Where the Bruised Cucumber meets the Sippy Cup!

A Loud Mama with a loud family, living imperfect lives glorified through God and breaking free of the bondage of politically correct Religion. We do things differently around the Viking Homestead, and hope that, by sharing our lives, we can help others feel more comfortable with their differences as well.

07 July, 2012

Going back: The birth stories of Little Viking and Little Valkyrie

My Little Viking! 
So, I've shared the birth story of Little Birdie.  Her birth was, by far, my most wonderful childbirth experience.  It was healing, in a way, as it allowed me to feel like I had been truly 'left alone' and able to make the decisions I needed to make.  Carrying to almost 41 weeks, and delivering an alert and healthy 8lb 14oz baby made that pregnancy and all the experiences I'd been through worth it.  It left me feeling amazed and empowered.  However, if I hadn't had the prior birthing experience that I did have, I may not have ever gotten to this point.  So, I wanted to go back and give the rest of the story. It starts in March of 2003.  Cranky Pirate and I were broke as all get out and were living with my parents.  We had no money and no insurance.  So, of course, that was the PERFECT time to become pregnant!  Being 22, in a small town, and being the first of my friends to have a baby, I had no idea what to expect.   Everyone I knew that did have a baby had delivered by c-section in a hospital because, well, thats just how doctors do here...they scheduled inductions and c-sections left and right, both for the families convenience and their own.  I picked one of these doctors, because I had no idea that I should look around.  My pregnancy was honestly very easy and uneventful.  At about 25 weeks, I wanted to switch doctors.  I couldn't put my finger on it, but I didn't want my ob to deliver my baby.  However, no other doctor in our town would take me without a letter and copy of the records from my provider.  I didn't know that I could advocate for myself...I had no idea that there was something better out there so shrugged it off.  Now, I was incredibly unhealthy throughout, and gained 60 lbs!!  I flew through easily, and, at about 35 weeks, my doctor started doing internal exams, and non stress tests.  I just figured this was all par for the course.  On December 8, 2003, I had my 38 week appointment.  I was examined and found to be 1cm dilated.  I now realize that this means nothing, really.  However, then, I was stoked!  I just KNEW that this was IT(even though I had yet to feel a contraction)!  Of course, it was nearing the holidays and I wasn't due until December 18.  My doctor would be on holiday then, so, I was sent straight from his office to the hospital to be induced.  He assured me that it would be easy since "i was already starting to go into labor".  When I got to the hospital, I was started on pitocin.  Worst.experience.ever.  At lunch, my doctor came by and broke my water, then had anesthesia come to my room to place an epidural.  The labor was a blur, I was miserable, the epidural only 'took' on one side, and the pitocin was being turned up every 15 minutes.  I was so happy when it was finally time to push, and, after a few pushes, my doctor told me he 'had' to do an episiotomy.  That was a huge mistake...The pitocin was still on, along with the epidural, and, due to the force with which I pushed my daughter out after having the episiotomy, I suffered from a 4th degree tear.  Afterwards, nurses cleaned her up, and my doctor began the arduous task of sewing me up.  It was horrible. After that I don't remember too much for a couple of days.  My blood pressure dropped to 40/20.  I was a wreck.  I wasn't offered a blood transfusion, my doctor was gone and Cranky Pirate nearly got arrested by bringing a doctor up from the ER to check me out.  Luckily, the doctor, nurses and police officer on duty in the ER knew my husband, and the officer actually told the nurses on the maternity ward that he, my husband, and the doctor were coming to my room.  That was the best thing ever.  I finally got proper medical attention!  Unfortunately, that was the only 'good' thing about the entire experience.  Due to the blood loss, anemia and stitches I was in absolute agony.  Little Valkyrie was taken to the nursery and kept away 'due to my condition'.  When they brought her back, along with a feeding log, she was in a horrible state.  She was very hungry, very unhappy, and wouldn't nurse.  Everyone talked about how natural breastfeeding was, so why wasn't this working!!  The nurses came back in, looked at the log, told me I was starving the baby and that they were putting her on formula in the nursery, 'just to help her settle'.  The lactation consultant at the hospital told me to just keep trying and gave me some pamphlets and nipple shields.  I didn't even see my doctor again until the day I was discharged.  Recovery was long and slow.  I was never able to get the hang of breastfeeding and stopped at 6 weeks.  The further away I got from the experience, the more I realized just how WRONG it all was, especially after talking to several other Mothers.  It took quite a while to get over.  In fact, for several years, I was terrified of falling pregnant!  I didn't want to be pregnant, because I didn't want to have to deliver a baby and risk going through all of that again.  Sadly, I don't even have any pictures of labor or delivery because things were so bad that there was no opportunity. 
      However, no birth control is perfect and in February of 2008, I was pregnant!  I was surprised by how excited I was at the prospect of another pregnancy.  I made an appointment with the doctor I wanted to switch to during my first pregnancy as she had a midwife and I was keen on that idea.  That turned out horribly.  at my 2 month appointment I took in a list of questions, because I had to make sure that this experience turned out MUCH better!  My biggest concern was that I would be delivered by a midwife.  She explained that that would not be the case.  She was, essentially, office backup.  She helped to prenatal care and routine care, but I needed to see the doctor, because she would probably be the one to deliver me.  Also, upon hearing my concerns, actually defended the doctor that nearly killed me 4 years prior.  "he's old, what did you expect?!" the midwife exclaimed!  Uh, I EXPECTED good care!  I grabbed my records, headed out and never looked back.  I looked around and made an appointment with an ob in the medical center in a much larger town.  I decided that I was finished risking my life and delivering in hospitals in the little town I live in.  I lucked out big time.  I found what has to be the best OB ever.  She was the most hands off ob I've ever met.  My pregnancy with Little Viking was difficult.  I was on bedrest for most of it and had several bouts of bleeding along with blood sugar issues.  