So Close, And Yet, So Far Away...
Tyson and Roxanne's Birth Story
It has been just over 1 month since my little boy was born via an
emergency c-section. Things have been difficult for me but I have
started taking anti-depressants about a week ago as I was starting
to lose my mind.
I know that the emergency c-section wasn't my fault and it certainly
wasn't my little boy's fault either. I blame my obstetrician. I honestly
feel that if he hadn't of taken 45 minutes to arrive at the hospital
when told that I was 9cm dilated, I am sure that my little boy wouldn't
have thrown his head up and become a 'face presentation'.
Everything was going really well on the day of my little boy's birth.
I had always envisioned labour to be hours and hours of horrific back
pain and not being able to cope. I didn't experience any of that during
my 17 hour labour, not until things went wrong anyway. For weeks before
hand, I had been preparing my body for labour by doing light exercise
and drinking heaps of raspberry leaf tea. Plus, after kicking around
the idea at the beginning of the pregnancy about having a c-section,
I had decided that I wanted a natural birth - no drugs, apart from
gas - a c-section would only be performed if something went wrong.
My contractions were mainly a tightening of my stomach - like Braxton
Hicks but way stronger - and they ranged between 10 and 30 minutes
In the late afternoon/early evening, I started to experience slight
bleeding. My partner and I made our way into the hospital. We had
been waiting for my waters to break as I was absolutely paranoid about
them breaking in the car (we had just brought a new car). On the way
to the hospital, I had 3 massive contractions that really made me
wince. Once we arrived at the hospital, I was put onto a machine to
measure the strength of the contractions and to monitor my little
boy's heart beat. The midwife was amazed that I didn't want any drugs
because my contractions were 2 to 5 minutes apart (but irregular)
and very strong. Also, my little boy was kicking the hell out of me
with every contraction. My obstetrician was called and told to expect
a phone call sometime during the evening and that I was in the early
stages of labour.
A couple of hours later, I had a shower to help with the pain I was
experiencing across my stomach. That shower felt so good, I just didn't
want to get out. However, after a while, something inside me urgently
told me to get out. Just after I had got out of the shower and was
being dried off by the midwife, my waters broke - sort of. It was
just the trickle down my leg that only lasted a minute. The midwife
decided then that she had better examine me to see what was going
on. That was when she discovered that I was 9cm dilated and in the
advance stages of labour.
My partner and I became quite excited as our little boy was finally
making his way into the world and I was almost fully dilated. We figured
that it wouldn't take all that long for him to arrive. The midwife
called my obstetrician and informed him. I remember she called him
a least 3 times. My partner later told me that it took my obstetrician
45 minutes to arrive. After the midwife had called him the first time,
the pain I was experiencing was huge. With each contraction, I could
feel my body wanting to push, and each contraction was coming one
after the other and they were strong. At this stage I had been given
the gas - my partner had hold the gas mask on my face for me as I
couldn't ungrip my hands from the bed.
Finally, my obstetrician arrived. But before I was allowed to push,
I had to have a drip in my arm because I needed to have antibiotics
before my little boy could come into the world (something to do with
Group B Strep (?)). Then it was discovered that my waters needed to
be rebroken. My partner later told me that when they broke my waters,
it was like someone had a hose as it gushed out all over the midwife.
Then I was told I could push. I started to push and stopped. Something
was wrong, very wrong. My mum had said that childbirth, to her, was
like trying to do a great big poo - as you are pushing, you can feel
the baby coming out (and I was a breech baby too). The only thing
I felt was a blinding pain that went all the way through me. My little
boy, who had been kicking me all the way through the labour, stopped
kicking me. The midwife examined me as, in her opinion, my little
boy's head should have been crowning. My heart sank when I heard her
say that she felt a mouth and a nose. My obstetrician examined me
to confirm. My partner had to clamp the gas mask onto my head with
one hand behind my head. Whilst they were examining me, I couldn't
stop screaming - it was a combination of pain and violation and realization
that things just weren't going right and that I wasn't going to be
able to have the natural birth that I had been hoping for.
I couldn't believe it when I heard the obstetrician call the surgeon
and said that I had an 'undiagnosed breech'. I wanted to say something
but couldn't because of the pain. All my body wanted to was push and
that contractions were getting stronger with each one. I knew that
I wasn't allowed to push, I didn't need a doctor to tell me that.
It took all of my might and will power to control my body.
Whilst waiting for the surgeon to arrive and the theatre team to
set up, my obstetrician used a Doppler to try and find my little boy's
heart beat. By this stage an oxygen tube had been inserted down his
throat and I had to suck on a oxygen mask as well as the gas mask.
My obstetrician tried for 15 minutes to find the heart beat. I remember
that during this time, I concentrated with all my might on my two
lovely cats at home and how much I loved them - I couldn't/wouldn't
think about the possibility of my little boy not making it. My partner
held the gas mask on my face, stroked my head and talked to me gently.
I knew that he was having a rough time because of the tears that I
could hear in his voice (my partner is a very strong person, both
physically and mentally). The midwife eventually took the Doppler
from the obstetrician and put it on my belly. Finally, we heard a
nice, strong heart beat. I just wanted to cry, I was so happy to hear
him. I heard a big sigh of relief come from my partner.
Just after that, I was taken down to theatre. I thought that all
the trauma would end, but it didn't. The bed that I was on was lower
than the one that they were using to operate on me. Instead of just
adjusting the bed to the correct height, they wanted me to 'shuffle
across' onto the operating table. The nurse, who was young, seemed
quite amazed that I couldn't do it - until I uttered "*******
contractions. I just want it to end". My contractions were constant,
there was no break in between for me to even slightly relax. That
was when they decided that they had better adjust the bed and help
me across to the operating table. When they were putting me onto the
operating table, no one told me that it was so narrow. I panicked
because I thought I was going to fall off, which only added to my
anxiety and pain.
