These are the stories submitted by women who were mistreated, abused, lied to, or coerced. Some of the stories are difficult and graphic, so please be aware of it’s content.
These birth stories have been posted with explicit permission from the authors. I ask that you do not repost these stories anywhere else, unless you have received written permission directly from the author. I will not give out contact information, as some of the authors have requested to remain anonymous, but I will pass on any requests received and they can choose whether or not to get into contact with you.
Thank you for respecting the sensitive things discussed in this blog, and the privacy of the authors.
This is Mary’s story. Unassisted Birth, Hospital Transport, Obstetrician pulls her uterus out while trying to use traction on her placenta.
I had contractions all day Thursday. They were fairly intense, but never very long. In fact, I didn’t get any contractions longer than about 30 seconds until the pushing phase. My in-laws came for a visit, so I wasn’t in a very good space. I realized fairly quickly that she was definitely posterior, because I felt the contractions almost exclusively in my back–I didn’t feel anything like this in my other labors. Thursday evening things really started to get serious. I had to moan to get through them–those deep “cow” noises from my diaphragm really helped a lot. I could feel the vibrations all the way down and it toned down the intensity. Between contractions though, I felt great. I watched Ghost Hunters with my husband, and we laughed and talked in between. I was so excited! I walked, swayed, leaned over the birth ball, took hot showers, ate, drank, and did whatever I wanted, when I wanted. It was so nice. Around 2 am Friday morning, I knew I was in transition, because I began to doubt my ability to see it through to the end. Jeremy was great–he was right there telling me he knew I could do it, and it was almost over. Shortly after, my water broke. It wasn’t audible, but I felt a definite “pop.” It actually made me smile, because I had AROM with my other two. I looked down and noticed the water was fairly green. So she has some meconium, no big deal. Shortly thereafter I had an overwhelming urge to push. So I pushed. I pushed on my hands and knees, standing, squatting, hanging from around Jeremy’s neck. This went on for hours. I could feel her up against my pelvic bone. I held on to some built in shelving and had Jeremy press down on my thighs, and I could feel her move…but not far enough. I knew instinctively that she was alright, and that if I had one more pair of hands, she would move and be out quickly. Unfortunately we don’t know anyone, at least anyone we feel comfortable enough with to invite to our birth, so at around 7:30 am, we decide to call EMS, figuring that would give us the extra set of hands. That was probably the single most stupidest thing we’ve ever done in our lives. How naïve I was to believe they would do what I asked then I could send them away. The EMTs were four young guys who were pretty freaked out by a woman in labor. All they could say was, “are you crowning?” over and over. Both of us try to explain what it was we needed and all they could say is, “breathe, are you crowning? We have to get you on this gurney.” Finally I gave in and went. Second most stupidest thing I’ve ever done. When we get to the hospital, there was no doctor there, only nurses. I refused to get on the bed, and asked the nurse to please just put their hands on my thighs as I hung off the side of the bed to help me get this baby past my pelvic bone. She actually did! One good push with a set of hands on both of my thighs was all it took–I felt baby push right past! A doctor runs in–she’s not the on call doc, the on-call doc is on her way–she’s there for a scheduled elective c-section at 8 am. This doctor yells for me to stop pushing and get on the bed.
I tell her no, and she yells for the EMT guys who are still in the hallway to help get me on the bed. I give in rather than be manhandled.
Another contraction hits and I push, and of course, baby’s crowning. She (doc) yells at me to stop, grabs that nasty betadine stuff and starts scrubbing me, then literally throws a cup of mineral oil over my crotch. My husband and kids walk in then, just as Lily’s head pops out. One more good push, and there’s her body. I start to say, “give her to me,” doc yells, “THICK MEC,” and cuts the cord before I can even finish saying it. They had her off, and I demand for her not to be suctioned. Believe it or not, they listened. However, at this point, doc grabs the cord and starts yanking, and says that the placenta is having a hard time detaching, and I need to push. I give a tiny test push, and know it’s not coming, so I tell her NO! STOP PULLING! STOP! STOP! STOP! I’m screaming by this point, because she’s pulling with all of her might. I grab my belly where I can still feel it attached and beg her to stop, telling her it’s attached, STOP STOP STOP! My husband is saying the same thing…then it comes out. She tries to pull it away, but I scream at her again. She then says “Your placenta looks odd. You may have had a collapsed fibroid come out with it.” At this point, I’m getting tunnel vision, and a ringing in my ears, and say that I’m gonna pass out.
