Wednesday, April 1, 2009


April is Cesarean Awareness Month (CAM). Most of you know that I had to have a C section with Abby. I went into labor on my own and got admitted to the hospital at about 5 cm dilated. Everyone thought things would go very smoothly. The nurses told me to go ahead and get the Epi since I was already 5 cm and planned on getting it. I think this was mistake number 1, but oh well. I know for next time. Here is the story from that point on:

After I got me Epi my blood pressure dropped and I almost lost consciousness. They gave me some meds and brought me back. Sometime after that I got my water broken and pitocin because my labor randomly stopped... Abby's heart rate began to climb--into the 190's. They couldn't figure out if it was the meds they had to give me or if it was the pitocin. The stopped the pitocin, but Abby's hr didn't change. The gave me 30 minutes to be ready to push or else they would give me a c section. Looking back, I had no hope, my labor had stopped. They came back in and I hadn't made any changes. The doc mentioned C section and went to get the consent forms. I tried to keep it together because Tony wasn't there and I don't like to cry in front of people anyways (Tony had gone for some much needed food because at first we didn't think anything was going wrong). I had my mind set on my ideal birth--Having a natural (vaginal) birth, Tony cutting the cord, the baby being placed on my belly, getting a first family photo and then getting to breastfeed her. *sigh*

The doc came back with the forms and I just kind of signed them. He may have said something to me, but I didn't hear him. I was petrified and triyng to hold it together. I absolutely lost it though and started sobbing--for many reasons. I was not happy about surgery, terrified because Tony hadn't returned yet and didn't even know, upset that I wasn't going to have the birth I wanted and disappointed I had to have a c section--which I did NOT want.

Tony finally came back in after what seemed like forever and was alarmed to see me sobbing and got some scrubs thrown at him. I sobbed to the nurse about wanting a VBAC already and how many c sections am I allowed. She said I would be fine and I tried to be happy I was going to see my little girl very soon. So I said, "At least I won't poop on the table". The nurse laughed.

I was wheeled down the hall, blubbering, and Tony was calming me saying I had done my best, but our little girl was in danger. They made Tony stay outside of the OR for the first bit and I freaked of course. But it was a mad house when I got in there. People waiting for Abby, people to perform the surgery, nurses, pain med doc, you name it. A nurse came over and tried to find Abby's heart rate with that little tummy doppler thing and she couldn't find a hb. I became a little freaked then. She said that the heart rate must be too high for the monitor to pick up. So I knew it was serious. My little girl either had no heart beat or it was going incredibly too fast. The pain med doc then came over and was the sweetest older man. He whispered everything calmly to me and that was a comfort in the chaos that was going on around me. He whispered that he was giving me the new meds so that I wouldn't feel a thing. It worked quickly and the numbness creeped up my body. I guess I started breathing fast, unknowingly, and he whispered that it may begin to feel like I'm not breathing, but that I am breathing fine and not to worry. So naturally, I worried and felt like I wasn't breathing. He calmed me down and I began to ignore that when he asked if I could feel anything. Feel what? The pain med doc told me that the doctor was pinching me very hard. I couldn't feel anything, let alone MOVE. I was pretty much paralyzed from my neck down. So then I heard the doctor say they were beginning to cut. WAIT! Tony isn't in here! So I begin to freak out again and demand they let Tony in. I needed him. They didn't respond to me, but a nurse came over and kindly told me that they would get him.

