DISCLAIMER: This is the candid, unfiltered story of my pregnancy and birth of my son. Helping moms get a well rounded picture of what to expect when having a baby is important to me, both good and bad. If you are uncomfortable with the birthing process, please stop reading. The rest of you read at your own risk.
Apparently, I am extremely fertile. Just a few nights of unprotected honeymoon sex and BAM, baby. I remember the moment I realized I was pregnant. My husband and I were honeymooning at Disney World and had spent the day at Hollywood studios. We were riding Star Tours for like the 5th time, but for some reason that last time felt weird. I wasn’t nauseous or anything, but it felt like something in my lower stomach was swooshing around. A week later, I was had missed my period and my husband and I smiled like complete goof balls at 2 positive pregnancy tests.
My son was due on May 2nd, 2014 and we really needed all that time to get ready for him. At the start of my 2nd trimester my husband left for Basic Military Training (BMT) for the Air Force, something we had been working towards for 6 months previously. It was incredibly hard to be hopped up on hormones and alone. My normal support system was all dealing with their own personal triumphs and issues, so once his 8 weeks of training were over I drove from Phoenix to Pensacola (about 1800 miles) at 24 weeks pregnant with our two crazy dogs and stayed in an extended stay hotel for 10 weeks while my husband went to Tech School.
My pregnancy was was smooth sailing; no nausea, bleeding, uncontrollable cravings, just lots of being tired. I did pregnancy yoga few times a week and walked around my husbands huge base with him when he was done with class. Then, the problems came.
For 30 weeks, I had a wonderful doctor in Phoenix who was supportive, calming and little bit of a hippy. I did what he told me, he let me eat what I wants, gain weight, everything. Then I became a part of military health care. Now, it wasn’t that military health care was bad, but it was a little old fashioned. They told me that almost everything I was doing was wrong, that my other doctor said was fine like sleeping on my back and gaining weight.
I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes (GD) at 30 weeks and my new Navy doctor proceeded to scare the day lights out of me. I was now a high risk pregnancy. They didn’t want me to travel, they started interfering with my husbands command and they kept telling me that my baby was going to be so big I would have to have a c-section. Both my husband and I were overwhelmed with everything that was happening and we just didn’t know what to do.
After a few days, lots of research and talking with people, things calmed down and we realized this wasn’t going to stop our plans and we would be fine. GD is manageable and that while the Navy was being overly cautious, we tougher and more capable than others. I was able to control my GD with diet, we worked with the Navy hospital to get us set up with a new doctor at what was going to be our new duty station and the day after my husband graduated from Tech School we embarked on the 2 day journey to Abilene, Texas.
I as almost 36 weeks when I meet Doctor McCain. She was very brash and stern and we did not hit it off, but I was stuck with her because none of the other doctors in town were willing to take on a high risk pregnancy patient. Additionally, the hospital that she was a part of was very old fashioned to say the least.
Dr. McCain made it very clear to me that she wanted me to have a c-section. She emphasized over and over that GD babies are big and their shoulders get stuck. She also wouldn’t induce me earlier than 39 weeks, stating that being big wasn’t a medical reason to induce and if we elected for a c-section it would have to be after 39 weeks. I never wanted a c-section unless absolutely necessary and even through my tears, questions and concerns she was still just so stubborn about it. She cared very little about what we wanted from our birthing experience and just wanted to do what was easy for her.
When I had my 38 week check-up, I also had an ultrasound done to measure how big the baby was. She informed me that if he was an ok size we could induce on the following Monday, because she doesn’t work on Fridays and the hospital doesn’t do elective procedures on the weekends. (Small town hospital, sigh.)
However, she called us the next day and told me son was around 7 pounds, but his fluids were too low and we were scheduled to be induced the next day at 5am. I was 38 weeks and 5 days. We were so excited, our little man was coming! We didn’t have much time to celebrate cause we had to wrap up loose ends, pack the last of our hospital stuff, instal the car seat and rest.
Then 9pm rolled around. I was all ready to get cozy in bed to get one last night of sleep, but one trip to the bathroom and that all changed. I was bleeding. I had lost my mucus plug the week before but the doctor made it very clear to us that if I was bleeding that I needed to go to the hospital. We packed up the car and headed to Abilene Regional Hospital (ARH).
This is where everything goes wrong.
We went into an empty ER and waited 15 minutes for a wheelchair, we could have walked faster to the maternity ward. We were admitted and helped by one of three nurses that were helpful during our time at ARH. Everything checked out, but they kept us at the hospital for the night since were going to be there at 5am anyway. Around midnight, I started having contractions. They jumped to about 10 minutes apart pretty quickly, but I was able to get some sleep for a few hours. It helped that my husband crawled into the bed with me for spooning and enjoyed some last-minute child-free moments together.
5am came, pitocin was given and within the hour my contractions had speed up to every 3-5 minutes. The only thing I was worried about was that my jaw wouldn’t stop trembling, which apparently is normal. I am not one for pain and had planned for an epidural from the beginning. When it was time to get my epidural, the nurse came rushing in panicked and started pulling me all over the place like she was in a terrified hurry. The anesthesiologist came in and knew why she was freaking out. He was a complete and total ass. My contractions were happening every 2-3 minutes and getting rather painful, so being pulled around wasn’t really working for me. I asked if we could slow down and for someone to talk to me about what was happening. The anesthesiologist then walked out of the room saying “I don’t have time for this!” My husband and I said out loud “Are you serious!”
