Saturday, May 28, 2011

Emma's Birth (I was a good little sheep)

with my first pregnancy/childbirth/mommyhood experience, my world was completely different and I was a different person in it....

I married at 18 because I was 12 weeks pregnant, no one forced me to, I just felt that was the best decision to make for myself, as a child of divorce I wanted my kids to have both parents in the house. Anyway, we got married and a week later I experienced my first miscarriage..... but that's a whole different post....

anyway, he was an abusive ass and he never deserved to be a part of my life or that of my daughter's for that matter....

at age 20, I got pregnant again, and proceeded down the path led by my well meaning family and in laws..... I visited my OB regularly, bought bottles, stroller, infant bucket car seat, crib, etc etc etc.... I knew in my heart that I wanted a natural birth, but I had no idea how to achieve it and absolutely zero support in getting the information or actually going through with it, as my mother-in-law was a "high risk" emergency delivery and was unconscious for the first 24 hours of her son's life, and I have no idea what my mom or grandmother's birth experiences were like because good girls just don't talk about things like that...

So here I am, 20 years old and beaten into a shell of myself. I felt in my heart that I could do it, but I just didn't have the tools to make it real....

We went to the childbirth classes at our local hospital, and it was essentially a joke... very little of actual importance was discussed, but it was better than nothing I guess... at least I learned to write down anything that I even thought was a contraction into a little notebook. A habit that came in very handy around 30 weeks when my mother-in-law asked if I was having any contractions and I was able to simply produce my notebook. They don't hurt I explained to her, they just feel like my stomach gets really hard and tight for a bit and then they relax. She didn't know what contractions were either, but had been watching every available episode of the baby story and deliver me that she could and she felt that I was having way too many maybe contractions to let it go.....

At her encouragement I spoke to my OB, and dismissively produced my little notebook filled with scratched down times/dates.... He looked it over and said, oh well we had best just check to see if they're actually doing anything...

And guess what?! they were in fact actual labor contractions... I was at 3 cm and 75% effaced that afternoon in his office, he instructed me to go home and put me on bed rest. He filled out the paperwork for my leave at work starting immediately and off to the house I went. Later that night, contractions started again and off to the hospital we went. Upon arrival there I was at 4 cm and 85% effaced and immediately put on assorted drugs to stop labor. I was also given steroids to strengthen my baby's lungs just in case we could not get it stopped.

The magnesium drip is what did it, and I must say that for anyone who has to experience it, my sympathies are with you. That is one of the worst things I've ever been through quite frankly. It lit my world on fire, literally. I felt like my body was burning from the inside out. Nothing seemed to help, it was really horrible.

Finally, labor was stopped. It took about 8 hours to stop my labor and I remained in the hospital for two more days (merry christmas to me lol) Released on STRICT bed rest

At 37 weeks, my regular OB appointment occurs and I have absolutely lost my ever lovin mind. I am stir crazy, having swelling all over that is causing great concern amongst myself and the ob (they kept strict watch for toxemia) and I basically beg my doctor to help me jump start my labor

He agrees to strip my membranes and see what happens. It worked in just a few hours and off to the hospital we went again. I was nearly 5 cm and 90% on arrival, and within two hours my OB arrived to say okay we're going to break your water now and once we do that your labor will probably go very quickly, so this is your last chance for that epidural.

I didn't eat the entire time I was there. I wore the horrible hospital gown that I assumed was standard issue. I had already been on IV fluids the whole time, and with the numbness in my legs caused by all the swelling, I hadn't felt safe walking so why the heck not get the epidural? I agreed.

After the epi, my labor still progressed quickly and within another 3 hours the nurses checked again and hey guess what it's time to push. I couldn't feel a damn thing. I couldn't feel them moving my legs, or the contractions at all. I had no concept of when I was actually having a contraction so how was I to know when to push?

The nurses had to tell me when to push. Geez. No wonder I ended up with an episiotomy. No wonder it took FOREVER for my body to get back to normal.

I interrupted the natural process of labor and birth. I short circuited my body's coping mechanisms and basically confused the heck out of them. My body didn't know what to do with all this damage that was forced onto it....

I didn't know any of that then, I simply did exactly what I was told was best, like a good little sheep

I am ever so grateful that I had a fantastic OB who really did what he thought was best, and if I had been more vocal with him, he would have been very supportive of my natural birth ideals and this story would have gone very differently. I know that now because he's the head of the closest birth center and does waterbirths etc all the time.

But I didn't know that then.

I was a good, quiet little sheep and listened to all the experts.

They know so much better than me, because they have been there before and they made all the right decisions the first time.

Like I said before, I lived in a different world then and I was a different person in it.

This is the story of my daughter Emma's birth. She is beautiful and amazing and I would not take anything in the world for her. But I wonder sometimes if our reality as a mother/daughter team would be different if I had not been such a good little sheep.

If I had let my body do it's amazing work during labor and birth, how different would our first years have been? How much easier would my first years of motherhood have managed to be?

Emma was born in Jan 2003
She is an amazing, precious soul and I am so grateful to have her in my life. I love her as the little drama queen she is, and I am learning to parent her without pulling my hair out or sounding crazy all the time lol

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