The Birth of Katrina

December 13, 2007 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Gestational Diabetes, Give me a C (section) 


My special day started on 1/11/07 at 4:30 a.m.  I went to sleep the previous night for maybe 3 hours.  I was so nervous about the next day.  My husband was up all night and was really scared of being a dad.  We then got ready and he drove me to UMC. I walked to the Labor and delivery unit where they were expecting me.

I was told that we were going to have a scheduled Cesarean section due to the fact that I was seven days overdue and had gestational diabetes. I had only dilated to 2 centimeters and was 100 percent effaced. They told me to show up at the hospital two hours prior to the surgery, which was scheduled to be done at 7:30 a.m.

I showed up and they allowed me to change and inserted the IV. They then came in and advised me how things were going to proceed.

The attending nurse then came in and made me drink the most awful salty stuff that was to prevent me from getting nauseated during the procedure.

They shaved me, inserted the catheter and went over some of the events that were to follow. The anesthesiologist came in and introduced herself and went over with me how the spinal was going to go.  She was awesome.  7:30 rolled around and still no doctor was there. I started getting butterflies in my tummy and wanted to see my daughter. 8 a.m. rolled by, 8:30 rolled by and the doctor finally showed up. I was told he had another emergency C-section to do at another local hospital.

Now that everyone was there and I was prepped, the day started.

I was allowed to walk to the operating room. I then sat on the operating table as the anesthesiologist prepped me for the spinal block.  I was at this point sitting half naked in a room full of strangers. It was an embarrassing moment for me. A nurse came to my front side and had me hunch my back so they could do it right.  It didn't hurt and I handled it better than I thought I would.  The feeling of it was just a little pinch; and I feel that I was one of the more lucky ones. I have heard horror stories of the spinal going completely wrong.

I then felt my legs become very heavy and I couldn't move.   That's when a nurse came around and helped me get my legs up before I lost all control of them.  The nurse then draped the curtain over me and I was smiling and chatting up a storm with the anesthesiologist while she monitored my vitals. Once I was all on board they then tied my arms down which was not very comfortable.  I felt very nauseated all of a sudden and I told them that. They put oxygen on me and that helped until I felt the sudden urge to throw up.  That is one of the hardest things to do, throwing up while lying down.

The doctors were doing their thing and things were going very smoothly.

I felt a bunch of tugging and pulling. The doctor then told me that there was going to be a lot of pressure and all of sudden someone was pushing really hard on my tummy. All I heard was, "Here she comes. Here she comes." Then, dead silence.   That's when things got a little nervous for me. Finally I heard Katrina May cry her head off.

Everyone in the room was laughing and happy. I was so happy. There are no words to describe the feeling of hearing your baby for the first time.

The doctor then brought her around after being cleaned and weighed. She was so beautiful. She opened her little eyes and looked so tired after a tough journey. The doctor yelled that she was 9 pounds, 10 ounces and was 21 ½ inches long. She had a full head of black hair and beautiful blue eyes.

The doctors took her to the nursery and wheeled me to the recovery room. I was there for two very long hours. I wanted to see my daughter.  After about 30 mins they brought her to me.  I was so drugged though that I was having a tough time trying to breastfeed her. They then took her away and I went to my own private room. They brought her back in periodically throughout the day. That night I was able to feed her and change her diaper.

The next day at 9 in the morning I was told that she was taken to the NICU overnight because she was literally turning blue when she cried really hard. I then started crying.  I was asking myself if it was something that I had done.  Was it something that could have been prevented?  The next four days went by so slowly.  They proceeded to do countless procedures.  They stuck a tube down her nose to make sure that her esophagus was straight and that there was nothing blocking it. Apparently she had what they call a stryker, where the tube collapsed whenever she tried to take a deep breath.

She was in NICU for the next 4 days.  I, however, was recovering very fast for my daughters sake.  In order to go and see her, I had to walk from my room on the 7th floor to the NICU which was on the 8th floor.  So all the walking that the nurses suggested was definitely done. I had a really bad burning sensation on my skin and felt like my insides were going to fall out.

