Samantha Rose - Homebirth to C-Section
Written Sunday, November 2, 2008
The short story:
Samantha Rose was born Oct. 31, 2008 at 11:44am.
8 lbs 8 oz. and 20.5" long.
I will start by saying Samantha's birth ended up being the exact opposite of what I had planned (and dreamed). Wednesday at my apt. I noticed I had a REALLY high protein count in my urine. The dip stick registered more than 2000 grams of protein in my urine. My BP, however, was good. I discussed with my midwife what the cause could be, and she thought that maybe it was some blood from my having some blood show on Saturday that was registering it, but to rest and monitor my BP through the drug store, contacting her if it went up. Honestly, this didn't sit well with me and I felt she wasn't REALLY listening to me. Given my history (having had pre-eclempsia twice before) I felt pre-e was where I was going to end up again.
Thursday, we took Heather to school, went and got Tim's paycheck, and went to a friends' house (they had picked Heather up from school for us). We all went out to lunch. On the way home, I had Tim stop by the local CVS to check my BP. This CVS had been pretty accurate through my pregnancy, but of course drug store BP checks can't be "really" counted on...just getting a vague idea. My BP registered 160/101. My heart sank and I knew where this was going. I called the birth center and my midwife told me to come in. We went home, quickly packed some hospital bags, found ppl to watch Heather and William, and headed in to the clinic. In the clinic, my BP was once again okay (while I was lying on my left side). But, I was still registering more than 2000 grams of protein in my urine. My midwife explained to me that we had two options at this point: I could either go home on STRICT bed rest and wait and see if I went into labor over the weekend, coming back in for a BP check on Monday, or go to the hospital to get checked out. (Honestly, she was rather abrupt in this discussion with us as I sat there on the couch crying, seeing my dreams for a home birth disappear...but that could be another whole post).
Tim begged me to go to the hospital and get checked out. I knew in my gut that the pre-e was back again. I'd had a few minor frontal headaches and minor visual disturbances over the early part of the week. Nothing major, but having been down this road before, I knew where we were going. I knew in my heart that I needed an OB at that point. So, we chose to go to the hospital and get checked out.
I got there and sure enough, lots of protein in my urine. BP started to climb, but wasn't really high. Given that I was 5 days from my due date, we expected an induction. The on-call Dr. ordered blood work done. He wanted me started on mag. We initially refused, knowing how mag. would effect me and the potential outcome of our labor, but decided to follow his recommendation for starting it when the labs revealed my liver and kidneys were already shutting down and my BP hadn't even started to climb yet. My doula was a nurse for almost 20 years, and she looked at the labs and agreed. It turned out, the mag. was the beginning of the end.
At midnight mag. and pit. were started. I was 80% and 1cm. A catheter was put in (b/c I can't walk while on mag). By 6am I was 3 cm. I was in a lot of pain from the catheter (not the contractions, if you can imagine). The leg message thingies they were using since I was on pit. (to prevent an embolism in my legs) actually provided me with a LOT of relief and welcome focal point for my hypnotbirthing. However, knowing where things were going and that I wasn't going to be able to use any of the positions/techniques I like to cope with hard labor, I decided to get an epidural (I totally could have gone w/o had I not had the mag..this stuff really is evil). It took and I progressed quickly from there.
I quickly reached 7cm, 100% effaced, and feeling pushy. This is where things went bad. I was weak from the mag. The nurses (I had a WICKED nurse BTW) checked me and I went from 7cm to 10 cm in one contraction so they ordered me to start pushing. I refused, insisting on breathing the baby down. She was still a -2 station, and as weak as I was on the mag. I knew I couldn't push as long as I would need to in order to birth her from a -2 station. I ignored the nurses and the chaos in the room, and focused on my doula who helped me keep my visualisations and breath her down. I got her to a 0 station in about 20 min. and was getting really tired, but could keep going. Then the Dr. came in the room. He kept ordering me to push, I kept refusing, he kept yelling at me, the nurses started yelling at me, it got really crazy and I don't remember much but mentally reaching a point where I knew I couldn't keep going. I was getting stressed and the Dr. wouldn't shut up and back off and let me do what I needed to do. My BP started to climb, Samantha's heartrate started to fall and the "C" word came out. In the end, after much refusing and pushing as hard as I could, I caved and agreed to the c-section. I knew in my heart that I could only keep going and birth my baby the way I needed to if the nurses and that darn dr. (can I use profanity here?) would back off and let me do what I needed to do.
