First, let me thank you all for replying to my updates last week as I lay confined in a hospital bed. I wanted to let you all know that my first child, Max, was born on Monday, January 23rd at 1:24pm. :) He is a beautiful miracle. I am enamored with him ... and I never wanted a boy. ;)
But, why did I even bother writing a birth plan? Preparing since July for a hypnobirth? Learning all about my options for a safe, natural hospital birth? And, why did I psyche myself up to deny all medication while there? Please forgive my pessimism, but I'm struggling to accept all that's happened in the last week, adjust to being a new mom, deal with my DH being a new dad, and adjust to being away from my family at such a monumental time. I need to vent, and I don't feel like there's anyone who does or would understand this. :/ So, below you'll find Max's birth story -- I'd love your feedback if you'd like to share .... and thanks in advance for reading.
I was 42 weeks pregnant, to the day, when I walked into the hopsital to be induced. I cried the entire day and night on Friday and didn't sleep even one hour Friday night into Saturday. I wanted no part of this induction. I believed -- and still do -- that my body was made to birth a baby ... time is relative. No one else agreed. After having a complete and total emotional breakdown in the doctor's office at her insistence that the baby must come out that afternoon, my DH was scared stiff about our baby's well being and my parents (mom's probably my primary support system) just agreed that I probably shouldn't wait any longer. After all, they rationalized, no one knew how big the baby was or what position he was in ... it could be a necessity in the end, she thought.
So, I reluctantly did it. That's probably part of the reason it didn't work.
I was given a Cervidil insert around 10am on Saturday after arriving at 7am. About 8:30am (before any induction procedures began) I lost my mucous plug ... I know that doesn't mean labor is imminent, but it did show the my body knew how to expel this baby. I started contracting and continued through the day -- my 1 cm dilation and 80% effacement went to 100% effacement and 1.5 cm dilated by 11pm Saturday evening. The doctor felt it best to remove the insert and allow my body to "try to work on its own" overnight. (Probably, she just wanted to sleep the night since there were no other impending births that evening.)
On Sunday, they started pitocin at 1cc/hr -- increasing the dose by 1cc each hour. After a long day of steady contractions, I was 3 cm dilated and 100% effaced by 10pm that evening. The doctor, again, wanted to discontinue the inducing agent and start again in the morning -- I begged her to just let me go. At midnight, the pain was unbearable and I elected to have the epidural. Now, of course, I'm tied to the bed with all kinds of tubes, including a catheter and fetal monitor. The nurses need to see the contractions in order to rationalize increasing the dose of pitocin -- but I needed to lay on my side because of the epidural and they were unable to monitor them effectively, so the dose was never increased over night. I think we ended on 13 cc/hr.
A new doc was on call in the morning on Monday -- the doc who was so insistent on my being induced in the first place. THis is the last thing I wanted, but by now I really just wanted it to be over. She checked in with me first thing in the morning and I was only 4cm dilated. She had 2 sections to do and indicated that she'd check me again after those and then make some decisions. By this point, I HAD NOT EATEN ANYTHING IN 3 DAYS and now they weren't allowing me to have anything other than ice chips. I felt drained. I had never been through labor but I couldn't imagine that I was equipped to do the work involved with it on such low fuel. I told the doc this and she insisted that my contractions looked good -- she wanted to stick with the induction and try for natural birth ... that is, until I got a fever and the baby's heartrate began to increase. I didn't want to risk danger to the baby (though I can't imagine what all that medication did to him ... or me ... in the long run), including a traumatic birth using vacuum or forceps ... so I elected to have the c-section.
A flurry of people entered the room, I was signing releases every which way and my family left the room as my husband prepped for the OR. The anesthesiologist was great with respect to her demeanor and the way in which she interacted with me throughout the operation. But, the baby was born and my husband took care of him from then after bringing him to me to see. He was wonderfully healthy -- and his condiiton is still being remarked about by the pediatricians (he has no jaundice, very strong, etc.). But we had no bonding time at all ... and the remainder of the surgery was excrutiating despite having had an epidural. I eventually got a dose of some other relaxant because I couldn't tolerate the strong sensation of pressure on the operating table.
