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Birth story, after 3.5 years

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
It has taken me a long time to actually sit down and reflect on my (until now only) birth experience with my son, because it was pretty traumatic for me. Here goes:

I had a horrible first birth experience, which put me off the idea of getting pregnant again for over 3 years. Actually, it was not so much the birth itself but the recovery and discovery of what had actually happened to me.

I was diagnosed during pregnancy with a heart-shaped (bicornuate) uterus, and the baby was breech throughout the pregnancy. My doctor encouraged me to have a hospital birth, since the pregnancy was high-risk, and it was probable that I would need a c-section (according to doc). During the last weeks of my pregnancy, I felt my son turning many times, and during my weekly end-of-pregnancy checkups, he was head-down one time, then breech again another time, then foot-down yet another time. I was scheduled for a c-section on a Monday (after the foot-down checkup), and on the weekend before that, I started having very slight contractions. I was advised to go directly to the hospital, where they found my son again head-down! I opted for a vaginal delivery, and agreed to an epidural, because I was afraid of needing an emergency c-section and having to be knocked out and miss the entire birth.

Anyway, I admit I was very ignorant about what to expect during a natural birth. It was pretty clear to me from the 5th month onwards that I would be having a c-section, so I stupidly did not spend enough time educating myself on what is supposed to happen during a natural birth. Once I got to the hospital, I was given an enema and started getting strong contractions. At the first contraction, I got a ringing in my ears, broke a sweat and my eyes went black for several seconds- I nearly fainted. I must say I was relieved when the epidural was placed.

I was in the hospital bed at around 2:30 PM and felt no pain. I felt no contractions, and at one point I felt like the numbness from the epidural was climbing up into my chest and called the anesthesiologist. She asked how many times I had pressed the self-dose button (apparently you can give yourself an extra dose of painkiller every 20 minutes by pressing a button attached to the IV machine). I had no idea that I could have even done that- apparently the meds were too strong for me.

Basically, I just waited around for the next 6 hours until my water broke and the doctor came in to check on me. It was around 9:30PM and she said in a kind of bragging/hopeful tone "this baby's gonna be out before 10:00", which, I found out later, was shift-change time at the hospital. I remember looking at the IV drip and seeing the number 25 on it, and seeing the doctor then turn it up to 65. I remember thinking "wow, that's a pretty drastic increase" but I thought "they know what they're doing" and I wasn't even really sure what was in the IV drip anyway at that point. There was never any mention of pitocin during labor, but I found out later that I was given pitocin.

Anyway, at around 9:40 I was told it was about time to start pushing. I did feel some pressure down below but no pain, and no urge to push. I pushed once, and was told to take a deep breath and push again right afterwards. On the second push, everyone was saying "yes yes yes, push push push!" and out came my son, happy and healthy, at 9:44 PM, 7 pounds even. Then a while later the placenta. Then more blood, and more blood, and more blood.

The attending doctor started to look stressed out, and got very tense and short with the nurses. We had to turn off the radio that was on so that she could concentrate. The blood didn't stop and the head doctor was called in. They couldn't figure out where all the blood was coming from. At this point, I was still very relaxed and euphoric about my son. I just thought this was part of normal sewing-up-a-tear protocol. After a while, I started to go into shock, shaking violently and was freezing cold. The transfusion people were notified, but finally the head doc seemed to figure out that I had a torn artery. After dealing with that, I was sewn up for another 2 hours. At the end of that, the doctor said to me "Next time, C-section." All that time, nothing was explained to me, but for some reason, I was not worried at all, I was just giddy. I spent some time with my son and was then wheeled into a room to sleep.

The next morning I woke up with the worst pain I had ever felt and asked the nurse to put the epidural back in. She came back with some extra-strength ibuprofen or something, and I said the pain was worse than that. Just then, the attending doctor came by to check on me and said to the nurse "no, she needs something stronger, look:" and lifted the sheet to show her my injuries. This was when I really understood that something had gone terribly wrong- by the look on the nurse's face. Later that day, a team of doctors-in-training were brought by to get a look at what had happened to me... more grave looks. What a humiliating experience that was.

I was in a 3-bed room with no curtains between the beds and no privacy. Visitors for my roommates were coming and going and I couldn't imagine having any visitors myself, I was in so much pain. I had lost a liter and a half of blood and could not even sit up on the edge of my bed by myself for 3 days. When my mother called me to ask how things had gone, I could not speak, a huge frog was stuck in my throat and I just could not get any words out. I struggled to stay awake under all the painkillers I was taking, and I was totally overwhelmed by having to breastfeed in front of all these strangers who were visiting, all the time unable to even sit up because I could not tolerate even the slightest pressure.

All this time, I still wasn't fully aware of what had happened to me. I was told that the pain was mainly coming from a huge hematoma (sp?). I had torn a labia and was just totally swollen. I could not urinate at all and was given acupuncture to relieve pain. After 6 days in the hospital, I begged for them to release me, because the 3-bed rooom situation was stressing me out, and my mother had arrived from the US, so I was sure I would recover more quickly at home than in that hospital environment. I signed the releases and was let go under the condition that I returned every day for a checkup until further notice.

