Friday, January 7, 2011

Squirmy's birth story

It's been 9.5 months and I realized that I haven't really shared my birth story.  It's painful and full of shame and guilt.  But I needed to write it down.  I needed to get it out.  I needed to share.  I needed other women to know NOT to go down the road I went down.  So here's how Squirmy came into the world...

I'd gone through infertility treatments with a specialist as I have PCOS.  I transfered to my OB fairly near the end of my first trimester.  My BMI had me just over the line as "obese" so my OB started harping on me about my weight from my very first exam with her.  She said I couldn't gain more than 15 lbs for the whole pregnancy.  Of course I met with the other OB in the practice and she was much nicer and more relaxed about my weight.

Towards the end of my pregnancy the other OB left the practice and was replaced by someone new.  The newer Dr seemed nice enough but something didn't sit right about her.  But I kept on my merry way and had done a lot of research (minimal I realize now) and whatever.  My OB was out of the office nearly all of my last 6 weeks so basically all of my final exams and prep were done with the other OB.  My first vaginal exam my OB couldn't feel the baby so she had me do an ultrasound to see if he was breech.  He was measuring quite big, but there's room for error and they slow down and yadda yadda yadda.  Don't think I didn't see his head was measuring weeks ahead on the ultrasound.  Mind you I've been seeing this OB/GYN since I was like 17 and she did my mom's hysterectomy when I was in high school.  I trust her and I liked her before she got kind of rude with me about my weight and telling me it'd be my fault for gaining too much weight if the baby was big (mind you we don't have any babies in NEITHER my family NOR my hubby's that were under 8lbs for as many generations as we know of).

So the next appt was with the other OB and she walked in and started in immediately about how she could tell just by looking at me that I was going to have a big baby and she could easily see that my hips were quite small.  Now, those two statements were both extremely odd to me.  I'd never heard that you could just "tell" how big a baby was by looking at a woman and I've NEVER been told I have small hips...NEVER....dear lord NEVER, lol.  I don't remember all the rest of the details but I left really shaken up and I believe that was the day I left crying.  C-section was thrown on the table and I was scared shitless.  The natural, med free birth I so wanted was in jeopardy.  But I was still a few weeks out so maybe things would change and they were planning on doing another ultrasound closer to my due date (which was set by multiple corresponding ultrasounds which matched ovulation).

So I didn't tell anyone because I was embarrassed beyond belief.  I'd gained too much weight and whether it was due to weight or not, c-section was on the table.  I had failed somehow.  I'm not sure who, but someone asked about me getting a second opinion.  I didn't even begin to know how to go about getting a second opinion with less than a month to my due date or if such a thing was even possible.  Besides, that was the OTHER OB, not mine and I trusted mine.

So the next time I go in it's with the other OB again.  She starts with, "please tell me you're planning to get an epidural" and then laughed when I said I had no intentions of it.  I stated that my OB said she writes orders for it so I can have it if I so choose but I did not intend to ask for it.  Again c-section gets thrown out there.  I'm kind of panicked now.  I say that I want things to progress as naturally as possible and I don't want to induce and I don't want to be cut.  She was offering me a scheduled c-sect at that point.  I want to say it was like 2-3 weeks from my due date.  My internal exams continued to be totally soft, not effaced, dilated 1 cm....every week.

The other piece was that my heart started racing if I walked too long.  Too long= around a nearby outlet mall and around our regular mall.  I was also getting some weird vision things which was related to the racing heart.  My blood pressure was more than fine and everything else was fine.  I was swelling but at 39 weeks pregnant, who isn't swollen?  After the second day of heart racing over the weekend the other OB (who was on call) told me to go to L&D for monitoring.  They gave me an IV and I had to drink water and they monitored me for a few hours.  Nothing wrong other than my heart rate was high.  But I had an appt the next morning anyway so I went home and everything was fine.  My last appointment was with the other OB, AGAIN.  She said she was nervous about my heart and that we needed to get my baby out.  He was too big.  I had another ultrasound done and his head was measuring big but not much bigger than the one nearly a month before and his weight estimate was about the same which was like 7lbs 7oz or something.  Maybe more, I don't remember.   Anyway, my exam was the same as it had been...fully soft, not effaced, not engaged, dilated 1 cm.  She was worried and we needed to schedule an induction.

