Eli’s Birth Story

October 2

I woke up feeling crampy. I remember telling Geoff it felt like my period was on its way (which I know is ridiculous, but I was crampy, with lots of backache) I was some what uncomfortable throughout the day, and thought maybe my body was starting to get ready for labor.I asked Geoff to walk with me, so we went to Wal-Mart because it was cool and dark out by the time he got home. We walked around for an hour or two and I was just really uncomfortable. When we got home, I had a cup of  Red Raspberry Leaf tea and took some evening primrose oil (I had been doing both for a few weeks, because they are both supposed to help with labor in different ways) so I drank a cup of tea and we went to bed. I thought I was having contractions, but I was feeling it mostly in my back and hips. I was able to get to sleep with back rub from the hubby.

October 3
I woke up at 2am with a bad gall bladder attack. I went into the bathroom and vomited several times and took a percocet and zofran. I vomited again shortly thereafter, and took another percocet and woke Geoff up. He decided we needed to head to the hospital because in the past, the percocet had not been enough to get the pain to a tolerable level. We got to the hospital around 3am and they checked me into labor and delivery (standard procedure for pregnant women). The nurse tried to check me because I was having contractions on the monitor, even though I wasnt aware of them. I was in a massive amount of pain, so she wasnt able to get a definitive measure of my cervix but thought I was about a fingertip dilated. I ended up declining pain meds at the hospital because the percocet finally kicked in, and I was feeling better. I felt stupid for going in, but in the end our experience has been that at home meds dont usually work, it has had to be IV pain meds because of the intensity of the pain. We left the hosptial at approximately 5 am and went home to sleep. Geoff fell right asleep in bed, and I curled up with him and my cat and tried to sleep. I slept for about 45 minutes or so, and woke up with back labor. I got up and made myself a pillow nest on the couch and put in a movie to try and center myself. I made myself some hot apple cider and toast and laid down on the couch. At around 7am I called my mom and chatted with her for about an hour. It was a really meaningful conversation for me, in the quiet of the morning there were no distractions or background noise on her end, which can be extremely difficult because they have a busy house :o). My mom said then that she thought I was in labor and that he’d be here by Wednesday, but I dismissed it and thought we were just warming up because I wasnt expecting him til after his due date (October 13). My mom and I made arrangements for her to come up on Monday because I wanted the company really badly and sometimes there’s nothing like time with mom. I was planning to have her come up and we could walk, and just hang out because I wasnt feeling great. After we hung up, Geoff woke up and we spent the day hanging out and resting from our looong night before. My contractions starting picking up around dinner time and lasted through the night. Geoff and I spent the whole night going from the bedroom to the living room to the bath tub on my hands and knees and so on. My contractions were irregular, and I was only feeling them in my back. Geoff spent the night providing counter pressure for the increasingly uncomfortable contractions I was having. We laid on the couch from about 11pm until 5am and watched Netflix while I worked through each contraction.
October 4

 

