My first labor and delivery, while not as horrifying as some, was a nightmare. It took years to fully recover from the experience. At that point in my life, at eighteen, almost nineteen years old, I wasn’t in an ideal situation for a peaceful life, let alone a good labor and delivery.
My husband at the time, was having seizures in his sleep. He was a recovering alcoholic and since sobering up had started experiencing petit mal seizures during the day, and every so often, grand mal seizures during the night. The idea of a spontaneous night seizure terrified me and while I was pregnant, I never slept well. Eventually I even started losing my hair after the baby was born.
One night, or rather early, early morning, on July 2, 2008, he experienced two seizures instead of one. They were within a couple hours of each other and at the thought of two in one night I called the ambulance. By 5 am, my husband and I were enroot to the hospital in Dearborn, MI. I don’t remember very much about the hours that dragged on until about 6 o’clock in the evening when I was tired, hungry and waiting for a ride home while he was admitted overnight. My back was aching and on my way to leave the hospital I went pee for the millionth time and noticed that there were brown spots on my underwear………and I had been having consistent back pain for a few hours that kept fading and returning.
“Chris..” I said to the brother who came to take me home, “I think we should stop at triage on the way down.” As I stood in the elevator, descending a few floors from where I had been, the aching in my back began to intensify with the gravity shift. By the time I was there it was becoming more and more apparent that the baby was coming!
I remember going into the room, without Chris, alone, and freaking out. I was in labor and the contractions were becoming more intense and painful and all I can remember before they put me on morphine while waiting for an epidural was the nurse’s attitude. I was young, naïve, scared, and panicking when in response to her reprimand I said, “I’m in labor, I don’t have to be nice!” and she looked me dead in the eye, “Oh, you don’t?” in a nasty tone and the quality of care went downhill from there.
I was alone in a hospital I didn’t intend to deliver at, in labor with a child whose father was admitted and sedated on Dilantin and whatever else was in the IV, waiting on my mom to drive 2 hours to reach me. The stage was set.
By the morning of July 3rd, I had an epidural that was wearing off and a piggy back that hardly helped ease the pain at all. My then boyfriend’s mom was there, which I had not wanted and Jeff was still upstairs on meds. I was in so much pain, I was so scared and worried and swearing like the sailor/waitress I was. His mother says to me during all of this, “Could you please try not to swear so much?”
“Shut the fuck up!” is all I remember saying. There are flashes of my mother putting a cool rag on my forehead and Jeff making it too my side with about fifteen minutes to spare. I felt only pain and depression when the baby was placed in my arms. I tried to breastfeed him without any help and in my distress, as he was incorrectly latched, he gave me sores on both nipples that scabbed over and took weeks to heal.
He didn’t eat much of anything the first 18-24 hours he was home. I didn’t sleep and neither did he. Finally I was able to fix the problem with help from a lactation consultant at the pediatrician’s office. I also discovered that I had an inverted nipple that required a nipple shield to pull it out and make nursing easier for the baby. I wore nipple shields and applied breast milk over my scabbed nipples only to battle thrush later on.
However, I persevered and was able to nurse my first born for 7 months before returning to work. He is now seven and a half years old and a magnificent artist and writer. He has a great heart and is sensitive yet fierce in his feelings. He will be a big brother x3 very soon!