So the nurse sent someone to call my doctor. Apparently, he was about 25 minutes away so we were going to have to wait for him. The nurse explained to me that they may have to call the hospitalist in to get started if I were to move any faster or if Dylan were to remain in distress. I was to notify them immediately if I had the sensation of needing to go to the bathroom, and whatever I did I was NOT suppose to push in any way, shape, or form.
I had realized a few minutes before this that the music CD I had made for us to listen to while giving birth was left in the car. I had made a special playlist CD full of songs about daddies/daughters, mommies/daughters, and the special-ness of little girls. I felt very irritated and annoyed, but I couldn't have Jonathan go get it at this point.
I am feeling like I am very, very close at this point. The sensation of the contractions was more intense and more frequent. I could see the nurses continuing to exchange glances as they referenced the monitor for "Hershey's" vitals. There was a definite change in their pace and a tenseness that hadn't been present until now. A sense of urgency was swirling around in the air - I wanted to believe that it was because I was dilating so fast and the doctor wasn't there, yet, I knew in my heart that it was because "Hershey" was going in and out of distress.
Meanwhile, a team of people are hustling and bustling around my room - the overhead, bright lights went on, the medical cart with all the necessary tools came rolling in, my bed got adjusted into the giving birth position, and the clean up crew gloved up. The nurses put me in the proper position and told me that as soon as my doc arrived that we would start pushing right away.
My doctor appeared.
This is it. I felt nervous.
Was I going to have the strength to do this?
This is the moment we had worked so hard to get to these past 4 1/2 months. The anxiety and anticipation were building. I was hoping that it would only be a few good pushes. After all, when Holland was born, my first delivery nurse told me that I was a "good pusher", and it was just 2-3 pushes and her head popped out and then 1-2 more and her body followed.
It's kind of crazy what an epidural can do to your body. One's ability to discriminate between muscle groups is jaded. You aren't able to determine which muscles are being activated so other substances come out of other places! It was time for my first push…..
I pushed, grunted, gritted, pushed some more and I knew immediately I had activated the wrong muscles! I felt something oozing - it was poop. I was totally humiliated. The clean up nurse came right over and cleaned me up. A minute passes. Time to push again.
I pushed, grunted, gritted, and pushed some more.
Guess what? More poop.
I looked at Jonathan and said, “Did I just shit on the table AGAIN?!”
My doctor walked away.
In hindsight, I think he was making a conscious effort to NOT make eye-contact with me. I think this was his way of allowing me to maintain some dignity, however I had already blown that!
Needless to say, my next 2-3 pushes were the same result. Poop and more poop. I could not believe how much poop there was. I guarantee that I hold the "most poop during childbirth" hospital record, and I am sure that the nurses are probably still talking about it. Anyway, I think my doctor was getting a little frustrated at this point so the co-nurse stepped up to the plate at this time and had me change positions (she had to step in because my lead nurse was too mousey!). I had a few more big pushes, more grunts, more gritting and then I felt “Hershey” start to pass through the birth canal.
I heard her cry, but it didn't sound right.
They took her away. My heart sank.
A weird feeling came over me. I had just delivered the baby that I had fought so hard to safely deliver and now she was gone. They didn’t even let me see her. I wanted to cry, but the tears wouldn’t come. I wanted to cry because I was overcome with emotion, but it felt forced. I also wanted to cry because they had taken her away, but for whatever reason, the tears weren’t coming. I think this is the first time in my life that I wasn’t able to cry. It was totally bizarre. I think I expected to have this big, huge, climatic, emotional experience, but it just didn’t happen.
I could here them “working” on her across the room. They were cleaning out her lungs and taking vitals. I heard an occasional muffled cry – it still didn’t sound quite right. I just wanted to see her and hold her and cuddle with her. I kept nudging Jonathan to go look at her, but it seemed like he was a little stand offish. I don’t know if he didn’t want to get in the nurses way or what, but I wanted a full report of what she looked like, smelled like, and felt like. Didn’t he want these things, too? Why wasn’t he crowding the nurses and peeking over their shoulders?
Meanwhile, my doctor is cleaning me up as well as sewing me up. I asked him how many stitches he was putting in, and he responded, “I don’t know, I lost count.”. I just assumed that I had torn pretty bad. He didn’t volunteer any information. It wasn’t until about an hour or two later that the nurse told me that he had done an episiotomy. He was concerned about “Hershey” because the chord was wrapped around her neck so he just wanted to get her out as soon as possible. (Understandably so, but he could have at least told me).
So about an hour went by and then they brought her over to me. I looked at her. I held her. I smelled her.
Nothing. Still no tears.
It almost felt like they had handed me someone else’s baby to hold. There wasn’t an immediate bond. This scared me.
We stayed in the birthing room for another 30-45 minutes and then they wheeled me down the hall to the mother/baby wing. I already mentioned the chiming of the bells and how disappointing that was. I expected to be greeted in the halls with a group of nurses who knew me and my story - A group of nurses with open arms and teary eyes. However, there wasn’t a nurse in sight.
Over the course of the next few hours, I started to feel pain. The site of the episiotomy was very, very painful. It hurt to hold her. It hurt to nurse her. It hurt to sit. It hurt to lay. It hurt to stand. It basically hurt to move even the slightest bit. I was on pain medication, but it seemed to only scratch the surface.