The doctor has pulled out my entire uterus.
The on-call doc walks in, takes a look at all the blood pooled in everyone’s hands, and at the “collapsed fibroid” the other doc has in her hands, and freaks out. From here on out, everything is very spotty. I remember a nurse bringing my baby over and telling me I needed to kiss her now, and people saying, “stay with me,” and “screw it, this is gonna hurt” right as they shove a tube down my throat. I remember the blinding pain as they keep hitting walls trying to run to the OR. I remember that stupid doc not holding my uterus close enough to my body as they’re trying to get me to the OR and how much that hurt. I don’t remember anything else until I wake up in recovery. With 4 doctors and a half a dozen nurses, They managed to get my uterus back in, and heavily dose with Pit and Cytotec, as well as two other uterine contracting drugs. I lost 3 L of blood. When the doctor who did this to me, she came in with the attitude that she’d saved my life. Two other doctors came in and told me they didn’t understand why I’d lost so *little* blood and bled so slowly. I’m thinking, thank God for the alfalfa supplements, and thank you Christy, for posting all the info on it–that’s what got me to take it. My blood count kept trending down for the next couple of days, and I got two units transfused yesterday. I was released this morning. The hospital stay was horrible. I explained over and over again that I got the blood tests and an ultrasound with my GP, but I didn’t like my OB, so I never saw a reason to go. I explained I took my blood pressure, weight and measurements. I was still treated like a criminal. A lady from Social Services came by.
They kept asking me about alcohol and drug use, as well as domestic violence. They did all this stuff to my baby, because I was so irresponsible as to not get “adequate” prenatal care.
I have cried myself to sleep every night for being such a failure. I think, “oh my god, I didn’t try to push while sitting on the toiled, I didn’t try while in a semi-reclined position…what if, what if, what if!” If I were to ever get pregnant again, I wouldn’t change a thing. I would still UP, and I would still UC. I just don’t know how to get over my failed uc.
I also don’t know where to start. I can’t let that woman do to anyone else what she did to me. State Licensing Board, ACOG, AMA? I don’t know–but she CAN’T get away with it…
Story written by Jazmin. First time mom, hospital birth. Nurse repeatedly tries to do a vaginal exam despite Jazmin screaming “NO!”.
I started noticing I was having contractions at around 10:30pm so I went and lied down in bed and found out they where 5 minutes apart lasting about 1 minute each I didn’t want to believe it though. About an hour later they where still the same and a little uncomfortable so I had my fiance start me a bath and labored in the tub. He called his mom and asked her what he should do(he was panicking it was too cute). She started yelling at him telling him to get me to the hospital ASAP. I told him no I wanted to wait and go in pushing. He was really worried so I agreed to go to the hospital to calm his nerves. I called my aunt she didn’t answer so I called a family friend and asked her to meet us up there so we got there around 1am and I was 5cm dilated and the contractions where coming more often they moved me to the labor and delivery room and the contractions where getting worse but I could still manage I was COMPLETELY exhausted though I had not slept good the night before. They set me up on an i.v. to get antibiotics cause I was GBS+. I didn’t want it the nurse tried her scare tactics on me and when she noticed I didn’t care she moved onto my fiance who came begging me to get it so I agreed. I was fine with that I was still able to walk with it in. I walked around the L&D floor once and went to lay down I couldn’t handle the pain. I labored in the bed for the most part. The nurses where really helpful they asked me when I first came in if I was planning on having any pain medication I told them no they said ok they wouldn’t ask me again that if I wanted it to ask and that they would help me breath threw my contractions!!! At around 2:45am I was 7 or 8cm dilated the contractions where getting unbearable but I stuck threw it and just breathed and my fiance rubbed my back. When I got to about 8cm I felt like I had to push really really bad but the nurses told me I couldn’t because I still had a lil piece of my cervix I listened and tried to breath threw the contractions but it was getting really hard whatever my fiance and friend where doing wasn’t helping anymore. I could hear the epidural start to call my name. So I knew I was getting close. The contractions started