December 7, 2010


Yes, I'm still dwelling on Caleb's birth. I don't want to, but the feelings of guilt, anger, sadness, etc are still there. Surprises me a bit, I'll be honest. That whole day leading up to his birth, I knew deep down I needed to be there, as a patient, and that I wouldn't be leaving the hospital pregnant. Another part of me felt silly, since my cervix hadn't changed all day. Then I started feeling ignorant, that I didn't need to be there after I was told "You are just someone who's going to contract. I'm not rushing you back for a c/s unless you make significant change". It was said as if I wanted to be delivered. Which I did not. Not at 34 weeks anyway. Then there are feelings of guilt that I did too much. Since nothing had changed over the 10 weeks I contracted, I kept on going. Maybe pushing with a patient for 3 hours was too much that night. It may not have made any difference, and I know that. Obviously up until then, it didn't cause any problem. I know I didn't cause it. I also feel guilty that I felt vindicated when I kept right on contracting on Mag and especially when my water broke. It was like saying "See? I TOLD you there was something wrong". I know rationally it was probably just going to happen. But the emotional side still creeps up. Caleb is almost 12 weeks and I still cry everyday for no reason. I'm irritable, I'm tired but I don't sleep well. I'm finding it hard to get out and do things, like run, which we all know I really enjoy. I still run the kids all over God's Creation and I do go run when I can, etc because I know I need to. Whenever Caleb goes to the pediatrician for a check-up or his Synagis vaccine, I feel that I let him down because I couldn't stay pregnant. And I know it's all irrational. I think the return to work stirred it up again as I started to hear details of things that were said. I had tried to tell myself that I was just exhausted and not in a right state of mind and that my perception of how I was being perceived was skewed. But each night I've been back, I've heard more and more about it, about things that were said, the eye rolling and attitude. Apparently I had some nerve going and letting my water break in the middle of the night and it was incredulous that I would want Husband there for delivery...Caleb was never in any distress. Ever. I looked at the strip. Never did I think I was being unreasonable. I didn't want to be a pain in the butt. I did look over my record, something I've done with each birth, just because, I guess. I noticed the number of phone calls made to Doc. None of them were at my request. Ok, so I did make one request right after the Mag was started in the morning that I not have to have a catheter and be able to at least drink. But that was it. I hope she didn't think I requested the phone calls be made. I'm not like that. All I wanted to do that night was sleep. I try not to complain (although here I's my outlet) and I try to not be a wimp. When I had my D&C and was in the process of actively miscarrying and in significant pain, when asked, I rated my pain at a 6 and tried to "buck up" and take it. My sister stepped in and made sure they knew I was in a lot of pain and that I try not to complain too much, as she knows me better that anyone, other than Husband. I also laugh when I'm nervous, to keep from crying. Most people know that about me. I hope my nervous laugh that morning wasn't seen as me taking things lightly. I wish my coworkers would stop telling me more about the provider side that night. I might tell them as much this weekend. I was much happier not knowing the details, as the patient. I do have to work with Doc every weekend. I've always worried about what people think about me. I hate that Doc saw me that way - another pain in the ass patient who got her up out of bed in the middle of the night and wanted to wait just a bit to be delivered by c-section until her husband was there. I honestly would have been fine that night waiting until 6 or 7am to be delivered as I hadn't started contracting anymore than I had been all day. I did talk to her at my 6 week appointment. Felt a bit better afterwards, especially about the lack of interventions up until that point. I wouldn't have wanted to be on bedrest, on brethine and off work from 24 weeks on. For 10 weeks, my cervix didn't change. Had I received steroids after the positive fFN, it wouldn't have made much difference because it was about 5 weeks later when he was born. And he was fine anyway. When things picked up and didn't stop with terbutaline or procardia, that's when she ordered the big guns. Had the Mag worked, I would have been on bedrest at the point on. So that part I'm feeling better about and I hope I was able to convey that I never meant to be difficult, that I didn't do anything to purposefully make myself contract and that I never hoped to be delivered at 34 weeks.

I wish I could have a do-over. I'd have Husband stay with me overnight at the hospital and have my mom at the house with the kids, just in case. Heck, I'd go back and stay home from work that night, and maybe, just maybe that would have made a difference. Or maybe not.

Never, ever underestimate how important a woman's labor/birth is and how much that will affect her days, weeks, months, even years down the road.


