Posts Tagged ‘epidural’

In a quest to find a few more good blogs to add to my reading list, I stumbled upon a very interesting post concerning Dr. Phil and his ‘soon to be’ show titled “I regret my HOME BIRTH’. Are you appalled, floored, yet?

Home-birthers, Home-birthing wannabe’s, and fellow au naturale ladies- It is time to stand up and set the record straight. The original post, “Why I Hate Dr. Phil: Sensationalizing Home Births” is by Eco Child’s Play author Jennifer Lance. After reading the post, I headed over to Dr. Phil’s, signed up to be on the ‘regretting home-births show’  and let ‘er rip, I was so excited I copied my message to share with each of you, only to forget moments later – which means I copied something else onto my clipboard before posting it here. I know hello, what was I thinking! Anyway, it went a bit like this:

” I did not have a home birth, but before you delete my message, consider this- I did have a hospital birth that I sincerely regretted, with no thanks to a staff of incompetent, insincere and uncommunicative medical practitioners. I do not regret my son’s birth, however because of their lack of the above, I landed a UTI MRSA STAPH INFECTION. Will Dr. Phil be so kind to show the harm taking place in hospitals?”

I actually think that may have been better than the original- go figure. Anyway, you should do the same if you would like justice for the ‘misconceptions’ the media make, of course we know that isn’t what sells though.  Maybe we should petition Oprah?


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Disclaimer: The following details/pictures maybe graphic in nature to some. And the post is pretty long. Ok, there I warned you.

I have wanted to post the story of Garrett’s birth for awhile now. I have read and watched so many birthing stories and always hoped to share my own. Yet, even after starting this blog, I was hesitant to share.

Why you might ask?

