In May 2017 I found out that I was pregnant with my rainbow baby. We had been trying for 6 months after losing our first baby at 16 weeks pregnant. Needless to say I was over the moon with joy. I had wanted to be a mother my entire life. My dreams were coming true.
I had an amazing pregnancy. I didn’t gain much weight, didn’t throw up a lot, and was over all well compared to what I have heard other women go through. Then at my 38 week appointment, I had high blood pressure. It wasn’t high enough to induce me, but was still worrisome. I had a blood pressure cuff at home, so they told me to keep an eye on it, and to return if it got any higher. Needless to say, it did get too high. I had preeclampsia. We went to the hospital Friday night for monitoring and then I was admitted for an induction. I was a little nervous, but mostly excited. I truly couldn’t wait to meet the little girl that had been kicking me!
I had a long labor. They began softening my cervix that night with vaginal medication which put me into labor, but I was not progressing. Saturday night they finally decided to start me on Pitocin. Labor began to pick up after that. I had received 2 epidurals, but both only worked for about 30 minutes before they wore off completely. After the second epidural wore off, I was dilated to a 10 and it was time to push. I pushed for 3 hours and then my beautiful daughter came into the world at 11:13 AM Sunday morning. I sustained a 4th degree tear. Not to be graphic, but that means I tore completely open from my vaginal opening to my bum. The tear also went up into the vagina, almost reaching my cervix. The Doctor did not put his hands on me in anyway while I was delivering. He only stood there with his hands clasped, until it was time to catch her. He watched me rip completely open and did nothing to try and stop it or ease the pain. When it was time to stitch me up, he didn’t numb me, and that was some of the worst pain I have ever experienced.
A few hours after giving birth I hemorrhaged. It was more painful than labor, pushing, and the stitches. I was screaming and begging them to put me out. I remember looking at my nurse and asking her if I would be okay. Her response was “we are doing everything we can. We are doing our best.” I was so afraid I was going to die, and never get to see my daughter grow. I felt like my dreams had come true, and now my life was over. Finally when the Doctor came, they put me out, and stopped the bleeding. They had to sew me back up a bit because some stitches got ripped out. I was given a blood transfusion that night because I had lost so much blood.
Meanwhile, my daughter had to be transferred to another hospital because she was having complications from the magnesium they had to give me during labor. The magnesium was given to me to stop seizures that the preeclampsia could cause. The magnesium was also the reason I hemorrhaged.
A few days after being released from the hospital I ended up getting diagnosed with postpartum preeclampsia, a UTI, pneumonia, and I was anemic and needed another blood transfusion. A week and a half postpartum and my stitches also started coming out and I had to have an emergency repair surgery. My daughter was also readmitted to the hospital for a kidney infection. So we were both hospitalized at the same time.
The month she was born was the hardest month of my life. The pain from the 4th degree tear slowly got better, but I couldn’t do anything, including lay down and sit, without pain for about 3 months. I am now almost 5 months postpartum and I still have twinges of pain sometimes, and I have issues with gas incontinence. Sex is still painful, but compared to what other women have gone through, I have healed quite well. If it hadn’t been for my repair surgery, I believe I would have a lot more issues than I do.
Some people believe these stories should be kept to ourselves. That they scare pregnant moms and that fear is the enemy. I don’t believe this to be true. Women deserve to know the truth. Women are strong. Strong enough to handle the truth. Strong enough to handle whatever happens to them during birth. Women who have suffered birth injuries are strong, but they need and deserve support. They deserve to tell their stories, to scream them from the roof tops, if that’s what it takes to heal.
My request to anyone who has taken the time to read this is this: When someone tells you about their traumatic birth, listen to her. Don’t diminish her pain. Don’t try and one up her with another story. Be there for her. Validate her. Let her know she matters. Because the truth is, she might not know it. She might feel like her body failed her. She might be suffering a faith crisis because of what happened, or be experiencing severe postpartum depression like I did. You just never know. The one thing you should never do, is silence her.
Danene Albor ~ Idaho, USA