Only when I read my hospital release form did I see everything that had happened:
-3rd degree tear
-torn vaginal wall on left side
-torn vaginal wall on right side
-torn artery
-torn labia on right side
-torn cervix
-hematoma of perineum and vulva

I was not right for about 2 years after that. My ob/gyn said I had enough catgut in me to fill a delivery truck. I had grooves and turns where there were none before, and the scar tissue was sore for a very, very long time.

Now 3.5 years have passed. I have frequent urinary tract infections, particularly just before my period and just before ovulation. Things have healed up OK and we are thinking about another baby, but the thought of going through that again is scary. I am still coming to terms with what happened, still trying to find out why it happened. I was told that since I am a redhead, I have less elastic tissue and this is probably why I tore so much. I still have my suspicion that it was the pitocin/epidural.

Anyway, that's it. I'm glad I got that off my chest, finally!!!
post #2 of 10
Wow, mama.

I was thinking the same thing about the pit/epi.

I'm so sorry you went through that.
post #3 of 10
Thanks for sharing your story. I am so sorry that happened to you. I can totally understand not wanting to get pregnant again any time soon after that. I am also a redhead and have never heard about the "less elastic tissue" thing. In fact, I didn't tear that much, and I didn't even get stretchmarks on my belly. I would definitely say the pit/epi would be a much more likely factor than your hair color. That is terrible. I wish you luck in future pregnancies and labors. I can't believe they pitted you without your consent. That is ridiculous. Praying you have a much better experience next time!
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks :

Good point about the stretch marks, rem88... I didn't get any either, there goes the elastic skin theory...

About the pitocin, I am sure I consented to it in the form of a signed form I was given a month before the birth, I was just not informed during the birth that I was given it. I think it was part of their standard procedure, and I just failed to notice.
post #5 of 10
I am so sorry you went thru that. I am glad you had a vaginal birth! However, I don't think what you went thru is unusual. First off, was the epidural. If you had not had it and had been allowed to move around, your pain could have been lessened greatly. Next is the pit. That is convenience on the staff's part. Once the pit goes in, it greatly increases the likelyhood of hemmorhage and other damage to pelvic areas, becasue the contractions are unusually strong. Natural labor doesn't produce ctx like that. Not that hard and fast. In pumping the pit up like that, I think your doc had somewhere he wanted to go, and put you in danger.i don't think the bicornate uterus itself was a danger, only that there was more room for the baby to turn around in. I know of people who have homebirthed with bicornate uteri, and even double uteri.
I would not birth in a hospital again, the chances are too great that the staff will mess up again, and injure you or the baby. C/s carry a death/sickness rate 3 times higher than vaginal birth. I think homebirth could help you heal, and your labor would probably been more peaceful and gentle if you were at home. Please have a homebirth next time, so they wont' mess you up again. (I doubt the torn artery would have occurred without the pit.)
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you Cathi for your response, it is very encouraging to hear your words.

Is it common to have tears in the vaginal walls? I am worried that this (and the torn cervix) will affect my being able to birth naturally in the future. I had something like 200 stitches and the scar tissue was very inelastic for a long time.

I will certainly think through this much more next time around. I felt pressured to have a hospital birth the first time around because I was considered high-risk. Next time I will consult a doula or midwife early in my pregnancy and talk through my fears and concerns with her.

My ob/gyn advised me with the last pregnancy to birth in a large hospital with emergency facilities in case things went wrong. Now I feel like that situation is exactly what MADE things go wrong in the first place.
post #7 of 10
I never had stretch marks after four children...only on my breasts...I never tore...homebirths and midwives.

I do not know how much pitocin you were given, but sometimes injudicious use of pitocin can cause the vascular system to completely collapse and cause the very thing it is supposed to prevent...hemorrhaging!

Get your records. I do not know what dosage you had, but going from 25-65 anything, nearly 3x the original amount, is a huge increase.

What country are you in if not the U.S.?
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
I am in Germany. I have my records, and I see that the dosage for pitocin was 15 IE/500ml. Don't know what that means- if it was a lot or not.
post #9 of 10

elasiticty issues

I attended a birth of a friend of mine years ago. She birthed and was cooing over the baby when we realized the doctor was working quietly but furiously. I was at the correct end of the bed to notice there seemed to be a lot of blood. I tried not to show any panic, as I could see the doc was trying to be discreet and not interrupt bonding while sewing her up. But he kept asking for more 'thread.' Finally, I see him quietly motion another doctor over and show him a stitch. He grabbed each side of the thread and it pulled right through her flesh like nothing. Her flesh didn't 'grab' at the material at all, it was like a hole had been poked in say, vinyl as opposed to, a weave fabric. The other dr whispered he'd never seen anything like it. After he got everything under control, he stood and told her what happened. He explained that he couldn't figure out where she had been bleeding from. Finally, he recalled a medical article about tearing cervixes (Very rare) in women with very little elasticity to their flesh. So he checked, and sure enough, she had torn right within a fraction of an inch to an artery. (This turned us all white!) Her cervix was almost in half. He said he suggested she doesn't have anymore children naturally, because sewing her up was very difficult, and she would likely tear worse next time. All ended well, but it was scary. The little or no elasticity thing was very strange to witness, and had nearly devastating results.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Madamepril, wow, that's an interesting story. Did your friend ever notice anything before that regarding elasticity? Like is her skin not so stretchy or something like that? I guess this could be something totally weird that you wouldn't notice in any situation other than sewing a person up...
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