving act from the hand of God, who took care of me and my little one from the very start.

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