I haven't read everything, but I'm going to. I posted
over in the Birth and Beyond board the other day and just found this tribe. There's some stuff about my birth over there, but I'll write more here. (apparently I decided to write a novel)
I was supposed to have a homebirth. When I was around 7cm the midwives noticed that my baby's heart rate was dropping during contractions. They wouldn't let me labor in peace and kept moving me for every contraction, trying to bring the heart rate back up. It turns out that I was in transition during all of this, in a lot of pain, wanting to quit (as if that's an option), and now I was worried about the baby. They started talking about transferring me to the hospital.
I started pushing...I just couldn't help it, it was an overwhelming urge. They were yelling at me not to push, still worried about the heart rate. I was panicking that I was killing my baby, but I absolutely could not not push. I was in so much pain and, in my head by my wrong stupid calculations, I had a good 3-4 hours left before I was supposed to be pushing. I was apologising to the baby between contractions and the contractions were on top of each other. I told them to just transfer us if they were going to end up transferring us and at least I could get some pain relief and would be able to stop pushing. And the downward spiral began.
Between that point and the point we got in the ambulance, I think I had 3 internals, one without any warning. I had specifically requested that internals be kept to an absolute minimum. The third internal, at the bottom of the stairs while waiting for the ambulance, revealed that I was fully dilated. But since the ambulance had been called no one cared and I just had to wait. They tried to take my husband away in the ambulance. I wouldn't let go, he had to stay with me. The midwife and the emt sat next to me, I was staring at them. They were talking about me like I wasn't there.
We got to the hospital. I had to move to the delivery table. The NHS delivery suite is nothing like the ones you see on the tv shows in the US. Bare bones, built in the 70s and not updated since. I crawled onto the table and got on my hands and knees. They told me I had to lay on my back. I started crying because I knew that *my* birth was all over and that we were at the start of a baby extraction. They strapped on the monitors, the room was full of people. I was told I had to the baby out ASAP. I was told how to push. It wasn't working so they had me tip my hips UP so that they could see better (WTF). Obviously that wasn't working any better. Everyone was talking about the baby's heart rate and my heart rate and how we NEEDED to get the baby out (I don't think that her heart rate ever dropped below 90, which I learned later isn't really that low). I was so scared. My husband was so scared.
I told them to just get her out, I thought my baby was going to die. I agreed to a vacuum extraction. Anesthetic shot, catheter, vacuum. We tried a few pushes, it wasn't working. The midwife, who had decided to ignore my wishes while we were finishing up at home, was actually doing a good job as my advocate at this point. She was telling me when to pant, instead of just having me push (the doctor's instructions). She told the doctor that she was not to cut me unless it was absolutely necessary. Eventually the doctor told me I'd taken too long and she needed to cut. I said fine..."too long" must mean that my baby was about to die, right?
I so did not want an episiotomy. So I powered that baby out on the next push, before the doctor had a chance. I'll never know if that was a mistake or not. No one was ready for it. She popped out and I ended up with a 3rd degree tear.
A lot of that is pieced together from discussions with my husband after the birth. I don't remember much. I've ordered my hospital file so that I can try to get some answers. But I hate not remembering.
I have hardly any memories of what happened after they handed her to me. I remember she was very warm. We did get to do skin to skin for about 10 minutes, which is better than nothing. And when they took me away she did skin to skin with my husband. She never once sat in a box all alone in nursery, which I am grateful for. I don't know if she was crying...she scored a 9 on her APGAR, so she must have been making noise. I just feel like I should remember everything about those first minute with her and I can't. It's awful.
It took them ages to stitch me up. It was done in an OR. I had to have a spinal block. I couldn't go home (my back up plan on the homebirth was to leave the hospital the day of the birth). No one would talk to me in the OR. No one would tell me how long things would take. No one would tell me how long I had to stay in the hospital. The ECG monitor was flashing arrhythmia warnings the whole time. I just wanted to hold my baby. We hadn't managed to breastfeed before they took her away. I wanted to see my husband.
I was in so much pain when the spinal wore off. E roomed in (the nursery is reserved for babies with seriously ill moms). I couldn't get out of bed to help her. She was vomiting bloody mucus all night. I was sure it was something I did wrong...like pushing when I wasn't supposed to be. I couldn't sleep. I pulled her out and held her skin to skin on my chest for hours that night. And wept.
I was discharged 24 hours after she was born. I could barely walk and needed help to sit down and get up. Even though everyone had been nice to me on the ward, I was so glad to get out of there.
I didn't know that birth would be so hard, mentally. I was prepared (as prepared as you can be) for the physical pain. I wasn't prepared to still be haunted by things 4 months after the birth.