Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Eliza's Birth Story -19 months Later

Lately I have been thinking a lot about Eliza's birth. I originally intended to write up a birth story after Eliza was born but my mood was not good and I just did not feel like writing. I had a really hard time after she was born. I expected to have a hard time. I have dealt with depression before and I had a feeling my hormones were going to give me a a bit of the downers. My failure at breastfeeding didn't help the situation. I was in no mood for sharing. If anything I was feeling very distant from everyone even in a room full of people. So 19 months later, with the birth of baby #2 coming very quickly, I have started to look back at my experience more closely.

The interesting thing is that my husband and I view things from completely different perspectives. We went to the hospital. I delivered. We brought home a beautiful baby girl and for him that is the story. For me things are not so cut and dry.

I am one of those people who actually liked Lamaze. It was the only class offered at my hospital and I really didn't think of taking anything else. I didn't have a definite birth plan because I had read over and over again that you just never know what is going to happen. However, I think that once the reality and pain of labor set in a lot of things I wanted to happen didn't happen. I lost a sense of what I wanted out of the experience. I lost my ability to be in charge of what happened to me. I was weak. I admit that I am a big freaking baby. I was hoping to deliver drug free. I wasn't set on a drug free delivery but deep down I wanted to see if I was strong enough. Needless to say after six hours of contractions every three minutes I caved. I was so close to saying no, but I said yes to the epidural. Even with the epidural I was a big baby. When it came time to push I really did try to find a happy place- a stool at the swim up bar in Mexico. However, it didn't help and I remember saying I wanted to leave. I wanted to go home to my mom. If I wasn't attached I think I might have tried to leave.

I remember when my dog, Chiquita, gave birth to her first litter of puppies. My dad and I had read up and were as prepared as possible for her delivery. After the first pup was born she ran around the room scared dragging the puppy by its umbilical cord. She was freaked out big time. She was not naturally maternal. Luckily my dad and I had read that it was important to get the puppy to nurse right away. Once that first puppy latched on and started to nurse it was like a sudden calm came over her. She delivered the rest of her litter carefully cutting the umbilical cord and cleaning each puppy. It was like seeing two different dogs . When I was about to give birth to Eliza I absolutely felt like getting off that table and running the hell away. I was scared and in pain and so not naturally maternal. I know it sounds terrible but it is the truth. On top of that, I asked to nurse but was told that I couldn't because the doctor wanted to see the baby first. I didn't get to see Eliza again for a few hours.

I think the first bad decision I made was to stay at the hospital. Even though my contractions started at three minutes apart I still could have returned home for a while. I think I was so excited to be in labor that I figured staying at the hospital was a good idea. It was about eleven o'clock at night and I wasn't sure what I would do at home. I think if it had been day time and I could have walked around outside I would have made a different decision. Instead, I was immediately hooked up to monitors and pretty much bed ridden for the remainder of the delivery. I continued to contract every two or three minutes. At around 1:oo am I think they asked about the epidural. At this point I was already getting something for pain in an IV. I don't even know what they gave me but they basically told me I needed to rest. So I did sleep until the pitocin they gave me kicked in and I was in even worse pain.

Then came the epidural which took about 4 tries and about 45 minutes. Of course I had a lovely catheter as well. Most of what happened is a big blur to me. At one point they turned me on my side because of something happening with the baby. Then they basically forgot about me until I buzzed them to ask what was going on. It was a really busy night and I was in a room at the end of the hall. I thought my catheter was irritating me but it was actually Eliza's crowning.

The epidural (or possibly something else they gave me?) ended up giving me what I would call the shakes. I was shivering uncontrollably and my teeth were chattering. It was really scary. I ended up pushing for 1 1/2 hours and E was born extremely alert.

It wasn't exactly the birth story I had envisioned. I felt like I failed by getting the epidural. I know I didn't fail and that it is a silly thought but in my mind it will always seem like a failure. I wonder if there had been more people telling me I could do it and less of the, "you don't need to be a martyr speeches" I might have resisted the drugs.

I am not really sure what I want this time around. I have been considering The Bradley Method and trying to go natural again. However, I am just not sure if I can handle the pain. Like I said I am a big baby with a very low pain tolerance. If I attend Bradley classes I think when push comes to shove Pete is going to hold me to my no epidural! I have been going back and forth and I am more confused now then before. I didn't enjoy feeling like a patient at the hospital. I have considered hiring a Doula but I am not sure I am entirely comfortable with that either.

On a side note...
I think it is funny that people who drop thousands and thousands of dollars on a wedding think it is strange to hire someone to assist with a birth. People need help coordinating napkins and invitation but not with easing the pain of labor or with breastfeeding or with the overwhelming reality that is motherhood? I get it that the people at the hospital are there to help- but they aren't really there for the mother. They also have other patents and procedure they follow that are not always in the patients best interest. Shocking-I KNOW- they sometimes do things that make their jobs easier. Lastly, I can assure you that my wedding day will probably become a little fuzzy-but I will always remember giving birth.

