I've been needing to do this for a long while... I don't ever really talk about my prior births much because I don't like feeling as if I'm giving people negative stories about birth. I always hate to hear negativity surrounding birth and so I've bottled up my prior experiences for fear of upsetting someones birth mojo.
This is long.. And emotional and probably not all put together. I cried writing most of it. Which is good.... I need to cry. I need to grieve and let it go. I need to let it be a part of me but not who I am.
I'm 10 days away from my EDD with my third, after 2 traumatic birth experiences that have scarred me, both physically and emotionally. I still look at both of my children and want to apologize to them for their traumatic entrances to the world. I still feel responsible that I didn't stand up for them when they couldn't themselves.
So... here goes...
As I near my guess date with my third (unplanned by us) baby, I find I am allowing myself to be over come with fear. Visualizing fear release doesn't seem to work... im a talker, a writer and so while I see and push my fears away in my head, they don't go away. I need to put them down somewhere and walk away from them.
And so, I will write. I will start at the beginning and try not to make it lengthy.
My first child was born at 37 weeks 1 day after a failed induction (FTP). He was our first successful pregnancy after 3 miscarriages back to back in 2004. We were scared, nervous and treated as high risk by our OB team. We felt at the time we were making all the right choices. And looking back, we DID make the right choices, given our understanding and knowledge then. We were young and did it 'by the books' in terms of OB care. Caleb was estimated to be 8.5-9lbs the morning of the induction. We were never told there's a margin for error or that this OB/hospital had a history of induction for" big" babies. So off we went... cervidil overnight which got me from hard and closed to 2cm and 40% effaced. That was good progress! My OB then broke my water without consent... at 2 and 40% and -3 station. I labored on pitocin for hours, got to 3CM, was manually stretched to 4. I got an epi after the stretching. Hours passed with no change. Pitocin upped... around dinner time the OB came in and I remember looking at my mom and husband with fear saying 'im going to end up with a c-section. I feel it.'. They tried to talk me down from that. It had been 5 hours and no change. My OB said 2 more hours and wed re-eval. My water had been broken 12 hours. He came back around 8:30 or 9, checked me and said we had to do a c-section. I wasn't progressing and it had been 15 hours with broken water. I was completely terrified. They prepped me and rolled me to the OR. I had a wonderful nurse who had another nurse cover a vaginal birth for her so she could stay with me. She could clearly see the terror in my face. I don't remember much of my sons birth... I remember p**in that they said was tugging. I remember them holding him up and whisking him away. I asked if he was OK, he wasn't crying. I was reassured he was fine. They wrapped him and brought him to me to kiss and they took him away to the nursery. My mom and husband both left me. I remember being given something to relax (my request when they told me I had to have a c-section). I somewhat remember being put back on the patient bed and rolled passed my family into a room. They had all seen my son before me. He was born at 10:44pm weighing 5lbs 11oz. I didn't get to see him until after 2am. They took him away again shortly after. I don't think I was able to nurse him until 4am. All those hours I laid there wanting nothing more than to meet the little person who grew inside of me. Who I gave life to. Breastfeeding failed... I developed severe PPD. I hated my son, my husband... but most of all... Me and my body for failing me.
Fast forward to January of 2008 when my husband brings up wanting another baby. At first, I was terrified. I couldn't relive my prior birth. I just couldn't. I got pregnant sooner than I think I was ready. It took us so long to get our first that we didn't think that one month of trying would land us pregnant. I started with an OB who tried to scare me from a VBAC. But I was strong, empowered and most of all... educated. I worked through my fears of my body and its failure to learn that my body didn't fail me. It did exactly what its designed to do. Fight or flight... and in my case, it was flight. Midway through the pregnancy I switched to a birth center to be under the care of midwives. Looking back, they weren't midwives... but MEDwives. Shortly after I transfered to the midwives, my son became very ill. We nearly lost him because of a hospital/doctor error. My son, at the age of 2 was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. That the first hospital brushed off as constipation and a distended bowel. 36 hours after the 'diagnosis', he was barely breathing and needed to be intubated and given BP medication because he was dying. My mama instinct knew it was diabetes and I had asked our pedi to check into it, asked them at the hospital the first time and was told it was not diabetes and that '2 yr olds don't get diabetes'. His blood sugar at the 2nd visit to the ER was over 300 and the doctor told me it was high from his body stress. He hadn't eaten in 28 hours. He was transferred with the diagnosis of a perforated bowel. We were prepped with the fact he would need surgery upon arrival to the University hospital and could very possibly die because he was so unstable already. By God's grace through the hands of amazing PICU team, he is a normal, healthy 4 yr old with no long term damage from nearly dying. But occasionally I look back at the pictures and see how sick he was... and how no one would listen to me. He weighed 19lbs at admission to the PICU... he was 27lbs a month before. It still brings tears to my eyes that had I not listened to my gut and taken him back when we did, he probably wouldn't be here. The PICU doctor was very open with us about that... He told me how another 2 hours and they may not have been able to save him. He said many parents wouldn't have taken their child back... It wasn't even 48 hours since the first ER visit, in which we were told he was fine, just needed to poop.
