This is our birth story. It is so important to me to write it out and to say what happened. I don't ever want anyone to fear a VBAC, or to fear going over their due date, or to fear having their baby in a birthing center because of our situation. Those things had nothing to do with what happened to our little angel, and there isn't anything that could have been done to prevent it either.
It is sometimes hard to not have anything, or anyone to blame when something so tragic happens, but for us it is also a relief to know that there isn't anyone to blame, including ourselves. I don't know how I would cope if I thought for a moment, a decision that I made had caused this.
Please read our story if you want to, please feel free to share it if you feel it can help someone else. Our story is still beautiful, for his life was beautiful even though it was too short. Thank you for reading this and for loving us. I know that this story is sad, but Renato and I discussed sharing it, and we know that we are not the only ones hurting. Mateo was everyone's baby. You all shared our journey with us, every step of the way. You looked forward to holding him, and kissing him and watching him grow, just as we did. This story is to help us all heal, and I hope it does that.
Mateo German Patron was due on May 24th, we had an ultrasound at 38 weeks to make sure that everything was perfect for our planned VBAC. (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean) There wasn't a single problem that could be found. He was perfect in every way possible. So we continued waiting patiently (And sometimes not so patiently) for him to come. The day after his due date (May 25th) we had another ultrasound to make sure that everything was still looking good, and that he wasn't growing too big...since Renato and I grow the most beautiful chubby babies. His estimated weight was 8lbs 6 oz, and the placenta, umbilical cord and amniotic fluid were perfect, as was every other test they did. They gave us the go ahead to wait another week for him to come on his own.
Exactly a week later, I went into labor. Tuesday May 31st started normally enough, and I had been invited to a lunch and card game at Renato's aunts house. My doula had told me that basil and oregano were really good to get labor going, but I couldn't bring myself to drink tea made with basil, so I hadn't tried it. When lunch was served it was a dish here called Tallarines Verdes. Which is noodles with a creamy basil sauce. I ate it up and we started playing cards...I started noticing about an hour later that my lower back was getting very sore. I kept having to get up and walk around. Then I noticed menstrual like dull cramps, but nothing really timeable. By the evening we were still playing cards and I started noticing that the pain was coming and going, but still very dull aching and about every 20 minutes or so, I noted it but just kept playing thinking it may go away again...since that had been happening a lot in the last couple of weeks.
We had a doctors appointmemt daily at this point to make sure that the baby was doing well and that my blood pressure was staying stable. So Renato picked me up and we headed to see our midwife. On the way, I noticed the pain was getting stronger and closer together and told Renato we may be staying at the birthing center if this kept up. Once we got there we heard the baby's heartbeat and timed a few contractions, they were now 6-7 minutes apart. We decided to hang out in the birthing center and see how things played out. Our doula met us there and the contractions started getting closer and stronger, so we knew we were in labor. Renato called some family, and sent a few emails to say, "Yay! Finally we are in labor!"
We shut off all phones and didn't have internet or clocks to distract us, and our doula and midwwife told us that we should all try to sleep, since by this point it was almost midnight.
we listened to babies heartbeat again. Perfect before, during and after a contraction. So we all tried to sleep. I was able to sleep in between contactions for a few minutes, but they were coming every 3-4 minutes, so it was just resting a much as I could.
At about 7 am, the midwife came and we listened to his heartbeat again, and again it was perfect, before, during and after a contraction. I was only 4 cm dilated, so I decided to start moving and swaying to some music, using the birthing ball and walking a little to help dilation along. I did this for about an hour. While I was sitting on the birthing ball I felt Mateo kick a couple of times, the song "Oyaheya" by The Agape choir was playing and I asked Renato to take a picture. It was the only picture we took during labor. I didn't know then that it was the last time I would feel him move.
An hour later my midwife checked my dilation again and I was 5-6 cm, we listened for the heartbeat on the doppler and we couldn't find it. We tried to stay calm and went straight to the hospital, hoping that they would confirm with ultrasound that he was fine and was just so low in the pelvis that we couldn't get his heartbeat on the doppler at that point, but sadly, they confirmed what we quietly feared. He didn't have a heartbeat. Sometime in that hour, he had passed away.