Anyhoo, I still haven't made a decision. I am kinda of hoping for a birth epiphany!


MoziEsmé said...

Sorry things weren't the way you'd like them to go...

Everyone has their own ideas of what they want. I went into labor telling myself that I'd be adaptable if I needed to be, but if I could have what I wanted, I'd have no drugs. I had been strongly influenced that way by the nurse giving birthing classes at the hospital, and all the staff encouraged me along the way.

And I was never even offered any drugs - in fact, when my mother went to ask a nurse for something for me (without me knowing), the nurse said it wasn't an option given what I had said I wanted.

I guess what I'm saying is if you let the staff know what you want ahead of time, maybe they'll encourage you that way instead of the other. Not that drugs are wrong - it's about what YOU want.

Hope things go exactly as you wish this time around!

Pam said...

I'm sorry that things didn't go the way you wanted- but to me, it sounds like you did a great job with what you were dealing with. Being a mommy is so hard and overwhelming. While you should be an advocate for what you want- I feel badly that you feel sad that it didn't go by your plan. I wish being a mommy wasn't so full of pressure and we moms could enjoy just being moms and not having to feel that guilt. I know I suffer from mom guilt all the time- and now that I have 2, I feel like the guilt has double. I feel like a failure just about every day. Anyway, my point is, I know how hard it all is for me and how I struggle, and it makes me sad that you feel similar. You are a great mom and it is so apparent how much you love E. I do hope that with baby #2 things go more the way you want them to go.

PletcherFamily said...

I am sorry that you had such a hard time with Eliza's birth and can see why you are on the fence with the second one. Just remember - you really do have your right to change your mind if you decide that natural just isn't going to be what is best for your state of mind. I always felt that birth was something I didn't want to miss and if that meant I was comfortable so I could enjoy my daughter's entrance into the world, then that is what it meant. But that is MY birth story. I wanted comfort and I feel like I got very lucky with the birth of my children being very easy (and in no way drug free).

You have time. HAve plan A and Plan B.

Oh and the shakes - we all get them. I was told it was just from the final stage of labor. They are crazy, right?

La Mama Naturale' said...

I'm sure whatever decision you make this time you'll be happy with. Go with your instincts. Write out a birth plan and discuss it with your Dr. A Doula will help support your needs and wants- not a bad idea. Sounds like you've figured out a few options. I really liked my Bradley Teacher and classes. You're going to do great. :)

Marcy said...

I will say this-- there is no way in hell I would have given birth med-free if I had been forced to lie down on a bed the entire time. No. Friggin. Way. Every time the midwife asked me to lie down so she could check me, I was reminded of how much WORSE contractions feel when you're on your back. I'm not sure I coulda done it had I not had the hot bath to sit in those last hours. So don't feel like a baby or like a failure, please. You GAVE BIRTH (and want to do it again!! lol), that alone means you deserve a medal of honor. And who knows, if you're not strapped to a table or given pitocin, etc, you might find labor to be easier to deal with than you remember...

That's an interesting take about wedding vs birth. Had never thought about it that way, but it totally makes sense.

Have you interviewed any doulas? I think the key there is if you like them as a person. If you "click" with one, then you may feel more comfortable. You can tell the nurses at the hospital what you want, but there's no way to know if they'll believe you or how many nurses will change shift during your labor, so having that assurance of at least one person helping you the whole time makes sense.

All that aside-- you have to figure out what's best for you. We can't tell you that. And while it's important to feel like we're in control of our births and satisfied with how they went, in the long run this is also balanced with the ultimate end goal-- a happy, healthy baby. It's good to have a plan, and it's even better to have a (or multiple) back-up plans, and to accept that things happen and all we can do is our best.

(BTW- I did not get the shakes. Have never heard that they're from labor alone)

Missy said...

In my experience between my 2 births, the second one seemed so much better, simply because I knew what to expect. I knew how bad the pain would be. I knew that I did want an epidural - because I loved being able to relax and enjoy those last couple of hours before the baby was born with my husband and family without being in agonizing pain. I did wait a bit longer to go to the hospital the 2nd time - and when I finally went I was already at 7 cm, so it didn't take long at all.

Anyway, I guess what I am trying to say is that hopefully this time will go a lot more smoothly for you - whether or not you choose pain meds or not - more because you know what to expect this time. I think it is good to have a plan as long as you know that plans can change. My plan was to be comfortable and relaxed - and that was exactly what happened.

Amber said...

Wow...thanks for sharing...Kaelin's birth didn't go as planned either (prolapsed cord and an emergent C section) plus a DVT nine days later (blood clot in my leg) and I also had PPD...I wasn't so happy to be a mama...

I'm unsure about this birth too. I would love to try to go naturally (I tried last time and failed), but I'm not bound to it b/c I remember the pain!

Michele L. said...

Wow! Thank you for sharing your birth story. If you are looking for a birth epiphany I might suggest reading "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" by Ina May Gaskin. This book changed my life! After reading this book, I quit my job and became a doula :) Everyone I know who has read this book does just fine in labor. It is very empowering!

Birth Blessings to you!