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CAM Birth Story: Nikki’s cesarean

This birth story, in honor of Cesarean Awareness Month (CAM), comes from Nikki Hauser. To have your birth story posted on this blog, email it to: blog@ican-online.org

I wrote this when I was 19 days PP with Doomling, my son.

Okay, I finally have time to type this up. I will say it ended up in no way easy or all that natural. And I apologize for any details I miss, as I have been busy with a small person as well as some aspects are hard to remember.

My water broke somewhere between midnight and 8am on the 27th. I wondered if it were a trickle, my panties were soaked. I wondered, did I wet myself in my sleep? Could someone sleep through that? Am I crazy for thinking it? Who knows. Got up and went to the bathroom. Trickled, then peed normally, then trickled some more. Looked at Clint and said “I think we maybe going in today, care to cuddle as this may be the last morning we have to do this ourselves?” We cuddled for a little bit, and I waited to see if I still trickled or if my contractions picked up. (Went through two more pairs of panties while waiting.) Called the on call number. Took two tries, and got a call back from Amanda (MW) who had me come into Northside Hospital’s Women’s Center. Can I tell you it is an experience to try and get a clan pair of panties on, 10 months pregnant, and trying not to drip amniotic fluid on the carpet? Exotic dance, in some cultures, maybe.

Clint and I gather up stuff, as we have a feeling we won’t be going home. Get to L and D, get signed in, head back to the LDR room. Talk to Julia (my nurse) as Clint goes to take care of stuff. Gown, and on monitors. Doomling was good, I was contracting (1-2 minutes apart, as per the previous 10 days!). I get changed into my gown, get hooked onto the monitors, and Julia started my paperwork (I swear, they use a tree to admit you). I answer the questions, continue contracting (had to be about noon at this point). Julia does the swab to check for amniotic fluid presence, and it shows nada. She ends up coming back a bit later with Amanda, so they can try the swab again before looking at going to the ferning test option. Yay, on my back… at least plastic duck lips (speculum) this time, Amanda asks me to cough while she swabs. I cough. Clint could see the swab turn blackish blue almost instantly. No going home for us, we were there until we had a baby. Now, I was asked when my fluid broke… not sure, so Amanda went based off of my 8am wake up. Also took three people to get my IV started, and I am not normally a hard stick!

Amanda then checked my dilation, and I was *still* at 1cm. The plan was to walk for an hour, and spend 20 minutes on the monitors to check the little man. So walk Clint and I did. We did laps around the labor and delivery units, I think until 2:55. Got back to my LDR (Labor, Delivery and Recovery room) and got hooked back up after a bio break (I noted to the nurse I hadn’t seen that much blood since my last period, and she noted it was normal) Amanda came in and checked me again, she didn’t want to check me too often, as with my water broken, higher risk of infection. I was almost 2cm. Game plan was changing a little bit. As the contractions we increasing in strength and I was still exhausted from the 10 days of early labor. I looked at Clint and we discussed the options of pain management. The IM shot didn’t do much but make me feel fuzzy. So I agreed to try the epidural and see if it would work. I wanted to be able to have enough energy to push my son out. I wanted to be awake and alert, so I okay-ed the epidural. The anesthesiologist who did it was wonderful, it took all of five minutes, and seriously, I could have kissed the man, cause he was an excellent stick. (it didn’t look like walking was helping, as my contractions were weird when I got back on the monitors)

I was then confined to the bed, as with the epidural, they want you on the monitors, as well as you can’t feel much. A catheter was inserted, and thanks to the epidural, didn’t feel it. As those suck to feel going in! When I laid on my back, Doomling’s heart rate went into the 90’s, so I was relegated to my sides to lay on. They kept having me switch to find the better side.

Amanda, after checking me, worked with me to come up with a plan, cause with his heart rate dipping… we needed to have something in place. My natural labor and birth went out the window at this point. Rob and Carol came by as well, and we got to visit with them.

5:30 would come, and she would check me again. If there was no progress, we would do a low level dose of pitocin in my IV. Not an actual induction dose, but to augment the labor. Seeing as I couldn’t do the cervical dilation any more as I had dilated to the almost 2cm. See if that pitocin could knock me into active labor.

