Birth Story #24

Today’s birth story is one of my very, very best friends, Brenda. She babysits my daughter when we need her to, and she is absolutely great.

This is the story of her daughter, Rebecka. She labored really fast, and had an unnecessary cesarean (in my opinion). She’s my ‘unhappy’ cesarean buddy.

This is the first time I have heard the sequence back to back, and it brought me to tears. It is also posted on her family blog The Carling Chronicle.

Rebecka’s Birth

This is the story about the birth of my baby, Rebecka. It is a very hard story for me to tell at times and very emotional. I didn’t leave anything out if I remembered it. So, don’t judge me about my feelings of my first birth. It has helped me so much to have it out in the open, even if no one reads it.

Disclaimer: After getting to the hospital every thing is very hazy for me so I will tell you what I remember. Sorry if it seems choppy.
To prepare for birth I decided to go natural, so we took the Bradley Method classes. They are focused on husband-coached child birth and my dh, Caleb, and I are inseparable so this was the best choice for us. So without further ado here is my birth-story.

I woke up at 3:00 am, August 26 and made my normal middle of the night pregnancy trip to the toilet. I proceeded to go back to sleep but was woken up just a few minutes later with pain. I thought it was something I had eaten and that the ache was just an upset stomach, so I tried to get more comfortable. Nothing worked and the pain just became more intense. I decided it was not a tummy-ache but labor. I got up to let my dh get some more rest. I went into the nursery and labored on my birthing ball for a while in the dark. The contractions were not at all what I expected. I was told that they come and then ease up, mine were just coming and coming right on top of each other; there was no rest between the peeks it was just pain on top of pain. It really hurt! At 3:55 I couldn’t do it myself anymore and woke up Caleb and he started to try and help me relax and work with the contractions. I was so nervous and excited that I was finally about to meet my baby.

I wandered between the birth-ball, toilet, and bed never finding a reprieve. Caleb told me the contractions were only one minute apart. We were kind of scared because this was NOT how it was supposed to happen. We deiced we needed to leave.

We left for the hospital at 4:50, and arrived at 5:00 am. I have never had a more uncomfortable ride.
My sister, MaLynda, met us at the emergency entrance. I wanted to walk to Labor and Delivery; (it was a goal I had made as soon as I found out I was pregnant). I made it but it was tough. I had to stop at least 5 times before we got there.

I waddled up to the nurses’ station with my supporters in tow. I tried to sit on the stool and rest for a moment only to have a rude nurse tell me to follow her in a not so nice tone. I waited a moment longer and she had the nerve to glare at me, so I got up and went after her. The nurse practically threw the gown on the bed and instructed me to change. I went in the bathroom and did as I was bid the whole time I was bent in pain.

I changed into a gown and was strapped into the fetal monitor flat on my back. The hurting intensified of course. The nurse checked me and I was dilated to 5 cm. I was so depressed but couldn’t focus on that due to the fact that I was almost crying form the pain. No one seemed to care that it hurt more being on the bed. But what could I do, I was strapped to the monitors. I was in so much pain that wouldn’t stop; I was begging Caleb to let me get an epidural. He was wonderful and tried to talk me out of it like we had planned he would, but I think seeing me in so much pain unnerved him. He said ok and the mean nurse of course got right on it.

She called the anesthesiologist and proceeded to check my cervix again. I had jumped up to 7+ in just 15 minutes. She pretty much ran out of the room to make sure the doctor was on his way.
By this time I was in full blown agony.

The nurse came back in with another nurse and they both proceeded to tell me that the baby’s pulse was low and wanted me to get on my knees. Finally, I thought, a real labor position. But they only let me stay there for what seemed like two seconds, before they pushed me back onto my back and slapped an oxygen mask on my face.
It took a while, it felt like, for the anesthesiologist to come. I remember a nurse trying to put an IV in me and it not working. The anesthesiologist came in and tried a few times as well and I guess he finally got it in. I had a few bruises on my hands and wrist from them trying to get a vein.

I heard someone say it was too late to get an epidural, and I kind of was happy about it. I could claim I didn’t get any pain medications. Silly me.

The baby’s heart rate was all over the place and the nurses didn’t like it and called in Dr. Sanders STAT. There seemed to be dozens of hands on me and voices all talking at once. I didn’t know who to listen to, so I just was like putty in their hands being pushed and pulled.

At 6:00 Dr. Sanders checked my cervix and I had gone to a 9+. They were preparing to be ready to open the operating room, but the doctor wanted to see if I could maybe push. He checked again at about 6:10 and told me to push. I was so confused, lost, and in pain, that I didn’t have time to even get in a good position to try. I did attempt, but after just once they decided to take me into surgery and perform a cesarean section. They didn’t even let me try again, I had no idea how to push. To this day I don’t know if I actually pushed or not.

