Thanks to BOBB, I am having a home birth. Because it opened my eyes. I didn't know this information was even out there when I had my son in 2009. I wish I had because his birth was pretty traumatic for me, even though it could be labeled "uneventful" and went pretty quickly.
My first OB got fired after she rescheuled my appointment 3 times. Hello? I'm pregnant with my first baby and I have a lot of questions! If this is how you treat my first appointment, I'm sure you'll be MIA when it's time to give birth.
I found another OB who I thought was great. She had a very laid back attitude. When I arrived with all my charts, notebook and list of questions, she kind of chuckled at me and told me to stay off the internet, quit reading and just relax and enjoy my pregnancy. Well, it's half good advice. My pregnancy was uneventful. I got a little nervous a couple weeks before my due date when she went out of town for a wedding. But she made it back in time. Here's where things get a little unpleasant for me. At my last few appointments she kept telling me that "we better get this baby out before you have a 10 pounder!" Not a very nice thing to say to a frightened first timer!
I went in for my regular check up on September 8th. While she was doing her exam she went right ahead (without asking or even giving me a heads-up) and stripped my membranes. It hurt so bad I was crawling up the table to try to get away from her. I went to work and stayed almost the full day, training my temporary replacement, until late afternoon when I realized I was having pretty regular contractions. I drove home and started timing them on the computer. My husband came home and I told him to go get a haircut because he looked a mess and I wanted nice photos. He did as he was told. When he got home, I asked him to make me a sandwich because I was starving. Then as he was heading down the stairs, I suddenly told him we needed to go to the hospital "right now." He said, "Don't you want your sandwich?" I wish I had said yes. I got to the hospital at around 6 pm and got checked in. I had originally planned to get an epidural, but then toward the end thought I'll see how far I can go without. Well, it wasn't long. My Dr. arrived and gave me another internal exam to "check" my progress and while she did, my water broke. I don't know if this was intentional or not, but it certainly was a coincidence. Once my water broke, the contractions were unbearable, but I wasn't dilated far enough to get the epidural - they wanted me at least to 4 cm. So I was made to walk down the hall and go sit in the jacuzzi tub. Apparently, this should be helpful. But being in that prone position just made my pain worse and I thrashed around in the water for a good 30 minutes trying to find something to brace myself on and kicking all the jets off the tub. I finally told my husband to "get me out of this thing!"
I returned to my room where I was fitted with a fetal monitor, however, since I was moving around so much to try to get into a good position (hands and knees anyone?) I kept knocking the monitor loose. Meanwhile, I'm just crying for my epidural. Finally, my Dr. tells me that I can't have an epidural unless there is a baby, and right now there is no baby because they can't see the heartbeat. No baby? Ummm okay. So what's your solution? An internal monitor. Yes, although I couldn't see it, I will swear to this day that my Dr. had her arm inside me at least up to her elbow. I think it may have been even more painful than the birth itself. However, thanks to the internal monitor, there is now a heartbeat, which, thankfully means that there is a baby. Epidural coming up. It was so hard to sit still while the epidural was placed, but finally it was in and the pain was over. I enjoyed a couple of hours sitting with my family laughing and joking. I was given pitocin (even though I wasn't asked or given an explanation as to the risks and benefits) because the epidural had slowed my labor.
Around 1 am I was finally fully dilated and the loathsome nurse informed me that she had turned off my epidural because I needed to "feel it" when I pushed. She then took one of my legs and instructed my husband to take the other to pull them back as though I were in stirrups while she counted for me to push. I really wanted to punch her so hard. It felt like she was tearing my leg off. My Dr. was performing a c-section down the hall and I was so scared she wouldn't make it back in time. She just made it in time to catch Owen as he came out. He was placed on my stomach for about 10 seconds before Nurse Horrible whisked him off to the other side of the room to clean and measure and weigh. She had him for over an hour, the entire duration of which I repeatedly asked her if I could please have my baby back. Meanwhile, my Dr. decided to "assist" me in delivering my placenta (again, unbidden and unexplained) by yanking on the cord. I really couldn't believe this was an acceptable medical procedure to play tug of war with my uterus. She then stitched up a small tear, but her local anesthetic didn't cover the whole area and so I could feel some of the stitches. It wasn't pleasant.
After I finally got my child back in my arms, I attempted breastfeeding. I asked every nurse that came in if I was doing it right. After all, I was informed by several people how great these nurses were with breastfeeding help and how pro-breastfeeding they all were. Well, they treated me as though I had leprocy, as in, they stood back with their hands pulled in to their chests and said "it looks like you're doing great to me!" I wasn't. Owen didn't have a good latch and within a week, I was instructed by his pediatrician to take him to the hospital for jaundice. It was explained to me how bilirubin is expelled from a baby's system through pee and poop, but since he wasn't getting a good latch, he wasn't getting enough to eat and therefore was unable to process his bilirubin. I brought him to the hospital where I was forced to give him formula while he laid under the bili lights. The only good to come from that was that this second hospital had a lactation consultant who was very kind and helpful to me. I believe that if I had been given proper support from the beginning, though, he would never have developed jaundice in the first place.
I cried and cried for weeks after his birth. Every time I used the breast pump, the noise it made sounded to me like it was saying "Lo-ser! Lo-ser! Lo-ser!" I cried every time I looked at Owen's little feet where they had pricked his heels to draw blood. When I went for my follow-up appointment with my OB, she told me to snap out of it. That this wasn't like me and if I didn't watch out, I'd be in full blown post partum depression. While her approach was not very kind, it did "snap" me out of it. I realized I had to pull it together and I did. But I'm still angry. I still wish so many things had been different. And now I realize how terrified I was both because of the unknown and because of what I thought I did know. My cousin told me at my baby shower to have an epidural because the only thing she remembered from her drug-free birth was screaming the whole time. I had read "What To Expect When You're Expecting" which is basically a compendium of fear.
After seeing BOBB, I realize there are other choices and I'm happy to be making them. I am looking forward to my next birth experience with an excitement I never knew was possible. Oh yeah, and that "10 pounder" they just had to get out of me? He was born on 09-09-09 at 7 lbs. 6 oz. and has been in the 5-10th percentile ever since. Yeah, huge.