This blog post has been a long time in the making. We had a
rough traumatic birthing experience, so a lot of recovering has been in order. Baby and I are finally in a good place though so I want to tell my birth story and introduce her to everyone!
First, the good bit: this is Carys Eleianora. She is now 2.5 months old. She loves to smile and giggle and stand. She likes it when mommy pretends to be a zombie and makes gobble noises on her neck and belly. She hates her carseat. She loves when mommy wears her in the wraps. She is just a sweet, happy baby.
Now, after you’ve received all those feel good chemicals looking at that sweet baby, let’s talk birth story!
If you read my post about preparing as a survivor of sexual assault then you know that I put a lot of thought and effort into trying not to have a traumatizing birth experience. I had a c-section scheduled for May 24. The hospital staff was instructed that I was to have no male staff in the operation or during recovery. There was minimal staff in the OR. Some parts of the experience went as planned and I’m so glad I did as much planning as I did. However, little miss Carys and my body had other plans.
On May 24, I went in for my C-Section. My blood pressure was high. I was SO swollen. They strapped me to the fetal monitor and the contraction monitor. I was consistently having contractions but they weren’t painful. At some point, Carys’ heartrate dropped dangerously low. They had me change positions, gave me oxygen, did all the right things. Her heartrate didn’t come back up, so they had a male doctor come in to do an ultrasound. I was honestly too panicked and worried about my baby to care in that moment about my own body. My planned C-section became an emergency c-section.
I was taken to the OR, given a spinal which took several tries to get right. It was pretty damn painful. I felt like someone was punching me HARD in the spine everytime she tried and hit the wrong spot. Once they finally got the spinal right, I was laid down. My gown was removed. I was shaved. The catheter was inserted. I was draped and the rest of the staff was allowed to enter. There was my nurse, the anesthesiologist, my OB, her assistant, and a pediatric team.
The procedure itself was fast. Once they got her out I heard a small cry. And then nothing. She had stopped breathing and the pediatric team whisked her away to work on her. Initially her APGAR was 5. They got her back though and got her APGAR up to an 8. Those were the longest few minutes of my life. I was so scared I was losing my baby. I didn’t even notice that I was starting to feel funny myself.
I was hemmoraghing! They threw every medication they could at me to stop the bleeding. Fortunately, they were able to stop it enough and I didn’t lose my uterus. When we were both stable, I got to have skin-to-skin in the OR as they closed me up. Side note: My OB did a beautiful job on my incision.
Those first moments snuggling my baby, seeing her sweet face were perfect! I really was in love pretty much from the start.
Recovery was incredibly triggering though due to my hemmoraghing. I was checked every 15 minutes vaginally to assess my bleeding. This lasted for days! And I received fundal massages every 15 minutes. OUCH! I was up and on my feet that night though bc I wanted that catheter out. I passed some pretty giant blood clots, gross! Maybe TMI. But they said that’s to be expected. (Wrong).
My hemoglobin was monitored for days and we held off on a blood transfusion (it hovered around 7.4 so I was right on the cusp of being forced to have one). 4 days later they released Carys and me. I made it home. Did therapy virtually. And then had to go right back to the hospital. I was so sick. I almost passed out just walking to the bathroom. I passed some more giant clots. My feet were SO swollen.
It turned out that I had pre-eclampsia. The nurse told me I’d be admitted again, put on a magnesium drip, and would have to use a bed pan. They didn’t address the low hemoglobin at all even though I knew it was bad. I told them I wouldn’t use a bed pan and I was only staying if I could still get up and go to the bathroom. I know it might sound like I was being difficult but to a trauma survivor bodily autonomy is especially important and the last 4 days had made me feel like I had none.
My terms were agreed to and so I stayed. That same day my milk came in so I was ridiculously engorged and couldn’t get baby to latch. She just cried and cried. Since I wasn’t admitted back to postpartum recovery they didn’t let me use one of the pumps. It was miserable! One of the nurses was really kind and patient though and spent a good amount of time trying to help me feed Carys. It still didn’t work but it meant a lot to me that she took that time.
By the next day they finally realized my hemoglobin wasn’t improving so they gave me a medication for the bleeding and gave me an iron infusion. They hadn’t been giving me my Psych meds prior to that point though so I was starting to feel the sads coming on. I had to beg them to be added into my daily meds. And fortunately I got to go home the next day anyway with my BP down in the 130s/90s and my hemoglobin up to 8.6.
I thought that we were over all the hurdles but we weren’t! Carys kept losing weight. Her pediatrician said it was because I was pumping and breastfeeding. That I was taking milk from her by pumping (even though she got that milk in a bottle after we nursed). I sought my own answers and found a lactation consultant. She discovered Carys had a lip tie, a tongue tie, and buccal ties. Plus, she had a dairy allergy and reflux. So, the formula we were supplementing with at the urging of the pediatrician was making things worse. We got her ties fixed. I cut out dairy. We switched the formula we are supplementing with to an HA one and now she is thriving!
So, that’s our birth and first 3 months story in a nutshell! It has been a wild ride. But, she is my heart!