At 6:20 I was separated from Caleb and MaLynda and wheeled to the O.R. I remember being scared for my sister. She is my little sister and not married, and I knew this was frightening for her. I was crying when I left her in the hall. I might never see her again. I knew how they did c-sections and no matter how safe they have become I knew the dangers. MaLynda was my best friend, and I was scare to loose her.

I had to leave Caleb right outside the nursery and it tore me apart. I was in terror as our hands separated and tears coursed down my face. I didn’t want him to leave me. I kept telling the nurses I wanted him with me but they wouldn’t let him stay. I was so scared without him.

The lights in the operating room were bright in my eyes. And there were lots of people in the room. No one would tell me what was going on. I moved from the bed to the operating table and I remember pretty much thrashing around trying to get rid of the pain. For some reason no one would make eye contact with me. ( Of course I wouldn’t make eye contact either with a crazed pregnant woman who was yelling at everybody 🙂 )

Finally, as they are bodily restraining my arms and tying them down, I got the anesthesiologist to look at me and I said “Please, help me!” The poor man could only tell me to hold on, that he couldn’t do anything until the doctor came in and was close to starting. “Please!” was all I remember saying, pleading with him to just make it go away. I felt so alone.

I remember that some time during this they had me mostly, naked shaving me and putting iodine on my belly.

To my great relief Dr. Sanders came in and realized that I was not helping matters any and told them to just put me under.

And then nothingness.

I remember that the next time I woke up I was in a different room and family was there. I tried to stay awake but it was so hard. I remember thinking that I needed to know how the baby was and tried to ask if she was ok. I don’t know if I actually got an answer or even if I asked it out loud. I struggled for hours trying to regain conciseness. I would go in and out of it. I tried to stay awake and make conversation but I could only get one or two words out before I was a sleep again.

I woke up around 2:00 p.m. in a groggy haze. I saw a blurry Polaroid of my baby.

I was told that My Girl couldn’t leave the nursery because of a low APGAR score, that she was on oxygen. She couldn’t leave the nursery for a few hours, and I couldn’t walk on my own yet. We kept asking to see her but the nurses were under-staffed and either ignoring us or forgot about us. After a long wait I was allowed to see my little one for the first time.

After 9 months of carrying her, I met my daughter at 5:30 pm, eleven hours after she had made her appearance.

I am SO thankful that the medical team saved my baby, and that I came out with only scars, albeit emotional and physical ones.
I still struggle with what if’s about the day.
I still don’t know why her pulse dropped, they never figured it out either.
I wonder if I had just pushed better if I could have done it. I was so close.
I hate the pictures of me when I am first holding her. I look like I had no part in the birth, that I was completely drugged. Which I was, but the problem is I look it.
I believe that my problems with nursing are due to lack of bonding in the first hours after birth. The lactation nurse would come in attach Becka and then leave. I had no idea what I was doing. I skipped the sections in books about breastfeeding after a cesarean.

I believe that because of this, it led to the worst 3 months of my life. I had difficulty loving let alone liking my baby for a long time, due to the nursing. I gave up on breast feeding at 3 months and then pumped for another three.

I feel horrible that I missed the first precious hours of my baby’s life.
I am so sad that what should have been the best day of my life, ended up being the worst.
I love my little family so much.
I hope that my next birth will be a happy one.

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3 Responses

  1. What a sad story. I am glad it had somewhat of a happy ending though. What an adorable family. I hope Brenda's next birth is a happy one too.

  2. Brenda, your feelings are both valid and understandable, and you are strong and courageous to admit them. I think that so many women try to hide them and suffer in silence because of how they feel… add those feelings of guilt (for not loving the baby), frustration (at the birth experience), and grieving a vaginal birth to the pain of recovering from the surgery and the postpartum emotional process– it is vicious. Yet the doctors do it to our moms routinely. I'm so sorry you felt so lost. I'm heartbroken that you were not given a right to actively participate in decisions that would directly effect you and your family. But I am so thankful that you are so brave and honest and willing to share your experience. Women like you and Kayce will be the ones who can change the current maternity system… Big hugs!!

  3. I hope it has been healing for Brenda to write out her story. I know writing my sad story was helpful for me. How hard it must have been to have general anesthesia and then not hold her baby for many hours. I'm sorry she had to go through that, and through having a mean nurse take care of her. I truly hope her next birth is a happy one. Hopefully the fact that her body is very capable of labor and dilation will help her have a successful VBAC next time.

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