Okay fine, my mom was induced with me and she had a natural birth otherwise.  I was scared and trusting.  So she said she might have to fudge some numbers to say that my cervix was more ready for induction than it was esp since the hospital doesn't allow for induction based on "big baby."  Why I didn't pay any attention to those red flags, I'll never know.

So everything gets scheduled.  I went in at like 10pm to start cervical ripening overnight with pitocin to start in the morning.  If things didn't progress I'd be sent home, so we didn't tell anyone what was going on because we didn't know.  After an awful night of trying to keep Squirmy on the monitors (he hated those damn things) and still get some sleep, MY OB showed up first thing in the morning to examine me.  The cervical ripener thingy was half out so it hadn't been against my cervix the whole night (who knows if it ever was or for how long).  Exam was the same...totally soft, station -3, 1 cm, not effaced...nothing had changed in 6 weeks...nothing.  He wasn't moving down because he was too big.  Then she tells me that his head measured 10cm on Monday (this is now Friday morning) and that really that's bigger than a lot of women can handle because you only dilate to 10cm.  So by now his head was surely even bigger.  The cervical ripening failed because he was too big to descend.  They couldn't try the pit because it wouldn't do any good.  Nothing would get him to descend.

I had 2 options...have the c-section that day or go home, wait to go into labor, come to the hospital and have the c-section then.  Either way, there was no way he was coming out vaginally.  It was WAY too risky for his safety and mine.  So I asked her to leave so that my husband and I could discuss things.  I was terrified.  I wanted to trust her but I felt like things weren't right.  But I was so afraid something terrible would happen if I didn't listen to her and tried to birth him vaginally.  Hubby and I agreed to go ahead with the c-section that day since it was inevitable.  I never felt one contraction.  Not one.

I was shaking as they wheeled me into the OR and I was desperate for my husband, my best friend, to be with me.  They wouldn't let him in until certain things were done.  Turns out they started the surgery before they let him in.  I was crying as they did the spinal.  My OB made fun of me and told me I should be happy...this was the happiest day of my child was going to be born...and besides an owie here (motions across her abdomen) is better than an owie down there, she would know she's had the latter twice.  The nurses laughed as one pointed out that you should always wait to shave the patient until after the spinal in case you knick her like I'd just been knicked.  I had no control over anything.  The room was spinning.  I was scared and alone.

Finally my husband came in and I was still shaking and petrified.  Then they pushed Squirmy out of my stomach and he started crying.  They held him over the sheet so we could see him and my husband and I started crying.  I was sobbing with relief and joy.  The OB tainted the moment with a comment about how big his head was and how she was right about me never being able to birth him.  Funniest part was, his head measurement was NEVER taken at the hospital.  There's no recording of his head measurement until his 1 month well visit.  It crossed my mind to check it, but I didn't want to know.  I didn't want to know it was perfectly small enough to have been born vaginally, they way he should have been.  I didn't want to know I had made the wrong decision.

So that's the story of how my 8lb 1oz "too big" baby boy came into this world and why I firmly believe that a c-section wasn't necessary.

As an interesting point of mom knew of two other women due around the same time as me who went to the same practice.  Both of them had scheduled c-sections for "too big" of which had 2 previous vaginal deliveries.


Maria said...

There's so much wrong with this. Your OB is an idiot. *hugs* I'm so sorry you had to go through this. You did nothing wrong, the system wronged you.

Jessica Anne said...

