Monday, January 17, 2011

Luca's birth story

This post is a birth story it will not be appealing to all people and it will contain things that may be considered graphic or TMI. My intent is not to be graphic or vulgar and I wish that I could tell this story and replace it with words like gum drops and popsicles but then it would not be much of a birth story now would it. Please feel free to skip over this post there will be lots more homemaking, expat and frugal living posts as well. 

Thanks for you understanding - Rena


It has taken me nearly 3 weeks to come to terms to get to the point to write this out and even now I am to the point where I am telling myself to do it. I am doing it in part to share with family and friends (and yes I consider my readers friends) who have expressed interest, but I am doing this mianly for myself.

Having said that a lot of the memory has faided and while I am a bit saddened that I cannot recall every detail I realize that was crucial in my acceptance of what happened. You know I used to be the kind of person that laughed when people moaned and groaned about how traumatized they were in thier birthing experiences or how they felt violated, and I am appaulled that I was ever so insensitive because it is something you just cannot fully understand until you have lived through it. 

This is a love story but also a tragedy. It has a beautiful ending but is also full of lost hope and shattered dreams, but this is our story and I hope that it reaches out to someone and maybe they can relate or better prepare themselves if they ever find themselves in a similar experience. 


I had a pretty uneventful pregnancy, well let me clarify uneventful by German stadards which still meant having the crap scared out of me multiple times by worse case scenarios, but in the end all was well. In the weeks leading up to delivery baby Luca was doing well he sank on his own, the placenta was in place and the doctor and midwife even mentioned that they thought he may come early. We eargerly awaited his arrival attending geburstvorbereitungkurs and partnerabend in preperation. We had so much fun preparing the home for baby and took some beautiful maternity photos.

On the Friday night before my due date I noticed some mousture in my underwear, we monitered the situation but ended up going to the hospital Saturday morning to get it checked. They did a CTG and tested for amniotic fluid but all was well. The did say they thought the baby may be over 4 kilos and that c section may need to be held in the back of our minds. That was good because it encouraged me to open up to that idea and I did a little reading on c sections. I had an appointment for Sunday origionally, my due date for a check up in the hospital but since we were already there they said just to come back Tuesday. The baby was still a bit higher then he should be and I was only dialted to less then 1 cm and partly effaced. Did I mention the doctor here was amazing oh I adore her, her husband is also from east Germany and she talked to us and answered all our questions, oh and she will come back into the story later.

So my 40 weeks came and went, I spent the days with hubby and my mom who were both here and on Tuesday we headed back to the clinic. I had awful pelvic pressure and had the typical end of pregnancy oh goodness get it overwith feeling, but I was in good spirits, tired and uncomfortable but in a good frame of mind.And on Tuesday we headed back to the hospital for a check up. Same as usual CTG and ultrasound. This time they measured the baby smaller but also noticed that the amniotic fluid was lower. She asked if I had noticed any leaking but I had not any more so then when I came 2 days earlier to get checked, but it was not dangeriously low. I was sent home and told to come back Thursday and that they would likely induce then so be prepared. Which I already was I had started bringing my hospital bag to visits just in case. 

So we headed off to do some shopping. There was a camera on sale at Saturn for a great price so we went and bought it and then headed over to Kaufland around 1pm, my mom and I checked out c and a and Toni ran into Rossmann. I made my all to common bathroom run at which point I noticed quiet a but more mouisture then usual, not a movie style gush, but wet through to the pants, enough to cause discomfort. So I headed back and told my mom who was at a bench waiting for me and then told Toni who was on the phone at the time with a co worker. We prepared to head back to the hospital to get it checked and see if it was actually my water breaking. On the way out we grabbed food- currywursts with fries for my mom and me and a bockwurst for Toni.

When we got back to the hospital we headed to labor and delivery. Immediatly we were stopped by a midwife who enforced the one person rule and sent my mom back into the waiting area, which was nothing more then a few chairs in a hallway. Toni and I headed in. Again they did a ctg, but the midwife was able to feel the contractions even without the machine, though I had no pain yet. I was beyond excited but a but suprised that they did not test the fluid as they usually did. They said that I would have to be admitted at this point so Toni headed down stairs to check me in and at that point my mom came back in. Toni later came back and both were allowed to remain a while.

I was then moved into an actuial kreißaal delivery room because all of the labor rooms were full. I was uber excited. The contractions were visible on the CTG but I did not have any pain. A bit later at shift change when the new midwife came on duty once again we were told only 1 person. I said in the infoabend I had been informed that I could have 2 people in the labor room just not in delivery and she said no under no circumstances so mom went back out into the hall. At that point they said I could take a break from the ctg and was free to walk around for an hour. During this time one of my neighbors was in labor and screaming through the kreißaal. I remember laughing with Toni and telling him how freaked out I was and that I was happy to get away. Toni wanted to shower so he ran home and I went up to have a coffee with my mom in the cafe (or rather absurdly overpriced snack stand of a joke). So we hung out for an hour and then headed back down. I am not sure if I had light contractions at this time yet but I was not in pain, perhaps more discomfort. We headed back to the room and hung out for a while till Toni came back and then once again switched out. 