to hurt like hell I mean out of nowhere I just jumped up and knelt over the head of the bed and was swaying my hips back and forth I guess the baby had moved and was posterior it hurt really bad (my back is still hurting from it) I could no longer take the pain or the feeling like I had to push so I started yelling at the top of my lungs “It hurts I can’t do this get him out”(My fiance said he could hear about three doors shut lol I guess I was scaring people) and while I was screaming I was pushing. I guess the nurses knew this and started to tell me not to push but to breath I yelled at them and told them I can’t that I needed to push. So I ignored them and pushed when I felt like I needed to but they did help me through those horrible contractions. They helped me focus on breathing. Amd when I felt the urge to push I pushed. I pushed about 2 times and my water broke. I wasn’t sure so I told the nurse I thought I peed. She told me she needed me to get on my back so she can check. I told her NO! I was in too much pain and it hurt when they checked me. I didn’t want to be in anymore pain. She continued to argue with me I told her NO again. She decided to try while I was still on my hands and knees. I was pissed
I started swatting her hands away crying out loud “I said no I told you no! Please Stop!” but she didn’t listen. She couldn’t even find the whole she kept jamming her fingers into my clitoris it hurt like hell.
I could hear her in a snobby voice talking to the other nurse saying ” If she would just listen and get on her back”. I had my “friend” yelling at me telling me to listen to the nurses. The nurse tried one last time to check. I finally got a hold of her hand and screamed “I said no!” real loud. She was making the contractions worse and making it hard for me to rest in between. I looked over at my fiancé and I started to cry he was just sitting there letting this be done to me he wasn’t helping me. Why wasn’t he helping? Why didn’t he tell her to stop? He just sat there. I know he was scared (He sat in that corner and cried the whole time) and didn’t like seeing me and pain. So I once again gave up for him, and let her check she checked I was 9cm dilated and 100% effaced. I was ready to push but by then I was exhausted from fighting off the nurse I had no energy to push. It was so hard it was early in the morning and I was tired I wanted to sleep and push later. Well about 3 pushes and he was crowning. I was still leaning over the head of the bed the nurses kept telling me to get on my back I told them no then they said Dr.Castro is on his way when he gets here we’re going to need you to get on your back. I said well I’m not going to. I ended up on my back.
I was so tired from fighting off the nurse earlier I just didn’t have the strength to stay up.
The Doctor came in. They kept trying to get me to hold my legs and push. They started to count and yell at me to push. I told them I couldn’t I had no ounce of strength or energy. I didn’t even feel any urge to push. My fiancé and friend came over and held my legs for me. They started counting down and yelling at me some more. I pushed when they told me to, but I stopped it hurt too much I didn’t even feel like pushing. My fiancé began to get sick so a nurse took over for him and he just stood next to me. By that time I was feeling pushy again. I think having him there gave me the urge to push. I wanted to see our son in his arms. I pushed and more of his head came out they let me touch it another push his head was out. I gave one more big push and he slid out more. I laid back and and just listened to all them yell at me I refused to push I wanted to rest the nurse told me to push that I only had one more push to go everyone laughed at me cause I asked her to promise well she did and she LIED I had to push two more times after that!!!! Well he was finally out it stung really bad I swear I thought he was tearing my clitoris in half. I wanted to reach my hand down when he was crowning and just hold it but didn’t cause of my Doctor. They laid him on my belly and I was scared cause he wasn’t screaming like I thought he would he only whimpered. They took him to get weighed I was upset cause I couldn’t see him. I was irritating my doctor because he was trying to get me to push out the placenta, but I was crying for my baby begging them to bring him back. Vincenzio ended up getting the Vit K shot because the nurse I told and gave my birth plan to forget to tell the other nurses and everyone was in my fiancé’s way he couldn’t tell what happened I was pissed!! Some other nurse came and said wow an 8lb baby and you didn’t have any drugs how awesome and my doctor said “crazy and stupid if you ask me” I swear I hate that man.