Whenever I went to the NICU I wanted to cry, my daughter was hooked up to all these tubes and monitors.  I know that they were for her own good, but I wanted to take her away from there and run away.

But other than that the people at UMC in Tucson, AZ, were awesome.


I was able to go home with my daughter on the 15th of January. I will never forget that day. It was the best day of my life.  Now my husband and I are expecting our son in late April of 2008 and Katrina is healthy and a month away from being one year old.

You can read more about Jessica here.

The Birth of Lil C


It was the evening of October 2, 2005, the night before my due date.  I had finally given up hope of going into labor on my own.  After a pregnancy of finger sticks, a strict diet, and oral medication to control gestational diabetes, it was now time to face the fact that I was going to be induced with this pregnancy too.  I had envisioned a birth center birth: no needles, no hospitals, no interference.  Just me, my husband, my midwife and eventually a healthy baby.  The gestational diabetes brought with it all kinds of unwelcome intervention in the form of twice weekly non-stress tests, ultrasounds, and a ton more appointments than just my visits to the midwife, all resulting in a scheduled induction on my due date.  "At least I know when I’m having this baby so I can have plans for my older daughter," I told myself.  I went to bed for the night, knowing full well that I would not get much sleep.

I checked into the hospital at 8 a.m. on Monday, October 3rd with all intentions of having this baby by lunch time.  I had made plans with my Mom to bring my other daughter to the hospital in the afternoon.  After being hooked up to the monitors, it was clear that there was no labor going on by itself.  Instead of pitocin (which I had with my first labor), my midwife opted for miso (misoprostol).  After the nurses inserted a port into my arm (no I.V. though, thankfully), and everything was ready to go, my midwife arrived.  At 9:45 a.m., my midwife inserted the miso which goes "where the sun don’t shine," if you know what I mean.  I started contracting once an hour.  I was 1.5 cm dilated, 60% effaced and the baby was at -1 station.  Not bad, I thought.  After four hours of continuous monitoring which only allowed me to get up to go to the bathroom, I was finally able to get up and move around.  (With miso they require several hours of monitoring because labor can progress extremely fast.  They need to make sure that the baby is not under any stress.) 

The reprieve from the bed was a welcome one and my husband and I began to walk the halls.  There were only a handful of women in labor at the time so the halls were empty.  All the other Mom’s had drugs and were therefore confined to their rooms.  We did laps for 45 minutes, with me trying to retain my modesty as much as one can while wearing a hospital gown, and with cords from the monitor straps around my belly wrapped around my neck.  After 45 minutes of walking, I was required to be hooked up to the monitors for 15 minutes of fetal monitoring.  My contractions were now coming every 3-5 minutes.  They weren’t a big deal though.  They were a tightening that wasn’t painful; and I did not have to breathe through them.  I remembered from childbirth classes five years before that you shouldn’t start with the breathing until you absolutely have to in order to keep from getting too exhausted.  We went on like that: 45 minutes of walking, 15 minutes of monitoring for several hours, until about 3 or 4 p.m. 

A resident came in to check me at this point.  During my first birth, it felt like even the janitor was getting some action, because they were checking me constantly.  My midwife made sure that unnecessary checks were eliminated.  But, my midwife was at the birth center and needed to know where I was.  By this point, my husband and I had probably walked miles up and down the hospital halls.  The resident said I was 3 cm, 80% effaced, and the baby was at -1 station.  I would by lying if I didn’t say that I was EXTREMELY disappointed with this news.  I was hoping for a big jump.  This labor was progressing like my first and it was frustrating.  My midwife was going to start pitocin, but she was happy with the progress I made and content to let me keep walking and laboring on my own.  For that, I was thankful. 

Instead of a dinner time visit from my family so they could greet the new baby, my dad arrived with sandwiches for later in the night.  I was able to eat only things like jello and broth, just in case of problems, so I knew I was going to be hungry.  I didn’t want to have the baby in the middle of the night and be stuck without something good.  I was a gestational diabetic and I was ready for a good meal that involved no carb counting. 

