Thursday, June 27th, 2013 – The days following up to my induced labor, I had three kinds of rashes. PUPPS, and 2 unknown rashes, that the doctors could not figure out what it was. These rashes were painfully itchy. I couldn’t sleep, or move. They thought one of them of colestasis I had went in for my 39 week check up, where they told me to take 2 Benadryl every 4 hours. They also said my blood pressure was elevated. She gave me a membrane sweep to help move things along. At this point, it was the worst pain I had ever felt. I wasn’t dilated so she forced her finger into my cervix, and into my “womb” to sweep around the placenta.

I went home, took my Benadryl and of course fell asleep. When I woke up, I sat up and a big gush of chunky, watery, bloody mess came out. I thought it was my water breaking, so I went to L&D. It wasn’t. So I went home. They asked me to come back the next day so they could check on my rash.

Friday, June 28th – I came back the next day and they gave more prescriptions for it, and sent me home. They told me to wait over the weekend to see how my rashes turned out. Saturday passed, and Sunday passed all in one big itchy sleepy blur. I slept and cried the whole time.

Monday, July 1st – I called my doctor first thing in the morning and told her my rash was not gone, it had gotten worse. She told me to come into L&D. After monitoring the baby, my blood pressure, and the rash – They decided they were going to induce with cervidil and pitocin.

I started the cervidil at 3pm that day. They gave me a sedative to help with me with the itching. It worked. I sat there and relaxed, texted my family and friends, and hung out with my fiancé for about 3 hours until contractions were painful, and strong. They were all in my back, and felt like period cramps. I wasn’t ready for an epidural because I wasn’t even dilated to a 2 yet. I was about 90% effaced. They put me on a yoga ball which seemed for help for about an hour or so. They got more and more painful, and very close together. I wasn’t dilating more though.

They took the cervidil out, and then put me on pitocin, and started at ‘2’ units. I slept the whole night and watched as nurses would come in and up my pitocin 2 units, each time. They gave me some Stadol to help with pain… It made me very loopy.

July 2nd, 2013 – I woke up, ate a small breakfast and still hung out with my fiancé. My contractions were getting SO painful, and closer together but I wasn’t dilated past a 2 at this point. So took me off the pitocin. Of course all signs of labor went away shortly after. They put me back on the pitocin, and kept upping and upping it. They the “legal/normal” limit of pitocin is 20 units. They bumped mine all the way up to 28 units. I had to sign paperwork, and they put a catheter into my uterus to exactly measure my contractions. My midwife broke my water hoping this would also help move things along somewhat naturally Eventually it was at 20 units. Any further, and they would be past their legal limits. I was finally dilated to a 5 when I asked for an epidural. The epidural was hard because I was having strong, painful contractions during it which made me want to move. But number one rule of an epidural is don’t move, and stay hunched. It was over in 10 minutes, and I no longer felt pain. I laid down to get rest around 5pm hoping I could wake up, be rested and start pushing.

I woke up around 8pm, and I was 8/9cm dilated. I told my family to get ready to come! At about 10pm the contractions were so painful I was screaming and crying. I told my family to leave because I felt like it was happening soon. At 11pm, I felt the strong urge to push. I yelled at my fiancé to get my midwife. She came in, check me and nodded her head up and down. She told you “You are about a 9/10 now, if you feel the urge to push – we can start.”

So, my midwife and the nurse set the bed up for “birthing” and turned the lights down low as requested. When it came time to push – I couldn’t. I was terrified. What is this going to feel like? I’ve waited 9 whole months for this. How could I not want to push? It scared me knowing there would be a human in my small canal, and that I would soon be a mother.

After a 15 minute melt down, I started pushing. I was pushing so hard I went deaf. My midwife kept telling me I wasn’t pushing correctly, and to pretend as if I was “pooping.” I pushed for about 2 hours before giving up.

July 3rd, 2013 – I was exhausted from the pain, and pushing. So I passed out. My fiancé said I would wake up every time he saw a contraction on the monitor. He said I would scream, reach for the ceiling, and pass out again. He said this happened for about 45 minutes.

