Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Confessions of a Mom who Birthed a Big Baby

©Susie Seigler 2011. Susie gives us perspective on how it feels to birth a larger than average baby and also what can happen when you transfer after birth for breathing concerns.

“Matthew's Birth Story 11/21/10 

Contractions started Saturday morning at 3am. They woke me up and were about 5 minutes apart but short. I stayed up timing them until Josh got up for work at 5:30am. Shortly after he left I got in the tub for my lower back pain and the contractions started coming every 3-4 minutes so I got out of the tub since I didn't want the baby to arrive while Josh was working!

I napped for a bit and then called my midwife around 7:30 to let her know that I thought this was going to be the day. She told me to eat a good breakfast, rest and call her back with updates. I napped off and on for the rest of the morning but I was having horrible back pains and it was hard to relax and rest during contractions. They were staying consistent about 5-6 minutes apart and lasting 45 seconds or so apart. I talked to the midwife again around 4pm or so after Josh had got home from work and we decided that I would meet the student midwife at the birth center and assess the situation. 

We met at 5:30pm at the birth center. I consented to a cervical exam and I was a nice, stretchy 4cm and his head was at a -3. So we decided to go home, eat dinner and rest since Josh had been at work all day. Josh slept; I got in the tub, out of the tub, in the tub, out of the tub. My back was aching so badly. I decided to lay draped over the side of my bed and rocked my hips during contractions. Around 9pm my midwife called to check on me. I told her how things were going and she suggested that I try drinking a glass of wine to get some rest. I told her all we had was beer so she suggested I drink a beer and settle down to sleep. So I grabbed me a Bud Light and a straw, chugged it, and promptly went to sleep! 

I woke up about 11 with the shakes and very hard contractions. I was actually worried I had hit transition and would be having this baby on my own! I called the midwife and told her I needed to get to the birth center NOW. I could not stop shaking. My thighs and hands were trembling and it was really hard to force myself to breathe and relax during the contractions. I woke Josh up and we headed to the birth center.

When we got there the student midwife (B) met us there and soon after my midwife (L) arrived. They did an initial assessment of my blood pressure, temp, and all that stuff. I consented to another cervical check and B informed me that I had made amazing progress while I was at home. I was now 6cm and my cervix was completely thinned out. Matthew had also come down and was in a good position. My back labor was much better thanks to draping over the bed. I got in the tub and it was awesome. I actually think I was nodding off between contractions and the midwives joked that I might go underwater. 

I got out of the tub to pee and didn't feel like getting back in after that. This was around 2am. So I went to the bed and rested in between contractions. Sometime in here (I lost track of time) I started feeling slightly pushy and told the midwife (A) when she came in to check his heart rate. She sat with me through a few contractions and rubbed my legs.

She left briefly to go tell B and L and they quietly started laying stuff out to prepare for the birth. It really helped a lot to remind myself to breathe and relax. B asked me to breathe through the contractions when I felt the urge to push to make sure I was complete. I did this for what seems like forever but I am sure it wasn't that long. Josh got in the bed beside me and was rubbing my hair and holding my hand and talking me through the contractions to really keep me focused.

I finally couldn't control the urge to push any longer and B told me to just push when I felt the urge and rest in between. I didn't force anything at all, just pushed as I felt it. I really felt the urge that I NEEDED to get on my right side and not my left and they helped me roll over between contractions. Josh and L helped me to hold my left leg up while pushing and L urged me to curve inward like I was doing a crunch during pushing to help.

I'm not sure how long I pushed before my water broke. I know I felt it before it broke and it was about an inch inside my vagina at that point. Once it broke I REALLY had to push. I could not stop it then. B kept reminding me to breathe and allow myself to relax and rest in between urges. I know Matthew had hiccups after my water broke and he was kicking as well. It was soo painful, I remember fighting back tears from the pain of his kicking. They were applying warm compresses to my perineum and B rubbed oil around his head and my vagina to prepare the perineum (prevent tearing). 

His head started crowning and B coached me to slow things down and do short, grunty pushes so I would not tear. His head was born and he immediately started crying. I pushed two more times for his shoulders and then once more for the body. Time of birth was 6:30 am with just over 27 hours of labor. They laid him right away on my chest as he was crying. He was gargly sounding so L suctioned him and he started pinking up nicely. We nursed right away. We cuddled with him for about an hour or so. The midwives cleaned up and then left us alone to bond. 



They came back around 8 to do his newborn exam. He was NOT happy with that and was crying to let everyone know about it. We all took guesses on his weight and L was the closest. She guessed 11, 3 and he was exactly 11 pounds. He was 22 3/4 inches long with a 14 3/4 inch head and 15-inch chest. The midwives checked me and I had no tearing at all. I had a small scratch on one side from his fingernails where his hand was up by his head coming out. 

While doing the newborn exam L was concerned with the way he was breathing. He was grunting a lot and very wheezy sounding. His chest was also dipping in for breaths and his nostrils were flaring. She asked me to try nursing him again to see if it would help but we couldn't get him to latch on. So she brought out the bag and pumped it over his face a few times to try and clear out his lungs. She did a few other things but he was still wheezing and his thighs and arms were turning dusky. She got the oxygen tank and we held it to his nose but he was not pinking up at all. So L said she would like to call for a transfer to the local NICU. 


We took an ambulance ride to the hospital. I held Matthew on the stretcher for the ride there. They admitted him and said he was having respiratory distress due to fluid in his lungs. The respiratory distress resolved within a day but because of his CBC he ended up being on antibiotics for 9 days before they finally released him to me. 
Healthy and robust after birth
But color fades by the time we get to the hospital
Getting some color back



I hated the entire experience of him being in the NICU. I felt pressured to do things that I didn't want for him. I was made to consent to a spinal tap to rule out meningitis. It was either spinal tap or antibiotics for 21 days. Even though all cultures came back negative, he still had to finish the round of antibiotics because they started them before getting any positive signs of infection. They also were forcing him to take in 3 oz of milk every 3 hours at a week old. They told me he couldn't go home until he did that for 24 hours. I ended up staying at the NICU overnight so that I could exclusively nurse and lied about the amounts he was taking in just so we could go home. From research, I have learned that he probably had TTN (transient tachypnea of the newborn), perhaps related to his large size."

Monday, May 30, 2011

Confessions of a Homebirth to C-section Mama

©Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama 2011. Jennifer shares her journey from preparing for a peaceful homebirth to experiencing a c-section for footling breech presentation and how we can transform our thoughts and heal from unexpected changes in life.  

“Life has a funny way of handing me the exact opposite of what I plan for and desire. It always has and so I try very hard to keep my attitude in the “half full” side of the glass. I am a good person. I do a lot for others. I am extremely selfless. I can handle a lot and I guess that is why I am blessed with more challenges in life than others receive. You are only given what you can handle right? This is what I try to tell myself anyways.

But, my daughter’s birth crushed that positive spirit ever so slightly. Ok – a lot.

When I found out I was pregnant I went into hyper-natural birth overdrive. I interviewed and hired an amazing doula. I drove my husband crazy regurgitating facts and figures about what hospitals force women giving birth to do against their will. I did everything “right” to prepare for the most medically unassisted birth a hospital setting could offer. My husband and I went on a weekend natural birth retreat. EPIC! I was pumped. My daughter was coming into a gentle world that would embrace her with love, warmth, and peace.

