I'm definitely getting the hang of the mothering thing more now. I'm less nervous and anxious lately. I did get a counseling appointment and I have another one in about 2 weeks. She thinks it's a good idea for me to check in again and maybe even consider my appointments "me" time. I think I'm also worried about my family, too, so I can work that stuff out during my sessions. My mom was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. I think it's late stage and her tumors have actually broken the surface of the skin. She's supposed to be getting chemo now, but she keeps putting it off and it really worries me. My dad just had surgery to have his prostate removed due to cancer and my sister was so depressed earlier this year that she ended up in a psychiatric hospital and now she's pregnant with her 3rd child. So, I guess I just have a lot going on (never mind about the whole traumatic birth). I guess I have a reason to be depressed. But, like I said, I'm doing MUCH better and really starting to enjoy being a mom. I love, love, love Bowen! He's so awesome! I love all of the amazing facial expressions he makes and how he gets really pissed off at his hands when they interfere with BFing. It's so cute. He gets so upset and has no idea that it's his own hands causing the problem. Oh, and we've finally decided to go with a diaper service. There is a really great one right here in town. They are completely solar powered and they have high efficiency machines, so they're really eco-friendly. My mom decided to get that for us and i'm really glad, because I was so overwhelmed at all of the diaper options. We've just been using disposables so far and they're getting expensive and create a lot of waste!
I started working on my birth story, but I'm having a hard time with it. I don't know if I'll ever manage to post it. I think I just want to put the whole experience behind me.
Try to find moments when you can deal with the birth story. It is a good thing to have for the future, for your kids! I don't mean to do it today, but when you are up to it.
I'm so glad you got in for counselling. With all that is on your plate, it is good to open up and share without overwhelming DH with all the details. Between Bowen and your family, there must not be much time for just enjoying each other.
Your delight in Bowen shows! Terrific!
Leo (3 1/2) with Malcolm the cat
Thnks for the update.
I'm glad you are getting some help, and with everything going on, some time to speak to a a non-family member is a great thing, as is "me" time with such a little one.
Yay for the diaper service! We have one too and I feel it is so helpful for the firtst couple months. After that, laundry time is easier if you have your own and they don't grow so fast that they grow out of the diapers before they pay for themselves!
I'm also glad you are bonding so well with Bowen. I had trouble with DS1 and felt like it was more of an observational experiment. Baby does this so I need to do this. Not much emotion attached. This time is different. Don't know why. We seem to have bonded sooner than with Reed or Ivy. Thats' a good thing.
As for "me" time, is it possible for Erik (I hope that's his name!) to give you a free 15-30 minutes on a nightly basis to do something on your own? Maybe it's take a shower. Maybe it's taking a walk or bike ride. Maybe it's reading a book or seeing a friend. I found that last time when I started playing hockey once a week (3hours) that it really helped me by getting me out of the house, being with some people that I don't see every day, and doing some physical exercise. It's also great for DH to bond with the kids by himself (and know what you have to deal with!)
Keep us posted and I would love to read your birth story if you ever post it.
I've found that with BIG ISSUES it helps to write them out and file them for future reference if I want. It helps process the information and figure out what's most important for you at this time. It also means that if the issue ever resurfaces that it helps you put it in perspective by re-reading what you thought was important at the time. Another thing it could help with is if you ever decide to have another child, you might need to deal with anxieties and fears surrounding Bowen's birth. If you deal with those now, it might make your decision more based on that moment than fear of a repeat of Bowen's birth. I do know that there is a thread above "The healing thread" (The Healing Thread) that is there specifically for this reason. Feel free to use it.
Hugs, and I hope you update us again soon.
Skyler Dylan 22 April 1999
Reed Aslan 17 June 2007 ~ 8 September 2008
Ivy Rayne 3 May 2009
Leo Spencer 2 Sept 2010
Forrest Reed 15 Aug 2012
glad you are seeking out help and taking time to care for yourself it can be very overwhelming with just a newborn, and it sounds like you have much mor eon your plate too.
sorry i just read the previous update too, but if he is still fussy at night, my DS used to want to cluster feed around that time at night. if I let him BF more frequently at those times, he was a happy boy (Even though it was tiring at the time, it didn't last too long)
I am so glad everything is going well! And that you are enjoying the counselling, I think it is a wonderful option to have.
Mommy to three gorgeous girls
at 6 weeks 22/10/09
Just checkin' on ya mama! How's it going? I found that what helped me to write my story was thinking about it over a couple of days and jotting down little notes as they came to me. If I tried to think about the experience as a whole it became super overwhelming and I would just shut down and not want to deal with it. I agree with what PP said about it being important to you in the future. With DD, the birth story became instrumental in my healing much later down the road. The more time that goes on, the more details you will lose. No pressure intended, but I hope you are able to come to a point where you can get it all out and then put it away for a little while.
