The Birth Of Anthony
Sometimes I still cry in the shower…. It’s the only time when I’m alone with my thoughts and they always seem to turn to my births. The tears mostly come along with the memories of my 1st. Its only 4 years later that I dare to wonder, “How I will ever tell my son of the 3-day nightmare that ended with him being brought into this world?”
I trusted my OBGYN of 15 years. I had always gone to Larchmont Women’s Center and saw the same doctor. Yes I did read and do my own research…. for the most part. But I was fooled by what I NOW CALL the “American birth idea” and really believed that if I went into the hospital and wanted a natural birth, I would be able to have one. I had discussed my birth plan with Dr. P and she knew my desire to go without drugs. I’m a 1st generation Italian American, the women of my family gave birth in the home, or sometimes in the field for that matter. My mother had birthed me all natural and her sisters also had all natural births. I never thought I would need drugs.
My own father was born 2 months early out in the fields while Grandma was working to plant wheat. His birth was unassisted at that! I had never heard of any story of any relative dying in childbirth. Just of how my 2 aunt’s were lost after birth due to needing NICU services or having infection and being without meds or vaccine. They had only herbs and sometimes when things got really bad, they resorted to going to see what I can only translate as “the old witch who lived on the side of the mountain” She was the one who wrapped my fathers open skull with cheesecloth and some kind of mixture she made. He was only at 1 day old the first trip; they returned each full moon till his head was closed. It took about 1 year, or so my Cousin Angelina tells me. She is a few years older and lived in the same house.
I tell you all this because it plays a large role in how I perceived birth. Yes I was worried about the infamous Carino head. We all had it, the 95 – 100th Percentile head. I remember in JV Softball, my cousin Lori and I needing to get boys size helmets for batting practice and our couch commenting, “you Carino’s all have the same head.”
My BP had been on the high side at times and I was very very swollen. On Monday, at 1 week post date, they do a sonogram in office and say I have great fluid but the baby looks to be over 8lbs. I go in to see Dr. P and we talk about induction. We had concerns about preeclampsia the last month and I was really ready for my baby to be born, but I didn’t want to do anything that would prevent me from being mobile during labor.
I was sure to ask, could I still walk around? Dr. P says yes, of course. Will I still be able to have a natural birth? She says the baby is big and will only get bigger. My cervix is ripe and I am effaced so she’ll bring me in at night and use some Cervidil, that will most likely send you into labor and we won’t need to do anything else. If labor does not kick in on it’s own, we could try a Foley balloon to put pressure on the cervix to dilate. Other options are to break your water or to start you on Pitocin. Will it be more painful? Then natural labor there will be discomfort but that comes with any labor. I agree to come in for Induction Wednesday night at 41 weeks 3 days. I now know if a doctor says the word discomfort that actually is code word for “worst pain in the world”.
I go home and freak out. I start researching every natural induction method out there. Over the next 3 days I try them all. Must have walked 50 miles… I even resort to drinking castor oil, which my Grandmother and cousins swore by. All it did was make me sick…
Wednesday night comes and I’m all packed but NOT ready to go. I’m crying in the bathroom, in a panic. I feel this strong urge to stay home, not to go. I have a bad feeling. I tell Scott no, I’m not going; I don’t want to do this. Let’s just wait for the baby to come on his own. Wouldn’t you rather have me call you with some funny story like my water just broke in Cosco? He thought I was crazy, I’m sure. Scott tells me I’m just nervous, getting cold feet, like what happens when you get married. “It’s time for the baby to come” I remember him saying. I keep saying I don’t want to go but my Mom and everyone came to send me off and wish me luck. They were telling me how I would be holding my baby tomorrow and how it was going to be the most amazing experience of my life. If only they know what a hospital birth in the Bronx was going to be like….
I pull myself together and head down to Albert Einstein for my induction. We wait for a room. I remember they called a few women’s names who were not there and I was saying to Scott, where are they? How can you just not show up to your induction, Scott says? I now know they knew something I didn’t….and they had stayed home for a reason!
