Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Lachlan River's Natural Hospital Birth

My heart is racing already just typing the blog post title with my healthy baby boy sleeping soundly on my chest in nothing but a cloth diaper, close enough that I can smell and kiss his head.  Lachlans birthday was amazing in almost every way.  I asked my best friend to be my doula, she has had 2 natural home births and is very informed about birth but she went completely above and beyond and read a bunch of doula books and even started her certification process of becoming a doula.  She threw me the most amazing and empowering blessingway.
                                                                    My Blessingway

She sent me text reminders of different random birth related stuff every day, asked me tons of important questions so she would know my exact wishes, helped me with my birth plan, lent me amazing books to read and birth cd's to listen to, gave me endless priceless advice, she read tons of doula books herself and even started the process to get her certification.  She packed a doula bag with stuff like heating pads, a handheld fan, washcloths, food, BENDY STRAWS (she thought of everything!!) etc...  I will save the rest for a blog post about the importance of doulas!  I just know that this was just the beginning of the chain of events that led to my short and fairly easy labor and delivery.
I had an awesome pregnancy and I loved every minute of it!  I had such a positive attitude and just tried to enjoy every minute of having my son growing inside of me.
I drank raspberry leaf tea every day during my whole pregnancy and in the end I drank about 4 cups a day.  I also ate dates in the last 4 weeks of my pregnancy.  I also took evening primrose oil vaginally and orally in the last week.
Our maternity photos

My Doctor recommended that I get induced at my 40 week appointment because my blood pressure was high but since I was already 4cm dilated and having contractions on the monitor 7 minutes apart he didn't push it.  He offered to strip my membranes and I declined.  The contractions only felt like tightness at that point.  I went home that afternoon and had my husband put our bags in the car just incase.  He went to work around 2pm and then I met my doula for early dinner (kids eat free day at TGIFriday!) around 3pm.  The contractions were starting to get a little painful but not really closer together.  I knew that at this point since they were still irregular they could just stop.  She gave me her birth ball to take home and I went home to try to rest a little.
I got Juliette to take a nap and I closed my eyes for a while but I was too excited to sleep.  I went into the living room and bounced on the birth ball a little and walked around a little.  The contractions were getting more painful but still weren't too bad.  I was texting with my doula the whole time.  The more I walked around the closer together and more painful they were.  I laid down for a little while and they got further apart.  Juliette and I ate veggie pot pies and played Candy Land and then I called my friend Crystal to come over to sit with Juliette and she did around 9:30pm.
My doula suggested I take a shower so around 9:45 my contractions were only 6 minutes apart on average but still not regular and I got in the shower.  The shower felt great and really relaxed me and got things going quick!  By 10:15pm I was texting my husband to come home because my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart!!  My doula said she was going to meet us at the hospital.  Jeff got home shortly after and we arrived to the hospital around 11pm.  He was so excited and nervous.  I was so excited to meet my son!  The contractions were pretty intense but not as bad as I expected.  I still thought I had at least a few hours of labor to go!
We parked in the parking garage and I had a strong contraction while holding onto Jeff in the middle of the parking garage.  It was so nice to have him there with me during contractions.  The parking garage attendant came running out of his booth when he saw me having a contraction but then it was over and I waved to him and said "I'm okay! Thanks!" and walked into the hospital.  When we got to registration we informed them we wanted to use the birth tub.  I had a contraction while I was filling out paperwork and they said I sounded like I was ready to give birth and they needed to get me on a bed to check me now.  They brought me to the closest room and Jeff helped me get my clothes off and I was already having another contraction.  I got on the bed naked on all fours and was moaning into a pillow and it felt great.  In the middle of a contraction a nurse very rudely said to me "you NEED to lay down so we can check you (she couldn't wait for my 1 minute contraction to be over?) and you sound like you're ready to push and we can't deliver the baby like that!"  Which was news to me because my Doctor said I could give birth in whatever position I wanted but my Doctor wasn't on call that night.  So I said "Why can't I?" and the Doctor then chimed in and said he can't deliver in any other position besides on the bed on my back which I know is untrue because even the birth classes offered by the hospital teach you about all different birthing positions and tell you the back is the worst position.  I was not happy about that but I decided to pick my battles and lay on my back.  I was fully dilated and they said I could start pushing.  During my first push they ordered me to stop making noise while pushing which is completely unnatural.  My doula walked in soon after and I was so relieved to see her face.  She jumped right into action.  Unfortunately she didn't know that they had told me that I had to be on my back and I couldn't make noises or she would have fought for me.  I wasn't in the right state of mind to voice that.  Her and Jeff were wiping my head with cool water, giving me water with a bendy straw, applying my chapstick, holding my hand and encouraging me.  The nurses and Doctor on the other hand were all just standing around with pissy looks on their faces, I tried not to even open my eyes most of the time and just pretend it was me and my birth team in the room.  When I did open my eyes I saw the Doctor sitting between my legs looking bored or rolling his eyes at me.  At some point I felt like I needed to relieve my bladder and my body just really wanted to just stand up or squat and I said I had to pee and I was told by the hospital staff to "go ahead" I said "right here?" they said yeah there's a bucket under you and I said loudly "Well that wouldn't be awkward..."  Needless to say I could not pee laying down on my back into a bucket in front of a room full of people, by the time I was allowed to pee after I gave birth I almost filled the toilet.
The Doctor and nurses were doing the typical obnoxious loud bossy counting to 10 three times during every contraction I had and if I didn't do it for as long as they wanted the scolded me and informed me that the baby wasn't going to come out with just contractions alone (which also isn't true, it can happen).  You would swear that I was pushing for 4 hours or they had somewhere else important to be the way there were rushing me!  I told them if the contraction is over I'm not going to keep pushing!  Some of my contractions weren't strong and I didn't feel the urge to push so I didn't push during those contractions.  I was scolded for that too.  Again, you would think I was pushing for 4 hours right?  I told them I'm NOT going to wear myself out by pushing through contractions that weren't even strong!  I just ignored them and did what my body was telling me to do.  In between contractions I just relaxed, breathed, and thought positive thoughts and I breathed or moaned through some of the weak contractions that I didn't feel the urge to push through.  During this whole time they were insisting that they break my water.  For What??  I told them no and a nurse blatantly ignored me and told the Dr. that she has the amnio hook open and ready!!.  Then one nurse proceeded to condescendingly tell me after every single contraction that I pushed through that "The baby would have BEEN HERE by now if you would just let us break your water!!"  I pushed for A HALF HOUR!!  THAT'S IT!!  Why were they in such a rush??  I had just got there!  She had me second guessing myself and thinking that he was never coming out unless I let them break my water so I looked at my husband and doula and asked them what I should do and my husband lovingly said "It's not a race babe, let's just stick to your plan, you're doing great."  My water broke on its own and Lachlan was born right after at 11:38pm!
                                                                      Pure Bliss!
Checking out our SON!