We got all cleaned up and headed to the PP room. I held him for awhile and tried to breastfeed. He seemed to be doing a good job. Then a nurse comes in asks if she could take him for a bath. I decided to let her so that I could get in the shower. She said it would be real fast. I wanted my fiancé to go with him but he was passed out on the couch. I started the shower rinsed off got out and got dressed. 30 minutes passed DS still wasn’t in the room. I called the nursery they said he’d be there in 5 minutes I said ok. I called the PP nurses asking about food I was starving they said breakfast wasn’t until 8 ish. I was mad I wanted to eat if I was at home like I wanted to be I would have been able to eat. So I sat and waited for them to bring DS 5 minutes passed I’m in tears wondering where they are. I call they said it would be shortly. 2 hours pass DF wakes up and asks why I’m crying I tell him I want our baby and they aren’t bringing him. 3hours pass my aunt calls I’m crying and she says ” well they need to have him under a lamp”. I thought to myself, no that can’t be true there giving him a bath and probably just holding him looking after him cause they were worried that I didn’t get the antibiotics in time. I walk to the nursery. And ran back to my room crying. One I wasn’t sure if the baby I thought was my son was mine. Two they had him just laying in that plastic contraption when he was suppose to be in my arms.
I was supposed to be loving and cuddling my son. They should have returned him to my room when I asked. They shouldn’t have fed me lies about being shortly or he’ll be there in five minutes then return him one hour later. I barely slept my whole hospital stay because I was scared they were going to take him.
The next day they I kept getting yelled out cause I was letting DS sleep and not feeding on a schedule. Then his nurse comes in and tells me we need to give him formula because he lost 3oz. I agreed they had me really worried. Then my nurse came in while I was crying and asked me what was wrong I told her. She told me it was normal for babies to lose a few pounds and that she would tell them to stop giving him formula. In conclusion, I will never give birth in a hospital ever again!
Story written by Emily. Third birth. “Hand Forceps”.
I’ve given birth three times in the hospital. I won’t bore you with the details of all three, but I want to describe some of my experience with the last hospital birth, and maybe you will begin to understand how bad things can happen even in this age of “informed consent.” Fast forward to the (almost) end. The contractions changed, and I could feel the baby moving down. I knew transition was upon me. The nurse came in and checked my dilation, and found me to be almost complete with a “cervical lip.” She left to go fetch the doctor, and I rolled over to one side. By the time the doctor came back, I rolled over to my other side. Having been on one side, the lip was gone on that side. When the doctor checked my dilation, there was still a small bit of lip on the side I was now laying on. The answer to this should be obvious: wait five more minutes and the lip would be gone on that side. But that is not how it happened. My doctor decided to “help” me by trying to make the lip go away himself. I should also point out that this wasn’t some strange rotation doctor, or even some big city doctor. He was a guy in my small town that I knew, went to choir practice with, ran into at the grocery store, you get the idea. You could say we were friends. Do you know what’s involved in making the lip go away?
The doctor put his entire hand up in my vagina and spread the cervix around the baby’s head with his fingers, telling me to push at the same time, in order to move the baby past the cervix.
This is all occurring, of course, in the hardest part of labor, the transition. I cannot describe how painful this is. Think of it like “hand forceps.” It was the only point in my labor when I started to cry and actually make any sound at all, which still was only some quiet moaning. In my head I was screaming at the doctor, telling him to stop! This isn’t necessary! Just give me five minutes, it’ll take care of itself! But I could not speak. I could only look tearfully into my husband’s eyes and pray he could speak for me. I squeezed his hands and tried to tell him via ESP to tell the doctor to please stop. But alas, my husband is not psychic, and he had no way of knowing exactly how much I was in pain. He also had no way of knowing that what the doctor was doing was unnecessary and excruciatingly painful. I pushed the baby past the doctor’s hand and the cervix, and successfully pushed the whole baby out in less than 15 minutes after that. The first thing I spoke after the baby was out was, “Thank God that’s over.” Everyone in the room had a nice laugh, thinking, of course, that I was referring to labor and delivery.
Labor and delivery wasn’t that bad, actually. What I meant was Thank God that the pain the doctor was making was over.
