Friday, November 9, 2012


The title of my post comes from a reddit comment I saw while feeding the kid.

I think "scheduled c-section without medical reasoning" is becoming the new "welfare queen". Yes, it does happen but not as often as expected.

Maybe my reaction is because my son was a c-section baby.

He certainly wasn't planned that way at all.

I haven't really posted a birth story and I don't want to get into all the gritty details but I will summarize:

We did the "quad screen" and I had an amniocentesis after a long debate about the risks. The kid has perfect chromosomes. A big needle going into your belly is actually a lot less scary than it sounds.

During the last trimester of my pregnancy, my always-good blood pressure got unstable. I started swelling up. At one point, I gained 10 lbs of what was later to be determined to be all fluid in one month, meanwhile I'm being told to continue drinking water. I was drinking water like it was going out of style. I would have close to 100oz a day when I was at my temp job because the water cooler was so close.

My due date of July 3rd came and went. By all accounts, the kid was fine. I developed a PUPPP rash which was awful. The only "cure" is having a baby and most cases that occur are with people having sons. Mine started right at 40 weeks. My son didn't decide to make his appearance until 42 weeks. I got some fancypants Pine Tar Soap from Amazon and that helped immensely.

My midwives were really at a loss as to why I wasn't going into labor. Some people just don't. I know my dates for conception weren't incorrect as I'd been tracking my cycles for years and that included logging when sex happened. I knew when I had sex and approximately when I ovulated and that matched all of my kid's dating scans.

Some people suggested I got the dates wrong and heavily pregnant and cranky me got all bent out of shape about it. Even if I had, I was rapidly approaching D-day.

My husband and I went to "Prepared Childbirth" classes. No lamaze breathing, just a general rundown of "so this is what happens, this is what can happen". The teacher was a nurse and the lactation consultant for the hospital the kid would be born at.

I never actually went into labor on my own. On the 16th, I went in and my blood pressure was higher than they would have liked it to be. I went in to the hospital for monitoring and they decided that they were going to keep me there and perhaps there would be a baby soon. I was already swollen with water and I just wanted the baby out and was willing to do whatever my midwives and I felt was safe to get him out.

I'm not quite sure of dates as a lot of it has blended together but I do know the events in the order they were happening --

I was pissed off that due to my blood pressure, I wasn't allowed to go anywhere without my IV pole and had to disconnect the fetal monitor belly band thing. This made moving around difficult, but I did have a really great nurse who did some hand-held monitoring while I used my exercise ball to try and get things to move along.

I wasn't progressing, not even a little bit. They put this really uncomfortable insert (like a tampon) against my cervix and I had it in for hours. When they removed it, it felt like sandpaper in a place  you really don't want sandpaper. I yelped in pain and cried.

We eventually decided to try induction. I was on the drugs for three days with hardly any contractions that I could feel. The monitor would pick them up but it was nothing. My water broke on the 18th and it was gross. It felt like peeing myself and I cried again because it was uncomfortable. I offered to clean up the trail from the bed to the bathroom and the nurse kept scolding me for it.

They gave me something else (Pitocin, I think) and it didn't do anything so they were upping it. It felt like it all kicked in at once and I was having 30 minute long contractions. They'd dip a bit and then go back up. I was so out of it from the intense pain, I would sort of fade out for a few seconds and minutes would pass. My husband was horrified.

We decided to go through with the epidural after talking to the nurse. I was in so much pain, I hadn't slept much and I just wanted to rest and hopefully that would allow me to progress. I knew from class that being in labor for that long can wear on the body and make it stop so I thought it was a good idea.

Well, it didn't work. The epidural was fine though I got really shaky during and after as it felt like someone was putting ice water in my spine.

Then my legs wouldn't work due to the epidural. They put in a catheter. I tried to sleep. They kept waking me because the baby's signs were dipping a little during contractions, so I'd get moved to one side, get a half hour of sleep, get moved to the other... and so on.

During the contractions the next morning, I could feel them... in my bladder. Ugh. I could feel the catheter and it hurt. I had to go through two nurses before one of them would remove it. The first one assured me that  I couldn't feel it and that my bladder was empty. I peed after the catheter was removed, so HA! Another was put in its place but I felt vindicated a bit.

My favorite midwife came in and we discussed what could happen. We were now on day four of induction, getting closer to 24 hours since my water broke and at 42 weeks gestation. The baby needed to come soon.

I talked it over with her and we agreed on a c-section. The OB who would be performing it came in and introduced herself and explained the procedure. I signed a bunch of stuff. The anesthesiologist and his assistant came in and re-upped my epidural. My husband was handed scrubs.

I was wheeled into the OR. I wasn't scared at all as during baby class, one of the things they had us do was hold signs and pretend we were people in the OR so we'd know exactly how many people were needed. I knew the baby was fine and that it was just a larger compliment of personnel because I was being sliced open and another human was being extracted from me.

My blood hadn't been typed in the last 24 hours so they did one in the OR. I knew my blood type from donations but they have regulations and so yet another needle was popped into my arm.

My midwife was also qualified to assist on the c-section and she came in with me.  The anesthesiologist poked me a lot and I couldn't feel anything besides pressure just below my sternum.

