- 2 years ago
- Wedding: July 2012
This turned out rather long and I feel like I could write more! Hope it is of interest:
About 3 weeks before my due date, I came down with the most terrible flu I’ve ever had. I was supposed to be training my replacement at work and instead I had to spend an entire week in bed and a second week on the couch, hunched over the humidifier. I developed a terrible cough and strained all my back muscles coughing so hard. Because of the cough and the congestion, I couldn’t sleep properly either. Really awful. So we were pretty stressed that I was going to go into labour and end up in an isolation ward at the hospital. We just kept focusing on getting over the flu (I went to the doctor three times but there was nothing they could give me) with lots of rest and fluids etc. I had just started to feel a little better and was doing some half days at work when one night on one of my many middle of the night pee breaks, my mucus plug came out. There was no question in my mind that is what it was. That same night, on the next pee break, I realized that I had soaked my pajama bottoms. The next morning we called the midwife and went in so she could do a test to see if my waters had broken. According to her test, they had not. She figured it was just some fluid build-up around the plug. So, knowing it could still be as long as a couple of weeks, we carried on as usual with me going to work.
That night (now 9 days before my due date), I woke up around 2am with contractions. I hadn’t had any Braxton hicks or practice contractions but I was pretty sure that is what they were – a strong squeezing feeling low in my belly. The midwife had told us not to call her until the contractions were consistent at 4 minutes apart, 1 minute long for at least an hour. DH timed them for me and it was around 4am that we called her. She suggested taking a Tylenol and trying to get some rest so we kept doing that. I used my pain coping skills of trying to keep my breathing even and deep and making a low oooom sound – what helped the most was DH holding my hand and making the sound with me – I was able to focus on the sound of his voice and the feel of his hand. Later on I also squeezed a small ball (actually a cat toy) that we had picked up for that purpose and that helped as well as knocking my hand rhythmically on the headboard – all things I learned in my pain coping book. Surprisingly, moving around was not good for me and I preferred to be laying on my back. I also found my legs shaking a lot – the midwife reassured us that it was the hormones and totally normal.
Anyway, our original plan was to head to the birth centre once the midwife came to check me – a beautiful brand new birth centre that I was so excited about with a huge Jacuzzi tub and all the labouring equipment you could ask for. Around 6am I went to the bathroom – I was trying to pee regularly as I had read that was important to make sure to do – and a bunch of gross brown stuff came out. I was like, is this my bloody show? But there was so much and it was not bloody, it was brown. DH called the midwife and she headed over, getting here about a half hour later. My contractions remained consistent and I was in the zone (ie slightly out of it lol). The midwife did the first cervical check that I’d had for the entire pregnancy and immediately said there was meconium AND she thought the baby was breech. This was a huge surprise as for the past month or so all of my checks, she had been saying what a good position the baby was in. Turns out what she thought was a head was actually a bum. With those two factors, the birth centre was immediately out – they only take low risk births that are progressing well. She said, we have to head into the hospital – and my heart sank. Riding in the car was the worst because it took me out of my zone and DH and I were supposed to discuss what we were going to do now. Really not ideal to be discussing such a thing in the 4 minutes between contractions. We had been so sure that things were going along as planned that we hadn’t even considered our options for a breech baby, nor had we done a tour of the hospital or pre-registered or anything like that. The good thing was that the midwife was able to clear all of the paperwork etc and as soon as we got to the hospital and found the right place (felt like a looong walk!), I was given a bed and the OB came to check me. They confirmed by ultrasound that the baby was bum down. They said he was doing fine but had me on continual monitoring and the amount of times they were looking at his heart rate seriously freaked me out. Then came the big decision moment: the OB and the midwife both standing there, talking to me in 4 minute intervals between contractions, and I had to choose: try to give birth naturally as planned (more risk to baby), or go for a c-section (more risk for me). I will forever question whether I made the right choice but I opted for the c-section. I had this image flash in my head of the baby’s head getting stuck and them having to rush me for an emergency c-section anyway. I know c-section is routine and many many women get them. It has been hard for me to reconcile that decision with my strong belief and plans for a natural birth. In fact, we had a friend who opted for a c-section with a breech baby and I had said that I thought I would have tried to go for vaginal delivery. And yet, in that moment, I went for the c-section. I will probably always go back to that moment in my memory – asking myself why I made that decision, was it the right choice, how would things have gone if I’d made the other choice, etc. This has been one of the hardest parts of my recovery so far.
Once I’d said yes to the c-section, they immediately started prepping me, though by then I was back in my contraction zone – DH told me later it was about three hours later that they took me for surgery. In total I was labouring for around 8 hours and had gotten to around 5 cm dilated. I got a spinal which was no big deal but what a weird feeling to become numb from the chest down. By then I felt really out of it – I was awake but only sort of aware. I heard the baby cry and my DH went to see him and they brought him for skin to skin with me. Soon after though I started feeling very nauseous so they took him away while I had to vomit. Next thing I knew, there was another surgeon there shouting to sedate me because I was moving too much. It seemed to be taking a long time and I remember asking ‘am I ok?’ The nurses were all very nice and reassuring but I felt horrible and sick. Sometime later, the surgeon poked his head up and said ‘well, we managed to save your uterus’ which really shocked me since I had no idea what was going on.
I learned afterward that I had a lot of abnormal bleeding and also some sort of infection which all led to me losing a third of my blood volume. I saw a picture later of how I looked in the recovery room and it was rather scary. I had to spend the evening in intensive care while DH stayed with the baby. Finally they were able to move me to a regular room so I could be with the two of them. I ended up staying in hospital for five days, many rounds of antibiotics, and two blood transfusions. The first day after the surgery I was barely able to stand, second day I was able to go to the bathroom if I held on to a nurse the whole way, but by the third day I was able to shuffle myself there. So a slow but steady recovery. Everyone at the hospital was so nice and DH was wonderful and upbeat the whole time – both he and baby were able to stay in my room with me.
At two weeks later now, I still need a lot of rest as my body recovers but most of my acute pain is gone, I’ve been able to make short trips to the store and I feel like I’m on the road back to normal.
An unfortunate side effect of all this trauma is that my milk was very late in coming in. We were starting to despair but a consult with a lactation specialist this week showed that finally I have almost enough to satisfy baby, with only a little supplementing. This is a huge relief.
We are now waiting to meet with the surgeon to find out exactly what happened. There will be long-term implications which we haven’t fully figured out yet – the doctors are saying yes I can likely have more children but I will be considered high risk now, midwifery is not an option for next time, and the one doctor said absolutely I will need a planned c-section if we have another baby. The thought is too scary for me right now so DH and I have decided to give it a significant amount of time before we discuss it for real. We had always planned for two children but if anything, this whole experience should teach us that plans don’t always work out! But we did end up with a sweet and healthy baby boy 🙂