Monday, August 15, 2011

Confessions of a Mama who Birthed Prematurely 3 Times


© Amanda 2011. Amanda shares her journey of experiencing premature complications through 3 pregnancies and births. Trigger warning for those dealing with infant death, c-section trauma and infertility! 


”It's May of 2003 and I just found out I am pregnant with our first child. We have longed for this day for so long now. We have always dreamed of having a baby girl to name Faith. I'm only 19 at this time and do not know much about the whole process of pregnancy and birth. So I set up a doctor appointment. I tell him that my mom went into premature labor with me at 32 weeks. I ask him if we should check anything to make sure I do not have the same complication. 


He says I am fine. So being young and clueless I let it go. Fast forward to 26 weeks. It's time for my hubby to go to work, but my heart is telling me that he needs to stay home. I cry and cry and he says it's ok. He leaves for work and a half an hour later I notice I'm spotting blood. I call my mom. Within five minutes I'm gushing blood and having full-blown contractions. Paramedics are on their way. At this point I'm alone, in horrendous pain and lying in a pool of blood. Then I’m in the ambulance and I hear him on his phone telling the hospital we are on our way. He tells them she can't be in labor she is only 26 weeks. I scream at him and say this baby is coming now! We get to the hospital and I'm in the room.


The nurse checks me and says I'm fully dilated. The next thing I know, she has pulled my legs down and said you need to push now. Another nurse had monitors on me and was doing an ultrasound... There was no heartbeat and baby was breech. They tried turning her with no luck. They said I had to go in for an emergency c-section right away. The next thing I know, Baby is out but I never heard a cry. I scream, “Why isn't she crying” and they actually were quite rude to me in response to my question. The doctor snarked back, “Because she is so early.”


I was scared, in pain and a wreck. I remember the doctor asking me if I wanted something to calm me down and I said no I just want to see my baby. Well against my wishes they gave me something and the next thing I know I woke up in my room. (This whole process from spotting to birth happened within an hour and a half.) I can’t tell you how long it was before I actually got to see my baby. But when I did it was the best moment of my life. Miss Faith Rae was born 14 weeks too soon weighing 1 pound 12 ounces and measuring 13 inches long.


Her skin was dark because it was so thin. They said I couldn’t even touch her because it would hurt her. She had goggles on to cover her eyes and a million cords on her along with a breathing tube. I was so drugged up I only remember bits and pieces, but I do remember them saying if she makes it 24 hours her survival looks good. Well 24 hours passed so my hopes were high. Later the following evening they said she was not doing well. They said her lungs were bleeding because they were so premature. They tried everything to stop it but couldn't. So they unhooked her from all the tubes and placed her in my arms. That day I got to hold my daughter for the first and last time. Faith passed away in her mama’s arms looking into my eyes, and peacefully went to be with the Lord.


Now we are at October 2004. I am pregnant for a second time. Don’t ask me why on earth I went back to the same doctor, but I did. I went in for my first appointment and said, “What are we going to do differently this time so that I do not go into premature labor?” He actually responded by saying, “Nothing, everything will be fine.” That was all it took for me. I walked straight out of his office and never returned. He wasn’t there to deliver healthy babies; he was there to make money, period.


So I found a new doctor and told him my situation. Right away he said, “We are going to run tests to check your cervix.” I went in for an ultrasound and sure enough I had a weak cervix. Now the thought always crosses my mind. What if I would have had this doctor the first time around? Would my daughter still be here? Fast forward to 16 weeks. I had a cerclage put in. They stitched my cervix shut so I was able to carry full term. Fast-forward again to 36 weeks. I had my cerclage removed. Instantly I felt contractions begin. My body started the labor process right away. I went home with my family and husband and labored through contractions. Once they got close enough I went to the hospital. 


I arrived, but my doctor wasn’t there yet. About an hour later he called me on my room phone. He said, “Ok I’ll be there in an hour to do the C-section.” I replied, “Say WHAT???” He said, “Yes, with your prior c-section you require a c-section every time now.” (This is the part where I’m banging my head on the wall now for my stupidity.) I was in shock, asked no questions and hesitantly agreed. I hung up the phone and began crying my heart out. All I wanted to do was deliver my baby naturally. Now my hopes were shattered. I went in for surgery. After my epidural kicked in, I started to have a panic attack. I felt as if I could not breath and inhaling was getting shorter and shorter. It was one of the scariest things in my life.