At my 34 week appointment, I was found to be 3cm dilated.  I was shocked, but told that this was fine and I could carry several more weeks.  The next week, my doctor began stripping my membranes.  I have no idea why.  The nurse told me that, if I wasn't ready to go into labor, having my membranes stripped wouldn't cause it.  At my 37 week appointment, on October 27, 2008(come on, I couldn't have made it a few paltry more days until Halloween?!), I was found to be 7cm dilated.  I was also strep positive.  Therefore, I was staying!  I didn't feel I was in labor, but, while in testing, I started to feel unwell. Sure enough, I had gone into labor.  My experience was MUCH better than the first.   It was much calmer, and although I received an epidural, there was nothing else for quite a while.  Now, I was exhausted...I hadn't slept much the night before and I was STARVING as I hadn't eaten anything since early in the morning.  I consented to a small amount of pitocin and my body responded quickly.  I dilated to 10 and was told I could start pushing.  However, due to all the bedrest I'd been on, and the exhaustion of the day, I was too tired.  I had a vacuum delivery but was pleasantly surprised to find that I had a MUCH smaller tear than with my daughter.  Recovery was much quicker.  In fact, the next day, Cranky Pirate was shocked to find me having a shower on my own, and up and around easily.  However, once again, I was shocked that after all I had learned, breastfeeding was NOT working.  I saw two different lactation consultants in the hospital and even rented a pump, got an sns, the whole nine yards.  By 3 months, when I returned to work, I was only able to pump blood.  I got no milk.  I went to my family physician who was able to determine that I had horribly high TSH levels...my autoimmune thyroid disease was flaring up with a vengeance!  Every doctor I was seeing knew I had it...no one had followed up with testing and, the dosage of my medication was inadequate(to say the least)!  Along with terrible pain while trying to nurse, now my supply was completely dried up.  My family physician explained that it was due to the hormones.  I suffered from postpartum depression and was set on NEVER having another baby again, not because I was worried about delivering another baby, but because I was TERRIFIED of failing at breastfeeding.  I wondered what was so wrong with me that I couldn't nurse a baby.  
     When I became pregnant with Little Birdie, I was determined that I was going to turn every experience I had previously had on its ear.  My former ob was no longer delivering, so I was FORCED to find something better.  I saw 3 doctors in the span of a month.  The first one, I loved, however, her staff made me uneasy.  They were very unorganized and dismissive when I called for lab results to determine if this was a viable pregnancy. I switched to a second one who I never really liked.  She was ok enough at the first appointment, that I made a second appointment so that I would have backup if I couldn't find anything else in the meantime.  The second appointment was horrible.  I was pressured to have genetic testing, which I refused every time it was brought up.  I ask that it be noted that I didn't want it brought up again.  Then I was told to get undressed.  I told them I wouldn't get undressed because it wasn't necessary.  They asked me how they would do my std screen if I didn't get undressed.  I told them I wouldn't be having an std screen so it really didn't matter.  I was threatened and bullied by the doctor and the nurse to consent, but wouldn't.  The doctor made a tacky comment about how she would have to make notes and that when I delivered, the baby would be held from me until they could ensure that the baby was ok...which, of course, given my diet(she knew I ate raw cheeses, drank raw milk, took fermented cod liver oil) could take a VERY long time.  Thanks doc, and eat it!  I grabbed my chart and left.  I went to another practice that came very highly recommended.  I went and my first appointment was wonderful.  I saw a very kind, warm PA who was wonderful. She said everything looked wonderful and was very apologetic about my past experience while assuring me that the doctor I was there to see would be very accommodating to my wishes.  Fast forward two weeks and I met the doctor.  She was one of the most horrible, un-empowering, woman hating people I have ever met.  I'm assuming that her and my prior doctor knew each other, because I'm really hoping that there's no other way she would just be as mean as she was.  She told me that her patients 'don't go past 38 weeks and you'll get pitocin at the hospital so we need to come to an understanding about how things will go so that we don't have any conflict at the hospital.'.  I told here that there wouldn't be any conflict...nor would there be any pitocin.  That I don't HAVE to show up for an induction just because she schedules one.   She left the room and brought back a card for a group of midwives, told me that I would be better off there, and refused to schedule another appointment.  Honestly, I will be eternally grateful for that.  I had the best pregnancy, labor and delivery because I fought for myself and my baby to have the experience that we were entitled to.  My only issue...this time around, as with the others, breastfeeding was a struggle.  Once again, hospital lactation consultants failed me miserably.  However, thanks to a few special women, I KNOW why!  I finally know why!  My Little Birdie has a posterior tongue tie and a lip tie.  So does Little Viking...and Little Valkyrie.  Knowing this, I was motivated.  It would stretch out and I would heal and I knew that I could continue nursing her.  Because I knew that I could fight through this and do this the way that was best for US just as I had fought off all the doctors to have the delivery that we needed.  At one point, most of her food was via a bottle and, most of that was formula.  However, at 13 1/2 weeks old, she is down to only 6 oz of supplement a day, the rest is me!  I can come across as pushy so often because I tell women who are pregnant for the first time to PLEASE think about what they actually want and to be educated and informed about their labor, delivery, postpartum and breastfeeding choices and to have support lined out.  Don't go with the flow 'just because'.  However, don't try to do anything that is unsafe and would jeopardize the life of you or your baby.  Use your brain, use your mama instincts, and make a decision that is best for you and your baby.  Be your own fierce advocate and find care providers that will support that and NEVER give in to what someone else wants just to make their life easier.  This is not about them, not in a million years.  Do what is right for you and your baby.  Your baby deserves that/

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