A little after 5 p.m., my midwife arrived back at the hospital and checked me.  Apparently I had a generous resident, because my midwife said I was only 2.5 cm. and 75% effaced.  She said it was either break my water or start pitocin.  I chose to have my water broken.  I wanted NOTHING to do with pitocin. 

Instantly, my contractions went from minor annoyances to hurting bad enough that I had no choice but to breathe through them.  My husband and I started walking again.  The contractions were now coming every 2-5 minutes and they hurt and badly.  I had to stop walking and hold on to the hallway railing for each one.  I felt like my stomach was being twisted.  During one particular contraction as I leaned against the railing with both hands, head down, I was having issues with too much saliva and I actually drooled onto the floor.  My husband and I got hysterical.  Try hysterically laughing while trying to breathe through a wicked contraction. . . not easy at all. 

By 7:30 p.m. I could no longer walk through the contractions and opted to sit straight up in bed instead.  I could not get comfortable.  I tried several different positions and all of them were miserable.  I knew if I stayed upright, I’d have this baby faster. I needed the pain to stop so I stayed upright despite the pain.  I wanted to get it over with.  My midwife checked me and I was 5 cm, 80% effaced and the baby was at 0 station.  It was around 9 p.m.  It would be the last time that I was checked.  I knew I still had a long way to go. 

During each contraction, I went to Nags Head in my mind and sat deep breathing on the beach.  In between contractions I dozed off as much as I could.  I was in such a zone.  I did not want any distractions and the midwife made sure I didn’t have any.  The room was kept quiet; the lights were kept dim.  My midwife and nurse were wonderful through the next few hours.  They kept checking on me to make sure I was o.k.  They would bring me hot water bottles that I would use for 30 seconds and then throw to the end of the bed because I was too hot.  Two seconds later, I’d be telling them to position it behind my back again.  They did whatever I needed.  They were continually encouraging. 

My midwife would sit quietly on the end of the bed, place her hand on my leg and speak so softly, telling me I was doing great, keep breathing.  I think she was very calming for my husband as well. 

Around 12:30 a.m., my midwife asked me if I had been to the bathroom lately and if I felt like pushing.  I told her that I felt pressure, but not the urge to push.  I told my husband later that at this point, (and I know this sounds silly) I only felt like getting up and running away from the pain.  The contractions barely gave me a break and they were intense.  Even though I said I didn’t have to go, my midwife, husband and nurse helped me out of bed and sent me off towards the bathroom.  I toughed out a wicked contraction while holding onto the sink.  When I came out of the bathroom, my midwife suggested I lie down to relieve some of the pressure I was feeling.  I was discouraged when she said this and thought she was telling me to lie down because the baby was still hours away from making her appearance.  I figured I had better listen to her and lie down to conserve energy.  I didn’t know then that my midwife had been reading all the signs and knew that the final phase of labor was just around the corner. 

It only took one contraction and it was very clear I had to push.  My midwife, without checking me, without turning on any lights, without making a big ordeal of it, simply told me to go ahead and push.  So, lying on my right side, with my nurse and husband barely holding up my left leg that felt to me like it was about 5000 lbs, I pushed.  My midwife checked and the baby’s head was already coming down.  The lights were kept low and the nurses getting the room ready for the baby were quiet.  I, on the other hand, was not. 

I remember reading something somewhere about childbirth and that making noise actually helps with the pushing.  It releases tension and helps the baby come down, or something like that.  It wasn’t like I made a conscious decision to be loud; it just happened and at one point I heard one of the nurses tell another one to close the door. 

I pushed when I wanted and as hard as I wanted.  I really concentrated on trying to go slowly, and no one told me to push, or pant or gave me any instructions.  There was no counting or holding my breathe.  It was very relaxed and very much at my own pace.  After a couple pushes, my midwife told me to reach down and feel my baby’s head.  Her head felt wet and I was shocked to feel hair on her head.  The first inch of her head was out and I held her there with a steady push, not wanting her to slip back.  Three more pushes and her head was out completely.  I did it on my own and gradually, without an episiotomy like with my first. 

