Friday, July 10, 2009

Before Biggie & I went to Michigan I asked him a favor. I asked him to not reveal our birth plan to his family. I asked this because we are planning a homebirth vbac, I don't think that they would understand, & I don't want them to be worried. I have also been trying to figure out if I wanted to put this out there on this here blog, because I was afraid of the comments I would get. I'm not scared anymore. I know what we are planning is the right thing. I thought that maybe if I put this out there I might help one more woman trust her intuition & that is worth whatever comments anyone could throw at me.

I was induced at 37 weeks with MiniMe. My OB had told me that if I had started dialating she would 'strip my membranes'. I didn't ask what that was, because I thought she knew what she was doing & if it was risky, she wouldn't be doing it. I had been in the office for a routine non-stress test when she did it. Biggie was sitting right next to me. When she pulled her arm back out of my body, with my blood dripping off her gloved hand, Biggie gave me a look that I'll never forget. The look said, "Just say the word & she'll be out cold". I couldn't speak, I felt so violated. I was reeling, thinking I couldn't trust this lady, & I didn't know what to do. The next thing I remember was Biggie telling her that I was out of breath all the time. She asked me what my pulmonologist had said at my last appointment with him, & I told her my blood oxygen was 96%. She practically leaped from the room, coming back to tell me to go immediately to the hospital. She was afraid the baby wasn't getting enough oxygen & I was going to be induced.

I remember in the car, a moment where Biggie & I questioned what we were doing. We didn't get why we were doing what we were, but we were doing it anyway. I ended up with 3 12-hour doses of cervadil, a suppository that is used to soften the cervix. I laid on my left side for the majority of 21 hours because I was terrified that our baby wasn't getting enough oxygen. I writhed in pain for most of this time, to which nurses responded with little empathy, only believing that I was legitimately in pain when they held the sides of my body when I was given an epidural.

After the epidural, which only worked on one side of my body, the next doctor on call broke my water & started me on pictocin. In my records, it says that I was given the option to stop everything, sleep, & start the pictocin in the morning. I don't remember this, but when I think about it, this seems crazy. There is no way I could have slept before the epidural. My lower back felt like someone had beat it repeatedly with baseball bats & the contractions were mind-numbing. Once the pictocin was started, I went from being dialated at 3 to 6 within an hour. I was excited; I was making progress. I remember the doctor wanted to put an internal monitor in. I didn't know why. She explained that I had been in labor for a long time & they were worried that the baby wouldn't be able to handle much more. She didn't explain that this meant they were screwing a wire into her scalp. Handy little welcome to the world, eh?

Suddenly, people were looking at the paper coming out of the monitor with concern. Shaking heads, making marks, leaving to get other people to come in & do the same. The doctor told me that that MiniMe's heart was a little too high & not coming down. She said if it didn't start coming down, we would need to consider a cesarean. It seemed like as soon as she left the room she was racing back in. Apparently MiniMe's heart rate did go back down, but so far down they were panicked. The pictocin was turned off completely. I was told that I would be getting a cesarean immediately, that it wasn't a choice, that MiniMe was dying. When they rushed me into the operating room I thought that once they got me settled they would let Biggie come in. They roughly shaved my lower belly with a cheap single blade disposable, nicking me several times. They tried to get some sort of medicine in my iv, but it wasn't working. On a good day my blood pressure is low, but after laying in a bed for a whole day, it was at a crawl. They had my arms strapped down like Christ on the cross while they poked me with needles & panic at the same time. It hurt. I cried. I asked for Biggie. They told me that there wasn't time & they were going to have to "put me out". They said if they couldn't get this one last iv to flow they would have to put in a central line. They didn't say this to me, but to each other, as if I were already "put out". A central line, in my jugular vein. So, not only would I have a scar on my belly, but on my neck, too. I pumped my fists & let myself weep. My heart rate went up & the iv flowed. I was unconscious.

MiniMe was born two days before my birthday. On my birthday I was still in the hospital, but to celebrate Biggie agreed to watch Funny Girl with me on the laptop. We ended up fighting because MiniMe was having trouble nursing & he was afraid she was starving. After he left to go home, because I asked him to, I ended up dripping little drops of clostrum into her mouth with a medicine cup, weeping because I was terrified that I wasn't doing the right thing.

While the first week that we were home was one of my favorite times in our marriage, Biggie only had one week off & after he went back to work things were not okay. I did not have post-pardom depression; I was very closely bonded to MiniMe before she even came out of me. I couldn't take my painkillers because I was alone most of the time, was afraid I would fall asleep & not wake up when she needed me. My incision became infected & Biggie had to clean it out with peroxide for me twice a day. I drove 45 minutes each way to see a lactation consultant twice a week. MiniMe couldn't go for more than 4 hours without eating for the first 3 months of her life, & this was only to be once a day. The rest of the time she had to eat every 2 hours. So for the first 3 months of her life I never got more than 4 hours of sleep at a time.