I spent a lot of time on my knees, bent over the ottoman while Henry ran back and forth between me and Geoff, worried about my groans and sways. I felt so powerful and womanly swaying and vocalizing through the contractions. Around 5am Geoff suggested a hot bath. I spent about an hour in the tub, trying to relax and welcome each contraction. At this point I was trying not to get my hopes up because my contractions were still very irregular ranging from 2 minutes to 10 minutes apart. At 7 am, as the sun was coming up, Geoff made some coffee and we decided to go for a walk. We slipped on our slippers and hoodies over our pajamas and walked around the neighborhood for half an hour. That walk was one of my favorite parts of the day, the neighborhood was very quiet, the sun was still low in the sky and the air was cool and we spent the time talking about our future son and labor and delivery. We discussed our hopes for our son, and about how we want him to grow up to be a sweet, loving, respectful man who is strong and hard working. I felt so close to my husband in those moments. I had a few contractions as we walked, and I stopped and held onto his neck and swayed through them. When we got home we rested some more and waited for my mom. My mom got here around 9:00am and suggested we call my midwife and see if we could go in and get checked. I was resistant because I didnt want to go in and be told I was at 1/2 cm and go home, it was a false start. Nevertheless, Geoff insisted so we called and made an appointment for 11am. We finished picking up a few things around the house and made sure the bag was packed just in case. We got the doctors office, and Terri Gross (one of the four midwives at the clinic) saw us. It took a while to get in so I spent 20 minutes on my knees, leaning over the back of a chair with contractions off and on. When we got back into the exam room, Terri checked me and excitedly announced I was at 6cm, 100% effaced, and +2. I was thrilled! We headed over the hospital! On the way, I called my dad and texted my siblings with the good news. Geoff called his parents and sister, who helped spread the word that we should have the baby that day!! Once we got checked in, I realized I forgot to bring a copy of my birth plan. I told my nurse that, and explained to her that I wanted a natural childbirth, I would prefer not to be asked what my pain level was or be offered pain meds. I also stated that if I got to the point where I was asking for pain meds, I was open to alternative means. This may have come back to bite me…Somewhere in there Geoff called Katie (our doula) and she arrived a few hours later. Once she got there we settled into a routine of me laboring while walking around the room, on my hands and knees leaning over the back of the bed and so on. My labor was all in my back and my contractions were getting quite strong. Katie had some great techniques to help me cope, including the use of a rebozo wrap, which went around my hips and allowed her to simultaneously help squeeze my hips, and put counter pressure on my intense back labor. I am not really sure how long we labored like that, because my sense of time disappeared.

At some point I decided to get in the tub and put on my swim suit. While I was in the tub, my brother and Geoff’s sister got to the hospital. They were able to come in a visit for while, since I was sort of dressed. Laura sat with me for a while and her and Katie kept my shoulders and hips warm with wet wash clothes while I lay on my side in the tub so they could help apply counter pressure. I dont know exactly how long I was in the tub because at this point my sense of time sort of disappeared. My midwife, Kelly Jean came in and checked me and said I was about 7cm and station +1. I was not progressing very fast at this point and becoming frustrated. We kept laboring, walking and doing counter pressure. My mom went out and got the family at some point to come in and say hi. Geoff’s dad, his dad’s girlfriend, his mom, stepdad and sisters where all there. I only saw them for a few minutes because my contractions were getting really strong at this point.

 

