The birth story I didn't want to tell...
My birthstory is something I've been avoiding. It was a hard and painful experience and recovery. So it's not well written. But at least it's written down for me to remember later because I know I'll want to remember for the next time.
A little background now~ My little one was born in the Alask Native Medical Center in Anchorage, AK. For those of you who don't live here, that's essentially a hybrid of socialized medicine for people of Native and American Indian decent. It's a system that doesn't care too much about you beyond when it's convienient to schedule your procedure. If we can give you ibprophen and send you home, we certainly will, even if it's the wrong thing to do. Get 'em in, get 'em out. Bill their insurance if they got it, and a government grant will pay the rest eventually. For those of us who have no money for the privatized system, it's a blessing and a curse. If I have no money at all I still have some form of medical recourse. Even if it's not the best. I was born into this system and the substandard care that it entails.
When my water broke on June 5th at about 2 am, I was not actually having labor pains. Some of you might remember that I wasn't even sure my water had broken. So we took our time getting to the hospital. Nothing was happening beyond the leaking. When we got there it was confirmed that my water had broken and I was moved into a room. They started some medication that I don't remember the name of. It's a medication that was actually for ulcers that had the side effect of starting labor. It started some contractions. They kept increasing the dosage until I was taking the maximum allowed. But that was still not enough.
There was 20 hours were the contractions were painful but manageable. At 20 hours I also started to spike a temperature. So the pitocin came out. After the pitocen I lose all sense of time. It seemed like a week. They used a lot. 5 bags from the beginning to the end. The contractions got stronger and stronger.
At this point I still hadn't had any sleep. And I had nausea to the point where I would no longer eat or drink. I asked for the epidural at that point so I could get some sleep. It took the pain down to the point were I slept for a few hours. But it was hard to sleep with the nurses and doctors coming in and out of the room.
As my temp rose the pain got worse and worse. The midwifes (there had been 4 by now) and doctors (there had been 3 different ones) kept examining me and telling me that I was not completely dialated. There was still a ridge. They kept trying to manually coax my cervix open and that hurt worse than any of the pushing I did when they were finally successfull.
It was during that time and about 30 hours into the labor (my DH tells me) when I started asking for a c-section. They didn't want to do it. So I pushed for 5 or 6 hours after asking for the c-section (again, DH tells me.) It didn't feel that long and yet it felt longer than that. They kept seeing the top of the baby's head but then she would get stuck. The pain was staggering even with the epidural and my temperature had been going on for 18 hours be the time I started to get delirious and was screaming with the pain.
Finally I just started to cry like I haven't cried since I was a child. I told DH that I thought I was going to die, and at that point I really thought that I would. By the time it had gotten bad enough that the doctors would perform a c-section on me I had been running a high temp for almost 20 hours.
Almost 45 hours after my water broke, Denali was born at 6:44 PM on June 6th (my birthday too) weighing in at 8lbs 3oz. The baby was taken and I was scared because I never heard her cry. She was being whisked away to the NICU immediately for some reason I don't remember and I told DH to go with her. If DH weren't so stubborn I wouldn't have seen her for hours. But he refused to allow them to take her out of the O.R. without me seeing her little swollen face.
When DH and baby were gone they started to work on me again. The doctors thought I had passed out and they said things to eachother about the condition of my uterus (from waiting so long to do the c-section) that I wish I never would have had to hear. It scared me the stuff they said. Once they realized that I had heard everything they said, they kind of laughed and asked me if they could excise an unusual mole on the bikini line. I was so confused and upset at this point I didn't know what to say. So I said, yes. I thought it would be a good thing to get it done at the same time, but it led to an uneven incision that kept pulling open and bleeding even after I went home from the hospital.
But that wasn't even the worst of the experience. Because of the infection, Denali and I needed to have some serious antibiotics. For me it was easy with the IV I had already. But they had trouble placing an IV for Denali. They tried several times over 2 days. Finally they got and IV in on the 2nd day. Well, since Denali was with the nurses, I didn't worry about it beyond the fact that my baby was covered in pricks from where they had tried to place the IVs previously. DH went home for a bit to do some thing or another. So I was trying to sleep. Imagine my horror when a doctor I didn't recognize walked into my room to inform me that they had accidentally injected Denali with Lidocaine instead of the antibiotics. "But only a little bit." (Like that made it better.) My heart felt like it stopped. She went on and on about the possible damage it could have done to my little baby. But I don't remember a bit of the information she gave me beyond possible damage to the heart, still monitoring her for slowed breathing... They almost killed her... She was in the NICU again. How could this have happened??? Thank goodness Denali was alright. Someone was watching over her, but it certainly wasn't the staff of that hospital!