And then my world turned upside down.

My baby was a mover and shaker in the womb from day one. She swam around in circles constantly. My husband and I loved seeing her head go ‘round and ‘round. She would punch or kick occasionally but she was partial to flipping and circling. So, it was no surprise to me that at 36 weeks she had not settled into the “proper” position. She was content to rest feet first. She’d always done that though. When she would finish her somersaults she would nestle in under my heart, deep into my lungs and sleep. I wasn’t concerned. Why should she crowd herself? She’d move head down when she was good and ready.

Let me back up a second.

I selected my OB because he delivered my friend’s baby after a long labor in which said baby truly got stuck. An emergency C-section ensued but baby was fine and mama was happy. The OB seemed to be a decent guy and he was affiliated with the hospital I liked most in our area. It is also a pretty good hospital insofar as “allowing” the birthing mothers to have a voice.

But towards the end of my pregnancy my OB showed his true colors. And I panicked.

At 38 weeks my doctor was pissed off at me and not hiding it. He could not fathom why I wouldn’t just schedule a C-section already. He tried everything, even scheduling the actual C-section but I would not budge. It was at this point in time that I got panicky and started trying everything known to human kind to turn this baby and get her to stick a landing.


I had taken time off work so all day, every day you could find me doing the hula on my birth ball, laying backwards on an ironing board propped against the couch, doing a downward dog yoga pose off the couch, going to the chiropractor, taking baths, taking natural supplements, and just being a contortionist in an effort to encourage baby to enjoy locking and loading into a head first position. My husband feared for my safety. My doula egged encouraged me.

By week 39, Dr. Evil had stripped my membranes without my consent then lied to me about it. I was horrified and stressed beyond belief. He also was trying his damndest to convince me that my baby’s leg was about to slip out and said it would kill us both.

By week 40, baby was still swimming away. She had plenty of room and no interest in finding her birth position. Dr. Evil was threatening to have me arrested for not having the C-section yet. He said that I was committing acts of child abuse by putting my baby in a compromised situation. He accused my husband of being neglectful. Oh it was a hot mess. I held firm. Darn it, I was getting this baby to turn!

At 6:00am, on the first day of week 41, I finally accepted (with much hesitation) that my daughter was stuck in a foot breech position. She had not moved in two days. I felt defeated in a sense. I would not be able to safely give her the birth experience I had hoped. My peaceful, gentle birth plan would be a mere memory. She was going to come into this world in the one way I abhorred. I was angry. I was disappointed. I was deflated. I was miserable. And I was jealous of the moms who got to have a completely natural, beautiful birth. However, I was also realistic. I believed there was only one way to get my baby here at that point so two hours later, I became “mama.”

The surgery was the polar opposite of peaceful, gentle and beautiful. It was bright, loud, messy, and impersonal. My baby was pulled from the depths of my womb by her ankles as Dr. Evil talked about his kids’ soccer game and how the coach was an ass. I got the briefest, bloodiest glimpse of my baby and for what seemed like an eternity in a foggy world, I was separated from the piece of me that I carried under my heart for 287 days.

I desperately wanted to hold her, to see her, to smell her, to CONNECT outside of the womb. I needed that so deeply since I could not bring her into the world gently. I got another glance at my baby as her daddy brought her to my face and after sneaking in a small kiss, my little angel was whisked off yet again.

I lay on that uninviting, harsh table getting put back together for what seemed like hours. Dr. Evil kept chatting with the other surgeon about good restaurants, hiking, and a host of other topics. Not once did he ask how I was. No one asked how I was doing. No one answered my questions. No one would tell me where my baby was at. She was no longer in the operating room and I just hoped that her daddy was with her.

I was transferred to recovery after another 30 minutes. My baby was under a warming light, apparently because she was one degree too cold. I didn’t get to hold her for two hours. I was like a lion in a cage. I was ferocious in my mind but drugged in my speech. I could not seem to make the nurses understand that my baby needed me and I needed her and that they were depriving us of a critical opportunity to bond, all because supposedly her temperature was low. I knew that the warmth of my body and the warmth of my love for her would warm her faster than any heat lamp. Finally, some nurse decided that my baby needed to eat and at long last she was placed in my arms.

I immediately threw open my gown, unwrapped the tiny form from the uninviting blanket and placed MY daughter on my chest. Despite our separation, she knew that she was with mama. The love that washed over me is something that words will never be able to describe. That first moment of touching my baby, snuggling her close, and feeling our souls connect will be forever etched as a private feeling in my mind. It was bliss. I was literally in my heaven. That was certainly the best life would ever offer.

My birth story is not beautiful. It is not kind. It is not warm. It is not something I want to repeat. It wounded me. It made me resentful. It made me despise the medical institution. But after 25 months, I have done the best that I can to work through all of those negative feelings. I have accepted that somehow my body was just not meant to give birth the way nature intended. It was not my fault. It was not Tiny’s fault. What was meant to be happened. I will not be having more children so I will never get the opportunity to experience a beautiful, natural, serene birth. It does not matter. I have a beautiful child who has rooted herself so firmly inside my heart, soul, and mind that it does not matter how she got here. She is here and my life is complete. And beautiful.”

Blessings,
Jennifer

Sometimes medical interventions are necessary and save lives. Even while we acknowledge this, it doesn't mean we have to dismiss the pain of unfulfilled dreams or the side effects of a necessary operation. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Confessions of a Mama with Opened Eyes

©Tia 2011. Tia shares her perspective on how sometimes our children come into our lives to open our eyes and our hearts, even if they don’t stay for long. Death is mentioned.

“Take a sad song and make it better...

 I had a 2 year old and a 4 month old when we found out I was pregnant with our third child. During the pregnancy, I was just going by past experience and was going to go to the hospital, get an induction, and have our baby. I was one of those moms who thought women were crazy to birth without "the drugs."

At about 30 weeks pregnant, I had a light bulb moment. I asked myself, "Why did I need an induction? I am a healthy, young mother. Why did I need an epidural?" From that moment, I dived into researching natural birth. As I learned more, I came to the realization that I wasn't going to get the birth I wanted at our local hospital. I researched the local birth center, and I didn't feel that was the right fit either.

Then someone in an online forum suggested I research homebirth. I had never entertained the idea before, but I did some studying and realized that was it! That was what I wanted for my unborn baby and me. 

Now, during these few weeks of research, I didn’t tell a single soul. Even my husband was in the dark. I didn’t want anyone trying to sway my decision. This was my labor, my choice. Once I had clearly made up my mind, at 34 weeks pregnant, I told my husband. He was a little freaked out. His first questions were about the lack of pain medications and the "mess" of a home birth. After a few days of relieving his fears, he was on board. He was, actually, thrilled with the idea of not having to go anywhere.

I had to search hard for a midwife. Homebirth is not a common thing in my area. After getting in touch with a couple midwives a few hours away, they gave me the contact information to one who was closer to me. Come to find out, she lived less than ten minutes from my house! To top it off, she is one of the senior midwives in our state. Boy, had I lucked out! We met her when I was 35 weeks. I switched care from my OB to my midwife at 36 weeks. I began gathering our birth kit supplies and told a couple friends as well.

