Thread: Childbirth
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Old November 3rd, 2004, 11:13 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Iceland
Posts: 3

My name is Helga.
In December of 1999 I gave birth in Iceland ( I am Icelandic)
Over here there are very few options when it comes to birthing.
In 1999 there was basically only one option, hospital.
There was a new program MFS, which stands for Pregnancy, Labour and aftercare.
This program was focused on natural childbirth; it was the first of its kind.
One visits the same midwife through out the pregnancy, and if it is possible that same midwife is percent at the birth.
The system is how ever that you are attended by the doctor and midwife on duty.
Water birth is not allowed in the capitals only hospital.
The care of labouring women is in the hands of both midwifes and doctors.
The midwifes are very restricted by the orders of doctors.
Everything that is ?unconventional?, or non clinical is frowned upon by the medical administrators.
The midwifes here are now fighting to make homebirth a real option, for now only women with perfect track records are considered and only women who have given birth vaginaly already.
We do have a medical system that is supposed to be very good, it is almost free, and the statistics are very impressive.
Excellent prenatal care and an excellent monitoring of infants and toddlers.
Seems they just forgot to take care of this mother.
The mortality rate is one of the lowest in the world.

I hand a very good pregnancy.
A little heartburn was the only uncomfort I had.
I was in MFS, my midwife was Rose.
She was to say the least wonderful.
Until about two weeks before my due date everything was just wonderful.
It was then that the Braxton hicks started.
At first they were not so bad, just some mild contractions every now and then.
But around my due date, they started to get rather strong in my opinion.
Strong enough to make me have to breathe my way through.
My mind was not at ease when these BH were 6 min apart for 12 hours.
But I was always told that these were just BH and that I ought to relax.
One time I had just come from an examination with Rosa, I stood at the elevator when a BH hit, it was so strong I had to lean up against the wall, and concentrate one my breathing.
A midwife that was heading for the elevator stopped and asked me if I was having pains, I could only muster an ?umhmm?.
She put her hand on my belly and said ?Gosh its hard?.
I had just been told that they were only BH so I went on home.

I was not in a good mood those last days !
Constant pain, I could no longer drive my self around due to the pain.
I was not getting much sleep, and could hardly walk half a block to the store.
But they continued to tell me these were only BH.
I did not agree, but what was I to know, I had never been there before.

I was getting so sick and tired of it all.
And then one day it happened.
A small gush of water.
I was so relived.
My bean as I called her had not yet engaged, so I called the hospital.
?Come on in and let us take a look at you?.
And so we did, we waited and waited.
They finally got around to taking a look at me and then they sayd it
?nope, this was just inter membrane fluid.
I was so frustrated !
Over the nest few says I had regular gushes if inter membrane fluid
To give you a mental picture.
Me sitting on the sofa talking to my best friend Ella on the phone.
And then I go ? hang on? I put the phone down, grab a role of paper towels , role upa bunch stuff it down my trousers and sit back down on the towel.
As I get back on the phone I say ?just a little inter membrane flood?.
Ella howled with laughter.
The BH were not getting any lighter, no dilation.
I was starting to despair.

We had already gone to the hospital once thinking the time had come.
Some 12 hours later, we were sent home.

The night of the 26th of November we decided to take a walk downtown, I wanted to see some of the Christmas displays.
That walk ended with my falling badly, I was is so much pain.
There I stood, in the street in so much pain I could not walk.
My boyfriend ran to get the car, I just stood there grasping a light pole and cried.
( People up here do not get married a lot, we are just as committed to our relationships, we just skip the marriage bit.)
I did not want to go to the hospital, I was tired of these people that just did not listen, and constantly told me to relax.
But my boyfriend took charge, and to the hospital we went.
By this time my face was a frown when ever we neared the hospital.
The deadline for induction was drawing near, the baby had in theyr opinion now engaged.
They gave me the once over and sent me home to relax, just that word had taken on a negative and disrespectful meaning to me.
The pain was more than usual that night, but I was becoming a veteran at this.

27th of November
I had contractions all day.
Rosa came to my house to examine me.
Dilated 1 to 1 ? and not effaced at all.
ARG I was so tired and annoyed.

28th of November
We went to the hospital one more time.
They striped my membranes and sent us home.

I had regular contractions all that night, when we came back to the hospital the next morning they were getting weaker.
We were put in a regular room, which was disappointing for us since we wanted an MFS room, they are very homie, with a regular bed, soft lighting and good chairs for the dads.
My membranes were striped again.
And then we played the waiting game, we thought we must have mastered that game, but no.
I walked around, up and down the stairs, and every hallway.
My BF was not handling all this, he had been in some sort of denial most of the pregnancy. Had not wanted to take classes or read up.
Now this was getting overwhelming, so he fled to the land of dreams.
In the afternoon the contractions (that remarkably felt exactly like the famous BH) were again dying down.

It was now about 24 hour?s since active labour had started.
Oskar my BF had gone twice to my mom?s house,( she lives close to the hospital) to grab something to eat, and then he slept for most of the time, it seemed to me.
His snoring was driving me up the wall.
But then again his breathing probably would have done the same had he been awake.

