Birth Story: Wyatt Stirling MacDonald – September 7, 2015 – 4:45 a.m.
Wyatt Stirling entered the world swiftly in the middle of the night. He decided to show the world his sense of humor by skipping out on his scheduled C-section delivery and arriving two days early on Monday, September 7, Labor Day.
The Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend found me running all over town in a bustle of nervous energy. I was emotionally preparing myself for my C-Section scheduled for that Wednesday, September 9, at 10:30 a.m.
Shopping was my form of nesting. It’s like I thought that once baby arrived I would never be allowed out in the real world to do things like buy myself shoes or stock up on some new fall clothes. (Yes, the shopping was for myself. I was all set for the baby.)
Despite my aching hips and back and extreme tiredness felt this intense need to stay busy. So on Saturday, we made a day of it. We went suit shopping for Ryan and shoe shopping for me. I waddled around the mall with determination as if this were my last task on earth. Ryan was a good sport. We scored two suits for him but nothing for me, which caused me even more anxiety. I felt like I couldn’t relax until I had found the perfect shoes.
On Sunday I woke up early and headed out to continue shoe shopping on my own. A salesclerk at DSW gasped when she saw me and said, “I sure hope you don’t go into labor in the store!” I managed to give her a smile as I continued bending up and down trying on pair after pair of shoes.
A grumpy mood took over the rest of my day. To try to brighten my mood I suggested we go out for a walk to enjoy the beautiful weather. I figured this would be our very last walk as a family of three. As we slowly made our way around the neighborhood we talked about our fears about having a C-Section and our favorite topic, what our baby boy will be like.
Once we got back home we parked ourselves on the couch for a bit. I received a few emails, texts, and calls from family and friends wishing me good luck with the birth. Which I thought was a little odd since it was still three days away. It’s almost like they knew…
Ryan was deep in the middle of binge watching Brooklyn 99, but I was such a ball of nervous energy that I couldn’t relax and enjoy the night. I honestly felt like something was up and perhaps I would not be waiting until Wednesday to meet our sweet baby boy. I requested a foot massage before deciding to head up to bed early. I still really wasn’t feeling well. I tried to sleep but could not relax. I attempted to read but ended up on my phone Googling C-section birth stories and recovery tips.
Around 11:30 p.m. my symptoms got worse. I was very hot and sweaty and felt like I could pass out. I did what any pregnant woman would do when she’s feeling off and Googgled “39 weeks, hot and sweaty, labor symptom?” Of course the results were all over the place. I went downstairs and pumped up the AC and directed a fan right in my direction. Ryan was fast asleep next to me. This is when my instinct was telling me that something really was happening. I lied in bed and tried to relax.
Just before 12:30 a.m. I heard and felt the smallest pop and then felt a trickling of liquid running down my legs and onto the bed. I jumped up and ran to the bathroom, leaking the whole way there. My water broke! I sat on the toilet in disbelief. The same toilet I sat on in disbelief when I finally received the positive pregnancy test way back in January.
Ryan woke up and came to check on me. Half asleep he said, “Well, now what?”
I was surprisingly calm at this point; perhaps I was still in disbelief. I responded that I guess we’d be goI ng to the hospital shortly, but I needed to shower first.
I hopped in the shower as I was still leaking amniotic fluid and knew I wanted to clean up before heading to the hospital. I was still feeling hot and dizzy and having mild contractions, which basically felt like light menstrual cramps. Ryan worked on cleaning up the bathroom floors and waking up.
Once in the shower it began to set in. I could barely stand up straight in the shower I was so nervous and excited. I was in labor! I couldn’t believe that I went into labor on my own. We were going to be meeting our son today! I scrubbed down with the special surgery soap I was saving for Wednesday and washed my hair.
At my last doctor appointment I was told that if I happened to go into labor before September 9 to simply call the doctor and tell them and then I’d be fit in later that day for a C-section. So, before I called the doctor we called both our parents, waking them up with the great news. I then called the on call triage nurse and awaited the call back from my OBGYN. The doctor called me within 5 minutes and had obviously been woken up from a very deep sleep. She went over my symptoms and said she’d see me at the hospital later that day.
Since there didn’t seem to be a huge rush, we took our time getting ready, making sure we had everything we would need for a 5-day stay at the hospital. We then made our way over to my parent’s house to drop off Maggie. At this point my contractions were 9-10 minutes apart.
We left my parents house around 2 a.m. The drive to the hospital felt surreal. The roads were empty and I had a hard time believing that I was truly in labor. We didn’t say much because I think we were both wrapping our minds around the fact that our world was about to change.
Thankfully there was only one other couple at the birthing hospital’s triage and I was taken back immediately. I changed into my hospital gown and was then hooked up to a non stress test that monitored the baby’s movements and my contractions. The nurse went over my health history and asked me a billion of questions. All I could think about was how terrified I was of the spinal block and if everything was okay with the baby. The nurse, Eleanor, was very sweet and did her best to keep my calm.
My contractions were still about 8-10 minutes apart at this point and only felt like menstrual cramps. I felt them mostly in my lower back and thighs. My entire body began to shake uncontrollably during this time, whether from the anxiety of what was happening or from the process of labor. Little did I know that this shaking would continue for the next 20 hours or so.
They administered a test to make sure it really was my membranes that ruptured and not just discharge. I couldn’t imagine it was anything else. My experience with my water breaking was exactly what the doctor’s and baby classes told me would most likely NOT happen. They said big gushes like that typically only happen in the movies. Ha!