Story written by Martha. Two cesarean sections, one VBA2C. All started when she was told that she must have an induction or her baby would either be too big, or die from being “overdue” at 8 days past her due date.
It took the birth of my 3rd baby, a vbac after 2 c-sections, to realize how very wrong things went with my first and second ‘births’ if you can call them that. This is the story of my first c-section.
I had been measuring large throughout my pregnancy, about 4 weeks ahead, but At 33 weeks I measured exactly on for the number of weeks. I had been having braxton hicks since 35 weeks and vaginal exams at every visit since 35 weeks and started having what I now know was early labor just after my due date.
My “official” due date was May 18th and I had an appointment on the 24th of May, only 6 days “past due” for non-stress tests. I didn’t know anything about these tests or what they would tell me. I didn’t know where to look for answers and every mainstream pregnancy board reassured me that the tests were necessary, or to ask my doctor. I did just that. My doctor knew what was best, after all.
On May 26th I had another ultrasound. From that they told me that my baby was getting too big and my fluid levels were high. I would be called shortly with the instructions for my induction, which would occur the next morning. I was never told what the risks were, I didn’t even know there were risks. I just trusted that my dr. knew best. In my pregnancy journal I wrote “I have to be induced–which means that the doctors will help you be born so you don’t stay in my tummy too long”
I was told that having a big baby was risky and not inducing could be taking a chance of letting my baby become too big to deliver vaginally. I was told there were risks of being over due and my baby could die if the placenta stopped working.
They also said that the fluid levels indicated a potential problem so that made induction an even better option. I only knew that I didn’t want a c-section and I wanted my baby to be ok, so I agreed to the induction. I didn’t know my bishop’s score or what a bishop’s score was. At the time I just wanted a “natural” birth, which to me meant my baby being born vaginally. I am convinced that an induction is necessary to avoid any complications that “could” happen if we waited any longer.
So as directed I went in the next morning for the induction. I was hooked up to pitocin at 6:00 am. I tolerated that until about 1:00 pm when I received a shot of pain medicine and have my water broken. At that point there is no turning back from the induction. I am on my back and they check me to find out I am 10 cm dilated. They instruct me to push. I do so for about 2 hours before I am exhausted from the coached pushing. I want to take a break but they tell me I can’t. I beg for them to turn down the pitocin but they say they can’t because then my labor will stop. I beg for pain medication because the pitocin is causing contractions so strong I can’t even breathe. My baby is fine, heartrates are perfect, not a sign of stress from the induction so I continue trying to push. At that point someone mentions my cervix being swollen and that a baby can’t come out with a swollen cervix. I beg for them to let me rest. I am crying, sobbing for them to stop the pitocin. I innately believe that I will continue to labor fine without it. When they refuse to stop the pitocin I beg again for pain meds. They tell me that I cannot have any more because they would interfere with the c-section that I will probably end up needing anyway because they are certain my baby is too big. They tell me that continuing on could put my baby at risk.
I am convinced that my baby is too big. I am convinced that no matter what happens I will end up with a c-section anyway.
I am convinced that even if I can put up with the excruciating pain much longer that it will be for nothing because I cannot possibly deliver my big baby vaginally.
I am sobbing in pain and begging them to stop the pitocin, which they do now finally because they are prepping for the c-section. I am still in labor. I have no idea that they stopped the pitocin because I am still having contractions. In the hour it takes them to get prepped and for the anesthesiologist to arrive back in the hospital I am sitting on the table in the O.R. and I tell my doctor that I can feel my baby moving down. I know that she is moving down, that the contractions I am still having are working, but they tell me it is too late, they already have the OR ready and the anesthesiologist is ready to do my epidural–the same epidural they could not give me in the L&D room because the hospital “doesn’t offer them except for c-sections”. I am told to hold still so they can administer the epidural. I do as I’m told. I am completely numb…
A little over 3 years later I gave birth to my vba2c baby. 100% naturally, vaginally, and without a single complication, not even a tear. She was only a few ounces smaller than my “big” c-section baby. I felt my vba2c baby coming down and I know that was exactly what I was feeling just before they cut my first daughter from me. I know that the time it took them to prep the O.R. gave my cervix time to reduce in swelling and my baby was on her way out.
