I've thought about posting here a few times recently... but have stopped myself because it sometimes seems so silly to be so tied to something that happened to me 15 years ago.
I had my first baby when I was 15 years old. I realize that some people might focus on how I ruined my life (oh yeah... I destroyed my life
) by having a baby so young... and some might not be able to look past my age. Regardless of my age I was still a person and lived through some fairly horrific experiences that started during the pregnancy and ended in his delivery. Thank goodness it did not effect my bond with him. I really don't think I started to process it until my miscarriage this past December.. which sounds so very odd to me but it is what it is.
Here's his birth story (it's very long):
Kyle's Birth Story
(it's been many years.. and hopefully I can remember it in detail. i didn't think to write these things down before.)
I suppose with Kyle I should maybe start at the beginning as I feel like many of my issues potentially stem from the whole experience not just labor and delivery. I had just turned 15 a couple of months before I found out I was pregnant. I had lost my virginity a few short days after my 15th birthday. I can remember the first test I took had an exceptionally faint line but no one wanted to count that, so after a couple more weeks and still no moon I took an e.p.t., it was instantly positive. Very positive. I was in shock.. a little scared, a little in awe but insanely happy about it even though I knew this was not going to be an easy ride. I wanted a baby... probably for all the wrong reasons but I still wanted him.
I told a few people in my inner circle, those that I trusted. Kyle's bio father and his parents. My aunt. I waited a couple weeks to tell my grandparents (who I lived with) and my dad. I can remember the phone call to my father like it was yesterday, the phone rang and my father answered. I said, "Daddy?" and the tears started to flow. I think I stammered out an "I'm pregnant." and he started to scream at me. "How did this happen?!" I was hysterically crying at this point and had to hang up. Not 2 minutes later my grandparents pulled in the driveway and as soon as they saw me asked me what was wrong. I stammered out the same thing I said to my father. I could hear the disappointment in my grandmother's voice but knew she would support me. My papa asked me what I wanted to do about this and I said I wanted to keep my baby. Both of them said they would stand beside me and help me whatever way they could.
My father came out to hash over what I was going to do about this 'unwanted' pregnancy a few days later. He was incensed and angry. It takes a lot to get my father mad and I guess I really knew how to push his buttons. He demanded I get an abortion to which I tearfully kept saying NO to. My grandma finally stepped in and told him that it was my body, my choice.. he couldn't force me into anything. God, I appreciated her strength at that moment so much... she knew my journey would be a hard one but she wasn't about to let anyone badger me into something she knew I would regret in the long run.
I had no insurance and my father dropped me from his policy when he gave my grandmother custody of me. This happened before I found out I was pregnant. My grandparents really could not afford to cover me under their insurance and weren't able to afford a private plan either. They decided the only option we had was to go apply for state insurance and if we couldn't get approved for that then I would go to a home for pregnant girls and have my baby there. I was approved for state insurance rather quickly.
I'd say around this time I was probably 3 and a half months along. We didn't know how state insurance worked so my grandma took me to the health department for prenatal care. I had never had a gynecological exam before in my life... really no one other than women in my family had ever seen me naked. I can remember sitting on the table in the exam room with the gown on trembling. Of course, the doctor was a man who I had never met before which I think made the whole experience worse. He asked me a ton of questions but mainly focused on my age, the father's age and how wrong I was to go through with this pregnancy. How I was destroying my life. He made me lay down and performed an internal exam on me. He was abrupt and rough, not very gentle or soothing. I can remember feeling slightly violated by the experience but more in a dignity sort of way. He made me feel like I was a dirty slut when the truth of the matter was, I was still pretty virginal. I had only slept with the baby's dad a few times and he was my first. I knew who the father was and I wasn't sleeping around. I was asked if I wanted an amniocentisis at this visit and I really wasn't sure what any of that was. I was given a pamphlet and shooed out the door.
This is how most of the visits went. I had to get to the health department very early and wait, wait, wait. I got maybe 5 minutes with the doctor who was just a self-righteous ass who felt he was going to teach me a lesson. He rarely answered my questions or concerns. He often made me feel lower than dirt. Towards the end of my pregnancy I had to have more internal exams. The doctor wanted to see how far I had progressed. Of course, there was very little change and each exam was slightly more painful than the last. I can remember somewhere close to 40 weeks being told that he was going to strip my membranes. This was probably the most painful experience I had ever had up to that point. It was horrifying, I was practically doing a back bend to get away from his hands and he never apologized, never told me it would be ok.. nothing. This happened probably on 3 separate occasions before he decided to induce me.