Ladies, it gets worse from there.
I get into the OR and they top of my epidural (that had stopped working hours before...the nurse kept telling me I wasn't feeling pain but pressure and to be quiet...yes, I kid you not. I finally told her to shut up, that I'd given birth naturally before and I knew pain from pressure...that what I was feeling was pain...but that's another whole rant). Of course the Dr. was happy b/c he was getting what he wanted: an easy out since he'd been on call all day and night. The epidural didn't work. They could only numb me to my waist. They tried and tried for 30 min. but it didn't work. They needed it to go up another 4" or so. They tried a spinal, but couldn't discern spinal fluid from epidural fluid and were too afraid of doing the spinal and resulting in respiratory arrest/distress. So, general anesthesia it was.
I did get to see Tim before they put me under. They brought him in, he squeeze my hand, and we told each other that we loved each other. Then they gave me the medicine and I was out. I remember sobbing as I told him that I loved him.
The next thing I remember I was being wheeled back to my LDR room and was in a LOT of pain. I started hollering for pain meds and I was hurting. Tim says I'm a mean drunk. LOL (the only humor I could find in the situation). Samantha had been born an hour and a half before (delivered really...delivered from my unconscious body) and was screaming to nurse. I was in too much pain and begging for drugs. My mom showed her to me, and asked if i wanted to nurse her. I told her no, that I was in too much pain and afraid that I'd drop her. 30 min. later they finally got the pain under control and I was still SUPER weak from the mag. and pain meds. My doula held her to my breast for me so that I could nurse her for the first time.
Samantha latches GREAT! She nurses as though she is a 2 mo. old and is easily extracting all the colostrum from my breasts. She's making plenty of wet/dirty diapers and this has been the one blessing from it all.
I spent 24 hours on mag. following her birth. My mom stayed the night with me to help me with her (since I couldn't be alone w/ her due to the mag.) and Tim took the kids home to sleep in their own beds. This afternoon, after more than a day and a half w/o seeing my kids he was able to bring them to me and Heather and William got to meet Samantha. Heather, of course, is smitten with her little sister. William was a little frustrated that this little creature got to lie in mommy's bed but he couldn't (so my SUPER kind nurse passed Samantha off to Tim and Heather, and put William in the bed with me to snuggle).
I finally got off the mag. Saturday evening and into a room. I lost a LOT of blood during the surgery and had to receive 3 units of blood. Now that I had blood and am off the mag. and the general anesthesia is out of my system I'm feeling good. I never thought a c-section recover could be so painless. I'm sore (I feel like I got kicked by a Clydesdale, LOL) but I feel good. Samantha is nursing GREAT and looooooves the boob. She won't sleep unless she's in her mommy's arms (just like William). She is MUCH lighter in complexion than Heather and William and really resembles me (my sister said that I finally had a child that looks like me, LOL).
Anyway, this is the story of how my dreams of a homebirth ended up in my worst nightmare: a c-section under general anesthesia.
Thoughts as of November 7, 2008 - 1 week postpartum
The emotions that have come up in dealing with this have been intense. Physically I'm recovering fine, but emotionally I'm finding the recovery a LOT harder. To me, this is more than the loss of the birth I wanted, but rather the realization that I'll never experience the joy and peace of birthing my baby at home. I love pregnancy, I love labor, and I love birth. It is a very empowering thing to go through labor and to bring your baby into the world. A woman's body is so strong, and so powerful and I feel as though I was forced to be butchered and hacked open because a doctor and some nurses doubted my body and stressed me out. I know I could have refused the c-section, but with my BP climbing, and as exhausted as I was, I didn't know how much more I could handle physically. I feel like even though I never doubted my body and it's ability to birth my baby, others doubted me...others who really had control over me and the situation. I am angry at them. Very very very VERY angry at them. I am grieving the loss of birthing future children. I know that if I were to have any more children, since my body will go pre-eclemptic again I will have to have my babies by 38 weeks. No one is going to do an induction for a VBAC, even if I have a proven pelvis. The liability in this litigation happy society is too high. So I'm mourning the loss of EVER bringing forth another baby from my body. I can't even bring myself to write a letter to the hospital yet because I don't know that I can calmly and rationally write it.
Thanks for reading