I know now that my c-section could have been avoided.
This is Christy’s Story. Scared into a c-section for “Suspected Macrosomia”. Her big, healthy baby ended up in the NICU for 9 days due to the cesarean causing Severe Respiratory Distress.
This is the story of my c-section with my son. It’s very long, but I felt that the details needed to be there to complete the story. This is what caused the turning point in my beliefs about birth. If even *one* person learns from my huge mistake, then it is worth talking about.
My Cesarean Story
Noah Orion Fiscer
March 26, 2004 2:31 p.m.
Baby Boy, 8 lbs 8 oz 19 ½ inches long
This is a hard story to write. Mainly because of my enormous feelings of guilt, for being an idiot at the time. For not researching before having my son cut out of my body. For not going with my gut feeling. And ultimately, for causing my son to be ill and spend nine full days in the NICU without his mommy. This is something I fear I will grieve forever. There has been healing, but it has been slow. It was his second birthday that was the hardest on me, because by then I was educated and knew that it was me that failed him. Not my body, not the doctor. Nobody but myself. I have heard so many times that it doesn’t matter anymore. That he is healthy NOW, and that’s all that matters. But it’s not. And I don’t say this to gain pity from anyone reading this, or anyone who has heard me say these things. It’s MY truth. Yes, he is a very active, healthy little boy who is very sweet in spirit. But when he needed me the most, I failed him. I failed to give him the healthiest delivery possible. I
failed to give him the best start. I have flashbacks of my newborn son, lying sedated and swollen in an isolated NICU room, with his chest caving in with each breath, hooked up to every machine imagineable. And yet, this was supposed to be my “big, healthy baby”.
The pregnancy went on unremarkably, except that at each ultrasound done, I was found to be further ahead than what I was originally given. It is believed that I miscarried a twin in the very beginning of the pregnancy, although no one was able to give me solid answers.
I went in for a routine appointment on Wednesday, March 24th and my doctor informed me that my son was already showing over 8 lbs, and that she would induce that evening. I was excited that I was finally being listened to. She had agreed on an earlier due date of April 4th, about 2 weeks before this induction. She mentioned in passing that the hemoglobin test that I had done at 36 weeks, came back a “bit low” and that they would recheck me with labs when I was admitted to the hospital that evening. I happily packed my bags, called family, and got prepared to meet my little boy. We went and I was admitted, where they drew blood and inserted cervadil. My instructions were to remain in bed for an hour, and then I could get up and walk the halls to try to help the cervadil. I waited my hour, and sent Jeramy to get me some food before labor hit, and set about to walking up and down the hallway.
I was about a half hour into walking around when the hospital midwife came rushing in and told me that they had to stop the induction NOW, and that I needed a blood transfusion.
Apparently when the hemoglobin test had been done, I came back at 8.2. Anything below 10 is dangerous for mom and baby during delivery. My labs came back from this night, and it was all the way down to 7.4. The midwife explained that it could be potentially life threatening to myself or my son if the induction continued. I was sad, outraged, and confused. How could my OB send me in for an induction if my levels were so low? How could she not even TELL me that my levels were so low, or put a plan of treatment in place? I was angry at having to undergo a blood transfusion, instead of delivering my baby. I received 12 hours of blood, while I asked what was going on. No one could answer since my doctor was not there. When I asked her in the morning when she briefly dropped into my room, she lied. She outright LIED! She told me that she thought my levels “would just go up”. She also mentioned that we would check for lung maturity by doing an amniocentesis the following Monday, and THEN possibly do a c-section because of size, within two weeks. WAIT A MINUTE??!! Why are we checking lung maturity four days from now, when you had me come in for an induction last night???? Why are you talking a c-section two weeks from now, when you brought me in for an induction last night? She had no answers, only lies. I was furious, and scared over the idea of delivering with this woman. I told my husband that we would find another doctor and deliver at the other hospital. I had asked to be checked several times before discharge, as I had been contracting all night and lost my mucous plug. No one checked me prior to us leaving. I went home and got on the phone, calling the other local hospital to try to find another doctor.