A bit later a labor room opened (I assume the moaning lady who was now screaming bloody murder poor thing note after 4 hours she delivered via c section) and we moved there. The contractions started to build more and more and the discomfort as well. They checked me and no progression was made in dialation so they said at 1 am they would induce if there was no progress. We decided to send my mom home due to the lack of a proper waiting area and the fact they refused to let her in. Toni ran her home and during that time I ate dinner and played on the computer chatting on facebook and on a forum. Toni later came back to join me.  At one point Toni ran into a girl from my birthing class coming in with contractions, but I did not get a chance to see her before she was sent home and told to come back later.  

The contractions picked up throughout the night and it was starting to look good as though everything was progressing well on its own. The contractions were about 3 minutes apart. At that point I first asked for pain meds and was given something not sure what it was but by no means a narcotic. I was given the choice of pill or suppository, an told the latter worked fasted, needless to say I took that option. I started to feel better and spent some time hanging out with Toni and playing on the computer. We had another shift change and this time a nice young midwife came on duty. I told her I was starting to get uncomfortable and asked for actual pain meds and she suggested I take a bath in the relaxtion bath which I did. Man was that bathroom lovely let me tell you and tha bathtub was huge. It felt great. The contractions did not go away, but it allowed me to relax to the point in which I could use relaxation techniques. Daddy also enjoyed it because there was a bench and he was able to lay down and take a shirt nap, the rooms only had a single chair for him to sit in. Nothing like the lush US delivery rooms with furniture.  The bath really helped but the contractions kept getting stronger and stronger, so I got out and headed back to the labor room. I think at this point I changed into the delivery clothing I brought just because it was easier at this point. 

The contractions kept building, at this point I started turning into the scary women I mentioned earlier, although I was not screaming but loudly humming through the contractions. My contractions were steady and increasing and the midwife checked me and said I had progressed and therefore would not need the induction she then came back with a pain med. I think first they tried something homeopathic, uck, but later she came back with some type of medication for cramping and something for pain. I am not to sure of how they work but it was supposed to relieve pain in conjunction with one another and that they did. She administered them slowly and sat and talked with me and breathed through the contractions. That friend I mentioned that was there earlier and sent home actually came back and this time was admitted, so we were in rooms across from one another lol. 

The midwife disappeared for a bit and I was feeling much better. I was cheerful and excited. Even posting on facebook and a forum I frequent. A few minutes later the doctor came in to check me. She told me that I had not progressed, apparently they had a disagreement about finger size and measurements. And she said that the medication had worked too well that the contractions had actually lessoned, which she said meant they were not real labor contractions. Now I still to this day do not understand how one can have contractions that are not real, perhaps that was the language barrier and she meant they were not progressing I really do not know. But she said that in light of such we would need to induce. This was around 1 am. So I was given information to read and a waiver to sign. I was told they had a gel and a pill form and I took the pill I believe. Again we went back to waiting.

Within the hour the contractions greatly intensified. I reiterated that I wanted an epidural, but was told I could not get one until I progressed passed a certain point. It was either 2 or 4 cm. I think 4. So we waited and waited. I become more like the scary lady moaning with each contraction. Eventually they checked me again and said I had progressed enough for the epidural. So they called the anesthesiologist and said he would be there shortly. 

When he arrived we were moved back into a Kreßaal room. I was changed into a gown. They did the normal prep work and the doctor sat with me and held me as they did the epidural. And at first everything was great. It worked well. But I noticed that I still felt pain on one side. The anesthesiologist hung around and adjusted the epidural. It seemed to be working well enough for a while.

Then things got messy and my memory is a bit blurred so bear with me. I did not know until later that I was given an additional induction medication called wahen tropfen, or contraction drops, shortly after they did this things went south. The contractions increased in frequency and pain level. I expressed concern that something was wrong and was told to breathe through it. This went on for about an hour. 

I became increasingly upset and frightened as the contractions became closer and closer and stronger. I had an incredible pressure and felt the need to push. I was checked and they said I must be wrong, perhaps I needed to go to the bathroom. I asked if i could go and they said no. I had thought I was given a walking epidural, but they said I could not get up and sat me up on a bed pan an left. At this point hubby had stepped out, he was rather upset and became physically ill as the labor progressed and I became more distressed. He had thought the midwife was staying with me but she left. I then got stuck half propped up on this metal bed pan, unable to lay down with horrible contractions and out of the reach of the call button. That is when I flipped and got hysterical. At this point the contractions had become all but constant. I expressed something was wrong multiple times, and each time I was told oh this is normal you are just afraid. I was treated as a first time mom alarmed by labor. I was also never given a cathedral with the epidural, which meant I was left to wet myself and left laying in it for hours. 

