Birth Story of Dragonett Lass - Then and Now ~ First Written @ 4 months after A's birth, then @ nearly 4yrs later, While I was pregnant with Dragonett Lad.
I have been feeling very 'different' than my usual self lately, and when speaking to a close friend, she suggested writing out my birth story, working on it and move on. Not move on in a mean way, but stop worrying about shit that MAY never happen this time, and just enjoy this pregnancy and future birth that I never got to enjoy the first time!
This story was written 4 months after Dragonett Lass' birth, posted on another website, so some might recognize it. I have just pulled it out, and re-read it and shake my head at what I thought I knew then, and what I know now.
It has been nearly 4 years since my daughter was born, and two of those years was spent with PND/PTSD. We also know now that I had AND for most, if not all of my pregnancy.
I didn't know how to incorporate the story from years ago, and my knowledge and feelings NOW, but I read another birth story here and thought THAT'S how I will do it. I feel that my original story is just as valid as how my story is today, regardless of how much I have changed personally. Original Story in purple, updated in pink.
So just letting you know it is very long and rambling, and I just hope that you can keep along.
Just FYI - when I use "we" in this, I am often referring to me, my husband and my best friend.
After reading everyone's birth stories, I felt inspired to write mine!! When I was pregnant, I was always told the worst of the horror stories and the Best of the Wonderful ones, but with the naivety of youth, thought "nah, I'm gonna be fine!" LOL! (Be warned, it's long!!!)
Anyway, it all started off on the wrong foot.
I had been feeling really under the weather for about a fortnight when I passed out at work. As I'm not one for nose diving at work, hubby took me off to the doctors down the road from work. First thing doc says is are you pregnant. My reply.."Pssst, nah." I had only had a miscarriage about 7 weeks before. (my third in 18 months, so we were using protection for a year to recover) his reply was that he thought I might have been, take some blood, come back in a few days. Confident it was just a flu or similar, I waltzed in on the Wednesday, and promptly stumbled out. I was pregnant!!! I sat in the car for about 1/2 an hour before the receptionist came out to check if everything was ok! LOL!
So from that day on, I threw up every hour on the hour (or close enough), passed out about twice a week and felt faint constantly and indigestion/heartburn as my faithful companion. From week 21, I had Braxton-hicks almost daily. Bub's also would wrestle for days on end until I thought I was going to be thrown out of bed (and actually made me slip off my work chair once!! LOL) Then would lie completely still for three days and make us rush off to the doctors then an emergency scan.... By the end of my pregnancy, my doctor had had quite enough of me!! He actually said that he would love to go a whole week without having to see my waddling butt! I started out weighing 95 kgs, by the end of my pregnancy I weighed 80kgs!
To be honest, I hated my pregnancy! It was horrible and uncomfortable and some days, I felt as though it would never end!! I couldn't seem to bond with my baby - and was getting very upset at everyone telling me that pregnancy is a wonderful thing!
I re-read a diary entry from around that time, and the hatred that I had for that pregnancy is horrible and frightening. I would refuse to talk about it. If anyone even mentioned that evil sentence "pregnancy is a wonderful thing!" I would honestly see red. I continued to smoke and drink (not everyday, but every now and then have a real 'night out') If anyone said anything, I would shrug it off. I did try to quit smoking, as I 'knew' it was the 'right thing to do', but I honestly didn't care an inch. I look back now with such shame and heartbreak.... I honestly feel that if I had had someone who had cared enough to look, they would have seen that I was totally depressed and suffering. I had many of the red flags that people look for in mothers with serious PND, but because my baby wasn't here yet...
Anyway, hubby and I sat down and wrote out our birth plan. No drugs and a water birth, no needles-no epi, hang out at home as long as possible, and then our student midwife to do as much as she felt comfortable doing.