We get a room and the first thing I see is that the toilet in the bathroom is full of blood. I yell to Scott that this room has not even been cleaned, get our shit we are going back to triage. They say how sorry they are but I am totally grossed out and now wished I had brought my own sheets along in the hospital bag. I get a clean room and they insert the IV then the Cervidil. I brought my laptop to watch a movie but I could not concentrate, so I tried to get some sleep. In the am I awake to craps. The new nurse says that is great. She is really nice and says I should get outa bed and go walk for a few hours with my husband. So I do. That was the best memory I have of my labor: the kind nurse who let me outa bed and the hours of walking and talking with my husband around the L&D ward. OB comes to see me for the first time at around 5pm. I’m cramping but doing well. She suggests I get the Epidural now before it gets worse. You will stay relaxed and the process will move along faster. But I’m not in pain. My Birth plan is for a natural birth. I want to tough it out for as long as I can. OK, well once the pitocin starts you should have the Epi. OB leaves and I’m telling my husband she is out of her mind offering me that before active labor. My nurse agrees with me, “Yes It’s too early for the epidural. You may have another day to go and what if it stops working when you really need it? Then you’ll have to get it redone.”
By 7pm the shift change had come and my nice nurse was replaced with what I can only describe as a Jamaican version of “Nurse Ratchet”. Sorry if I offend anyone but this is my birth story and I’m going to tell it like it is. The whole truth of it.
This nurse wanted me in bed all the time on the monitor. She didn’t want me to walk or get up and squat, she was even giving me issues with going to the bathroom. She was not letting me up, she insisted on a bedpan or that I get a catherder. At about 9pm one of the OB’s in my group came in to check me, “4cm not active. Would you like a C-section”? GOD NO! Please only if there is life at risk do I want that. Did you read my birth plan? She answers, “Well with induction the birth plan may not be able to be honored. Do you want me try the foley balloon? There are no drugs involved there but it will be uncomfortable. (There is that word again) I suggest you get an Epidural first. You will relax and open up more.” No, I don’t want drugs injected into my spine, no not unless I can’t take it any more, and right now I’m coping well.
So they do the foley. I remember screaming in pain, looking over at Scott for help, I wanted him to make them stop. When it was over the OB was happy to report I had dilated to 6cm, would you like me to break your water? No, please just let me rest…..I can’t go through anything else being put inside me right now. I try to relax but now I’m being informed they are starting the Pitocin drip. I was hoping that it would never come to me getting Pit. But here we were….
Nurse Ratchet was on the warpath about the whole monitor thing. “The straps are very important now, with the Pitocin drip. We need to watch the baby very closely and see how his heart rate reacts to it. I can’t let you get up, you should get the catheter now.” No, I’ll use the bedpan, I insisted. She had to come many times to adjust the straps and she made it clear she was not happy. “You need an internal lead”, she tells me. Oh No, I don’t want that, there has been no decel in my babies tracing, I’ve been watching the monitors, and I don’t NEED anything else put in me. She leaves and I tell Scott I need to eat, go get me food. He’s worried I’m not supposed to eat. Why NOT? I reply I’m not having a C-section and I can’t go days on an empty stomach with this ulcer. He agreed that this was turning into a much longer process then we expected and that it could be another day before I was ready to deliver. He went out and snuck me in Mac Donald’s. God Bless Him!
Middle of the night I call and call for a bedpan. Scott tries to get me one, but no response. He can’t find a nurse. After about a ½ hour holding my urine, with IV for 2 day, Scott says, “Pee the bed, at least you will be able to get up. You want to stand don’t you? I start to cry, “Really Scott, I can’t do it. “ He says just do it honey. If you can’t hold it anymore just go. So I swallow my pride and pee my hospital bed. I’m crying….Scott helps me up, the straps move and all the monitors start to go off. I get out of bed just as my nurse comes running through the door. What’s going on in here? My husband snaps, “my wife needed a bedpan and you didn’t come. We have been calling for you, funny how fast you got here now.” She’s angry, why are you up? Scott replies, she needs her bed changed; she wet it because you refused to bring us the bedpan. I can’t even look at her; I want to rip her head off, so I let Scott do the talking. I just try and focus on how it was actually nice to be up and get to use the bathroom.