Thanks to the good Lord above, my Isabella Marie was born at 36 weeks weighing 6 pounds 4 ounces and measuring 21 inches long. I went in telling them I wanted to breastfeed, but did not know how. I tried and could not get her to latch. They sent a nurse in one time after that and I still could not. They then brought me in a pump and said just pump your milk and bottle-feed her. I had no help, no one to teach me how to breastfeed my daughter. Although she still received my breast milk almost her entire first year, I lost out on a breastfeeding relationship.


Fast forward to August of 2007. We are pregnant with number 3. Same routine. I had my cerclage put in. But this time I started contracting at 30 weeks. Luckily, they were able to stop them and put me on meds to hold them off. Then at 33 weeks I began to labor again. They tried everything to stop them, but baby was ready to come out. Well guess what, my doctor was on vacation that week! They told me I would have the doctor who was filling in for him. Not happy, but ok.


Low and behold, guess who walks in? The doctor I had with my first born. At this point I’m having full-blown contractions. I’m a hysterical mess because I do not want to have another C section. (At the time, I still did not know any better. I did not know it was unnecessary or that I could do anything to change it.) He says we need to check your cervix. Here I am in full-blown labor and he wants to shove his whole arm up my vagina. The thought is going through my head all the time. Why is there a need to check my cervix when it is stitched shut? It’s not going to be dilated. What felt like forever finally ended. And to no surprise he said I wasn’t dilated.


I went into surgery just before midnight. Once again I had a horrible experience of anxiety. I honestly could feel them cutting me. I screamed for them to stop. I screamed, “I can feel it!” No one stopped. They all said, I was fine and couldn’t feel it. So my husband held my hand and tried to calm me as much as he could. I felt like I was in a movie and no one cared about what was happening to me.


Miss Adrianna Hope was born at 12:08 a.m. weighing 4 pounds 6 ounces. She went straight to the NICU. She was on a breathing tube for only 1 hour. She was our little fighter. She only spent about a week in the NICU before she was able to come home to us.


This is the first time I have publicly shared my story. It probably seems all rattled together. But this is a short version of how I remember it. Looking back on it all now, I’m sad that I did not better educate myself and hurt that I was so taken advantage of in the system. 


Two years after my third daughter was born we began trying to conceive again. Long story short, we tried for 2 years with no luck. Endometriosis had slowly crept into my life and consumed my body. To save you from another 3 pages, my story ends with a partial hysterectomy. I can never have children again. I have lost out on bringing my child into this world in a way I wanted to. I have lost out on breastfeeding. And I have lost my daughter. As much as I want to blame everyone in the situation, I have no one to blame but myself.


 My endometriosis has returned and now I’m being told I have to remove my ovaries as well. My husband and I are planning on adopting in the future. This is my story. Thank you for listening.


Amanda”

Faith 
The first and last time holding Faith
Faith's funeral
My 3 girls

Amanda is a passionate voice for the voiceless in our culture.
She adamantly opposes violence against babies and speaks out
in the hopes that other mamas will gain the resources and
confidence required to protect their babies from violation and violence.

4 comments:

  1. Oh, Amanda... my heart aches for you. Though my first pregnancy and delivery was text-book perfect, I too have gone into labor prematurely 3 times, and we lost a son at 20 weeks. I am so sorry for your loss of your beautiful daughter, Faith, and for the loss of the opportunity to experience birth as you had hoped. We would like to have another child, but because of the anticipate complications (and the added measures said complications may bring: bedrest, etc), we aren't trying again yet. My cervix has not been found to be the problem, but they don't know what is.

    Thank you for sharing your story and for all you do to speak up for the unborn.

    Peace,
    Julie

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  2. thank you dear Amanda!
    You are blessed and a blessing to us all.

    "Every human person-no matter how vulnerable or helpless, no matter how young or old, no matter how healthy, handicapped or sick, no matter how useful or productive for society-is being of inestimable worth created in the image and likeness of God. This is the dignity of america, the reason for her survival-yes the ultimate test of her greatness: to respect every human person, especially the weakest and defenseless ones, those as yet unborn."

    Dear Lord,
    Help us to stay true to these words of immense importance as we practice our faith every day until our dying breath.

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  3. Thank you Amanda,
    You have just completely changed my perspective. As a homebirther, I can get a lot of flack from mothers calling me crazy or brave and in the past it has made me frustrated with them. After reading your story all that frustration is gone. If there is any anger it is only to be directed at the system and the society that has lost touch with God, Nature, and each other. And only love can mend it. And EVERY mother is brave. every single one.

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