Much love to you!
Ariel & John: Military Family since May 17, 2006
Sylvia: 12/18/08, Justus: 9/17/10, Bunni: 5/11/12, Surprise Baby: Guess Date 11/5/13
So, here it is. Very, very long and unedited. I have more thoughts and reflections about the birth, but I'll post those later. Baby is crying now.
I suppose it’s time I wrote this. On 9/1, I had no inkling whatsoever that I’d go into labor that day. I assumed that I’d go past my due date, since most FTMs tend to. I was a little more tired than usual that day, but nothing to be concerned about. I met a friend at the dog park and took a nice, long walk with her and her little boy. It was really nice. We talked about her birth and stuff and when I got home, I told my baby that I was ready for him to come that day. I guess he heard me. Anyway, when Erik got home from work he took a shower and was feeling amorous, so we made love. I was kind of horny myself and I wanted it kind of hard and deep, so he took me from behind. It was really nice. A little while later, I was in the kitchen heating up some soup and I felt a gush. This was around 5:45pm or 6. I figured it was just the last of the semen coming out, so I ran to the bathroom and wiped and noted that there was more than I expected, but didn’t really worry too much. Back in the kitchen, I felt another gush and knew it was something different. I was pretty sure my water had broken, but didn’t say anything to Erik right away. I think I had to stop one more time as I was trying to serve dinner to go change my underwear and put on a super-duper pad. Erik was getting impatient for dinner, so finally I said, “I think my water just broke.” That totally changed the tone of the evening. He was supposed to go back in to work that night around 8pm, but we weren’t sure that was such a good idea. Contractions hadn’t started yet at this point, so we ate dinner and then I called the midwives. They told me to eat a good meal and try to get some rest and a good night’s sleep. At that point, I had been getting some crampy contractions, more intense than BH, but nothing I couldn’t talk through. This was a Wednesday and the next day was the beginning of Erik’s weekend – the day we had planned to finish up all of our birth chores: grocery shopping, stocking the pantry, gathering all of the supplies, finishing the laundry, etc. We had no food in the house, so I decided that we needed to go shopping right away, before my ctx got more intense. So, we grabbed our list and headed to the grocery store. It also happens to be the grocery store where Erik works, so we got a lot of attention, which was good and bad. My ctx got more intense as we shopped and I had to stop and lean on the cart during them. They were about 3-5 min apart and lasted about 1 min. It really felt like things were ramping up quickly. Anyway, we managed to get the shopping done, but by the time we got home, my ctx were too intense for me to really do anything to help, so poor Erik was scrambling around trying to put away all the groceries. I was running around gathering stuff and doing laundry when I could. I called my mom and had her come over to help Erik put away groceries and to scrub my bathtub. I called the midwife back and told her that I don’t think I was going to get any sleep that night and that I’d feel better if she’d come over. Oh, and the birth tub was supposed to be delivered the next day, but that would probably be too late, so I called the lady and left her a message saying that I was already in labor and unless she could come that night with the tub, I’d have to cancel. It’s all kind of a blur when I look back. So chaotic. The midwife got there around 9:30 and my ctx were pretty painful by then. I think I got in the shower shortly thereafter, but I couldn’t even stand up. I folded up a towel for my knees and got on my hands and knees in the shower. I stayed there for what seems like hours. I think the next place I felt comfortable was on my bed on my hands and knees with a pile of pillows under me. Apparently there was another lady that we could get a birth tub from and she actually came over at like 11pm and set it all up. Sometime around midnight I was finally allowed in the tub. It brought some relief, but not as much as I had hoped for. Again, I was only comfortable on my knees. It didn’t have soft cushy sides either, so leaning over the edge was quite uncomfortable. I don’t know how long I stayed in there – I think an hour. The 2nd midwife came over sometime during the morning. I dunno when. They had been monitoring me and the baby and his heartrate was perfect and my temp was great this whole time. I think they finally checked me sometime in the wee hours of the morning. I had felt like things were really ramping up and the ctx were really intense, but when she checked, I was only at 4 and stretched to a 5. That was horrendously painful – I did not like being on my back at all! I was so discouraged. I totally thought I was farther along than that. It sort of helped me though, because I focused on conserving my energy more and keeping my tones low and trying to rest and relax as much as possible b/w ctx. Oh, and I think before they checked me, I threw up my entire dinner, which really sucked. I guess I thought that I was getting closer to transition because of throwing up, but no. I was still a 4 at that point.