Suddenly, something woke me up. The urge to push again… But this time it was forceful. I called my midwife back in, and we started the whole pushing fiasco again. Where I would push with all my might, and she would tell me I’m doing it wrong. I pushed every time I had a contraction, which really does take the pain of a contraction away. We did this for another 2 hours…

Eventually they wanted to try the vacuum. For those of you may not know, the vacuum is basically a toilet plunger made for your hoo-ha. About 25 medical staff was in the room at this point. The Doctor insert the vacuum and told me when to push, and for how long. I could feel the pressure of the vacuum suctioning on to my baby’s head. I could feel the pressure of him pulling her. She wouldn’t budge. We kept trying, and trying. But nothing. My heart started to hurt, and it felt like a strained muscle, seizing up… Giving up.  I told the doctor about my heart, and he said and I kid you not “Don’t worry about your heart, ignore it. You just need to PUSH.” So I worked through the pain.

Then I heard the words I never wanted to hear… “Okay, we’re gonna have to go in for an emergency C section… This baby is way too big to come out” I would never experience a natural birth. I’m definitely not attempting a VBAC after today.

I felt like I was cheated. I pushed for hours, felt so much pain. Told I was pushing wrong… Just to have them basically tell me “You’ve been going through all of this for nothing.” I know now that’s not true, but at the time I just wanted to scream WHAT THE FUCK?!

They took me back, while my fiancé was informing my family of what was happening. They were sleeping in the lobby for the past 7 hours. Unawareof everything I had gone through so far. My fiancé was getting dressed in the surgery outfit, while they gave me a different epidural, and strapped me down to the bed. They pulled out a recorder and asked me these questions: What is your name? What is today’s date? And what surgery are you getting today?

They made sure my new epidural was working, pinched me a few times and then told me they were starting. I realized my fiancé was nowhere to be seen. I told them and they we’re like “Oh… Can someone go get the father”

Brandon came in and everything was perfect. I was relived to not feel pain anymore. They start cutting, and it didn’t hurt until about 5 minutes in. The pain only lasted about 3 seconds but it was bad. Then I felt this huge pressure and a pop… And she was out. They tried to show her to me but I didn’t have my glasses on so I couldn’t see her. They sewed me back up and sent me into recovery.

I was in recovery, and was feeling tired and relieved that it was finally over. My dad and fiancé’s mother came in to see me. I don’t remember what we talked about – I just know I saw them. Everyone left, and Brandon came to see me. He stayed for a minutes and then left to see the baby while I attempted to rest.

I laid there, and every time I fell asleep I would wake up because I felt like I wasn’t breathing once I fell asleep. Then on top of that, the nurses outside my recovery area were being loud, and laughing like a bunch of school girls. I asked them to please close the door, and they told me no.

I just kept laying there, when I started to feel like something wasn’t right. At the time I knew, but I forgot what it was. I was shivering a lot, and felt very panicky and uneasy. I called my nurse over, and told her that I desperately needed water or an ice chip. She told me that she wasn’t going to give me anything. I begged and begged and she refused. I told her that was in labor for so long, and then got a c section so I hadn’t had any water in about a day. I hadn’t had a drink, food…. nothing. I told her I didn’t feel good… something just didn’t feel right. I started sobbing and was having a weird panic attack. I felt anxious and crazy. She looked extremely annoyed and bitchy. She took my blood pressure. By this point I was so frustrated and hurt. After everything I had gone through, all I wanted was a fucking ice chip. I got stuck with the most insensitive uncaring nurse in the entire world. I was crying, shaking and panicking. She then tried to take my temperature (the kind that you place under the tongue) but I was panicking. I couldn’t breathe, think, I was sobbing. She laughed at me and told me she wasn’t going to help me if I didn’t let her take my temp. She even shoved it into my mouth.

She angrily left, and called my midwife in. My midwife looked at my heart monitor and started panicking. She grabbed me and held me down. She told I needed to calm down, and breath. My heart rate was dangerously high. She told me if I didn’t calm down and relax that I was going to go into cardiac arrest. I imagined Brandon coming back from meeting our brand new child, to a dead fiancé. I tried to calm down. I needed Brandon. I needed him there.

They tried for a few minutes to calm me down but nothing was working. I saw Brandon walking towards me with another Doctor who I didn’t recognize. He rushed into the room. He had no clue what was happening but he knew he had to calm me down. He says when he saw me I was sobbing, breathing really weird, yelling at everyone and that I wouldn’t listen to anyone.

