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CAM Birth Story#19: Danielle’s Births

In honor of Cesarean Awareness Month 2010, we will be filling the blogosphere with stories from real women (and their families) who know first-hand the consequences of a 32% cesarean rate. Each day we will post at least one birth story submitted by these women. Prepare to be moved (hint: grab a box of Kleenex)!

From Danielle…

This is the story of the births of my two boys, Camden Kent and Benjamin Emil I have been meaning to sit down and really write out my birth experiences from my two boys, so I figured this week, since we are focusing on birth stories, what a great time! I will start with the pregnancy of my first child, Camden. When I got pregnant, I was not all that educated about natural birth in general. I had worked as a doula, but through a crappy agency which I separated from rather quickly. So when I found out I was pregnant, I figured seeing a female Obstetrician would be like seeing a midwife. WRONG!!!!!!! But, I was pleased with my provider for the most part. I was considered a “high risk” patient because of surgery which I had on my cervix in my teen years, so of course like so many other women, I blindly followed what my Doctor told me, because of course, Doctors are never wrong…. right? As my pregnancy went on I started seeing another female Obstetrician in this practice I proceeded to dub “The Wicked Witch” she was mean, old, cold, and simply rushes me without ever answering any of my questions or concerns. Then it seemed as though, every time I would schedule an appointment with MY OB/GYN I would always end up seeing this other Doctor. It was driving me crazy! Same went for if I had to call the “on call” for the evening, something felt wrong or something was off, and this same Doctor would always insist I went to L&D and be checked. By the time my son was finally born, I am sure they were all glad they wouldn’t be seeing me again! Then in early November, our family was struck by a tragedy. My husband’s brother died suddenly at the age of 23, which sent our whole family into a tail spin, this was 4 weeks before my due date. From that time on, I proceeded to get sick daily, sometimes several times a day, I started losing weight despite eating like I regularly did before. At my last visit at 39 weeks and change, the Wicked Witch expressed concern that I was losing weight (15 pounds by this point) and that we should go ahead and schedule an induction before it has an impact on my son. Of course like any mother would, I freaked out and agreed. I didn’t want to have something happen to him, and in a way, I was happy because I was uncomfortable like EVERY pregnant woman was in the end. I went in that Tuesday to get induced. It was December 11th 2007, and we showed up at 6:00am, and they escorted us up to my L&D room, and looking back on it, I wish I knew what I was getting myself into. My L&D Nurse came in for my little questionnaire/intake and when I said I did not have a desire for an epidural, she and the Wicked Witch OB laughed at me, and told me I would change my mind shortly. From then it just proceeded to get worse!? By 9:30 I was hooked up to pitocin, which in my opinion is PURE EVIL!? Like they had said, after 2 hours of pitocin, 3cm dialated, I was begging for an epidural. I got the epidural but it didn’t seem to do much for me. The OB came back around at noon time, checked me and said I made no progress. I was still at 3cm, -1 station, 80% effaced. Which was a total blow to me because I was hurting and I thought I would have progresses SOME! She told me she was going to go have lunch, see a couple patients and she would be back around 2pm.? My husband and my mother went to get something to eat, I tried to rest a little bit, and eventually she came back. At 2pm, there was again no progress. And this is when she said, well, I am going to come back at 3, and if there is no progress then we are going to have to book an OR. I knew then my worst nightmare was coming true. This cascade of interventions was directing me straight to a cesarean section. From the start of my pregnancy, when I was told about placenta previa (which corrected itself) via ultrasound, I cried at the thought of a cesarean. She came back at 3pm, and there was no progress, or at least that is what she told me, and they started preping me for surgery. The OR was cold, and bright, and without my husband, it would have been even more terrifying.? In the back of my head I was happy I was about to meet my son, but I was scared to death. He was born at 4:37pm screaming, 7pounds and 7oz. Which then one of the OB/GYN’s commented, someone of my size (petite frame and short stature) would have never been able to birth that baby. Ya ok!? My mother, my size, gave birth to an over 10 pound baby, HER FIRST CHILD! My recovery sucked, and during that time, I reached out to ICAN and learned there was no chapter in my area. So, I started one. In September 2008, we learned we were expecting our second child, and even before I got pregnant, I knew I never wanted to go through another cesarean, nor would I willingly go through it. My pregnancy was? uneventful, NOT HIGH RISK, attended by amazing Midwives, and so much different from my first. On May 16th, I was doing a baby fair at our local hospital for our ICAN chapter, talking with mothers all day, giving out information, and around noon time, I started to feel… off. Something