February 1, 2012

My Birth Story

I know a lot of women like to share their child's birth story, so I'm joining in. Bear in mind, this is C+P from MakeUpAlley, where I wrote it originally.

I have never been in the hospital before, and always feel overwhelmed by doctors so I chose to go to a birth center, all midwives, and it was also a midwifery school. My bff had her daughter there, no complications, easy birth, and I thought it would be good for me too; comfortable setting in an old victorian house, the birthing suites were beautifully decorated - nothing hospital-like at all! SO absolutely loved it, and I felt comfortable with the decision. I wasn't necessarily all for a natural, med-free birth, but I wasn't opposed to it, and the best hospital nearby had a month wait for an appointment, so I made the easy choice to go with the midwives.

The Birth Center worked with a local OB/GYN who handled their ultrasounds or high-risk pregnancies/emergencies. So we go to him for our ultrasound, appt. was at 4pm - we didn't leave til 11ish pm! He had a horribly run office, the nurse/front desk person didn't even tell us that he wasn't in the office, or that it would be hours. Just kept saying "he's on the way". When we finally got our ultrasound, he was very friendly and took his time, which softened the anger we had about wasting our day. (Sorry for so much back-story, I'm getting there!) Anyways, nearing the end of my preg, about 35-6 weeks, I started having high-ish blood pressure. I also had pretty bad swelling in my hands/feet throughout most of my pregnancy, so the midwives started having me monitor my blood pressure 3x a day, and I had a checkup with the OBGYN to determine if I needed to be transferred to him as a high-risk.

So we go to his office - only a 3hr wait this time - and they tell me that there's +1 protein in my urine, and my bp is high (signs of pre-eclampsia) and they do an ultrasound to check DS's weight since I had gained so much. Keep in mind I had to tell them 3x why I was there, since they kept terrible records and didn't even know who I was. The u/s estimated him to be ~10.5lbs and I was 37weeks! So the Dr. tells me I need to have him asap - I was showing signs of pre-eclampsia and the baby was probably huge, and no reason to let him get bigger and let me get sicker and risk our lives. So then the conversation turns to how I wanted to have him. Of course my comfy midwife birth is out the window; so it's just a choice between induction or c-section. (Keep in mind this is about 1am by now, and I'm being told I have to have my baby in 4 days, instead of being due in 2 weeks, and have my mom, SO, and Dr hounding me about what my decision is. Well, SO wasn't hounding but we were both overwhelmed). I was afraid, and ready to break down, and said I'd make a decision by the time I had my checkup in 2 days, and he scheduled an induction for 4 days (Friday).

I got home and cried. I was so overwhelmed and had no idea what to make of this. We had just moved into our apartment the week before, and DS's crib wasn't even assembled! I had this whole ideal birth of it just happened when it happened, I can deal with the pain, it's something that has to be done to have my son. But now I have to be induced, which is more painful, and scheduled, and I could be laboring for days before it leads to a c-section, all these thoughts just stressing me out and not helping the high-bp situation. So I chickened out; I chose C-section. Everything I'd planned had been ruined, and I was half scared-out-of-my-mind at everything and half excited-to-meet-my-son-in-4-days. I just wanted to get it over with asap, I was so tired of being pregnant and crying about this. I'm not sure I'm happy with that decision; but it's the one I made.

So we get up at 5:30 on Friday morning, my SIL was staying with us to help get the house ready. I eat oatmeal (since I've never had surgery before, and they didn't tell me not to eat) and we drive an hour to the hospital (Shands at Univ of Florida, a wonderful hospital! Go Gators!) and get ready. It was so quiet and early and I felt so out-of-myself. Not there, you know? Well turns out I wasn't supposed to eat. It's 7:30am, and I have to wait til 1pm to have my c-section! OMG! My entire family was in the waiting room, and had to *wait*. My nieces were tired and cranky and acting up, and somehow *I* was left in charge of them and having to chase my 2yo niece down the hallways. And all the nurses kept saying "OMG when are you due? You're huge!".......

