It was a somber ride home from the hospital that day. One of those “what the heck did we just do?!” moments where it’s best not to try and immediately find a solution. Since it was already late afternoon, we decided to just relax (ha) for the rest of the night and start looking for another hospital and doctor the next day. We were thankful to feel confident about making the right decision that day, but just had no idea how this would all turn out in the end.
The next day we went to a natural birthing center a friend had recommended. We almost immediately fell in love with the place and the two midwives that ran it. They talked about being on the baby’s schedule, having to wait for him and not trust silly machines over nature, or rush babies because they are “late” according to a date no one can ever be completely sure of in the first place. It was the first time that week that I didn’t feel guilty for not going into labor yet, and the first time ever that I felt 100% on the same page as my medical provider.
I’ve never been gung-ho about drug-free labor. To each his own, but if I would have had my first baby in the States, I would have tried to go without an epidural as long as possible but would have no shame in getting one if need be. Choosing this birthing center meant changing that birth plan at 41 weeks, but after my pseudo-birth experience in a “we’ll pump you full of drugs and then give you a C-section” ambiance, I was willing to go the other extreme.
So we were really excited about our new plan. For about an hour. Then we found out how much it cost since it’s not under our insurance. No go.
Plan B was to go to the 5 hospitals on our plan and basically beg a doctor to help us. So we started at our same hospital; thankfully somebody had lied when they said we could never come back. After explaining my situation to the receptionist, I could tell this was a first for them. Thankfully for me, I was too fed up with this whole process to feel nervous or embarrassed about it. So we sat down and waited. A couple minutes later, a doctor walks out and I overhear the receptionist explaining our situation. I can tell by the doctor’s face that she is just as confused as the receptionist was, so I
beg her offer to explain the situation myself.
After hearing us out, she agreed to not only stick with us for another next week but also do an ultrasound right then to make sure everything looked ok. Which it did. Lil’ Man and all his fluids were just perfect. All we had to do now was wait.
The next week was full of doing everything we’d ever read that could possibly induce labor. We went on walks. We drove around town looking for magic natural potions that tasted like dirt, and raspberry leaves to make tea. We went on more walks. We climbed a small mountain. We walked to the store, bought a pineapple, came home, and I ate about half of it. Did I mention we went on a lot of walks?
At least we had time for more sight-seeing!
One of my walking buddies for the week
I hate papaya
Finally, at 41 weeks and 6 days, we agreed it was time, si o si, to meet him. Since I was still not showing any signs of labor and Coen hadn’t even dropped yet, we scheduled an induction and knew that if it didn’t take this time, a caesarean it would be.
Finally - the last pregnant picture!
Thursday morning on the 28th, we checked into the hospital again and did the same routine as before. We even got the same admissions lady, and various nurses that recognized us from the week before. In a weird way, we kind of felt famous! Ohhh those crazy Gringos…
Our new midwife, (here every doctor works with their own midwife, it’s a pretty cool system actually – The midwife stays with you throughout the whole time and the doctor comes for delivery) sat with us and actually explained everything that was going to happen. This was a first; Tracey was convinced it was because everyone thought we would try to run out again, I think she’s just a really good midwife… So we started the Pitocin and waited. After about an hour and a half of contractions, she could tell that it wasn’t helping Coen move. Instead of the contractions helping move him down, they were causing his heartrate to drop and then recover, only putting him in distress. Once the doctor confirmed this, we felt at peace with stopping the induction.
From that point on, everything happened so fast. There was an opening in one of the operating rooms, so we would be leaving within 10 minutes. Tracey left to go change into scrubs and I was wheeled away to wait outside for the room to open up.
When they wheeled me in a few minutes later, I couldn’t help but think – Well this is exactly the opposite of how it is on Grey’s Anatomy. It was a huge open room with white not-florescent-but-abnormally-bright lights. There were about 10-12 people going in and out, and I was thankful to have my midwife’s familiar face with me the whole time. As I helped myself onto the operating table, one of the nurses actually said, “Wow, you’re so tall, you barely fit on the table.” Excellent way to get this grande Gringa feeling confident about her first major surgery experience.
My midwife was explaining some things to me and next thing I knew the anethesiologist was introducing himself to me and explaining how the epidural block would work. He was very nice, made sure I didn’t have any questions, and even complemented me on my Spanish. I think he could tell I was nervous :) It was only a few minutes later he came back to have me lean forward and be very still, like you cannot move at all, while he stuck a giant needle into my spine.
It was in that moment, unfortunately for my pride, that my emotions decided to let loose. All the thoughts seemed to flood my brain at once: of finally getting to meet our son, of mourning the birth experience I never got to have, of realizing how exposed and alone I was in that moment, of being surrounded by strangers. I don’t know how I see all these facebook pictures of moms smiling horizontally with their surgery/shower caps on like this C-section thing is no big deal. In an instant, with the prick of a needle, it completely overwhelmed me.
As I felt the effects of that needle start to make my legs tingle, they strapped my arms down and put a curtain up over my chest so I couldn’t see anything. Tracey finally got to come in, and I actually had to look twice to make sure it was him, since I was looking at him upside-down and he was covered with scrubs and a mask. I was glad he was there before they started operating. I knew they couldn’t have started yet because I still felt like I could kind of feel my legs. Much to my surprise, he told me they had already started. Obviously, I couldn’t feel anything, except some movement/pulling. I’ll spare you any more details about the actual surgery, but Tracey said it was crazy.
And then all of a sudden we hear “¡viene, viene!, he’s coming, he’s coming!” and all I can think about is how unfair it is that everyone else can see him coming except for me. With a final pull, surgeon #2 begins to hum the U.S. national anthem, (I am impressed and internally ashamed that I still couldn’t pick out the Chilean national anthem if I heard it,) and Tracey tells me he is here! I begin to weep (not convenient to have your arms strapped down when you have snot running down your face) and after what seems like an eternity they bring this tiny, screaming blue baby around the curtain.
We finally meet.
As the surgeon held him to my cheek, someone let one arm go so I could touch his tiny face and head. They asked for a name, Tracey and I nodded at each other, and he proceeded to spell out “Coen Tracey Keitt” because I'm sure none of those 3 names had ever been heard in that hospital.