Then I found out that I had to come straight to hospital as soon as my waters broke as I had gotten a positive strep B test. Oh well, everything else will go fine. After all, horrible pregnancy = brilliant birth (old wives tale)
Then work got fed up with me, and "suggested" I go on mat leave a month early, as I had planned to work right up to a week before my due date. A fortnight later, I got up to go to the loo, when I felt a trickle run down my leg. WTF?? Off to the loo and it looked like my waters had broken. Cleaned the floor, noticing that it was a little pink. Changed and woke hubby. Off to the hospital with the thought of "we're early!" in our heads. Only noticing half way there that we were running out of petrol, and in our hurry, left wallets at home! Made it to the hospital....just!!
Got there at 1.30am. Checked, not yet dilated at all. No contractions. needle in for antibiotics. Oh well, so much for no needles, we thought. Took them three goes to get the jelco in, and in the end, I had to do it myself!! But the bath looked SO inviting. Nope – midwife informed us that they no longer supported water birth in the BC, as it was an infection risk. Oh Great! That rules out my water birth! Bugger! That was gonna be my pain relief! Made our calls, and settled down and played cards. Oh well, showers and gas, I'm tough!
By 8am though, we were all getting a little worried. We didn't really know any better. We were only concerned because the midwives apparently were, and had started using that good old "time" rule!!
No contractions at all, not a one, and I had had a much larger gush of water. Baby seemed fine though. Doctor came in, and said that if I had no action by lunchtime, we'll have to induce. (Lunch-time being 1pm - a whopping 12 hrs since my waters had broken, but only 6hours since the main flow )
Well, lunch came and went, so off to the labour ward - leaving the lovely birthing suite! Drugs in, strapped to the baby monitor. Boredom sets in. Not allowed off the bed, as they were having trouble getting the monitor strap to stay on me. Bloody Hell – how would they cope with a REALLY big mumma then, hey??
Play cards with the student midwife. By 3.30pm, still no contractions. Let's up the drugs. 5pm. Call the families, update them. Still no real contractions, just starting to get some twinges in my back. Everyone's starting to look concerned. The midwife sits down with us, and says if nothing happens after the next dose of meds, be prepared for a c-section. Ramps ups the dosage again! I'm talking she doubled what I was being given.
OMG!!!!! Within 10 minutes, I felt as though someone had set fire to my middle and was putting it out with steel toed boots!!! Gas, gas give me the gas!!!!!!!
"No gas, no gas, makes me feel sick and stoned."
OOhhhhhhhhhh! Now I have unbelievable pain, feel more stoned than I have EVER felt and highly nauseous.
During a brief quiet time, midwife explains that sometimes, being induced can lead to having stronger contractions. You Reckon!? I nearly scream at her, but bite down hard on tongue! She suggests that I try the gas again, but differently. Okay, I moan, anything. (here is where I think that the gas was hiked up)
Nope, gas is useless! But it gives me something to bite down on, so I keep it. By this time, we have thrown out our birthplan. We knew writing it that things might change, but never did we think by this much! I wasn't even allowed to have a shower as I had to stay hooked up to the monitor constantly.
I was struggling with the pain, when the midwife asked why I didn't want an epi. Explained my history with nursing, but somehow found myself agreeing to one. Gee, that midwife was good. I don't remember what she said, but just that I agreed. Then another contraction. I jammed the mouthpiece in my mouth, and bit down......
The next thing I remember is thinking that this was how the world started, with beautiful lights and soft music. dum dee dum dum. hhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Nice. And how on earth do you get soda in a can? Soda? Who in Australia says fucken soda?? Oh well.... look at the pretty lights. Owwwww, what's that pain, go away, I'm flying!! hee hee wwwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. (This seemed to go on forever. Very nice then, but scary as all shit NOW!!) Oh, where are the pretty lights going?? Someone's talking, shut up, the music is better.... ooooohhhhhhhhhh, I feel really sick. ARRRG, I really hurt, I can't breathe! Why can't I breathe?? What the hell's going on?? Why am I being held down? (I remember full panic and me struggling, and being physically held down by the backs of my arms and head)
Then I heard people talking and realized that I'm sitting on the edge of the bed, hunched over, with my student midwife holding me down, and my back is naked and cold. Then I understand what's being said.
