I am a midwife, childbirth educator, lecturer, doula, and natural mother of eight children. This is not a medical reference; I do not proclaim to give medical advice. Anything stated here is from personal experience, research, study, and opinion. Each woman has the responsibility to do her own research, consult with her own medical team, and make her own decisions about pregnancy and birth.

Monday, October 18, 2010

My birth story...I mean when I was born!

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim
 This is my birth announcement!

I'm so pleased to post this story because it's from my very own Ummi!  It's my mom's account of my sister's and my births (I'm the younger sister...read all the way to the second birth, that's ME!).  Again, here's a story that demonstrates that birth is such a major event in a woman's life that she can retell the details over forty years later, masha'allah!  

I'm touched at the end that she marveled over the alertness of my own daughter just moments after she was born.  I always tell women, try to learn how to cope with your labor, it really does make a difference in yours and the baby's ability to immediately bond.  Her comment about not even believing that my sister was her baby really saddens me.  Decline the drugs, stay awake and stay alert, Ladies!

I hope you enjoy reading these birth stories.  Please let me know if you'd like to share yours. Now on to the story...My birth story...I mean when I was born!...

While this birth story goes back to 1963, it's as fresh in my mind today, as it was back then.  I hesitate to tell this story because it's one of those 'horror' stories, that frightens young women who are expecting their first baby.

Point blank...it was a birth from hell.  Oddly enough...the entire 9 months was easy.  This was a planned pregnancy.  No morning sickness, no swelling, no discomfort.  I was happily pregnant with my first child and enjoyed the pregnancy throughout the 9 months.  I was not in the least fearful...my husband would be with me throughout the labor.

I was 18 years old, married 15 months, when the baby made it known 'It's time!'  I was a week overdue...so I knew this was it.  I had mild contractions and lower back pains for several days...but on this particular morning...I knew we were going to the hospital and coming back with our precious baby.

Then the nightmare began.  The hospital I was registered with, where my doctor was to deliver...was overflowing with emergencies.  There were no labor/delivery rooms available.  We were told to go to another hospital several miles a way, at least a 30 minute drive.  They didn't even check me to see how far along I was.

Picture my husband racing through traffic, to get me there...honking the car horn all the way...of course this added to my stress/fear.  I was thinking, "We're gonna crash before we get there!"

Finally we arrive, get checked in...and right off there's a problem.  While they are wheeling me away down the hall, they are sending my husband the other way, to the waiting room!  NOOOooo!

It was established the entire 9 months by my doctor, that my husband would be welcomed and encouraged to stay with me during the entire labor process. (Not delivery though...that was still not acceptable at that time).  That is exactly the reason I chose this particular doctor...he encouraged husbands to be in labor room with their wives.

This hospital did not allow anyone with the mother during labor; I was frantic...I called out to my husband as he was being led away to the waiting room...he looked back just as upset as I was. He was my lifeline...my strength...yanked away from me.  NOW I'm scared...alone, doing this last part on my own.  That was NOT the plan!

So that set the tone for me...I was not a happy patient.

This hospital too, was fresh out of labor rooms...no where to put me.  They had me out in the hall on a gurney...patients, doctors, nurses, visitors, maintenance, heaven knows who all else...strolling through the hall, staring at me...while I'm in deep contractions.  I still had not been 'checked' yet...when finally a guy in scrubs...an intern? doctor?  No clue who he was, what his job title was...but without even saying a word to me...he propped my legs up to 'check' me.  No privacy, no curtains...no nothing!  I was mortified to say the least.

Still not saying anything to me...he walks away.

Sometime later...I was wheeled upstairs to the labor/delivery floor...only to be placed on top of an empty wood desk...in an office.  I was told this would have to do until there was a labor room available.  I could hear women screaming in pain...for hours on end.  It was terrifying for me.

I was in a hospital gown with no sheet, no pillow, nor blanket. The room was cold and I was freezing! The six foot high windows were bare of blinds or drapes, drafty and cold. The office heater was turned off.  I could see into other office windows in the building across the street...I was laying there exposed to anyone who happened to look out their window!

After what seemed hours...finally someone came in and I begged for a blanket.  I was shivering, my teeth chattering.  Eventually I was given a pillow, sheet, and blanket.  Every so often a nurse would come in and check me.  Very little conversation thus far.  I was so miserable and uncomfortable.

Then I was put back on a gurney and taken to X-ray...the baby was breach.  By this time, I had lost track of time...but from the beginning of 'this is it' labor pains until birth...it was 48 hours of hard labor.

Now I'm back out in the hall...still no clue what's going on, constant rolling contractions...when my husband suddenly appears in scrubs.  He is begging me to sign the papers they were putting in front of me, to give permission to do a Cesarean Section surgery...ASAP!

Now at this time, they tell me, I'm dilated to 10 and had been for quite some time.  My water had not broke.  The baby is in duress and I was hemorrhaging.

They were wheeling me away, running down the hall as my husband was being led the other way...him yelling loudly "If there is a choice between the baby or my wife...save my wife!"