I went back to work, full time, when MiniMe was just 9 weeks old. My marriage suffered terribly. We bought a new house to be closer to our work & MiniMe's school. I think if had been thinking more clearly at the time I would have just stayed in our old house & quit working. It didn't occur to me.

It took me nearly two years to figure out that my reaction to MiniMe's birth was not normal. I sought therapy & was told I had indicators of post traumatic stress disorder. Throughout the therapy I had nightmares that were largely flashbacks. I realized that I was terrified of having another child because I didn't want to go through what I had again. My therapist recommended a new movie tht had just comeout on video, "The Business of Being Born". I watched it with Biggie & that was one of the handful of times I have seen him cry. He was furious. It was exactly what had been done to me.

So I've been investigating what our options are for the last two years. & this is what we've come to. I'm excited, not scared. I just wish we could decide on a fricken name.


Susie said...

May you have the birth o your dreams and bring your little one to the earth in the safe sanctuary of your home. Good for you to recognize that the OB did not have your best interest at heart and I'm certain was worried about a lawsuit. Homebirth is safer, in my opinion, than any hospital. I have a similar story to yours and would never get ten feet in front of a hospital while pregnant again.

KT said...

I too had post traumatic stress issues after my son's birth. I am also planning a HBAC, and I hope wee both have a birth that is safe for us and our babies.

Camber Mechele said...

Our birth stories sound similar, the only big difference being a different reason for inducement.

We attempted a VBAC with my second, but for numerous reasons, ended up with an RCS. Thankfully, I believe that that RCS was truly needed and I am at peace with that decision. It is my first birth I still have issues with.

Good luck with your HBAC :D and I hope that everything goes swimmingly and that you are able to find peace in your next birth!

tiff said...

Wow. No wonder you want a homebirth VBAC.
COmpletely understandable.

I hope you have all the support, well wishes and positive vibes surrounding you and that your birth is beautiful.

Magnolia Girl Stuck in the Middle of America said...

I just stumbled onto your blog and read only read this entry. Have you thought about taking a Bradley Method Birthing class? It prepared me for an unmedicated birth and I'd recommend it to anyone serious about natural birth.

hoppytoddle said...

Thanks, Magnolia. Yes, I would love to take a Bradley class, but again, there are no classes available here. I am studying hypnobabies, as has my doula & midwives. They are trained in Bradley & are giving me tips, but like I said, no instructors here. That should be yet another indicator of how things are here.

goddard099 said...

I think it so wonderful that you decided to share this. You are strong and smart and you think things through. I am hoping Biggie is supportive in your decision all the way through and that it brings you closer being able to share the home birth experience together. Will miniyou have a role to play? Quite an eye opening way to welcome her little sister. :)

I like the short list of names you had so far, Good luck on finalizing that. Maybe you just need to wait to meet her. Love you.

Mama to Monkeys said...

I had PTSD too after my daughter's birth. Go check out my blog around August of 2007, and you'll see my writings about it.

I am *still* dealing with the fallout. I hope your upcoming birth is a corrective experience.

RD said...

I apologise for going off-topic. I am an intactivist, and saw your anti-circ rant at Moms Like Me, and want to pat you on the back about it. I was disappointed to discover that DFP readers seem a generation behind the times. A majority of babies born west of the Rockies now leave the hospital intact. Circ is done to 10% in Canada. Continental Europe and Japan have never snipped their babies.

Data broken down by state, collected by HHS's Hospital Discharge Survey, reveal that 85% of baby boys born in Michigan are circumcised. This figure is tied for first place among USA states.

MLM posts reveal that some still think that infant circumcision has a connection to Christianity. It emphatically does not. There seems no awareness that circ may alter the experience of sex, for the worse. There are mothers who cheerfully admit that their hubbies insist that their sons look like them in this most personal of departments. MLM readers seem unaware that studies claiming a connection between the foreskin and HPV and HIV are fraught with error and confusion.

No one seems aware that infant circ spread through the American population as birth moved out of the home and into the hospital. During the 1930s and 40s, many American maternity wards adopted policies of snipping every baby boy without asking the mother. Once Medicaid began paying for the childbirth of the uninsured, in the 1960s, the only American demographic to remain uncircumcised was Latinos and immigrants.

The result was vast numbers of Americans have never seen a penis as God designed it. The vast majority of American women, especially over 30 years of age, have never been intimate with an intact man. Hence millions of American parents cannot face raising an intact boy. I surmise that this is more of a problem for fathers than mothers.

Intact is on the rise in the South, and runs about 25% in the Northeast. Only the Midwest remains firmly committed to the helmet look.