"No, this isn't good, get the doctor. If she doesn't answer me, we're gonna have to go.... R, R answer me NOW!" (Midwife in full panic as well) I remember saying "it's alright, I'm fine" but then I heard someone come in and call me again, and I realized that I hadn't said it out loud. It actually took ALL my concentration to speak, and say "I'm fine". It seems that I had passed out for about 3 minutes. They weren't sure what from- gas, pain, etc. But the gas was apparently on the lowest setting. I had apparently sat up for the epi, and struggled with my student midwife, and passed out. Don’t remember it at ALL! Last thing I remember was holding the mask and lying on my side. Honestly don’t know what to think about that, and I have major doubts as well!!
Once I was conscience again to the doctors satisfaction, after a few nasty contractions and several bouts of throwing up Everywhere! I finally got my epi! I have just one thing to say!
GOD BLESS THE WOMAN THAT INVENTED THE EPIDURAL!!
It had to be a woman, cause man don't understand pain like that!! Tried twice to get it in, but damn, it was worth it!! After five and a half hours of torture, I had relief, and was only 4 cms dilated. Finally, relief. (This was about 11pm from memory, as it was just after the late handover. Having power vomited multiple times, writhed on the bed, and been TOLD by the midwife that I WAS NOT to get off the bed as I HAD to have the monitor on or my baby might DIE crap, I honestly loved that epi.)
Hubby lies down to get some sleep, student wonders off to eat and have a break, I'm supposed to sleep, but can't. So lie there pretending. After an hour, play cards with the attending midwife. Get the occasional pain, nothing I can't handle. (I can handle almost anything now I had felt REAL pain) Topped up every hour on the hour. "Oh, I can start to feel that, Can I get topped up?" thanks!!! aaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh. This is ok! gets on towards 1.00am, and I'm cruising. Let’s check bubs shall we.. all fine, 7 cms, a while to go, how you feeling? Me - "feeling?? What feeling?" I'm completely numb from the waist down to my toes! Damn, it feels good!
"Get up to use the toilet? Only if you want to carry me there and back? No? fine" They catheterised me, and I flooded the pan and the bed. The Midwife had the GALL to tell me off!! Apparently THAT'S why I hadn't been progressing!! WTF?? HOW is it MY fucken fault??
I was also shaking madly. I couldn't stop. Even my teeth were knocking together. Some points I felt cold, others I was fine, but the shivering never stopped. The midwife had the gall to reprimand me about 6 times for it. "You'll exhaust yourself, stop shivering, its all in your head" crap. I could force myself to stop shaking, but it was even more exhaus ting to do that, so when I got tired, I would relax and start shivering again, and off the Midwife would go again. STFU!! Yeah, I LIKE feeling like this, stupid cow!
Now 2.00 comes. The midwife asks if I want to be topped up or should she check me first. Nah, top me up, thanks. ahh, that's it. Let’s check bubs..........
"R, I want you to push, you're fully dilated and bubs looks like she's been crowning for a bit. Push!"
WTF?? Okay, I'm completely numb, with little to no control, but I'll give it a whirl!
And push I do. For an hour, I am straining. The epi wears off quite quickly, but this is no where near as nasty as contractions. It's really quite fun, if I can say that. (I can still say that this was one part I actually enjoyed) Then all of a sudden, it feels as though someone has just stabbed me with a hunting knife in my right hip joint. This was the first and only time I actually screamed! (I'm talking a draw in your lungs and belt out a SCREAM!! scream! )
The midwife tells me to shut up and use the pain to push! I’d tell her where to go if I could only catch my breath!! Now it feels like they have removed the knife and stabbed me again!! This time I bite down and hold it back! OMG! What IS that Pain??? It was actually so painful that I couldn't concentrate on anything else! I couldn't catch my breath, and apparently started to draw bubs back in. After being yelled at by everyone, and hubby slapping my arm, I was able to push, but the hip pain was excruciating!! I could hardly breathe. I tried getting on all fours, squatting at the end of the bed, everything, but nothing stopped the pain. In the end, I just had to deal. Mind you, during this time, the midwife felt the need to tell me that I had shit myself, but that she had quickly disposed of it. So?? I remember thinking at the time - Gees woman, even I know that if you are pushing DOWN THERE - SHIT WILL HAPPEN!!! . She then had to say it THREE MORE TIMES!! GET OVER IT WOMAN!! FFS
At 3.30am - after 3 power vomits, 3 minor and 2 major internal tears, and to the song "It's the End of the World as We Know It" on the radio, Little Dragonett Lass is dumped on my chest. I remember looking at her and thinking, "ewww, it's all yucky and bloody. I'm supposed to fall in love with it NOW?" Motion to hubby, photo and take it away. While bubs is getting oxygen ( a little gaspy ) I get stitched up. It was then that we found out that the excruciating hip pain resulted from bubs pressing on a nerve. So at every push, she was pressing on the nerve, causing the pain. And of course, the harder and longer I pushed, the worse she pressed on the nerve, the more extreme the pain!