The Doctor suctioned him and I remember my husband sternly saying "she wants the baby, she wants him on her!" because apparently a nurse was trying to take him.  My husband had already informed the Doctor that we wanted to delay the cord clamping by just 2-3 minutes, no shots, no eye ointment, no bath, immediate skin to skin etc....  They put him on me and he was 8lbs 8oz's of perfection!  I was in love.  The Doctor asked my husband if he wanted to cut the cord and he said no we're waiting.  The Doctor said its unnecessary to wait longer than 30 seconds and he cut it himself.
Me trying to protect the cord and beg The Doctor to just wait a couple minutes while the Doctor impatiently squeezed the blood through the cord instead of just waiting for it to naturally move         through like we requested.
I was upset about that but I let it go and then I was blissfully talking to my son and I think I tried to latch him on to nurse while I was birthing the placenta.  It came out fast and intact.  The nurse tried to give me a shot of Pitocin and I declined because I wasn't bleeding.  "Well if you start bleeding I AM giving it to you" she snapped back.  I said yes IF I'm bleeding.  Then suddenly, without warning I felt the Doctors hand go inside of my vagina and then digging and scraping inside of my cervix and uterus and it HURT, I was shocked and I jumped.  I was yelling and asking him "Ow! Why are you doing that?  Ow! What are you doing?"  I was crying and screaming, I couldn't stay still.  They had to take the baby off of me because the more I cried the more he cried and I couldn't even hold him.  Here's where I break down every time I tell the story.  My newborn baby, my scared, fragile newly born, minutes old, son screamed and cried for his Mommy for the first hour of his life while I laid helplessly on the table listening to him, watching him suck his hand, rooting for his Mommy who wasn't there.  My husband and my doula desperately took turns trying to console him and console me.  My husband did skin to skin and let him suck his finger and my doula walked around with him rocking him.
Daddy doing skin to skin-you can see the Doctor still sitting in between my legs in the window reflection.