Once my bed was dry I got back in and re-strapped up. The baby must have moved while I was up and around, the nurses had a hard time getting the heartbeat. They kept having to come back to locate the heart. I napped and then I woke having to use the bathroom again. We call “Nurse Ratchet” and she was not happy to hear from me. She says I have to get a catheter. The tracing is spotty and she can’t risk me lifting up to use the bedpan. I tell Scott I can’t keep wetting the bed, what the hell am I going to do? So I finely let her do it. I felt I was backed into a wall. How could I even be in a place that forced me to pee myself in order to get cared for?
The catheter was the worst of it all. I remember begging for her to stop, for her to please please stop. Screaming in pain, yelling for Scott to help me, to stop her. I half expected him to jump into action, to rip her hands off of me. But when I looked over at him, begging for help, all I could see was his stunned face looking back at me, he was in shock. Then it was over and I was relieved. The nurse leaves the room and comes back with a 2nd nurse. She tells me this other nurse is going to help get the catheter in. I scream, “You didn’t get it? After all that? GET THE HELL AWAY FROM ME, IF EITHER OF YOU TOUCH ME I’M SUING!” They both left the room within seconds of me saying that.
I’m shaking, why didn’t you help me? How could you just stand there? Scott defends himself, “ I didn’t know what to do, I’m so sorry.” He takes my hand and starts to rub my shoulders and back. He strokes my hair and tells me how proud he is of me. Scott goes and gets me a bedpan and helps me to use it. I never see that nurse again. 7am, my cheery oh day nurse arrives at about the same time as yet another OB in my group. She also offers me a C-section and I decline. Then she says she wants to break my water. Something must be done to move things forward. I start to shake. The thought of another intervention is causing panic in me. My BP goes way up and they give me oxygen. The OB leaves and my nurse tell me to relax. She checks my chart and says you have been here since Wed night. It hits me; it is now early Friday morning. My nurse suggests I ask for the Epi before the OB comes back. I have seen it help women relax enough to get labor going, even allow the bag to break on it’s own. I tell her that I was hoping for a natural birth but after 2 days of pure hell here, I can’t allow anything else to go inside me. She insists “you are at 7cm, now is a good time to get the Epi. Try it before breaking your water.”
I was scared to death at this point and just wanted the torture to end. So I ask for the Epi. Curled over a pillow, all alone, with some intern threading a tube into my spine, all while having major contractions and the pit up to 20. Well the first two tries did not work. They had to call in a senior resident in and she got it. After all that I was happy to lie down and to sleep but the nurse informs me she now needs to insert the catheter as I can no longer feel my legs. It was quick and painless now that I had the Epi. Then I see her opening a sterile package that I quickly recognize as the internal monitor. I said No I don’t want that, why are putting that in without asking me first when I already said no to it. My nurse apologizes and tells me it’s normal practice to insert the internal once the Epi is in. I tell her I had Sharon for my childbirth Ed class. She is a L&D nurse here and she showed us all the instruments. That’s how I knew what she was about to do. I go to sleep, but not before telling Scott to make sure no one touches me while I rest.
I awake wet and panicked. I think I wet the bed again. We call the nurse and ask if the catheter has come out. She smiles and says “no, don’t worry, your water has broken, the Epi worked. This is a great thing!” I am so relieved that I will avoid at least 1 intervention. The OB, now Dr. L comes to check me. I’m at 9cm. I ask Scott to call my Mom. It’s finely time for her to come. The OB says the baby is still high and I have a thick cervical lip, she’ll let me labor down for an hour before we start to push. Allow the baby to come down a bit more, she lifts the back of the bed up so I am upright and gravity can do some of the work.
I had a slow leak all day. I was getting really upset about being wet. My nurse had other Moms in labor and could not change me as often as I wanted her to. So Scott took care of me. Cleaning me, drying me, changing my bed pads and sheets and putting dry cloths between my legs. All day he did this for me. I was embarrassed; it made me feel like an invalid who couldn’t even wipe herself. At the same time I was very proud of my husband for stepping up and taking care of me when I needed him the most.
