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My birth story: An unplanned epidural and C-section

My son's birth story had a huge impact on my life.

My birth story: An unplanned epidural and C-section
Maritza Morales

Editor's note: This birth story contains a description of a failed epidural, concerning fetal heart rates and an unplanned cesarean section.

I didn't think that I would make it to 41 weeks pregnant. I actually thought I was going to give birth early since I had been experiencing a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions starting a month before my due date. But here we were at 41 weeks, and no sign of a baby.

I had tried almost everything possible to induce labor at home: I walked for hours, climbed stairs, ate spicy foods, bounced on my exercise ball, drank many teas and even tried acupuncture. But nothing worked, and I was beginning to get discouraged.

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My labor finally started—but it wasn't what I expected


As I was organizing the baby's clothing one evening, I suddenly felt a trickle of fluid running down my leg that wouldn't stop. My first thought was, "Am I peeing myself?" But when the gush of water got stronger, I knew exactly what that meant. It was showtime!

I called my midwife right away. She told me to monitor my contractions and to call back if they got to 4 to 5 minutes apart. At around midnight, things started to pick up. I was having contractions every 6 to 7 minutes. Sleeping was out of the question—with each contraction I would wake up trying to catch my breath. I knew this was going to be a long night, but I wanted to labor at home for as long as I could.

In the morning, I went to the hospital. They hooked me up to monitors to check on the baby and my contractions. My midwife soon confirmed that I was 4 centimeters dilated and that the baby seemed healthy—but there was a problem: The hospital was full and on diversion, meaning that I might have to leave and find a different hospital. I prayed for a miracle. My midwife told me she would try to figure out what to do, but in the meantime, I could continue laboring in the triage room and hallways.

After many rounds of walking up and down stairs trying to progress my labor, I went back to triage and learned the good news: They were discharging some women and that they would soon have a room for me to deliver in. I was thrilled. Things were looking up and I was so excited to get things going and meet my baby soon.

A slow and difficult early labor

When we finally made it into my room, I had only dilated to 5 centimeters—my labor was moving slowly, despite having contractions that were so intense that I wasn't able to talk. My contractions just kept coming and coming and I noticed I wasn't getting the breaks in between them. The nurse was concerned; I was exhausted because I didn't have any rest periods.

I started to get discouraged. I had planned on having an unmedicated birthI prepared a lot, and read books and birth stories about women who had unmedicated births, and I wanted that so badly. I always knew there were many possibilities of things not going that way you want during labor, but I never thought it would happen to me. My whole pregnancy was a healthy one; no complications, no bad news, no concerns at all, so I just thought everything should go as planned.

But I was battling by this point. I vividly remember saying to myself, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, over and over in my head while I tried to breathe through each contraction.

I tried everything to get through the contractions: bouncing on my exercise ball, having my mom and nurse do counter pressure on my back, and having my partner help me breathe as I squeezed his hand so hard. I decided to try the shower. But as I walked to the shower in complete tears, I knew in my heart that I had to get the epidural and try to relax and give my body the rest it needed.

The anesthesiologist came in right after I got out of the shower and started prepping everything for the epidural. I was scared; it wasn't something I was prepared for. When the epidural was in, the team helped me lie on my back to try and rest.

But relief never came. The contractions kept coming and coming, just as long and just as strong. The epidural had failed, and they would need to try again. I couldn't believe all that was happening, I just wanted it all to be over. Again I curved my back and fought through more contractions in hopes that this second time, the epidural would work.

Finally after 10 minutes, it worked and I started feeling much-needed relief in my body.

My baby's heart rate dropped

My team was preparing to check my dilation again when the baby's heart dropped—what happened after that was a blur and all I remember is being terrified. Out of nowhere, about seven different people entered the room: nurses, doctors and other medical staff. I had no idea what was happening. They shifted me around from one side to the next. The nurses tried to keep me calm, while I asked what was going on without getting an answer.

After what seemed like forever, my nurse told me that the baby was lying on the umbilical cord, decreasing his oxygen flow, and they needed to normalize his heart rate again by trying different positions. It worked, but I was feeling very defeated at this point. I was praying for our baby to be okay.

When my cervix was checked again, I was still only about 7 to 8 centimeters; I had been in labor for 24 hours and they were starting to get worried. The midwife explained to me the complications of continuing to wait and that she needed to bring an obstetrician in to evaluate and make a decision as to what would need to happen next. I knew what was coming and my heart sank.

The doctor explained that my cervix wasn't thinning or dilating fast enough, and the baby was "sunny side up" (or posterior position) which can make vaginal births harder. Because his heart rate had been fluctuating so much, they recommended a C-section.

I signed all the consent forms and I just laid there and cried. My partner and my mom tried to find every possible way to give me the comfort I needed, but I felt really scared. I had never mentally prepared myself for this, but then again, you can't prepare yourself fully for something you haven't been through.

My baby was born

They prepped me for surgery and all I did was pray; pray that we would come out of this well and that this was the best decision for us. I needed to understand that this was out of my control and this was the best choice for our baby. God was with us. Off I went into the care of strangers, but I knew that I was in God's hands and that we would be okay.

My beautiful baby boy was born at 7:25 pm. I will never forget hearing his first cry—all I wanted was to hold him and kiss him. My partner held this little bundle of love in his arms and it was the best feeling in the world. He was perfect, he was here and he was healthy.

My son's birth story had a huge impact on my life. My labor taught me that there are times when I won't have full control over situations. It humbled me to my core and tested my faith. I learned that I needed to surrender and let God take control.

It's hard not to be able to fully understand why things happen a certain way, but I truly believe that there is a purpose for everything that happens, even if we don't understand it now.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.

$159.99

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

$29.99

Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

$29.99

Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

$14.99

Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

$24.99

Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

$8.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

$7.99


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Life

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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