In the recovery room, I didn't know which way was up. I didn't come out of that fog until Tuesday, either. My feet were -- AND STILL ARE -- about 20 times their original size due to fluid accumulation and swelling. My incision has been healing well and the pain, while difficult to manage at times, is tolerable only with Motrin though they pushed Perkoset on me soooooo heavily. Max and I were released from the hospital on Thursday, having been admitted the prior Saturday.
Upon release from the hospital, Max had lost about 1 lb of his birth weight and our breastfeeding experience was not going well. He was sucking hard and probably getting no nourishment at all. After only 2-3 days, my nipples were destroyed and I cried when I put him to the breast. We returned to the doctor on Friday and he had lost an additional 4 ozs. Since the poor guy wasn't getting any food, we had to supplement. And that's where we are now.
I barely have any milk -- "engorgement" hasn't happened yet and when I double pump, I pump less than 1/4 oz. We are giving him 1 oz of formula every 2 hrs after I put him to the breast. At midnight, I'll begin to feed him and he'll suckle about 20 min on my left breast, maybe 10 min on the right (assuming I can tolerate it -- it wasn't a pleasant experience an hour ago). Then, my husband will give him the formula over 10 or so minutes ... add in burping time. It takes us about an hour to get him fed -- we get one hour off -- then start again. It's exhausting.
I totally believe that my milk supply was affected by the induction meds and the operation ... aside from the fact that my birth plan didnt' work out, I'm devastated that I let myself be convinced to make that move to begin with -- I know about the cascade of birth-related hospital interventions and I could've probably predicted this but, I guess, didn't really think it would happen to me. At the same time, my boy was born at 42 weeks and 3 days ... with all those induction methods, I was unable to birth him naturally ... I do wonder if I would have been able to do it myself at all if I had waited and if that might have been more dangerous to us both. I'm happy for the amazing child I get to snuggle with but so sad about the string of events ... those that continue to plague me far beyond the birth.
Add to all of that my parents' concern and panic over the course of three days coupled with my DH who didn't eat or sleep in the 3 days I was there. He was weak, tired, stressed ... he dry heaved when they checked me with the intention to break my water. I seriously was the only composed one in the room for mos tof the time. Iwas soooo confident that it'd all still work out. My parents ended up getting confrontational with DH and his mother (who walked into the hospital 20 min before the birth and said she'd "take the shift from here"). My parents had to leave as I was returning from surgery and though they saw the baby through the window in the nursery, never did get to hold him immediately after he was born. They didn't see him until we arrived home on Thursday -- that's HUGE given how close I am with my family. DH's stress and continued lack of sleep didn't make for a good match with my parents' visit ... everyone is tense and now has trouble maintaining conversation when we are all int he same room. :/
ALL THIS BECAUSE DH INSISTED ON THE INDUCTION -- AND I CARE SO MUCH ABOUT HIS FEELINGS THAT I CAVED.
And now, here I am, enduring what can sometimes be excrutiating nipple pain from a baby who is trying to feed from something that has no reserves (every 2 hrs in a day and 3hrs at night). I am predominantly cleaning the baby, changing the baby, cuddling witht he baby .... DH has worked on laundry, takes care of dinner, and feeds the baby the formula. But, his temper is short witht he baby -- and he is complaining about never having a break. REALLY?!?!?! I don't know if this is part of the postpardum emotion thing -- but I'm feeling incredibly resentful of him and might erupt any moment ....
So that's our story. Again, LOVE my baby boy -- amazing little guy -- but so disappointed that I allowed myself to undergo all of those procedures. My 100% natural plan didn't only get modified .... it was basically thrown out the window when it was all said and done .... and I haven't felt like I have had the time or opportunity to just enjoy my baby because I'm working os hard at making milk for him. Feeling sad about all this today. :(