Now I'm absolutely terrified.  I'm in the delivery room...being prepped.  Before they shaved me, they took a scrub brush to my stomach...omg...the pain.

Finally someone comes in and places a mask over my face and tells me to count from 100 backwards...I got to 98.

When I awoke...apparently several hours later (she was born at 8:10 PM) the clock on wall showed 5:24 a.m.  I was alone in ICU.  I knew I had the baby because my tummy was flat.  I had never been in a hospital before, so I didn't know if I was allowed to get up, (like I even could, after major surgery), and I didn't know about the 'call button'...I laid there scared and in severe pain.

Finally a nurse comes in...takes my temperature and says, "You're still running a high fever."  Huh...?  I'm not sick, I just had a baby...where's my baby? Boy or Girl?  Ohh the questions I had...

She said I was too ill to see my baby, to concentrate on getting well.  She refused to answer any questions and said to wait for the doctor.

I don't know how long it was after the birth of my baby, when my husband came in the room. It could of been that night?  Next day...I'll have to ask him.  Anyway...he says we have a beautiful daughter, 8 pounds 8 1/2 oz.  He had all of a couple minutes with me before they whisked him away.

I was sick...very weak...I had lost a lot of blood (had blood transfusion) and ran a high temperature for 3 days.  I was not allowed to see my baby during this time.  I was not allowed out of my bed...no visitors allowed except for my husband and the grandparents of the baby, who had not been even informed yet of the birth.

By the end of the 3rd day...they bring this beautiful baby to me...she looked like she was 3 months old!  Pink, perfect head shape...not at all like other newborns I'd seen with red faces, head misshapen, scrawny, etc.  So I 'knew' this was not my baby...they were just trying to calm me down, using someone else' baby.  By this time I'm believing my baby didn't make it and no one would tell me until I got better.

Wrong...she was my baby.  They had me start nursing her...and I recall the nurse asking how old I was...when I said 18, she clucked and said 'a baby having a baby'...and left the room.

So...I lost 3 days bonding with my baby.  I had a horrendous scar from my navel all the way down.

They kept me in the hospital for a week...and would have kept me longer...but I demanded to be released to go home.  I had enough.

The baby had no ill effects...took to nursing just fine and slept through the night from day one.

She was born 47 years ago today.  October 18, 1963.

I planned my next child was 6 years later.  Because I had moved from the area where my doctor was, who didn't even deliver my baby...I had a new doctor.  He was real hesitant to let me have a vaginal birth...not knowing why I had a C-section with the first.  Breech and 8 pounds 8 1/2 oz was not enough reason for a C-section.  I told him about hemorrhaging.

We were unable to get the medical records from the hospital where I had the C-section (imagine that)...so he decided we best not risk it and went with scheduling a C-section.  I got to pick the birth date within a 3-day window.

So for several months, I knew I was having a baby on September 15, 1969.

How ironic...this pregnancy was everything the first wasn't.  I had morning sickness day/night for 9 months (think flu).  My feet swelled constantly.  It was not a fun pregnancy at all.

I checked in the night before September 15th and wow...within 8 minutes of being wheeled into surgery, I had another beautiful daughter.  I was awake throughout the surgery.  There was soft music playing in the background.  The doctors and nurses joked and talked to me through the entire process.

I wanted another little girl and was thrilled when they announced "It's a girl!"

There was one point of concern though:

The doctor was talking and in mid-sentence, I heard him take in a sharp breath...he recovered quickly and patted me on the arm and said "Everything is okay...I will tell you later...no worries...I promise you, your baby is fine".  Of course alarm bells were going off in my head...was she mal-formed?  Did she have severe birth mark...what??

Come to find out...the doctor was so relieved he went with the C-section after all...not for any other reason then the baby's cord was wrapped around her neck with barely a strand left hanging on to the placenta.  Had I gone into labor...she most likely would not have made it.  Other then that, he said I could of had a vaginal delivery.  She was 6 pounds 15 oz.

We went home on the 5th day...and I was feeling great.  I even went grocery shopping on the way home.

The surgeon was absolutely horrified by my inch wide, ragged scar that ran from navel on down from previous C-section.  So before stitching me up after the birth of my 2nd baby, he cut away the old scar and left me with barely a thin line that today can not even be seen.  As a matter of fact, for several years, any time I went to his office for check-ups...he'd bring in other surgeons and nurses and boast how awesome he did with the stitching.

After it's all said and done...I was most fortunate to have two beautiful healthy babies.  But I can't even imagine what a natural birth would be like.

My daughter just gave birth to her 8th child, naturally, at home...as planned.  She sent me a picture of the baby one minute old...nursing.  This was before the placenta was expelled or cord is even cut...wrapped in a blanket.

I marveled how the baby's eyes are wide open and already nursing without being prompted.  Wide awake and alert.

I wish I had that early bonding time with my babies.  Pregnant women aren't getting it...being drugged for pain during delivery is drugging your baby too!

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