Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Summary of Mason's birth (and why I'm terrified to give birth in the future)

Hi everyone. I've been talking to family lately and thinking of the possibility of having another child in the future. I know I want more children, but the thought of giving birth and going through recovery again absolutely terrifies me to the point of tears.

I thought I would post a short summary of my birth with Mason, because I've never posted it before, and explain why I'm afraid to give birth again.

WARNING: If talking about blood, giving birth and anything medically related and gross makes you queasy, stop reading now.

Ok..I've given my warning, so for those who like reading birth stories, here we go.

Ok, to begin with, I had a really easy pregnancy. No morning sickness, no gestational diabetes, low/normal blood pressure the entire time, ect.

I was obsessed with keeping the baby safe, even before he was born. I wouldn't let anyone smoke around me, I exercised whenever I could, counted kicks constantly, ect. My entire pregnancy was filled with googling birth stories, and googling things that could go wrong during pregnancy or birth. I took 3 months of prenatal classes, and thought I was prepared for any possible labor that could happen.

As all mothers know, no labor is the same and its impossible to know what yours will be like until you go through it.

I wrote up a birth plan in prenatal class. I was going to try to go as long as possible with no drugs, then ask for gas or IV meds, then an epidural as a last resort.

So, on the morning of April 1st 2014, I woke up as normal. My back was sore, but there was a major snow storm the night before, so I assumed it was from wading through the snow. I was laying in bed texting Mitch's sister, who told me that she played an April fools joke on their mom and said I was in labor. Literally less than 20 minutes later, I coughed and my water broke in bed. I thought I had peed myself at first, but when I stood up it started coming out in small gushes, so I went into the bathroom to check. Mitch was in the bathtub, and it took me a few minutes to tell him what had happened. I was calm, I wasn't in any pain, but I was kind of anxious about giving birth, since it was still the "unknown" and something I hadn't experienced before.

It wasn't like in the movies where the woman's water pours out onto the floor and everyone panics. I was relaxed. I called the hospital and they told me to come up so they could test the fluid to see if it was really amniotic fluid. I painted my toenails and did my make-up. I got my cousin Amber to drive me because our car was stuck in the snow, and Mitch met me at the hospital after.

They tested the fluid and it was positive for being amniotic fluid. They told me to go home and wait to see if labor started, and if it didn't start in 24 hours they would induce me.

We called my mom and told her, and she got ready to come to Fredericton. We left the hospital and went to Subway, then went home to watch Criminal Minds for a while. I cleaned the house a bit while waiting for mom.

Mom got there, and helped me clean the rest of the house. I was having minor back pain, but nothing to really mention. We decided to go to my prenatal class, which was fun because I was the first one to go into labor. They let me sit on the birthing ball and we watched videos on giving birth.

My back pain was becoming more frequent, and by the time we were having supper at Montana's with Mitch's family after class, we were able to time my contractions. We left Montana's after eating supper and went back to our apartment. My contractions were all in my back, and were about 5 minutes apart.

I labored at home until midnight (mostly on the floor and on the toilet because those were the only places I was comfortable), then mom and Mitch convinced me to go to the hospital. I called labor and delivery, and they told me to come in if I felt like I needed pain meds, so we went up.

The checked me for dilation and I was only 3-4 cms. When she checked me it was extremely painful. It felt like this nurse was elbow deep reaching for my heart or something. It still makes me cringe thinking about it. I asked for an epidural right away. I was still having all back labor and it felt like someone was crushing my spine with a vice grip every 5 minutes. The epidural hurt SO bad and it took him several tries to get it in. It felt like electric shocks in my spine, and when I heard a clicking sound, the doctor told me it was the needle hitting against my back bones (UHH ok..thanks for telling me that..)

To make this long story shorter, the epidural did not work properly. It froze me up too high, which made it so I could not feel my chest or lungs. Basically I couldn't feel myself breathing or coughing, which is kind of terrifying. They turned the epidural off, and tried again an hour or so later. This time it only froze one side of my body. So I was feeling all of the contractions in one side and nothing in the other.

I labored like this for hours. I tried the gas, but I hated it and it didn't work. My blood pressure ended up dropping pretty low, so they had to give me 3 bags of fluids to bring it back up. When I was 10cm dilated, they gave me a new medicine into the epidural, and he told me it would work for 1 hour so I could sleep, then I would have to wake up and push. While I was sleeping, they were also giving me pitocin to make the contractions stronger.

Exactly an hour later, I woke up with the worst contractions yet, and had to start pushing. I cant remember how long it took me to push him out, but I think it was close to an hour. I didn't feel the dreaded "ring of fire" that some moms describe, and the moment he came out, the contractions stopped and I felt so much better.

Aside from the horrible labor experience I had, it's also the recovery that makes me terrified to do it again.

Right after birth, I was able to walk due to my messed up epidural. I was bleeding too much, so they had to do a "vag pack"....that's literally what they called it, a vag pack haha. It's exactly what it sounds like- they packed my vagina with gauze.  Because of this, I had to have my catheter in for 24 hours until they could take the gauze out. For the next 24 hours, all I felt was extreme pressure down there.

I was able to take a shower right after giving birth, which was nice, but also one of the most embarrassing moments of my life, aside from having a room full of people (doctors, nurses, a nursing student, mom and Mitch) watching me give birth. In the shower I had an IV in still (which I also had to keep in for 24 hours) , my catheter, and I was packed full of gauze. I had to carry my pee bag, and the IV into the shower with me by myself, and try to take a shower. I had to get Mitch to help me, which was extremely embarrassing. I know he's my fiance, and he's obviously seen me naked, but there is something different about having someone see a catheter coming out of you, and the weird "after birth" belly in all of its glory.  NO ONE tells you about this when you're pregnant.

