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By Tiffany Adkins
MY FIRST PREGNANCY and BIRTH:
With my first pregnancy I was living with my at the time fiance in an upstairs apartment that was a half of an hour away from the hospital. So when it came time for me to be due, I went to stay with my stepmother and my dad who lived just 15 minutes from the hospital. My OB had done little to prepare me for birth and when I went in for my due date appointment and was still 1 cm, she asked when I wanted the baby to be born. I had never thought of that! I had no idea what to say. She threw out some dates, pointed out the school cut off dates, and scheduled an induction.
On the morning of August 28th 2010 I was at least a week past my due date and had an induction scheduled for the next morning. I did know what I thought was a lot then, enough to know I wanted a natural birth without drugs, I wanted to breastfeed, and have my baby with me as much as possible. I had fallen asleep on the couch and awoke at around 5:30 to what I thought was somebody banging on the front door. Next thing I knew I felt like I was about to pee in my pants lol. I waddled as fast as I could to the restroom, which is hard enough when you’re pregnant much less when you're trying to hold pee in! I had a trickle of fluid come out for what seemed like an hour. Once I thought it was done, my only thought was I'm so tired I'm going back to bed. I grabbed a towel just in case, laid it on the bed with me on top of it and went back to sleep. I woke up again at 9:30 feeling like I had to pee, went back to the restroom for another round of slow never ending leakage. once I was pretty sure it was done, I came out and told my step mother that I thought my water had broken. She flipped out lol and off we went to the hospital.
When we got to the hospital they took me in and put me on a monitor and the nurse, I'll never forget this; they actually chastened me for not coming in the first time my water had broken. Had I known then what I know now or if I had gotten a good nurse I would have gone straight home from there because I was not feeling any contractions though she did say I was having some.
They got me into a room and a gown, set me up on monitors, and left me lying in the bed. I didn't know enough at the time to advocate for myself and make sure I could get up. The nurses seemed extremely nice but the only time I saw them was when I needed to call for help getting to the restroom and when they came in every half hour to ask if I was ready for my epidural. My family and fiancé sat around making small talk and watching me like a time bomb ready to explode. I never felt what I thought contractions would feel like; it just felt like I constantly had to go to the restroom. They'd check my dilation now and then, which had I known that was not necessary and would lead to infection I never would have allowed it. I came in at a 1 and within 8 hours had barely progressed to a 4. Once within that time my OB came in to let me know I had disturbed her daughter's soccer game. By this time it was around 6 p.m., I was tired, hadn't eaten all day, and caved to the constant offering of an epidural. This is where everything started to go really downhill.
Getting the epidural was excruciating, far worse than any of the contractions. The first time they placed it, it was hurting me, so they removed it and placed it again. After that I fell asleep but was awakened every so often, I can't remember the number of times now, by the nurses who had me constantly changing position. Bad part is the epidural numbed me from neck down and I was unable to breathe well much less flip over. I kept hearing the nurses say the baby doesn't like that side and they kept moving me around. I still wasn't feeling any contractions and the last time they checked I had only made it to five or six dilation. at around 1am my OB came in with a bunch of nurses and woke me up to tell me I had made a college effort but I had a fever and the baby's heart rate kept dropping so they were going to go in after her. I was so disappointed and scared that all I could do was cry.
They prepped me for surgery while I was crying, No words other than asking if they could prep down below then off they whisked me still crying to the surgery room. Unbeknownst to me they had just handed my fiancé his scrubs and he had gone to change. All I knew was there were strangers everywhere and I was being wheeled away to have something done to me that I did not want done. I felt so helpless and almost like I was in a bad dream. Going in, a man told me that he would be beside me in case I needed to vomit. I was still under some heavy drugs and my eyes we're struggling to stay open as I felt tugging and pulling. That's when I did start to throw up but unfortunately the man who was supposed to be helping me in case this occurred was too busy watching my c-section to help and when I started to choke I yelled out, which was not much more than a noisy gurgle with all the liquid in my mouth which was running down my chin at that point. Luckily he heard and suctioned it out. That’s when my fiancé came in the room which he says was literally as they were pulling the baby out of me. I heard her cry and in my drug induced fog barely recognized that as my child. They brought her over for a second and allowed me to kiss her and touch her before handing her off to Daddy. I remember looking over and thinking why does he get to hold her first. I remember being so sad and betrayed by that. I was in and out of consciousness from that point on for at least a day.
I remember them wheeling me back to the room and telling me to push a button if I was in pain. Now you have to understand me. I don't take things for pain. But this pain was some of the worst I had ever felt so after wrestling with myself, I finally pushed the button and nothing happened. So I waited a little while and pushed it again, still nothing. After a half dozen tries and the pain being bad enough that I was crying at this point, I gave up and called the nurse. On the third try someone finally answered, I told them what was going on and they said someone would come in to help. I had to call a second time to get them to come in. As I was laying there crying I heard someone come in and fumble around with some things then say Oh it’s not hooked up. That was just another notch on the belt of betrayal. They fixed it; I pushed the button once then fell asleep. I remember my dad coming in at some point and telling me my daughter was beautiful just like me and that got me crying again.
