I’ve never shared my birth story in its entirety with anyone, so here goes…
On August 4, 2010 I was laid off from my teaching job, then on August 19, 2010 I found out I was 5 weeks pregnant. With no job, an eviction looming, and some tough decisions ahead I made the decision to marry the father of my child after only knowing him for 8 months. We married on September 11, 2010, much to friend’s dismay.
The day before my wedding we packed all we could into our Toyota Camry and gave away all the rest of the belongings that made up our home and moved out of our apartment. We got married the next day. I spent my wedding night in a king size bed with my husband, my 12 yr. old stepdaughter, and lots of tears because of our rapidly approaching move the next day from AZ to IL.
I watched my husband say, “See you soon,” to a daughter he had raised, loved, comforted and cherished everyday of her 12 years to go with me to IL where we had a guarantee of food on the table, roof over our head and a warm safe place for our growing family to call home with my parents and brothers. Our decision still breaks my heart, not because it was wrong, but because it is hard to have to feel like you were choosing one child over the other.
I spent my entire pregnancy in the house with no job despite my best efforts, dealing with creditors, no money to have a phone, only one car, and no money for child support or to buy the things we were going to need for our new arrival. Thank You, God for family and friends. We got tons of hand me downs and my parents got most of the big things.
I did not get to choose my care provider since we are on Medicaid. I ended up with a very kind and gentle midwife who I trusted and was comforted by her presence. When every pain, kick, or no kick worried me she assured me all was well. Until 37 weeks I felt well, after I just wanted him out. Too much amniotic fluid and a baby that was at least 8 pounds left me fearing a C-section was imminent.
Two days before my son’s birth I had a consultation with the OB/GYN that my midwife worked under to determine the path my birth would take. It was decided that Monday the day after Easter 2011, I would go in to be induced and see how things progress. I would be 40 weeks and 5 days. My mind and body knew different.
On Easter morning at 9:30am my mucus plug came out and my water started to leak. I went to Walmart with my mom to get some last minute things and discovered that it was now leaking more and more, and that we should probably call the Dr. and go in. The Dr. was in church, as was everyone else, so we went to labor and delivery. There my worst fears were confirmed, meconium in the fluid, and they started the stop watch on my labor…
Karate Daddy was at home sleeping, I was in labor and delivery with my mom, and there were no familiar faces, no comforting midwife, just an OB that I had met 2 days prior on the phone giving orders. He wanted me on PIT and I was too worried to voice my concern, so I followed the nurse to a room I would labor in with my towel under my crotch and the uncomfortable gown that I insisted was too big in tow. Mind you it’s Easter Sunday and no one wanted to be there.
After 5 hours of labor, bumping the PIT up every 10 minutes, and my uterus hyper contracting I finally caved and asked for an epidural. Nothing about my typed out birth plan that my midwife had was being followed or spoken of. (By the way where was she?) My epidural only worked on one side, I still felt everything on my right side and I never made it past 3 cm and 80-90% effaced. Not until 7 something Easter night did I even see my midwife.
At 8 pm I spiked a fever and felt like I was in la-la land having out of body, fuzzy experiences. I felt like I was pulled back to the living when my midwife called my name and touched my hand. I heard the words “Kayla, I called Dr. M on my way over and I think it is the best decision to do a c-section before it becomes an emergency.” Through tears I signed, shaking from the fever, and just told my husband to stay with me.
They took me off the monitor and wheeled me to the OR only to not be able to find my sons heartbeat. (They were) Trying to make it seem like nothing was wrong, although I knew all the better, and (were) telling the Dr. we need to move now. Oh, and by the way, I can feel still! A spinal inserted and the oxygen on my face, then paper goes up. Nurse says to get dad but the Dr. said “Let’s wait till the baby is out.” WTF? Are you kidding me, I’m going to be in here alone??? Karate Daddy heard the first cries from the hallway.
I heard my son’s first cry as he came out. He peed on me and defied everyone, he did not aspirate anything. He was strong and stubborn as on OX, and was perfectly healthy trying to come out with his head sideways. Stuck in my pelvis! And I made it through it all without my husband next to me. The rest is a blur because of all the drugs…
After a week at home I was admitted again for an infected, seeping incision. No one could tell me what was wrong, my milk was drying up, my hormones were crashing, no baby to bond with, and no one to talk to because they were all home caring for my son. The CT scan showed an abscess, drainage did not work, and back under the knife for the second time in two weeks to clean out the infection only this time there were no family members there with me when I came out. The next day they opened up half of my incision to pack it and insert a vacuum to help the healing process. WITH NO ANESTHESIA. The next day PPA started to rear its ugly head. I wanted to go home. I know the OB who performed my C-section was really nervous at this point. He sent for a psych eval and was truly trying to pawn me off on someone else so he did not hold the responsibility of trying to figure out the best route of treatment.
I battled PPD/A on my own for 6 months before caving in and going on meds. I could not sleep, eat, or think. I cared for my son because I knew I had to. Most of my smiles and joy was forced. It killed me inside. I didn’t give up because I knew I couldn’t. God gave him to ME to care for. Imagine having everything you had wished for your entire life and not wanting it anymore. This is how I felt about my son. My medication journey was a rough and bumpy one but I made it through. It feels like a weakness, like a broken piece of the puzzle, but for me it is the only thing holding the puzzle together and now/still I have great fears for the future and living through that again.
I am still on meds and still struggle from time to time to accept our struggles in life, (food stamps, Medicaid, never any money) but I never forget to stop and remember how much worse it could be. I could not be here right now to be a mom to my son, he could have health problems, I could have been admitted into a psych ward for evaluation, but I knew where I needed to be. My heart took over my mind and I pray it always does.