Well, there are a few reasons. Although, his birth was beautiful we did have a few complications and these have tainted my fairytale birth. It was hard to get over what happened. I spent an entire month going over and over his entire birth. Did I do something wrong? I would tell the story to anyone and everyone willing to listen, because I needed to release my anger with the hospital where Garrett was delivered. After telling my story to every Dick, Tom and Harry; my anger faded and I realized that although it was not perfect, I had accomplished the birth I had wished for, regardless of the hospital and their incompetence. Plus, I figured people who had heard my story over and over again, were now tired of hearing it. (Namely, my husband, family and close friends). That’s when I decided to wait a bit longer before posting Garrett’s birth story.
However, tonight I have decided it’s time to reflect on his arrival. Which seems fitting, since Garrett turns 4 months old tomorrow. Boy, it seems like ages ago.
Garrett’s due date was April 19th. Thinking back, I believe I knew I would deliver before his due date. I had truly hoped to give birth on my late grandfather’s birthday (it was the same as Garrett’s due date), I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I had been wrong on the sex of the baby, but on this I was right. I was still working into my 9th month and remember thinking one day while at work, “How will I know that I am in labor and will I be working when it happens?” I think I ended up calling every mom I knew in those last few weeks trying to get a handle on what exactly contractions would feel like! I probably drove some folks crazy or least I’m sure a few of them had a good laugh at my desperation in needing to know. But after all, I was going to attempt Garrett’s birth au naturale and so I needed to be as prepared as possible for what was to come.
The week before Garrett was born I was very bloated and as big as a house. Of course, with the amount of food I was consuming at this point, it’s no wonder he came early. We were given a shower the Saturday before (March 29th) at my husband’s work – and many predicted in jest that I would deliver the following day. Although, I didn’t give birth the next day, small contractions did begin that week and always while I was working. They started irregular and in my back. I was confused at first as to what exactly they were and called my family and friends to alert them that I was concerned that this might mean labor would be soon. I’m not for sure anyone even believed me, because of that old adage that supposedly you rarely deliver early with your first.
Bryan’s father’s birthday was April 2nd– and on this day I had stronger and longer contractions in my back. I was tempted to go to the hospital, but rested for awhile and eventually they subsided. The next day, was a Thursday and I had to drive 45 minutes to my doctor (his partner was out of town, which meant only the Georgetown office was open). I insisted that I was having minor contractions, yet he refused to check and see if I was dilated. He thought it was unnecessary. (He was going out of town the next day.) The ride home was nerve racking as I experienced cramping that came in waves for the entire trip and this time they were in the front. Yet, again they ended as abruptly as they had arrived.
The next day, on April 4th I went to work. I remembered telling folks, I was ready for Garrett to come! Little did I know, he would arrive in a little over 24 hours.
That evening I came home famished! I literally stuffed myself. That’s probably what pushed Garrett over the edge and made him decide he was ready! He didn’t have anymore room! Bryan had went out after work with his friends, his last ‘boys night out’ for sometime. (Funny thing is, I had insisted for a couple of weeks that he needed to go out soon before Garrett made his arrival) Bryan came home late that night-about 2:30-ish. I remember him coming in and chatting a bit in bed with me about his night out and how all he could talk about with his friends was how excited he was that Garrett would be here soon! He was a bit drunk. Thinking back, as he spoke to me, I became nauseous…I guess I smelled alcohol on his breath (even though I had no sense of smell during my pregnancy and still don’t have it back 100%).
By this time, Bryan was falling asleep and I quietly thought to myself, “Hmmm, could that mean what I think it does?” It wasn’t worth alerting him just yet. I needed him to get some rest! Luckily, it subsided enough that I was able to fall asleep, too.
I woke up around 6:30 am to what I first thought was stomach pains. I laid in bed trying to get a feel for what was taking place- it was unlike anything I had experienced before, not the cramps before and not even painful, these were more like waves of movement. I stayed in bed for about an hour timing how often they came and realized they were every 10 minutes and were very consistent.
I knew that this was it, so I calmly got up and started trying to complete 1,000 things we hadn’t got around to finishing yet! I was LITERALLY painting letters (a present for a fellow pregnant girlfriend that I have yet to give her) for the first hour, then I washed clothes and cleaned house. I was determined that we would have everything in order. During this time, I managed to have my ‘bloody show’ twice by 9:45 am and the contractions were now 6-7 minutes apart. At this point, I would have to stop and be still for a few moments as the contraction passed. I knew it was time to finally wake up Bryan. (It was the 2nd bloody show and the closeness in contractions that startled me into getting serious about this birth!)
I remember I yelled for him at first and then went in and out of the bedroom all the while telling him it was time to go. Bryan was still drunk I believe, because his first reaction was to ask “Time to go where?” and then, “Do we have a Doctor’s appointment?” I quickly explained to him that it was time to have our son, that I was in labor, but wanted to vacuum and shower before we left for the hospital. He asked, “You want to what? You want to vacuum?” To which, I announced, “NO, I want you to vacuum.” I ran around packing our bag at this point! We hadn’t even ‘officially’ packed a bag and I really had no clue as to what I should put in it. Anything I thought about putting in a bag seemed pointless to me. What would I really need, other than the phone, a camera, toothbrush, socks and a nightgown? I couldn’t think straight. All I could think of was this little guy getting ready to make his entrance and that I wasn’t for sure if I was really ready yet!
I mean I was, but I had so many more things I wanted to do around the house…
By 11:00 am I had lost more of my bloody show and the contractions were down to 4-5 minutes apart. Under Bryan’s persistence, I showered (had Bryan had his way I wouldn’t have even done this!) and we finally took off for the hospital. I truly would have stayed at the house a little while longer if I could have. I was determined to get to the hospital and be past 4 centimeters! We still hadn’t called our doula and we hadn’t went over my birth plan again, this time it was going to be in writing. (Which we were scheduled to do that very day at 1pm).
We called Vanessa (our doula) as we arrived at the hospital. It was around 11:30 by this time. It took the hospital about 30 minutes to get me omitted and checked into my room, even though I was preregistered. (I should have known we were headed for a bumpy ride). Unfortunately, I had to be hooked up to everything (which was not a part of my birth plan…I had tested positive for group strep B and would need antibiotics before he was born). I also knew neither of my doctors would be delivering Garrett as they had a rotation in place with another practice- I went into labor on the other practice’s rotation. They also cover 2 hospitals, the other is 45 minutes from the one I was in. No problem, there were always 2 doctors on call in case 2 births were taking place at the same time, or at least we thought…
Once I was in the room, my nurse checked me and found that I was dilated to a 4 and 1/2 and that I was 80% effaced. Finally, my doula arrived and started filling in a pseudo birth plan for us to follow. The nurse then offered an epidural, but I managed along without as the contractions continued. At this point, they were pretty intense but not unbearable- I had Bryan and Vanessa there to coach me on and could still talk during them. Vanessa has started playing Enya, a very relaxing Celtic like music, along with other similar cds. By 4:00 pm I was checked again and the nurse told us that I was close to 7 cm and 90% effaced. We were also told that the doctor was in Georgetown, but would be here shortly. (Is that so?)
Sometime between 4 and 7, which consisted of a lot of breathing and sitting on a birthing ball, Bryan left to shower. Labor slowed during this time, I guess I wasn’t going to give birth without him! Once he was back, our friend Danny showed up dressed as Superman, seems he thought it could help deliver our little guy for us!