A Labor and Delivery nurse mentioned a doctor who was brand new to the area, fresh out of New York’s Mount Sinai hospital…one of the up and coming hospitals on the East Coast. She said that because he was new, he might take me on considering my situation and what had happened .My husband and I met with him that afternoon. He palpated and mentioned how large I was, and that there was no possible way of being due in the end of April. That my dates were certainly off.
He then went on to tell us of broken collar bones, nerve damage, and cerebral palsy associated with delivering a “macrosomic” baby. We sat there and allowed the fear of delivering a gigantic baby encompass our thoughts.
We agreed to meet him at the hospital the next morning for an NST and another ultrasound. He said that he can determine baby’s maturity by how much vernix was floating in the amniotic fluid.
I arrived the next morning , March 26th, at 9am by myself. Jeramy and Kaitlyn dropped me off and went to have breakfast together. I was admitted and was going to be hooked up for the NST when the new doctor arrived and said he’d like to do the ultrasound first. We did the ultrasound, and he saw and showed me the abundance of vernix floating on the screen. Surely he was ready, look at all the vernix! We then went back upstairs where ironically now, he introduced me to the NICU Doctor. He explained that any baby delivered by c-section was examined in the NICU before going to be with mom in post partum. I took this at face value and didn’t think more about it. We went in where I was hooked up to the monitor for a 20 minute NST, while my new doctor went out to put my c-section on the books for the next morning. He came back in after 10 minutes to say that he saw some pretty good contractions on the monitor at the nurses station, and commented on how that had better not be me…as he had furniture being delivered that evening for his new office. Sure enough, I was contracting every 4-5 minutes. He checked for dilation, and found me to be 4cm already. He smiled as he announced that the c-section would take place in an hour. Butterflies were going crazy in my stomach, as I frantically tried reaching Jeramy to get his butt back to the hospital, and tried calling my mom and Jeramy’s grandmother. We needed someone there to take care of Kaitlyn so that I was not by myself in the operating room. Jeramy got back in plenty of time, as I was being prepped. I had an IV inserted, and a catheter placed without any numbing agent or anesthesia. Jeramy’s grandmother arrived just shortly before being wheeled into the OR by myself. I was terrified that I had to go in without Jeramy. “Just until the spinal is in place”, they told me. I walked myself into the freezing cold OR, and had asked them to cover the instruments so that I didn’t see them. They commented that I was the first patient to request this. I sat up on the OR table, and began sobbing. I had a very kind nurse in front of me, hugging me and stroking my hair, as my spinal was put in place. It was a very odd feeling to have a catheter inserted deep into my back. I was laid down, and almost instantly I couldn’t feel anything. I could feel the slight movement of them sterilizing my belly with iodine, but didn’t have any real sensations. Jeramy was escorted in to sit by my head and be my support throughout the surgery. I tried my hardest to convince myself that the gut wrenching burning smell I was smelling was not my flesh, but the oxygen mask on my face. It’s the only thing I could do to keep from throwing up. I was also falling asleep on the table because of the amount of drugs I was given through my IV. My doctor “joked” about needing to get on with it if he was to be on time for a furniture delivery at his new office that night.
I experienced what felt like nurses sitting on my chest, as they pushed violently to get my son out of my body through the small incision.
I heard the suctioning after his head was out, and Jeramy was instructed to look if he wanted to. My son was pulled out of my body, and whisked away to the warming table. He was crying, I can vaguely remember him crying. They brought him over to me, already fully wrapped and outfitted with a cap, to “meet” and kiss. My son turned purple, and they whisked him away…this time out of the OR and into the NICU. I told Jeramy to go be with him. I continued to fall asleep, going into oblivion as far as what my baby was going through. I was wheeled to the recovery room, mostly asleep, coming in and out of conciousness when the Neonatologist ( remember, the guy I met *before* the surgery? ) came in and explained that my son had experienced two seizures within his first 10 minutes, and that they needed consent to do a spinal tap. “Oh, sure. Do what you need to do, I’ll just see him later.” I wasn’t worrying, because I was too damn out of it to know that there was something to be worried about. I went into my post partum room thinking the same – that my son would join me in my room later.