I had spent so many months googling giving birth, that I had forgot to google taking care of a newborn. Breastfeeding was impossible because he refused to latch (but that's a story for another post), the nurses acted like I was stupid for not knowing how to calm my screaming newborn, and I could barely move around with everything that was attached to me the first night. It was completely terrifying.

The next day, they came in and removed the gauze, IV and catheter. I felt SO much better until I stood up to go to the bathroom. Instantly once I stood up, blood started pooling around my feet, covering my slippers and leaving a trail behind me on the way to the bathroom. The nurses were nice about it and cleaned it up, but it seriously looked like someone had been stabbed or something. I have never seen that much blood in my life. It was like this every time I stood up, and even worse after the nurses press on your stomach (which they do a lot).

Recovery at home wasn't much easier. I only had stitches on the inside, so I didn't notice them healing, but I bled for a long time. I even passed a clot the size of a plum one day and thought I was dying. Breastfeeding (or trying to) was hell for me and I honestly think it made it harder to bond with Mason. I've already made the decision that next time I'm going to pump and formula feed only.

I ended up getting extreme postpartum anxiety and OCD after his birth, which was also terrifying, and having to go on an anti-depressant for a year after just to function normally. I have also had really bad back issues that I fully believe are from the messed up epidural. Around 2 months postpartum I had an entire 3 days where I couldn't walk and Mason had to stay with his grandmother. OH and the cherry on top of everything was not have ANY bladder control for about 3 months after his birth. Like any. I could be watching TV and all of a sudden be peeing myself with no warning at all, and no urge to pee. This made it extremely difficult to take him for walks, or really go anywhere because I never knew when I was going to pee. Thankfully that is completely back to normal now, but I still have issues with my back sometimes.

So that's it. My birth experience still makes me cry to think about it, and I am completely terrified of going through it again. Of course I will never get another epidural, so hopefully that will save me from a lot of those issues I mentioned above, but you never know what kind of birthing experience you're going to have, and knowing what it COULD be like is what scares me.

Feel free to leave your birth story in the comments below, or link your own blog post about it.

Dedreanna




1 comment

  1. I am Dedreanna's mom...I wrote this letter to baby Mason so that some day he would know what his mom went through to bring him into the world.

    Someday baby Mason...when you are all grown up...I want you to read the story of your birth.I want you to realize just how extraordinary your mom is..
    Although by that time I am sure you will know that.

    Lets start with the phone call on April fools day from your mom telling me that she was in labor. She loves a good joke so I was confused as to whether or not she was telling the truth. Then the tone of her voice let me know that it was go time!

    It took me several phone calls, five trips between the house and the car and three stops before I was off to Fredericton to welcome you into the world. Hands shaking all the way...tears of joy and apprehension...and I am always the calm one.

    I arrived to find her calm and putting on makeup...just a little back pain she said. She then insisted that we go to her last prenatal class. Needless to say that all the girls were so excited for her. We then went to dinner with your aunt and other nana...then home to wait for labor to progress.

    Two hours later she was on her hands and knees to ease the back labor pains. She was insisting that we not go to the hospital yet. I was having a mini meltdown envisioning delivering you myself. Daddy and I finally convinced her to go!

    An hour after we were set up in the delivery room she began to really feel the contractions and decided on an epidural. I breathed a sigh of relief.

    Her sarcasm took hold as I was trying to undo her bra under her hospital gown so she could get the epidural. I fumbled the fasten...she turns around and looks at me with a straight face and says"what are you...a 16 year old boy in the backseat of a car?". The entire room laughed.

    While waiting for the doctor she said"I want a scapel" I laughed but daddy said why ? She said to cut you so you can feel my pain! I love your mom so much!

    When they realized the epidural was not taking they gave her a boost of meds...and her blood pressure dropped so low that my heart stopped.the doctor was called and the nurses took bags of saline solution and squeezed them through her iv to force them into her system faster. Finally her blood pressure levelled out and I began to breathe again. Your mom was the only calm one in the room.

    She laboured like a champ...but said don't touch me...ok scratch me...don't look at me...why are you looking away? Then I did breathing with her during her worst contractions...she said"stop breathing? I said "I can't...I will die"

    The doctors decided to try different meds in her epidural they said that what happened before wouldn't happen again

    At that point with her eyes glazed over with pain mom said"I don't care if you freeze everything but my eyeballs!

    He tried it and it worked...we did a fist bump! Did not work for long. The doctor came back and asked how she was feeling...just awesome she said sarcastically! That's my girl!

    Mom had a hard go after that...but she did great...so proud of her.

    I am in awe of her strength and determination to bring you into the world safely. I almost lost it so many times...but her strength kept me going...the parent learning from the child.

    Finally the big moment...your arrival. You pushed your head and shoulders out, freed your little arms...screaming and flailing your little fists before the rest of you even left mom. A fighter from second one! Go Mason;

    It was love at first sight for all of us...your sweet face...cute little sounds...never silent...kind of like your uncle Ben...a fighter from the get go. You get that from great nana, nana and mom.

    Always come up swinging baby and never let anyone silence you! We love you to the moon and back!

    Nana

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