We had decided to have my best friend there as labor support and another friend to take pictures whenever I happened to go into labor. My appointments continued, our baby was growing well, and we waited. My due date came and went. We just waited. On the night that I was 40 weeks, 3 days, I decided I was just about done waiting. My husband and I tried some natural labor stimulation, and then I paced my house for about two hours. I gave up and went to bed. 

At 5am the next morning, I woke up and ran to the bathroom. My water had broken! After excited calls to my midwife, best friend and updating Facebook, I went back to sleep to get some rest before contractions started. I woke up at about 9am to call my aunt and uncle to ask them to come get our other two children. Nothing was really going on, but I was over sleeping. My midwife came over to check on me, but there was nothing exciting to report.

I was having contractions, but they were barely there. My midwife told us to go for a walk, eat some lunch, and she would be back in a little while. When she returned, I still had nothing new to report. Contractions were about the same. She had me drink a tablespoon of castor oil and said she would be back in an hour. While she was gone, my husband began to massage pressure points known to help contractions, and we rested in bed for a bit. At this point, it was barely after 4pm. 

When my midwife returned, things had picked up a little bit. My contractions were a little stronger and closer together. She asked if I wanted to get in the tub to see if that would help things along. I was eager to get in the water. As my husband was filling up the tub, my contractions started getting really intense. My midwife suggested I call my friends to head over. She was under the impression that I was finally hitting active labor.

Within a couple minutes, my contractions were on top of each other and I was asking to sit on the toilet. I was sure I needed to go. I needed to get something out of me. As soon as I sat down, I knew I did not want to be on the toilet. My midwife asked if I was pushing. I told her I didn't know and that I was just sure I needed to go to the bathroom really bad. I stood up and grabbed on to my husband and knew at that moment I was pushing. I was about to push my baby out standing in the middle of my bathroom!

My midwife and husband helped me out of my dress and into the tub very quickly. As soon as I was in, my baby's head crowned! I freaked out for a brief moment when I had forgotten to breathe through the contraction while climbing into the tub, but my midwife grabbed me and told me I needed to focus. That is all it took. My baby was out and on my chest in just a whisper of a moment. 

We had not decided to find out the sex with our third baby. We had one boy and one girl already. When our baby came out, we sat there, staring and feeling our hearts growing and didn't even know the gender! My midwife reminded us after a couple minutes that we needed to know what to call our little bundle so we peeked between the legs and realized I was holding Jude. Our son, Jude Avery, was born at 5:45pm on August 22, 2010. He weighed 9 lbs, 10 oz.. Within minutes of him being born, my best friend busted through the front door followed shortly by our other friend, the photographer. 

The following weeks and months were amazing. Jude's big brother and sister loved their brother. I grew as a mother every day. His labor and birth opened my eyes to a whole world of natural parenting. I knew that, once my children were in school, I wanted to pursue training to become a homebirth midwife. I wanted to spread the love and joy that I had felt. I began to help friends with parenting issues. If I didn't know the answer, I would search high and low until I found it for them. 

My son was growing everyday. He was just beginning to crawl and sit up on his own. On March 6th, 2011, I put him down for a nap and took my other two children outside to play. My cousin and her friend stopped by to visit so I decided to grill burgers for us all. I will always remember that meal: cheeseburgers with diced pickles in them, peas, corn, and tater tots. Nothing special. We were just talking about how Jude had been napping for quite awhile and how they hoped to see him before they left.

I walked in the bedroom, and I as soon as I saw him I knew. My son was gone. I had to perform CPR on my own son. It was too late. My son, who hadn't even hit his 7-month birthday, was not with us anymore.

I could have shut down. I could have locked myself in a room and never left again but that wouldn't fix anything. I had two more children that I needed to mother. I had to be strong for my two beautiful babies who were still here. My daughter, being barely 19 months, didn't care. My son, at 3 and a half, knew. Every time he saw me cry, he knew those tears were for Jude.

It hurt him to see mommy sad. We were unsure how to explain it to him. Being a blunt 3 year old, he would walk around openly telling everyone that Jude was dead. That hurt a lot. We told him that Jude is sitting on the clouds watching us. Ironically, in those following weeks, there were a lot of days where there were no clouds in the sky. My son would always look up at us confused and ask where Jude was at. We told him he had ridden the clouds to grandma's house to check on her. He was satisfied with that answer.

Today has been two months since my baby left us. It hurts no less than the day it happened, but I continue to be strong. If anything, it has made me stronger. Yes, I still cry everyday, but what mother wouldn't? People are always scared to bring up Jude's name, but I am not. I love talking about his birth and life. If it was not for Jude, I would have never opened my eyes to what birth could be, should be for mamas and babies. I thank him everyday for being here and for letting me be his mother.

Thank you for letting me finally write this all out. I have never sat down to write his birth story before now, and this is the first time I have written about everything else that has happened.

 I know it is hard to read for some, and I, too, skip the second half of it, but I loved his birth.. and his life. I want to be able to scream from the rooftops how thankful I am to be able to be his mother. I want others to know that even in heartache there is light. I am so grateful to have been able to experience all the things I did with him."
 
-Tia

Tiny Angel rest your wings
Sit with me for awhile.
How I long to hold your hand,
And see your tender smile.
Tiny Angel, look at me,
I want this image clear....
That I will forget your precious face
Is my biggest fear.
Tiny Angel can you tell me,
Why you have gone away?
You weren't here for very long...
Why is it, you couldn't stay?
Tiny Angel shook his head,
"These things I do not know...
But I do know that you love me,
And that I love you so."

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Confessions of a VBAC Mama who Transferred

©Cari Stewart 2011. Cari takes us on a journey of preparing for a VBAC at home (also called HBAC: Homebirth After Cesarean) and shares with us her experience of transferring for another c-section. (Photo heavy at the bottom, might take time to load).

“It's early morning. Why am I awake? I roll over and look at my phone: 6am. Sigh. I roll back over and notice my back has a slight ache. And then I get a light Braxton hick. I find this strange because even though I’ve experienced them 10 minutes apart for weeks, they start at 5pm {on the dot} and end around 11:30pm. I lay there with anticipation. After 10 minutes go by, I get another, and another and another.

At 7am I get out of bed and go to the bathroom. I am about to stand up and feel something come out. Shoot out really. I wipe again and see blood and clear mucus. I panic. This is it. This is really it. Everything I have been preparing for, for years. This is my VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). This is my moment. I cry and ask Eric if he thinks I can really do it. He tells me he has perfect faith in me. He knows I can do this. That's all I need to hear. I pull myself together. It is January 13th. I am 38 weeks.

I call my midwife to let her know things are moving. My contractions are between 7 and 10 minutes apart and getting stronger. I decide to see my chiropractor for a quick adjustment. I have to take a shower first and while I am in there, I am getting hit over and over again by contractions. I feel everything in my upper belly. They are so strong that I am already vocalizing. I start to worry if it is normal or not.

We get in the car to start our 30 minute drive. I’m a bit uncomfortable but I manage to stay relaxed and keep my mouth slack and open. I go in, get adjusted and my amazing chiropractor gives me wonderful encouragement and a big hug. It is exactly what I needed at that moment. She has been adjusting me since about 27 weeks. I am very grateful for her.