I haven’t even mentioned the name factor, yet. We had no idea what we were going to name her. Elsie Belle. Elsie Marie. Lillian Marie. Lillian Grace. Dylan Grace. Dylan Marie. Lilly. Halle. Hazel. So many choices. We were leaning towards Dylan Grace, Elsie Belle, or Lillian Marie. Hours were passing and still no name, just “Baby Potter” and “Hershey”. Jonathan checked out the little poem about the days of birth, and it said that Sunday’s child was full of grace. That sealed the deal – Dylan Grace it was.
The next 24 hours were very challenging. Jonathan got sick. He had strep throat. He was told to quarantine himself and stay away from the baby. We asked our nurse to ask our doctor and the pediatrician about what we should do, and she looked at me like I was an idiot. She said, “He probably needs to stay away from her and not hold her.” Well, no shit! We were thinking that maybe I needed to stay at the hospital for another day or two so she wouldn’t be exposed to any sort of virus. I had tested positive for some sort of infection that occurs during pregnancy and had already taken antibiotics for it, but we weren’t sure if this meant she was already susceptible or vulnerable to a compromised immune system. We just wanted to be sure we were protecting her. Isn’t that our job as parents?
“Well, you can’t stay here. We have already put in your discharge paperwork, and once you’ve been discharged, you have to leave. Besides if you did stay here, we would move you into a room but you wouldn’t get nurses care.”
Jonathan had already left the hospital at this point – he went home to disinfect everything and to get himself ready for being holed up in the basement. This meant that I was left to feed and care for this baby without any support. I had forgotten how exhausting those first couple of days can be, and I had much more pain to manage than I had when Holland was born. I was in so much pain that I had to have the bitchy nurse change Dylan’s diaper.
The discharge nurse continued to make my life miserable. She didn’t answer my page. She brought my pain medication late. She took hours to follow up with me about a phone call to my pediatrician’s office. She didn’t give me proper self-care instructions for going home. She was in a hurry to get me out of there. Etc.
We had to call a friend to come to the hospital and take me home because Jonathan wasn’t suppose to be around the baby. I couldn’t believe that he wasn’t going to be with me when we brought our baby home. This was extremely hard for me. We had such a long journey to bring Dylan into our lives, and then the climax, the grand finale, the pinnacle never happened. Only disappointment.
When my friend came to get me, I had her wheel me out by the nurses' station in one last attempt to get that joyous celebration from all the nurses. There was one nurse there who happened to be one of my favorites so that was nice. She gave me big congratulatory hugs, and then I heard his voice. Dr. Sunshine was right there in the nurses station. I had the urge to set him straight and finally give him a piece of my mind, but I was afraid I would be too overcome with a hormonal rage that I might get myself in deeper than I really wanted to be!
I had to catch myself to not call him Dr. Sunshine to his face! I said, “Is that Dr. Sun err, I mean Dr. _____?” (I inserted his real name at the time, however I have promptly forgotten it now).
“Hey – you owe me a dance” , I said.
The nurse said, “it’s Ashley Potter, she had her baby.”
He responded, “yeah, I saw your name on the board, and wondered how that happened.” That was another stupid response. Not surprising though.
“I made it to 37 ½ weeks, that’s how that happened.” “And you owe me a dance. You told me that IF I made it to 24 weeks, you would do a dance.”
He didn’t really have a response to this. He looked a little puzzled and slightly embarrassed. He then congratulated me, wished me well, and left.
I got the last word, but it wasn’t totally satisfying. I wish I had given him some constructive criticism on how to not send patients into tailspins, and what not to say to pregnant, hormonal woman who aren’t sure of the outcome of their pregnancy, and how not to bring the big, dark cloud into patients rooms every time he enters, but it just wasn’t the appropriate time. So, we carried onward to the car that was waiting for me outside. Lots of emotions swirling around as we were about to depart.
I had a nurse escorting me out. A different nurse than my bitchy discharge nurse. I think it technically was her job to escort me out, but she kind of knew I didn’t want to spend any more time with her so she had someone else do it. Smart move on her part, except that this nurse turned on me, too.
I had sweet Dylan all swaddled up nice and tight in a blanket. I knew that it was going to be bright outside and very over stimulating with all of the sights and sounds so I made sure to have her nice and cozy so she could feel safe and comfortable. As I was loading her into the car seat, the nurse popped her head into my car. I think she wanted to get a peak at the new baby and wish us well, but her demeanor immediately changed.
“Oh no”, she said. “You can’t take that hospital blanket home with you. We are very short on them.”
And then she did the unthinkable.
She reached further into my car and unwrapped this one-day-old newborn baby from its cozy, safe haven that I had just made sure to put her in. She took the blanket, bid us farewell, and proudly marched right back up to the labor and delivery wing of the hospital.
I stood there dumbfounded as I watched her walk away so proudly. She had just saved another blanket from leaving hospital grounds.
“Ha” I thought to myself. I have two more stuffed away in my hospital bag!
And that is the conclusion to my birth story. My disappointing-less-than-perfect birth story.