Melanie said...

I hope you will eventually be able to find peace with Caleb's birth. I think you made all the best decisions with the knowledge you had at the time. They always say hindsight is 20/20, unfortunately. All three of mine were c-sections but this last one was difficult, I lost a lot of blood in the hours after the c-sectiona and when baby was 12 days old I was readmitted for an emergency D&C for retained placenta. She's 16 months now and I am 9 weeks pregnant, I'm hoping to find more peace about her birth before facing this final c-section. Sending warm wishes and hugs from one Momma to another.

Anonymous said...

Am I understanding correctly that your co-worker's comments are about the OB you had? That they are supportive of you and questioned what your OB was doing (or not doing)?

From what you've posted before, it sounds like your OB was not taking your concerns seriously. Like he/she thought that as a L&D nurse you didn't need the explanations and reassurance.

My OB really dropped the ball in my last two pregnancies and it took a LONG time for me to get over it. Thankfully, I was getting concurrent care from a MFM and he called the OB to tell him to deliver "today" . He also tripled my meds. after the OB d/c'd me with my bp out of control. I never would have thought I'd be unhappy with the care the OB provided (he delivered most of my children), but things seriously went downhill.

Nurse Lochia said...

Anonymous, you understood correctly. My coworkers were very supportive of me...they were all like mother hens my entire pregnancy. Every nurse that took care of me were absolutely wonderful advocates for me. Especially the night shift girls. They were probably as concerned about me as my husband was. They kept some of the more upsetting details from me while I was in the hospital. The nurse that actually had me when my water broke is probably the most out-spoken person I know, and sometimes I cringe when I hear her talking to docs on the phone when she doesn't get the response she wants. I do wonder if that had something to do with Doc's attitude that night b/c she can be very abrasive(not with patients)...I've heard her tell a doc to get his ass in there to see his patient. She actually has never told me the details of her conversations with my OB, but she told others working that night and they have been filling me in. It's very hurtful to hear.

NHMomma said...

Hugs... Birth is as you know a life changing event. So many women suffer afterwards for things that happened during their birth that others would think trivial or of no consequence, but to the mom, it is the focal point, something to dwell on for weeks, months.

I hope you find peace in your son's arrival, and use this experience to help other women have the birth that leaves them empowered. Your stories here are always so compassionate, and I wish I had a nurse like you for my labors.

It will get better, and unfortunately as much as we want do-overs, they never seem to work out that way. HUGS

Becky said...

I heard once that "What other people say about me is none of my business." I shudder to think what my OB thought of me with the birth of my first son, as I insisted I'd have no meds. I'm sure she thought, "Oh sure, I've heard THAT before" a million times. Twenty five hours of all natural labor, including 2 hours of pushing without so much as an aspirin, was the BEST revenge! That was my Mt. Everest and I've moved forward in the 7 years since then with a confidence I would have never known, had it not been for that tremendously empowering experience! It's something I'll never forget!

Anonymous said...

So sorry that you're still feeling bad. It took me a long time to get past the birth of my first child, I don't have any good advice, except that it will get easier.
On a side note, I wanted to point out something about FFNs. A negative means that a woman is unlikely to deliver in the next 2 weeks. A positive just essentially means that she is more likely than the average person to deliver before 38 weeks. So technically yours would be considered accurate. That's why negative results are what you're really looking for with that test. I know I sound like a know it all, it's just a common misconception that I've heard many times, and I used to think it too.

Unknown said...

While I didn't have a c-section, I did have a very different birth experience than I planned. My birth center birth, which was awesome with my first, turned into an induction at the hospital, and I really wan't prepared for it. (My L&D nurse was *awesome* though, I liked her even better than the midwife!) It has taken me months to be more okay with how it all went. I go through phases of thinking about what I could have/should have/wish I had done differently, and my husband has to hear all my musings. I always come back to the fact that I was doing the best I could with what I knew at the time, but I do have to reprocess the whole thing periodically (the time between reprocessing is gradually stretching out). I'm sure if I get pregnant again that will definitely trigger a lot of it to come back again. Just wanted to say "hang in there." Thanks for doing what you do!

Anonymous said...

"She actually has never told me the details of her conversations with my OB, but she told others working that night and they have been filling me in. It's very hurtful to hear."