I was being sliced open when my husband made his way in. He got to see my innards and was not grossed out.

We did our breathing and I felt a lot of tugging. Baby was out! They popped him over the surgical curtain and he wasn't crying, he was just squinting and looking like he'd been dipped in a tub of Vaseline (yay vernix!). Husband and baby went to go get his vitals checked and I called out because I was worried he wasn't crying. He cried in response :) It was awesome. He quieted down just as fast and got a 9/10 on his first test ever. Bands were put on my husband and son to pair them up and one was put on me too.

Then the awful started. I told the assistant anesthesiologist that I could feel what was going on. She said "pressure or pain" and I didn't know how to describe the feeling. It was a feeling of... wrong. Not that something was GOING wrong but that I shouldn't have people inside my body squishing things around like that. There was a little bit of pain but it wasn't severe at first. I wasn't having an anxiety attack, I could FEEL them moving things around and it was terrible. Then the pain kicked in. I screamed. The assistant told the midwife she gave me as much morphine as she could.

My husband heard me, made sure the baby nurse was okay with my son and came back in the OR. He sat with me while I cried, told him I was going to die and then got me to do my breathing which calmed me back down.

I was wheeled into the room and my son was brought to me. I immediately put him on my skin and had him nurse a little bit. The morphine finally kicked in and I was struggling to stay awake.

The midwife later explained that there are nerves that run from the abdomen to the chest and perhaps they weren't as dulled from the epidural - that my epidural was for a vaginal birth, not a c-section. She apologized and I felt bad that she had to apologize but I guess she read the anesthesiologist the riot act.

I'll skip the hospital bit but it was really comfortable, nice and supportive. My son is also a giant flirt.

I wound up back there a day after we left because I started having chest pains and shortness of breath. My first thought was "blood clot" and the ER was overcrowded. They tried to get me a private room since I had my six day old kid but they couldn't and I sent him and my husband home because I didn't want his immune system getting overloaded.

I cried in the ER bed, had to have help getting to the bathroom due to the incision... and then had some bigwig ER guy come in saying how fascinating I was because it looked like I was having postpartum congestive heart failure. I had fluid in my lungs.

Um what.


My phone was nearly dead and Dr. Google was telling me I'd basically be the same.

I laid in the bed kind of numb. At some point my husband called and I forget what I said.

In the morning, I was taken to cardiology which shares a floor with the maternity ward I'd just gotten out of. Within minutes of my transfer, my husband found his way to me. He left our son with his mom and asked me what was going on.


I'll try to summarize this too, it is not all linear:

Basically I was in fluid overload from already being full of fluid, having IV fluids from being induced, IV fluids from the c-section and the cardiologist who was on duty insisted that I should go to Boston because it was absolutely not fluid overload. She also told me I had a "raging UTI" for a week and that the maternity ward never told me. When I explained that I was postpartum and that a urine sample was going to be contaminated... she wanted a catheter in. My nurses tried. I was so swollen they couldn't do it.

My staples were taken out by one of the OB's and the instructor of our class/lactation consultant brought over a pump. I cried (I cry a lot, okay?) and told her that the nurse had told my husband it wasn't a good idea to bring my son in. She told me she'd look into it and I woke up to the maternity ward director at the foot of my bed telling me she made sure my son was allowed.

My husband contacted the patient advocate and I think the cardiologist got pissed. The OB who sliced my son out of me came over trying to tell her it was not CHF. The chief cardiologist who read the scan I had done said my heart was 100% healthy. She wouldn't listen and said "well if I don't know what it is and you don't know what it is, let's send her to Boston".

She also felt that the pain medication I was on wasn't a good idea (I had just been sliced open less than a week prior) and that I should be on diuretics. Diuretics can reduce breastmilk supply, so I refused at the advice of the lactation consultant. I was told in the ER I'd have to "pump and dump" but was also told that was incorrect. I was just getting my supply in so I REALLY needed accurate advice and not bullshit.

A midwife I'd had came over and we talked about what to do. I agreed to the blood transfusion the cardiologist was pushing but wanted to leave after that. A nurse from maternity had been sent over in case I needed a hand with the kid (I didn't, as I was mostly mobile and husband was there) but she was awesome in terms of explaining that it was probably fluid overload.

I had the blood transfusion and had to sign myself out against medical advice. The cardiologist's final act was to walk up to my nurse and tell her that my insurance wouldn't pay for my care if I signed out.

Oh really? Because that's a common scare tactic. If you are insured at the time of service, it's covered, even if you sign yourself out.

And the reason my son was a c-section baby? His head was wedged in my pelvic bone. He had a little welt on his skull for a couple hours after being born. He really WAS trying to be born but he just took a wrong turn.

And that's why I had a neccesarian and I don't feel guilty about it but I do feel a weird need to defend against people who throw out shit like "30% of women in the US have them!!!!!111"

Yes, while there is an uptick, there's also a lot better monitoring and I'm sure some doctors would rather do it (like the one who immediately put my little sister on Pitocin and she wound up having an emergency c-section hours later) versus a vaginal birth but you know what? It shouldn't matter as long as the baby comes into the world safely and the mother isn't harmed.

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