Complicated Birth: Sam’s Story

Hello Snap Moms! When I received this birth story, the momma told me “My birth story is that of a tough pregnancy and delivery…I am not sure you would want to share it.” Upon reading, I was sorry she’d had to endure such a tough experience but I did decide to feature it in hopes it could encourage other mommas who have had a similar experience.

As we all know, not every birth goes as planned. Labor can be traumatic, yet somehow still beautiful. You are about to read the birth story of a mom who faced lots of roadblocks – more than many moms. However, even though it is a tough story, it’s an engaging one. Most importantly, it’s the story of Sam becoming a mother and I love that. So without further ado…

Complicated Birth: Sam’s Story

27199_1376660302387_8348978_nHi. My name is Sam. I have attempted to write my story several times, and each time I try, it only gets harder. As you read, I think you’ll understand. So here I go…

 My son Robby just turned 16 months. He was a true gift from God, and came as a surprise when my husband and I rekindled our marriage. We were ecstatic, thrilled, joyful… you name it. I was already making all sorts of plans way before it was necessary. (Did I mention I was excited??)

 During my pregnancy, I tried to avoid medications, ate well, and planned a healthy pregnancy and birth for my son. I decided that I would breastfeed, make my own food, keep him away from unnecessary medications, and even decided that we would limit visitors after he was born for the first several weeks to ensure he had the healthiest, happiest first few weeks of life.

 But even at the start, I encountered many roadblocks… The day I found out I was pregnant, I ended up at the doctor’s with a really bad bladder infection (which was so painful, I initially thought I was having another miscarriage). Throughout my pregnancy, I ended up in the ER several times. I started having complications and pains that didn’t make sense. My nurses and doctors all told me I was just being “a first time mother”, and one doctor even told me I WAS miscarrying before he even examined me! By the end of my pregnancy I thought I was going insane!!

 During my 36-week appointment, I was sent to the hospital for monitoring. After a few hours they saw nothing and sent me home. A couple days later I went back to the doctor for a follow-up and again I was sent to the hospital. They monitored me this time for 24 hours and I was immediately admitted to Labor and Delivery for preeclampsia. At this stage, I knew nothing about the condition and of course proceeded to ask about 100 questions.

 They decided to induce me the following morning… and can I say, WHAT A NIGHTMARE?!  But I was determined to stick to my natural birth plan as closely as possible.

 I was given medications to soften my cervix. During this process, I was not allowed to move for hours. Then I was examined, and poked. Additionally, I was not allowed to eat or drink. After a couple hours I was allowed to take a quick bathroom break, then get back into the “oh-so-comfy” hospital bed.

Next I was hooked up to the pitocin drip to induce labor. Again, not allowed to get up, eat, drink, etc. This also lasted for a couple hours. After this, I was allowed another short potty break. This repeated several times!! And all the while, I was being given an anti seizure medication.

After almost 3 days in the hospital, on Monday, May 21, 2012 at about 2am I watched my little baby’s heart race on the monitor for hours… I was weakening as time passed and finally contractions started.

I was so sure this was it and in a couple hours my sweet boy would be here!! My (AMAZING) husband who almost never left my side (except to sneak me ice when I thought I was going to die of starvation), finally fell asleep, also feeling assured we were headed in the right direction. He was woken up around 8 am by the sound of my screaming, thanks to the doctor (who was just supposed to be doing a cervical check) breaking my water. The next several hours were awful! I was miserable. And my poor baby only seemed to be getting more and more stressed out.

Around noon, I had not progressed at all and a decision had to be made. My incredible husband took responsibility, and I was so stressed at this point I could not even think straight. He called it, and we were rushed to the OR for an emergency c-section. My plans of a natural birth out the window. On the way to the OR, everything seemed so surreal, almost like an out of body experience. I’m sure that had a lot to do with the medication. But my thoughts were on my son and what was going to be best for him.

 At 12:41pm he was born!! I didn’t get to hold him, but I did get to see him and kiss him. My husband was in love, and all the nurses were cooing over him as well. We made it just to the day of my 37th week, so I was fortunate to not have him taken to the NICU.

 They took him away to weigh and clean him while I was being stitched up and taken back to my room. When I got back to my room, my husband was holding our son, and everyone was there. It was so very overwhelming. Nurses, doctors, family, friends. It was crazy. My husband brought my son to me… and then I heard it… “She can’t hold him yet.” I was in tears! Why?! Apparently, due to the meds they used for the c-section in combination with the anti-seizure meds I was already on, I was not allowed to hold my son alone. Someone had to “help” me hold him and “help” me nurse him. This lasted for 24 hours.

 During that time I was constantly in and out of consciousness, had an extremely hard time breathing, my chest pounded, and I couldn’t stay coherent for more than a short while. This seemed to get better after the first 24 hours, so they took me down the hall to the “Mommy recovery area”. We were there for 5 days! I couldn’t be alone with my son, my condition worsened, and I ended up with a swollen heart and pneumonia. Finally, my husband was successful in pleading my case to be allowed to go home so we could recover without all the craziness.

 Before we could go we had to be cleared by all the doctors on my case. One of my doctors, a cardiologist, told me not to get pregnant again (but didn’t give any further explanation). This scared my husband half to death, and he was extremely cautious after that. (However, I sit here writing this 34 weeks pregnant with our 2nd son!!)

 Unfortunately, I have had many complications with this pregnancy as well. I have spent hours in tears feeling crazy because once again I “didn’t know what I was talking about” when I addressed my issues with the doctors and nurses. Thanks (again) to my husband who has never doubted me, and encouraged me to keep at it, we finally learned that I have an underlying heart condition causing my symptoms and complications.

Of course the symptoms for my heart condition are VERY similar to those of pregnancy. No one ever took the time to look when I had my first, and it was like pulling teeth to get anyone to look this time. Due to the type of complications my heart condition causes, my risks include complications after delivery, which can run a fatality rate of 50%. 

 I realize this story doesn’t focus on my son and his actual arrival, but rather the complications I had. I guess that is why it was so hard to write. I had wanted to do a VBAC with this one, but that of course is out of the question. I got several comments and remarks from other mothers (before the news of my heart), questioning why I would do another c-section. Why I was choosing medicine over the natural way. And many of them made me cry. I felt like I was “giving up” or failing my son in some way. But I know now that I’m making a choice to give my kids the best life possible. A life with their Mommy.

 So to all the moms out there who have had to make that hard choice, felt attacked, or ashamed, or like they were failing in some way because they had to choose medicine over natural, you aren’t the only one. You have to choose what is best for you and your child, and I applaud you. Don’t ever feel less-than. Because you aren’t. 

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