After I am adjusted I am rocked by 3 contractions that are 3 minutes apart. I decide that I want to swing by my midwife’s birth center and have her check to see if my waters had broken. I decided not to have her check my dilation as this was an issue in my previous birth. She found that my waters had not broken. We got back into the car and drove to Target to get a few last minute supplies. Once there, my contractions were 5 minutes apart and hard. I was stomping my foot through them and banging my hand rhythmically on the cart.

I think my 3 year old Aaron was a little freaked out! But it was helping me cope. It was now around 12pm. I had one contraction that was stronger than anything I had yet experienced. I told Eric it was time to go, now! We head home, eat lunch, get Aaron down to nap, make some calls and try to rest. But I couldn't lie down. It all just felt worse lying down.

Being a doula myself, I had access to a few doulas for my birth. One was my sister, Jaclyn, who would be traveling over an hour to get to me. The other, Amber, is one of my best friends. Allison was another close friend. She was "head" doula. She had been keeping in touch with me all day. Texting, calls, she was keeping tabs. Around 4pm she came over to time me. I was between 4 - 8 minutes apart and very vocal. They were getting longer, stronger and closer together.

Aaron woke up from a nap and my other sister Niki came over to help out. I needed some space so she took him out to eat and play. Eric started to set up the tub and this is where things get hazy for a bit.
Allison asked if I wanted to get into the regular tub while Eric blew up our birth tub. She made me some chicken noodle soup and I ate a ton of it. She took pictures and I called my mom and Amber, who got there around 6:30. I was very active. I think they were around 3 minutes apart, like waves crashing and taking me out to sea.

Allison called my midwife, Adrian, and her apprentice, K, and told them they need to get here NOW. I didn't know it until much later but Allison and Amber were preparing to catch this baby. It seemed as if I was about to give birth.

I have to say that Eric was the most amazing birth partner. He was my rock and the only thing that got me through the contractions at times. His whispered words of encouragement, his kisses holding my entire body weight through contractions. I am so blessed we had this experience together. I know we are capable of anything as a team. I am very luck to have him.

Adrian and K get to my home around 8:30. I know most of what I'm about to tell you from my birth record. Once they got there I was in the tub. They checked the baby's heart rate, perfect 140's, and did the usual stuff. My contractions spaced out to around 7-8 minutes. My sister Jaclyn arrived. I zone out in the tub for an hour or two. They ask me to get out. I sit in the rocking chair. Things get heavy. Really heavy. I cling to Eric. I loudly vocalize through every contraction. Searing pain that I can only pound my fist to rhythmically to cope. I look up at Adrian and say, "I don't want to do this." She grabs my previous birth records and writes on the back "I CAN do this!" She puts it next to me to read. I am shaking and hot and cold. They tell me this is transition.

I tell them I want to get into bed with Eric. I am tired. Its 12:30am. I get back in the tub and the contractions space out. They gave me a few spoonfuls of honey and some coconut water. Adrian asks me if K can check me. I agree. Lets see how much longer we have. I have a killer contraction and jump out of the tub, waddle to my bed and am hit with another. I lay down and she checks me to see that I’m at 9cm, -2 station, bag of waters bulging.

 I begin to cry. "I'm not broken! My body can do this! I can do this!" I get back into the tub and wait. And wait. And wait. They give me toast. They change my positions. Contractions continue to space out. It's now 3:30 am. I'm in bed with Eric again. They ask me to try pushing a little to see what happens. I get up on my knees and push. I have a large gush of fluids. I am scared but thrilled this is almost over.

Nothing else happens. I get back in the tub. I fall asleep, wake at the top of a contraction, and then fall back asleep. My midwife asks if she can check me to see whats going on in there. Its now 4:38am. What she finds is more devastating than I have words for at the time. I am only 4-5cm. Baby high at -4 station. Waters are not broken. I cry. I am heartbroken.

My contractions space out to 10-11 minutes apart. My midwives leave to get some rest. I am angry. I am scared. My sister asks me if I can take anything to help me sleep. Eric calls Adrian at 7am and she agrees. I sleep until she calls back 2:38pm. I feel rested. I am still contracting every 10 minutes. I take another sleeping pill and sleep until 5:30pm when Allison calls and says she will bring us dinner. I ask for a cheeseburger.

She had gone home as well earlier, got called to another birth, and then came back to me. Doulas are amazing! I go back to bed and send her home to get some sleep. Eric and I have long talks about what is happening. I feel we should make plans in case of a transfer. We fill the birth tub with fresh hot water, have a glass of wine and wait for something to happen. I am exhausted to tears.

We call Adrian back around 9:30pm to tell her the contractions are picking up again. I am excited. I tell her not to come yet but that I wanted her to know they were finally 5-8 minutes again. They space back out again. I tell Eric I am done. I cannot do this anymore. It's 4am. I want to transfer. We decide to transfer to the hospital close to Adrian's birth center and stop in to see her first and maybe have her check me. She finds I am 5-6cm and we are all encouraged. I am making progress, even if it is slow.

She asks me if I want to rest in the tub and let Eric get some sleep. I do and while I am in the tub she comes in to talk. She tells me how she became a midwife and tells me stories. She sits quietly while I breathe through contractions and rubs my belly when they end. Midwives are beautiful people. I wish everyone had access to Adrian for her births. She did a rebozo on me and we order breakfast.

After I eat, contractions get started again. They get as close as 2-3 minutes. My chiropractor comes over to adjust me again. We talk about my fears and I feel better. Contractions space out again. I slowly feel my VBAC slipping away. I take herbs. I do nipple stimulation. I squat. I do everything and anything. Nothing works. At 7pm we decide to have her check me. I am still 5-6cm. I decide to transfer. I cry harder than I can ever remember. I still feel a lump in my throat now as I write this. I know that I have lost my VBAC. I feel failure like I have never known.

Adrian talks to me about where I want to transfer. I can go to the hospital down the street, but she doesn't know the OB on call and she doesn't know how we, a VBAC home birth transfer, will be treated. She tells us about a hospital that is an hour away. They are amazing, she says. She knows the OB's there. They will give us the things that we feel are important during a c-section. I look outside and see it's snowing. I find it ironic that I had been telling our son Aaron my entire pregnancy that it would be snowing when his brother or sister was born.

We get in the car and suddenly it’s a whole new ball game. Contractions are coming every 2 minutes and lasting 2 minutes. I am screaming. I have no coping skills left. I am begging, pleading, for the pain to stop. I'll do anything, please just make it stop. I hate this. I want to throw myself out of the car. I yell at Eric, punch the seats and the ceiling, anything to escape the pain. It is like nothing I have ever felt. It's snowing hard. We are on back, winding roads, in a New Hampshire blizzard. And stuck behind a sanding truck. You can't make this stuff up!

We get to the hospital and I jump out of the car and run. Well, I felt as if I was running; it was more like a fast waddle. I tell Allison to help me. Please help me! I feel something come out of me. I tell her I think my water broke. She feels my legs and says she can't tell. So, in the middle of the parking lot I pull down my pants to check. I don't care. Modesty be damned! Its just a lot of bloody show. Allison tells me to ask to be checked and if I have dilated we will leave and I will push the baby out in the back of my Subaru because this hospital has a VBAC ban.
   