My Mom had been calling for days wondering what was going on. What was taking so long? Scott’s phone was ringing off the hook with worried friends and family. A short time after that I started to feel a lot of pain. Every contraction was stronger and stronger coming back to back with little time to even breath. We called to have the epi checked. It was in fine so the Anesthesiologist made me what she called a bolus to top off the Epi. She injected it right into my line and the horrible pain was gone for about 20 minutes. After that I just remember being in pure agony. Begging to stand up and get off my back. My mind was now all scrambled and the pain was taking over. I remember asking for a scalpel. I was actually thinking of slitting my wrists at one point it seemed to be a good option.
By the time my Mom arrived she could here me screaming from down the hall. I remember her standing against the wall across from me asking what the hell was going on. My nurse explained I was in transition and should not push yet; I’ll just swell the cervix and cause more of a lip if I push before I am ready. Another ½ hour like that and still a thick lip. I’d been screaming the entire time. My nurse tells me I need to be quiet, I’m making to much noise, “they are going section you if you don’t get yourself under control.” I remember every word of what she said to me. I wanted to punch her in the face. How could she say that while I was in the worst pain of my life? I didn’t know it then, but she was trying to help me. What she said was true, I was making a scene and the OB’s don’t like that after 3 days of labor. They were going to section me if I didn’t keep my mouth shut. I thought she was the most cruel, heartless person in the world, but now I wish I could have thanked her for being the only person in the hospital who was honest with me and who actually wanted to help me.
7pm another shift change. My nurse it trying to brief her replacement on my status. She tells me she wishes she could be here for the birth, if she didn’t have to run home to her kids she would stay with me. I too wished she could stay. That nurse was the only person in that hospital who showed me one ounce of human kindness and she actually listened to me and treated me. My new nurse seemed kind, she was very chatty with my Mom and Husband. She asked what she could do for me, did I need ice chips. No, I need juice! It’s been 3 days with no food or water. I need to at least drink something. She apologized to Scott and explained that it was hospital policy. I was screaming to load for her to answer directly to me. I ‘m yelling oh God I need to push, I can’t stop myself any longer. Fuck it I NEED DRUGS NOW! The nurse asked why I was not pushing. I told her what my nice nurse said about not pushing yet. She replied if you feel the strong urge to bear down, then you should. It will help the pain and bring the baby down.
When she checked me she said I was almost 10. They broke the bed. Let me now add that there was dried blood in the plastic creases under the now removed mattress; it was from the previous birth. I wanted to puke, nurse said that’s a good sign. I was to busy screaming to tell her this disgusting place does not clean their rooms! The nurse showed Scott how to hold me leg up, while she held the other. I was looking at my Mom thinking God, how could you have put me in a place like this to bring a new life, one of your grandchildren into this world. I’m in Hell! Then the contraction came, I did what the nurse said, tucked my chin and bore down as hard as I could. It brought relief, I dare to say it almost felt good. So it went on like this for almost an hour. I would rest for 1 minute, then say something like OK, It’s coming. Scott and my Nurse would stop their stupid chatter about summer vacation home on LBI, and spring into action holding my legs up. All while my Mother stood or sat against the wall across from me saying “I don’t see the head. “
Dr. L comes back to check me. Baby is still high, how long has she been pushing? About an hour, my nurse replies. My mother just had to add I don’t see the head coming down at all. THANKS MOM! I have to push so everyone gets into place and the OB puts her hand inside me. She asks if I can feel her fingers. Yes, of course I can. She tells me to push here, where my fingers are. I think I am doing that already, I scream, I don’t want to be talking right now. You are pushing strong, after 3 days here I’m impressed. Most moms would need vacuum assistance by now. Listen, he’s not coming down, I think we need to really talk about a c-section now.
“NO! I’m willing to push!”…. Contraction…… “I want longer. It’s only been 1 hour please I don’t want surgery! Dr. L replies, 1 more hour and I’ll be back.”
