Rebekah V.’s Story, Canada, Part 1 of 2

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I experienced my 4th degree tear on October 10, 2016, but the story actually starts in early 2015.

On a frigid January night after more than 18 hours of labour I had a traumatic csection and delivered my son, a 9lb 5oz giant of a baby.

Nothing about his birth went the way I had imagined and I was left physically and emotionally ruined.

One week later, early in the morning my heart rate suddenly sky rocketed and my chest began to ache. I had developed a condition called Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) and was rushed by ambulance to the hospital while my husband was left at home with our brand new baby.

The treatment for SVT that doesn’t self correct is intravenous Adenosine, a nasty little drug that momentarily stops your heart and allows it to begin beating again. The hope is that when it restarts it will be beating in normal sinus rhythm.

It worked almost instantly after it was administered and I went from feeling horrible to feeling the worst I had ever felt in my entire life, up until that point at least. And then, just as quickly, it was over. My heart was beating properly again and I was able to return home and get back to trying to figure out this mom thing.

Fast forward to summer 2016 and I was just entering my third trimester with baby 2.0, supported by an awesome unmedicated, vbac friendly OB when I panicked. With the way the hospital staffing worked I really only had a 1 in 10 chance of my chosen doctor being on call when I was actually giving birth. I became convinced I needed a midwife for consistency of care to have a successful vbac and I made a last minute switch.

I told everyone about my heart condition and my fears of a repeat csection and everything was on track for the birth.

At 36 weeks the prodromal labour started and continued, everyday, until the birth, with increasing duration, frequency and intensity, driving me insane, keeping me awake for nights on end, in labour – but not really.

2.0 was extremely active, turning constantly after she dropped, always preferring to be sunny side up. I tried everything I could think of to get her to roll and engage my cervix and get these constant contractions to count but nothing worked.

On thanksgiving morning, the day before my due date, I woke up feeling strong-ish, regular-ish contractions and a burning desire to make a French toast feast for breakfast.  As I was pulling the bacon from the oven I became acutely aware that something was very wrong. My heart was racing and pain was radiating through my body.  All prepared labour plans evaporated into thin air as we desperately threw the hospital bag and toddler into the car and took off for the hospital.

When I got to the ER I was triaged immediately and my heart rate was measured at 220 bpm. Again I was given Adenosine and again I felt like I was dying (possibly because your heart isn’t supposed to enjoy being stopped?) The really awesome part about this go around was the timing of it all. Seconds after the wave of death passed through my heart my uterus got the clever idea to send the most powerful contraction to date coursing through my body. Apparently it doesn’t like my heart stopping either? Fun times.

My midwives showed up shortly after, ran an NST, checked me for dilation, determined I was only about 4cm dilated and decided I was not in active labour. They suggested I walk around L&D for an hour or so and then they would check me again. It was around this time I
suggested that my husband take our son to his parents’ place just in case.

I had an awesome student midwife (Amanda) there with me and she offered to walk with me to labour and delivery. It took 15 minutes to walk the short distance, as I had contraction after contraction after contraction and I began to doubt my decision to try for a pain med free birth.

I was left in the waiting room while one midwife got us checked into a room and Amanda left to grab some lunch.
Somewhere in that time I got the urge to have a BM. I lurched to the bathroom in time to awkwardly moan my way through another contraction when I was hit with the overwhelming urge to push.

To be continued….

Rebekah Valliere ~ Ottawa, ON Canada

Find her on her blog @mama.in.a.madhouse

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