I finally got a cup of ice chips, and was able to calm down. My midwife told that nurse in these exact words “She can have as many ice chips as she wants. DO NOT be stingy with the ice chips”

After I was somewhat calm and able to carry on a conversation, the nurse who I didn’t recognize came in. Brandon’s body language told me he already knew what she was going to tell me.

She introduced herself, and told me that she was the pediatric doctor at the hospital. She explained to me that I had a infected placenta which got into my daughters blood stream. She had a high white blood cell count, and most likely had an infection. They told me they needed to perform a spinal tap on her, to make sure it wasn’t in the spine. If it was in the spine then it could go into her brain, and make her mentally challenged, or kill her. I gave them the Ok and told her I needed to know everything that happened.

Turns out, they did find an infection and started treating her immediately. She had in IV in her less than 2 hours after being alive. She was hooked up to all sort of monitors, and she was having issues breathing and getting oxygen. (She was able to breathe on her own by the next day)

From this moment on my story will be “patchy” if you will. I do not remember much after this point.

2 days after I gave birth – Next I can remember – I was in my “room” I couldn’t find a comfortable position to sleep in. My c section hurt so bad. I hadn’t even met my daughter yet. They made me pump, and give them the milk. Brandon would leave and feed her. On the 2nd night, he left to feed her. About 10 minutes later, he came back with a nurse, who was pushing a small cart with a clear plastic barrier around it. My heart screamed with joy. It was her…My beautiful baby. Brandon placed her into my arms and I finally felt okay. About 10 minutes later they took her back.

I was hooked up to all sorts of things. Heart monitors, two IVs (I also had a weird and rare blood infection, and tachycardia) so they were worried about me, too. I never got out of bed, and I couldn’t move because my incision hurt so bad.

I kept having these panicky out bursts, and still hadn’t stopped shivering since my outburst in recovery. They decided to move me into the cardiac unit. I was crushed. I saw her for 10 minutes. They kept me in that place for 2 days. I attempted to stand up because my back and bottom was hurting so bad. After 45 minutes of a lot of help – I finally stood up. It was amazing. Then, the cardiac nurses rushed in and told me that I needed to lay down, or I might go into cardiac arrest. Normally women are able to walk around 3 days after a c section. I needed exercise. I needed to stand up.

I was able to come back into the new mother’s ward. I then started to have severe stomach pains. I don’t remember what they thought it was  – but it didn’t sound good. 15 nurses and doctors rushed in to run all sorts of tests on me. I can’t even count or remember all the objects they used on me. I kept telling them that it was because 1. they wouldn’t let me eat (it had been a week since I had food at this point) and 2. I was stuck in bed on my back, so I wasn’t able to pass gas. So they stuck a big tube in my butt to force gas out. It worked for about one night.

I woke up the next day with the same pains. I told them the tube stopped working and that something made it “close.” I argued with them for about an hour before someone just took it out, and I felt better.

I told them the only way I was going to get better is if they just listened to me. They told me I couldn’t stand or walk because of my heart problem. I told them that would be solved if they would just let me do it for a few minutes. I was panicking and upset because I was in pain from laying down so long and not seeing my daughter. So, they stopped getting on me about my standing/sitting. They took my catheter out so I could go to the bathroom on my own. That night, my daughter started sleeping with us in our room. Not only did my heart problems go away, but my body started feeling better. I told them I also needed real food. So they gave me that which provided me more energy and mental stability.

The next day they told me I was ready to leave the new mother’s ward. But it wasn’t time to go home. Julianna was still sick, so we went into the pediatric unit where they finished up her medications and making sure she was getting better. We were in there for 4 days. It was long, and boring. I started developing post partum depression. I couldn’t cry without Brandon going out to smoke a cigarette. I felt so alone. So I started going with him. Those 9pm cigarettes were the best cigarettes I ever had. I hadn’t smelled fresh air in a week. It was summer so the night air was warm, and breezy. Unlike the hospital which was cold and stale.

We finally came home Saturday July 13th. My postpartum continued. I truly believe it had a lot to do with the breast feeding. She always wanted to feed, and I got no help with nightly feedings. The second I switched to formula, I was me again. My body was healed, and beautiful. My daughter was beautiful. My mind was ease. My life was beautiful.

~ Amanda, 21, Maryland