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Shannon’s Birth Story

Shannon had a vaginal birth followed by a preterm special scar cesarean due to a sacrococcygeal teratoma.

Let me start off with an introduction! My name is Shannon, and I am mom to Addisyn, now 37 months and Evalee, 21 months and wife to Matthew.

My birth with Addisyn was uneducated to say the very least. I had a fast labor up until 9cm when they told me she was too big and I would need a c-section. I kept refusing, but eventually gave into the epidural so that “just in case” I would be partially ready for surgery, big mistake! My labor haltered at 9 for hours, the epidural, which they did twice didn’t work anyways, I could still move completely. At 9.5cm I started pushing, the doctor was rushed and just kept giving me episiotomy after episiotomy. My daughter was born at 10lbs, 4oz, 22.5 inches long. I had a 4th degree cut/tear so severe I was rushed into surgery afterwards. I guess the only true positives were that it was vaginal and spontaneous at 40+2, and of course that she was born healthy!

Addisyn was the easiest baby ever, at 2 months old we started trying for another. When she was  8 months we became pregnant with Evalee, things went relatively smoothly in the beginning, I had some spotting, I grew VERY quickly, and I started contracting early on. At almost 18 weeks pregnant we were devastated to learn she had a sacrococcygeal teratoma,  tumor that grew to be the same size she was, and almost completely solid. We were asked to terminate the pregnancy and given 5% odds she would survive even my pregnancy. Even if they had given us 0% chance I don’t believe in odds, and if god were to take her, that would have been his choice, not ours.

We continued on in the pregnancy, I had polyhydramnios, and had therapeutic amniocentesis numerous times to remove around 2L of fluid each time. I had daily ultrasounds and eventually began living in the hospital. We watched as her heart was failing from trying to feed the blood supply, but not wanting to take her too early as she still wasn’t strong enough to survive the surgery. I can’t even count how many times they stopped my labor. However, our stubborn little Evalee wasn’t going to let any doctor pick her birthday.

April 5th; Throughout the day the contractions continued to get worse and worse. Finally at 1130pm, after trying a shower and doing whatever I could to stop the pain, I called the nurse. Looking back I am not sure if I was in denial that it was truly happening or if I was honestly unsure. I had been having bad contractions for so long and nothing had changed. The nurse checked me, couldn’t tell what I was, so she called another nurse who said I was a 3-4cm. They took me to the bathroom, got me changed in Johnny shirts and rushed me down to labor and delivery around midnight.

The contractions were so terrible and so close together it was very hard to deal with the pain and the fear and the million questions I had about who was going to deliver my sweet angel. I was checked and I was a 5 with bulging waters, almost 2cm in 20 minutes! She was coming fast and strong and there was no stopping her. The contractions got worse and doctors were scurrying everywhere trying to get together a team and a plan. My midwife was on vacation and so Rachel, another midwife was called. Matt called his mom to round everyone up. They took my blood and gave me a drink to stop the nausea and I was rushed into the OR.

I was immediately given an IV, and a Spinal, flipped over and they started! I was terrified and just wished there wasn’t a huge curtain separating us, but I was lucky in that my husband never had to leave my side, not that I would have let him anyways.  I hadn’t even realized they were cutting as I thought for sure I would feel something but nope! I feel as though I did miss out on part of the labor experience, but I did labor for so long before I started dilating and I feel as though I did my part and so did she. It was just as emotional as Addisyns birth. I started to feel the tugging and the pulling and the pressure and they just couldn’t seem to get her out. They were all quiet whispers and I was trying so hard to pay attention to them but my mind was racing with a million unanswered questions.

The surgeons started out with a classical incision, extended both sides, but still could not get her out, they cut me hip to hip horizontally as well creating an Inverted-T.  FINALLY at 2:01am she sprang into this world, I told Matt to look as Rachel snapped pictures, Matt ran to be with the baby, and I waited and waited what felt like hours for her to cry. I prayed and prayed and finally the tiniest most beautiful cry! My sweet baby was here and she was ALIVE!!! 12 weeks of wondering every single day how this moment would play out, had all come to realization. I had the strongest little baby ever. She astounded every doctor in the room. I got to see her for the briefest moment and kiss her sweet cheeks.

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She was rushed off to the NICU and Matt followed her. They finished closing me up and I headed to recovery for a very long wait. Within  minutes of being in recovery the spinal had completely worn off as it took them so long to take her out. I had full control over all of my limbs. The fundal checks were unlike any physical pain I had ever experienced in my life. They gave me dilaudid and Oxy contin and nothing could stop the pain. I didn’t even care, I just wanted to see my daughter. The trauma I suffered in the recovery room still gives me nightmares almost 2 years later.

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FINALLY the waiting period was up and I was taken in my bed to go see her. She looked just like her sister, but a miniature version. She was perfect. I truly don’t even remember seeing the tumor. I don’t remember it ravaging her body. Looking back at the pictures I can’t believe she is the same sweet baby she is today. I struggled to keep my eyes open, I wanted to take in every moment, but all of the pain killers they were pumping into my body were really starting to take their toll. I was terrified to close them, terrified she wouldn’t make it until the next time I could see her.

I feel as though I was robbed of her first few hours, first few days truly. I had trouble with my blood pressure, severely low platelets and tons of urinary problems. I couldn’t feel the urge to pee, when they tried to catheterize me there were blockages that caused more severe pain.  They used a bladder ultrasound and found I was barely emptying any urine during the timed toileting I was trying. It took almost a week for the timed peeing to work, however it was about a month before I felt the “urge” to pee again. I was in the hospital for a week, I kept trying to walk down to the NICU to see her, but usually had to take a wheel chair.

I was on Zofran, which did nothing for the nausea, the feeling that all of my organs were falling out. I sent my husband to buy the tightest control top panties he could find, but it still didn’t help. I couldn’t stop holding my stomach feeling as though if I moved to suddenly, I’d love my stomach on the floor. I also had a 15 month old daughter, and after I was released I had to take her, for 2 bus rides, an hour each way to the NICU every day. I couldn’t walk upright for well over a month and the pain took almost a year to finally subside. We spent 10 weeks in the NICU, my daughter had her surgery, and once again defied the odds and survived! Breastfeeding was a challenge, I had post traumatic stress disorder after my C-section and and my milk never came in. Luckily she wasn’t allowed to eat for 9 days and even then it was 1ml every 6 hours. I started domperidone on day 5 after not being able to pump even colostrum and slowly but surely I was able to produce a little more every day.

I am currently just about 36 weeks pregnant. I have yet to find anyone supportive of a VBAC. Luckily I am strong willed, and determined thanks to all of the advice, support and true love from fellow special scars mamas! So long as I have a healthy baby, we WILL have our VBAC!

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One Comment

  1. christina says:

    Shannon gave birth today, to another lil girl, ON HER OWN BIRTHDAY! Happy Birth Day to both Mom and baby….