Brittany’s Story, Virginia

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I started having contractions the evening of April 10th, 2018. I called Julie my wife at work (a firefighter who works 24 hour shifts) to let her know. We were both SO excited our little guy would be coming soon. I was 4 days past my due date and the wait seemed to go on forever!

By 4am on the morning of April 11th my contractions were getting closer apart. I called Julie and told her I needed her to come home. By the time she arrived my contractions were 2-3 mins apart. I called the nurses line and they told me because I was a first time mother, I did not need to go to the hospital yet but instead go to a doctors appointment at 8am. We thought this was odd. As the pain increased and contractions were closer I called the nurses line AGAIN and again they told me I couldn’t go to the hospital yet-I was a first time mom they said, I still had hours to go.

I somehow made it to the doctors appointment, I was struggling because the contractions were so intense. My water broke while I was in the exam room and my doctor immediately sent me to the hospital.

By the time we arrived at the hospital I was 10 cm and they were having me push. I don’t even remember exactly how I got into a hospital gown or even into the room.  I was terrified. I wanted an epidural but here was no time. I started pushing..and screaming from what I remember. Nothing was happening. The baby was right there but not coming out. The doctor on call was arrogant and rude. He said I was too tense and that’s why our son wasn’t moving. He kept telling me to “relax”. Who relaxes when giving birth? I tried, truly as terrified as I was. I heard other women around me laboring in other rooms.. they didn’t sound relaxed to me.

Since there was no progress the doctor ordered the epidural (which I later learned was not effective). The epidural ended up stopping the labor completely so we waited. And waited. I was given pitocin sometime in the late afternoon and the contractions began again. The nurses had me pushing in all sorts of different ways. The doctor kept saying the baby need to come out. He kept mentioning forceps. And with every mention of forceps the nurses would look at me with terror and we would try a different pushing technique. Pull up bars, wraps..body movements..for what seemed like forever. The nurses were so kind and loving. They did everything they could think of to help get this guy out. The doctor came in around 5:45pmand said our son was in distress. One of the nurses called over the intercom “forceps delivery in room (whatever number it was)” Everyone from the floor was there. So many people, and our room was huge. I was beyond terrified. I know I was screaming and crying. But I don’t remember much after that. I remember seeing my wife cry. I saw our little boy in the doctors hands. I saw him get weighed. 7lbs 4oz 20inches long of perfection. They put him on my chest. Silas Joseph Ray ❤️ I was feeling intense pain and I could feel the blood just pouring out but I was so thankful it was over and our beautiful boy was finally here. I felt like I was in a cloud.

Seconds after I remember the doctor, still sitting between my legs saying, “I can’t do this here, we need to go. Prep the OR” I didn’t realize understand at the time, I was so upset to leave our son but I knew he was ok with his mama Julie.

(In the midst of all this a surgical sponge went missing and the doctor and nurses was frantically looking for it, including inside of me. It was found thankfully on a surgical table..)

While I was taken to the OR My wife and so were left in a room covered in blood. I didn’t learn this till much later but they were in such a rush to take me and repair..they didn’t not have the room cleaned. 4th degree tears don’t only effect the birthing mother..but everyone involved. She saw the tear happen. I know my wife suffered trauma that day too.

The nurses who labored with me and helped us throughout the entire ordeal stayed with me. Their shifts had ended hours before but they never left my side even in the OR. At first 4 nurses held me down while I was being stitched. I remember that I didn’t cry or scream, I didn’t move. The doctor said he would do the most painful part first. I felt every stitch. He explained what he was doing in detail but I still couldn’t comprehend the severity of it. I just started at the clock knowing that I had to be strong for our son. Period. I had to. To this day this is the part that doesn’t leave my thoughts. About half way through I was finally given some strong painkillers. And then an hour later more. The doctor looked at me and said I would never be the same and he was sorry. The tear went all the way through the muscle of my rectum. There was so much blood everywhere. I just wanted to be with my family. The doctor seemed upset and frustrated the entire time. He consulted with other doctors.

Finally it was over and I got to see our so and my wife. I was so thankful. My heart was so filled with love. My parents and sister came later that evening. I was so proud to show off our beautiful boy. The time in the OR haunted me though and the pain grew so intense as the hours went on. I passed major blood clots then next few days.

Unknowingly we became total celebrities in the labor and delivery unit that night. Which sounds bizarre but it’s true. All the nurses and assistants were told of our story and my tear. They were all so kind and caring to us. I knew they felt sorry for us. I didn’t realize that this wasn’t common. Every nurse that had taken part In our delivery came back to visit us and loved on our boy 🙂👶🏻They are the true heroes of our birth story.

During my 6 weeks postpartum appointment my doctor (who did not deliver our son) told me that it should have never happened. Everything I went through should not have happened. The forceps, the tear..should not have happened. She said it should have been a c-section. This broke my heart. The few weeks I struggled immensely. I could barely carry my son. I struggled going up and down stairs, getting off the bed. I couldn’t sit anywhere but our in recliner. Going to the bathroom was a nightmare. Still is at times. Physically and psychologically I was hurting. My doctor telling me it should not have happened kept ringing in my ears.

I learned to accept it though. I embraced that I could not change the past. Though I am still experiencing pain, urinary and bowel problems and the hours in the operating room haunt me every now and again- I remain focused on our son and our family. The doctor told me I would never be the same as he stitched me..and he was right. I am stronger than ever.❤️

Brittany Marshall Ray ~ Fredericksburg, Virginia USA

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