My hysteria increased. My husband actually had made a video which is only audio that I had the chance to listen to. I was screaming help me and that I was so afraid, it just broke my heart to hear such a precious moment forever shattered because my voice as left unheard. They eventually called the anesthesiologist back and he gave me an additional shot it still did not work. At this point the contraction pain was constant there was no breaks anymore. There was still contractions that came and went much stronger, but also a constant tremendous pain. I told them over and over something was wrong. 

I begged for help. I begged for a c section. I even asked my husband to call the emergency services to have me taken to another hospital. I remember the doctors all standing around and talking about their options, at this point it was such a blur. At some point during this I was given a homeopathic medication against anxiety and after that did not work I was given a shot of valium to calm down. The finally said they would consider doing a voluntary c section at my request. The doctor again came to check me and she said that at this point I had not progressed past 4 cm and that my cervix was swollen so a c section would be medically necessary. At this point they said it was still not an emergency so I would have to wait a few hours while they assembled a team. They had to give me medication to suppress the contractions. 

A team was arranged and I was prepped for surgery. I was shaved and put into a cap  and finally given a catheter, then taken into the OR. Hubby was given scrubs to change into. I remember the anesthesiologist testing to see if the spinal was working spraying cold on my shoulder then my hip. I was shaking like mad and they gave me a muscle relaxer. I remember looking around the room and how many people were there, I remember the blue cloth lifted up over my chest so I could not see down. I even remember them prepping my stomach with disinfectant. The anesthesiologist continued the tests for a few minutes, and at that point I recall him saying full narcosa and he shoved a mask in my face and that was that. 

At the same time hubby was in the hall. No one ever notified him that they were deciding to use a fell anesthetic. No one told him he could not go in. They just left him in the hall and kept telling him in a minute he could go in. He did not know what was going on until he heard cries. After that a midwife brought the baby out and he could see inside the door and saw me intubated. 

Hubby was able to go with the midwife to check the baby. She was really nice. She joked with him, he asked if it was his baby and she replied, I don't know, he said well did it come from my wife, she smiled and said yes. He got to watch her do all the normal tests and then they dressed Luca and gave him to Toni.

I was taken back into a kreißaal room, actually the first one we were in, and I was knocked out about 20 minutes according to hubby. I remember opening my eyes and apparently asking for my glasses according to Toni lol. Then I saw him holding a towel and I asked if that was him and he gave me the baby. I started chanting he is so beautiful over and over and Toni said I was just as loud as when I was screaming for help lol. I remember he called my mom to tell her he had been born and he put the phone up to me and I said the only words that came to mind, 'he is so beautiful'.

Baby Luca was born at 7:31 am on Tuesday December 22nd. He was born after 16 hours labor, 2 failed induction attempts, a failed epidural and a failed spinal. He was born via c section under full narcotic.

It took me a long time to get to the point where I had come to terms with the birth and what had happened. My intent with this post is not to be vulgar but to share my story in a way that you understand why I felt my concerns were left unheard and why I felt the way I did.

I feel like so much was lost. I never got to hear his first cry, I was afraid at a time that I should have been overjoyed. My husband was so upset he vomitted and no one felt the need to inform him of the decisions made, ones with very serious risks. He never got to kiss me before I was knocked out or tell me everything will be ok. But the fact he was just left in the hall terrified with no idea of what was going on breaks my heart. 

But the journey is not what matters here, the outcome is. My mom told me something that has affected me more then anything. She told me that photo above showing me meeting Luca, that that was my moment of birth and that nothing and no one could take that away. 

Check back for a second post about my experiences post op. :D


Pixel Perfect said...

I am so sorry that you did not have the birth experience that you had wanted but you have a healthy beautiful baby boy and that is all that matters at this point. You are now a mom!! What a blessing!! Thank you for sharing your story. You are one strong woman! :)

Morgenmuffel said...

I can only echo your own words, he is so beautiful! Your story is heartbreaking I can understand why it has taken some time for you to come to terms with what happened. Your mum is a wise woman, keep her words in mind and remember the first time you met your beautiful baby boy. Congratulations :)

Lola_P said...

I can only repeat what others have said. I am so sorry that you had to experience what you did

You have a beautiful son.

Thank you for sharing his birth story and pictures with us.

SK said...

Holy crap... this version is so much more intense and descriptive than the TT one.. I cried reading this today! My goodness.. poor you and Toni!!! This is the kind of stuff I'm afraid of over here too. "Toto, we are NOT in Kansas anymore!"

I'm so glad he came out so perfect and he is adorable. I know you are enjoying your time with him now and hopefully one day the birth story will be just a distant memory because new and better memories will have replaced it. Go girl, for being so strong!

lytha said...

you can sue the hospital right?

i knew giving birth in germany would suck, i just didn't realize how bad.

horrifying, you were calling for help and no one did.

ibuprofen? are you serious? that was what you got after surgery?



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