My Birth Story-Julian Vincent

Friday, August 10, 2012

This is the story of the birth of my first child, Julian. I was 18 when I found out I was pregnant. My pregnancy was not unwanted, but unexpected as I was using two forms of birth control at the time. I was already three months along by the time my pregnancy was confirmed, and I went into labor at 24 weeks gestation, so I did not have a long period of time to adjust to the idea of motherhood. Due to the short period of time between my positive test and birth, I feel I was very ill informed about what my body was going through and decisions I would make regarding the birth.

Labor began spontaneously, as I woke up with intense contractions at the end of my 23rd week of gestation. I waddled to the bathroom, where I felt as though something were about to burst out of me. I called my mother who took me to the hospital where I had planned to deliver, and I sat in a small office and dealt with intense contractions while waiting to be checked in while she called my husband (who was then my boyfriend). He left work and arrived at the hospital not long after I'd been brought to a laboring room. We were soon informed that the hospital we had chosen did not have a PICU, which was the first time we were told. They discussed transferring us, while my urge to push became greater and greater. Finally I realized I couldn't fight it anymore and began pushing, expecting to lose my baby. What happened during this next part is a bit of a blur, because I was never given a clear explanation from a doctor, but from what I recall I delivered an amniotic sac, which burst in the student doctor's hands as he caught it, and then the amniotic sac which held my baby broke. I suppose I may have had two amniotic sacs (which isn't unheard of, my grandma had the same condition with one of her births), or I'm recalling things wrong. I'm not sure. 

At this point labor slowed down considerably, and I was transferred to another hospital. The staff brought me to a birthing suite, and I was visited by a doctor and bereavement staff. The doctor told me my baby's chances of survival were 20%, and that I would most likely have him that day. The bereavement staff came to ask about what photography options I would want for my stillborn. My son was still fine at this point, living inside me, enjoying his womb, with a slow trickle of fluid coming out and no contractions. It felt as though they were really jumping the gun. My partner started crying, and I politely asked the bereavement staff for some time alone so they would leave us. This treatment was incredibly distressing, and I'll always look back on it as the beginning of a bad birth experience.

After hours of no progress, I was put on bedrest and given medication to delay labor. The plan was to remain on bedrest and keep my baby "cooking" as long as possible. This went really well for two weeks, with nearly no complaints, until the morning of March 11th, at 26 weeks gestation, when my amniotic fluid was meconium stained. I was told we would begin continuous fetal monitoring and see how things went, since it was only a small amount. At the end of the day, just after dinner, I began having very intense contractions again. My doctor came to see me, and prescribed some pain medication and a sleeping pill, and encouraged me to try to sleep through the contractions and see if they would slow down again. I asked about what would happen if they didn't, and I was told I would have a c-section, and that my partner would be there with me. Not long after that, I was being taken for my Cesarean. 

This is, again, almost a blur. My partner was gowned and gloved, but not allowed to come in with me. I was being rushed down the hallway, and he was following, then all of the sudden he was being blocked by staff as doors shut between us, and I called out for him and started asking one of the the nurses pushing me why he wasn't coming with me. She told me since it was an emergency c-section at this point, he wouldn't be able to come with me, but she would be by my side the whole time. Then I was strapped down in a crucifix position, and told to drink something to help with nausea. When I was given this drink I vomited, then an oxygen mask was put on my face and anesthesia was administered.

Waking up was difficult. Sometimes I would open my eyes and the room would be empty, sometimes there would be a couple nurses, but my partner was never there. I tried to communicate that I wanted to see him, but I couldn't stay awake long enough to do so. I later found out I had started waking up long before he had been told I would, and that he had asked to wait with me, but when he was told this he went to be with our baby instead. I woke up finally to a nurse telling me I'd had a boy, and the first thing I asked was if my partner had gotten his name right. She chuckled and told me his crib card said "Julian", but the birth certificate didn't need to be filled out for a few days. After I was awake, I was brought to see my baby. 

I don't remember what he looked like at first, because I was exhausted and it was difficult to see him while I was laying down ad he was in an incubator. I was brought to a recovery room, and rested for a long time. I can't remember if I was able to go see my son one or two days after I had him, or how long I was in the hospital, but he was in the NICU for 3 months. He was released on my due date. What happened after the birth was a long road of attempted and failed breastpumping, rudeness by staff based on my age, and a general lack of bonding to my child followed by postpartum depression. I can't blame everything on having a negative birth experience, and I know an emergency c-section is never anyone's first choice, but I also recognize parts of my story where staff could've handled my birth much more professionally and kindly. It was this experience that caused me to question birth, and pursue a home VBAC with my second child.


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