Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Your dream birth.... or what can you dream when they are no longer possible?

**Written in late June of 2010. While dealing with post-tramatic stress and regular panic attacks, caused by blaming myself for the choices I had made that led up to a birth that almost cost my husband the lives of his wife and baby girl.
 - Finally posted because I feel the need to move past this as we look towards our last birth, and I am writing a follow-up before and after this birth on my feelings. So that I don't forget, and so that I can see my progress.**

You have a birth plan, then... plans change... you roll with the punches and if the outcome is what's best, then you accept what brougt you to that point, .....

Lately I have been struggling with facing the last minute changes to our plans for our daughter Ladybug's birth. She's 4 1/2 months old and there are some things I don't know how to move past.

Through Butterfly's pregnancy, I was planning a waterbirth. Then, because she was 2 weeks late (I think caused by extremely high stress) they decided at my 42 week ultrasound to induce me that day.
- No waterbirth... stay in bed, high pitocin levels, and I wound up needing an epipdural to relax and breathe... less than 12 hours from the split-second decision, I was holding my first baby...
Then her father took over making the decisions... none of the things we had agreed on, fighting with me in the hospital until the nurses gave me a sleeping pill and took my baby away to the nursery "so I could rest" when all I wanted was to peacefully hold this child that had just joined the world and changed my life.
I dealt with post-partum depression for over a year after her birth.

So this time I wanted a waterbirth even more, and I was beyond grateful that Hubby was supportive of looking for a way for me to have what I wanted in a city that does not have "birthing centers" and does not allow hospital waterbirths.
We believed that we had found a way to have a safe homebirth (with people who we understood to be experienced and trained, and that could get us the proper care we needed in the event of us needing to go to the hospital) and Ladybug would be introduced to our family in the safety and security of our own tub.

It sounded like a dream come true, and I talked with many women who had done this, read book after book, online articles, and watched plenty of movies, shows, and documentaries about more who had loved their safe, happy, family oriented, home births...
Then we hit almost 32 weeks. I knew something was wrong, I was scared daily that something was going wrong with the baby... over 7 weeks of frantically stressing myself out (and yes, calling the midwives each night, and they would assure me that I was fine and that everything was "normal" and to just relax), until we were told over the phone (at 39weeks), that the midwives no longer felt comfortable with a homebirth as they thought that everything I had been saying needed to be re-evaluated by a Dr and I needed some bloodwork done to rule out serious conditions that could be causing my life-threatening symptoms. (you could say I was scared, and so was Hubby).

I hadn't kept food down in 4 days, I had been dehydrated for almost 3 days, I hadn't slept for more than an hour at a time for over a month, and I had been having contractions lasting 20-45 minutes for almost 8 weeks consistently, and I wanted to tear my skin off it itched so badly (just to name the high points that didn't seem like "normal pregnancy" issues to me or hubby).

So my parents took Butterfly and we went to the hospital. Where they didn't want to listen to anything that had happened while under the "care?" of midwives that didn't have "hospital affiliations" like we had been told.
Eventually, just after midnight, we did convince them to draw some blood and run some tests, we also convinced Dr M that we weren't leaving without a baby so he put us in a room to get some rest (I laughed), and an IV of saline to rehydrate me, and said he would see us about 8am after I was rehydrated, and we could have a baby BEFORE NOON (based on 2nd labors going faster and my 1st was very fast).....

They got the test results back just after 3am, they put me on pit, and broke my water - he said we would have a baby before 6am and smiled...
If I had known him better, I might have seen the concern in his eyes. If Hubby had met him before (and wasn't so sleep-deprived, the sweet man) he might have realized that when DrM said "a baby before 6am", he meant that was all the time I was going to be allowed to try for a natural delivery....
[I had 4 serious conditions, if I had been under a Drs care, our daughter would have been born weeks earlier... the midwives said they could get us in with a Dr in the next week and we could be induced a few days later. DrM later told my husband that waiting another week could have cost one or both of our lives.]

Just after 5am the contractions got to be more than I thought I could take, no time for an epidural and saving the many details...
Ladybug was born at 5:30am, into a Drs hands instead of my husbands, cord cut and taken across the room instead of being given to me to check and snuggle and console, wiped clean and wrapped up before I could get my wits and try to sit up... one short hour with her and then she went with Daddy and the nurse to get weighed and checked and it took forever for her to come back because they couldn't get her foot alarm to work right.
((Then she had to get poked a few times a day for blood draws, and I was not allowed to move from my bed for 24hours, then I developed something similar to bronchitis, we had to stay longer in the hospital, and it took weeks for me to finally be able to do enough to care for my children... all in all, a much harder recovery and a harder bonding with Ladybug then I had imagined in my nightmares.))

- In our plan, she was going to be given to me, we would relax and snuggle as a family, she would be weighed in my room and never have a reason to leave my side except for restroom breaks.
Different... both outcomes are a healthy mother and baby, so it doesn't matter how, right?

While Ladybug and Hubby were gone, the midwife who had made it in time to attend the birth (we asked her to come still hoping for her to act as a "monitrice", and help us know when to re-voice our wishes) looked at me after we had been told so many things, and she said "you were right, something was wrong, we always tell you to trust your mother's intuition, a momma always knows".
... for me there were no words that would come, and while I wanted to scream at her:
"then why didn't you listen to me the last month and a half?"
"why didn't you tell me that I needed a backup Dr to run other tests?"
"why did you let this happen to us and not prepare me, while feeding me a dream and a lie that you would be able to take care of us and be there on our behalf if something were to come up?"
"why? why? why?......"
I simply said "yes, but I hate that I was right".
Then, when discussing the desire to have one more child, our 4th, 2nd together, my 3rd and final pregnancy....
I learned that next time I will be high risk, I will never get my water birth, I will never be able to safely attempt a home birth, I will not be able to let Butterfly witness a birth like we prepared her to do, Doodle will not have a choice in wanting to be there or not, and I will probably need to be induced again next time...

Dreams out the window, what is left to want? Do I just accept what I have to have and focus on the healthy baby that I can only have if I obey the rules I believe shouldn't contain my experience???

**A few months after first writing this, we found out that we were expecting again, and it threw me for a huge loop. Ladybug felt my stress and fear and acted accordingly, and in the months following just living life each day felt like it was more than we could take.
We were over 4 months into the pregnancy before I accepted it, and 7 months before I was happy, and excited and looking forward to a son... but I wanted AND loved this child from the moment I found out.
Please come back and see how my feelings have changed...

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