It seemed like much longer than an hour.  They tried to bring the baby back to me a couple times to latch him on but it just didn't work.  The Doctor said there was mucous membrane left inside of me (the water bag) he was pulling little strands out that he said were mucous membranes that needed to come out and if I didn't let him do this I would have to go to the OR and be put under anesthesia for surgery.  I was terrified to be away from my screaming baby any longer than I had to be so I let him do it.  I asked for pain medicine numerous times and never got any.  My doula was very calmly asking him if there were any other options besides this torture (not in those words)  He just kept saying I'm going to have to go to OR if he doesn't get it out.  They called ultrasound up to check me and he kept his hand inside me, digging and scraping while pushing roughly on my stomach with his other hand until the ultrasound tech got there.  He kept his hand inside me and asked her what it was that he was feeling in his hand but she didn't see anything, nothing was there.  I was fine.  I wasn't hemorrhaging, I was barely bleeding.  I remember those strands of mucous membranes and clots coming out of me onto my pads for days after I had my daughter, but ever since I had Lachlan nothing but thin blood has come out, I don't think that Doctor needed to scrape out the mucous membranes if there was any left inside me, I think they would have come out on their own, like they did after my daughter was born.  I haven't been able to find anything on the internet that says otherwise.  Even if it was necessary, he could have warned me, he could have explained it to me, he could have been sympathetic about it instead of just threatening to take me to the OR if I don't cooperate.  I tore almost all the way to my anus so in the middle of all of this he stitched me up and then stuck his hand inside of me again and had to stitch me up again because (I can only assume because I did not ask) one of the stitches came out.
I was so relieved when it was finally over.  After that was over they were still bothering me trying to get my blood pressure and make me pee etc...  The nurse cleaned me off and was wiping me roughly where I just got stitches, like I wasn't even human, and it hurt so I said "do you have to be so rough?" and she muttered "oh yeah I forgot you're not numb."  One nurses proceeded to tell me that if I want a natural water birth next time I should go to a hospital that has midwives 50 minutes away, but I pointed out that I wouldn't have made it to the hospital that is 50 minutes away and she agreed and said I probably would have given birth in the car.  I couldn't get to my baby fast enough.  When I finally got to nurse him it felt like it took him forever to latch.
My doula helping me nurse Lachlan
Lachlan nursing

The morning after I had him my OBGYN Dr. Green, who I love came in to check on us and I just bawled my eyes out to him.  I was crying and shaking so bad he took the baby out of my arms while he listened to me with sympathetic eyes.  I was telling him everything that happened and saying that I wish he was there for the birth because I know that I wouldn't have been treated that way.

He was so fussy and irritable for the next 24 hours or so he had a really hard time latching every time we nursed, he cried a lot, and I didn't sleep for 2 days.  He still won't sleep unless he's touching me so I let him sleep on my chest.  We were both traumatized.  I'm not the type of person to hold onto negative thoughts or "play the victim role" I would much rather put things behind me and move on but I still get jolted out of my sleep sometimes with flashbacks of him inside me when I have uterine pains. The first night was the worst I cried all night but I'm getting better every day.

 I'm trying to focus on the positives of my birth experience.  I'm so proud of myself for laboring at home until I was 10cm and doing it all natural like I planned with no interventions.  The whole experience just made me want to become a doula even more.  I don't think I would have been able to have the experience I wanted if it weren't for the knowledge and power my doula gave me.  My son is 5 days old now and breastfeeding is going great.  I'm so disgusted with the way that women are treated during what is supposed to be one of the most sacred and special times of their lives.  I'm on a mission to educate and empower women and change birth.  I was mistreated, dehumanized, and degraded but I refuse to let it overshadow the overall amazing birth experience that it was (NO THANKS to any of the hospital staff)  I will never give birth in a hospital again.  THIS is why more women are choosing home birth.  I wanted a home birth with Lachlan because I didn't have a great experience in the hospital when I had my first child but I couldn't afford it.  Next time I will save up the money BEFORE I get pregnant.
Our first picture with our son
So happy to be with Mommy
LACHLAN RIVER 12/4/13 @ 11:38pm 8lbs 8oz's 19 1/2 inches

For more information on Natural Childbirth I highly recommend reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth.  The Business of Being Born is an awesome, informative, and empowering documentary that is available to watch on Netflix.