My first child was born in 2005. My husband and I had waited for so many years to get pregnant, and had lost two pregnancies already. We wanted children so badly, and in fact had been researching adoption at the time I became pregnant.
I was on bedrest for the last third of the pregnancy, due to preeclampsia, which is a condition in which a pregnant woman's blood pressure reaches dangerously high levels. On the day of my 38 week well visit, it was discovered that my blood pressure was 160/100. My doctor announced that I was being induced that day. Immediately.
"I left the coffee machine on. I am completely unprepared. I have no bag packed. I have no birth plan. I have two more weeks!" The thoughts were racing through my mind.
I was admitted and induced. My labor lasted for approximately 30 hours. I was attached to a monitor that was broken (which we did not learn until later). They did not see contractions on the monitor, and even though I was screaming in pain, the nurse insisted that I was not having contractions. They kept turning up the dose of pitocin. Even through the epidural, I could feel the pain. It was excruciating. I wanted to die. I hoped for death. I should have been more careful what I was wishing for.
After pushing for 3 hours with no progress, I was taken in for a C section. I was shaking so badly from all of the pitocin that the doctor could not see what she was doing. She could not get the baby out because he was so stuck from 3 hours of hard pushing. She was pulling him so hard that my hips were coming up off the table. That is the last thing I remember. They put me under general anesthesia in the middle of the surgery.
I found out later that I nearly died. I lost so much blood during the surgery that I needed a blood transfusion. My son, who they brought to me as soon as I was conscious, could not nurse. He threw up green bile every time I tried to feed him. He cried and could not be consoled. They took him away to the NICU and I didn't see him for a couple of days. No one would tell me what was wrong with him. They couldn't because they didn't know. I found out later that on the third day of his life, he passed his meconium. It was about 6 inches long and solid. He had basically had an intestinal blockage for the first 3 days and could not nurse because it hurt. I had a neonatologist from Children's Hospital in Chicago that could not figure out that this baby had not pooped and that is why he wasn't eating. Any mother in the world could have told her all she needed to do was give him a suppository or take his temperature rectally. Anyone with common sense could have figured that out. But Dr. Wonderful had him on two different IV antibiotics, she was taking abdominal x rays, she gave him a feeding tube through which they were feeding him formula- the last thing on earth that I wanted. She had no regard for my wishes as a mother and used my new baby as a science experiment. I had no control. Or so I thought at the time.
It took me a couple of days to recover from my surgery and the blood loss that accompanied it. Once my head was clear, I walked in to the NICU at that hospital and fired my son's doctor. I took him home that day, and that, not the day I gave birth, was the day I became a mother.
I realize now that mistakes were made. I know now that a lot of what happened when my son was born was hospital error followed by hospital covering their collective rear ends. A doctor I spoke to about the experience later called it "defensive medicine." I know now that I had the power all along to refuse any treatment that they wanted to give him, that as his mother *I* make the decisions.
A year passed, and what a wonderful year it was. Except for the worry. Except for not sleeping. Except for the flashbacks to the birth and the nightmares about a nurse telling me my son was not going to make it. It was not until my son was a year old that I found a therapist who could tell me what was wrong. It was Postpartum Depression- PPD. And Post Traumatic Stress Disorder- PTSD. And so begins my journey. So begins the rebirth from PPD. I hope that my story and my research can be helpful to new moms and dads.