Get to look at placenta. Quick tip, If you get the chance, it is really interesting - warning, gross though!
Busy night in the ward, so we get turfed out to wait for a room, so I can't relax yet.
But by 8am, we are finally in our room, Dragonett Lass is asleep, Hubby is making calls, and I'm resting. Still can't sleep. Visitors come and go, and finally, we are all alone and together!
Even though I hated my pregnancy and our birth didn't go anywhere close to plan, I have no idea how I even survived before my little angel was here!! And while I'll never do it again, I'm glad I did it once. And while even now, it hasn't gone to plan (she had to go back to hospital at aged 5 days and stay for two weeks, and my milk never came in), I thank God every day for our Perfect Little Angel!! She has worked miracles and we are blessed!
So no matter the odds, it really is worth it in the end!!!
Looking back, I am amazed at the power I simply gave away then. That hip pain was honestly the worse pain I have EVER had to endure. And that's saying a lot. I was told by the midwife that if I didn't hurry up and push Dragonett Lass out, I would kill her, so push and stop carrying on!! It wasn't until she was stitching me up that she pressed the nerve, and I knew THEN that she hadn't believed me about the hip pain, and thought I was just being hysterical. She was very surprised and a bit shocked I think. She also stitched me up badly. It took over a year to stretch that out before I could have sex with my husband and NOT have pain. I was also told by the midwife to touch my baby's head as she emerged, and I really didn't want to - and she simply snatched my hand and yanked it down and slapped it onto the head.
I didn't want to hold Dragonett Lass, I didn't want to look at her, but I 'knew' even then, that I 'should'. I was concerned on a professional level I suppose (I was always interested in nursing and had been a NA for many years by then) that she wasn't breathing properly, but other than that, it didn't really affect me.
One of the things I look back on with horror was being turfed out of our labour room as soon as Dragonett Lass was breathing 'okay' as they were apparently busy, but I was left in the hallway, BY THE LIFTS, for about three hours until they could get us into a room. I was told to 'get some sleep' as they plonked my bed by the open double doors, and left my baby in the plastic cradle thingy IN FRONT OF THE DOORS!! Anyone getting off/on the lift could see me in my backless gown and touch my baby. I could barely get off the bed, and Hubby had crashed on the couch in the waiting room - why the HELL didn't they put me THERE?? so I had to stretch and pull my baby around the bed and to the other side. But I was too scared to go to sleep for fear that someone might take my baby.
Once DH had woken up and come over to us, I went to the toilet. I needed to use the loo, but also to have my own space, my own privacy. While I was in there, I passed a piece of the plactea. It was about the size of my palm. Even then, I didn't really care. I was in there for about 20 minutes, and after 5 minutes, the nurses/midwives kept knocking on the door, asking if I was alright. I know that they were concerned, but all I could think about at the time was FO and leave me alone for 10 freaking minutes!!!!! Once I came out, I was studiously ignored! Bah, go figure.
During this time, I could hear the morning handover, and I heard everything that they said about my night, and the Dr who administered the epi said very loudly that the hip pain had NOTHING to do with HIS epi, and that if I said otherwise, I was lying!!!!! I heard the midwife trying to explain it to him, but he refused to listen, and kept going on about it. When someone reminded them that I was STILL in the hallway, and could hear what they were saying, he replied "So? I don't care!"