So sorry you had to go through that. OBs these days are so worried about liability, they don't think about what we want. I didn't realize my first OB had augmented my first labor and induced my second because they were "big" until I had to change practices with my third and had a natural, drug free labor with my third (3/4 lb heavier than the first two.) If you have another, find another doctor or try a midwife. I'm sorry it didn't go the way you wanted.

Katy at Put Your Big Girl Panties On & Deal With It said...

I just found your blog through a CD blog and I'm so sorry you had such a bad experience with your OB and delivery :( I'm 14 weeks pregnant and it hadn't even crossed my mind to see more than one OB. Even though I love mine, after hearing your story, I might check into another one just to be on the safe side.

Tina said...

Katy--I would strongly urge you to see if you can find a midwife, maybe one that will do a birthing center. Generally speaking, any time you're dealing with a group practice, you have to see all of the Drs and midwives in the practice because you could be dealing with any one of them depending on who is on call when you go into labor. Do your research, read as many books on labor as you can. I thought I had prepared, but I had not! See if you can find Danielle's blog posts on Babble. She's got a lot of good resources! Good luck and congratulations!!

ShortyRobs said...

Oh Tina! BIG HUGS for being brave and vulnerable enough to share your story with us! I'm so , so, sorry what was done to you in the name of "best practice." It makes me so mad and sad when I hear things like this, but unfortunately, it's becoming more of the norm than the exception these days.

First off, I just want to say how lucky Logan is to have you as his mama!

Secondly, HUGS! UGH this is so hard and I just want you to know, that I completely get where you are coming from :(

I wish I could say that there was a magical timeframe when the grief just disappeared- but there isn't- to be completely honest, I still grieve my first son's birth till this day. Every time I see pictures of him not in my arms, it hurts...

It always hits me the hardest around his birthday and actually, after I had Titus, it was even harder b/c I realized what I had missed out on at his birth.

For the longest time I really didn't get why it was so hard for me to get past. I knew so many women that frankly, could have cared less how the babe came out or had even signed up for an elective cesarean- what was wrong with me? Why did I care so darn much?

I even posted a topic on one of my local discussion borads, CincyMoms entitled, "Disappointment over Cesarean." Wow- did I get some responses- most were just , "Get over it," or, "Healthy mom, healthy baby, what's the big deal?" But then there were a few compassionate mamas out there that reached out and lead me to ICAN- finally I realized that I was not alone in my grief- and that birth DOES matter!Here's a link to the actual post if you are ever interested in reading
Healthy mom is such BS in this case b/c it's not just about physical health, but mental too.

Be gentle with yourself- your feelings are totally valid and unique to you. You are an amazing mama and you see the value in natural and long for that as you should. Please don't think that's not normal.

I've come to look at it as grief- I lost something that I can never get back and regardless of if it was necessary, its gone. Just like when you lose a loved one, there are stages in grief. I've been through them all- anger, depression, denial, despair- and finally peace.

I've concluded that one can totally have peace w/ a situation but yet still long for that thing and grieve over it. Like when you lose someone you love, it gets easier over time and you come to accept it, but you always miss that person. Maybe I'm crazy, but I hope that makes some sort of sense. I believe that I will never truly be over Luke's birth, but that I have come to accept it.

If you ever find you need to vent, chat, etc., you know I'm here. It sounds like you are also getting some great local support too though.

Sorry for the dissertation :)

Courtney Fisk said...

This make me so sad for you too. You have some beautiful comments left here.

It is hard to understand where some OB's are coming from. I wish all valued vaginal natural birth like they should. You can not live with regret. Know that there was a reason you had a c-section. Weather it be for others to challenge their ob's or possibly intervention for your little boy, you will never know. All things do happen for a reason, no matter how crazy it maybe.

Lastly- thank God for VBAC! I know a lot of women that have had wonderful VBAC's. Get a good midwife and you will walk away with a much different story.

prayers and hugs as you sort through things.