Healing Through Writing: My Birth Story Part 4, The Conclusion

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Finally, we come to the end of the story. I started these posts back in March but life of course has just gotten in the way. If you missed them, here’s My Birth Story Part 1, My Birth Story Part 2 and My Birth Story Part 3. My birth story didn’t happen on just one day after several hours of labor. It was a two month long traumatic experience. This is my journey and by writing it all out to share, I have managed to feel at peace. I look at my healthy one and a half year olds and feel immensely blessed that our story happened how it did and wasn’t any worse. 

RecoveryWith the realization of being of being 5 cm dilated, we asked the resident what was going to happen. It was getting late and Nana Bear was anxiously waiting for an update. Orange had already gone to bed and Nana Bear was exhausted and just hanging out on our couch. Princess Daddy really wanted to go home too. If they were just going to stop my labor, there was no reason for him to still be around. She looked at us both and advised him to not go anywhere. She said she had to check with my doctor but that she was pretty sure we would be proceeding with delivery.

All the sudden things moved quickly. My OB came back in just moments later after reviewing the images of the girls’ positions. Pink’s cord was actually a BIG deal. Purple could likely make it out safe but if Pink didn’t turn head down, or if she caught her cord with her feet down, we could have been dealing with a cord prolapse, a very scary emergency situation that could kill both her and me. The girls were estimated to be so small that 5 cm was plenty big enough to start feeling the urge to push. As I quickly became more and more uncomfortable, there was no longer any time to think and debate about what was going to happen.

At about 9:15 p.m., the anesthesiologist came in quickly followed by my doctor already in scrubs. Princess Daddy was instructed to quickly put his scrubs on. My mag was disconnected and I was moved into a wheelchair. I could already feel the pressure from Purple engaging into position. The doctors were trusting my exact description of what I was feeling to gauge how quickly they needed to move.

I was in a complete whirlwind. Before I knew it, a NICU doctor was in my room explaining what to expect with the girls. As we went down the hallway and got into the OR, we were met with at least a dozen doctors and nurses all in scrubs. I recognized my doctor but could see only her eyes. I was surrounded by dozens of people with nothing but their eyes showing and I think that’s when everything hit me. I wanted to cry but I was afraid of appearing weak. I kept looking around for faces that I knew because there was simply too much going on.

NICU NIt’s one thing to prepare yourself for a C-section, it’s another to be admitted not feeling contractions at all and just 5 hours later trying to comprehend everything going on so quickly around you.

Oh yeah, back in my room prior to my short wheel down the hallway, when I explained the pressure I was feeling, it was determined to get me into the OR before moving me around too much for the spinal and epidural. The anesthesiologist was worried that Purple would begin crowning and I wouldn’t feel it. They wanted me to feel everything until I was in the safest place they could get me. I am very grateful for this as it’s the only part of labor I felt connected to my babies.

Anyway, the spinal was for immediate relief so they could proceed with the C-section as quickly as possible. It scared me that they had everything right there to put my completely under in a matter of seconds. They were so worried about Pink’s position but did a good job of hiding it from me. The epidural was to help with my pain management after the C-section and over the next couple of days. Just one hour after learning my girls were going to be born that night, my doctor made the first cut. My anesthesiologist talked me through the entire thing. I just kept looking at Jeremy and listening for what was going on. I could feel some pushing and pulling but not much of anything else. Before I knew it, a baby was whisked past me. I immediately freaked out because there wasn’t any crying like I imagined. And she was tiny; very long and very frail. I didn’t even know which baby it was at that point. It seemed like forever for them to get the 2nd girl out but in reality, she was born just 1 minute after her sister. 10:36 and 10:37 p.m.

Purple began squeaking shortly after her sister was born but Pink took a while before making any sounds. She was blue at birth. Her amniotic sac had to be broken and she was so high up under my rib cage and stretched straight down with her feet in my pelvis that it was difficult for her to be pulled out of me. A quick resuscitation and finally I heard the tiny mouse squeaks from both of my girls.

NICU SPrincess Daddy looked panicked for a while. He didn’t know if he should stay with me or go with them. They were right in the OR with us but with a whole team of nurses and doctors, I couldn’t see much. I told him to go with them to take pictures. It was kind of fate that he even had his camera with him. He’d taken it to work that day to show a buddy his new lens so it just so happened to be in his car. I heard bits and pieces of cries and whimpers. The nurses would come over to me continually to tell me how great the girls were. I don’t remember a lot of what happened next.

I know I asked which was born first and baby A was rightfully born first, our Natalie Marie (Purple). Baby B was right behind her, our Sophia Lea. (Pink). I did later find out that Purple’s water had in fact broken on its own although it’s unknown exactly when that happened. I never felt a gush like I did in my first labor with Orange.

I remember feeling extremely dizzy. I whispered it to Princess Daddy because he said I looked really pale. The anesthesiologist must have heard because within seconds, I felt coolness in my IV and the dizziness had worn off. Shortly after, I thought I was going to throw up and he quickly turned my head for me and held a cup to my mouth. After several burps, I felt better. He told me the air from the C-section would likely cause that to continue and to just speak up if I had any discomfort at all, even if it was just an itch.

