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The Birth of My first Child – Our Miracle Baby


Welcome to the First Carnival of Birth Reflections

This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Birth Reflections hosted by Patti at Jazzy Mama and Zoie at TouchstoneZ. Participants are writing posts that reflect on how birth has transformed them into who they are today. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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*Trigger warnings of baby in distress*

It’s been six and half years since the birth of my first daughter. I’ve shared the birth stories of my last two children, but not hers. I am amazed that after all this time I still get teary when I talk about her birth. I figured if I don’t talk about it now, I may never.
I had planned an all natural birth at Good Sam hospital. I was seeing a team of three midwives there. I remember well when the contractions started and I realized I was indeed in labor.
I had a cute little Rat Terrier back then, she sat in the rocking chair beside me, or at my feet. I think she knew something was up. I rocked and rocked, walked and rocked some more. When I went to use the bathroom I noticed my contractions were picking up in intensity, they were also two minutes apart!

I called the pager and one of the midwives called me back. She told me to go ahead and come in. Looking back I think I should’ve stayed home longer. Maybe it was the short ride(I’m talking 5-7 minutes)to the hospital and filling out paperwork that made me stall. Once I was finally checked in they told me I was 1cm dilated. Seriously? My choices were walking for an hour or two and then starting pitocin, or going home and coming back again once things picked up.

I chose to walk and start pitocin. I just wanted to meet my baby. My due date was the 3rd, it was the 4th when I went in to the hospital.
You see, I skipped the chapters on cesarean and inductions…I wouldn’t need or want either of those things.

After walking the halls and stopping for several contractions, leaning on Charles, the walls of the hospital, and finally making it back to our room….they started the pitocin.
My nurse asked me if I wanted anything mild for the pain. I waited, but then opted for the Nubain. Not long after, I started feeling woozy and Charles said I was talking and slurring my words.
I dozed off for a while, woke in between contractions to Charles sleeping peacefully on the couch. They had turned up the pit and I was really starting to feel it. I couldn’t take the pain. It was awful!

I kept throwing ice chips at Charles trying to wake him because I didn’t want to yell in the hospital trying to wake him. Once he woke up and rubbed my back through a few contractions, we decided it was time to call my parents.
They arrived shortly and everyone took turns rubbing my back through contractions. I was in so much pain. They made me stay on my left side, had inserted the electronic fetal monitor on her head, went to put cervidil on my cervix and my water broke.

Now things were really picking up. I was lying there thinking this was so far from what I had wanted, but I was excited to meet my baby. My midwife was in and out of the room. She had a busy night/day. Nine other babies were born that day.
I remember at one point I switched sides and they came running in yelling at me to flip back over, saying her heart rate kept dropping. They pressed on my belly and I thought it was strange that Nakiah was so still. I didn’t tell anyone this then, but I had this feeling in my gut that something was wrong. I remember thinking” what if my baby doesn’t make it”
We had called the rest of my support team in the morning around 9ish, I think.¬† They came and after church the rest of my friends came to support me during the birth of my first baby. We all hung out for a few hours and I finally couldn’t take it anymore. After being on pitocin for 20 hours, I needed relief. I told them to call the anesthesiologist and get him to my room yesterday! I was so disappointed in myself for getting the epidural, but I needed some rest, my body needed to rest. I was so tense with each contraction, I couldn’t breathe, or relax into them, I just wanted them to stop.

I was checked again and was 5-6cm dilated. The midwife told me it could be an hour for each centimeter and then she left the room.
Shortly after, I think it was a little after 2:30 I felt like I needed to go poo. I called my nurse back in, and she checked me, said I was an 8, she went to leave the room and I was like wait!!!!….she came back and I was complete. She asked me to try a couple of practice pushes, said “yup, you’re ready” and left to get the midwife.

Here came my midwife, incubator thingy, and several other people. She asked me if a resident could watch and at the time I didn’t care who was watching….I just wanted to finally¬† meet my baby.
I couldn’t feel my legs, so Charles , my mom and one of my friends held my legs up. My other friend started to record.
I was pushing, counting to ten, pushing again, you know the routine….
They held up a mirror for me so I could watch her crown.