We continued laboring together, Katie providing constant counter pressure and Geoff and my mom offering moral and emotional support. I cant give a definitive time line at this point because, like I said, my sense of time disappeared. At some point Kelly Jean came back in and wanted to check me again and I declined, because I knew I hadn’t progressed. I was getting frustrated and exhausted at this point. I had been awake roughly since 2 am Saturday morning, and we were now at 6 pm Monday night. My contractions were getting increasingly intense, but not becoming more regular. I think around 8 or so Kelly Jean came back in and decided to check me again. I was at 8 cm at this point and starting to feel despair. She thought breaking my water might help labor pick up so I tried to get comfortable on my side in bed so she could. This is one part of my birth experience i am not sure I would repeat. By breaking my water, I doubt the baby had any chance to turn, but at the time we werent sure what his position was. Once she broke my water, she was able to tell he was occiput posterior.http://www.birthingnaturally.net/birth/challenges/posterior.html That basically means he was facing my stomach instead of my back, so the back of his head (the occiput) was against my back, so it makes entering the birth canal extremely difficult. If they hadn’t broken my water, maybe he could’ve turned…but maybe not. He had a long time with lots of contractions to turn and didnt so there’s no telling what would have happened if we hadnt ruptured my membranes. My contractions became MUCH stronger at this point, and I was becoming extremely discouraged because I wasnt progressing very quickly and my contractions were starting to become unbearable. Before this point I was able to groan, moan and make throaty, low noises to cope through them, but at this point I was screaming. I have never felt anything so intense in my life. I started begging for it to end and was screaming for some one to make it stop. I finally asked for pain medicine, much to my own chagrin. I felt my hopes for a natural  birth experience slowly draining away at this point, but I could no longer cope. The gave me a shot of something, and it helped for all of two contractions. I tried to keep laboring, but the pain in my back was becoming so intense I couldnt deal. My midwife suggested I get back in the bath tub to see if that provided any help, and I agreed. I dont know how long I was in there, but my mom sat with me for a while so Katie and Geoff could step out. I started becoming afraid of contractions at this point and remember being overwhelmed with the intensity of them. I got out of the bath tub and had a few contractions while sitting on the toilet. For some reason, my midwife wanted me to try laboring on the toilet but I HATED it. That was the worst position for me, I had to be either on my hands and knees or standing, I couldnt bear to sit through them. I remember holding onto the rail in the bathroom watching my legs shake. At this point, I was butt naked and remember registering some embarrassment that my doula and good friend was seeing me naked but mostly I didnt care. My legs felt like jelly and somehow I got back to bed and begged for the epidural. Kelly Jean suggested a sterile water block in my back at this point to help with the back labor, because it was supposed to act like counter pressure. My poor doula and hubby. Their wrists, hands and arms had to ache by now from the intense pressure they were applying. We tried the water block and it made it worse because they couldnt put pressure on my back anymore because it would undo the water block. I decided I had to have the epidural. I always thought once I asked for an epidural, it would be instant, but its not. It seems like it took at least an hour between finally convincing them to give it to me (remember I told them not to offer…yeah) and then I had to have at least half a bag of fluids in me and so on. Finally the anesthesiologist came in and I was sitting on the bed in a tank top and nothing else and I didnt care. He was really kind and helpful and got the epidural in place quickly and efficiently. He didnt do it too heavily, thankfully because once he left my midwife turned the lights off and told me to try and rest. I collapsed into bed, exhausted. Katie let me lay there for a few minutes or so and then told me I needed to get up on my hands and knees. I was able to do this even with the epidural, I still had control over my legs. She was hoping if I kept turning the baby would turn. At this point I became aware that his heart rate was dropping. My blood pressure was really low and I felt like I was going to black out. Katie helped me get on one side then the other so the epidural didnt pool on one side of my body. Kelly Jean came in and put two monitors on us. One under the scalp of the baby to better monitor his heart rate, and one next to his head to measure the strength of my contractions since I could no longer feel them. My contractions were getting less intense, which at this point told us that my labor was stalling.  I was really distraught and Kelly Jean and another nurse came in and were surprised to see me up on my hands and knees, but were concerned about the baby. My blood pressure was very, very low and the baby’s heart rate was no longer indicating he was responding positively to the contractions. In fact it was the opposite, as my contractions peaked, his heart rate dropped. I was scared for my baby. They put me on oxygen to help my heart rate and blood pressure, and some where in here Geoff stepped out.

 

 He came back and saw me oxygen and he became really upset and concerned about both me and the baby. My dad arrived at the hospital shortly after and I remember him coming back to see me, and holding my hand. All I could do at that point was lay there and hold my dad’s hand and try not to cry. I was so distraught at this point and discouraged that I had labored for so long for nothing. Kelly Jean came back because she was worried about the baby, she said we should monitor him for a few more minutes and see what happened and then decide whether to go forward with pitocin or a c-section. At the words “C-section” my heart went through my stomach. That was the last thing I wanted, but at the same time it meant my baby was so close to being in my arms and out of harms way. His heart rate continued to not respond the way we wanted and we made the decision. They told me two people could come back with me. I was torn. I knew Geoff would be there, but I didnt know if I wanted Katie or my mom to be the other one. I wanted my mom there because she’s my mom and I didnt want her to miss anything but Katie had been so supportive and she is an RN, so I felt safe having her there to lean on. We decided to have Katie and Geoff accompany me into surgery. The got me prep’d and wheeled me back. I dont remember the trip down there really, I just vaguely remember them transferring me onto the board and upping the epidural so I could go through surgery.