The next time I woke up I was in the postpartum room. From that point on, things start to get clearer in my memory. Breastfeeding seemed to start out well but was extremely painful. I was in a lot more pain then I had expected and it took me an extra day to get on my feet. The next couple of months are a bit of a blur. Breastfeeding continued to be very painful and I ended up with an infection in open wounds around each nipple and had to stop. I know at one point I had a high fever for a couple of days that I did nothing about or told anyone about. I was on my own for the most part and didn't realize that could be life threatening. After being home about a week, once I was out of pain meds, I started experiencing excruciating abdominal pain anytime that I laughed, sneezed, bent over, coughed, etc. After consulting with the nurse at my Ob's office, I went to the ER to make sure it wasn't something life threatening. They didn't find anything and they didn't give me anything for the pain so the ultrasound was extremely painful but it was there I finally had my breasts looked at and had my first bowel movement. By the time I had my postpartum checkup the pain had lessoned and the OB said I'd most likely had one of my ribs bruised during the surgery.
THE BIRTH OF MY VBAC BABY:
When I found out I was pregnant I knew immediately that I wanted a natural birth, anything but a c section! And I knew that I never wanted an epidural again. I had learned a little more since my first birth and I did what I could to get a midwife, which I didn't end up getting, and I hired a doula.
Pregnancy this time was totally different. I had Braxton Hicks for months and early labor for a few days. Once the contractions evened out to a steady 5 - 8 minutes apart I knew things were starting to happen. The day of my last nst, which was about a week after my due date, I woke up with contractions every 2 to 3 minutes lasting one minute but it wasn't uncomfortable so I had no plans of going to the hospital. Unfortunately, I had my appointment with a more conventional nurse practitioner who I had butted heads with a few times over my pregnancy (we got along just fine but we didn't see eye to eye and she was very medically minded but we did have a friendly relationship). She felt concerned about the baby's heart rate not coming back from contractions as well as she would have liked, which honestly made me immediately sick to my stomach fearing I was on my way to another c section. My awesome supportive hubby and I talked about it and we both felt she may be pulling a bait and switch on us. We called my doula and let her know what was going on, went home to eat and pack, and made the hour long drive to the Hospital.
Once we got there and into a room, they hooked me up to a monitor to see how everything looked. That was quite a battle as I had to fight for a wireless monitor. The OB on call came in to go over everything with us. Come to find out the nurse had sent me in for an induction according to their system. He checked me (I knew not to get checked with broken waters but didn't learn until after this birth that dilation isn't a good indication of labor progression) & I was a 2 so we agreed to a Foley bulb induction. We went over my birth plan which was honestly pretty awesome going head-to-head with this doctor about what I wanted. He reluctantly agreed to let me have the wireless monitor and only an IV port.
Once they got me hooked up they pretty much left me on my own which was absolutely fine by us. I got up about five minutes after they left and unplugged everything they had me hooked up to. My doula had hit traffic and came just as the doctor came in and she was a huge help in advocating for our birth plan. She helped direct me in moving and walking, which the doctor haughtily pronounced wouldn't do good as he left the room. The contractions were strong but still very bearable but did have me stopping in the midst of them which were a little uncomfortable walking up and down the halls with nothing to grab onto. I ended up doing most of my pacing beside my bed. The bulb fell out not long after being placed. I've heard people say the Foley bulb inductions are painful but the only thing that hurt for me was the tape on my leg.
My doula administered oils and helped get me into different positions to keep things moving along. At one point things started to get really painful. I was having heavy back labor that would have sent me for pain meds had it not been for my husband and doula. With one pressing on my lower back and the other squeezing my hips the pain was actually very minimal. At one point my body started to bear down some and my doula suggested I sit on the toilet. It took about two contractions for me to find out that made it a lot worse and at one point I heard a huge gush. At the time I figured that was my water but I didn't think to look down to check.
Things got real after that. Contractions were one on top of another and I couldn't help bearing down with every other one. At that point I thought it was best to just check and see if my water had broken so my doula called in the doctor who had me lay down on the bed so he could check. As soon as I sit down a gush of meconium filled water came out. He told me at this point I wasn't close enough to being ready to push so I needed to try to calm down and not push or I could damage things and that he would be back in 2 hours to check on me. If I hadn't been in so much pain I would have laughed at him. At no point in the last hour or so had I been able to control my body. My doula suggested a shower which did not help at all except to scare my husband when gushes of fluid would come out with blood in it when I would bear down plus it was slippery and I kept thinking at any moment that I would fall down. So back to the bed we went. They were doing the best job they could to try to keep me calm and to help me to stop pushing but I couldn't help it. By that time I was just trying to focus on anything I could and count to take my mind off the pain and do the breathing techniques my doula was showing us. By the time I started yelling at them that I couldn't stop from pushing, my doula suggested we get the doctor back in to check things out. This was only an hour after he'd been in and he was none too happy to be called in but come to find out the baby was crowning. After a few minutes of pushing hard (which is something I now know I didn't need to do) she was born ☺. I did have a second degree tear that got stitches and some massive hemorrhoids but it was all worth it to be up and about just as soon they finished with the stitches, to be able to hold my baby for as long as I wanted, and to be able to rejoin my family so soon. My doula did let me know that the Dr. was in the middle of a birth next door, which is why he hadn't wanted me pushing, but my little one had other plans and beat the other baby to the punch ☺.
Recovery was great; we went home as soon as they would let us walk out the door. I was at the stove that afternoon cooking away ☺. Breastfeeding has gone wonderfully well and we are marking 17 months and counting still going strong!
Disclaimer: The information on this site is for educational purposes and is intended to motivate you to make your own informed choices based on your research, along with your partnership with your OB or Midwife. Please always talk to your care provider when making any decisions about your pregnancy and birth.