But they had to administer the test anyways and Ryan, thinking of his parents who were making the drive from Philly, asked, “and what if her water didn’t break?”
“Well then we’d send you home.” No thank you. I was pretty confident it was my actual water that broke. Ryan and I sat anxiously and he texted with both sets of our parents.
A few minutes later it was confirmed that my water did break and then everything started to move very fast. When I had spoken to my groggy doctor earlier that morning and she had mentioned that the surgery would be performed later that day, I was assuming that meant sometime in the afternoon. Knowing how slowly things can move at hospitals and the fact that I was not a true emergency, I was expecting to be siting around for most of the day.
But, when I asked the nurse when I could expect to go into surgery she casually replied, “In about 45 minutes.” Reality began to set in. It was go time! I was going to meet my baby within the hour!
My uncontrollable shaking grew worse. I was getting very scared. They quickly administered the IV and soon the anesthesia doctor came in to see me and go over my medical history and talk me through the steps of the cesarean.
The anesthesia doctor was overly calm. He explained the steps and the precautions and had me sign papers documenting the risks involved. Tears started to accompany my shaking. I explained that I was terrified of the spinal block and he assured me that he has done thousands of them and never had an issue. Did this calm me at all? No.
Ryan was handed his sterile OR suit and was asked to suit up and the nurse put on my surgery cap.
We asked if our parents could come back and see us before I was taking to the operating room. Since triage was pretty empty and no one else was currently having surgery the nurses obliged as long as only two people came back at once. My parents came back first and said their well wishes and gave their kisses and hugs followed by Ryan’s parents. Everyone was very excited and nervous.
They were soon ushered out as my doctor had arrived at the hospital and needed to talk to me and have me sign more papers before starting the procedure. She was in and out. The nurse asked if I wanted to walk or be wheeled in the wheel chair to the OR room, I opted for the wheel chair. I was shaking so badly I don’t think my legs would have been able to hold me up.
I made one last quick nervous bathroom trip and then we were off to the OR. It was game time! I was about to become a mother!
Now was the part I was dreading. Ryan had to wait outside of the OR room until I was completely prepped. I hated that he couldn’t come in and sit with me while I got the spinal block. I was so scared of getting that needle in my back. Ryan wished me luck and gave me one last kiss before we were momentarily separated.
The OR room was freezing and so bright. I remember feeling so overwhelmed by all of the medical equipment and the frenzy of nurses all about. The super calm anesthesia doctor was there and explained how I needed to sit hunched over on the side of the bed, arching my back, for him to administer the spinal block. Three nurses helped me get into position. I wanted to cry but I remember telling myself to just stay calm. That this was all for the baby. The nurses held my hands and said that it was just like a little bee sting.
And it was. It honestly felt just like a bee sting and was over before I knew it. The IV was worse than the spinal block. All of that anxiety and worry for nothing! But perhaps I was focusing so much on what that was going to feel like so my mind wouldn’t drift to the fact that I was about to have major abdominal surgery and that my world was about to be rocked by the birth of my son.
Now that the spinal was over I really began to lose it. I began crying softly and the body shakes got worse. The loss of feeling in my legs began immediately. It was the strangest thing, not being able to feel anything below my chest. I kept asking when Ryan could come in and the nurse said shortly. She kept holding my hand and explaining everything that was happening.
They quickly lifted the surgical drape above my chest. It was much higher than I was picturing. The nurses began to prep my stomach and began rubbing it down and I was given oxygen. The doctor explained how she would be testing to make sure that I was completely numb. I was so scared that maybe I would feel some bit of pain. But the nurse said they were really pushing on me and that I would be crying out if I could feel what they were doing.
Finally, Ryan was allowed in the room. He was quickly seated by my head, gave me a kiss and the surgery began. Ryan looked both nervous and calm. I still could not stop shaking and crying. I couldn’t believe the moment I had been waiting for for the past nine months, no, for my entire life, was about to happen!
A nurse was seated on the other side of my head and tried to help keep me calm. She explained that they would be pushing on my upper abdomen to make contraction like movements in order to push the baby out. I felt some very minor pressure; I was just so focused on the moment when I would meet my baby.
It felt like 30 minutes but I was told it was only about 10 minutes later when she whispered, “They’re about to pull him out!”
Oh, all the tears! My throat closed up and I held my breath. A few seconds later the room was filled with his screams. I took a large breath and just felt the tears streaming down my face. That was my son! I was a mother!
I’m still jealous that Ryan was able to stand up and peek over the curtain to get a look at him before I could. “Let me see him! Let me see him!” I kept yelling out. I was given a quick glance before they whisked him away to the warmer to have him checked out.
He was beautiful and absolutely perfect. I was told I was having a 10 plus pound baby and was expecting huge chubby chipmunk cheeks, but this baby was so much smaller than I pictured in my mind and just perfect because he was mine.
I could turn my head and see him being worked on about 5 feet from my head. Ryan stood with him and a nurse took a bunch of photos of the umbilical cord cutting process. The nurses announced that he was perfectly healthy and was 7 pounds 13 ounces and 20.5 inches long.
Every cliché of motherhood is true. On the moment we touched skin-to-skin he looked up at me with his freshly opened eyes and I felt my heart grow. It was so much more than I thought it was going to be. My whole world shifted in that moment. Nothing else mattered. I looked at Ryan and back at Wyatt.
This was love.