Monday, July 9, 2012

From VBAC to Cesarean- The Birth Story of Baby "N"

I am finally sitting down to write my son's birth story.  Sorry it took so long.  Life with a newborn and 4 other children does not exactly leave you with a lot of time.  Also, Part of me has not been wanting to re-visit the experience.  It was a hard time for me both physically and emotionally.  I will do my best to share what happened though.  I know so many of you have been curious.  Here goes....

Last Pregnancy Shot 41 1/2 weeks
Well, as you know I had been planning a VBAC birth with this pregnancy.  I spent months of preparing and planning the event.  I hired a doula, took childbirth education classes, listened to my hypnobirthing cds faithfully (even when the thought of listening to them once more made me cringe), bought all sorts of helpful herbs, oils, and things to help me cope during my "natural" childbirth.  At 38 weeks I had my bags fully packed and was all set for this baby to come!  Finally, I would have that picture perfect birth I had always dreamed about.  Finally, I was IN CONTROL of my birth!!!  Little did I know what was to come.

At 41 1/2 weeks labor was not coming.  Each visit to my doctor brought more disappointment when she told me that no progression had been made.  It didn't make any sense to my head why I was not dilating.  Why wasn't my body doing what is suppose to do? It really felt like a big joke was being played on me. Here I felt certain the Lord had opened doors for this VBAC to happen and now it seemed like the door was being slammed in my face!  I spent just about every day in tears.  I knew I was down to the nitty gritty and the success of this VBAC all depended on me going into labor on my own.

On June 1st I went to my OB for my 2nd non-stress test.  The first test had revealed that everything was okay with baby.  This 2nd test showed that his amniotic fluid levels had dropped to an abnormal level.  Such a big drop that my OB stressed that letting things go any further would potentially mean having my baby die.  At first I wasn't sure if she was trying to use scare tactics.  My husband, doula and I asked to be left alone to talk.  My doula quickly got on the phone with a midwife friend of hers to ask about the fluid levels.  The midwife agreed that the drop was not good, but felt I could go until Monday to see if my body would go into labor.  The OB then returned and we told her we wanted to give it a few more days.  She literally looked at us with tear filled eyes and said in a very serious tone..."I can't tell you what to do, but I do not think you are making the right choice.  You may have a stillborn baby if you wait."  We asked for a bit more time to think.  I cried (a lot) and we prayed.  In the end the decision was clear, why would we want to risk our child's life for this?  We decided it was time to get this baby out.  It obviously was not meant to be for me to give birth vaginally.

My Doula and Hubby all dressed up for surgery
The c-section was scheduled for 2:30pm.  My husband and I went home after that appointment and got ourselves and our children ready.  My friend's daughters came over to babysit and we left for the hospital.  It was not the drive I had envisioned.  I was not rushing to the hospital in labor, excited that our baby was on it's way.  Instead, I was riding in the car feeling numb, disappointed, and sad.  We got to the hospital and made our way to the labor and delivery area.  I put on a gown and the nurse began to prep me for surgery.  My doula came and my two friends who were suppose to be on my birth team came also.  I lay in bed hooked to a monitor listening to my baby boy's heartbeat for the last time (last time from the inside of my body that is).  Soon the doctor came in and it was time to go to surgery.

Baby N making his appereance
I went into the cold surgical room and sat on the bed.  It was time for the spinal block.  Ugh, how I hate the spinal block!  Moments later my legs were going numb and I lay there looking around the room and feeling completely overwhelmed.  I was so releaved when my husband was allowed in the room and by my side.  The drape was put in front of me and everyone was ready to set to work.  I heard them began the surgery.  Seemed like it was taking forever, but I was also glad this doctor was a lot more careful and less aggressive.  I didn't feel the usual harsh tugging I normally feel with my c-sections.  My husband was taking pictures like crazy.  Soon I heard the cries of my son!  I lay there and just bawled!  Here I had imagined this birth would be one where my baby would be placed on my chest.  I was suppose to be the first one to hold him!  Now I couldn't even see him at all.  My husband went over to see the baby and a few minutes later brought him over to me wrapped in a blanket.  I kisssed his little face and told him I loved him and was amazed at how much he looked like his big brother Little "E".