Tony came in and tried to calm me down. I was a huge mess. They said that I would begin to feel a lot of pressure, but I was fine. Talk about A LOT of pressure. I felt it all the way up to my throat. It felt like the doctors climbed inside of me and were stretching out across my whole body (on the inside). It wasn't exactly painful, but it definitely was NOT comfortable. They said her head was out, but I didn't hear her cry. I began to get scared. Then a few seconds later I hear this mucusy cry that I will never forget. She was out, they announced it was a girl and that was it! Was she ok? I could only assume so because she was crying?! But then--I COULDN'T SWALLOW! I felt like I was choking and I couldn't breathe. I flipped out and a nurse came to help me. She said this was a normal reaction (ok... none of what was happening to me was normal!) and that I would be ok. She got a washcloth for me to spit in. So, when my mouth became full of spit (because I couldn't swallow), the nurse would bring over the washcloth and I would spit on it. How lovely. I demanded that Tony go see our baby girl and take pictures. As soon as they let him, he went. He was gone FOREVER (or so it felt) and here I was spitting into a rag and trying my hardest to swallow. I tried so hard, but couldn't, but then it didn't matter. Tony brought the camera over and I saw my baby girl, for the first time... on a camera. Of course she was cute, but had the swollen newborn look. I wanted to touch her I wanted to see all of her little body parts, but I was stuck frozen to this bed looking at a camera while spitting on a rag!

Finally Tony got to bring her over. She was perfectly healthy and fine once she was out. I got to kiss her, but couldn't touch her because I couldn't move. A nurse took our first family photo because it was something I wanted. They put her foot prints in her baby book and we probably took about 100 pictures right there. So, it was over, I had my little girl now. She and Tony went to the nursery. We hadn't named her yet, but I was pretty sure she was an Abby. I knew when I saw her that she definitely wasn't a Lily. So now I was alone in the OR again spitting in a rag. They sewed me up while having a lovely conversation amongst themselves and I was laying there choking on my own spit. FINALLY I was able to swallow and my world brightened up! I announced it proudly to the whole OR and a few of them said "good". I was really sleepy after that and the ride from the OR to the recovery place is kinda blurry. I remember she told me to hold my belly a few times over some bumps. I didn't feel sore though.

Here is our first family photo...
From Abigail Hi'ilani Aina

I recovered for a while and was able to move my arms and feel stuff in my legs. Tony came to see me and show me more pictures of our daughter. I was totally jealous of him, but at least she wasn't alone. I made him leave so he wouldn't miss her 1st bath. I was rolled into my room sometime after that and got to hold Abby when Tony brought her in the room. I don't really remember details though. It is all blurry. A nurse came in and helped me try to breastfeed Abby (finally), but that is all a big blur too.

The first night I was so drugged up Abby slept in the nursery and I didn't put up a fight. After that though I wouldn't let her out of my sight. I became protective of her. I couldn't let her cry, I would cry when they had to take her to the nursery for her daily check and I was still so disappointed I had to have a c section. I didn't want it. I never wanted it.

I recovered well from the c section, but had to lay propped up for a long time. I was never uncomfortable breastfeeding her though and she ate like a pro. The nurses joked about how well she was breastfeeding. I had that. I was able to breastfeed. That was the 1 thing that went my way. So I wasn't going to give that up. It was very painful for a while, but I fought through it because it was my 1 thing. The 1 thing I got that I controlled and it was working.

I had the baby blues or you may even say post partum depression for about 2 weeks after. I never resented Abby though. I was very overwhelmed and I didn't know why I ever wanted a baby. I loved Abby and felt bonded to her, I just felt like I couldn't do it. I couldn't take care of her, I couldn't do anything right. Then after I cried to Tony about feeling like that I would cry even harder apologizing to Abby and telling her I loved her and I didn't really mean those things. It was a very rough 2 weeks. I was feeling better after that and was having fun being a mom. I'm glad I was able to pull it together on my own, but it was tough.

That's about it. Almost 7 months later I am LOVING being a mom, but my birth story still haunts me. I regret going to the hospital that night. I wished I had waited for the Epi and I wished I had gone home once my labor stopped. But, you can't go back in time and you just have to get over things sometimes. I'm working on it. I know people reading this are probably thinking "but you have a healthy baby, that is all that matters" I KNOW, but you probably had a vaginal birth. If you have never gone through a very UNWATED c section that was pretty traumatic, then you really can't tell me how I should feel. I'm not trying to be a jerk, but it was really hard on me and I didn't want that to happen to me. I probably would have been fine if I didn't get any medication. I NEVER thought of not getting the Epi, but when I got for number 2 I think I will be thinking about going med free. I don't want to, but I don't want to have another c section even more.