The midwife suctioned her nose and mouth and I was relieved to be rid of the ring of fire.  It did burn, but not as bad as I had thought it would.  I pushed a tiny bit and her shoulders came out.  My baby was born with a fist clenched underneath her chin (she had probably been sucking on her fingers like in all the ultrasound pictures, right up until the big squeeze).  My midwife told me to reach down and grab my baby.  I reached down with one arm and the midwife giggled a bit and told me I’d need two.  I was just so tired.  I reached down with both arms and grabbed her under her arms and pulled her the rest of the way out onto my stomach.  It was 1:05 a.m. on October 4th and my sweet baby girl was born.  She had held out one day past her due date.  No baby of mine would ever choose to be on time.

She was just so amazing, so bright-eyed and just staring right up at me.  It was an absolutely amazing experience to pull her out on my own.  The midwife left her on my belly for a while, and didn’t cut the cord right away.  She was just beautiful, with a ton of dark hair (so shocking as my first was a baldy).  Unlike my first, she was covered in vernix.  I knew right away that she was a tiny baby, compared to her sister.  My first words when I saw her were, "Oh My God, she’s so tiny." 

Eventually, the nurse took her and weighed her.  They did let me hold her while they put the drops in her eyes.  The entire time, she stared at me.  We had an instant connection, me and this baby that had taken 14 months to conceive.  Me and this baby that had put me through four finger sticks a day, twice weekly non-stress tests, and side effects from the glyburide that I was prescribed.  When they hit the conversion button on the scale, I couldn’t believe it.  Despite the fact that a growth scan had said she would be 9-10 lbs., my baby was only 7 lbs. 10 oz., a mere 3 oz. less than the weight I had guessed she would be and had told my midwife as she had broken my water. 


My midwife checked out the damage while they swaddled my daughter and tried to clean her up a bit.  I had only three minor tears, none requiring stitches.  My midwife assured me they would heal within a day or two and she was right. 

Despite the gestational diabetes and having my birth plan turned upside down, this birth experience was amazingly relaxed.  I did not have to have an I.V.; I had no drugs beside the initial miso to get labor going, and my daughter came out with a perfectly shaped head.  She was just beautiful. 

Despite being exhausted from a 15 hour labor and 20 minutes of pushing, I could not sleep.  I sat in bed, cradling my baby daughter and just taking in everything about her.  I peeled back her hat to stare at the unbelievable head of hair; I stroked her cheek that felt like warm velvet.  I stared at her and felt so blessed that she was finally here and healthy. 

My labor and delivery nurse moved me to my post-partum room in a wheelchair, but I felt more like a rock star arriving at a concert.  The post-partum nurses were waiting in the room, and my l & d nurse delivered me amid a wave of praise for laboring without any drugs.  It was the first labor and delivery she had been a part of that didn’t involve pain-relieving drugs and she was "psyched" to have been a part of it, she said.  She thanked me for the experience of it all; and I had to agree that the experience had been pretty amazing.  After settling in my post-partum room, my husband fell fast asleep but I simply couldn’t.  When they took my baby to give her a bath, I ate my entire italian sandwich instead of sleeping.  I waited until around 8 a.m. to start calling everyone and giving them the good news (Of course, my parents and daughter got the call at 1:15 a.m.).  Later in the day, my mom brought my older daughter in to meet her new baby sister.  The meeting went very well. 


My midwife came to check on me and said I could go home right away.  At 5 p.m. on the same day I gave birth, I took my new baby home.  From start to finish, it was one amazing birth day. 

"J", also known as "Black Belt Mama" lives in the northeast and is a stay-at-home/work-at-home mother to her two daughters, "Big I" who is 5 and "Lil C" who is now 9 months old.  She writes on her blog, Black Belt Mama, and also for a syndicated (more tame) version of her original blog for her hometown newspaper’s website.  She is also the editor of the Birth Story blog.