I posted this in another area of this forum, but I'd like to share it here too, if only to get some advice and input from mothers who had a similar experience.
I just turned 26 and I cannot get over the birth of my daughter.
She turns 1 in May - almost an entire year since the day I met her - and yet every time I read a birth story or see a video or pictures, I bawl.
I wasn't there.
I wasn't there for her first breath, her first scream. I wasn't there to cuddle her or comfort her, or tell her that it was okay, the world wasn't as scary as it seemed. I wasn't the first one to hold her.
Instead she had a doctor with rubber gloves and a face mask. Nurses who did not love her, did not care about her as I do. She had cold hard plastic and sterile beds, not the comfort of her mother's skin.
I wasn't there, and even writing this now makes me bawl again.
I found out I was pregnant in September of 2010. It was unexpected and my relationship with the father was <i>very</i> new. To put it simply he was not ready, so I was alone. Alone I decided to keep my little miracle baby - conceived while on birth control. I made the decision to carry her to term, to keep her, to raise her to the best of my ability. I always wanted a baby, I just didn't know it would so soon!
My pregnancy was normal, though it came with every symptom in the book. From nausea to heartburn to backpain, I had it all. However this I was okay with - it was worth every moan and groan, every bit of discomfort. Every day I fell more in love with the little being inside of me.
And then labor.
Three and a half days of labor.
It started on Wednesday.
Friday night contractions were a minute apart and a minute long - we went in to the hospital. I wasn't dialated at all, so they gave me drugs and sent me home. Contractions nearly stopped.
Finally on Saturday my doctor wanted me to come in for a stress test, to make sure baby was handling all this labor well. Contractions were slowly picking up speed again, and when I went in they were a couple of minutes apart and about 45seconds long. The nurse examined me and hooked me up to a monitor. Baby was fine and dadny, I was still not dialated - "a fingertip" they said. On the verge of heading for home I felt a little 'pop' and told the nurse that my water broke. She laughed until I stood up from the hospital bed only to SOAK my pants. Yep. My water broke. They still wanted to send me home because I was not dialated, but there was meconium in the water. So I was admitted.
Labor kicked in to overdrive then. This was at 4pm. At 11pm, Seven hour of hard labor later, I had an epidural.The first dose did not work - it only numbed my right side. The doctor returned to give mea second dose, which eased the left side but not to the extent of the right.
Fastforward another 3 hours. Babys heartrate elevted and would not come back down. It hovered at 180, then to 190. At this point I also spiked a major fever.
They called the on-duty pediatrician who informed me that the best route to take would be a c-section. I was still only 4 centimeters dialated. Even if they tried to induce stage 3 labor, it could take hours and baby was in clear distress.
Against everything I wanted I consented - I wanted her to be healthy and well. I wanted her to be alive.
They took me down to the OR, and baby's heartrate was up to 190-200 now. My mom was scrubbed in - she would be there for me. Having gone through an emergency c-section herself, she understood better than most how I felt.
The doctors gave me a local anesthetic. They used my already in place epidural rather than giving me a spinal, to save time. However the epidural did not work. When he poked me with the scalpel it hurt. They waited and tried again. It still hurt. With baby's heartrate at 200 they made the decision to put me under.
I was not there.
When I woke up it was 6am - my daughter was born at 4:02. By the time I left recovery it was 7am.
For 3 hours she did not have me. For 3 hours she did not know her mother was there and loved her, and would love her for every minute of every day for the rest of her life.
When they finally brought her to me I was so doped up it was all surreal. I don't remember those first moments. My mom tells me that the first thing I said to her was "I know you," but I don't remember. I don't know if I kissed her, I only know that I held her. I was out of it.
I was not there.
It is a regret I will have for the rest of my life.
I assure you, I am happy that my baby and I are alive. I am happy that we live in a country where medical services are available. I am grateful every single day for every breath that she takes and every moment I have with her.
That does NOT take away the profound sense of loss that I still feel - and, according to my mother who had the same experience, likely always will. I carried her for nearly 10 months. Through all my fears and worries SHE was there, reminding me that it would be okay, that we would make it through together. Reminding me that my life was no longer just about me, but that I would have the eternal love of my child. And then when she first came out screaming I was not there. Yes, I have been there for her in every single way that I can from every day since, but that will never take away the fact that I MISSED her BIRTH. her BIRTH. The one thing that mothers are not meant to miss! The one thing that we are made to do, that our bodies are made to do, and I couldn't do it.
No, I don't feel like less of a woman, or less of a mother. However I do feel guilty. I feel guilty for not being there, and feel guilty that, when I hear good birth stories, I feel jealous. =/
The very sight of a woman giving birth, whether it be naturally nor through a c-section, sets me off. I am even envious of women who at least were AWAKE for their caeasareans. After my daugther was born the very first thing I remember was waking up to my friend's face over mine - he is a nurse - when I was in recovery. He told me I had a beautiful baby girl and later told me that I said "Oh good, so she is a girl.." before asking when I could see her.
It was HOURS after she was born that I got to hold her, and even then it was only for a short time, 30 minutes at most. Then they had to take her back to the nursery, as she was on IV antibiotics for the next three days. During that time I barely got to hold her, as every couple of hours they had to take her back to the nursery to have her antibiotics.
On top of it all, she had a receeding chin and I had flat nipples, so we were never able to latch. We tried in the hospital until she and I were both screaming and crying - myself exhausted from a lack of sleep and lingering drugs - before giving in to the bottle. When she was finally off the IV we had high hopes that she would nurse, but still no luck. The doctors and nurses threatened me that if she did not drink 60mls every 3 hours, they would put a tube in her stomach. This made me so scared and fearful - the last thing I wanted was MORE pain and discomfort for my baby. So I was pumping for an HOUR every 3 hours in order to get enough milk to feed her - I did not want to have to use formula. Then I would get to see her for maybe an hour, and in the remaining hour I would have to try and sleep/eat/use the bathroom/walk/shower/etc...
This does not even mention the nurses, and the terrible care I had in the hospital. As I was single I was alone a large amount of the time. My mom came as often as she good, but I was still largely alone.
My labor nurse, when I commented how I had not eaten and shoudl have before going in to labor, muttered under her breath that "it's okay, you have reserves" (note, I am not a grossly overweight person. I did gain 45lbs during pregnancy, though this comment still stung).
The first nurse I saw after coming out of recovery informed me that I should be using ONLY extra strength tylenol for the pain. I tried this and when it did not work, asked for better drugs. Her attitude was snippy and condescending, informing me that I had to TAKE the tylenol for it worked. I showed her the two empty packets, signaling 8 hours of tylenol taken. At least that shut her up.
The nursery nurse refused, numerous times, to bring me my baby. At some times I would ask and she would say okay, and then two hours later I would have to ask another nurse. Often I would only get to see her for a few minutes when feeding her - sometimes they didn't even bring her to me for that.
It was hell.
Nearly a year later and I struggle to come to terms with it all.
Advice, input, helpful links... anything would be appreciated <3
And as promised, some pictures:
Our first snuggle: I was too out of it to even smile at the camera.
11 days old:
My baby girl now, at 10 months! <3