Friday, June 18, 2010

Mourning the experience

It's no secret that I didn't have the birth I wanted.

I had it planned out in my mind. I knew what I wanted.

Josh and I had talked about the possibility of a home birth or a birthing center, but since there wasn't an operating birthing center in the Phoenix area and neither of us felt 100% comfortable with delivering at home we decided to use a certified nurse midwife at a local hospital.

I was worried about cesarean from the beginning. I knew that was the last thing I wanted. I didn't want to have to recover from surgery. In my mind having a c-section wasn't giving birth. I wanted to feel my child and experience pushing him out into the world. I had wanted to attempt to give birth without medication to help the pain because I wanted to trust my body to do what it was suppose to do. However I knew that I would be o.k. if I had to have the pain meds as long as I avoided pitocin and a cesarean. I wanted to go as long as I could without the pain meds.

In a way I feel cheated. I didn't have the labor I wanted. Instead I had inconsistent and painful contractions for weeks and a cervix that wouldn't budge. With the help and guidance of several midwives at the hospital we attempted to artificially soften my cervix. I didn't want to have pitocin so we attempted cervadil and that softened the cervix, but didn't really help in the long run. The next attempt was to use a folly catheter, which is the least invasive way to induce, and that worked. My cervix finally began to dilate. My water broke on its own and I thought for sure that my body would do its job. I was dilated at 3cm.

I was having strong contractions all night. Finally I gave in to the exhaustion and had stadol so I could sleep. After a few hours of sleep I was up walking, bouncing on the birthing ball, and moving positions, but my cervix still wouldn't dilate beyond 3cm. I was in so much pain and after talking with Josh and knowing how tired I was already and how much work was still ahead I agreed to have an epidural.

It was more painful then some of the contractions I was having and I called the anesthesiologist worse names than I've ever called another person. The relief that is was suppose to give me made me feel worse, not physically, but mentally. I couldn't feel my legs and the pain of the contractions anymore, but the pain I went through for it to me was not worth it and the guilt I felt for giving into my pain made me want to cry. At that point my water had been broken for 15 hours and I had been in the hospital for over 30 hours with very little sleep. Shortly after that I became so cold I was shaking and shivering.

I started running a temperature. There were several attempt to bring it down but it was well over 100 degrees and then Silas' heart rate jumped from 120 bpm to over 180. I still hadn't dilated beyond 3cm and now there was talk that my amniotic fluid could be infected causing the fever and the elevated heart rate. My midwife told me the safest option at that point for me and for the baby was a cesarean. My heart broke into a million pieces. It was the very thing I wanted to avoid.

Even with my husband, my parents, and my midwife assuring me that it was out of my hands and that it wasn't my fault I felt so guilty and angry and sad. I knew with this surgery that I would not get to birth my child and all my after birth plans would change.

I was not the first person to see and hold my son. I didn't get to cradle him against my chest, count his fingers and toes, or cherish those first moments after birth. Instead of basking in the glow of parenthood, with my husband, Josh had to leave my side to accompany Silas and I was stitched up and taken to recovery. Everyone in my family got to see my son and spend time with him before me. Instead of being taken to couplet care and nursing him he was placed in the nursery with an I.V. in his hand. One visitor at a time came to see me in recovery and showed me pictures and video, which just isn't the same. It was nearly 3 hours before I got to see him in person and 5 before I could hold him. He spent the first 48 hours in the nursery for anti-biotics.

While we were in the hospital we struggled with breast feeding. I knew there would be a chance that it would be a struggle because of the reduction. I knew it was possible that nothing would come at all. I was hopeful though. I saw three different lactation consultants and had three different sets of advice. By the third day I had to come to the realization that I would have to supplement and attempted to do so with a synthetic nursing system so he would stay on the breast. We had a plan and finally we were going to head home.

I thought that things would get better from there, but things just started to spiral. Two days after returning home my incision split open and became infected. A week and two days after that I was readmitted to the hospital because my uterus had become infected. Both of these things impact our breast feeding relationship greatly. Not long after that I developed and gave Silas thrush and I came down with mastitis. Plus at this point I was crying at the drop of a hat and felt like a failure through and through.

Even though I love Silas more than words can express and I have a healthy child in my arms I'm still struggling with his birth and month following with my own recovery. I'm unsure if I'll ever want to have another one given the situation, even though Dr. Porter and my midwife say that I could have a VBAC in the future. I'm so angry and sad and frustrated.

I love Silas and I love the relationship we're building together. I also love being a mommy and watching Silas grow and develop, but I also need to let my anger and frustrations out. Its not what I wanted and all I want to do is cry when I think about it. The only thing that I am happy about is having Silas and starting our family.

1 thoughts:

McCall said...

I am so sorry! Even though I wasn't in your same situation, I know exactly the feelings you are having. Motherhood is wonderful but there are times in the beginning when you are overwhelmed with guilt and sadness because things are not perfect. It's normal to feel like this, you and your body have been through so much (even more than most), just know there are better days ahead :)