Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Failed VBAC and My New Lack of Confidence in the Medical Establishment

My first born was only 3 months old and I think I had only just begun to pick myself up from my surgical birth. I had light spotting but figured my body was just off since I was exclusively breastfeeding.  My  (now ex-) husband was convinced I was pregnant so I took a test to prove him wrong. OMG there was a faint line and I was shaking. I told him to go buy a digital test because I wasn't sure what I was seeing was real. He did and it said "pregnant". I am not going to lie, I was devastated. Our marriage was even worse now that a baby was in the mix and now we are going to add a new one.(Note:  I want to say before I go further that while my initial reaction was not positive I could not be happier than I am right now to have my daughter in my life.)

I had grown to like one particular OB at the office where I was and thought she was pretty pro-VBAC. She had had a vaginal birth and then a c-section so she understood the difference and seemed pretty supportive of my desire to VBAC. They were going to monitor me for pre-eclampsia real closely since that was an issue in my previous pregnancy.

This pregnancy seemed to go a lot smoother than the last one and I had no issues of any kind. Late in  my 7th month, my (ex)husband was arrested on drug charges and assault on an officer charges. I was shocked. I couldn't believe that he would do such a thing and was pretty blind to his bad habits in all honesty. This particular thing had me extremely stressed out because I was not working, had a baby at home already and a baby on the way. How was I supposed to take care of all of us? This stress eventually took it's toll on my body.

At 38 weeks I started having severe pains in my upper left side. I went to L/D and they diagnosed me with a urinary tract infection, gave me a shot of antibiotics and sent me home. I felt better for a day or so and then the pain was so bad I could hardly move. I was admitted to the hospital and given percosets for the pain and waited for an ultrasound which they were using to see if maybe I had a kidney stone. They said they couldn't see one but I may still have one. It's hard to tell 9 months pregnant since organs get pushed around a bit. But they did say my spleen was enlarged. (Now everyone is in panic mode) The pro-VBAC doc came to see me and her  opinion was that I was getting pre-eclampsia and that I should let her induce me because I have a better chance at VBAC with her. ( her words)

I stupidly agreed to the induction partly because I knew she was probably right, she was my only hope for VBAC. I was only 1 cm dilated and her idea of inducing me was to break my water and see what happened and then if nothing happened put me on a low dose of pitocin. I ended up getting an epidural pretty early in my labor because my side was hurting so bad. I just wanted some relief from that alone.

So she was pretty consistent about checking my cervix on the regular, like every 2 hours or so. I dilated to 5 cm baby was low but I started getting a fever. Not only did I start having a fever but my daughter did not like the pitocin at all and when it was on her heart-rate took a while to recover after contractions. Once it was apparent that I had an infection and she was not tolerating labor anymore the decision was made to have an emergency c-section.

Overall the surgery was less uncomfortable than my first time. It also didn't take anywhere near as long to complete. While in there I got a classic "we saved you" line from the doctor when she said "You're uterus is really thin." and " the cord was wrapped around her neck a few times". Congratulations! We saved you and your baby!  I really wasn't sure how I felt about those two comments at the time I just wanted to get to my baby.  She weighed 7 lbs 12 oz. and the pro-VBAC doctor basically told me I just wasn't  "made" to give birth.

I repeatedly requested to see her and hold her while in recovery so that I could nurse her. Especially after they told me she would not take a bottle of sugar water ( why they were giving it to her I have no idea). Well she doesn't want that she wants mommy milk uggggh. It was still a good 4 hours before I was able to see her and so this made it about 10pm. My mother had to go home and so I was there alone.

Now my first baby had ABO incompatibility which caused him to have severe jaundice and anemia. He had to get an exchange blood transfusion twice and spent almost a week in the hospital after he was born. I knew this was something I had to watch for in my new baby girl and was told by my pediatrician's office to request an immediate blood test after the baby was born. The minute I saw her I knew she had it because she was already yellowing in the face and eyes. I asked the nurse to call my pediatrician to request a blood test and bilirubin level. She acted like I was off my rocker and refused to do so. She said they would just watch her and probably check her in the morning.

The thing with this kind of jaundice is the quicker you get them under lights and the more you nurse them the less likely a blood transfusion would be necessary. I was not "allowed" to keep her in my room since I had a c-section and I was alone. I called my nurse two hours after my first feeding with my daughter and told her I want my baby so I can feed her. This woman had the nerve to tell me that she was sleeping and that I should get some sleep too. OMG if I could have gotten out of bed myself I would have. Babies with jaundice are always way more sleepy than a baby without. I repeatedly all night long requested to have my baby brought to me so that I could nurse her. I did not see my baby again until 9 am the next morning. By 10am her bilirubin was finally checked and was I think about 18 or so. At this point they were admitting her into the NICU for an exchange transfusion "just to be safe".

Well she was no where near as sick as my oldest had gotten and was an awesome nurser and peed and pooped and recovered from the jaundice quite well. Only problem? She got a staph infection from the procedure. FANTASTIC. So now I have to leave my almost one year old for another 2 weeks so I can stay in the hospital while my baby girl gets IV antibiotics for a totally preventable problem.

Adding to this I am now processing BOTH c-section births that I never thought I would have. I began to question my first one being necessary because I was dilated the same amount the second time as I "supposedly" was the  first time. Only the second time my vagina was not swollen, I did not have any pressure in my pelvis like the first time, and the c-section took a lot less time to do than the first time. What the heck really happened? Not to mention I am really not buying this whole narrow pelvis  bit. My mother birthed 8+ lb babies, there was no reason I couldn't do it in my mind. Then I thought about the induction and how I had read VBACs really shouldn't even be induced to begin with and wondered if the induction itself caused the "emergent" c-section.

Thus my confidence in the medical community diminished significantly. Why do they never listen to the mother? Why is it that we can never be "right" about something when it comes to either our bodies or our children? This time I wasn't broken. This time I was pissed off.

1 comment:

  1. Pissed off is the word. That's when we start to really "think". That's how I felt when they told me I couldn't birth my breech baby. I was "pissed off".
    They told me it would cause the baby brain damage and bodily harm coming out of my vagina. Well, she is perfect masha'Allah. More so than my other 6 hospital births. She was a fast fierce labor (1 hour) born into the hands of Ina May Gaskin on The Farm where I had to travel 15 hours to have her. I read your stories and would like to applaud you for your womanhood, motherhood and courage. Allah has a place for you in Janna led by the hands of your baby. I love you for the sake of Allah and hope to meet you one day.