Really, the whole rest of my labor was a blur. The sun started coming up and it was just more of the same. Painful contractions and switching up between being on my knees on my bed, in the shower and in the birth tub. Baby’s heartrate was consistent and my temperature was just under normal the whole time. The midwives kept trying to feed me stuff and everything was gross. Plus, I was really, really hot. It was a beautiful sunny day outside, but I was so hot and the house was stuffy. I had to have a fan pointed at me at all times. I got pretty whiney pretty quickly, too. I kept asking if I could just go to the hospital and get drugs pretty much right from the start. I didn’t REALLY want that, but I was testing the waters. The midwives kept reminding me to stay calm and relax and encouraging me by telling me what a great job I was doing and that I was getting closer with each contraction, etc. Nothing made me feel any better, though. I really didn’t like labor at all. I guess no one does, but I just remember feeling utterly miserable the whole time and wanting it to end. I tried to check in with my body and the baby, but I never felt any connection. I tried to visualize my cervix opening with each contraction, but I never really got into it. I remember thinking about how women talk about being in an “altered state” while in labor, where time goes by quickly and wondering when I was going to be able to be in that state. I remember being fully conscious and miserable and that time was just dragging. My mom was there I think for most of my labor, but I really didn’t interact with her at all. She felt that it was best for her to just stay out of my way. She came and sat in the room with me a few time, but I was in my own little world. Come to find out, she was really pissed off at the midwives the whole time and thought that they were mismanaging my labor and she wanted me to go to the hospital waaaay sooner than I had. I didn’t find that out until the day after Bowen was born, though. Anyway, so the day dragged on and nothing was happening except lots of contractions. After each contraction, I’d sip some water or Recharge and some midwife would shove some honey or yogurt or something in my mouth and I’d try not to vomit. When it got to painful on my knees, sometimes I’d try standing up over the toilet, leaning on the windowsill behind the toilet. It helped for Erik to rub and push on my sacrum a little. It was nice to get some fresh air and stare out at the chickens. The sun went down again and I really started watching the clock after we passed the 24 hour mark. They checked me again sometime that evening and I was I think at 7 or something, but I had a lip. So, closer, but still not time to push. Sometime in the night, I vowed to myself that if the baby wasn’t born by 6am the next day, I was going to the hospital. I told Erik that and he agreed. Anyway, I guess it was sometime around 10pm when Erik laid down to rest and I think the midwives were resting too and it was just me, laboring by myself on my bed and the kitty laying at the end of the bed. My kitty actually stayed with me a lot of the time. It was like she was protecting me. It was really sweet. The other midwife checked me again and I think I was an 8 or something, but the lip was a problem. At some point, they got in there and pushed the lip back and I was a 9 or 10 and they had me try pushing, but nothing was really happening. I guess they realized that I was getting exhausted (duh) and wanted to try giving me an enema to ramp things up. They gave me a choice of an enema and something else that I can’t remember and I chose the enema because it seemed like the lesser of the two evils. It wasn’t like your regular Fleet enema, either. It was a crazy concoction of ginger and molasses and god knows what else and I heard them preparing it and cooking it. I remember thinking that it was the oddest thing to be cooking up an enema for someone. I guess the premise was that the nutrients would be absorbed internally and it would provide me with some energy. I think that they administered that around midnight. It did its thing and I spent some time on the toilet, but didn’t really feel any different afterwards. I think they checked me one last time and I was pretty much fully dialated, but my contractions weren’t strong enough or close enough together to push the baby out. I didn’t have the urge to push at all. I tried some pushing, but it didn’t bring relief or do anything. I was left alone again for a while after that and sometime around 2am the midwives came in and asked how I’d feel about going to the hospital. I had been laboring for 32 hours at that point and I was ready to get it over with. I told them that I had already vowed to go to the hospital by 6am if there was no baby by then, so they asked me if I wanted to go right then, or wait ‘til 6am. I told them that now was good, so they went and woke Erik up and told him what was happening. We gathered some stuff and I threw on a robe and slippers and off we went. It’s less than a 10 minute drive and I think I only had one contraction on the way. I managed it somehow. When we got to the hospital, they informed us that all of the birth rooms were full, so we got some tiny little side room. I totally didn’t care at the point, but the room was really tiny and stuffy. They slapped on the monitors and gave me the heplock and I told the nurse I wanted something for pain since they were going to give me pitocin. I guess it was too late for an epidural, but I would have preferred to just have that because the fentanyl didn’t work at all. It made me relaxed and loopy, but didn’t do anything for the pain. The pitocin ramped things up and they decided to have me start pushing. I absolutely hated that. They showed me a bunch of different ways. The set up the squat bar and I tried that, but the IV was in my wrist and it really hurt to hold on to the bar. Then I did this modified squat thing while laying down. That one was the easiest, but pushing really sucked. It felt better than breathing through the contractions, but