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Ottilie’s Birth Story

Ottilie’s Birth Story

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Birth Story : I’m still facing a great deal of emotions regarding her birth. Whenever I think of that night it stirs up a wave of anxiety, which hits me hard, but I’m sharing regardless, maybe in hopes that the more I talk about it, the lighter it will seem, but at the very least to shed light on the importance of advocating for yourself in the medical setting. 
On Friday, March 31st (one day past my due date) I started experiencing light, short contractions around 8:00am. They were only lasting a few seconds and didn’t hurt worse than Braxton hicks I’d had throughout the previous months. Of course, ready to get labor started, I decided to clean and move around my house as much as possible. My contractions picked up and became stronger. I could still talk and walk through them, but they were starting to hurt and become more consistent by late morning. My husband was still at work, so I decided to see how I continued to feel as the day went on before heading in. I always have really long labors, especially in the times where I haven’t been induced, so I wasn’t too worried about waiting at home, especially since the pain was still very bearable. Plus, I wanted to labor as much as possible at home, since I had to deliver at a hospital I didn’t really like to begin with, but my doctor had said this hospital was my only option if I definitely wanted an epidural. By 5pm my contractions were coming around every 3-5 minutes and were lasting just under a minute, but they were strong, so I decided to eat a little and then head in. We got to the hospital right before 6pm and the nurses were about to change. My first nurse was very kind, we went over my medical history, put me on the monitors and checked that I was 3cm dilated! Alex and I were getting excited that it was actually happening! Then the next group on nurses came on and it all began to change. 

My contractions were coming closer together and hurting a great deal more. The next nurse checked me and said I was at 4cm. She plainly said that she didn’t think I was progressing though, since the different measurements from 3cm to 4cm could just be difference of opinion since the previous measurement was taking by the other nurse. She then said she wanted me to walk around for an hour to see if I dilate further to “rule out labor”.  I thought that was the weirdest thing, since I had very steady close together contractions which could be seen on the monitors, plus I had dilated, and was a day past my due date with my 5th child, but I kept quiet since I didn’t want to seem rude. Her badge said she was the charge nurse, so who was I to question her? I did my best to walk around, but with every 5 steps I would double over in pain as a contraction would hit and Alex had to hold me up. After an hour we walked back, she checked and said that I was “closer to a 5, but not really” so she put me back on the monitors for an hour. It was close to 9pm and I was in immense pain. My vision was going in and on and I didn’t want to be laying there, but again I didn’t want to argue. 

She said she would check back in an hour again. Mind you, I’m still in triage, a giant room with around two other women and their partners, behind thin curtains. You can hear everyone’s business and the nurses station is about 10 feet away within this large room. By the time she comes back, I’m crying and in terrible pain. I tell her how awful I feel and she examines the monitor, which shows my contractions. She turns to me and callously asks to to “walk for an hour again to rule out labor.” I tell her through my strained breaths there’s no way I can walk, I barely made it through the first time she wanted me to walk and that was hours ago. She reply’s then she’s going to have me sit on a yoga ball then to see if this is labor. I KNEW I was in labor. Everyone with or without medical training would know I was in labor so I couldn’t fathom why she was doing this to me and wouldn’t just get me a room, but I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to seem rude. I sat on the ball. By now I’m crying and making terrible noises with each contraction, which was around every minute. I kept apologizing, through tears, to all of the other mothers who had to listen. One was going home and the other was in very early labor and I felt awful that I was probably scaring them. There were around 7 nurses at the station as I glanced out past my curtain, I knew there were empty room from when she made me wander the halls early, and I just wanted a room, but didn’t know how or why she didn’t think I was in labor. She said she would be back in an hour but an hour past and I could see she was still chatting at the nurses station. I crawled back into bed because I couldn’t keep my balance on the ball anymore. 