Not so much. My body apparently doesn’t react well to pitocin. Instead of causing contractions, it caused my uterus to contract, and not let go. This is where things get crazy, and slightly fuzzy for me. I will hope Clint, and Sarah can fill in what they can (Sarah was in the room until things went crazy with my youngest SIL). I recall there all of the sudden being a lot of people in my room. The Doomling’s heart rate had dropped to the 60’s-70’s, which is not good, due to the constant contraction. So the goal then was to make sure he and I were healthy. I heard “we’re going to put your bed…” “Thud” I was reclined with my feet up. A nurse goes “I am going to give you this” I lost it, crying behind the oxygen mask they had put on me earlier on. I told her I wasn’t getting it until I knew what it was, and what it did, and side effects, cause no one was telling me what was going on at that point. It felt like an eternity and no time at all all at once. Amanda had to squat down on my level and talk to me, cause I was scared shitless. She told me what the shot was for as well as that they were going to do a c-section. That it was to make sure than me and the baby were healthy.

What I didn’t know at the time was they went to put an internal fetal monitor in, and found blood, a lot of it. They needed to get me and Doomling to the OR and as quickly as they could. Partial placental abruption (the placenta starts to tear away from the uterine wall, hence the bleeding. Vaginal birth is virtually impossible with this, as it leaves risk of death for mom and baby). When Sarah and Mandi left the LDR, they heard a call go out over the hospital speaker requested any available on call OB to F5, my room. I didn’t hear this in my room. Now the goal was to get my uterus to stop the contraction so they could do the surgery. 8pm, they wheeled me out of the LDR towards the OR (I am SO thankful Clint was with me through all of this.) The anesthesiologist they got (not the one who did my epi) stated to me, if your epi doesn’t work, we’ll just knock you out. I stated over my dead body will you keep me from hearing the birth of my son. I turned my head and saw Clint getting the shoe covers on in the hallway. They transferred me to the OR table. I was still crying and shaking, with fear, worry and it wasn’t how I wanted this… I wasn’t prepared for surgery, I hadn’t even fathomed I was going to do anything but a vaginal birth.

I felt numb from the shoulders down. Took me asking the anesthesiologist three times to see if it was normal. Amanda poked her head around the curtain, so I knew at least one person in the OR. I then heard them say they were ready, and I demanded they get Clint, as he wasn’t in the room. I think he got there just after they checked to make sure I was numb. He sat by my head. My arms were out in a cross formation. I heard them say that’s a lot of blood, and then oh big baby. 8:17pm. And then he cried. And I cried. They took him over to the newborn warmer, and he screamed, a lot… I had Clint go over to watch him. I heard them say something about a floppy uterus, and more blood.

I remember the nurse bringing him over, me touching his cheek, and the anesthesiologist complaining about me having my arm up. The nurse then had Clint sit with the Doomling near me. APGAR’s of 8 and 9. (APGAR is how they measure how “healthy” a baby is when they are born, and the scores are done at the 1 minute and 5 minute point, hence two of them) I told Clint to go with the baby. I don’t remember being taken to the recovery room, or being sutured/stapled up.

Clint saw me in recovery, I asked to be tilted up a little bit, and blacked out for 5 minutes, maybe 15 or 20 minutes on them. Didn’t respond to my name, nothing. I feel bad for how much I worried Clint that night. I remember Clint having me call my Dad. Finally, they took me up to my room. Sarah and Mandi were there. They had brought my/our stuff up. I didn’t feel being moved over to the bed. Still had the anesthesia. And a morphine pump. I asked the nurse ASAP for my baby. They brought him in and I held him. And held him. Oh wow, he was the most adorable thing I had ever seen.

You get no rest in the hospital. Sunday saw me getting rid of the morphine pump and the epidural. Percoset every 4 hours to help with the pain. Lord and lady, getting up *hurt*. Clint helped me as much as possible. Drinks, the baby, making sure I was hydrated. Supporting me with breast feeding. Went home on Tuesday, so I could get some sleep.

Doomling is 19 days old today. I value his presence in my life. I can’t fathom *not* being a mommy now. He is my heart. Seeing him with Clint makes me melt. And Clint is an amazing father.

I am healing, slowly, but am healing. I am here, with my son, because of the surgery I wasn’t prepared for. Looking at him sleeping next to me, I fall more in love with this small person.

Doomling Hauser, 9/27/2008, 8lbs. 8oz, 21″ 8:17pm
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Little did I know how the c section would affect me mentally, emotionally and physically. I ended up with an infection in my scar a week afterward. I hated the fact I could barely do anything. It took me 12 weeks to feel remotely comfortable driving my car. I realize that with a different provider, I would have still been there with my son, but it could have been the outcome of a different situation…

2 Comments

  1. Janice says:

    I have been there, done that three times. To this day, I still hug my three babies every single day for 4 and a half years.

  2. Igor says:

    An amazing story. I am very touched