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CAM Birth Story: Jessica’s Cesarean

This birth story, in honor of Cesarean Awareness Month (CAM), comes from Jessica Baldwin. Jessica previously posted this story on her and her husband’s blog. To have your birth story posted on this blog, email it to: blog@ican-online.org

We were 23 and 24 when N5 was born. We wanted a natural birth, to be defined as a birth with absolutely no drugs and no induction. We took a breastfeeding class as well as an infant care class, but did not take a single class to prepare for a natural birth. Other than our, “Your Pregnancy Week-by-Week,” book we didn’t educate ourselves about pregnancy and natural child birthing.

On the evening of Tuesday December 13, 2005, I felt like I might be “leaking” so I called L&D at the hospital we’d chosen to birth at. They advised me to come in. Mind you, we’d been drilled by our doctor to go to the hospital as soon as my water broke and so we were well-trained patients by then. At exactly 7:00 PM we were sitting in the waiting room and I felt it. I knew what it was and it was the real thing. My first real contraction. We got in the L&D room and I was hooked up to the monitors and made real cozy, lying on my back. Within half an hour I’d dilated to half a centimeter and they’d determined that my water was not leaking. Michael’s parents came to the hospital. Even though I did not want any other males in our room other than my husband, his dad and brother strolled on in. I became very uncomfortable and labor ended up stopping completely. My OB came in and gave me a Visceral to take and sent us home. Visceral is a smooth muscle relaxer. We went home and went to bed about 2:00 AM Wednesday, December 14.

At 5:30 AM I had a really strong contraction so I got up on my hands and knees to breathe deep breaths through it. When it was over I switched sides to sleep on. Another strong one at 7:35 AM, back to hands/knees/deep breathing, switch sides again. I asked Michael to go get me a breakfast burrito so I could eat before we got to the hospital. “Five more minutes, he said.” Five more minutes became five more and five more an so on. At 8:10 AM another strong one. I got up on my hands and knees and heard the sound of a needle to a water balloon. Whoosh! I looked at a happily sleeping Michael and told him, “Well it’s too late now. My water just broke.” He looked on the bed to find nothing. He asked me, “Are you sure?” to which my reply was, “I’m pretty sure I’d know when my water broke!” See, I’d armed myself with a pad in my panties upon coming home from the hospital just in case.

We got to the hospital at around 9:00 AM. When the nurse checked me I was 4cm dilated and she says, “Uh-oh. I think we’ve got something.” She called another nurse in for a second opinion. Our baby, at 41 weeks, was indeed breech. Our OB was called in and we were told we’re having a cesarean. I didn’t want a cesarean whatsoever, but I didn’t know I had a choice. Doctors just love parents who don’t educate themselves! They get to do whatever is easiest for them. They don’t offer out that moms can refuse cesareans. N5 was born in a jiff at 10:07 AM on Wednesday, December 14, 2005. Healthy, alert and came out with his eyes open.

The next several hours are a bit of a blur and there’s really not much I remember; there are also pictures of us in the hospital to which I have no recollection. I didn’t react well to the Demorol or the epidural. I remember trying to nurse my baby and it not working well. The lactation consultant grabbed my breast and my baby’s head, shoving them together which was no help. She was getting impatient with me because I was not holding my baby correctly, but the epidural made it impossible. I could barely breathe and I could barely hold my baby at all.

Within nine hours of the cesarean the staples had backed themselves out of my skin incision, only in the first layer of skin. No, this does NOT hold a skin incision together. A few staples at the center of the incision were removed by nursing staff and I was steri-stripped together as best as possible. The remaining staples were removed the day we left the hospital and by the time we got home, the incision was open to the fundus layer. I had to go to my OB’s office every day the following week to have the incision cleaned and packed with gauze. Mind you, I could not drive for two weeks and had to rely on my brother-in-law (Thank you, David!) to drive me to the office every day. I remember that first day in her office. When I showed her the incision she said, “Wow. It’s open all the way to the fundus layer. I used experimental staples. You’re so tiny they should never have done that. Guess I’ll be saying, ‘No,’ to those staples.”

Up until this time, I’d had a close relationship (as close as a patient can really be) with my OB. She was nice and she was doctor number five in four years of trying to find out what was going on with my body. She was the only one who listened to me. She revealed to me I have endometriosis, mainly on my right ovary which causes a lot of pain as well as a septated uterus. She also knew how much I did not want a cesarean. I felt so violated, so used, so betrayed. I had been her lab rat and was not asked for prior consent; nor was I informed prior. I still would not know about it if it hadn’t gone so miserably wrong.

One Comment

  1. Allison says:

    That is HORRIBLE that she used you as a guinea pig. I’m so sorry you had to go through all of that.