30th of November
They decided to rupture my membranes.
Easier said than done.
They were so thick.
The midwife tried time after time with the little plastic ?nail? they put on theyr fingertip, no luck.
So she takes out this HUGE steal instrument, it looked more like a murder weapon than a gynaecological instrument.
I looked at that thing and asked ?Are you REALY going to use that on me?
Ahh well I tried to relax and prayed that it would be over quickly.
After several tries the gush finally came.
The amniotic fluid had a greenish tint, but nothing that made them concerned.

The contractions were about 4 min apart.
They told me they were giving me two parkodin and a sleeping pill.
( I found out from my chart later that they gave me Pethidine and some tranquilizers
We were moved to an MFS room, which made me very glad.
I managed to sleep for 2 ? hours.
I thought it was rather remarkable how little I was tired.
I managed to relax during contractions, and the pain was very manageable.
I had dilated to a ?full? 4 cm.
We started seeing the same people that had been on duty the day before.
Some commented along the lines of ?are you still here!?
Each examination was more painful than the last, and more mentally taxing.

I had gotten tired of the music we had brought, and I had gone through all the reading material I could.
No one seemed to have the time to properly talk to us.
No one told us that there was still hope, and that some times these things just take this long.

The day went along; I was no longer keeping track of time.
(In December there is very little daylight, it is sort of dusk for 3-4 hours, but otherwise dark, so day and night can just blend into one)
It was dark out and I no longer knew if it was 8 in the morning or evening.
They had now concluded that my little bean had not engaged!
I was at 6 cm.

We were moved again to a regular room.
We did not bother getting our stuff out of the bag again; there was no point in settling in.
I was exhausted; no one was allowed to touch me unless they were examining me.
I growled at all hands that approached me.
(In hind sight, I find it odd that none of the midwifes ever did try and touch me except to examine me, there were no foot rubs or back massages, nor an encouraging pat on the back.)
Oskar took a nap in my bed; I think he felt unneeded or unwanted.
None of the staff directed their words to him, and when he tried to get any answers out of them he got none.
As he lay sleeping I stood in the hallway.
I could hear the sounds of women giving birth.
I was afraid of the birth it self, and so disappointed that things just were not happening in my body.
I felt like a little child lost in a crowd on the fourth of July.
Everything was in motion around me; I did not know what to do, or how to get to a safe place.
I slid down the wall, and ended up sitting on the floor with my face in my hands sobbing.
After some minutes a cleaning lady came by, she quickly got a midwife.
I was dragged into my room; Oskar was thrown out of the bed and I was ?thrown? into it.
And then she left again, no comforting words, no reassurance, nothing.
That was the moment I gave up.
I stopped complaining about the pain, I stopped asking for anything.
I just disappeared inside my self.
I don?t think anyone noticed.
I just lay there physically and mentally drained.
My spirit was broken.

Oskar told me that I slept between the contractions for some time.
During the contractions I would let out loud moans, and sometime I opened my eyes for a moment, and then a second later, I was snoring, he he.
I snoozed that way for about 3 hours.

At that time I was getting rather bored and frustrated with the situation.
I just knew that nothing was happening.
I had dilated to 6 or 7 cm.
I could handle the pain, but mentally I felt defeated.
Next it was decided to use pitocin.
We had to change rooms yet again.
Lucky for us that we had not settled in the last time we were moved, now at least we did not have to pack everything up again.
So they put in a line and started the flow.
And set up an epidural.
They called for the best anaesthesiologist, especially for me.
They had probably figured out that I did not have any endurance left in me, and that this epidural had to go in smoothly.
And that was probably right, I probably would have lost my mind if he would have had to stab me more than once with that needle.
This is not the most fun thing I have had done to me, and it hurt!
I seized the opportunity, looked deep into Oskars eyes and said with deep conviction.
He did not mind my words on bit, but the anaesthesiologist did.
He decided that those words were meant for him and was pissed at me for the rest of the whole thing.
Something which I still find funny.

A new shift arrived.
I now had a new midwife, and a student midwife. ARG
Not that she wasn?t nice and all.
But she was constantly in my face.
I was tired, sad , angry and scared.
And there she was, she could not conceal her excitement and wanted to do everything possible for me.
The thing was at this point I just wanted to be left alone!
The epi was a ?walking epi? I could get around, but just barely.
I had to use the bathroom, number 1 and 2.

?no sweetheart? the midwife said ?it is just the pressure?
Hell no, I thought, that is it.
?No you don?t have contractions, just BH?
?No you water has not broke it?s just inter membrane fluid?
?No you don?t have to go, just pressure?

Well god da?. it I had to go, and I was going.
I was so pissed.
They realy did not want to let me out of bed.
But I made it to the bathroom, with all the Iv?s and epi in tow.
And there I sat for a while.
God da?, fu? #%?#$#%$#%.
I had nothing to release, the midwife was right.
I tried to stand up but my feet would not let me.
So I called for Oskar.
And who do you think came rushing through the door.
The student midwife, she must have sprinted, at least she got to the doorknob first.
I must have looked like some daemon as I growled at her.
The poor girl stumbled back and Oskar helped me to bed.