The curtain went up and Geoff sat by me and distracted me through the beginning of the surgery. Katie took some pictures for us and once our son was lifted out, Geoff went with him to see him be weighed, measured and cut the cord. Katie stayed with me as they sewed, stapled and otherwise put me back together. I could hear my baby crying and I started crying. I wasnt responding well to the anesthesia and started shaking violently and feeling very nauseous. The wonderful doctor who did my epidural and Katie worked together to get me stable and stop the shaking. Once I was ok, Geoff brought our son over for me to see. I remember crying my eyes out because he was incredibly beautiful. I wanted to kiss every inch of his tiny face.

They took him away again and Geoff went out into the recovery room to show him to our family. The wheeled me into recovery and I could see my whole family standing outside the window waiting for me. They had to put up the curtain at this point though because I started vomiting again. Once I was OK, they let everyone come back a few at a time to see me. My mom and Geoff and Katie were back there for a few minutes and I took the baby and held him to my breast and like magic, he latched right on! I could feel my heart swell at this little miracle in my arms. I had to have help holding him because of the epidural, but I felt my life change as I held my son for the first time. Eventually everyone came back for a few, and left, and they moved Geoff and I to our room. Katie accompanied us for a few to make sure we were OK and then she left. In hindsight, I am glad I tried everything I did before the epidural and c-section. I am sad that I failed in giving birth to my son naturally, but am thankful that we were in a safe place where we were able to use the miracles of modern science to deliver my son safely. It was worth it in the end and I am thankful everyday for this precious baby boy.

The First Birth

Everyone has their first birth, one which is not their own. Last night, I had mine. I was surprised to learn I could join in on a c-section. I have an observation project due soon for my human growth class and I wanted to observe the first hour of life, all while getting my first birth under my belt. Well, I got lucky times two–twins! Now, I was not thrilled about the idea of my first birth being a c/s but I am happy to have been apart of an incredible experience. Mom’s membranes ruptured prematurely at 34wks and it was go time.

I was in the OR from the time that the tech set everything up until the time we transferred the babies to the NICU. I saw mom get her spinal and watched the nurse place her catheter. Surprisingly, my interest overran any thoughts of hey, this is kind of gross because, guess what?? It wasn’t gross at all. While c/s are not natural, everything felt natural. This is how these babies were meant to enter the world. Mom was nice and calm, the respiratory therapists were joking around with the NICU nurses and the anesthesiologist was so kind. While there were nearly 17 people in the room, each and every one had a job, even if it was a student observing (like myself–there were four of us). The labor and delivery nurse called time outs every so often to ensure the right patient was in the right room having the right procedure done with the right doctor. Everyone was so thorough.

Both babies were born seconds apart, both crying. Both had great weights for being preterm. Only one needed a little extra help with some O2 and the other was on room air by the time we arrived in the NICU. Both received an IV for fluids, antibiotics and nutrients. The nurses were amazing. I did not know them well, but I quickly recalled how incredibly nice and gentle they are from my own experience of having my son in the NICU. Before I knew it, my hour of observation was up. I’m sure I could have stayed longer if I wanted too, and I did, but it was almost 7pm and I’d been away from the house for over 12 hours at that point. I was exhausted and ready to see my family.

The birth of these babies could not have been more perfect under the circumstances. Mom did great in surgery without any complications. Dad was so sweet as we chatted in the NICU. I had prepared myself for the worst, knowing that 34wk twins can go either way. I’m so glad they went the right way and am happy to report they are still doing great.

I will never forget this day.

Book Review: Get Me Out

I’m finished with this book! I loved it. I loved learning so much about the history of childbirth, where and how certain procedures and assumptions came from and more. If you have any aspirations to work in women’s health then I highly recommend this book. Below are some more of my favorite quotes from the rest of the book. Please note that some of these quotes are not listed because I think they’re fact. Remember, these were assumptions for a very long time and some of them are laughable.