My contractions were beginning to really pick up, so he only stayed long enough to get a few good giggles out of me. As he stood there for a few minutes, a huge contraction hit me and I’m sure he realized at that point it was time for him to leave. The fun was over. As I changed positions often from the birthing ball to leaning on Bryan, Vanessa coached Bryan on ways he could help relieve the pressure of the baby making his way down the birth canal. She would rub my back as Bryan pressed firmly on my hips. It was a sweet relief. I would hold and lean on Bryan as contractions came. Although contractions were painful, the two of them made it much better. I found myself in my own world working through the contractions, envisioning baby being born.
Well by 7pm, my contractions were right on top of one another and many of the numerous positions I chose weren’t working, so at my request the nurse checked and I was at 8+. I just knew I had to be getting close! Shortly after she checked me and with a little push from me, my water broke all over the place. It was as if someone open the flood gates because it literally gushed out! Things became really crazy, as I progressed very very quickly. It was all I could do to just hold Bryan and Vanessa’s hands during the contractions, they were in waves, crashes into me. It felt as if my whole body was moving and transforming. Bryan later told me that I was only grunting the whole time. I never yelled, not even when Garrett was born. I think this is because it’s somewhat of a dance, back and forth- both baby and mommy are dancing together and it’s important that mommy is in deep concentration to help this dance flow.
Anyhow, it was obviously that the nurse wasn’t ready for my progression. She checked my cervix again and this time told us that I was a 9+ and 95% effaced. Ok, well I was definitely feeling the urge to push-but, this lady starts telling me that I can’t push, that I need to stop because it isn’t time yet.
It wasn’t time yet? Hello, are you giving birth? Can you feel what I am feeling?
In the matter of a couple of seconds, this lady made my birth go from peaceful and beautiful to frantic and stressful. The next 20 minutes consisted of me fighting my body’s natural impulses because she was telling me I would hurt my cervix otherwise. Well, okay maybe I was in transition, I was shaking, but I was also having the most intense urge to push, I felt my body tell me its time to have this baby.
Who is more likely right, a nurse or me? And, that’s when I began questioning myself- at this point, you are so consumed by the contractions that what your thinking is hard to convey to the outside world. You literally feel as if your trapped in your body or having an outer body experience. I did tell her no several times, but she made me begin the ‘breathing technique of hee hee hee‘, which only confused me more. This was the most agonizing 20 minutes of my entire life. I felt so helpless, I think Bryan could see it in my eyes- during this, he went outside our room to the nurse’s station and yelled at the nurses that the doctor needed to get here because it was time and that he knew I knew I was ready, so where was the doctor, exactly? He told me this weeks later.
Question is, why were they making me wait? Supposedly I was still at a 9 1/2 and only 95 % effaced…even after 20 minutes….ok, whatever.
Aside from being hooked up to every thing possible that you can imagine, and receiving antibiotics for GBS+, and being told to stop pushing, the nurse made me lay down in the bed- which was the most uncomfortable position in the whole world. We were just fine sitting up and using the birthing rail!! But, no I was forced to get into ‘their’ position. I did manage to sit back up in the bed squatting as Bryan and Vanessa held me up on each side. But, my concentration was being broken, it took me a few times to get back into any rhythm….I was so tired now.
Our room became a madhouse and things were really hectic and crazy, it was the changing of shifts. There must have been at least and I am not lying 8 nurses in our room. What the heck was going on? Lo and behold, if the doctor didn’t finally show up from the other hospital! Did this doctor think she was swooping in to save me in just the nick of time…oh, please! (It started pouring rain outside, too and you could see the lightning out the window). The doctor had me change positions again, she didn’t like not being able to see anything, I suppose.
I was absolutely beat now, from all that ‘don’t push nonsense’ that I needed oxygen to even be able to efficiently push. I pushed about 9 times, when the doctor said that my angel’s heartbeat dropped. (I question this now, as the monitor was having issues keeping Garrett’s heartbeat the whole time I was there from 11:30 that morning). I remember a frantic room, the doctor yelling to prep the O.R. AND before I knew it, she was giving me a catheter! What tha?
At that moment, I said I don’t think so! This baby is coming out NOW and he’s coming NATURALLY. I started pushing with all my might- the doctor pulled out forceps (seems my little guy was stuck SIDEWAYS*, but no one told us) and kindly assisted.
*Sidenote* I found this out by obtaining my medical records four weeks postpartum.
Shortly after, I felt his head with my hand and even looked down and saw his head pop out sideways! He was bright-eyed and looking around! Imagine that! Crazy, heh? Especially for a baby who’s heartbeat dropped!! And with another push our sweet baby was born at 7:43 pm. Bryan cut the cord and he was placed upon me. He weighed in at 7 lbs and 1.2 ounces and was 19 3/4 inches long.