The nurse then looked at us like we had done something wrong and lectured us about how when it comes to birth things go fast and we need to be more flexible. I am all for being flexible, but I need communication. I got into position for the epidural and waited for the anesthesiologist to return. Not punching the anesthesiologist took everything both my husband and I had in us, but once the pain was gone I was good. Until the pain came back.
I was laying on my side and started to feel pain, which is normal so I told the nurse. By the time the anesthesiologist had come back it was getting more and more intense. He then preceed to yell at the nurse and us about messing with the drip, and he kept pumping more and more drugs into the ivy. Still the pain increased. But suddenly a machine started to beep and low-and-behold, the machine that controls the epidural wasn’t working. He fixed it and left, without an apology.
I was moving along swimmingly and hit 10 centimeters around 5pm. Dr. McCain came in and had me start pushing. Now on my back, the nurse, my husband and I went to work. With each contraction, I would grab onto my legs behind my knees and pull up and push like I was trying to poop, while the nurse and my husband pushed my knees back. My husband was on knee duty as well since I have torn ACLs in both my knees, we had to make sure I wasn’t bent too unnaturally since I couldn’t feel anything below my waist. As the pushing progressed, we also did towel pushing, which is when the contraction comes I pull on a towel tug-of-war style to push the baby out. I was moving along great especially once you could start seeing the head.
They had turned off my epidural because they wanted me to be able to feel when things were happening with the baby. So the longer and longer the pushing took, the worse and worse it started to feel. I was approaching almost 2 hours of pushing. Since my Epidural was almost all gone, I was able to move my self so they had me try pushing on my side and then on my stomach. It was horrible!
There is no way to describe the pain it was just mind shatteringly painful. I was screaming at the top of my lungs in pain, begging for help that was falling on deaf ears.
Dr. McCain would only let me push for 2 hours before making me have c-section. I felt like a complete failure. I just wanted to do the one thing woman was suppose to do and I couldn’t. My baby was stuck. I just laid there crying and screaming in pain, unable to push while the medical staff around me took their sweet time getting me into the operating room. Additionally, they couldn’t find the anesthesiologist.
I waited for 15-20 minutes in my room wailing in pain. When some was finally able to give me drug the anesthesiologist yelled at me telling me that I needed to calm down. All I could think was ‘then give me the fucking drugs! Seriously, you have ONE job!’
I was finally carted down the hallways to the operating room, where I had to go in alone while my husband was told to stay in the hallway until they were ready. I had to lay in that white room, alone, staring at the ceiling while people ignored me and treated me like some piece of meat like I wasn’t even there. Every time I asked for someone to talk to me, they would just say things like ‘You are fine’ or ‘We are getting you ready’ like that was helpful. I kept asking for my husband and they kept telling me just one minute, just one minute.
Finally it was time, the sheet was up and I was completely out of control. I just laid there looking at my husband as we both freaked out. Then there was lots of pressure, pain and release. My baby was out. I barely got to see him because they didn’t bother to hold him where I could see him around the sheet, but he had a cone head from being stuck in my birth canal for so long (partly because it took them over 30 minutes to get me into my ‘emergency c-section’.)
I sent my husband off to watch after him. They had to bag my son because he wasn’t breathing, but soon there were cries and my husband saying he was doing great. Then I passed out. Well, more went into a weird delusional state. I was completely spaced out. It took me like 45 minutes to come to and I was in a recovery room, shaking uncontrollably with a heavy handed nurse pressing on my upper stomach telling me over and over that I had just had major surgery. All I care about was where was my baby.
When we did our hospital tour, they kept telling us over and over that babies were very rarely kept from their mothers and they did all the exams and everything in the room. Well, my baby was no where to be found. I kept asking for him and the nurse just kept saying I had major surgery, like that was an answer to my question. After what seemed like forever, my husband came into the room pushing my son’s bassinet, with a nurse protesting behind him. He kissed me and handed me our son.
He was 6 pounds 15 ounces of perfect squishy baby. I teared up and was a smiling mess. I kissed him on his head, then had to thrust him back into the arms of my husband because the nurse thought it would be a good idea to push on my stomach again making me scream in pain. I had to grab her hands to get her to stop. Seriously, a little warning.
My jaw was shaking uncontrollably from all the hormones and all they would do is tell me I was fine. It seemed like all they knew how to say was ‘you just had major surgery’ like that was an answer and a solution to all my problems.
When we got to the postpartum room I was greeted by the nurse who taught my lactation class and a sigh of relief came over both my husband and me. Finally someone who actually knew what they were doing. She was so wonderful; soft, caring and with actual answers. She helped me with latching on, swaddling, answering our questions, pain management, and so much more. She was the best part of my hospital time.
For 3 days I stayed at the hospital being monitored by idiots who didn’t know the answers to my questions, forgot to give me meds and do test on my baby, they were noisey when my baby was sleeping, and lazy when we called them. They were so unwilling to listen to us and they treated us like we didn’t know anything. To make matters worse, I was stuck there until I passed gas because of my c-section and had nothing to eat but jello, chicken broth and apple juice for 3 days. My husband and I were miserable and agitated by the end of our stay versus enjoying every moment with our son.
By the time the evening of day 3 rolled around I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. I wish that my birthing process and hospital stay was as picture perfect as others, but I am thankful my son is healthy, happy and growing like a weed. I hope that other mothers-to-be will take the time to learn about what their hospital experience will be like if things don’t go as planned and get to know what the nurses and anesthesiologist before committing to a hospital and doctor. You really only see your doctor for a few hours out of your long hospital stay. Get nosey, ask questions and make sure you are prepared for the worst.