So here starts my journey: having a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). I've had a couple friends who have had successful VBACs and it helps motivate me more. I just have to find a doctor who will support me. It's much easier for a doctor to go ahead and plan that c section. Write it on their little calendar for their convenience, but what about me?! I want the experience of having a baby the way I want to. Everything doesn't have to be perfect, I just want one the "normal" way. I've already started looking at options. Lake Havasu City is a pretty small area. I've called the 3 area hospitals and 2 of the 3 won't support VBACs. So if I have one we will have to drive the hour up to Kingman. Kingman said they will let me have a VBAC if I can find a doctor who is willing to do it. This will probably be even harder to find, but I am determined. This is important to me.

I've been looking for midwives, but they are hard to find here. Vegas and Phoenix have a ton, but they are 2 and 3 hours away. They also have more hospitals that support VBACs. So anyways, I know other people have had it worse than me. They have been pretty much forced into having a c section for no real reason. I know there was a reason I needed one and yes, I do have a happy and healthy baby. But I just want to have that experience too. I KNOW it hurts, I KNOW it's not fun or anything, but how many of you guys that have had a natural (vaginal) birth can say that you liked the experience. You got to see your baby right away, hold them, touch them, feed them. I got to see a blue curtain. I guess the reason I feel so strongly about this is that so many people get c sections that aren't necessary. And then we are forced to have a second one because the doctor is afraid of lawsuits. I don't want to be forced into surgery. I don't want that recovery! I want to find someone to support me in my decision to have a VBAC and it is going to be hard. Nobody wants to support that. It is too "dangerous" Blah, blah blah. Surgery is dangerous too and it weakens your uterus each time they slice you open. So there. That's how I feel, that's what happened to me and now you know what I'm going to try to do. Call me crazy, but it is important to me.


  1. I didn't know how difficult it was to get a VBAC... I had no clue entire hospitals don't support it... how sucky! Just let pregnant moms do what they want- isn't that what all these waivers and forms are for anyway!? Ugh! Well, you will find something that works, no doubt. You have time to find a good, quality support team. But I can only imagine how obnoxiously frustrating that whole experience must have been for you. That's one thing that frustrates me- docturs seem to just want to get you in and out, even if the baby might not be ready and even if it's the most uncomfortable experience in the world... they're speed demons. Time is money. I hope your next experience will be a polar opposite. :) xo

  2. Wow Sarah... you had a crazy birthing journey. I've actually learned a LOT from your experience. I can understand your desire to want a natural birth. I have that set in my mind too for when Lee-Jake & I are ready for the little mini-Lee's & Chrissy's.

    There was one thing someone once said that I used to work with that I took VERY seriously. She was pregnant with her fourth child and she told me if ever I decide to have children NEVER have an epi and to always go natural (unless the obvious life threatening situations). She was advised in her first pregnancy that epis are actually bad for the mother (like not healthy in the long run), especially if they continue to want to have kids. I can't really remember the reason why, but I remember it made sense. To be honest I want to go natural birth all the way. AND I'm determined to have NO epi for the first kiddo... as for the other future kids? HAHA I'm hoping enough time passes for me NOT to remember the pain of natural birth to and I'll have the guts to go no epi. And we want about 3 kids!! HAHA

    I like how you explained about "baby blues." What I liked about it was your honesty about going through it. No regrets. Us women got it rough... =) But you had a gorgeous baby girl and an awesomely supportive hubby.

    Love you! And best wishes in your hunt!!! (I've heard of the risks of VBAC before but I think if you are comfortable with it, you should try... but prepare yourself for the "just in case you gotta get another 'C'")

  3. I loved reading Abby's birth story!!! How long did it take you to heal from the VBAC?

  4. OMG I seriously feel like I could have written this myself! I kind of breezed through my experience, but reading this today gave me goosebumps because it's so similar to my story. I'm so sorry you had to have a c-section =( I hate that any woman has to experience one.