Jacobson said Sylvia had suffered from psychogenic infertility. In medical jargon, that translates to infertility caused by one’s psyche. In plain speak, it means your thoughts made you sterile. the thinking was that repressed fears and hostility derailed brain chemistry.

The corpus luteum is part of the ovary that makes progesterone during the second part of the menstrual cycle and prepares the uterine lining to implant the egg.

An NIH study in the mid-1960s compared 249 couples with unexplained infertility who adopted children with 113 infertile couples who did not adopt. Some 35 percent of couples who were infertile and did not adopt got pregnant without drugs compared with 26 percent of couples after adoption.

One article included an anecdote about a married female lawyer who finally became pregnant when she switched to part-time work. The doctor had this to say about her: “After her attitudes towards herself changed, her pelvic physiology under went change and pregnancy then became a delightful anticipation rather than a hateful obligation”.

The researches did not say which came first, the depression/neuroses or the infertility, but it was assumed it was a brain-to-vagina route. A British study of 1000 women suggested that stress can clog fallopian tubes.

While each birthing guru preached a unique variant of natural childbirth, the underlying premise was the same: anxiety tenses muscles, and thigh muscles increase pain. Some researches taught women to relax muscles through exercise, some through meditation, some through religion.

Bing loathed the term “natural childbirth,” preferring the less-headline-grabbing but more meaningful sobriquet “prepared childbirth.” “Natural” sounded like a whole new approach, whereas “prepared” sounded as if they were simply informing you. Her mantra was “awake and alert.”

Unlike the English, who began to train nurses for midwifery, American doctors tried to get them off the playing field altogether.

A devout Christian, Dick-Read preached that the moment of birth should be a divine experience.

Dick-Read believe that perceptions influenced reaction. In other words, if you think childbirth is scary, you will tense your body and realize your fears.

Psychoneurotic women, he said, suffered during labor. Normal women gave birth easily. If one of his patients experienced a difficult birth, it was her fault for being a “selfish introverted woman.”

Yale would become one of the first US centers to launch a natural childbirth ward, thanks in part to a fortuitous confluence of eager nurses, obstetricians, and pediatricians swayed by Dick-Read’s dogma. It blossomed because of the young mothers themselves who demanded kinder, gentler births.

Wessle and the ladies pushed for rooming-in, the notion of having the baby stay in a bassinet with the mother rather than down the hall in a nursery.

One study found that 19.3 percent of 156 women who were coached for natural childbirth did not use any drugs at all.

Babies need to start as close as possible to mom for the mental well-being of both mother and child.

Maternal mortality dropped 70 percent from 1935 to 1948, and newborn deaths dropped by 40 percent.

Excessive bloating is a sign of preeclampsia, not a cause. These were the sorts of treatments that natural childbirthers would start to question. But the rest of the world was not ready for their scrutiny of medical authority.

One of the ongoing childbirth myths from antiquity right up to the 1950s was that dangerous things did not pass through the placenta or breast milk. That was nature’s gift to the perpetuation of the human race, or so it was thought.

Regarding the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES): The thalidomide saga shocked the world because it proved, for the first time, that drugs crossed the placenta.

A large meta-analysis of nine randomized controlled trials, including about 53000 women, found that continuous fetal monitoring was no better than using a stethoscope to hear the heart rate every so often. Several studies have shown that if a woman has a soothing caregiver by her side, labors tend to be shorter.

Cesarean section rates have increased by 46 percent in the past ten years without a comparable drop in maternal morality.

The fundamental philosophy of freebirthers is that female humans would give birth more easily if, like their nonhuman primate friends, they chilled out and if, again like their nonhuman primate friends, they were not surrounded by all the fuss of medical monitoring and doctors and midwives.

The upshot: women with doulas had shorter labors, 8.8 hours versus 19.3 hours, and were less likely to have cesarean sections, 19 percent versus 27 percent.