just wasn’t right.? Thankfully for me, my Chiropractor was at the booth right next to me at the baby fair so I made my way to him and got adjusted. Once I got adjusted it all clicked. I was going into labor at a baby fair. Were we in a movie? Next thing you know, the women doing the booth with me said I looked white as a ghost, like I was ready to pass out, so they made me have some water, and eat candy. Lovely combo, but it helped! I wrapped up the fair and headed home. I called my doula and let her know what was going on, but I wasn’t certain I was in labor yet. I laid down when I got home and tried to take a nap, but I couldn’t get any rest at all. My contractions kept getting closer and stronger. It seemed as though my labor was progressing fast, and I wasn’t sure what real natural labor was like because of my induction the first time around. I called my doula back up and she decided to head on over, and off to the bath tub I went to relax and try to work through the contractions.? Back labor, all the pain was in my back, and later on I found out my little guy was posterior.? By the time my doula got to my house, and things really started to rock n roll, it was around 8pm.? I watched the season finale of Brothers & Sisters which I had DVR’ed, listened to music, and spent a ton of time on the birth ball. Hours seemed like minutes, and next thing I knew it was midnight and I called my midwife. I told her I had been laboring for a while, and things were getting more intense, contractions were about 90 seconds apart, and we still had a 45 minute drive to the hospital I picked, which was one of the most VBAC friendly in the area. So around 12:30am we headed off to the hospital in a 3 car caravan. Myself? laying in my doula’s backseat trying to sleep in torrential rain on the highway. My best friend in her car, and my husband in our car.? We arrived at the hospital between 1 and 1:30am. We got all checked in, and my midwife greeted us, and gave me a little check. I was 2-3cm which made all of our jaws drop. My labor was so intense we all swore I would be further along!? I decided to get on my hands and knees with the birth ball for a while, then take a shower, I thought about getting in the tub, but it was nearing 4-5am and we all wanted sleep. I couldn’t rest for the life of me. At this point I asked for an epidural so I could sleep. I knew no matter how much I planned that I would not have one, things change when you are in the actual situation. I got the epidural around 6am. I was able to sleep until at 8, when my midwife came back and checked me again 3cm at most.? What was going on?? Why was I not dialating? What was wrong with my body?? Contractions started to slow, then get back to being a minute apart, then slow, then get quicker. Something was just not right, and on top of it all, I am sure the epidural was not helping either. Around noon time my midwife popped back in and checked my cervix one last time. Still 3cm and now my cervix was starting to swell, and we were having complications. I was devastated, my VBAC was crashing and burning in front of my eyes. My body was defective, I could not birth my baby, my own plan had blown up in my face. My epidural to sleep, selfishly kicked me right in the ass! My Midwife consulted the on call OB/GYN who came in to talk to me, along with the Resident who was on call. They were both amazingly warm, friendly, and comforting, and at that point I knew that a cesarean would be how my son was born. But I was not as bothered by it this time around, because after nearly 26 hours of labor, something was wrong, seriously wrong. My mothers intuition turned on and my son was in trouble. At 1:59pm Benjamin Emil Elwood was born, bruised and looked like he had been through a war! When they opened me up, he was jammed behind my pelvic bone, which his forehead was pressed up against it all that time. He wasn’t coming down, his head wasn’t applying pressure to my cervix for it to dialate. At that moment I knew I made the right choice consenting to the cesarean.? I knew in the long term, it helped my son, and that was simply the way he needed to be born. During the days after my midwife would come see me every morning, sit, chat, and just helped me get through it all. I still today, cannot write about this without crying because the scars from his birth are still fresh. Nearing 6 months old, the pain of the failure is not any lighter. It seems like it was yesterday. The story I tell is a story of a completely unnecessary cesarean section with my first child, and a life saving cesarean with my second. The story I tell is a story of pain, and hurt, and betrayal by the one person I trusted the most, my Doctor. The story I tell is a story of hope for other mothers to learn and become educated from my words. The story I tell is the story of my sons, the loves of my life, and the ones who have made me the mom, advocate, and woman I am today. All in all, I am now the North East Regional Coordinator for ICAN, a chapter leader, and the head of a maternity care campaign in my state of Connecticut. My experiences, my children, and my battle has made me become so active that I have been honored to support other women who have been where I have, and I have helped others to prevent unnecessary cesareans. I love what I do. I love the birth community. I love ICAN. I love being a Birth Activist!

My Birth Journeys from Danielle Elwood on Vimeo.

Originally posted on Momotics