His apgar scores were 8 and 9. Are you sure his heartbeat dropped? Maybe all this occurred because my baby’s head was turned sideways and no one told us and just maybe it had to do with 3 nurses trying to reinsert my IV’s as I was pushing! Or maybe it had to do with me not being able to push because there wasn’t a doctor there to assist in the delivery? And maybe it was because the doctor decided to show up only 23 minutes before Garrett was born…just maybe. But what do I know? I’m only the lady that gave birth to her son.

Life was wonderful at this point, I was very exhausted, but enjoying our little boy with Bryan. He was absolutely perfect.

Of course, the doctor had to ruin our fun, she decided that this would be a great opportunity to start stitching me up where I tore.* “Oh, you’re used to delivering all those woman who give birth and have epidurals, I see.” Let me just tell each and everyone of you that her stitching me up was MORE painful than my whole labor. I am not joking either. I was in so much pain and the doctor looked at me like I was crazy when I asked her to numb me!

*Sidenote* I tore at the catheter’s location…and this is how I landed a UTI STAPH infection.

So you see, Garrett came into this world abruptly under the guise of incompetent nurses and doctors that thought they knew what was best for me and my son. Maybe they did know, but when you don’t communicate those needs to those involved, then your efforts are lost! Things get mucked up and the one person that is actively participating in the birth gets left behind. Her labor becomes a joke and her wishes get lost in what you expect for all your other patients. This is when patients, regardless of their birth plan, drug or no drug choices become a dollar sign and birth becomes a BUSINESS* and not a miracle.
*Reference to the documentary, The Business of Being Born.

Thanks Waccamaw Community Hospital. I will never deliver or seek treatment with you again.
There I said it and I feel much better. I guess I am still bitter. But, only because they stole a very precious moment from me. I am blessed he is healthy and I think that his birth was beautiful. I feel rewarded for going without drugs, but wish it could have been peaceful, too.
If anything I hope my story helps others to be more aware, less passive and question more doctors and hospitals about their practices, beliefs, policies, etc…I know I will next time. I will have a midwife & doula and not a doctor. I will birth in a birthing center or at home. Because this is my body, my womb and my baby. I could have never done this without the support and love of Bryan or the comfort and direction of our doula, Vanessa. Both, were so very important.
If you made it this far, you deserve something. Seriously…that was almost as painful as the stitches.

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