When they moved me from the operating table to the recovery bed, I remember being really amazed by how swift the process was. They knew exactly what they were doing and I felt like I just floated from one bed to the other. I even remember hearing one of the residents comment on how light I was which made me feel good considering I was nothing short of a whale up until about an hour before that with two children growing inside of me. (When I later was moved to my postpartum bed, the transition was much worse as they made me crab walk across the mattress and I had absolutely no strength and was in a lot of pain!)

In recovering, I was alone. I hated being alone but I cared more about my babies not being alone than me not being alone. I was shaking uncontrollably as the spinal wore off. I wasn’t in any pain but the shaking was intense. They told me over and over again how great it all went. It wasn’t until much later that I really felt upset about having a C-section. I knew it was the best and safest thing but I played too many what ifs and constantly wondered what I could have done to keep the girls in longer or not have to be cut open.

I tried to rest as I waited to be moved to my postpartum room but I could not stop shaking. It got so bad I felt like I was gasping for air. My mouth was dry and was filling with phlegm and I felt dizzy and nauseated. I started worrying non-stop about the babies and about Lily and I started having a panic attack over being a mom of 3 and recovering from this major surgery. I couldn’t feel my body. I had to concentrate just to move my arm to page the nurse and when I concentrated on my arm I couldn’t also concentrate on my lungs. And I hyperventilated. My nurse quickly called the doctor who sent up a dose of Demerol. It took just a few minutes but I finally stopped shaking and was able to fall asleep. It was well after midnight at this point. Because of my anxiety and attacks, I was in recovery much longer than planned. I awoke to find Princess Daddy back by my side. We were both ready to pass out but were so filled with adrenaline at the same time.

Finally, just after 1 a.m., they wheeled me into the NICU to see my girls. They were admitted into separate rooms until they were considered stable. They were given surfactant right away, and then put on CPAP until they could breathe on their own (which was just a few hours.)They did a bunch of lab work to check iron levels and for infections and lord knows what else. I got to reach into their beds and touch their toes. I just couldn’t get over how tiny they were.

Just before 3 a.m., we left the NICU and I got settled into my postpartum room. I was mostly exhausted that first night and by morning, I really had no idea what had happened. They woke me for vitals every 2 hours. And I kept waking up from panic attacks. I constantly felt like I was falling out of bed even though I wasn’t moving at all. The pain killers left me disoriented. I barely even remembered that babies came out of me. All I could think of was simply how much I hurt.

I only saw the girls 4 times (maybe an hour total) in the entire 96 hour stay after my C-section. It’s one thing to have this birth experience and have your baby room in with you but mine were 3 floors away, in a different wing of the hospital. I cried day in and day out, unable to control my emotions. I was so upset by how the nurses treated me. I hated that I couldn’t get out of bed to share my birth with my antepartum nurses. I hated that I couldn’t see or hold my babies when I wanted to. Everything about my experience sucked.

And so many people said, at least your girls were born healthy. And yes, I can rationalize but anytime you say “at least” in relation to a bad experience, you should just stop yourself. I hate thinking about their birth. I hate thinking about that night or what feelings I experienced. I hate all of it. But I love my girls. No, they don’t make it all better but maybe with time, they will make it easier to forget.

I want to thank everyone for following along on this journey. I am so blessed to have a forum to share my story. I am healing through volunteer opportunities and writing.

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About Heather Campbell

I'd like to say I'm fun and interesting, but that all depends on who you talk to. I have everything I've ever wanted. I've been married, mostly happily since 2006. Together we have a spunky redhead and giggly identical twins. I am a mom/homemaker, doula-in-training and a freelance writer. Our story is magical. Our life is chaos.

5 responses »

  1. I’m so sorry your birth experience sucked. It seemed like you were writing exactly what happened to me, even down to not hearing the first baby cry and that very long one minute. If it hadn’t been for the wonderful nurses who got me up several times a day and who shoved my preop bed into their little NICU rooms to hold them for the first time following the csection I think I may still be in that room in tears/pain.

    • Thanks. Postpartum was a whole different story. Lol. My nurses treated me like just another post-op patient, not a new mother with very fragile babies, atrophied muscles from bedrest, etc. I delivered at almost 11 pm, got out of recovery at 1 am and didn’t make it to my room until almost 3 am but at 8 am, they were already in my room trying to get me to transfer to a wheelchair. Not even 12 hours after birth, still with an epidural and catheter. It was ridiculous.

  2. Oh I got teary through this story. Thank you for sharing. I had a pretty dramatic unexpected delivery too and it has helped me to think of it as just one moment in the life of my child. There are so many other amazing moments that I get to experience and I get to be there for those 🙂

  3. Oh my, what a story (and I’ve only read this one so far!) You went through so much, didn’t you?! I am terribly sorry you didn’t receive the emotional (and physical!) support you should have gotten from your nurses. 😦
    Thank you for sharing. I will definitely be reading your other posts. I am researching cesareans and will be writing a series of posts coming up that I hope will give us women a closer look at this type of birth and better prepare those who may experience one someday.
    P.S. Your girls are just darling!

  4. Pingback: A Birth Emergency: My C-section Story | Magical Chaos

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