7 pounds 10 ounces 19 inches long
My husband then left with the baby and my doula came in the room to be by my side.  We talked a bit as she watched the doctor stitch me up.  Things were taking a lot longer than usual and we were beginning to wonder why.  Sara said something was bleeding and wondered if they nicked my bladder as they were messing with my bladder.  Then the doctor had said to me, " You know how you wanted to know the condition of your uterus?  Well, it's horrible...horrible, horrible."  I lay there thinking, "What is wrong with it?"  Then I heard them asking for certain things and requesting more drugs.  A while later my doctor said, "I hope your not feeling this?"  Gosh, what the heck is going on???? Finally, they finished getting me put back together and I was then taken to recover.  My husband was waiting with a nurse and the baby and they had been wondering what was taking so very long.  My doctor came in and explained what had happened.

Apparently my uterus was super thin.  Like thin paper, the doctor described it.  She said when she started the cut to get the baby out, my whole uterus ripped open!  She was able to deliver the baby just fine, but when she went to stitch my uterus back up it would not clamp down.  Meaning, there was nothing to stop the bleeding.  They gave me Pitocin and Cytotec to stop the bleeding.  She also put some gel stuff on my uterus to stop the bleeding as well.  This wasn't the only problem though, once she started to stitch my uterus the stitches would rip right through and I would tear from side to side.  She had a hard time getting the tissue to stitch and had to bring more of my uterus forward to get me stitched back up.  Once I was stitched my uterus filled with blood clots!  My doctor then had to put her whole hand up my vagina, stretch my cervix to a one (because I wasn't dilated) and get the blood clots out.  This was the part where she said, "I hope your not feeling this."  I am glad I was not feeling that either!!! Apparently, she also had to remove my bladder from where it is located in order to stitch up my uterus without damaging the bladder (this is why my doula thought something went wrong with my bladder).  My bladder was not harmed at all thankfully.

I was shocked that my body was in such bad condition.  With every previous c-section my uterus had been in normal condition and functioned properly.  My first question was, "Does this mean I can no longer have babies?" My doctor's reply was, "we'll talk about that later." In recovery I also learned that I lost a lot of blood.  I didn't need a transfusion, but was close.  I was glad I did not have to get a hysterectomy, but was sad things did not go well.  All in all it took over an hour for them to get me stitched back up before I could go to recovery.  This is LONG for a c-section and it was hard to go so long without being able to hold my baby.

Holding and nursing my baby for the first time
Finally, I was able to hold my baby boy!  It was hard with all the tubes that were hooked to me.  He was so sweet though and I was excited to be holding him in my arms.  The nurse helped me breastfeed, which was also a challenge with all the tubes but we managed to get him latched on.  After I nursed him, he was given his first bath.  His bath was done in my recovery room and I was thankful for that as in the past I have never been able to watch my babies first bath.

Meeting their brother
When I got to my hospital room my daughter and the rest of my birth team came in to see the baby.  Everyone was thankful I made it through the ordeal and that nothing more serious had happened.  The next day my husband and I finally got to talk to both the doctors that attended my c-section (the OB and the resident).  We had a lot of questions and concerns about the condition of my uterus and what this means for future children.  We got the news we both didn't want to hear... it would not be safe for me to carry another baby.  With the condition of my uterus I would be at a large risk for uterine rupture in pregnancy.  This of course brings life threatening risks for the baby and I.  If I did happen to make it full term there is a large risk of bleeding again and I would most likely have to get a hysterectomy.  I have so many hormonal issues already I cannot imagine having a hysterectomy at my age!

I took this news rather hard.  I lay in my hospital bed in tears.  It didn't seem fair!  Here my husband and I had his vasectomy reversed in order to have more babies and once again our fertility was being taken away from us.  But then there was part of me just so thankful to be alive, so thankful my baby had made it through this delivery unharmed, thankful I have been blessed with 5 wonderful children despite having had all c-sections.  I knew I had much to be thankful for, but I wasn't ready for this and it was a hard blow.

This is how we slept most nights
After a couple days it was like my normal hospital stay.  Our other children came to see their new brother, we had a few visitors, my husband I were adjusting to caring for our new baby, I was in the normal after cesarean pain, etc.  But I couldn't seem to stay on top of the horrible gas pan this time.  All the normal stuff we usually try wasn't working.  In case you have never experienced this....sometimes with c-sections your bowels take awhile to wake up.  Your body fills with air and it won't come out, nor can you go to the bathroom.  I have had this everytime pretty severely, but it has only ever lasted a couple days.  This time here I was on the day I should be going home, but instead my belly was getting bigger and bigger and bigger!!! The nurses gave me all sorts of gas medicine, laxatives, suppositories, enemas, warm prune juice with a pat of butter (YUCK), I did a lot of walking and NOTHING was working.

