I rarely host guest posts, and the only birth stories I have ever shared here have been my own. I have shared them because they are beautiful, encouraging birth stories. However, in the last few days I have become familiar with a birth story involving an induction for a big baby, with several routine interventions that was such a scary example of what can go wrong when we start messing with women's bodies and births unnecessarily. I was so struck by how poorly this mother and baby were treated - not because the doctors and nurses were disrespectful, didn't do their jobs, or anything else that would be considered out of line. All of the interventions that this woman experienced are considered perfectly normal and acceptable by the medical community. Because of this, I wanted to share her story with my readers, so that people who aren't aware of the dangers of these interventions, and who think that they are giving "informed medical consent" will understand that the risks are real and high.
This is the story of Kaylee and Tanner Price's birth.
**There are pictures at the bottom of this post of Tanner after his birth. They are graphic in nature. If you do not wish to see them, please stop reading where I indicate that the pictures will be shown next.**
The interventions started at about 38 weeks. I was told that I should expect "a big baby". I had an ultrasound and they told me that the baby was already measuring at 9 lbs. My doctor recommended induction. I had my membranes stripped twice, which did nothing.
At 40 weeks, I was impatient like many pregnant women. The doctors had warned me that my son was measuring quite large (10 lbs). I was 2 cm dilated and had been for 3 weeks. I decided to go ahead with the induction. I showed up Tuesday at 5 pm and was given cervidil to sleep on so that I woke up with a nice soft cervix. That never happened. I didn't sleep that night, Tanner kept rolling off the monitors and the nurses would not leave me alone. All day Wednesday I was not progressing. They gave me pitocin. They gave me more pitocin, more pitocin, more pitocin. Somewhere in the middle of the pitocin, I was given nubain which made me feel awful. Then more pitocin. Then they stripped my membranes again, because I wasn't dilating. Eventually I got to 4 cm about 1 pm on Wed. At that point, I received my epidural - which, of course, lead to more pitocin. Sometime afterward, they broke my water. I slept the rest of the day, through the contractions, through everything. I remember being SO thirsty and begging in the nurse for apple juice. She kept telling me you cannot drink while you are in labor because they might have to give you a c-section.
I woke up about 8pm on Wed evening. I was 9cm dilated. The nurse checked me and said she felt that the baby was in an awkward position; specifically she said she thought she felt an ear. I was sent for an ultrasound. My son was "face present" meaning he had locked into my pelvis coming out face first. Face presentation births are pretty rare, but even more rare is the fact that he was coming out lips first. I was told that I would need a C-Section. My worst fear.
My OB/GYN arrived at that time and the nurse told him she was prepping me. I was mortified. Thank God I spent the last 6 months stressing to my Doctor that I was NOT having a C-Section. He told me that I could have a vaginally delivery but I would need to be prepared to have a bruised up baby "Nothing serious, nothing permanent". My friend was present during my birth that happened to work in the NICU at the hospital. They wanted a NICU nurse present “just in case” so she hand selected two of the best NICU nurses.
I recall asking why this happened and not really getting a good answer, other than "the baby just happened to descend into the birth canal this way." To be honest the staff did a great job of not alarming me.
I started pushing at 12am Thursday morning. That's right, Tuesday....Wednesday.... Thursday morning. After 10 minutes of pushing, the nurse flew across the room, hit the emergency button, and I heard my OB cut me, 3 times, snip. snip. snip. And out came a baby. I didn’t feel my episiotomy, but I heard it. I would argue that hearing your vagina being cut open might be as awful as feeling it. I didn't see Tanner. I remember looking up to try and see him and seeing my OB cut the cord. I was mad because my mom was supposed to do that. Oh well, too late now. They took him to the other side of the room and in a blink of an eye there were 6 NICU nurses working on my angel. There were so many people and my epidural was wearing off. My OB started stitching me up. It was painful. Stitches were the most painful part of the entire experience. After a few minutes I realized my son wasn’t crying. My mom knew he wasn’t breathing but I didn’t. She did a great job of keeping me distracted. There was so much chaos. Tanner was resuscitated and started nursing immediately despite his poor face. He is my angel.
I will never again by induced unless it is medically necessary. Tanner was not BIG. He was 7.6 lbs. He was not overdue. In fact, despite them "measuring me at almost 41 weeks" they think he was 37 weeks gestation. I was in labor for 30 HOURS.
All of the interventions caused further problems.
The doctor told me after that having my waters artificially broken resulted in the face presentation, because Tanner descended too quickly.
The episiotomy resulted in me having a 4th degree cut with 46 total stitches. Literally the stitches are all the way to my anus. The scar still causes me pain 4 years later.
They cut the cord before Tanner was stable which resulted in them spending 15 minutes resuscitating him.
They also put an internal fetal monitor on. In the second picture (below) where he was not as purple you can see the cut in the middle of his forehead from the internal monitor. He also had abrasions on his eyelids where they missed his forehead with the monitor. Had his eyes not been closed they could have very well made him blind because the monitor sliced both lids.
I spent the next week with the most terrible epidural withdraws.
My son almost died from NOTHING OTHER than my decision to let the doctors induce me and a series of piss poor medical interventions.
The following are pictures of Tanner after his birth. They are somewhat graphic and may disturb some sensitive viewers. However, as they are a real and valid part of this birth, I would like to share them. Please feel free to stop reading now, if you do not want to see the pictures.
Labels: Mindful Parenting