As devastated as we were, knowing there was nothing that could be done, we had to make the horrible choice to have a repeat C-section, or for me to follow through with labor and give birth to him normally. I started this journey promising to give him he best birth possible, and decided to fulfill that promise.
Because of the stress of knowing that he was already gone, my contractions slowed down. They checked me and I was at 7 cm dilated, so they gave me an epidural (I didn't want to feel so much pain while also feeling so much sadness) and pitocin to speed things up.
At one point, I lost track of time, they transferred me to the birthing room. I had hoped to give birth in a position more favorable than on my back...maybe something where gravity was helping...but in this hospital that was not an option. The epidural only numbed my right side, so being able to feel my left side was killing me at this point...especially since I was flat on my back. I didn't know at the time that he was so big, and that as he was decending into the birthing canal, I was also tearing very badly.
It was just like a movie scene, where there is a woman crying that she can't do it (Me) and my midwife and doula were helping me by holding my legs and telling me to push...at this point it was our only option. (This is when I started begging for the c-section, and they kept telling me it was too late and that I could do it. I am still so grateful for their support) Renato was holding my hand and holding my head up through each push and finally his head was born. I will say that it was amazingly painful. I know that had I been looking forward to hearing him cry, the pain would not have been quite so bad.
The doctor had to manually turn him, and then I gave one final push and at 7pm his body was born. They cut the cord and put him on my stomach, skin to skin.
I was able to hold him while I was birthing the placenta and held his hand and kissed him. He was so beautiful, he looked just like Maya did at birth. They took him to weigh him and clean him up a little, and they told me that he weighed 4700 grams and was 52 cm long. So he was 10lbs 6 oz, and 20.4 inches long. Our big beautiful baby boy.
I got to hold him one more time and Renato took some photos. I am willing to share his photo if you would like to see it. Please just send me a private message and I will send it to you.
The doctor told me at this point that I would need a number of stitches because I had torn very badly. They decided it was best to take me to the OR and put me under general anethesia to do this, so they wheeled me out. I ended up tearing in three different places and need 10 stitches altogether. Much of this was due to the position I gave birth in, as giving birth on your back is like pushing uphill and there is no movement or gravity to help with that. I have known many women who gave birth to babies 10 or 11 lbs without tearing at all (Note that although I had a previous c-section, Mateo was over 10lbs, and I had pitocin to keep contractions going, I did not have a uterine rupture, so I did get to give him, and myself our VBAC)
Because I had only gotten to hold him for a couple of minutes, the next morning they let us go down to the morgue and visit him one last time to say goodbye. This was very healing for both Renato and myself and we were able to spend some time alone with him before they took him for pathology tests.
The pathology reports came back the same day and we found out that he had what is called an Umbilical Cord Torsion. It is very rare, and is when the umbilical cord twists in on itself and forms a kink. It essencially cut off all blood supply and oxygen to him immediately and there was nothing that could have been done to prevent it. It also has no warning signs, so there is no way we could have ever known that it would happen.
I hate to say that I was a bit relieved at the report. We kept going over in our head all the possibilities and were so afraid that we had done something that had caused this horrible tragedy. We were so careful throughout the whole process and made sure that he was okay every step of the way, so we were glad to know that it wasn't something that we could have prevented.
As terribly sad as we are, we also know that we are not alone. Our faith in knowing that death does not exist and that life is eternal gives us great hope. That along with the amazing amount of support from our family and friends, has made this journey less unbearable for us.
The Rascal Flatts song that I posted about a couple of weeks ago keeps playing over in my head. These words help me, knowing that my God, my husband, my family, my extended family, my friends and aquaintences are all feeling this for me, for us.
"It hurts my heart/to see you cry/I know it's dark/this part of life/it finds us all/but we're to small to stop the rain/oh, but when it rains...
I will stand by you/I will help you through/when you've done all you can do/and you can't cope/I will dry your eyes/I will fight your fight/I will hold you tight/and I won't let go"
We cannot begin to say how grateful we are for the support, the tears, the love and the compassion that is being given to us right now. We know that we are stronger because of it and that we will make it through this storm because of that strength.
Blessings of love and light to you all,
The Patron Family