Ultrasound is energy, High doses are sued to heat and heal muscle injuries. It is used in other countries, but not the US, as an alternative treatment for cancer. If it’s therapeutic-or if it’s changing muscle physiology somehow-there is a chance that it could affect the baby, particularly  at excessive doses for a long time. Doctors say that the low dose used for a few exams during pregnancy are safe, that the benefits outweigh any potential risk. They worry about excessive doses for long periods.

Artificial insemination is not new, but turning what had been a secretive medical treatment into a moneymaking business is.

Specific enzymes at the head of the sperm digest an outer portion of the egg, permitting entrance. It is called the acrosomal reaction.

Sperm swim about 30 micrometers per second, which means it would take a sperm 10 minutes to swim across the period at the end of this sentence.

It was not just the experiment but Sim’s newfangled notions about making babies that enraged the medical community. Women who got pregnant while knocked out with ether debunked the long-held notion that a couple needed simultaneous orgasms to make babies. He wrote that if great sex were necessary to make babies, humans would be fossils by now.

Oliver’s Birth Story

This week, I am featuring a birth story that is not typical (or maybe it is and most chose not to share their experience?). While there is a happy ending, this is a traumatic birth story, both for mama and baby. Sarah is a dear friend. I saw her through her entire pregnancy from the day she announced she was expecting until the day she was 42 weeks pregnant and being induced. She is a very strong woman and I am honored to share her story here.

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I guess my story isn’t quite unique, maybe it is. Traumatizing, the doctor called it. A fiasco, I call it. From the day my son was supposed to be born and the weeks after he was, my experience as a new mother was one I will never forget, and one that I am terrified will happen again. From the moment I knew I was pregnant I knew it was going to be all natural, all the way for me. I didn’t want to be induced, I didn’t want any pain meds, and I didn’t want a C-section. I wanted to experience childbirth, test my strength, and give my son the healthiest arrival I could. I couldn’t wait to join the ranks of the millennia of women that have birthed children the natural way. I practiced yoga, deep breathing, relaxation techniques, researched pain management, took classes, etcetera. I did just about everything you can image to prepare myself, thinking that if I did enough, things would go my way. As they say, the best laid plans…yada yada.

Oliver, my beautiful son, was supposed to be born May 3rd. Days passed and No Oliver. 2 weeks passed and still no Oliver. No dilatation. No Braxton hicks. Nothing. My body was not doing what it was supposed to be doing. My body was not birthing my son. My doctor wouldn’t let me go past 2 weeks late, so on Sunday May 15th, my husband and I checked into the hospital for induction. I knew right there that things were not going to go the way I wanted. If only I knew now how wrong things were going to go, I would do so many things differently.

They started me on a drug called Cipro. It was supposed to make my body “naturally” start to dilate my cervix. Three or four rounds of this medication later, no dilatation more than ½ centimeter. The doctor on call thought that they would try a balloon. They inserted a little tiny balloon and tried to manually dilate my cervix, and then it would fall out and my body would continue on its own. Well, this was incredibly uncomfortable, made me feel like I had to pee every five seconds, plus I knew the more they put into my body, the higher the risk of an infection.

At this point I have been in the hospital for 24 hours and about 18 of them have been while having contractions. This magic balloon fell out prematurely, so that option was out. Sometime after the balloon fell out, my water broke. I continued getting stronger and stronger contractions. I became physically sick they were so strong. My breathing wasn’t working anymore, the ball didn’t work. I could hardly hold on. I told myself that if I didn’t have much more to dilate, then I could hold on, and I probably could have. However, the next time the nurse checked me I discovered that 20 some hours of un-medicated contractions and I was still only dilated to 1 centimeter. Right then and there I told them to give me an epidural. As fate would have it, that wouldn’t quite go right either. About 45 minutes after the anesthesiologist gave me the epidural, I began to feel my contractions again. I told my nurse and she immediately told me that “sometimes there’s a window of time and you just can’t get an epidural” blah blah blah. So I’m freaking out, thinking I’m going to have to endure another day or more, when she finally pulls her head out of her ass and looks at the tube and sees that it is kinked. So I got another epidural and it was wonderful. I was pain free and just waiting for my son.