My Mom comes over to hold my hand and console me. Scott and my nurse get back to work. Mom takes over on one leg as my nurse repeats what Dr. L just did. Push here, where my fingers are. My mother asks, can’t she get up and push in a different position; she’s been on her back for 3 days. Nurse replies, No there are too many lines hooked up for that. I add, I need the help of gravity, yes please I need to squat and push. No, we can’t. Just keep going, your having strong contractions and your push is also strong I’m sure the baby will descend. Did they say the baby was big?
I push and push, I feel tons of pressure. They did not count for me. I just listened to my body, when to push, when to breath. It was an insane feeling, and I was in control, my body telling me how to bear down. In my mind I was seeing my baby crown and praying he would come down.
With no warning, my L&D room was filled with people in all green scrubs, they were wheeling a bed in and a woman I had never seen before takes my legs and begin to put some sort of stockings on me. I yell, I’m trying to push, what the yell are you doing? Dr. L pulls down her mask and informs me it’s time to do the c-Section. NO, please I don’t want it. I remember being frantic, pleading with them, but to no avail. I was at the 2 hour push mark and my baby was still high. Scott and my Mother are trying to tell me we have to do what the doctors say is best. I’m saying no. I have a bad feeling, we just need more time, and the pushing was going well. Dr. L he’s not descending Christina. We have given you 3 days, it’s time get this baby out safely. I’m being moved to another bed and wheeled away, I’m crying and still pushing hoping his head would appear in the next few minutes.
I never signed consent for the surgery and I don’t remember being shaved at all. I do remember getting the spinal block and loosing all feeling in my body from the chest down. I start to shake almost immediatly after the spinal. Scott is brought in and the blue screen goes up between my baby and me. My teeth are now grinding uncontrollably and the shaking is getting worse. A nurse takes my arms; Scott stands up and stops her. “No don’t tie her arms down, I will hold them down for her.” Of all the things from childbirth class he remembered, in case of C-section not to let them tie my arms down. He saw my shock, in class, when we found out that’s what they do. At that moment I remember trying to say thank you to him and I love you, but because of the grinding teeth I could not talk. The Anesthesiologist offers to give me something that will stop the shaking and the teeth grinding, but if I take it, I might not remember the baby’s birth. I decline, I didn’t go through 3 days in hell to not remember the moment my son came into the world!
I feel pressure, lots of pressure and pulling. Dr. L gets upon the table with me and is pulling, 2 other OB’s are assisting her is getting him out. Then I hear Dr. L say, oh yea, here’s your HUGE baby. Really? How big is he. They all start to chuckle….What the hell could be so funny I think. No he’s not big at all, a 7 pounder if I had to guess. I get really MAD. They said he was big, we had to induce, that’s the reason I’m here getting cut in the first place! Scott is taking pics of him being suctioned on my open belly.
I see Anthony for the first time, he’s bloody and white. They hand him over to pedi and he goes in the warmer. I’m looking over my shoulder trying to catch a glimpse of my new born son. The goop his eyes up, get his weight and foot prints. Agar is a 9, and he weighs 7lbs 9oz. He is perfect. He held is own through all the drugs and interventions. I’m proud of how strong my son was but I was also ashamed and traumatized by what had just happened to my body.
Scott is over with the baby, taking pics then coming back over to show them to me, since I can’t see much from where I was. Anthony is all cleaned and wrapped up. The Baby Doctor gives my baby to Scott. We take pics of Scott holding Anthony close to my face. I get to kiss him and smell him, but I can’t hold him. Sharon, my childbirth teacher pops her head and says she will go get my family and tell them Anthony has been born, they are worried waiting so long.
