Friday, April 2, 2010

Post-Partum Post

So, the birth. I've tried to write this so many times and it always comes out rambly and bitter and weepy and just too long. I'll try to stick to just the facts, ma'am.

I was on low-dose pitocin overnight and my cervix didn't budge. I had been walking around at about 2 cm and when the doctor checked me at 9:00 am it was still 2 cm. So, my water was broken and the pitocin was turned up and my doctor was supposed to come back around 11:30 to check my cervix again. The nurses told my husband that I'd probably have the baby around 4 or 5 that afternoon, so he left to get some breakfast. My doula had called earlier to find out if she had time to take her kids to school, and was stuck in horrible traffic. I figured the contractions weren't that bad, so I'd be okay for a while.

You see where this is going, don't you? The contractions got steadily stronger and closer together until they were a minute and a half apart and lasted almost a minute each - so, thirty seconds of recovery between each little bout of agony. My husband came back as soon as I called him, but by then I was moaning for the anesthesiologist. My doula didn't even try to talk me out of the epidural - she took one look at me and said that the baby looked great on the monitor and that was all that mattered.

At that point I didn't care about the whole needle in the spine thing anymore. The nurse told me it would be just four more contractions and then I wouldn't feel them. After the fourth contraction the pain was somewhat duller than it had been, but mostly it had just shifted. It was less abdominal and more concentrated right between my legs. I kept saying that it still hurt and the nurse said that it should be getting better. Um, no, actually.

Then they were checking my cervix and telling me not to push yet and asking if I could wiggle my toes (yes) and my husband was putting the swing-tilt lens on his camera (a way of getting only some of the field in focus, which was one of my conditions of being photographed in the delivery room) and then my OB was there and I was having the baby. It was 11:00.

Everybody kept telling me when to push and when to hold my breath. I couldn't feel the contractions at all anymore but I could feel my skin tearing. I was screaming like I was auditioning for a horror movie. I couldn't believe that I had given in and gotten the epidural and I was in excruciating pain anyway. I heard the nurse talking about novacaine and then I could feel the needles and I just hoped I would pass out from the pain.

Maybe I did pass out, because the next thing I knew I could hear non-stop crying and somebody was handing me a baby. My baby. After 13 minutes of Really? This little puffy faced eskimo baby? I was still crying and holding him and my doctor said I had a little tear and needed stitches. No kidding, huh? Then the nurse was asking me to wiggle my toes, asking if I could stand up.

They took me to the postpartum room and gave me percocet. I finally slept for hours while my husband held the baby. When I woke up everything hurt and there was blood all over and I had swelled up so much that I couldn't even put my flip flips on to go into the bathroom. I had to walk with my toes curled under because it hurt so much to put any weight on my giant feet.

I was okay as long as the percocet kept me from feeling to much or thinking too much about anything. But they won't send you home with it, so I had to settle for vicodin, which just makes me feel stupid and constipated. I kept swelling for about a week after the birth - retained IV fluids, supposedly. I only lost about nine pounds after delivery because I was so full of excess fluid - and the baby was 7lbs 4 oz of that.

A few days later I stood up and blood poured down my legs, soaking my jeans. When I tried to wash up, clots the size of dessert plates came out in the shower. I had to go in for a uterine "massage" (external squishing) and a speculum exam, which believe me is NOT a good idea with fresh stitches in that general area. I drew the line at the vaginal ultrasound. Not a chance.

Whoever says there is "no medal" for having a medication-free birth is way off track. Who cares about even the stupid idea of a medal when you can't even hold your new baby because you're zonked out on narcotics? When you're hobbling to the bathroom while blood is soaking through your third pair of pants?

The only reason any of it was worth it was that when the doctor broke my water there really wasn't any in there. The baby had stopped moving much in the day and a half before I was induced, so things were definitely getting more precarious. And of course I would do anything to make sure that this baby was okay. And he is - he's great. More than great - he's a relaxed little guy, a good sleeper, breastfeeding is going well. I mean, it's exhausting but I couldn't really ask for an easier baby unless I was being wildly unrealistic.

I'll always feel sort of bitter about the whole birth experience, just because I felt like nobody cared how I was doing in anything but a technical way. My blood pressure was good and my oxygen was fine, so it didn't matter that I was completely dilated and still getting the maximum pitocin drip. And why bother checking me before the epidural? Just get the drugs into me and maybe I'll stop moaning so annoyingly.

Obviously, the most important thing is that in the long run everything is fine. And the truth is, after that first week, I'm doing pretty well. All the swelling and bleeding and pain is gone and I've lost about 25 pounds now. I'm getting almost eight hours of sleep at night (usually two, two and then four) plus a nap in the afternoon. I'm easing back into life again, going to baby-massage classes once a week and doing some strollering in hopes of someday actually exercising.

In the meanwhile, I will write about my mother's impending visit, the fact that somebody has already offered to buy my baby, and how to buy trees. Plus, maybe another photo or two of the little guy?


Christina said...

I'm so sorry you had such a bad experience! I know too just how evil Pitocin is. My first birth was totally natural and drug free (fantastic) and the second was a Pit nightmare. Why is it that the medical community doesn't get it?