Throughout the night, as they checked me, I wasn’t dilating. Nothing was happening even though I was having contractions. They said the word I was dreading; Pitocin. I knew that this was going to lead to a C- Section, or Oliver’s heart rate being affected, both things I wanted to avoid. But there weren’t very many other options.  They started a round of Pitocin as I slept. Nothing. They put a pressure catheter inside to feel how strong my contractions were; very strong but not quite strong enough. (Keep in mind here that a) I was exhausted and a little upset things were going so poorly, b) my water had broken several hours ago, and C) no one once mentioned infection risks, danger to the baby, or other options). Throughout the night the Pitocin had a negative effect on Oliver so they had to stop it. Later the next morning they tried two more rounds. I DILATED!! To 3 centimeters. This was Tuesday. The new doctor on call came in to speak to me. Oliver’s heart rate was going up, if it kept going up we might have to do a C-section, he said. Should have done one sooner, he said, since my water broke the night before. His heart rate kept going up. I had to be rushed to an emergency C-section. I had an infection, and Oliver got it.

I was terrified of the surgery, but thank god the staff was so wonderful. They kept talking to me, reassuring me, letting me know I wasn’t dying. My husband’s face was so terrified in the OR that I was being very strong for him, I thought. Olive was born on Tuesday may 17th, and at that moment I felt like it was all worth it. I was so sad that I couldn’t hold him, couldn’t meet him right away, couldn’t smell him and breathe him in. I had known him for nine months and now I was lying open on an operating room table and the first face he saw wasn’t mine, the first voice he heard wasn’t mine. But I finally HAD HIM. He was mine and we were a family. When my husband left the room I was all alone, naked, open and awake with a bunch of strangers. I know everyone goes through this, but it felt like my worst nightmare; this wasn’t what I wanted for me and my baby. This wasn’t how it was supposed to go.

I found out later, in the recovery room, that I had what they called a “tired uterus”. My uterus worked so hard and for so long that after Oliver was born it would not contract anymore, so my body couldn’t stop the bleeding on its own. They had to put another kind of balloon in my now empty uterus so I wouldn’t bleed out and die. I lost a lot of blood in the surgery, so I needed a blood transfusion. The bright side in all of this was that the minute I was allowed out of recovery, per my demands, I was wheeled into the NICU and got to try to feed my new son. He took to it like a natural. Even if everything else had gone wrong, we were breastfeeding off the bat. I felt like my body was FINALLY doing what it was supposed to.

The next day it was time for them to try and take out the balloon in my uterus. I had 2 blood transfusions, and was feeling a little better. They warned me that if this hadn’t worked, I might have to be rushed back into surgery. So I was officially freaked. Upon examining the balloon, the doctor discovered that my cervix had completely closed around it. So, fun fun, they had to pull it out through a closed cervix. It was the most painful thing. I had never cried like that before in my life. The last 4 days just came pouring out of my like a fountain. EVERYTHING I had planned went wrong. Nothing went the way it should have. My body was not doing what it was supposed to. But I was alive, Oliver was alive, albeit on oxygen and antibiotics and in the NICU for a week, and we were going to be ok.

I was discharged after 6 whole days in the hospital; Oliver was in for a few more than me. The hospital was wonderful and let my husband and I stay in one of the birthing rooms by the nursery until he could go home. Throughout the whole mess, my nurses were amazing. They made me feel comfortable and at home in a place I wouldn’t have, in a time I would have been freaking out. My husband was my savior;coaching my through my contractions, letting me know it was ok when things didn’t go perfectly, holding my hand when I was scared and telling me how proud he was of me, how strong I was. I wouldn’t have survived without him.

My experience wasn’t magical; it wasn’t special and the highlight of my life. It was painful, traumatizing, and just about EVERYTHING went wrong. But I have a beautiful son, and every single second I get to spend with him is the best part of my day. He is worth every moment of pain and stress and danger. He is what it was all for.