The anesthetist made a comment about my drip and that it might have
to be re-done. The look I gave him was pure death. He just wrapped
lots of hospital tape around it to secure it a bit better. I remember
someone mentioned epidural. This time I managed to talk - "No!
I wanted a general! I just want this to end and I want him out of
me - NOW!!" and I kept on saying/muttering "This is not
my fault". Whilst they organized the general, I looked over at
my obstetrician. He looked absolutely lost, like he had no idea why
this had happened - he just stood there, he didn't come over to me
to reassure me or anything. I had to look away from him because I
was just so disgusted with the way things had gone. I was so relieved
when a gas mask was put on my face and I was told to take a great
big breath. The pain was finally over - my little boy was finally
going to arrive in the world.
The first thing I saw when I woke up was my partner holding our beautiful
little boy. I started to cry because I was just so happy that he was
alive. I told myself that the bruising on his face will go away with
I stayed in hospital for 5 days. All of the midwife's were amazed
at how quickly I was recovering. I stayed in bed for one day, only
because I had to. The pain killer that they had given me was Pethidene
and I was allergic to it. They kept me on it for 36 hours. During
this time, I hallucinated something shocking. All around my room there
were policemen (who I have had a slight phobia about since I was a
little girl) running in and out of the room, and every time I looked
out the window it was as if there was a huge crowd of people in the
car park just jumping around (I don't like big crowds of people either).
I knew it was just my head playing tricks on me.
When the dressing was removed I was horrified with what I saw. I
had this great big suture line that went from one hip to the other
with this great big lump above it on the left hand side. What shocked
me the most was the colour of me. Above my suture line, it was all
red and yellow, especially where the lump was. Below my suture line,
I was black and ruby red; there was no skin colour at all.
On my fourth day in hospital, the surgeon who performed my c-section
stopped by to check on me. My partner and I asked him about when my
obstetrician called and said I was an undiagnosed breach and if this
made anything more complicated. Even though he said that it didn't,
we could tell by the look on his face that it had. After chatting
with one of the midwife's later on, I found out what the complication
was. The surgeon had made the incision for a breach, reached in expecting
to find my little boy's bum but instead found that he was in the right
position. My obstetrician then informed him that my little boy was
actually a face presentation, and so, with his hand still inside me,
he made the incision bigger (which is why my suture line is more to
Coming home from hospital was very weird. Everything in our house
looked so dirty and my cats - my god, they looked so BIG compared
to my little boy. I started to feel very strange about everything.
Later that day, my partner found me in our bedroom crying my eyes
out. I just couldn't stop. I knew that something had changed inside
me but, at the time, I couldn't figure out what.
Ten days after being at home, the Child Health Care Nurse came around
to check on my little boy's progress. The day before, I had started
weeping from my suture line in one spot. The day that the nurse came
around, I was weeping from three. It wasn't blood but it was clear
fluid either. After the nurse telling me that it was one of the worst
suture lines that she has ever seen and that it looked very disgusting,
I decided to go and see my GP. My GP, who is a lovely person, was
shocked when she saw my suture line and how it was. She prescribed
me some antibiotics and took a swab. Up until then, I had had no feeling
at all in that area, but once that swab was taken, I finally felt
something. My GP advised me to put betadine on it and a gauze pad.
Within 36 hours it had rescabbed and stopped leaking. After 48 hours
the antibiotics must have kicked in because my suture line started
to heal again and the swelling started to subside.
Up until my suture line started weeping, I was actually all for having
more children as no-one had said that I couldn't/wouldn't be able
to give birth naturally. But once it started weeping, I started to
do my head in. I started to tell myself that I wouldn't be able to
have a child naturally again because my uterus could rupture, or the
next birth will have complications. The worst thing though was that
I had started to tell myself that my suture line made me ugly and
that my partner didn't want me anymore because of it. I was disgusted
with my body. No matter how much my partner would tell me otherwise,
I was convinced that he didn't love me anymore. I became very moody
and I was crying most of the time.
Having dealt firsthand with depression/anxiety before, I knew that
I wasn't right. Whilst I was pregnant, I had been diagnosed with ante-natal
depression and my obstetrician had prescribed me some anti-depressants.
Even though they are safe to take whilst pregnant, I didn't use them
(I wasn't comfortable with taking a/d's whilst pregnant). I decided
that I had better start taking them as I was losing the plot all the
time and felt that I wasn't being as good a mum as what I should be.
The change was amazing. It felt as if someone had lifted a huge weight
off my shoulders. I was finally able to put things into perspective
and concentrate on being a mum to my little boy rather than constantly
think about the trauma that I experienced whilst giving birth to him.
Only now have I been able to start looking back at the birth of my
little boy and think about the good things that happened. I am very
proud of myself and my body for handling the labour as well as I did.
Even though I say now that I am put off my the idea of having more
children, I know that one day I will want to experience the feelings
that I had before everything went wrong. I shall also want to fulfill
the emptiness that I have from going through my labour, being fully
dilated and not being able to give birth naturally. My partner, on
the other hand, has been so badly traumatized by the emergency c-section
that he doesn't want to have any more children. He says that he doesn't
want to see me go through all that pain again. My partner still blames
himself for what happened even though I keep on telling him that it
wasn't our fault. The experience has changed him as well.
Thank you for reading :-)