Now I was almost screaming and continuing to cry with each contraction. I had never been in so much pain and I was scarred what would happen if I was continuously told I wasn’t in labor. I started to cry and say I couldn’t do it and that I wanted an epidural. We didn’t have a button to call the nurse, so that’s all I could do. I knew she could hear me since there was a crack in the curtain and several of the nurses looked over, but did nothing. Suddenly my water broke sometime after 11:30pm. My water never breaks until it’s go time, so I knew this was bad, plus the pain of the contraction when it broke was a thing of nightmares. Alex said he would get the nurse, but I cried for him not to go. To just yell for her. He was the only person I felt safe around there and I couldn’t imagine being alone knowing the baby was coming. He stuck his head out of the curtain and said “her water broke”. He didn’t even have to yell, so I know they heard everything I was going through, and they had monitors of my contractions at their station and they were just blatantly ignoring me. My nurse slowly sauntered in and said “oh I guess you were in labor”. I’m still crying that I want an epidural and telling them that the baby is coming soon if my water broke. 

Another nurse walks over and said asked Alex what number baby this was for us, as she put on gloves to examine me. He said 5 and her eyes got huge and she said “the baby is right there!” I cried and said “I know. I can’t do this. I wanted an epidural and it hurts too much. I can’t.” Other nurses rush over to start pushing me to labor and deliver. A little too late in my opinion, but what can I do. They pull back the curtain and I scream that the baby is coming out. They tell me to “hold it!” “Don’t push!!” As if that’s how the human body works. She was coming out and I was in a hallway. They drop the head of the stretcher so I’m flat on my back and it hurt so bad. They keep telling me not to push and to move my legs. I couldn’t. My body was pushing and my legs weren’t going anywhere. I kept looking around and Alex wasn’t there. I was alone and none of these people seemed to care about me for the last 5+ hours while I was there. I shut my eyes tight from the pain, and to push the visual away that my husband wasn’t next to me. I can’t control the weird screams that are happening. Everyone was yelling for me not to push still as we whipped into a room’s threshold and suddenly it was all too much. My entire body went numb. The pain went away and I opened my eyes and all I could see was a light. I push as hard as I could. A nurse I hadn’t seen before jumped up, half on the stretcher and caught her. She was born just before midnight. I just laid there. I couldn’t move and was shaking uncontrollably. They asked me to crawl onto the delivery bed (why now?!). I looked at Ottilie to snap back into reality. I hadn’t even delivered the placenta yet, the umbilical cord still attached, I crawled to the other bed while they held the baby to me. 

My doctor walks in, a look of disbelief, saying, “why didn’t anyone call me!?” She was right down in delivery the hall the entire time. A nurse asks if she should give me an IV. I never got one in triage because they “didn’t think I was in labor” or whatever they wanted to say for whatever the real reason was that they didn’t treat me as they should have. My doctor almost laughed and said “it’s a little too late for that now I think.” She was the same doctor that delivered the twins and I know she truly cared about me the kids. She apologized and made sure they gave me a shot of Pitocin at least to help prevent hemorrhaging. The Peds nurse and a student took Ottilie across the room to suction, since she had a lot of fluid in her lungs. The rest of a blur. I stayed the 48 hours, but just wanted to take my baby home. I still think about calling that charge nurse and asking her why. What did she think was happening if it wasn’t labor. I was there for just under 6 hours showing all of the signs of labor, but was dismissed repeatedly. Looking back, I wish so many things would have gone differently, and most of all I wish I would have stood up for myself. I wish I would have demanded a room. Told them what I needed. I had gone through the process many time and completed a nursing clinical rotation in labor and delivery. I knew exactly what should have happened at each step and I let it all go in order to not offend someone who, it felt like purposefully medically neglected me. Trust your instincts. You can ask for another nurse and make your needs known. Don’t assume that a badge means that someone knows your body better than you do, or that they have your best interest in mind. I wish so much that that wasn’t the case, but sadly some people probably shouldn’t be in the positions of power that that they are in over others. It’s okay to ask question medical decisions, it’s okay to be your own advocate.