I am so thankful to have stumbled across this group. I have been struggling with my deep sorrow over my son’s birth nearly 4 months ago and have found that no one, not even my spouse, really gets what I am going through.
My birth story:
My contractions started at 6am the day after my due date. By early afternoon I got the go ahead from my OB to head into the hospital and got there around 3:30pm. However, when they checked me, I was only 3.5 cm dilated (my OB had pegged me at 3cm the week before) and they refused to admit me.
Although the nurses kept threatening to send me home (which I really didn’t want to do), I was given a room and told to walk around and get in the tub—no change. At 9pm and the nurses offered me a shot of morphine and a sleeping agent. Unfortunately, the morphine did not work at but the sleeping agent made my mind race and my body feel all drugged out and the contractions felt much more painful. In any case, the sleeping agent allowed me to rest enough to dilate to the magic 4 cm sometime around midnight (9 hours after I arrived and 18 hours after labor began) and I was finally admitted to the hospital and given an epidural.
Unfortunately for me, the epidural kept wearing off every 1-2 hours even after having a second epidural line placed by a different doctor. I labored through the night, forced to sit partially reclined on my back all night (even when my vagina felt like it was on fire!) At 10:30am the next morning (28 hours into labor), a nurse declared that I was complete and told me to start pushing. Even though I knew it wasn’t a good idea, I allowed myself to purple push while lying on my back for just over an hour. My son was still at +1 station and had started developing swelling on his head. While I pushed for another hour, the nurse would periodically wander off around my room to chart or re-stock supplies. Apparently delivering my baby was not as important as making sure I had an extra roll of toilet paper handy.
At this point my OB finally decided to make an appearance. “I can’t tell if there’s been any progress since I didn’t check you before but go ahead and push for another hour and I’ll come back!” she said. I was getting really frustrated, so I demanded that I be able to push in another position. I was told to keep pushing on my back only this time holding a towel instead of my legs. I did this for another 30 minutes and then demanded to push sitting up. That position felt a lot more natural to me but by now I had been pushing for 2 hours and 45 minutes and was becoming exhausted with my son no further down. I also had a foley bag full of bloody urine and was developing a fever. The nurse stepped out of the room for something and I looked at my husband and just broke down in tears. What should’ve been the best day of my life had turned into the worst day and a half. I knew deep down that something was wasn’t right with my labor and that I wasn’t going to be able to have the birth that I wanted.
Right then my OB waltzed back in with a big smile on her face, “sorry I’m late. I was delivering another baby!” Great. Good for you. After seeing how discouraged I was, the doctor had the nurse hold a mirror up so I could see myself pushing. My vagina looked like a truck had run over it and only when the doctor pulled a bunch of the skin back could I even see the top of my son’s head. My OB gave me the option of pushing for 2 more hours or having a c-section. “You’re just going to have to be exhausted” she told me (so encouraging and supportive!). At this point I had been in labor for 32 hours and purple pushing for the past 3. The thought of pushing for another 2 hours and then possibly still having to have surgery just sounded like the worst outcome at the time, so even though I really wanted to deliver naturally, I consented to have a c-section.
I wheeled into the OR and given a spinal block because I didn’t trust an epidural not to wear off. The spinal made me feel nauseous and made it hard to breathe (these are normal side effects according to the anesthesiologist). The room started spinning and I remember praying that I wouldn’t pass out and miss my son’s entrance into the world. I must’ve looked pretty terrible because I remember hearing a nurse asking the doctor if I was ok. My husband said he was scared I would die.
At 3:12pm my son was born and I heard him cry. It was the most wonderful sound in the whole world. But he was immediately handed over to nurses and whisked to a corner of the OR out of my field of vision so I wasn’t able to see him right away. I had also chosen not to find out the gender during my pregnancy and no one bothered to announce it so I also didn’t know if the baby was a boy or girl.
While I had no further complications and healed quickly from the surgery, I can’t but help feeling robbed. I wasn’t able to see my son come into this world. I didn’t get to hold him during his first hour. I have to look at this big ugly red scar on my abdomen that body hair does not cover up for the rest of my life. I now have to deal with the hassles of having a VBAC and worry about complications to future pregnancies. I also have to struggle with the immense feelings of guilt and shame I have for electing to have a c-section. My OB has repeatedly made references to me being “so exhausted.” Apparently I am just a lazy a$$hole who should’ve just kept on going for 36 hours straight.
I am constantly haunted by “what ifs.” I had gone into labor feeling confident, expecting to feel empowered and in control of my body but left feeling anything but. And worst of all, I harbor deep resentment towards my husband for allowing something so terrible to happen to me.