It was time for reinforcements.
I called my dad.
It felt so good when he arrived.
He has been at 5 births, with 3 different women, so he knew what to do.
He sat him self down and calmly waited.
I was in no condition to chit chat, I was just somewhere inside my self, trying to stay numb.
Yet another exam, this time by a doctor.
No answers, everything they say was some how vague and left me feeling even more in the dark.
I finally gave up, and asked if this would not end in a C-section.
The doctor mumbled something and then said probably
Finally a straight answer!

So they started prepping me.
That went just fine, they upped my epi, shaved me.
And then someone said they had to put up a catheter.
I freaked.
I begged them not to do this, I started crying hysterically.
My dad came over to me; he cupped my face in his hands, looked me in the eyes and said.
?Sweetheart, it?s going to be ok, you just hold on to me?
Then he put his arms around me and put mine around him, I cried so hard as the put that catheter up.
I did not even realize that I could not feel a thing, due to the epi.
It was just another invasion to my body, and it was high time to have a good cry.

It was around that time that my mother came over.
She brought me my gift.
She and my sister had been waiting on calls and info all this time.
When they heard where things were heading, they decided it was time to give me a little moral boost.
It sadly did not work.
I only remember her kissing my face, and me wishing she would stop touching me.
(I usually am a very cuddly person, and I can imagine that not being affectionate to ones child in that state is impossible for a mother.)

They took me to the OR.
Everything was made ready.
I remember how cold I was, numb emotionally.
It felt so uncomfortable to have my hands strapped down.
And then they started, our music of choice started playing when she was about to enter the world, a rock song, every one was amused by our choice.
I felt this immense pain in my chest; it was like everything went into slow motion.
I heard my heart rate slow down.
I was convinced that I was dying; all I could think was that I would never be able to let my baby know how much I loved her.
The fear was so intense that I could not utter a word.
And the it happened, my daughters first cry filled the room.
WOW,,, that got my attention.
December first 1999 at 18:15.
She came into this world with style; first apgar was 9 and second was 10.
Lucky for us.
Because they let her wait in the recovery room until I was out of surgery.
My dad was with her until they had finished patching me up.
When I came out of surgery, I was in shock.
I shook all over, and felt in a word awful.
She was so ugly, no kidding.
The nose all squeezed from being in the wrong position, but she did have very cute ears.

There were some mistakes made in the time I was in the hospital.
I was not given enough pain meds; I was told that I would just have to endure.
On the second day after her birth my best friend came over for a visit.
She asked me if I had been out of bed yet, (the rule is to get women out of bed with in the first 24 hours, to decrease the chance of blood clots and hasten recovery) I told her no, no one had been there to support me out of bed, she got me on my feet.
When I saw the bed I almost threw up, it had not been changed for almost 48 hours.
Needless to say it was soaked in blood and gore.
It was my friend who went straight to the nurses station and asked them to change the bed, they told her it was not their job, so she did it.

Well I thought now the rough stuff is over, and we will have smooth sailing ahead.
And so it did appear, I went home from the hospital on the fourth day, we both seemd to be doing well.
We went home and life looked good.
I had some strong cramping, but thought it was normal.
On December 11th I was putting her into her crib, and I felt a gush between my legs.
I stood there in a pool of blood.
What I was thinking I do not know, but I calmly went to the bathroom, changed, and the cleaned up the blood trail I had left.
I rang my bf at work and asked him not to take any overtime.
My sister wanted to come over with her kids; I told her I was feeling kind of under the weather.
(What the hell was I thinking!)
My bf came home in the evening, and he did not like the sight of me one bit.
Around 10 in the evening I called the hospital.
I explained that I had gone through 7 monster sized pads, and was now starting to cloth diapers.
I had apparently awoken the good doctor, he sounded really groggy, he told me to come in tomorrow at 8.
So the night went on, I bled, and I got weaker.
Around 6 in the morning I got up to use the bathroom, and I saw my lips were gray.
That did it for me.
I rang the hospital again.
By now I could hardly talk properly, walking was a strain.
The nurse told me to come in NOW!
So we did.
It turned out that there had been a tiny piece of the placenta left behind and there for I had bled into my uterus.
I lost a little less than 2 litres of blood.
I had to have an operation to clear out my uterus.
My daughter got to stay with me, and we went home the next day.

The Next 6 weeks I was in and out of hospital with a severe infection.
Countless mistakes were made; I did not get to bring my daughter with me to the hospital.
In the end here I am, I have scar tissue inside my abdomen due to the infection.
It wraps around some organs, which makes my life a living hell at times.
I have had two operations since, where they have gone in and cut away these tissues but they just grow back.
My fear of childbirth is almost paralyzing, now that I am expecting another child.
I have no trust in doctors or medical staff.
And to top it all of, I will have to be in a clinical birthing room this time.
And there will be lots of those people, who the first time around could not pick up my chart and read it, and have left me scared for life because of that.

Thank you for reading my long long story.

Please send me any feedback you have, this is sort of a first draft, so every comment is welcome.
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