Right after that, I remember things getting hectic, a few more people in green coming into the OR. Then we hear them say call down for 2 units of O-. Hey wait, that’s my blood type…. Everyone is rushing around. I think back to class. Sharon said if something goes wrong, they won’t have time to explain to you what’s doing. You will know something is up if out of nowhere more people are in the room and everyone is rushing around. Scott and I looked at each other and had the same thought. Oh my God, something is wrong. He stands up with Anthony still in his arms. My husband is over 6 feet tall, so he could see over the curtain. When he sat back down all the color was gone from his face. He was white as a ghost. I remember his eyes, most of his face was covered by a mask, but his green eyes had this dead look, maybe it was the look of fear. Whatever it was, his eyes had told me he had seen something horrible. He took my hand and I asked what’s going on? They tell me a mal positioned fibroid caused some lateral tearing while trying to pull the baby out. This area is very vascular and is causing a lot of bleeding. “WHAT? You knew about the tiny fibroid from the sonograms and the tech said it was so small it would never cause any problems.” All of a sudden I could talk. Next thing I know someone asks Scott to take the baby and leave the OR. LEAVE? Where the hell would they go I’m thinking…..Then I start yelling, NO SCOTT DON’T YOU LEAVE ME HERE. He’s being shuffled out the double doors yelling “I love you” back to me. They are forcing a mask on my face. I’m pulling it off asking why are you putting me to sleep, where is my baby going? They grab my arms hold them down as the Anesthesiologist secures the mask. I’m fighting them but the Anesthesia is taking my breath away and I’m Frantic….. Then NOTHING……
My first memory is of my whole family looking down at me. They are all around me. My Mom, Dad, Grandpa and I see one of my brothers. They are looking sad and talking but I can’t hear what they are saying. It’s all fuzzy and misty. In my mind, I thought I was dead in my coffin. I was at my wake and witnessing my family coming to see me….Then nothing…..
I awake in the recovery room. There are many women in this room but I can’t see much with the curtain around me. I hear a mom crying and crying, I think she might have lost her baby. Scott is there with Anthony. The nurse is trying to wake me saying the baby is hungry you need to nurse him. I can’t move my arms to even hold him to my breast. I ask what time is it? 2am Scott says, you have been out for a while. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO ME? Scott tells me the floor was full of blood, they had a hard time stopping it. They had to put you under, but you are fine now. Everything is going to be OK. Other Mothers start to ask for their babies, saying why does she have her baby and we don’t. The nurse informs them, the baby needs to eat; this baby’s warmer is labeled BREAST FEED ONLY, so we could not give him a bottle.
Scott holds Anthony along with me, as I have no strength to keep Anthony from falling off the bed. So I nurse him, or try my best to with a little coaching help. He was not latching correctly and I was too drugged to even sit up or try a side lie. At some point I notice my IV is leaking and there is blood all down my arm. No nurse responded to me. I called and called, finely here she is. She tries 3 times to get a vein and I’m hurting really bad. I see my Anesthesiologist in the room. I yell, please help me. He comes over and gets the line in right away. I thank him.
I’m in the post partum side of the hospital now. Feels like I had a 14 wheeler run me over but I get out of bed, like they say to. Blood pouring out of me and all. I leave a trail of blood from my bed to the bathroom. I ask my nurse to get someone to clean it before my family gets here. I dress and wait for everyone to come and meet my son. It’s then that I notice the little screw mark on the top of his head. Dam it, they screwed that internal monitor into is head after I told them NO twice! When the hell did that happen?
The nurse rips the tape off my back, where the epidural was attached to me. Well I screamed so loud, that dumb nurse ripped off all my skin right along with the tape. I have scars on my back 4 years later from her doing that! I’m still in shock and want to crawl up under the bed and sleep. I don’t want to see anyone. The thought of taking pics makes me sick. My BFF Venessa is the first to arrive. I won’t let her take any pics of me that first day. I tell her, I don’t want to look back and see myself this way. I confide in her that they almost killed me here and I was treated very poorly. I want to cry but my Aunts come in all excited and happy. Time to put on my FAKE happy face……
The pics that were taken over the next few days I have a hard time looking at. All I see is me, forcing a fake smile and pretending to be that happy proud new mother that I should have been. Nursing was a real struggle but I kept at it those first 2 weeks. If I failed at birth I would at least succeed at feeding my baby.
