My entire life turned upside down the day Vivi was born and not just in the obvious and happy ways. I went through and came out of trauma and the ensuing aftermath over the course of her first year that I wish on no woman. But I came out of it. I survived. And not only did I survive, but now, I am thriving. This is my story [and Vivi's too]. Please be warned - I talk of some graphic details of the event. If blood is not your thing, you may not want to read this. Thank you for letting me share. You may find Parts 1, 3, and the final installment of this series here.
I labored at home until around 1 pm when the pain became too much to bear.
The nurses confirmed I could be admitted [I was 6 cm dilated] and was settled into a room. Couldn’t have been better timing because I hit the transition phase just after being rolled in and just before vomiting.
Fun stuff, this giving birth.
Luckily, I finally got my epidural at 8 cm, right before it all hit the fan.
A few more hours and around 8 pm I was called upon to push. Our nurse was on one leg and Drew on my other, and as I’m doing the most intense workout of my life, my nurse is saying how she’s expecting me to push for about 3 hours.
ARE YOU INSANE? [pretty sure that’s exactly what I said and however crazy I sound in your head while you’re reading this is EXACTLY how I sounded then and there]
Talk about a motivator. Hell no was I going to do this for 3 hours! Good for me and my stubbornness, because in this one rare occasion, it worked in my favor.
Vivian Paige Wheeler was born at 9:46 pm, healthy and crying.
She was so perfect. I just wanted to hold her and be swept away looking into her eyes. But this did not happen.
I held her yes, but I could not focus on her because of the discomfort I was feeling. Something felt wrong.
After the delivery of the placenta, I could tell by the look on the doctor’s face that something was not right.
Crisis #3, unavoidable.
It’s hard to put into words all that happened next. The fear. I’ve never felt such fear before. And the helplessness. Oh god, the helplessness.
The amount of doctors and nurses in my delivery room tripled instantly. My doctor called for the surgical room to be prepped and from my bedside told me that I was being taken in for surgery. My uterine wall had collapsed and turned inside out.
The last words she said to me were “You might have to have a hysterectomy, but we’ll do everything we can to avoid it” and then they swept me from the room where I’d just barely said hello to my newborn daughter.
Drew was torn, not sure if he should go with me or stay with Vivi.
He shouted, “Mere, do I go with you?”. I yelled back to stay with Vivi. A nurse explained that he could not go into the surgery room anyway. We were all in such a state of panic that I don’t think either of us fully understood I was about to have surgery.
The surgical room was bright, white, and sterile. Such a stark difference from the warm, dimly lit delivery room. They lifted me onto the table and strapped my legs and arms down. They put an oxygen mask over my mouth.
I screamed and thrashed – I couldn’t breathe. They checked the oxygen. Was it on? Yes - I was just having a panic attack. One of the surgical staff, an older man with white hair, showed me how to breathe again, said they would take good care of me as he patted my shoulder and applied the round sticky electrodes to my chest.
The room was chaotic.
The doctors and nurses were assertive and moved with purpose, but I could feel the panic in the room. I don’t know how I realized this, but just before I drifted off into the drug-induced sleep, I became acutely aware of the massive amount of blood I was losing from between my legs.
As I shut my eyes, I truly wondered for the first time in my life - will I wake up from this? Utter fear.
From the moment the doctor realized my uterine wall had collapsed to my falling asleep on the surgery table - this whole episode lasted only a matter of minutes. It all happened so fast.
When I awoke around 2 am, they were rolling me back to my room where Drew and Vivi remained. I asked groggily, “Do I still have my uterus?”. Yes, and I was going to be ok.
My second question?
“Do we get a private room now?” The doctor chuckled a little, saying she’ll have to speak with the nurse, but she’ll see what she can do. I used to think that last question was the ultimate sign of selfishness, but I know now I was just too vulnerable and too weak and too scared to allow anyone but my husband to see me. I drifted back off to sleep with Vivi swaddled and tucked in the crook of my arm.
I had a rare complication called a uterine inversion where following birth, the top of my uterus dips through the opening of the cervix. It happens in about 1 and 3,000 births and is considered 1 of the 5 fatal complications of childbirth [as explained to me by my doctor much later].
Luckily, when caught early as mine was, measures can be taken quickly to right the uterus and stop the bleeding. Had I made the decision to have an at-home delivery, I may not have lived. I am so grateful for the quick and purposeful steps my doctors and nurses took that day.
Though my struggle was just beginning, because of them, I was at least alive.
This post appeared first on Everyday Enthusiastic. All ideas in this post are of my own opinions including any mention of companies and/or affiliate sites. No sponsorships were involved in the creation of this post. Photographs taken by family using a DSLR Canon Rebel T3.