We get inside and the OB checks me and says I am still only 6cm. I feel more crushing failure. It takes them 5 tries to get an IV going. They finally hold me down and put it in my wrist, at the part where your hand meets your wrist, which is not a good spot. They gave me pain meds, but they did nothing. I am still screaming. I am embarrassed about how loud I screamed. I really didn't care at the time though. My back was on fire. They had to get 2 bags of fluid down before they could do surgery.

At some point I just gave up. I withdrew into my self. I stopped fighting and let the pain wash over me. It was all I could do in the situation. There was no running left in me. I had lost my VBAC and now all I wanted was for the pain to just stop. I was half sitting on the edge of the hospital bed. Allison asked me to have them check me again. My midwife told me to as well. I might be 9cm and could still do this. It will remain one of my biggest regrets that I did not. They could clearly see I was in transition. Because when I stood up to walk to surgery, my waters really did break. It is with a heavy heart that I tell you I walked into the OR after that moment.

My surgery went well, or at least as well they can go. They dropped the curtain for me to see the delivery. They let Eric announce the sex, another BOY! And they let me have my amazing doula Allison be there, too. She held my hand and rubbed my face. She sang Amazing Grace to me to make it a better experience for me. The OB leaned over the sterile drape to tell me that my uterus had torn along the incision line, a 3cm extension and that I will never be able to attempt another vaginal birth. My heart was crushed and I died inside. Avery David was born at 12:16am on January 16th, 2011, weighing 8lbs11oz and 19 inches long.

It still hurts me. Yes, I have a beautiful son. Yes, he is healthy. But that's not all that matters. My experience matters, too. I hope one day I can try for a VBA2C, regardless of what the OB said. I hope one day I will know what it feels like to push my baby out into the world. I want to hear someone say, "Cari, grab your baby" and have my messy baby placed on my chest and know I am the first person who touches my baby. I wish no one ever knew the pain of a failed birth. I hope one day I will feel okay with everything that happened and the choices I made. I hope one day I can say proudly that I am not broken. I know I am a great many years from reaching that point.

I am forever grateful to everyone who supported me through my pregnancy and labor. Without you, I wouldn't learned all I did about myself and my abilities. I know I left out a lot of stuff. Some of it was too personal and close to my heart to share and some I forgot. But this is it. All 67 hours of labor. It may not be the perfect labor but it's mine. And I am proud of it now.”

After 52 hours of labor
At the hospital, preparing for another c-section

C-sections might be necessary in some situations, but they can still be humane.  Mothers can request that the cloth is dropped to view their baby being born.


First touch
While mama is in recovery, daddy can do skin to skin bonding.
Love is everywhere!


Meandering Home: Theodore Joins Us on the Outside

Kacy has submitted her birth stories for our series. Just click the links below to read them!

First birth:

http://meanderinghome.blogspot.com/2008/12/something-that-wont-compute.html

http://meanderinghome.blogspot.com/2008/12/happy-birthday-felicity-grace.html

Second birth:
http://meanderinghome.blogspot.com/2010/10/theodore-joins-us-on-outside-birth.html


Friday, May 27, 2011

Confessions of a Mama Diagnosed with Placenta Accreta

©Kirsten 2011. Kirsten shares her perspective of a successful homebirth that comes with a transfer for a diagnosis of Placenta Accreta.

“I had my son, Boden, at home. He is my first child. I had two midwives, a midwife in training, my best friend as my doula, my husband, mother and my mother in law present. My contractions started late at night on July 17th, 2010. I called my doula and let her know I was in labor. She drove from Savannah, GA down to central Florida to be here with me.

My water broke soon after calling her and I started to get really excited. I called my midwife, who told me to go back to bed and that it would be awhile. I wish I would have listened, but I was so full of energy, I couldn’t help but stay awake! We walked around our neighborhood and I could feel Boden moving into place. I meditated to get in tune with him.

By 6pm, my labor had started slowing and I knew I was getting tired. I tried to sleep, but it was too uncomfortable. So my husband and I got into the shower and I swayed under the water, trying to get some energy back and get in tune with Boden again. I rocked on the birthing ball, squatted and rocked on my hands and knees. He was getting lower but I was feeling myself getting weak.

I pushed for 5 hours and at one point really wanted to just give up birthing. My midwife gave me a pep talk and I pushed through the pain. Boden Andrew was finally born at 2:53am on July 19th, 2010. He was a perfect at 7lbs, 5oz, 18 1/4 inches long. We started breastfeeding right away and it came to us both naturally. I completely forgot about all the pain and had an amazing burst of energy!

My midwife told me I needed to push to deliver the placenta, but my contractions were getting too far apart. I tried pushing, but got no result. I got up to have gravity help me, then I tried sitting on the toilet. I had a midwife on each side of me when I heard a ringing in my ears. I remember saying, "I don't feel good" and apparently I stood up and passed out.

I woke up with my midwife's hands on my face and her telling me not to move. My husband sat next to me, giving me sips of gatorade and bits of food. My midwife gave me a shot of Pitocin and called the ambulance. When the paramedics arrived, I was still laying on the floor. They tried sitting me up and the monitors they had hooked me up to started to wail. I started to pass out again as my blood pressure was very low.

I left my son at home with his grandmothers because I didn’t want him poked and prodded at the hospital. I cried, thinking I wouldn’t see him again. Once we got to the hospital, a very nasty, loud mouthed doctor asked me, "Why on earth would you ever want to have your baby at home!?" She told me I would possibly need surgery to remove my placenta if she could not remove it manually. She told me I could lose my uterus as well. I thought to myself, "I'm only 22, this can't be happening."


She manually removed my placenta in about three pieces. Removing the placenta was far more painful than anything I've ever experienced. I had 4 units of blood replaced and was put onto two very strong antibiotics. I was then told that I wouldn’t be able to have my son with me in the hospital because he wasn’t a patient.

I was completely heart broken! I begged and pleaded with the nurses to let me have my son with me. I was so worried that breastfeeding wouldn't be possible. I needed my son and he needed me. They finally agreed and we were reunited, 12 hours after he was born. After 4 days in the hospital, we finally got to go home.

What happened with my placenta only happens 1 in every 2,500 births. It’s called Placenta Accreta, where the placenta grows into the uterus. Mine was a very mild form, but wow did it cause damage! I always wanted a natural homebirth and thankfully I made it that far. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. My son is healthy and I've overcome so much more than I ever thought possible!”

Kirsten meets her baby

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Confessions of a Mama who Birthed Twins at Home

©Rachel Fettig Klessig 2011. Rachel shares her perspective of birthing twins at home and managing bleeding at home with a trained assistant.

“My birth story for my twins really begins long before the actual birth. My husband and I already had 5 children all birthed in a hospital setting. Some of these births were not pleasant and I longed to have a homebirth. Because of restrictive laws and the fact that I had SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosis) it was proving to be very difficult.

In May 2009, I discovered that I was pregnant again and the laws in our state had changed in August of 2008 so I was very excited to plan a homebirth. We live close to the border of two different states and we had contacted a local midwife across the border and scheduled our first appt and ultrasound at 12weeks.

Within days of discovering I was pregnant, I began to feel very ill. This was quite unusual for me, as I never really had morning sickness before. I began suspecting that I hyperovulated and was having twins and begged to have my appointment moved closer. So at 9 weeks 1day I went to my midwife's house for my first prenatal and U/S. Right away we saw 2 sacs and 2 babies on the screen. A third area was examined for quite some time before the U/S tech decided we were only dealing with 2 babies. (It is quite possible the pregnancy began as triplets.)

