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Kristen's Uterine Rupture Story

In 2005 I delivered my first child, a son, via emergency c-section due to "non-reassuring tones".  I miscarried my second pregnancy at 10 weeks in 2009.  After infertility treatments, I became pregnant a third time in 2011.  My pregnancy was glorious, healthy, and I felt great throughout.  I was seen by a seasoned midwife at a highly respected practice that delivered at a large suburban hospital. My midwife was pushing for a vbac, but I was on the fence.  I told my midwife that I would not want to attempt a vbac if my baby was over 8 lbs, at which point she reassured me he wasn't (he was actually 9 lbs, 9 oz at birth). I think my instinct was telling me not to vbac, but I was being overwhelmingly told how much better for my baby a vbac would be.  Ultimately, I decided to let God/the Universe decide.  I prayed about it and said if I went into labor prior to Jan. 2, 2012 (the first date the hospital would allow an "elective" c-section due to the March of Dimes 39-week guideline), I would attempt a vbac.  If I did not go into labor prior to Jan. 2, I  decided I would do a RCS. 

My water broke around 1:00 AM on 12-31-11, as I was brushing my teeth before bed.  Because I was Group B Strep positive, we went right to the hospital so antibiotics could be administered.  I labored slowly, and around 7:00 AM began receiving Pitocin.  They continued to increase the amount of Pitocin and I began to have a lot of pain, so around 10:30 AM I asked to have a C/S.  The midwife talked me out of it, saying both the baby and I were doing well, and why would I want an unnecessary surgery.  She suggested I get an epidural and I remember saying, "but if something goes wrong I won't be able to feel it".  She assured me they were doing continual monitoring and all was well.  It will haunt me forever, but I agreed to continue laboring as well as to get the epidural. 

Around 3:30 PM on 12-31-11 is when I believe I ruptured.  I noticed I didn't have one big baby bump anymore, instead I had two smaller ones that were diagonal in my abdomen.  I pointed it out to the nurse but no one seemed worried.  Minutes later, I heard my son's heartbeat slow and not come back up.  My parents had just arrived, and at this point the midwife and several nurses came rushing in, only to realize I was bleeding heavily.  They rushed me to the OR for a c-section, but for reasons still unknown to me, no doctor showed up to perform the c-section for 45 minutes.  During that time, the midwife, nurses, and anesthesiologist simply had to stand there knowing my baby was most likely dead already.  When the doctor did show up, my son was found up in my abdomen, my cervix had also torn, and my catheter was filled with blood as my bladder had also been damaged.  The suction necessary to pull my son out was so strong, it lifted my body off the OR table.  When my son came out, my husband said my body fell back onto the table and I passed out. 

My son was blue and not breathing at birth.  He was resuscitated and put on life support, then sent to a NICU at a trauma center an hour away.  While initially there was some hope we would eventually bring our boy home, sadly his brain damage was too significant.  He went into cardiac arrest at five weeks old, and although he was again resuscitated, he suffered further brain damage and we had to remove his life support so he would not have to suffer anymore.  Of course, after watching my son's incredible suffering, I will always wish I had trusted my instincts and demanded the C/S when my son was still perfectly healthy.  Or refused Pitocin (didn't know then I could have said no), or not taken the epidural...   I am learning to live with the million "what if's" that I now have.

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    If a child does not cry or do not take breathing properly, then this child will have a great chance of being brain damage. For this reason Doctors try to make the child criyng so that blood can go into the brian and ensure breathing.

Reader Comments (6)

I am so very sorry for the loss of your son. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermoto_librarian

I'm so sorry for your loss.

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKaren in SC

I'm so sorry for what happened to you and your beautiful baby. I am so angry that the medical professionals around you were not prepared as they should have been. I'm so sorry that you have to live with all of those what-ifs. I hope you know that by sharing your story you will make a difference, and hopefully spare others your pain.

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJulia

Horrified that the doc would augment labor, which is known to markedly increase risk of rupture. So sorry for your loss and terrifying experience.

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteranothermother

Tragic, heartrending. I'm humbled that you shared your painful memories and details with us. Thank you for sharing your story and adding one more thing to know a little better about in my doula support practice. x

April 8, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersarah vine

Dear Kristen, I have just read your story about your son's birth and death. I am so sorry and I feel your pain. Sharing your story I hope helps you in some way. It will most certainly help others as it has myself.

It helps me because I am a practising midwife in the UK and attend home birth all the time, and what your have shared I can reflect on and carry into my practice.

You say that you regret trusting your instincts, choosing an elective repeat cs, regret saying no to epidural or Pitocin. You regret trusting the health care professionals around you; your trust in them went against what your instincts were telling you. You were PERSUDADED to go for a VBAC, have an epidural, have Pitocin. I believe you were let you down badly in so many ways. None of this though will bring your baby back of course and 'what ifs' can cause so much bitterness and prevent healing.

What have I learnt? How important it is to LISTEN to women and HEAR what they are saying. To TRUST in THEIR instincts and act appropriately. I hope that I never try 'to push' for one birth choice over another. My role is to share information, make recommendations to preserve normality of the birth process and then RESPECT any birth choices that a woman makes, even if that choice is not in alignment with my own.

Thank you again for sharing Kristen.

Kay Hardie
Independent Midwife

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKay Hardie

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