So we go back at 1pm to get things started. Luckily the hep lock? IV thingy went in easily, but it hurt so much! I don't remember every detail, but I was scared of getting the spinal. When I was brought to the OR, They had my lean over and hug the nurse while they disinfected my back to do the spinal, and then did it without warning me! I didn't really mind though, and I didn't feel it - except it felt like this deep scraping inside my spine. So creepy. They finished and did my catheter (which I didn't feel at all, not even when they took it out the next morning. So glad! I thought it would be painful). They lay me down and it felt so weird, like I'm a crazy person strapped to this hard bed. SO is brought in, and looks so creepy in his gown and mask and hat thingies. Everyone was so quiet, not that I expected them to be loud. As the medicine kicked in more and more, I felt like I couldn't "breathe" - I could, but it felt like there was pressure on my lungs and I could barely whisper. So they tilted my bed a little to let the medicine move down my spine, which helped. But I kept wanting to fall asleep, and had to sigh loudly with every breath to keep myself awake and focus on something. SO later told me he was scared, because the machines would beep like crazy everytime I fell asleep.

I didn't let SO look around the curtain, and he didn't want to, fine by me! It was the weirdest feeling, like someone yanking on my guts without it hurting. I did not like it at all. They finally pull DS out, and say so, and I hear him crying and them laughing because he peed everywhere! I started crying so hard as soon as I heard him, and knew that everything would be okay - but then all the snot in my nose was sitting there in the back of my throat and I couldn't breathe! I had to swallow my cries. They bring DS to SO, and he's holding him and I glanced at him but honestly, I just wanted this to be over. I felt robbed of meeting my son; I couldn't touch him, or hold him, or kiss him, so what was the point of showing him to me? I just wanted to be done!

Finally SO left the room with DS, and had strict orders from me to stay with him constantly. Then I just lost all motivation to stay awake, and kept drifting off. Then anesthesiologist (I think) sat down next to me and was holding my hand, trying to keep me awake. They finish sewing me up and move me to a bed, and wheel me to Recovery. We enter, and my entire family - Mom, stepdad, dad, stepmom, sister, sister-in-law, 2 nieces, family friend - are all there, smiling and telling me how beautiful my son is. I lost it, and start bawling and they're asking me what's wrong. I just wanted that private moment to deal with these emotions and I didn't have it. I didn't think I would care so much! Then of course I felt like I was going to puke. The nurse held an alcohol wipe under my nose, which prevented me puking, but 5 mins later I did puke. That was so embarrassing, to puke in a clear bowl with my whole family watching. I felt so helpless. Then my mom is going on about how SO wouldn't let her hold the baby; he stood next to the bassinet in the nursery the entire time, and didn't let anyone touch him, lol! He didn't know if I would care. They finally bring DS and SO in, and I barely got to hold him for 5 mins before he was passed around to everyone. SO tried to get everyone to let us hold the baby but I really didn't care. I just wanted everyone to leave soon and have my privacy with SO and DS to process everything.

Finally, everyone left except SIL and nieces, and they were moving me & DS to our room, which was in a new building across the street! SIL goes to get food or something while they wheel us to the basement tunnel to go to the new building. As soon as we get to my room - i puke again. Ugh. When SIL got back, SO went to eat (first time all day - he was scared to eat because he didn't want to have to go to the bathroom at an inopportune time! lol!) and then SIL headed home after keeping me company.

I feel so disconnected from that entire experience. I love my family, and they're very supportive usually. But I wish I had asked them to all stay home.. I was just so disappointed in myself, for giving up and choosing a c-section. I don't feel like a real mother because I haven't even remotely experienced birth; never felt a real contraction or anything! It wasn't til Day 3 of 4 that the pediatrician let us know that DS was jaundice, and it was pretty bad. We never had our overhead lights on in our room, so we didn't notice. He wanted me to supplement with formula, blah blah blah (I was very set on BFing) and so of course we went to see our chosen Ped the next day after we were released. She also rec'd formula supplementing, because DS was not an easy eater. He latched on perfectly the first time, but would get so frustrated and pull off constantly and cry and it was a 10 min fight to get him to eat, if at all! I cried almost everytime I gave him a bottle, I felt like such a failure, and he was ORANGE. His first week of life, we had like 5 Ped appt's, and he had to have his blood taken (toe pricks and blood draws) at least 4 times to monitor his billirubin. I was a total wreck. I'd done everything wrong, he was sick, wouldn't BF, and I'd given up on trying and felt like a complete failure. I still do. He did start recovering from the jaundice, thank God.

So, long long story. Sorry if you actually read it. But I needed to vent, it's been weighing on my for the last 7 months and SO tells me I'm crazy to feel like a failure. But I feel like I let myself and DS down, because I didn't have the strength or balls to go through with induction or BFing. Maybe all this info will be helpful to someone, someday :)

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