I stay 1 extra day in the hospital, and on my discharge day one of the OB’s comes to see me. I tell her of all the extra pain I have on the right side of my incision. (The right side of my belly hurt much more then the left) The Dr says sometimes with C-Section women get stones, as all the organs gets shifted and moved around with the surgery. She does not look into it further or order a cat scan before I go home. Getting in the car was hell. I took no pics of us leaving or of Anthony’s home coming. The bumpy ride home from the Bronx was also hell. The stairs at my house hell….I’m in major pain and just want to take drugs and go to sleep!
I get worse and worse over the next week. I still can’t get out of bed to get the baby. Scott goes back to work and I’m home, barely able to take care of myself never mind Anthony. I feel like I’m a terrible Mother. Everyone keeps saying I should be feeling better by now, but I’m not. I notice that my incision is leaking blood and other yellow stuff, I have to go see Dr. P. Yea Dr. P, remember, my OB of 15 years that I never saw once the whole time I was being induced or after the C-section for that matter. She says, “The incision looks infected. I’ll need to open and drain it, then pack it with gauze. You’ll need to come back every other day for me to remove the dirty gauze, clean the wound and then repack it.” It hurt like hell to have the wound opened, but the packing actually hurt worse. I was crying saying why is this happening to me? I asked Dr. P if she knew exactly what happened in surgery, why I was put to sleep and why my uterus was ripped? Apparently, she had no idea there were any issues with my C-section and had to speak with Dr. L before she could explain any details to me. My reply, I’m surprised you don’t know when a patient of yours requires 2 units in surgery. I was really surprised at the tone of my comment. I tell her I need more pain pills, she reluctantly agrees. Nurse comes in, “We have a UTI.” Dr. P, we will have to give you some antibiotics to get rid of that. Wait, is it safe for the baby? I ask. Dr, P says yes, you can still nurse with this type of antibiotic.
On the way home I’m crying, telling Scott this nightmare is never going to end. He’s angry. We need to find out what the hell happened in the OR and get ourselves a lawyer. The way you were treated, it wasn’t right. I start to shake, NO NO I don’t want to tell anyone I was forced to wet my bed! I need a therapist not a lawyer. Scott You need to get over it. I yell, NO I just want to forget it ever happened and get better. He had been making me feel like shit about not being capable of taking care of my newborn baby. I was totally resenting him for it.
So we go back and forth every other day for packing. But the pain on my right side is still getting worse. I’m still asking for more drugs. Dr. P knows I went 2 days with no Epi on the highest pit. I’m not a drug seeker, I really have more pain then day 1 post surgery. She sends me for a CAT scan with tracing to make sure I’m not infected inside as well. In the CAT scan I get sick just as they are putting the die in, so they won’t continue. Dr. P says they can’t tell for sure without the tracing. But I have no fever so we can wait it out if I like. We will watch your hemoglobin levels each time you come in for wound care. If anything goes up we will see it.
I go in 2 days later and Dr. P is off. I’ve had a fever but have not told anyone. They take my blood, do the clean and repack thing and then take my temp. Low grade fever of 100. This OB wants me to go into the hospital for tests. She thinks I have infection and wants it checked out. I cry, “Go back to Einstein”? Oh please no, I won’t, I’m fine. They have to go and get Scott who is with the baby in the waiting room. I’m freaking out, crying and hyperventilating. What is happening here? I tell Scott, they want me to go back there. I’ll die first! The OB takes pity on me. She says I can go home, but Dr. P will call me when we get the blood work back. If the fever goes up, go directly to the ER!
The next morning I wake and feel dizzy. My fever is 102 and I take a cold shower. I’m 2 weeks PP today. I go to nurse Anthony and the phone rings. Scot picks it up. Oh hi Dr. P. Oh I see. Ok I will. He hangs up. Honey, we need to go back to the hospital. Your blood cell level is off. Dr. P wants a good CAT scan with tracing to find the infection. I start to moan. It was not a cry of any kind I have ever heard before. It was this deep moan that came from within my soul. I hold my baby tight and ask, what will happen to him if they admit me. Scott tells me he can’t come with me. He could get sick, I won’t be on the Maternity floor. I cry and rock him the chair. I tell Scott I’m not going till I’m ready. I spend the entire day crying and rocking him. I’m out of my body wishing this was all just a bad dream. It’s getting dark, every time Scott tries to take Anthony I beg him not to take my baby from me. Scott sees that he needs help and calls for reinforcements. My Mother comes over and takes Anthony from her distraught daughter. She tells me “you need to get well so you can take care of him. What good will it due if you stay home and die of infection? I leave my son in the care of my Mother and head to the ER. I actually have to say that the only good thing about that hospital is their Emergency Room.