You can see the two little babies here:
http://s78.photobucket.com/albums/j89/mrklessig/?action=view&current=twinpic.jpg

I sat on the couch where the U/S was preformed and just cried. I knew that my midwife had probably heard tons of times before from woman claiming they thought they were having twins. I gave my husband a little “I told you so!” and cried for quite some time. I am not sure what brought about the tears, both fear and excitement I suppose. I was just overwhelmed with emotion and the tears just poured out of me.

This midwife had delivered twins once by accident, as it was illegal in her state for her to attend a twin homebirth so she was not very experienced. We, nor she, felt comfortable with her as our primary midwife so I began to feel as if our hopes were dashed for our homebirth and doubted I even really wanted one because we were having twins.

The babies had separate sacs and placentas so that was a good thing to know when considering a homebirth. After several weeks of discussing having another hospital birth or going ahead with a midwife, my husband encouraged me to keep looking into a homebirth. Neither one of us wanted an OB to be scheduling our C-section the moment we walked in for our first prenatal so the search was on for an experienced midwife.

Over the next few weeks I googled and searched and called other local midwives and birth centers within 2 hours and nobody even wanted to talk to me knowing that I was expecting twins. I was beginning to get very discouraged when I was finally referred to a midwife about 3 ½ hours away from our house.

We met with her when I was about 12 or 13 weeks and both my husband and I knew she would be a great fit with us. We liked her very much; she had been practicing for decades, was very knowledgeable, and had attended twin births before. She worked as a team with one of her daughters and it was good to know that we would have a “team” already in place. I was already measuring 18 weeks at this point.

At 21 weeks we discovered we were having 2 little girls. They were both head down. I was ecstatic! I wanted so badly to have this homebirth and them being head down was critical with me feeling comfortable with it. I was nervous about breech birth, although my midwife would still have attended.

I continued to measure 5 to 6 weeks ahead during the pregnancy. It was pretty uneventful but by 28 weeks it was getting very hard for me to walk around without losing my breath. Because of my size, I had to get a carpenter's back brace to use as a maternity belt, which worked awesome.

I started having some contractions beginning at about 31 weeks and even though I wasn't really on bed rest, I didn't really do much. I had to lay down much of the time anyway because sitting upright in a chair put too much pressure on my cervix and that is when I usually had contractions. I needed to make it to 36 weeks for my midwife to deliver (not because of laws but because that is what we decided was best.) I would be 36 weeks on December the 18th. That day was ingrained in my mind.

I had my last U/S at 34 wks. I woke up that morning and my belly felt funny. I didn't know yet why but I felt lumps in all the wrong places. I had suspected that they may have changed positions and it was confirmed a few hours later. Both babies and turned frank breech. I became disheartened. They had been head down for so long. By the end of the U/S they were both transverse – so they apparently had lots of room to roam. My hopes for a homebirth became less exciting and I spent that evening very tearful.

We own an inversion table so we decided to give it a try. I hung at about 45 degrees for about 5 minutes before going to bed. The next day I felt that everything was back to normal but there was doubt in my mind whether they did change back or not.

Labor:


Thursday morning, December 16th, our new pack and play came. So I felt a little more like nesting. We unboxed it and put it together and then the kids and I started cleaning and rearranging things in my bedroom so we had a place to put it. I putzed around all day. Around 3:30 or 4:00 I sat down to knit a pair of mittens for Matt's Grandma for Christmas and started having contractions...not unusual for me.

I was unable to sit on the couch for any length of time without having them. They were becoming very regular though so I decided I should get up and go lay down and see if they stopped. Well, they slowed down but didn't stop so I let Matt know and I was off to take a bath and see if that changed anything. I didn't want my midwife to have to drive 3.5 hours to get here and I wasn't really in labor. After my bath around 6:30, the contractions stopped so I rested in bed.

I woke up at 4am on Friday morning, still no contractions, but I was wide-awake so got up to bake bread. Around 5:00 I sat down to finish the mitten I had started the day before and my contractions started up again. At 5:30 I rested but they continued at 6 minutes apart and fairly strong. At 6 I decided to take a bath again to see if that changed things. I went to the bathroom and had some pink spotting so I told Matt to call our midwife - It was the real deal!! I was exactly 36 weeks – I had been praying to make it to 36 weeks so that we could continue with our plans for a home birth. I had made it to our cutoff date!! I felt so enormous that day. I measured a fundal height of 45” and was 56 1/2” around.



I was asked to labor in bed for awhile until the midwives got closer so that things didn't progress too quickly. I made some phone calls to arrange for our children, cancel our visit with friends, and a couple calls to some prayer warriors.

My good friend Heather was the first to arrive at about 8:30. I had asked her to come for some moral support. She had 5 of her children at home and this was my first home birth and I knew she would make me feel calm. Our midwife friend had woken up that morning throwing up so I asked her not to come after all. It was a hard decision to make for me because I wanted her to be here but I also had some reservations because I knew she had some fear in her heart regarding this birth and I had been so calm about the whole pregnancy and birth except when I was around her. I think that everything worked out for the best with her not being able to come because of her being sick. It allowed me to labor and birth these babies without fear.

Matt spent the morning getting things ready. A fire was started in the cook stove so we would be toasty warm. He got the older children up to go do their farm chores. My mom came over to take the children to her house and I snuggled in bed with Clara (4yo) and Sarah (2yo) for a little bit and by about 7:30 or 8:00 the children were off to Grandma's. My midwife called me about every 45 minutes to get a status updates and there were really no great changes from the time my labor started. Contractions were the same and still 6 or 7 minutes apart.



When Heather arrived, she helped Matt set up the pool and they began filling it. My midwives were close so I got out of bed and sat in the living room while Heather clipped coupons and we talked and joked around. My midwife and her daughter got here around 10:00.

Babies’ heartbeats were checked and were both around the 140's even through a contraction so we were doing great. I spent some time in and out of the pool over the next couple of hours and we all just talked and joked around. It was so nice and relaxing and it really didn't feel like I was there laboring and they were all watching me like a pot ready to boil. It almost felt like a social call except the fact that I was stripped down to a sports bra and floating around in a pool in my kitchen/dining room.

Matt had started a batch of soup on the cookstove around 12:30 or so and had finished the bread that I started baking that morning. It was all smelling so good but I really didn't have the desire to eat more that a slice of fresh bread with butter and I had been drinking some juice.

My contractions never got fewer than 6 or 7 minutes apart but they were getting stronger. The last 6 were pretty painful and I needed to squeeze Matt's hands and couldn't talk through them. I had the last painful contraction at about 1:52 or 1:53 and immediately after my water broke...It was time to have babies!!

Birth:


My water never breaks before my baby is crowning so I knew when my water broke with the last contraction, I was going to be pushing a baby out with the next one. After I said that my water broke, everyone jumped up to scrub up. The next 5 minutes were like a whirlwind.

Judith, my midwife was standing at the opposite side of tub and I asked her if it was ok to push with the next contraction. She gave me the ok and said to push slowly. Well, I tried to push slowly but my body took over and out she came at 1:55. The first thing I saw was her little butt float up to the surface. I said something about her being breech after all and Judith assured me that she came out headfirst. 