Finally….a head! I told them I needed a break. My friend started laughing at me because she couldn’t believe I was sitting there with this head just hanging out of me while I lie back for a few moments of rest. Since I had the epidural, I wasn’t feeling much of anything, so it was easy for me to relax for a few at that moment. I will say, that once I got the epi I was able to relax and I think that’s why I started to open so quickly. So I do believe that epidurals have their place.

So I’m pushing again and I hear my husband say are they supposed to look like that when they come out?
I look over, and the look on my friends face wasn’t a good one. Suddenly my midwife tells them to get rid of the mirror, and tells me I have to push now. I told her that I can’t, I need to rest for a minute. She yells at me that we don’t have time, and my baby needs me to push her out NOW!
I muster all the strength I have in me and my midwife was pulling gently on her. She was a little stuck….some say it was shoulder dystocia(that’s what they put in my file), and others say it wasn’t true dystocia after hearing my story.

I was expecting to have my baby placed on my chest all wet and squishy so I could snuggle her….the moment I had been waiting for.
Instead there were gasps, my friend threw down her camera, my husband and friends looked panicked. I got a tiny glimpse of my limp baby being rushed across the room by my midwife.
My friend tells me to pray, but I can’t. I felt paralyzed. I’m thankful everyone else in the room was praying.
Over the next several minutes all I heard was crying, praying, and hospital staff barking orders at each other.
I forgot to mention that my dad was behind the curtain this entire time. My mom went and told him to pray, but didn’t tell him why.

No one was telling me what was going on. I was so scared. I think maybe I couldn’t pray because I knew something was wrong before. I wish I had said something. It was too late now though, instead of my baby being with me, she was surrounded by strangers who were trying desperately to get her to breathe. My husband said they were rubbing her like crazy, they had bagged her, and still no response. The cord had been around her neck. Maybe as she was moving down, the cord kept pulling tighter around her neck? Maybe it was all the stupid meds I ok’d them put into my body.
Either way, it didn’t matter in that moment, my firstborn wasn’t breathing, and there was nothing I could do. I sat there in that bed alone, watching them trying to resuscitate her.. I was numb…and not because of the epidural. I felt numb inside.

After what seemed like an eternity, we heard a small peep out of her. Joy! She’s alive, my baby is alive! Her first apgar was a 0. They waited 5 minutes and then her apgar was a 9 I think. Nakiah suffered nerve damage to her right arm. She couldn’t move it at all.
Finally, I finally got to hold my baby girl. They handed her to me, and she felt so heavy. Yea she was 10lbs, but I think they added an extra 10 with all of those blankets they wrapped her in.

After everyone had their short visit with us, my midwife came back in the room to check on me. She told me she had been practicing for 30 years and never saw anything like that. She said that I had an amazing team with me, and that even she was praying in that moment. She told me that they don’t normally work on babies as long as they did with her.
She also told me that it was a miracle she was alive.

I had trouble bonding with her…..it took a long time. I blame myself though, I did all of that to her. All these years later and I still have so much guilt. It wasn’t the birth I planned or wanted. It was so traumatic for me. It took several days for everything to sink in. I’m trying so hard to forgive myself, but I can’t. I was supposed to protect her, but instead I’m at fault for how she came into this world.

I know I need to forgive myself. Holding on to all of this guilt and anger about her birth isn’t good. Do you have any suggestions?

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Carnival of Birth Reflections
Visit Jazzy Mama and TouchstoneZ to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Birth Reflections!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

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28 thoughts on “The Birth of My first Child – Our Miracle Baby

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  5. Oh Darcel, I am glad I came to read your post. I had Nubain, too, with my first one. Then an intra thecal spinal thing that made me itch and feel even more weird. Anyhow, I can relate to so very much of your story. I also had sort of skimmed over the intervention information because I didn’t want it to happen to me.

