Friday, August 6, 2010

The Path of Recovery

I had an unplanned, unnecessary, unpleasant c-section with my first son. Until the actual moment, I never even considered this to be an option in our birth route. I was huge, overdue, done and miserable. I was induced (first step in the wrong direction) and after almost 20 hours of labour, it was decided that I wasn't progressing and it was safest for babe to be delivered via c-section. At this point, I was having incredible contractions, drug free. I couldn't talk, couldn't give consent for the surgery, and couldn't resist the urge to bark at the rude, older nurse as she less than gently prepped me for surgery.

With my second, I knew I wanted a VBAC. I knew I wanted the opposite experience. I wanted to hold and nurse my baby within his first few moments of life. I wanted to be the first person he would gaze at. I wanted to get up and go home within hours of delivery. I prepared this time. I saw my massage therapist sometimes as often as twice a week, saw a chiropractor, had appointments with a reflexologist in my last days of pregnancy, I hired a doula, I wrote a birth plan, I even went as far as planning to have a home water birth with a midwife, however later decided on a hospital birth. I wanted all things natural and peaceful and non-invasive. I was really excited for how my birth would happen. I impatiently waited for things to start. I finally started having good, strong contractions that kept me awake all night. 11 hours of hard contractions that got more and more intense. My husband woke in the morning and there I was, wide awake and delivering the news that I thought this was for real! I stood to go to the washroom, and GUSH.... YES!!! I got to experience that infamous gush I have heard others speak of. Exciting!! I called my doula, called my other doula friend who would be watching my oldest son, and waddled around to get ready. As I did this, something seemed off. After discussing with both my doula and my doula friend, I decided I would go get checked, even though I planned to labour at home. There was blood. A lot of blood. We arrive at the hospital and the nurse that had been doing her job for 100 years wasn't alarmed. She told us my forewaters broke, and told us to go home. She told us we would be back in a couple of hours. I hesitantly did so. I went home where things continued to seem wrong. Another obsessive trip to the washroom, and I knew something was wrong. This time, I panicked. I rushed my husband and son, and almost demanded we go to the hospital. I texted as we drove and tried to calm myself. Within moments of arrival, I saw a younger, more compassionate nurse. She listened, seemed alarmed with my description and with the amount of blood that she was seeing. She called the on-call OB, and boom, there he was. No joking around this time. Within 30 minutes of arriving, I was being whisked off to the OR. My husband managed to run to my doula friends house to grab a camera (the nerves made us forget everything at home, camera included) in the OR garb, and ask if I was ok. They had me hooked to two IV's, prepared me for what was to come, and I sat there, crushed. This is EXACTLY what I did not want. This is the polar opposite of all things natural. I cried. I wasn't OK with this, but I knew it was necessary, something was wrong. It all happened much more quickly this time. There was a need to rush, and I felt it. Within moments, we heard our second sons cry. We saw his purple little feet as they whisked him away....from me. My husband, stuck behind the drape, unable to get to our son, also watched from a distance as they examined him. This is probably the best way he could ever come close to understanding how I felt. Not being able to touch and caress our child. Eventually, they cut him free and allowed him to scope out our newest love. I lay there alone. Scared, and still not sure what was going on. As I tremble on the table, they make light of the situation, and we take bets on how much he weighs. He's big, is my thought. My husband and my son roll off to the NICU, and I lay there... even more alone. I head to recovery and listen to the cackle bird nurses gossip about co-workers. The whole time I am wondering how my baby is. My OB pops in to tell me that I had to be wheeled in for an emergency section due to partial placenta abrupture. Essentially, I had delivered a piece of the placenta, and things could have turned really ugly. He also let me know that Holliday was a big 9lbs 4oz. Big and healthy. I cried. I cried a lot the first few months of my sons life. I felt the disconnect. I felt like I was once again robbed of what was natural. I know my second section was legitimate and necessary. I know that it came down to saving a life, but I still crave the natural experience. I don't know that I will have the nerve in the future to attempt a VBAC. The experience was pretty traumatic, but also pretty rare.

No matter how much planning and preparation we do, emergencies arrive. It's hard not to sell ourselves short when they do. Having no control over medical mishaps is difficult to overcome, but we shouldn't beat ourselves up for things we cannot control. It's easy to say, and almost impossible to practice. I'm not sure what avenue I will choose for the delivery of our future babies, but I hope that I will allow room for forgiveness of myself, no matter what I decide. Until then, I hope that speaking openly of my experience will help with the healing process. I have yet to write, in detail, my sons birth story. I haven't been able to, but I think I am ready. Here's to traveling down the road of healing.

~ Tammy, Connected Mom


Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

you make me cry... *hugs*

your doula friend
I am there for you and will be there for you through your future pregnancies and biths

katie said... [Reply to comment]

very touching. i am still mourning my emergency c-section from almost 11 months ago and like you, am hoping for a vbac for the next. i'm so sorry you didn't get to have the birth experience you were hoping for (either time) & wish you a quick recovery, physically and emotionally.

Jenn said... [Reply to comment]

Hugs. I know how you feel. I think my second c-section was so much harder, and I too struggle with whether or not we will try again. I still need time to heal physically and emotionally before I commit to trying again. I could never opt for a c-section, so it definitely complicates things.

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