The baby did a little somersault on the way up to the surface. I was holding her and they were rubbing her down. She was breathing but pretty purple and we continued to rub her down with towels to stimulate her. They clamped her cord later and Matt got to cut it.

Judith said that there was too much blood in the pool and she would like me to get out. We had discussed the possibility of hemorrhage or more blood loss because of the surface area of the placentas. I was about get out when another contraction hit me – only about a minute or two had gone by since the first baby had been born. I asked that somebody take the baby because the next one was coming. Judith felt and there was another baby, right on the heels of her sister. Judith's daughter was sent to put some pads on the bed so I could get out and into bed as soon as the next baby made her entrance.

Needless to say, I couldn't then get out of the tub. My body bore down and I pushed with everything I had. It was much harder that the first time. I could tell that my face must have been beet red from straining so hard. Judith reached down to feel again and what I didn't know it until after the fact, the first baby's placenta had detached and came down along side the second baby's head.

She told me to keep pushing. The placenta had to be pulled out of the way to make room for the second baby to come out. I was continuing to push all this time and the next baby came out all in one gush, just like her sister, only she came out with her placenta and all – it was 2:00. Judith was rubbing her down and trying to see if she was breathing, which she was. The cord was immediately clamped, I was handed the baby, and I was helped out of the tub and into bed.

The Continued Chaos:

The contrast between the two babies was distinct. The first one was so purple her breathing was very rapid. She was retracting and needed some oxygen. Some was being blown directly in her little face but Judith thought it would be best to call a colleague of hers that had a bit more experience with situations like this to give her some oxygen therapy. I consented, the call was made and she was on her way. The second baby was very pale but alert. She was a bit cool and Matt was sent to throw some dry towels in the dryer to warm her.



I was filled with adrenaline. People were rushing around, babies were being rubbed down with more towels, Matt was getting me my RRL tea infusion and some other herbals that we had prepared earlier. The minutes immediately following their birth is like a blur because it all happened so much quicker than I had expected, but still I felt no fear about what was happening. I was lying next to them and taking turns letting them latch on and nurse. I was bleeding much more than they would have liked and we were trying to facilitate some more contractions to make my uterus clamp down to slow the bleeding.

It wasn't working fast enough and my bleeding wasn't slowing, so I got a shot of Pitocin, and then over the next hour or so, I got 2 more shots of it. The Pitocin just wasn't working. My uterus was still spongy feeling and wasn't clamping down. It is possible that I had some retained placenta that was causing some problems initially. I got up to go to the bathroom on a few occasions and lost a lot of clotty stuff and there could possibly have been some placenta there also, we just don't know for sure.

Matt and I were spending some alone time with our new bundles. I was taking turns trying to nurse them both. Judith and her daughter came in to show us the placentas and told us that we should really be praising God that our first twin is even here. The condition of the placenta was such that it probably would not have sustained her much longer.

The placentas were like day and night. The only way I can think to describe the first one was that it looked like it had been put through a meat tenderizer. It was pale and spongy and when you held it up in the palm of your hand and looked at the side that attached to the uterus, it just fell apart at the cracks and looked like a minute steak. The other placenta was dark red, firm, and solid.


My bleeding still was not slowing down fast enough so Judith gave me another medicine to help my uterus contract better. Some more time passed without significant results and another dose was administered. I trusted Judith fully with what was going on so I wasn’t fearful. I really wanted to avoid a transfer and didn't mind Judith doing everything in her power and expertise to get things under control. I knew she would let me know when and if we needed to do something more or seek additional help.

Matt continued to get fresh warm towels periodically from the dryer and it was finally time to do assessments and weights. I was dying to know how big they were. I had been praying all along for 6-pound babies. I was going to be ecstatic if I had 6 pounders, especially at 4 weeks early. My other daughters were 6lb 9oz at 39wks and 5lbs 15oz at 36wk4d.

Baby A was weighed – exactly 6 pounds – I was thrilled. She was also 20 inches long. Baby B's turn – 5lb and 15oz and 19 inches...WOW! 



Shortly after this Robin arrived to give our first baby some oxygen therapy. It was about 5:30. My mom had arrived with my older children so that they could do their evening chores and she came in to quickly peek at our new bundles. My oldest son Danial, who is 12, came in to strain the milk and got to peek at his new sisters. Robin helped with the babies and then also helped with trying to assess my bleeding to get that under control.

 My uterus was beginning to feel firmer, and was getting lower into my abdomen....Praise God!! We were moving in the right direction. The first baby immediately started to perk up and became better colored after a little oxygen therapy and we were on the right track. It seemed like it took almost no time from finally seeing some response from my uterus and my bleeding had slowed way down and my uterus was getting lower and lower in my abdomen.



We had a few quick visitors later that evening and by 7:30 Robin had left and by 9:00 Judith and her daughter had gone also and would be back the next day to check on us. We were left with specific instructions and a list of things to monitor over the course of the next 48 hours. We didn't get any sleep that first night and I don't think that I could have slept even if given the chance as I was so pumped up from the events of the day.

It was an amazing experience. My first home birth was with twins and it was awesome. It was by far my best labor and birth experience!”


Need more multiple inspiration?


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Confessions of a Mom who Blames Herself

©Anonymous 2011. This raw story was posted anonymously to share an important point on the way to healing from a traumatic experience. As a person moves along the journey of grief, she can often go from blaming others (external control) to blaming herself (internal control). In our society, it’s accepted that people will blame others for violation or blame no one, calling it necessity or an accident. It is very rare that people are able to share their own feelings of blame. This is a dark but vital insight, might be triggering:

I don't know where to begin… 

His conception was a surprise. I was young. I had only been with his father for a few months. We were scared, yet excited. In our talks SO (significant other) would ask me to consider at least going without an epidural. He had done a bit of research and didn't like what he found in the birthing industry.

I remember the email conversation as if it was yesterday. I refused to look into it. I said, "I'm getting an epidural as soon as I walk in that door!" What I didn't know was SO had planted a seed in my head. It began to sprout and soon I wanted to know everything. 

No matter how much research I did I couldn’t save myself from my own fears. I did not fear birth. I feared speaking up for what I wanted. I stayed with my OB even though at our first appointment he told me, "Don't listen to all the old wives tales about how bad epidurals are; they're perfectly safe." I returned thinking all he had to do was catch. That was all. It didn't matter how he viewed birth. 

A few days before my EDD I had a prenatal appointment. Even though I found courage and spoke up and told him I did not want to induce, he scheduled me to come in on my EDD. I went home crying, asking SO what I was going to do now. We decided to change to another OB on my EDD. When I met with this OB he told me everything I wanted to hear. He knew I switched because my last OB was pushing an induction. 

At my next appointment with the new OB he said I was measuring big so I needed to have a c-section because my baby was too big for me to birth. I laughed. I thanked him; told him no one has ever told me I was too small to do anything before. He was not amused. He went on with horror stories and warned me that my baby or I could die.

He looked to his student and said, "See you need to make sure they know the risks. This way they can make an educated decision." He asked for me to get an NST and ultrasound. I agreed. The tech said everything looked great. Baby was doing great. Then the L&D nurse walked into the room. She sat down and asked me to stay and be induced. I told her that no, I would like to wait for baby to come on his own.

