Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sunflower's birth story

First, if anyone wants to file a class action lawsuit with me against TLC for their "Baby Story" series please let me know. I intend to sue for messing with "mothers-t0-be expectations of birth" and if this is not yet legally actionable then perhaps we can take a trip to Congress to make it so. Just kidding. . . I guess.

I went in to the hospital Thursday night around 4am because of painful contractions. They checked me and I was still only 1cm dilated but the contractions implied labor seemed ready to perhaps kick start but they told me to come back in a few hours for my scheduled induction. Jack and I went home, we cleaned up a bit, and went out to eat dinner at Boneheads. It's just a fish joint but it felt almost sacred eating since we knew it would be our last meal as a couple.

We checked into the hospital around 7:30pm. They put the IV in wrong (and left it in like that for the entire labor process causing my right hand to swell to triple its size) and inserted the cervadil. They kept trying to get me to get an enema but I was in so much pain I said no. I don't know other people's experience with Cervadil but mine was brutal as the contractions I was already getting ramped up to the umpteenth degree. They offered me Morphine. I was trying to refuse it since we saw it had adverse reactions to animal fetuses. But the pain. I listened to soothing music. I tried breathing techniques but the pain got so brutal I wanted to die and so I asked for the shot of Morphine. The morphine did not help at which point the nurse offered me an epidural. This pissed me off since she could have offered that to begin with. While they went to get the anesthesiologist my water broke. The cervadil induced contractions ramped up to beyond "hospital policy" so they removed it. Once the epidural was in, I felt like myself again despite being numbed from the waist down. At least the pain was gone. The doctor looked at my water and said it looked like the baby had passed meconium. She told me a team would be there upon baby's birth to suction him out so I would not get skin-on-skin contact immediately. I said that was fine since baby's health ofcourse is most important.

From 5am when my water broke onwards, they began the pitocin and my cervix continued to progress 1cm every few hours like clockwork. Around 6ish the doctor came in and told me I could be ready to push at any time and when I felt the urge to let her know as she had another woman at the same stage of the laboring process as me next door. I told her I couldn't feel anything waist down so how am I supposed to know if I'm having an urge to push. She hesitated and then offered to check. When she checked she said with surprise that Sunflower was already in my birth canal and I needed to start pushing now.

So I pushed. I thank the nurse with me because she was so caring and encouraging. But. That pushing. On no food. No water (fuck the IV that doesn't help my dry throat) and pain (because it kicked in now) Is hard. I honestly did not think I could do it. It was the most draining, most difficult process of my entire life. It took me 40 minutes and then he was born into this world at 7:02pm.

The rest was a blur.

The doctor did not let Jack cut the cord saying they had to quickly get him to the neonatal team. This makes me cry as I write this because I saw his crestfallen face. Still, you have to do what you have to do. I got a third degree tear so the doctor was stitching me while my son lay under yellow lights getting suctioned. He sobbed hysterically until they brought him to me and then- he stopped. Just like that as soon as he laid eyes on me. He stared at me with his big eyes as if he knew me already, as if he had been wondering where I'd been.

As I held him I began feeling dizzy. I asked Jack to hold him. Then I told the nurse I was seeing black dots and then the next thing I knew I was out cold. I would come to and then fall back out of consciousness. I think this went on for 10-15 minutes.I have no recollection of what happened during those 10-15 minutes but when I came to I was told I spiked a 104 degree fever and my blood pressure had dropped dangerously. Apparently I was not fully unconscious during those 10-15 minutes because I told everyone I was dying, I told Jack to love our son and tell him his mother loved him. I don't think I was in danger of dying but apparently this is what I said. I slowly began recovering but still was too weak to hold him. Each time I tried my hands started shaking. I couldn't stop crying because he was moving his lips and his tongue rooting, trying to find my breast but he couldn't. They then had to take him away because they had to make sure he did not have any infection like they suspected I had. Jack stayed with him, and held him and bonded with him and I'm grateful because I did not get to hold him until about 5am. Nine hours after giving birth.

It's interesting isn't it? It's like was teaching me a lesson. Expect the unexpected. I wanted a vaginal delivery for only one reason. To have the skin-to-skin contact. To hold him right away and despite a vaginal delivery he was away from me for nine hours.

I can never explain the feeling when they brought him to me. The nurse undressed him and lay him across my chest. And he just snuggled up to me. Nope, I may call myself a writer, but words can't capture how that felt. Even now I find myself crying just remembering it.