 As things worsened, the pain worsened.  At one point the gas pain moved to my back and chest.  I felt like I couln't breath and was crying out in pain.  After several days of this and not seeing any progress my doctor finally called in a surgeon.  He ordered an x-ray of my belly to see what was going on.  The x-ray showed that I had a Colonic Ileus.  This means my entire colon stopped functioning.  Only time would fix this they told me, but they would need to get aggressive with treating it as my colon was at risk for rupturing.  The surgeon first prescribed a medication called Regelen (sp?).  This was suppose to calm my belly and push out air.  They started an IV to give me the medication and the minute the medicine went in I had a MAJOR panic attack.  The nurse had left the room and I was on my back in bed with my baby in my arms.  My husband had left to get our older kids and so I was all alone.  I pressed the nurses button and cried out, "I need someone quick!".  It seemed like forever until she got in there and I could hardly breath.  I was crying out, "Help me, help me!".  I felt frantic and scared and my body felt jittery.  As soon as the nurse made it in I handed her the baby and had to get out of bed.  I told her to get that IV out of my arm because I was never going to take that stuff again!  My husband showed up soon after and said I looked like I was on drugs!  Well, I was.  This stuff was horrible!!!  It didn't even work either.  No air came out.

Getting my IV meds
The next day the surgeon returned and went over a few more options.  None of them sounding very good.  He decided to try a strong anti-biotic via an IV which usually results in diarrhea.  Sounds fun, right?  So I went on that.  Did it give me diarrhea or get anything moving at all? NO.  It did give me horrendous burning stomach cramps about every 10-15 minutes.  I felt like I was in labor!  Regardless of its lack of results they kept me on this as they said it "irritates the bowls and colon", which in my case was a good thing.  I got hooked to the IV with this antibiotic every 6 hours for the rest of my time at the hospital (which was three days).  Each day they would do an x-ray of my belly to make sure my colon had not gotten bigger.  (They had to do this as I was at real risk of having my colon rupture.  This would mean having most of my colon removed and receiving a colostomy bag, something I cannot even imagine!)  Each day showed a slight improvement and I was finally starting to get a little air out (if you know what I mean).  I still couldn't eat at this point and was quite weak and very hungry.  My milk didn't come in until day 5 because of my not eating and my baby lost a whole pound.  We had to supplement him using donor breast milk using the S&S system (Its a tube you tape to your nipple, so baby gets supplement and mom's mink at the same time.)

Snoozin in his MamaRoo at the hospital
Everyday the doctor would come in and we would get our hopes up that we would be going home, only to be told no.  It was so hard!  My husband (who hates being stuck in doors) was a trooper and took care of me and the baby everyday of the 8 days we were there.  My friend Lori was a HERO taking on my 4 children for a week!  She never made us feel bad about it and did what it takes to be sure they were cared for.  This was a LOT of work for a single mom to take on and she did it without hesitation.  Such a wonderful friend!  FINALLY... on the 7th day we decided to do a water enema (I won't go into details) and I finally was able to go to the bathroom!!!!  You never realize how important going poop is until you can't go.  Boy, the things we take for granted!  It was pretty embarrassing having my nurse be SO EXCITED that she gave me a high five!!! lol  I am totally embarrassed just writing about it.

Going Home
The doctor made us stay one more night to be sure everything would continue to progress.  On the 8th day one last x-ray was given to be sure my colon was shrinking.  It was and we were released to go home.  VERY EXCITING!!  I was taken off the IV, we gathered our things and by about 4pm were left the hospital and were on our way home.  A family once more, it felt good.

I have been home 4 weeks now and am doing good.  My colon is 100% mended and I feel a little better each day.  The first week and a half home I was SO WEAK.  I felt drained and was so sore. Then one day I woke up and just felt a lot better.  I haven't felt weak since then and am slowly getting back to normal.  This certainly has been the longest and hardest recovery of all my c-sections yet.  Seeing what I went through though it doesn't surprise me.  I am also happy to announce that my milk has increased considerably (thanks to using nursing herbs and eating a normal diet) and Baby "N" has gained back his birth weight and then some.  I no longer have to supplement him either.  This was a huge relief to me as I was so worried I may not be able to breastfeed him.  That would have been crushing to me as I know how beneficial it is to not only him, but me and I want the bonding time esp. with him being my last.

