Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My Birth Story

My beautiful son just turned 3 months old a few days ago and I think I am finally able to share my birth story. I play it over and over in my head on a fairly regular basis and have so many regrets. I think that if I share it, it might make me feel a little better. So here it goes...from my point of view...

I went to 42 weeks...yep..42 weeks. My dates are completely accurate because I was inseminated and have very regular cycles. I knew that I would go late because he was my first baby and my mother went late as well. I was fine with that. Most women complain at the end of their pregnancy and want to "get it out". I felt fine and was content with baking him. My OB office started talking about induction at my 40 week appointment. I said no and consented to several tests to check the baby's well-being. He was healthy and so was I. 41 week appointment rolls around and the same thing; he was well and so was I. The OB who talked to Jimmy and I that day made me feel like a horrible person for not wanting to induce. I was only 1cm at that point and knew that an induction would not go well at that point. I cried a lot after that appointment. I am a highly educated woman who has read countless books, read studies and consulted with women who are very knowledgeable about pregnancy and childbirth. Nothing pisses me off more than when someone talks down to you. 

I walked a lot and tried everything to jump start my labor. I even took castor oil (ughh). Nothing was working. I got to my 42 week appointment and had a different OB this time. I was about 4 centimeters at that time and knew that there was a small possibility of things not going well if I kept staying pregnant. Since I made progress from the week before and I had been having contractions on and off for days,  I thought that I would go ahead with a pitocin induction that evening. My mother had both my brother and I on pitocin without pain meds and said it was fine for her. I figured it would be the same for me.

We started the induction on Tuesday night (first problem-starting at night..I should have went home to sleep and started in the morning). I got hooked up to an IV with some fluids and pitocin. They also hooked me up to an electronic fetal monitor that strapped over my belly so they could constantly keep track of the baby's heartbeat. That thing is the most obnoxious, evil thing ever. The reason that I got NO sleep during my 36 hours of "labor" was because my baby moved a lot and a nurse would come in ever time he moved to readjust. So I stayed up that night...bouncing on my birthing ball and walking the halls. I felt fine; I could feel the pressure from the contractions, but I felt ok.

3 am rolls around and I've made no cervical progress. I'm upset, obviously. They turned the pitocin off for 4 hours to allow me to get some rest. I slept for maybe 2 beds are not comfortable. I made it to a 5 by that afternoon. The doctor suggested breaking my water at that point. This is the point when I should have left the hospital because after almost 24 hours I made about 0 progress. It was a failed induction and I should have left and tried again in a week. I felt pressured though and knew that in many cases, breaking the waters will speed things along. I was hoping that I would be in that category. I consented, called my mom and doula to come, and kept on going.

Early evening rolls around and a new OB comes on; one that I hadn't met. She was a woman though, so I was hoping she'd be a little more understanding than her male counterparts. She suggested putting a pressure catheter in my uterus so they could safely up the pitocin to the maximum level. I said ok (once again, should have said no, why in the fuck would I want something in my uterus???). They turned up the pitocin and I could start feeling things. It was getting harder and I had to focus more. I listened to my Hypnobabies tracks on my ipod and my Doula helped apply counterpressure. At one point that night I got in the shower with Jimmy just so I could cry hysterically in peace. I remember telling him, "I know where this is going...they are going to cut me open". He tried his best to make me feel better, but I knew it was getting too late.

The highlight of my "birthing" experience was when I made it to 6 cm and was able to go into the tub room with my husband. We sat in the tub and swayed for 2 hours. It was glorious. We got to listen to music and be by ourselves. I remember thinking that I know why animals go somewhere safe and quiet; being around people while you are in labor is uncomfortable. I just wanted to be left alone with the few people that I wanted there. 

I go back and get checked around 2 am (thursday) and I'm still at a 6. I'm devastated at this point. One of the wonderful nurses that I had suggested getting an epidural to relax me because sometimes it helps in the dilation progress. It was a last ditch effort for me and I said ok. I wasn't in pain, but thought it might help. I progressed to an 8 in 2 hours after the epidural; the most progress that I had made. Let me tell you something, I hated the epidural. I couldn't move, yet I could feel the contractions on my left side. So I was stuck...and being on your back is the most god awful position. The anesthesiologist came back to fix it, but it never really worked. I was still at an 8 around 9 in the morning. The OB had been harping on me to do a c-section since her shift began the night before. I still said no. The nurse told me that she could rotate me on my side and move me around every 20 minutes to try to help. I said ok.

At this point, I'm looking around in agony because I can't move and my doula, mother and husband are all asleep. I'm beyond exhausted. I feel like I'm going to throw up and I know that when I get to 10 it's going to be a while before he comes out. I knew that I would be pushing for hours because he only dropped to a 0 station. I panicked and said "I'm done". I yelled at my husband to get the nurse and to have them cut me open. I remember my mother crying because she knew how much I wanted a natural birth and my doula asking me over and over if I was sure. I didn't shed a tear and kept saying that I was done. I then proceeded to puke my brains out...not sure if it was the drugs, exhaustion, transition or all of the above.

I went into the OR and they prepped me and then brought Jimmy in. I puked again on the operating table and probably all over my hair. I remember Jimmy looking at what they were doing and not paying attention to me. The anesthesiologist told me to cut that out and that now was a good time to bond with your wife (haha). It actually felt good, the pulling inside of me, or the drugs, or something. I think it might have been the pressure release because lord knows, he was a huge baby and it was getting hard to breathe. He came out screaming and I started sobbing...not because "oh my gosh, my son is here!", but because it was finally over. This stupid fucking ordeal from hell was finally over and I could sleep. I did too, while they stitched me up.

The physical healing from a c-section isn't fun. I felt like the hunchback for a couple of weeks. The emotional healing is still going on and probably will for years. I feel like I have failed as a woman and what should have been the happiest day of my life was not. It took me more than a month to feel that loving adoration when I looked at my son. I never experience the all important oxytocin high after birth that promotes the love and bonding feelings. My son would look at me and I felt indifferent. I hated myself for that too.

I will never give birth in a hospital again unless there is an emergency. I will give birth at home like I originally wanted to. Medical management of labor is a complete mess in this country which is why we have such a ridiculously high maternal infant mortality rate. 

I hope that one day I can move past this, but I don't think I will until I can give birth the way that nature intended. Until then I will work on separating my "birth" experience from my son. He is becoming such a happy baby and I love every day that I get to spend with him. I just wish that his birthday was one of his choosing and not forced upon him.