It was later that evening, when the heavy drugs began wearing off, that I was asking about my son. I was simply told that I could see him in the morning, that he was being kept for observation. Jeramy was not allowed to stay with me, so I was left very much alone in my recovery room. Empty womb, empty arms. As soon as I could, first thing in the morning, I was determined to get up to pee so that I could see my son. That was the stipulation…that I have my catheter removed and they were sure I could move, before going to see him. So, I did. Jeramy arrived to help me go to the NICU, and be my support. No one had given me much information about how he was doing, what state he was in.
Imagine walking in to see what you had been told was going to be your “big, healthy baby”, and seeing a sedated, swollen, very sick baby with his chest caving in. All that was racing through my mind was “This isn’t my baby. They got it wrong. He doesn’t look like me, he doesn’t feel like mine, he’s not healthy. This baby is sick. This baby CAN’T be my baby.” I was absolutely devastated.
The neonatologist explained that he had Severe Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Common in cesarean babies. COMMON in cesarean babies. Why the HELL wasn’t I warned of this BEFORE I was scared into it? I was told that he had not suffered from any more seizures, and he would be taken off the seizure medication that afternoon. They told us that he was on CPAP, a large tube that delivered oxygen to my baby who couldn’t breathe on his own. They gave me no indication of when he would be well enough to be with me. As it was, I could only touch this baby that they told me was mine, I couldn’t even hold him. I couldn’t nurse my newborn child. I couldn’t give him the skin to skin contact that is shown to be so very important for bonding and development. I went back to my room, empty armed again. I sobbed and sobbed to Jeramy, wondering if he was going to make it. Wondering why this happened. I spent the day in pain at my surgery, and the loss of health of my son.
The next morning as we scrubbed into the NICU to see him, a nurse stopped us and asked us to go to the “Family Room”, that Noah took a bad turn and was being intubated. I lost it. I was almost hysterical, waiting for the neonatologist to come in and explain. He explained that he wasn’t saturating enough oxygen on the CPAP anymore, as his breathing worsened. That he had no guess on how long it would be for, and explained that a series of tests would be ran to try to find the cause of the seizures. He was set up for a head ultrasound, a CAT scan, an echocardiogram, and an EEG. I was terrified. Noah was taken off the intubation the next day, as apparently he screamed louder than any doctor or nurse there, had heard a baby scream with intubation. He tried pulling it out. Noah went back to CPAP, where he did well. This was on Monday. I was discharged from the hospital, and left my son there by himself. That was just as heartbreaking as everything else that was happening. Tests began, and each one showed up as normal. There were no causes found for his seizures.
On Tuesday, day 4, I was finally able to hold my precious son. I didn’t want to let go. I almost COULDN’T let go. But eventually my incision and my back began killing me. I reluctantly let go, and spent a few more hours there, holding him when I could.
I was told that the next day he could begin eating by mouth. So I put a HUGE sign on his isolette, saying that I wanted to breastfeed for his first feeding. I wanted the first thing that he got orally, to be my breast. Thankfully they were very kind at this hospital, and they did indeed have me breastfeed for his first and second feeding. He did wonderfully. He nursed like a champ, and actually saturated oxygen the best he had in days, while nursing. The nurses joked about me staying there around the clock to keep his 02 sats up. I visited him 2-3 times per day, several hours at a time, until we were told he was healthy enough to come home on Sunday, April 4th…Palm Sunday.
Yes, my son is okay now. He is healthy, and he is strong and active and gorgeous. But it won’t ever take the pain away from what I did. How incredibly stupid I was. I have learned now, through much heartache, that God has designed childbirth to work in ways that we may not always understand. That it’s not *supposed* to be messed with, or fretted over. We’re not supposed to worry about size, because the Bible teaches us that God knits the baby together in our womb. We’re not supposed to numb ourselves for one of the most important days of our lives. We feel labor for a reason. Without drugs or epidural, we are coherent. Our body is working with the major release of hormones, instead of against it. It deeply saddens me when moms interfere with birth. When they induce, when they medicate, when they choose a surgical delivery. That isn’t how we’re supposed to birth….and my story is an example of the consequences that come when we do.