I'm so glad that your little guy is doing well. Congrats mama!

lastchanceivf said...

Ugh, I'm so sorry about your birth experience. And that is some scary stuff about those clots and the post-partum hemorrhaging. I'm glad you are ok.

And yes, more pics please! I'm glad to hear everything else seems to be going well!

stillhopeful said...

Sorry things didn't progress the way you wanted, and that you had to go through so much pain anyway. That really stinks! But like you said - all's well that ends well, and it sounds like you're getting into a good groove with your little one. Good for you!! :)

Anonymous said...

awwww, i'm sorry your birth was such a bad experience, mine was pretty terrible too, but i was expecting it to be that way, i'm sure you weren't when your first birth experience was so great. i can't wait to see more pictures, he is sooooooo cute!!!!

Jules a.k.a. Julie said...

Can't wait to see more pics of your adorable little guy, but awww, Lorraine! I'm sorry to hear that things went so horribly different from the birth of your daughter and your birth plan for your son. At least he is here safely and it sounds like you guys are settling in... I know that doesn't erase the pain of your crushed expectations and torn body :-(

Holly said...

SO sorry about the ordeal, but the end result sure is a cutie pie-or should I say "eskimo pie" lol

Hope you get to feeling stronger every day!

Kami said...

Oh, yes, I hear you. The most important thing is that you and baby are ok, but it DOES matter how that birth happens. It is a real ache when it doesn't go the way you hoped and, like you, I am playing monday morning quarterback. I want a "do-over" but I know it is a do over that isn't huge - no one died or was permanently injured.

But that isn't comforting enough sometimes especially in this time postpartum blues.

Thanks for stopping by my blog so I would stop by yours. I feel better connecting with another IF mom after a less-than-hoped-for birth experience.

Congrats on a beautiful baby and surviving a harrowing birth experience.

Lost in Space said...

Sending hugs, my friend...

I think more pictures are in order. (-;

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Wow, so different from your first experience! And this sounds WAY worse than my time after a c-section. I was woosy for a couple hours after the birth but that was all. I guess it just depends.

And he is so cute, I would love more pix of the wee eskimo! My brothers both had dark hair that all fell out and they were blond then. Huh. So who knows, just so grateful you and he are both ok. Take care!

PJ said...

Oh Lorraine, big hugs to you. That birth experience sounds so difficult. I'm glad he was out when he was though, the low fluid sounds scary. Wishing you continued healing.

So glad you have an easy baby! Eight hours of sleep, wow!

I'd LOVE to see more pictures of the little guy!

I'm so happy for you, to have followed you through such difficult times and to read you now, enjoying your infant. Just, yay!

Midlife Mommy said...

I hope the bad memories fade soon . . . and I do want to know about someone wanting to buy your baby! Seriously? And yes, more pictures.

Celia said...

He is beautiful! I am with you 100% on being unthrilled about my birth experience. He is here and safe and that is the important thing, but I am STILL recovering from the stupid c-section. And the drugs were EVIL.

Best When Used By said...

Oh, Lorraine, how awful for you. It seems that no matter how we try to plan, in the end, circumstances end up being out of our control. And control of the situation is all we really wanted - to have some say in things.

You had a vag birth with a semi-functioning epidural; I had a C-section. But similarly, I felt like people were "doing things" to me and I was a 3rd party non-entity in the ordeal. I didn't even know they actually started the surgery until I smelled burning flesh (I guess they used some cauterizing knife instead of a scalpel to open me). I kept waiting for people to tell me what they were doing, but no one did - I just felt all this yanking and shoving and it was terribly scary. I had the 300 pound woman edema too.

Why doesn't anyone forewarn us of these things? Why can't they take the time to talk TO us and explain TO us as things are happening? And listen TO us, remembering that these things are happening to a real human being.

It must have been so frightening - pain and tearing and needles and "novacaine" and a swimming head from the drugs. Not to mention all the bleeding.

Well, of course it's great that the baby is fine, and ohhhh, lucky you to have a relaxed, easy-going baby who lets you sleep! (I'm so jealous!) I can't wait to see more pictures of him and you MUST tell us the story about somebody offering to BUY him from you??!!!

RoseAG said...

Ick - I'm glad to hear you're feeling better and that 25 pounds has taken a hike! That had to be injury to insult!

I hope you get through your upcoming visit. It's hard to keep things calm and restful with company. Hopefully it'll be a short visit?

Gwynn said...

I'm so sorry about your birth experience. It sounds so emotionally and physically draining. I also had the gush o' blood 'n' clots a few days after giving birth. When I asked the nurse about it. She was like, "Oh yeah, that happens to a lot of people." You'd think that they would freakin' warn you then, right?!

Anyway, it sounds like the prize at the end, though well earned, is also perfectly wonderful and worth it all. And isn't that how all maddening stories should end? (And when you have a moment, do tell out the purchasing incident. I must hear more!!)

Wombded said...

Lorraine, I'm so sad that the birth didn't go well (understatement). Yet thankful that you have a healthy baby.

Blossom and Her Fruit said...

Your story brought me first to tears at the idea of you finally holding your child but then to queasiness at the horrifying details of how you were handled. I'd love to know how you feel about doulas in general or your doula now...