During that pregnancy, I focused alot on it all being perfect. I did all that I was supposed to do to achieve a VBAC in a hospital. In the last weeks of my pregnancy, my body started preparing. At 37 weeks, I was told by a midwife that I needed to schedule my consult with the back OB's ASAP because my body 'wasnt progressing as it should and its easier to remove a scheduled section from the books, than add one too late'. I was 1CM and 60% effaced at that appointment. I was putting off my consult because I was NOT going to need that scheduled csection. I did do the consult, at 38 weeks, with the OB I had worked with when I was patient of their practice. I chose him because he already knew I was too educated to pull one over on. I requested a c-section date at 42 weeks 1 day... 1 week and 1 day more than they 'allow' patients to go. The head midwife at the BC was quite shocked and asked me how... 'well, that's easy... I told him any earlier than that date and they'd be standing in the OR looking at an empty table'. At 41 weeks and 1 day, we discussed our only options for induction as I refused to go and lay down on a table knowing that my body could and would do this. We decided that 2 days before my scheduled RCS, I would be admitted and they would break my water and wed pray for the best. An AROM induction was not the best plan but at least if it didn't work, we could say we tried every possible option. I went home that night and prayed... I was awoken at 4am Saturday morning to wicked back cramping. I tried to go back to sleep but to no avail. I got up... took a shower and walked around. It took an hour before I realized that this was IT. I called the BC and got the head midwife who said to just keep hanging out... he was off at 7am only to be replaced with the only midwife I didn't want to work with. The one who told me at 37 weeks that my body wasn't doing its job. The one who clearly had no faith in me. This was my worst fear. In hindsight, I should have demanded another midwife. But I thought to give her a chance. I spoke with her at 8am, she said to meet at the hospital in an hour. DH dropped DS off at my moms, came back for me and off we went. I was monitored, checked and admitted. I was 3CM and fully effaced! On my own! We got to our room, set up shop and I began walking and bouncing through contractions. We had an awful nurse who was kind enough to tell me, 'i don't care what they say. YOU are high risk and I wll treat you as such'. I continued to dilate... painfully. I need the shower, to be on my hands and knees. But as a VBAC, you are constantly monitored. I asked for food, was denied. I needed to eat and ate behind their backs. Sour cream and onion chips, LOL. 11 hours into labor, I was checked and found to be at 6CM! I made it past my stalling point with DS. On my own! Praise GOD. DD was at -1 or 0 station... but posterior. My MW did some pressure point stuff on my belly to 'open me up' so she could move and then laid me on my right side with my left leg hanging over my belly. 1 contraction and that was all she wrote. I believe I cried and begged for an epi. I wasn't prepared for that pain. I got my epi at the 12ish hour mark of my labor. My MW broke my waters to find meconium. They laid me on one side for an hour or so, came in and rolled me. When they rolled me to my left side, DD went nuts, her heart rate dropped to 90. They pushed me back over, shoved oxygen at me and checked. I was 7cm and 0 station. They watched the monitor for 30 seconds or a min. her heart rate had come skyrocketing back up to 190-200 and was coming down to 160/170 with each contraction. I was checked again to be found at 9 and +1 station. 'We can't wait, she could get stuck'... 'we need to get this baby out NOW, she's not happy anymore.' I remember my friend saying 'shes 9! we can do 10, she can do this'. this is where it gets fuzzy for me. I lost it... I am pretty sure I was hyperventilating. My VBAC was right there. My body was perfect. I am not broken, I wanted to yell. Next thing I know, im being shaved, handed a barium drink and told to chug. I do recall looking at the nurse and wanting to throw it at her. My friend at my head telling me 'its a shot, we're at a bar, just take it'. Im being rolled away, introduced to another OB and being asked if I want any certain music to be playing. Music? You're about to rip away my right to birth and you wanna talk about music. My husband was at my left, my MW next to him. They talked the whole time during the birth. They told my husband to get ready with the camera and he was able to take photos of our daughters birth. She pooped on the way, all over the docs hand. My husband knew to go with her and not worry about me. My MW said something about how she looked good or something. I don't recall... the one time my bubble of peace worked was during the csection. Bella was deep suctioned because of the meconium. They stitched me up, transfered me to the patient bed and the OB says 'who did your first c-section'. I told him and he said 'you are one amazing healer... I could barely find your old scar'. Away to recovery I went. DD was brought in with DH, weighed (7lbs 8.8oz) and I was able to hold her. She was breathing really fast. They wanted to take her to the NICU. Off she went with DH trailing behind. She was born at 6:45. She had a nucal cord (wrapped around the neck) but that wasn't the problem.. The problem was that she presented posterior and with her nose facing my hip and her cord was compressed between her head and the vaginal wall. This happens often in birth but is missed due to fact that 'normal' births aren't monitored all the time. Babies are fine when given the chance to get the cord blood which is oxygenated. The NICU nurses gave DH a hard time about how I wouldn't be able to come see her. 