My first experience with childbirth was not a pleasant one. I had prepared for a lot of things and made a birth plan way ahead of time, but once the time got there, almost none of it happened, and lots of avoidable things happened during the five days we were in the hospital.
We got there around 5 or 6 PM on Wednesday, March 22nd, because I thought my water broke. After testing, it was determined it hadn’t, but I was already 41 weeks, so they decided to keep me and start the process of induction the next morning when my ob/gyn would be there. I really hadn’t wanted to be induced, but I had been stuck at 2 centimeters for almost a month, and I figured I was already there, so we might as well get the process going.
After constant, insane fetal monitoring all night, during which I got no sleep, they started me on pitocin and broke my water a little after 9 AM. I had already been having contractions all night, but BOY they picked up intensity fast. Within a couple hours, I was having them every few minutes, and for almost the last hour and a half, I had them every minute. At 7 centimeters, I decided I was going to get a very small dose of IV pain relief because I had started shaking really hard and was getting a little worried about that. It didn’t help with anything, not even taking the edge off. It just got worse. I kept holding out, because I really didn’t want an epidural, but by 8 centimeters, I was shaking so bad and so pale, they thought I was going to pass out and so did I, and they told me the chance of cesarean increased if I became unconscious, so I begrudgingly agreed to the epidural. IT NEVER WORKED. The anesthesiologist even came back in to adjust the dose, and I still felt everything. Apparently, I am immune to really strong pain relief, including morphine and delaudid. How lucky am I? And let me tell you, the worst part of the epidural wasn’t even the needle, although that sucked too. The worst part was having to bend over and hold still while having back to back contractions!!!
After the epidural, things picked up an even greater intensity, and pretty soon, I felt the awesome feeling we all just love so much-like I had to poop. BAD. I yelled to everyone that I was going to have to start pushing because the pressure was too intense and I couldn’t stop it, and that was the truth. They checked and I was 10 centimeters, and the birthing process really began. I remember hearing a nurse say, “Oh this is her first child. She will be pushing for a long time.” Well, eleven pushes and maybe 20 minutes later, Draven Xavier Dennis came into the world at 2:53 PM, much like a birth on a cartoon, because I pushed so hard, he basically flew out. He had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck three times, but my ob/gyn had that under control very quickly. Then, the bad news started coming in.
I couldn’t hold him immediately because he was really cold and not breathing as well as he should, so they had him under a warming light and were clearing his nose and making sure his lungs were okay while I was getting sewn up because I tore and bled really bad. Like almost passed out bad. I could feel all the stitches I got and the shots they gave me to “numb the pain.” Once again, how lucky. They finally brought him to me for skin to skin and his first feeding, and he latched perfectly and all the bad stuff just melted away. Or so I thought.
The doctor and nurses said when my placenta came out, it wasn’t in very good shape and had actually started dying because it was apparent that my due date had been wrong and instead of being 41 weeks, I was actually probably closer to 44. Because of that, Draven had IUGR-intrauterine growth restriction-because my placenta was inadequate and he was kept smaller to get enough nutrition before he was born. The human body is an amazing thing with all its defense mechanisms, but that broke my heart. He was born at 6 pounds, 8.5 ounces, so he wasn’t that small thank God, but we started worrying if other symptoms of IUGR would present themselves as time went on.
They took him to the nursery a lot after that, even though I didn’t want them to, because they said hi temperature wasn’t regulating like it should (so what is the point of skin to skin again???), and they wanted me to pump for him since he would be gone so much. I pumped as often as I was told to, but I wasn’t making very much because my milk hadn’t come in yet, and they made a huge deal about that, basically saying my son was starving and he needed to supplement with formula. From the day he was born! They started taking him to the nursery all the time, especially when we were finally sleeping, giving him formula in the nursery, and I still wasn’t getting much out during feedings, so I started supplementing after each feeding with a little formula because we noticed he was pooping well, but didn’t pee his diaper until well into the second day after he was born. So many scare tactics on an overly tired brand new mom who still hadn’t slept after nearly two days. We were finally able to leave after five days of sadness and unwanted separation over and over.
The formula thing ended up being its own nightmare that we are still dealing with, and that will be discussed in a future post, because not only did we have to switch formula five times because Draven has a severe milk allergy, but it eventually led to me not being able to breast feed at all. I tried and tried, but I never was able to regulate my supply, and it eventually went out altogether a few weeks ago. Needless to say, this all was not what I wanted at all, and sometimes I still have a hard time dealing with it, especially since Draven now weighs right at 15 pounds and is 26 inches long at 11 weeks old and not only can he regulate his temperature very well, but he hates being very warm at all!
One thing I will say for moms-first time or veteran-SPEAK UP. Let the doctors and nurses know what you want, and also what you don’t want. I still beat myself up because I feel if I had just told them off more, it wouldn’t have been so bad. But deep down, I know that I was exhausted and scared to death, and I thought they had my best interests at heart, but the more I tell my story, in even greater detail, most people tend to agree that the nurses seemed like they just wanted their way and to make it easy on themselves instead of me. And I’ve never had issues with any nurses before ever, except the few in charge of the nursery. If I am lucky enough to have another child, I will at least have this memory so that I can try my hardest to make my next experience a good one.
Have you had your own bad birth experience? Was your first birth a good one? What do you wish would have or would not have happened? Let me know in the comments all about your magic moments!