Fuckwit!! It was very very soon after that I was "found a room".
I didn't sleep for the entire time I was in that hospital room, nor did I eat. So for about three days, I didn't eat or sleep. My epi site is still noticeable today, and the spot where the midwife gave me the drugs for the placenta was numb for about 10months, and to this day, I will often feel tingling and numbness in that spot. I had already written in my notes that Dragonett Lass wasn't to have the Vit K injection or the heel prick, but due to the fact that I was well and truly Not Of This Planet at the time, I feel they took great advantage and talked me into it. I probably would have agreed to anything in those days.
When we got to our room, I still hadn't breastfed Dragonett Lass or fuck - even HELD her yet, but the maternity nurse on said "Don't feed her until I come back to help" uummm, okay. *shrug*. So I had a shower got dressed into some REAL clothes, and got back on the bed and waited. I probably waited for a good two hours, until my training kicked in I think. I'm a highly qualified and experienced child care worker AND NA so I knew that she needed to be fed. So I buzzed and waited. And waited and waited, and in the end, guilted myself into getting off the bed, crossing the room - they had put her over by the far wall - wheeling her back to my bed and attempted to feed her for the first time all by myself. Now I had helped other women do it, so I knew and understood the fundamentals. Two minutes into it, the nurse walks back in, yells at me for not waiting, rips Dragonett Lass out of my arms and holding my breast in one hand - didn't even ASK first - slams Dragonett Lass BACK onto my breast and then proceeds to do it twice more until I snap and snatch Dragonett Lass back and tell her I'm fine. She then sits there on my bed, and barks at me for the next 10 minutes before telling me its her break time, and hurries out of the room. God, I was SO glad when hubby came back (went home to deal with animals) I knew in my SOUL I was doing it right.
We also feel that Dragonett Lass was a good 3-4 weeks early. Everything we have read, discovered, etc, has lead up to believe that she was waaaaaay too early and that everyone just kept telling me she was 'small'. It also explained a LOT of the issues that we had.
And to this day, I feel that the WHOLE crapshoot was the reason why I wasn't able to breastfeed - my milk never came in, that led to Dragonett Lass becoming jaundice and having to be admitted back to hospital for two weeks under lights - and why I had such HELL bonding with my child and generally functioning as a person. We now know that I was suffering from PND and to an extent AND. I was also suicidal at one point, and only my faith kept me here. Up until my pregnancy and birth, I had never suffered from any form of depression, but I will do everything in my power to NEVER be that person again!!!
My best friend and husband recently told me that they had been very very concerned about me, but only me, as they could see that my training had kicked in and Dragonett Lass was getting everything she needed, hugs, touch, food, stimulation, etc all the things I would have done with my charges when I was a Newborn Nanny. I also FELT that way for a very long time. But I never LOVED my child like they claim in books and movies. I never looked at my child and felt this overwhelming emotion. I felt responsibility and overwhelming importance of looking after this child, but never love. Not until probably when Dragonett Lass was about 6-7 months. Now days, I simply adore my child, and everyday is a complete wonder, but back then.....
As for today, I know that I have a long way to go. But I am starting to enjoy this pregnancy, and I have great hopes for the future. I was NEVER EVER going to have any more children after that. I even asked my Dr for a hysterectomy (?sp) after we got home, but thankfully he managed to talk us into a less permanent form of contraceptive!!
It took me finding a home birthing section on a popular parenting website, and talking to a few very special members there to get me started on the road to serious recovery. Until that point, I had been stumbling along, basically feeling my way in the dark, so to speak, healing as I could. But One member's very special touch gave me the shove I needed, (Hi S!!! ) and I was like a demon, racing all over the net, talking to people, learning about what had happened and why. And then I discovered that I was okay, and that it would be okay, and I healed enough to start to think about another child, and the rest, as they say, is history!!
Even now, as I re-read this, I think, "I know I'm missing bits here." But like all things, as I discover more and remember more, I will continue to write and add things until I have completely healed!!