I can remember the night before my induction... I said to Kyle's father that I thought the baby was a boy because only a boy would choose to hang out inside for so long. We had to get up early to get to the hospital. My grandma picked us up around 7am. I was a bit excited to meet my babe. Then I got to the hospital and the real experience began. I was hooked up to an IV of pitocin pretty much as soon as I stepped on to the maternity ward. This produced some pretty powerful contractions almost right away. I was able to talk and stuff while having them so initially they weren't so bad. I can remember the doctor ordering the nurse to up the dose every hour. Each hour it got progressively worse. I can remember at one point begging for some pain medication because I had never felt anything like this before. It felt like I was going to explode inside. It was a burning pain and it spread through my bones. It really hurt. My doctor came in and broke my bag of waters and things intensified by ten. The nurse took some pity on me (I was screaming and writhing in pain) and gave me a shot of something to take the edge off. I was able to relax a little, I was awake but not very aware. It's hard to describe the sensation. Once the shot wore off things were even worse than before. I really started screaming as each contraction crested and I begged my grandmother to just make it stop. I was done, I said. I want to go home. Just cut him out of me! (I'm really glad that didn't happen) A nurses aide came in and told me to shut up around this point. She said I was disturbing the other patients and that enough was enough. I said it makes me feel better to yell through the contractions. I can't remember what she said after that but I know she's lucky she walked out of the room... my aunt wanted to come through the phone and had my grandmother not been so stunned she likely would have drop kicked her. It wasn't long now until he crowned. The nurse told me I was complete and that I could try some practice pushes. I gave a little push and started to pee all over the nurse, I was mortified and started to cry. She patted my leg and said, "It's alright, honey, I've had far worse all over me. You just go right ahead." I gave another push and his head started to come out.. her face was one of OH NO! They had to move me from the labor room to the delivery room and the delivery room wasn't ready yet. The doctor had decided to induce 8 other women including me that day, he started us all at the same time and we all crowned within minutes of each other. THe pushing was such a relief to me... I just wanted to keep on pushing at that point. Finally they wheeled me into the delivery room and I was able to push, push, push. It didn't take long.. I think 3 pushes and he was out. I can remember the great sense of relief and how the pressure seemed to disappear once his head came out. I thought it was an odd sensation when his body came out.. all arms and legs, it felt like spaghetti came out of me. The doctor held him up and said, "It's a boy!" I said, "Oh my Kyle. My little Kyle." and laid back with a sigh of relief.
At this point my placenta was delivered, Kyle's father thought this was so cool but my doctor apparently thought he was an ass and told him to shut up. He said I didn't need to hear about it. He proceeded to stitch me up (I had over 100 stitches in and out. He gave me a pretty nasty episiotomy, from one hole to the next) and Kyle's father went out to tell my grandma that we had a boy and that his eyes were blue. It was such a stressful time for everybody.. I know we were all tired. I tried to breastfeed Kyle at this point but my legs and body were shaking so badly I was having a hard time getting him on. We were alone in the recovery room and I think I was mesmerized. I had a baby. A baby boy. They took him from me after about an hour of alone time in the recovery room and away I went to a room for the night.
I had specified that I wanted to breastfeed Kyle but my doctor overrode me and put bottle feed only on his little feeding card. The nurses very rarely brought my baby to me and I wasn't able to vocalize my need to have him with me. At one point my parents came to visit and I got out of bed to walk with them to the nursery, I was berated for getting up. I think he was brought to me a total of 3 times in a 24 hr period. I tried to nurse him but no one would show me how, they offered to show me videos which showed me nothing and put me to sleep. On one hand I was so ready to leave that miserable place but I was terrified of going home with my new baby. I had no idea what to do with him! Before I left the doctor was very adamant about prescribing me birth control, he said I MUST start on that Sunday and out the door we were sent.
Thank goodness I had my grandmother. While I had been around babies my entire life, they were never all mine. When things got rough they were handed over to their mother. I was the mother here. I kept trying to breastfeed Kyle and it was a no go. I realize now (that I have nursed 3 babies extendedly) that I wasn't getting my whole nipple in his mouth and that he had a lazy latch, he preferred the bottle that he was given in the hospital. I kept trying for a whole month and I think he was able to truly latch on once and it was for only a few seconds. I shed many, many tears over it.
While writing this I felt angry at parts, scared in others.. violated even more now that I'm an adult and 'know' better. How dare that doctor! I wish I could have stood up to him as my adult self. No! You can not treat me that way! You can not make choices for me and my baby. You CAN NOT hurt me or take away my self-confidence or treat me as less than a person, I won't let you.
I really want to help other teen mothers (parents). I think teen moms need an advocate of some sort. Too often they are treated this way because of their age. They are unsupported and just expected to deal with it because they should be punished. I really hope things have changed now but I fear they haven't. I don't want anybody else to go through what I did.