They had to prick my son with so many needles to test for issues because of my health and we ended up having to stay a bit longer than we would have otherwise have had to because of it, but the tests thank God were all normal, as were mine.

I thought I was going to lose some weight considering I let go of a placenta, and a nearly 8 pound baby but my weight loss is only 3 pounds. The doctor says its normal? My legs and feet are very swollen. Again, I'm told this is normal.

I have my son and he is healthy and that's all that matters. I can't say I like the hospital experience and had I had an option, or at least felt I had an option, I would never ever go through that process again. If you are pregnant and are complication free I strongly encourage you to consider a birthing center or a more natural process, but- that's just my take.

We're home now. I'm better. I remain a steady 99-100 degree with fever and no one really says what that means though they suspect it might be the pre-onset of mastitis. This comes from thrush I read, which is on the baby's tongue so I am wanting to pump and feed, but everyone says you can't do that you have to feed from the breast! So I'm confused. He prefers the breast but honestly I don't understand why I can't pump and give him some milk this way once in a while just so I can maybe get an extra hour of rest or maybe stop my breasts from getting infected? It's not formula, its still my breast? [Wow- I got random, didn't I?]

So, that's my birth story. Not very eloquent but it is what it is. In conclusion- just because you have a vaginal delivery- it certainly doesn't guarantee you get the experience you want. But- the beautiful child you get at the end? It's worth it a million times over.


  1. Arg...sorry to hear about the complications, but I understand what you're saying with it being all worth it. I too remember the IV not helping with the dry those ice chips didn't do much for me and I thought I'd die of thirst! My little one has maconium, too so there was a whole crew there waiting for her arrival. I'm just glad you both are doing alright!

    Are you on antibiotics for the fever and assumed infection? I've heard that nursing while you have mastitus helps it to go away more quickly and it helps to keep the little guy from being confused. Feel better soon!!

  2. i am so very happy for you :) i didn't get to hold louise until the day after i had her because i was in so much pain, it was awful, so i know how that feels. i would like to be part of that class action lawsuit against a baby story please, when i was pregnant i would watch it and freak out about how awful giving birth was going to be and then for about a week after i had louise i would watch it and CRY out of jealousy over the women who had more reasonable labor times than i did.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. It made me cry. I'm so, so happy for the three of you!

    Don't worry about doing what other people tell you that you HAVE to do. Do what's right for you!

  4. You can absolutely pump and give a bottle - I exclusively breastfed for only four days I think - I introduced the bottle - and they still - at nine weeks - eat from my breast. Little Spice needs a nipple shield sometimes but it works.

    Sleep - and a rested mom - is so important - don't discount the sleep deprivation - it can turn ugly.

    Amazing story - I felt the same overwhelming love immediately - and it just gets better. ((HUGS))

  5. So happy to hear your story! Congratulations on your beautiful boy! This is a great breastfeeding help website.

  6. I'm so happy for you...he is here. And while I'm sorry you didn't get the experience you were hoping for, I am glad that you are healthy and Sunflower is healthy and you were able to share your story with us.

    Congrats a million times over. I hope to join you in the bliss one day...soon.

  7. Congratulations :) Even though you had complications, it is a beautiful story - to me ANY birth story is worth getting tears in my eyes!

    Isn't it amazing how babies know you from the start?? My babies did the same thing, they saw me and immediately they were calm and just staring right through me. It's a powerful feeling...

    and you can give them breastmilk from a bottle if you need to. My babies never latched on correctly and nursing them was frustrating for all involved. With pumoing they are still getting your milk, that's what matters...

  8. Oh hon... I know it isnt the ideal that you wanted, but the most important thing is that Sunflower was safe and healthy. That doesnt mean you shouldnt mourn the what isnt, but, as you said, it's worth it a million times over to have him safely here.

  9. Wonderful story!
    As you said, the most important thing is that you are all well. Expecting the unexpected is not easy. But he is here! And that is all that matters!
    Congratulations and enjoy these perfect moments!

  10. Sounds bloody awful!
    Sure you can pump. I think they recommend exclusively breastfeeding for a while after birth to make sure the latch stays good, since babies can get lazy if they get used to a quicker-flowing bottle. Get ones with nipples that mimic the real thing (I think they say rounded tip, wide base) and read about feeding breastfed babies with bottles.