I get the CAT scan with tracing which goes fine and then an internal exam. They check my wound and give me drugs. We wait. The ER OB comes to give me the horrid news. They have found 3 hematomas that have abscessed in my abdomen. I will need to be admitted. I start to cry. All I want to do is forget, but here I am, back at this place, back in hell. They take me upstairs and start the Antibiotics via IV drip. I ask if I can still pump and send it home for the baby. They tell me No. You can pump and dump the milk, but no it’s not safe for the baby. What will he eat? I cry. Scott can’t stay with me, he has to go home to the baby. I’m all alone and depressed. The days go by and I am pretty much alone and uninformed about my condition. My cousin and some of my friends came to see me. But my family was with the baby. The were worried about Scott being alone with Anthony and having no experience with babies.
I have a very nice religious woman as a roommate. Her family circles around me once a day and prays for me. I was alone and crying most of the time, so I think they felt bad for me. Scott is stalking the office and having OB’s paged in order to get an update on my status. Middle of the afternoon the blonde OB comes to see me with one other doctor. She is basically pissed off that we have been bothering her all day. She tells me she has been in surgery all morning and either way I am no longer under their care. They can only tell me what the residents tell them. Then she says “you need to understand that you are getting the best possible care here” I loose it and start to yell and cry at the same time. “Well excuse me if I don’t think bleeding out, having my uterus torn and then going home with a total of 5 infections is the best possible care, I miss my baby and can’t even feed him now. I want to know when I can go home!” I think she felt kind of bad then, I could tell, when I cried for my baby it might have struck a cord for her. She says she will find out all she can and get back to me.
Scott gets permission for me to see the baby in a quiet waiting room on the 7th floor. I spend the day holding and kissing my baby. When they left I broke down again. Those first few weeks and even year after his birth was a dark time for me. I finely get to go home, all the abscesses have cleared. I do require a home nurse to come and change my packing every day till the wound closes. This will take 2 months of dreading every day when the clock would hit 2pm.
I don’t have success reestablishing nursing. Anthony has been on the bottle for a week and he does not want to do the work to get the milk from Mommy’s boobies. Also he has now strongly bonded with Scott and feels more at ease eating with him. I’m crushed! A few weeks later I decide to look at the birth pictures for the first time. I find pictures of my Mom, Dad, Brother, etc all holding Anthony before I was even awake. I ask Scott, when were these taken. He tells me I was passed out in a recovery room. My entire family, including, my newborn baby, had been waiting for me to come out of surgery. They all held him and bonded with him before I was even awake…..WAIT that dream I had, where I thought I was at my wake was REAL. I turned off the camera and didn’t look at them again for months.
Two months later I go for a sonogram just to make sure everything has cleared up. All is well. That was the last time I ever stepped foot in my OB’s office. I put off going to any OB for 2 years. I never wanted to go back there again, or to any OB for that matter. I thank God for a High School friend who I was talking to in the nail salon. She made me an appointment with her Perinatologist in the city. She picked me up and made me go to see him. I was so scared to have any more children if it meant another C-Section. He told me if I labored again I would kill myself and my baby, because of what he called my “Special Scar” AKA the lateral tearing on both sides of my uterus which extended down at least 2 inches. I left there in tears, but this time I went home and researched what he had told me and found he was VERY wrong. I learned all about how safe VBAC really is and found my local ICAN chapter just as we became pregnant with our 2nd child. This birth would be different. I would find midwifes and a place I felt safe to labor. And so my VBAC journey begins…..
Anthony Peter Forrest
4/11/08 at 9:02 pm
7lbs 9oz 21 inches
98th percentile head