I’ve been lurking on this board for months. I don’t write often as I am not a talkative person. I feel like I “belong” with you guys more than anywhere else and believe that you, as a group, are the most supportive, intuitive and caring group of women around. You are all an inspiration for me.
That being said, you all have lodges that allow the rest of us to get to know you and share in your experience. I wish I could do the same. So here goes. Forgive me if it’s a bit long.
My name is Colombe (Dove in French) and I am from Montreal, Canada. I am 32 years old. This is my second pregnancy. I am 36 weeks along.
My first was 10 years ago and was a terrible experience from beginning to end. Found out I was pregnant 2 weeks after getting out of an abusive relationship. So on top of being an emotional wreck from the breakup, I was dealing with hormone changes. Then came the weight gain (70 lbs) and pre-eclampsia that caused me to go to a high risk clinic where I was never followed by the same doctor. I felt like a number. I felt that I was bothering the doctors with my health complications.
I developed kidney stones from the prenatal vitamins I was taking and from the Tums I kept having to ingest since I had to be lying down 70% of the time. When I was hospitalized for the stones, it was first thought I had a kidney infection and was therefore given intravenous antibiotics. I was rooming with a woman who was having major kidney problems and was passing rocks and blood every day. The day I passed my stones (more like sand but god that hurt!) I was told that I didn't have stones, that I had an infection (by then my bloodwork came back and there was no sign of an infection) and that I shouldn't try to act "sicker" than my roommate. At that moment I understood that I had no say in this, the hospital staff was behaving as expected (knows all), and I was a patient with no say, no matter how I felt about it.
A couple of weeks later due to the HB pressure and protein count I was induced. Came in at 9 am for a routine appointment, was sent to L&D. I had never wanted to have a natural birth at that point. I was given pitocin. They then broke my water bag and since I was handling the pain pretty well they cranked up the pitocin to the max. I was assigned a 24hour nurse and given a solution that both made me groggy and loopy. I had a catheter inserted and when the doctor inserted it, he ruptured something (we still don’t know what) that made my urine cranberry red for the next week. By 7 am the next day, they gave me an epidural so I could rest (at my request). At no point was anything ever explained to me. They barely explained anything to my mom. When I was fully dilated the doctor performed an episiotomy swearing I was having a huge baby and therefore would tear (he was born weighing 61/2lbs). I pushed for over two hours. I couldn't feel pain, the need to push or any emotions. They used the vacuum to pull him out. The doctor even made a joke as to the sex of my child, saying how small his penis was, so much that for a second he thought it was a girl!!!! Talk about rude. When they finally gave him to me, I was so detached from the whole birth experience I barely realised it was over.
With time I found out that part of the meds given to me were the equivalent of having 6 beers in your system. My BP was so high, had I felt anything remotely near stress I could have popped. At no point during the birth was this ever told to me and it left me with the feeling of total helplessness.
Thankfully, I was able to breastfeed for 10 months, even though a nurse, after being told I was breastfeeding, decided after my mom left, that I needed to rest. I was so out of it still that I didn’t notice but the next day, I made sure that the exec nurse was made aware of that and I demanded to cosleep with DS until we were discharged from hospital.
I can tell you from my experience that I did mourn my birth experience. I still do. I swore that if I had another baby I would go natural. I will not be deprived of feeling anything, pain included. The pain is there for a reason, it's your motivation. I did feel like part of my ability to give life was taken from me through my experience. Although my complications were life threatening, I cannot forgive my experience. I feel like I was cheated.
With this pregnancy my experience is sooo different. First off I am older, wiser and more educated. Second, I am married to a wonderful supportive man who treats my son as his own. When we decided to become pregnant it was something we both wanted. It was a happy feeling from the beginning. I must admit I was nervous about being possibly sick again. I wanted one doctor to follow me through this pregnancy. I was so certain that my condition might affect me again that I never considered using a midwife or giving birth anywhere but at a hospital. BUT I was not going to let things happen the same way they did the first time. I found an OB that specializes in high risk pregnancies but that also believes in the least interventions the better. She is fantastic, supportive, informative, honest and caring. Throughout this pregnancy she has never even mentioned the fact that I am overweight. I have a normal pregnancy so far, no overly high weight gain, no diabetes, no HB pressure. I questioned her about episiotomy (she said that this year was a high year for her since she performed 2 already!!!), pain management (she believes that it is each woman’s choice but is totally supportive of natural labour), does not believe in induction (except in medical necessary cases), she actually said that she will not induce any normal pregnancy until 42 weeks. She does not believe in routinely checking for dilation or effacement as it can lead to infections and is not an accurate way to predict delivery but will do it if asked.
All in all, I am going in this process with the support of my loving husband and with the knowledge that no matter what happens I will receive the best care from my doctor for baby and I, and not just the easiest care for the doctor. I also made hubby aware of my choices and he supports them 100% as he says that as much as he wishes he could have a say, it’s my body and I will be dealing with the pain and all. He will back up all my decisions.
Thanks for reading me.