My labor was a nightmare. By now I remember it in bits and pieces. My mother came and joined us at the hospital about 10 hours in. So did my dad eventually. I remember them passing in and out of the room. Looking more and more concerned. All of the family that was present thought the baby and I were going to die. So did I. I found out later that my mom had been pleading with the medical staff to perform the c-section for hours. For longer than I pleaded with them.
I felt a lot of guilt after the baby was born. Guilt for not being strong enough, for wanting to die, for not being able to take the pain. For all the things that I could not control. But most of all, for not taking control of the one thing I could have. I learned a valuable lesson. Next time I'll pay the money to go somewhere else. It wasn't worth the pain and heartache to save some money.
Thought I already did this, but guess I was wrong!
I went in for a check up on Wed. June 11th. I was dialating and my cervix was "favorable". My SIL had recently found out she had a grapefruit sized tumor on her ovary, and was going in for surgery just a few days before my due date to have it removed, and my MIL was going to be taking care of her and my nieces and nephew...so there was a chance she wasn't going to be able to be at Mickie's birth if we just left it to Mother Nature.
Since my cervix was favorable, my doc said she would feel comfortable inducing me the next day. So I let HER call my MIL at work-so funny- and say, "this is Dr. Amber Salas with MRMC, I was calling you in regards to your daughter in law (of course my MIL FREAKED thinking something was wrong), I was calling to ask you if you would like to have a granddaughter tomorrow!" So fun...
So I ran home, packed and went to bed early. I was restless all night b/c I was contracting...nothing big, just enough to piss me off. Got up at 5, showered, fixed my hair and makeup, went to the hospital to check in at 6 as we were TOLD...then they told us they weren't ready for us...we weren't supposed to be there until 7, but they would get me in a bed. They took their good sweet time, but I was fine...still contracting, but not in pain.
They finally hooked me up to monitors and got my IV started and all that around 8am.
8:05 asked me if I realized I was already in labor...told them yes, but didn't hurt yet.
8:30 dr. salas decided to break my water and see if I felt them THEN...I felt them, but they were still just a mild inconvenience.
10:00 the doctor decided to give me a very small dose of pitocin...that's when the contrax started to bother me.
10:30 the nurse came in and told me that the drug man was about to leave the maternity floor to go to surgery, and if I wanted an epidural it would be smart to get it now b/c once he went to surgery it could be hours before he was able to return...no matter WHEN I decided I wanted the epidural. So I went ahead and got it whenever he finished with the other lady (there were 7of us in labor at once that morning). They turned off my pitocin b/c they decided I didn't need it, and there were 6 other women ready to push (I think they didn't want to mess with me just yet b/c they were so swamped)
11:30 epidural kicked in, family came back into the room, my preacher called to check on me, and the nurse told me I was about 1/2 way there...so it would be several more hours. He said he'd swing by after lunch to rub my belly one last time-HA
11:40 tried to reach the nurse call button at my feet but couldn't...mom thought I was crazy and asked why-the nurse had just left! I told her I thought I needed to be checked b/c I felt a lot of pressure. Typical mom, she told me I was "supposed to feel pressure-I was having a baby..." I gave her a look and said PUSH THE BUTTON, I NEED TO BE CHECKED.
The nurse came in and put mom and dad behind the curtain, checked me, called the doc over the PA system, ran mom and dad out telling them to wait by the nursery window we were about to have a baby any minute now.
11:45 Dr. Salas RAN into the room, told me DON'T PUSH, and the nurses and her went crazy breaking the room down into a more medical looking scene. I told her that I wasn't pushing, but something was happening. She told me to just hang in there, don't push...so again, I let her know that I wasn't pushing, but Mickie was coming.
11:53 the room is ready and Dr. Salas gives me the OK to push...not telling me that I ONLY push during a contraction...I should have known, but I was a little nervous about delivery, so I wasn't thinking clearly and just pushed until I had to breath again. Dr. Salas was like, honey, you're contraction is over, why are you still pushing? OOPS...So then I pushed the right way, just during contractions. Hubby tells everybody that I was a ham...smiling at the camera between pushes and grinning the whole time.
11:56 after 6 pushes Mickie arrived! SIXTEEN minutes after I told my skeptical momma that I needed to be checked, ha ha-guess I showed HER.
Mickie was cleaned up and we were left alone, just the three of us for an hour, while I nursed her and drove my family crazy!
Mickie is great-she STILL doesn't like to wait for ANYBODY or anything ha ha, but I should have known, the way she came into this world...on her own time table.
Dr. Salas said I was born to be a mom, that my body handles pregnancy, labor, and delivery like nobody she's ever seen, and told hubby that NEXT time, he'd better camp out in the hospital parking lot b/c #2 would come even quicker.