    There is one aspect of your story that you can work to shift, if you’re open. Right now it is written as your fault. How would it feel to release for a moment the guilt, blame, and fault to trade it for responsibility.

    Responsibility is our ability to respond. In its simplest essence it does not contain guilt, blame, shame, or fault. As humans anchored in a paradigm of past and punishment, we lay all of that stuff on ourselves and each other. That doesn’t really work for positive change and experiences, though. It keeps us down, as you are experiencing.

    So if responsibility is one’s ability to respond, did you respond to your experience with all of the knowledge and ability you had at the time? Yes, correct? Now that you had that experience, what have you learned about yourself, the process of birth, and interventions? Do you share that knowledge with others and do you act upon it to make positive changes in your own life – even if ever so slight? If so, you are changing your ability to respond if in another situation (probably in your subsequent births, yes?). That demonstrates growth, a making of amends, the “righting” of a “wrong”.

    The status of medical birth is what it is. Families are not always fully informed and medical staff are operating within their limited expertise. We do get to become informed consumers of our medical care, but that often comes through experiences such as this. We live, we learn.

    I have a post coming up about rewriting our birth stories. This is not only important for us, but for our children. We cannot change the past, but we can absolutely change the way we relate to it. I hope you will look for it because I would love to hear how it works for you in changing this birth story so the one you tell and live offers the empowered version. :)

    • I like this a lot. Thank you. That is why I started this blog, to build a community, to inform, share, and learn from others. Let me know when your post goes up. I would love to read it.

  6. Wow! Now that story brought tears to my eyes. I cannot imagine going through all of that just to have a baby torn away from you and not know why. And then to find out…oh the horror! This story is a powerful account of WHY we mamas need to listen to our gut and not be afraid to tell someone how we feel. Could this have been avoided? Maybe. Maybe not. God has a plan for us all. However, your daughter clearly has an important purpose here otherwise she would not have fought so hard to pull through such a traumatic experience.

    You made the decision you were most comfortable with at the time and you cannot blame yourself any longer. You have a healty daughter who you love and who loves you. You have dedicated yourself to natural parenting which is more than most mamas. It is ok to let go of the negativity. Do not let it weigh you down any longer. Everything happens the way it is suppose to, if only to teach us lessons for later in life. Your words and your sharing your experience will hopefully empower other pregnant women to listen to their guts during labor and delivery.

    Thank you for such an honest, although painful post.

    • Her birth wasn’t all bad, because through it I have learned all I know about pregnancy, birth, and parenting now. I hope that others will learn from my story. I never want anyone to experience what I did if they don’t have to.

  7. Thankyou so much, Darcel, for participating in the first Carnival of Birth Reflections.

    I’m so amazed at how powerful we mothers are to birth our babes, and yet we are so hard on ourselves. What can you do? You can love your daughter and love yourself. Your daughter deserves a Whole mother, and you have what it takes to be the most powerful role model in her life. I am so moved by your story and incredibly humbled that you would share it with me and the world.

    Freedom and Joy to you and yours,
    Patti

    • I am so glad that the birth of my first daughter has it’s own place. I am so happy I could participate. Thank you for hosting. I have always been hard on myself, but I get better over time. You’re right, she does deserve a whole mother and that’s what she’s going to get.

  8. Darcel, I was literally holding my breath as I read your heart-felt story. I have a lot of guilt too over the mistakes I made in first two births, but as my midwife once told me: “we don’t know what we don’t know.” We try our best in all things mothering and hope for a good outcome. Thanks so much for sharing your story.

  9. Thank you for sharing this post for the Carnival. I am in tears while reading your words. I remember the feelings and fears when facing losing a baby. It makes sense that after facing such intensity after the demands of labor, that it would take awhile for your system to reboot. It took me awhile to bond with my first, as well. The only way that I have found to release guilt and anger is to feel them fully. To accept them and invite them into your heart and love yourself-all of yourself. Including those parts you may find unpleasant. I keep telling my kids that all feelings are there for a reason and either neither good nor bad. They just are. Accepting and being gentle with yourself just as you are with your kids (give yourself some of that compassion that you give with a free heart to your children)

    And get support, both online and in real life. Just someone who can listen without judgment

    • I think that is what I have finally been able to do.I have allowed myself to have those feelings, and now I’m ready to move on. I also realize it’s going to be a process, but I’m not going to rush myself.