'They don't let c-section patients out of bed for 24 hours'. Like hell. He says he told them 'you don't know my wife'. I fought tooth and nail to be taken to see her. It was 10pm when they felt comfortable (or maybe bullied enough) to take me. They kept telling me no and I remember saying that I would get up and walk myself if they didnt take me. I think one nurse chuckled until I started to try to throw my legs over the side of the bed. She came back with a wheelchair LOL. DD was in the NICU for 6 hours. her breathing never did regulate until she was back with me. Long in short, breastfeeding was rocky, she got an infection at 3 weeks old and was hospitalized. I developed PPD again. I was done... as much as I wanted more kids, 2 traumatic births later, I couldn't do it again.
We had used NFP to get pregnant and to avoid. With great success until God interfered. In Dec 2009, I had a normal AF... signs and symptoms of ovulation at the right time... and then apparently ovulated one week later. We conceived this baby on Dec 28th... during a time that should have been* safe*. I remember getting that faint line and crying. DD wasn't even a yr old yet. I was going to have a third surgical birth I didn't want. I wanted to go back and undo that weekend we got pregnant. It took me a bit to get myself to accept another pregnancy. I remember telling DH that I would NOT have another csection. I refused and if he wasn't on board with a homebirth he needed to get on board. Id wanted a HB with DD but he wasn't comfortable. We started searching and planning... then DH got sick. He was out of work for nearly 4 weeks... an almost $2K loss in income. During that time, we had found who we thought was our dream MW. We brought up financial stress and asked about payments and bartering. It was kind of pushed aside. I had my first prenatal visit at 15 weeks. She came back at 19 weeks and shortly after that I emailed her to let her know we were still struggling to get oug of the way too deep hole that DH's time off got us in and could we discuss further payment arrangements and bartering. To make a long story short, we should have had another visit at 23 weeks. She emailed me the day of and said there must have been a mix up because they werent coming until we figured out the financial aspect. I asked again for a mailing address and bartering options... 2 days later I got an email stating I was no longer under their care. I felt abandoned. I went without care from 19 weeks to 28 weeks. My current MW took me on even though she was booked for my due month. We paid her a deposit and she is graciously bartering the remaining of her fee. we've sacrificed DHs only day off a week to pay her off. He works 7 days a week counting her. He'll continue after the birth until weve satisfied our debt.
I find as of late that I have fears surrounding this birth. As it gets closer and closer, I find myself scared. Did I make the right choice? Can I do this? I've spent months being told by people that im stupid... I can't do this and I will fail. What if they're right? I am scared of not being able to take it... scared of the what if's even though I've defended the what ifs enough to know there is risk to life in general. Im scared that I wont be able to push this baby out. Labor I've done... but pushing? Actually birthing a baby is foreign to me. And as scary as being a FTM who doesnt. Im scared of that (ridiculously small) chance that something could go wrong and it will be MY fault in the eyes of everyone else. Most of all? Im scared of failing... again. And scared of all those people who've told me I will fail or that I can't do this... those people that will rub it in my face that they were right and I was wrong.
On the flip side... I see my amazing birth in my head. Of my daughter being there and squealing 'baby!' because I know her and I know she will. Of my husband handing our little (girl is my guess) baby up to me... of holding this wet baby against my chest with towels thrown over us as I cry in awe that yes, I did do it against all those people knocking me down along the way.
I know its OK to be scared... but that I have to let go of those fears and trust. My body is made for this. And I will succeed.
So this is my crying my eyes out and letting go. This birth is mine. And I will face and overcome every one of my fears. One at a time. But they will not control me. They will not rule my birth.
The end. Sorry for the length. I need to get this out and don't know where or to whom. So I do it here.
Sometimes we need a good cry... a good way to get it all out and let it go. Thanks ladies for letting me let go.
~ Fe ~
Mama to C (3-25-06) and A (1-17-09) and Jameson Grant (9-25-10) my HBA2C baby!