Is it hurtful to hear because you still like & respect your OB and it seems your co-workers don't? Or do you feel like they think you made a poor choice in seeing that particular OB? Or are you hurt because that nurse was harsh with your OB? Or are you kicking yourself for continuing to work even though the OB said it was okay?

I don't think we are always good advocates for ourselves when we are pregnant. We don't want to inconvenience others or be seen as a complainer.

My OB blew off the beginning of CHT in my second trimester and I was walking around with my bp up to 175/100+ because the pre-e labs came back normal. When I asked why I had to go to L&D to await the results from the outpatient lab he said I could wait at home for the results instead. I was't trying to say I wasn't willing to go, I just wanted to know how long I had to be there ~ until my bp came down? Until the lab work came back? Or overnight for mag.? He wasn't giving me any answers and in the next pregnancy he told me I had been stubborn. I just wanted explanations. He did readmit me to the hospital for post-partum pre-e and I thought he redeemed himself so I went to him for the next pregnancy.

That time, he had new office staff who didn't know what they were doing. They included less that half of my pregnanies on the chart that went to L&D, failed to put my gtt test results on the chart, and then he couldn't remember that he sent me to a MFM for gd because none of that was on the chart. For three office visits he kept asking if I'd ever had the gtt done. After I delivered he commented that he knew I was going to have a long labor because "you always have long labors." I was speechless because he induced my labors because I'd had several precipitous labors previously. I realized later that he probably mixed me up with an accquaintance of mine who was also expecting at the same time and typically had long labors. Once again, he d/c'd me with high bp and refused to increase the dosage of my bp meds. The MFM tripled my bp meds. when I called him and he asked if I had been put on mag. during the delivery (I hadn't). You'd think the OB would have been mindful of post-partum pre-eclampsia since I'd had it previously. Nope, no blood work and a house doctor cancelled the d/c since the OB wasn't returning the nurse's pages. I never saw him again after the house dr. overrode his d/c order. None of the nurses could explain why he wouldn't increase my bp meds. One whispered to me to call the MFM as soon as I got home.

I think some doctors start out good and then get too busy for patient safety. Or they think they can handle pregnancy complications that should be handled by a MFM.

My OB fell from the pedestal I had him on and it was hard to come to terms with that.

Dallas Ann said...

I had the "ideal and perfect" natural hospital birth last year but I'm still reeling from the emotional trauma I internalized due to things beyond anyone's control. It was a *huge* shock to me after such an incredibly empowering birth of my first child.

I'm feeling better about things and am emotionally healing well. But it's been almost 16 months. You can't expect yourself to be okay after only 12 weeks.

Be good to yourself.

Enjoy Birth said...

Hugs to you. It is true that births can affect moms for a long time. It took me 10 years to celebrate my sons birthday without being sad about his birth.

I recently found a great resource that I am sharing with cesarean moms to help them heal physically, but more importantly emotionally. It is the Healing after the Cesarean one.


IASoupMama said...

Although it wasn't traumatic, I argued with the on-call OB who delivered my daughter. I had a leg cramp and just wanted to straighten my leg before I continued pushing. I knew that I'd be right back to pushing within 10 seconds, but he was less than sympathetic. Found out later that the nurses were about to shove him out of the way so I could straighten my leg for a moment.

Not sure why he was being so impatient -- I pushed for a whopping 9 minutes.

Anyway, I am very sorry to hear that you are haunted by the circumstances of Caleb's birth. I am so very glad to hear that he is healthy and growing, too.

I am trying to come to terms with the thought that my next birth isn't going to be the exhilarating experience my last one was (despite the leg cramp). I'm expecting twins and my doc is telling me that I'll more than likely be delivering in the OR under epidural, even if it is a vaginal birth. I had an epi with my first and hated it. Of course, this could be a moot point if Baby A stays breech.

I understand wanting to do what's best for the babies, but I'm not quite sure how getting further from a natural delivery accomplishes that. Knowing that the girls' birth will likely NOT be my ideal birth is making me a little sad, honestly. I try to remind myself that I had that wonderful birth experience last time and hope that it will be enough.

Although, I do secretly hope that I show up in L&D a few hours before a scheduled induction (boo, hiss) at 8cm and too late for an epidural...

Speculative Speculum said...

Hugs. I don't know if OB's know how much that they say can impact us for months.