  10. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I think there are parts of our birth stories that many of us have to grieve. There are parts of mine that I now look back on and think could have been different. I’m still working through this process myself, so my only advice is that it is a process -something that truly needs to be mourned. Doing some research on the bonding process has helped me heal a bit and I wonder if it would help you too. I read in Dr. Sears’ preemie book about how the bonding done between 6months and 2 years is the most important. If you know you’ve given your daughter the best you can since her birth, you can have confidence that everything is going to turn out fine. However, I understand that that doesn’t discount what you went through and the guilt you have about what happened. Blessings to you, mama.

    • You are right. It’s a mourning process. I feel ready to move on. I’m so glad to have all of this support and understanding for what we went through.

  11. I totally agree with the above comment (Catholic Mommy)… Guilt only has its place if you had full knowledge of all that would have happened and still chosen a path that would put your child in harm’s way. You had no way of knowing what would happen.

    IF that were the case, conviction would drive us into the arms of God and make way for forgiveness and reconciliation… and guilt would just be harassment. But since that is not the case, guilt has no place in your story. At all! It isn’t from the Lord. It’s just accusations over things you had no control over. You were doing the absolute best you could, and God provided a miracle to help you and your sweet baby through.

    Praying for healing for your heart momma. :) *hugs*

    • I’m realizing that part of my problem is thinking that I was in control at times and I really wasn’t. Control is something I have always struggled with, but I’m learning to let go.

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  14. I can’t imagine anything more terrifying that what you faced when she came out. I am so thankful and happy for you that she was ok at the end. Based on what you described, I have a hard time believing that any decision you made or any drug you accepted caused her condition. It sounds like there was very little, if anything, you could have done to influence her condition. I hope you can find peace and let go of any feelings of guilt or blame – there are things that are not in our control, and I believe this was one of them.

  15. Darcel, thank you for sharing your story. I can only imagine how difficult it was to put it all in words and then share it with the world. Unfortunately, I have seen this story play out many times over the last ten years. I so often I want to tell moms to just go back home! But I can’t – I’m just the nurse NOT the doctor/midwife.

  16. I think you would only have reason to feel guilty if you had deliberately chosen to do something with the full knowledge that it could damage your baby. From reading your story, I don’t think that was the case. You were full of joy over the gift of your daughter and following medical advice that you trusted. You made choices based on the information you had. No birth is free from risk. Something different may have happened in a different setting with different birth attendants. You can never know.
    I understand feeling like you failed. Mothers want to protect their children from everything and it is SO easy to blame ourselves when, in hindsight, we see a glaring mistake. But it was a mistake, not a purposeful decision.
    Have you talked with your daughter about her birth? Not full disclosure, of course, because she’s still young, but how God intervened and saved her as a precious gift for you? You could share with her that it makes you sad to know she was hurt when she was coming out. Tell her that you wish you could have made her safe and happy when she was born. Tell her you’re sorry and ask if she can forgive you. I suspect she can.
    And then, when the guilt rushes in and you replay over and over the mistakes you made in good faith, remind yourself that neither God nor Nakiah is holding you accountable. Recite all the good and wonderful things you have done with your daughter since her traumatic entry. Thank God for the life He gave back to you. Turn again toward Him and ask for grace. He choose YOU to be Nakiah’s mommy, even knowing ahead of time what her birth would entail. He thinks YOU are the best person to love your daughter. I’ve found He’s usually right. ;-)

    • I really needed to read this. Thank you. I know that God knows what he’s doing, and I am going to work on forgiving myself. I haven’t gone into much detail with her about her birth, but I’m sure she would like knowing how special she is. I was never really sure how to tell her, but now I know.

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