She then began to tell her horror stories. I began to smirk and laugh at her. She turned to SO and told him he needed to get through to me, or he would be burying me or our son, or both of us. Before she left she let it be known if I were to come back to L&D in labor she would request not to have me, "Because I know how it would end, and I couldn't have that on my mind." After that, SO and I decided to get induced. 

I called and set an appointment with my OB. When I got there, after waiting the 2 1/2 hours to see him, I was given my induction form. That's when I read the horrid word CYTOTEC My heart stopped. I went home, lost about what I should do at this point. I knew this drug was bad. I called SO to tell him I was NOT comfortable inducing with this drug. He told me to call and see if I could get something else. I did. When I called, the nurse handed the phone directly to my OB. 

Me: I'm not comfortable inducing with Cytotec. Is there anything else we can use? What about sweeping my membranes?
OB: No, that increases your risk for infection
Me: Pitocin or Cervidil? 
OB: Your cervix isn't favorable for those forms of induction.
Me: Oh ok. *hangs up*

I called my SO back on the phone. We had another NST that night. We were told baby looked great again, and right after that I was told to stay for an induction because we could die.

That night SO and I had a long talk. We decided not to induce. The doctor pretty much said it himself. My cervix wasn't favorable, so the baby wasn't ready. Thus began our search for a homebirth midwife at 5 days past my EDD. 

We found one on day 6 and canceled my induction. She let me know she legally couldn't attend the birth without my prenatal records. This, this is where I screwed up my beautiful homebirth. That fear of mine, that fear of speaking up, of authority, finally got me. It took me until 2pm to work my courage up to call and ask them to fax over my records. 

When I called, their office was closed. They close early on Fridays. I thought, "Ok. This is fine. He stayed in this long! We can make it to Monday!" Saturday evening I was up all night with cramping. I woke up still having sporadic cramps. SO and I had a stab at sex. Afterwards I was bleeding a lot, so I called L&D and they said not to worry. Throughout the day I still was getting spontaneous cramps. I figured it was from the spicy food I had eaten.
 
That evening as I was lying in bed I noticed these cramps were coming in a pattern, and were getting intense. I got in the bathtub, told SO, and noticed I was losing my mucus plug. Soon after we left for the hospital. When we got to the hospital things were really getting started. It was around 1am. I was tired; I hadn't gotten much sleep the night before. I was dealing with the contractions fairly well. Everything was moving along very fast. I was being hushed by the nurses, my moans were putting off the other patients (you could hear doors slamming.)

Most of my labor is hazy. SO was in the corner crying while nurses attended to him, giving him juice. During one contraction I felt my water break, but I thought maybe I had just peed. The nursed asked to check me. I told her no I wanted to wait until the contraction was over. She didn't listen. I was leaning over the hospital bed with my back facing her. She proceeded to try to do a vaginal exam. I was in pain the whole time. I was trying to get though a contraction while the nurse was ramming her fingers into my clit.

I screamed, “Stop! Nooo, please! I told you no!” I was trying to reach my hand back to smack her away, but couldn't. I looked over to SO for help but he was just sitting there, sobbing. I had no one. The nurses and my "friend" were all yelling at me, “Well if you would just turn over!"

The nurse didn't stop until I finally was able to reach her hand. I grabbed and squeezed as hard as I could and yelled, "I said no!" But finally, I caved. I turned over for her. I felt so defeated. My water indeed had broken and I was 10cm, and feeling pushy. 

I turned back over and began pushing. I couldn't believe what had just happened. I wanted this to be over. I wanted to be home. The nurses yelled at me to stop and get on my back. I told them no. The doctor said I could push in any position. They said that he only “allows” patients to push on their backs. I ignored them and kept pushing.

My son's head began to crown. The nurses and my "friend" grabbed my arms, trying to force me on my back. I fought, but once again, I caved. I had no energy, so I just rolled onto my back. I felt defeated again.

Soon after that my OB was in the room, yelling at me to push. I didn't want to push. I felt a strange sense of fatigue and defeat. They kept yelling at me to push, so I did. I pushed, and soon he was out. 

My labor was about 5hours. My son weighed 8lbs 13oz. I did it without any medication. I wish I could say it was natural, but it was not. I also wish this is where my story ends, but it does not.

As soon as he was out they give him to me for a very brief moment, then they took him away. I yelled out, "No vitamin K shot or eye goop!" But they had already given it to him, even though I expressed I did not want it being done when we checked in to the hospital. I began asking for him, begging for them to bring him back to me. My OB told me not until I delivered my placenta. So I pushed and pushed until it came out.

I just wanted him.  A nurse came over to hand him to me. As she does she says, "Wow, 8lbs 13oz with no epidural, amazing!".My OB's response? "Stupid if you ask me."

I was wheeled into my room. As soon as we got in there SO fell asleep. A nurse came in shortly to take DS to the nursery for testing. I asked SO to go, but he had fallen asleep. I asked the nurse how long it would take. I needed to get in that shower. I felt so dirty from what they had done to me. I asked if he would be back by the time I got out. She said yes.

I took a 15 minute shower. I stood in there, sobbing. When I got out I called for him to come back into my room. I was told he would be with me shortly. After 30 minutes passed, I called again. I was a told a nurse was getting him ready and he'd be with me soon. I fell sleep waiting. It had been 2 1/2 hours when I woke up! I called again. I was told he was down the hall. Another 30 minutes passed.

I said to myself, "Fuck this, I'll go down there and demand my baby!" And I had every intention to do that. Fear of speaking up was gone at this point. But when I went down there, I looked into that nursery and I couldn't remember which baby was mine. I ran back to my room sobbing, broken. I waited for them to bring him to me.

He finally came into my room when he was 5 hours old. I did not get to see or hold my son for 5 hours. Soon after that visitors arrived. As soon as I had finally been given my baby, they were there to take him from me. 

The whole time the visitors were telling me to go to sleep while they held MY baby! When he cried they shushed him, not giving him to me, even when I asked. I felt as if he wasn't mine. I didn't know what to do. I just sat there, staring blankly.

My baby ended up losing 2 ounces of weight. The nurses assured me it was completely normal and that I needed to give him formula to remedy it. At this point, I just went along. I had reached a point of complete defeat, as if the baby was theirs and not mine.

That was my hospital experience. I did suffer PPD, though it wasn't diagnosed. Long after birth, I would burst into tears everyday over nothing. I've never felt connected to my son, not even now. 

I blame myself. This is my fault. I made these decisions. I didn't speak up in the beginning. I gave up and I gave in, over and over again.

If only I would have called the OB sooner. If only I would have switched to a MW instead of another OB. If only I would have just stayed home and had an unassisted birth, safe from everyone.

This is my fault, even though all this time I blamed everyone else involved, including my son. I blamed him for arriving on that day. After I had to fight so long about being overdue. Why, why that day? Why couldn't he have waited just one more day?

Now I know I was a horrible mom. How could I blame him? It took me a lot to work thought all of this. Though I no longer blame anyone else but myself it's hard to think about his birth. I thought after my homebirth (next birth) I would heal. To be honest I haven't. It just made me realize what I could have had with my first son. My homebirth only made it all too clear what we should have had, what we deserved to have.

“Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.” – Max Ehrmann