it really, really hurt. They had me doing the blue in the face pushing, too. Then they decided that my pushing was still making no progress, so they decided to go ahead with an epidural so I could rest a while. But, with each contraction, the baby’s heartrate would decelerate and they gave me oxygen. Oh, and they decided to internalize me, so I had internal monitors, but they had a hard time placing them. They had to re-do the baby’s monitor 3x and the contraction monitor thingy 2x. Boy did I get sick of people putting there hands in my vagina! I think when all was said and done, I had 6 different hands inside of me. Oh, so they decided on the epidural, but the anesthesiologist was tied up in a surgery, so I had to wait an hour or so for the epi, meanwhile, they kept pumping me full of fentanyl (because I kept asking for it). I finally got the epidural, which started working immediately and of course, I got a catheter. I thought that getting the epidural would prevent me from having a c-section, but apparently the decels were worrying the doctors and they had the c-section doctor come in and examine me and he pretty much told me that I needed a c-section. He said that I have a 9lb baby in there and that I was still at a 0 station and that the baby’s head was starting to mold and he didn’t think that there was any way I was gonna push it out. I discussed it with my mom, the midwives and Erik for a minute or two and we decided to go ahead with it. I just wanted the baby out and safe. It was around 1pm when they finally wheeled me in to be prepped for surgery – about 41-42 hrs into my labor. As I was laying on the operating table I tried to check in with the baby and focus on the birth. I remember my birth books saying that a c-section is a birth and should be treated as such, rather than an operation. Finally Erik was at my side, all gowned and masked. We told everyone to please keep the sex a secret until Erik and I had a chance to see the baby. They got the baby out, but instead of showing him to us, they whisked him over to the pediatrician who was set up in another area of the OR. I don’t think I yet realized that there was something wrong. Ellen, the hospital midwife that was attending the birth kept running over and giving us updates, saying that he was fine, but he wasn’t breathing so they had to work on him. They also told us that he needed Narcan to counteract all of the narcotics that they had given me. That really freaked me out. Meanwhile, Erik was leaning way over to try to see the baby and he said that he saw a penis. He started crying when he realized that we had a boy. I was so happy and I still didn’t know how serious things were. They finally brought him over to us. Erik got to touch him, but I couldn’t because I was all strapped down. He was so beautiful, but they had to take him away because I guess he still wasn’t breathing as well as they wanted him to or something. So, Erik went with him to the nursery while they sewed me all up. I was in recovery when Erik and the pediatrican walked in. I saw the look on Erik’s face and knew that something was seriously wrong. She explained to me that he wasn’t breathing, but they had resucitated him, but he was still getting oxygen and that St. Joseph’s hospital (a local hospital with a NICU) was full, so he was going to have to be air-transported to UCSF children’s hospital. It was all so surreal. Erik stayed and talked with me for a little bit and then went back to the nursery to be with our baby (he didn’t have a name yet at this time). I remember lying there utterly confused and helpless – I couldn’t move my legs and I began to shake uncontrollably. A lab tech came and tried to take blood from me and I yelled at her and told her that she needed to try it at another time because I was too upset and couldn’t stop shaking. Finally, I was wheeled into my room where I rested. People came in and out and the nurses did their thing. I kept asking when I could be wheeled in to see my son (who I had only seen for about 30 seconds at that point). It wasn’t until 7 hours later that I finally got to see him. I couldn’t stand up, so I couldn’t kiss him or anything. I just sat there and stared at him and held his hand and stroked his face and body. This was about 8pm and he left with the transport team around 9. Just before he left, Erik and I decided on a name. I didn’t want him to go to San Francisco without a name. So, that’s about it.
Rheannon, what a moving story. Thank you for sharing it with us. I was crying along with you at parts. I know how hard you worked. And you worked SO HARD. I really think you did all the right things given the circumstances. It must have been so hard not seeing your baby for so long. I can't imagine exactly how that must have felt after working so long and hard to bring him into the world. I do know some of the same feelings since DD was in NICU for a week after she was born. It is a gut-wrenching experience that I wouldn't wish on anyone. (((BIG HUGS)))
And I have been wanting to ask, how did you come up with Bowen's name? I really like it and was wondering if there is a meaning or significance that you and DH had in mind.
Ariel & John: Military Family since May 17, 2006
Sylvia: 12/18/08, Justus: 9/17/10, Bunni: 5/11/12, Surprise Baby: Guess Date 11/5/13
I don't cry over birth stories but I shed tears over yours.
I can't comprehend people in the profession putting you, the mother, last. You needed explanations and comfort and conversation and touch.... not so much time uninformed and alone Thank goodness Erik was there for you at moments and for Bowen throughout. But the hours and hours and hours of hard labor, the poking and prodding, the delays for handling the pain...just seem so wrong.
Have you spoken with the midwives since Bowen's birth? I hope they have learned a great many things from his birth to help them with their jobs with other couples at their babies' births. Imagine if you had opted for the 6am transfer to hospital!
Birth is a miracle and Bowen's is an exceptional example.
Leo (3 1/2) with Malcolm the cat