Arriving home to family and friends
It is still hard for me to accept how bad things went.  I have been going through a wave of emotions  
this past month. It has been hard trying to figure things out and why they happened the way they did, but I also now see God's protection in all this.  Had I done the VBAC delivery I was planning, I may not be here to type this story.  I realize my life was spared a number of times.  I am here and my baby is here and that is most important.  I would have loved for things to have gone differently.  I would have loved to been told another baby was a possibility in the future, but this is not the case.

This was on the wall in my hospital room.
Kind of creepy, but fitting if you look
at the fact I too have 5 babies.
Life throws us unexpected changes. This don't always go according to "our plan".  We must continue to trust God that he knows what is best.  I know my life will now look very differently than what I had envisioned, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.  We all go through seasons of change in our lives and I am now moving on to the next chapter.  My child bearing days are over and I now need to fully focus on the 5 children I have been given, my husband, and my God.  Life is still good and I am thankful for what I have been given.  It can only get better from here on out.  In the meantime, I am enjoying every moment with my precious new son. I know he will grow fast and these days will soon be a distant memory.  As for today he is my baby and I am so happy to be his mom.

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Katrina said...

how scary! so glad you are ok! =)

Sarah J. said...

Thank you so much for sharing, Beth! I can see why you would not want to relive the experience! It must have been incredibly difficult for you to write. I teared up when I read it. I'm so glad you are doing better!! *hugs* :)

Alicia Johnson said...

Oh my gosh, I am sending you a big hug from Oregon right now. Reading that post made me cry. I've had two c-sections so far, and I can relate to the yearning for a natural birth and not having things go the way you want. Prayers for your recovery.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing. I am so thankful you and your little one are doing well. You are so blessed to have such a wonderful family!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! You are amazing to me, five c-sections, it gives me hope for having a third one knowing if my baby had to come by cs that I would be able to handle it, as it would be my third cs. God bless you and your family!

Anonymous said...

Praises to Our Father for your improved health and a healthy baby boy! I, too, wanted to have a VBAC with my 3rd baby (having had a VBAC previously with my 2nd)jbut due to complications, had another C. In the operating room, before incision was made, my uterus ruptured. Felt God's hand in my birth story because if it had happened during natural delivery, we both could have been lost. He holds us in His hands.

Julia Shober said...

Wow wow wow, thank you so much for sharing that story! I haven't been on blogger in ages, and here I come on and find your story - I had no idea you even had another baby, that's how long it's been. Congratulations and enjoy that little boy! I'm sure you will find yourself healing more and more as time goes on and you settle into your family of seven!

Gencie said...

I had to have a C-section with my first (and only so far), and I hated it so bad! I'm sorry your birth didn't turn out the way you wanted, but God is sovereign and He knows what He's doing!

About not being able to have more children: have you and your husband considered adoption? It is not plan B and it is not a consolation prize, but maybe your situation (along with your desire for more children) is a way God is preparing you for adoption! Just throwing that out there. I read "Adopted for Life" by Russell Moore recently, and I'm reading "Orphanology" by Tony Merida now, and I have really gained a burden for the orphans.

Anonymous said...

(((hugs))) I know how you feel:( I felt the same way. You are so strong! Thankyou for sharing. Just remember you did what was right to keep your baby boy safe

HappilyDomestic said...

Thank you everyone for your kind words. I am so thankful my baby and I made it through safely as well. It was a horrible ordeal and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

Gencie- Yes, we are open to adoption. We actually were going that route before my husband had his vasectomy reversal (so back when we only had two kids). I just wish they didn't make adoption so difficult. It is so outrageously expensive and usually takes a couple years. But I know if it is what God wants for our lives he will open doors for it to happen. :-)

Sarah said...

Oh gosh Beth you went through a terrible ordeal! I'm happy to hear you are home and happily nursing! Glad baby and mama are both ok! Get some rest and snuggle up that little one!

Lori said...

Joy comes in the morning! I'm so glad to hear you're doing well. Need to have all the kids over for an afternoon to get my "big family fix"...then I'll send them home! HA! I'm proud of you for seeing God's loving hand in blessing your life. I'm so thankful He pulled you through all this. You are my sweet and dear friend (almost my daughter except I'm MUCH to young). We love you.

bellsam said...

I'm really glad to see that you were able to find the positive in all this. Enjoy your family, they love you dearly I'm sure

Terra H. said...

Wow, you went through a lot! Glad it all worked out to where you and the baby came home okay.

Tiffany said...

Oh Mama what an experience! Thank God that both you and baby are okay. I know how hard it is to have something go so the opposite of what you had planned but I hope you find at least a little comfort knowing that your c-section was so needed and possibly a life saver. Enjoy that sweet baby!

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