Monday, September 2, 2013

I Am Strong

  Birth Without Fear posts "I am strong..." birth stories, and I thought I'd do one for myself in a way of viewing my two births in a slightly more positive light.

I am strong because we didn't use birth control for two years before I got pregnant. James was deployed for six months during that time which obviously doesn't count, but the rest was heartbreaking learning I was still not pregnant every month. 

I am strong because I think I had an early miscarriage in July of 2009. When I went to the doctor to see about possibly having my progesterone levels checked because there's a family history of low progesterone, and since I was charting I knew I had a short luteal phase. My request was refused because we hadn't been trying (the six months we weren't trying just not preventing didn't count) long enough, and that since I needed a year and my husband was supposed to deploy in October we'd have to start a new year over when he got home. The nurse told me she didn't know how to read the charts I brought in, but she looked at them and told me since I had 28 day cycles (I consistently ovulated on day 17) there was nothing wrong, and then looked at me and told me if I'd lose weight my cycles would regulate. I didn't give up on having a baby, and I took Vitex in an attempt to treat the short luteal phase. I got my cycles to lengthen to about 30 days long with the same ovulation date, and I got pregnant the first cycle after James got home. 

I am strong because we found out about a month before I was due that he was deploying again sooner than expected to Afghanistan. 

I am strong because I was induced a week and a half past my due date. I was scared into staying in bed lest I kill my baby, and yet I still managed to endure about nine hours of Pitocin induced back labor without screaming or any pain medication. 

I am strong because I agreed to be cut apart in order for my daughter to be born after discovering that I'd been stuck at 3cm all day and that my cervix was swelling. 

I am strong because I endured the worst pain of my entire life while they stabbed me repeatedly and hitting nerves trying to administer the spinal all while I was thinking they're going to knock me out and I'm never going to walk again. Mercifully it finally took, and I was awake when she was born. 

I am strong because when they finally brought her to me several hours after she was born I wouldn't let her go. 

I am strong because the next morning when they'd kept her in the nursery for over an hour after they said she'd be back and I'd already talked to the neonatologist and knew she was fine I walked from my room to the other end of the floor to the nursery to find out why they were holding my baby hostage. 

I am strong because the Pitocin and iv fluids left my breasts swollen beyond recognition combined with missing that golden first hour because hospital policy forbid babies in recovery left my daughter completely uninterested in nursing. With the help of the awesome lactation consultant I pumped and fed her with a syringe. Two days after she was born she was completely on the breast, and nursed until she was almost 21 months old. 

I am strong because four days postpartum I was discharged from the hospital, and I climbed the stairs to our third floor walk-up apartment. It took about fifteen minutes, I seriously thought about giving up at the landing between the second and third floors, I collapsed on the couch for forty-five minutes after getting inside and only got up because my dad and husband arrived with lunch and I wanted to it at the table, but I made it upstairs and discovered that I'm physically stronger than I thought. 

I am strong because at four and a half weeks postpartum we drove my husband to the airport, and told him goodbye. Two days later, I moved home with a newborn. 

I am strong because my daughter developed fairly severe reflux and vomited every where. At it's worst it took medication plus a dairy, soy protein, and gluten free diet to control. It was a hard diet to follow, but I stuck to it religiously so I could keep nursing despite everyone telling how much easier my life would be if I'd just put her on a hypoallergenic formula. 

I am strong because at seven weeks postpartum I found a puss leaking hole at one end of my scar, and I ended up in the emergency room where I was (mis)diagnosed with wound dehecience, and told i would probably need to have it reopened surgically. After discovering that it was actually an infected ingrown hair in the same spot as where an internal stitch had worked its way up. I wrote a letter basically telling them off. No idea if the counseling they gave the doctor I saw actually helped, but it made me feel better. 

I am strong because I spent months crying over the fact that I hadn't given birth and that I was a complete failure as a woman. Instead of completely giving up, I admitted I needed help and found a counselor. 

I am strong because almost a year after she was born I drove an hour and a half to my closest ICAN chapter, and I finally found a place where I didn't feel feel like a total freak because I didn't think a c-section was the best thing ever. 

I am strong because every time I get sick I have to admit that I didn't give birth to my daughter. 

I am strong because when my daughter was 20 months old I discovered I was pregnant for the second time. I knew immedediately that a repeat c-section was not an option. 

I am strong because I decided to switch hospitals to the slightly more birth friendly hospital in town from my OB's preferred hospital where my first was born. The other hospital had a higher VBAC rate, and in a worst case scenario they had a separate OR so babies could be in recovery. 

I am strong because I recognized that I couldn't do it alone with no support other than James and hired a doula. 

I am strong because after finding out my daughter was breech, and my OB told me ECV wasn't an option because of my previous c-section, I refused to calmly sign up for a repeat c-section. I ordered the hypnobabies breech cd, I saw a chiropractor, I played music to my lower belly, I placed bags of frozen fruit on my upper abdomen, and I prayed that God would turn her. She did. 

I am strong because after months of bait and switch my OB told me at 35 weeks that his partners wouldn't attend VBACs, he couldn't promise he'd even be in town when I went into labor, and that he'd really prefer I'd have a repeat c-section. After talking it over with my husband and doula, I called the Base and demanded a new referral. At 38 weeks after leaving several messages they called me back. I fired my OB, and had my first appointment with the new doctor at a day shy of 39 weeks. My only regret is not switching doctors in November instead of waiting until June. 

I am strong because I started having contractions between six and ten minutes apart on Friday. They didn't stop until Monday. 

I am strong because my water started leaking while feeding my daughter breakfast Monday morning when I was 41 weeks plus 4 days. I decided in the car on the way to my doctor's appointment that I wasn't getting back in the car and told my husband to just go straight to the hospital. Despite being sure I was only at 3 or 4 cm, I was told I was at 8 cm in triage much to my shock. More than twice as far as I'd made it the first time, and I had done it all at home on my own. 

I am strong because I labored at the hospital without any drugs of any sort or an iv. 

I am strong because six and a half hours after getting to the hospital I hadn't made any more progress, and the baby was still at a -1 station. My OB said we had an hour to get the baby to come down further into my pelvis. I tried everything my doula thought might help. 

I am strong because an hour and a half later my OB came back and told me he was sorry there still hadn't been any change. I asked if Pitocin and/or an epidural might help, and I was told no because my contractions were more than adequate and I was handling them great. 

I am strong because I faced my greatest fears. I told the anesthesiologist about how bad the spinal was the first time, and that I was terrified of better than half an hour of nerve pain again. He promised me he wouldn't let that happen, and they got the spinal in one try. I let myself be wheeled into the OR, and be cut open again. At 7:48 CDT, our second daughter was removed from my body. My biggest fear the entire pregnancy was a second c-section, and I survived it. 

I am strong because I know my body can go into labor on it's own, and if I can find a provider and we have a third child I will attempt a VBA2C. And God willing, I will give birth instead of having any more children removed. 

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