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Entries in preeclampsia (3)


Cesarean Scar: Kathryn

I was young, newly married and ecstatic when I found out we were expecting our first. I never dreamed I'd have any problems, I always pictured this perfect vaginal birth where the baby would be placed on my chest and would nurse right away. My mother had had 10 uncomplicated vaginal births, 1 UC birth at home; I didn't think I would have any problems. At my 36 week checkup the doctor told me I had pre-eclampsia and that he wanted me to stay on bed rest for the week. I had to have a nurse come to my home every day and check my blood pressure and swelling. Four days later I went back to the office for a checkup and he told me that he was sending me to the hospital; I would stay overnight and then would be induced in the morning. So off to the hospital I went. Heartbroken that I wouldn't be starting labor on my own when the time was right.

That night they gave me cervidil. In the morning things drug on and on. They finally hooked up my IV at about 10:00. I don't remember much of what happened after that, I do remember that the contractions were hard and strong and that they hurt, horribly. A little before 2:00 the doctor came in and sat by my bed for a few minutes, I remember him leaving the room and then all this commotion as the nurses rushed into my room. Apparently his heartbeat was dropping. I was rushed off to the operating room. I remember laying there on the table totally naked, alone and scared. First they told my husband he could suit up and come in and then they told him he couldn't come in.

I remember feeling the sting as they put in a few shots of local anesthesia on my lower tummy. And then the burn as they started cutting. I was going to do a drug free birth so I didn't have an epidural. When the call went out the anesthesiologist was five minutes from the hospital. I was later told that he got there just as they were cutting into my uterus. I remember a nurse standing at my head telling me to breathe in, and then I was gone.

When I woke up my baby was in the nursery. He wasn't doing too well and had to have some oxygen. I honestly don't remember much of what they told me was going on with him. I just remember I hurt like nothing I had ever felt before. I'm not sure how long I was out but it was awhile. They finally brought my beautiful baby boy to me. He was so tiny, 5 lbs. 9 oz. and 18 inches long. I know now after having more children and having them vaginally that I didn't have the same bonding with him as I did them.

Even though it was medically necessary to have him by c-section, the cord was in front of his head being smashed every time I had a contraction, I still feel like I failed in my birthing experience. My scar says I failed. I also feel like I failed at nursing him. At three weeks old he was admitted to the hospital because of failure to thrive. I have never felt like more of a failure then that day when I found out I was starving my child because my body wasn't doing what it was supposed to.

I have since had 6 vaginal births and have had a lot better experience.


Cesarean Scar: Kelly

This is a picture of my caesarian scar, taken today @ 5 weeks 1 day post partum. Also a picture of my son's birth.

Kelly says:

My son was conceived via IVF, our 2nd attempt (the first resulted in miscarriage). I had a relatively normal pregnancy in the early days. No morning sickness and only a few minor issues. By the end however I began to slowly fall to pieces (as my Obstetrician put it). I was scheduled for a caesarian in week 38 due to pre-eclampsia & an oversize, breech baby. I was hospitalised week 33-34 for pre-eclampsia. By week 36 I began feeling very unwell and had a blood test and my levels were all over the place. My blood pressure was sky-high, my platelets had dropped dramatically and my liver and kidneys weren't coping. I was phoned by my obstetrician and told to pack a bag and come in immediately and I would be taken to theatre 8am the next day. My husband was working away and my parents live 2hrs away so it was a mad dash to get everyone here. Further blood tests revealled that it would be too risky for an epidural so I was placed under general anaesthetic (GA). My beautiful son "exited via the sunroof" at 8:08am Thurs 18th March 2010 at exactly 37 weeks gestation 49.5cm & 3.55kg. He wasn't breathing at first and was a lovely shade of purple. His 1min Apgar was 3. However he picked up and has gained a healthy 1.4kg since and is the light of my life. 

When I look at my scar I see my "baby tattoo" and reminds me of what I went though to hold my beautiful little man in my arms and I will treasure it forever. I see it as my "battle scar".
When I touch my scar it still burns to the touch. It still hurts when I move certain ways and when I get out of bed and at the end of a long day.

When I'm Asked a Question

A lot of my life is answering questions. I love talking about birth and babies. I think I spend more time online talking with women about the various aspects of their mother-lives than any other activity on the computer.

So when women ask me specific questions, I take the task seriously; a woman's trust must be respected and honored.

Most questions are easy enough to work through. 

- I'm not sure if I have thrush.

- Can you help me with my birthplan?

- My baby won't take a pacifier.

Like that.

But, sometimes I get questions that are either out of my league or not of very great interest to me. While I think I do a decent job researching many topics, I am not a professional. Statistics all blur together and I've found for every study completed, you can find three more that dispute it. So it takes a focused and motivated person to weed through the mass of numbers and take the piles of words and make some kind of sense out of them.

My motivation varies. I am passionate about fat in pregnancy, gestational diabetes and insulin resistance. I love writing about midwifery and writing. It brings me joy to share my photography. But, even within those parameters, not everything excites me enough to exert the energy (or spend the time) writing about.

Today, on the heels of my post declaring I will write a blog post for each day in November (NaBloPoMo), I got this question in the comments.

"Can you write a blog (post) about high blood pressure/preeclampsia? I feel like the issue is getting very fogged by doctors lately, and I'd like to know more about when induction and c-section are appropriate."

Meg! I really am honored that you want my opinion... that in itself is a wonderful compliment. But... I do have to say, this isn't one of those topics that resonates with me. And, if I did attempt to tackle the topic, it would easily take 6-8 weeks to finish. This kind of involved subject really tests my mettle!

So, instead of a term paper on the subject, I have an idea. How about you ask me pointed questions about BP/PE/PIH... what exactly confuses you -or that you see others being confused about. That way, I'll be able to not talk about that you already know about and/or what has been written about extensively already.

And, too... know I am a midwife. I am trained to know normal and to know what isn't normal... and refer out. I suspect a lot of the topic will be out of my scope of practice and I am really sure I would not be able to determine when induction or a cesarean is indicated. Mostly because each woman is so individual, but also because I do not make those decisions. I work with women as they learn about their options, offering information and support for their process. I do not ever make the ultimate decision about an induction or a cesarean. Not to lightly pass off the duty to a doctor, but those decisions are between a woman, her partner/s and her OB. Her midwife can be a great consultant, but (speaking for myself) I will never have all the knowledge an OB does regarding the complicated issues surrounding preeclampsia.

So, hone your questions and I will do my best to answer what I can. Readers, you can help, too!