Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Birth Trauma

Since I am out of town for work and I never shared this on my blog (only at Whitney's blog, Work It Mommy), I thought now was as good of a time as any.

Immediately after getting married, we started trying to have a baby. After a few months, it wasn't working. So I started reading books on getting pregnant and fertility. I started using opks (ovulation predictor kits), tracking my cycles and taking prenatal vitamins. A few months later and still nothing was working. So we started seeing a fertility specialist and he determined (through ultrasound) that I had PCOS. My husband's sperm was also tested. I started taking metformin and the side effects were harsh. Plus it made my cycle way longer making me think I was pregnant when I wasn't.

After two months, nothing had changed, so we decided we (with the help of my fertility doctor) were going to try IUI (interuterine insemination). I was to call my doctor once I got my period to start clomid and start the whole process. I had an ultrasound around 8 days post ovulation and said to come back in a week or so when I would start my period.

Well it never came and I took a pregnancy test thinking it was the metformin again. But I was pregnant. How could this be? My doctor said it was a very slim to none chance of it. We had an ultrasound at 6 and 8 weeks and baby was looking great. So I was switched to see my midwife and at 10 weeks, she confirmed that I was pregnant, but pregnant with TWINS.

From there it was a whirlwind. We saw our new doctor (since my midwife couldn't deliver our twins) and a perinatologist (high risk doctor) through my pregnancy. We found out we were having identical girls when I was 18 weeks.

At 33 weeks, just a couple days after Christmas, I went into early labor. I tried to deny it because I started labor the day after Christmas, but ignored it until another two days later. I was in so much pain that I knew we had to go to the ER.

After arriving at labor and delivery, they got me hooked up to the monitors and checked me. I was a 4 to 4 1/2 cm. They did an ultrasound of the girls and baby A was head down and baby b was transverse. She was in my ribcage laying sideways. They monitored me over the course of an hour and with no change in the positioning. And at this point I was at a 9 to 9 1/2 cm. I felt every second of pain and every contraction (which were right on top of each other).

At this point, I felt like I needed to push, but they told me I couldn't and they recommended an emergency c-section because baby b was transverse and it would be hard to turn her if she didn't turn herself. You can't pull a preemie baby's legs to get them to turn. I could have birthed baby A vaginally, but would have most likely had baby b c-section. After many tears and hesitation on my part, I went in for a c-section. Emergency.

After I got my spinal, was moved to the operating table and they started, my husband was brought in. He told me that he never wanted to look over the sheet if I ended up c-section, but when the time came, he wanted to look. And I am glad he did because he was able to capture the girls being born.

Baby A, Sutton, entered the world at 2:37 am on December 29, 2014. She was crying and beautiful as ever. Baby B, Avery, followed her seconds later at 2:37 am on December 29th. She cried a little, but had to be stimulated because she wasn't reacting very well to being outside the womb.

While both girls were being monitored and their umbilical cords being cut by my husband, I was being worked on. It was time to deliver my placenta, but it broke inside of me. Once they got my placenta out, they pulled my uterus out and started massaging it trying to get it contract. They were massing it for a long time and at one point mentioned a hysterectomy if it wouldn't contract soon.

I started to go in and out of consciousness. I was losing a bunch of blood, over 2 liters to be exact, and the anesthesiologist kept giving me shots in my shoulder and put another ivy in my right hand (already had one in my left hand). I must have had at least 10 or more shots in my shoulder.

I closed my eyes and remember saying/thinking, I am going to die. I have never felt so scared in my life. I have never felt so weak in my life. I felt like I was slipping away. I was unconscious at one point and my anesthesiologist kept waking me up saying I needed to stay with him. I knew I was going to die and leave my husband with two brand new babies. Babies that would have to be in the NICU. All the while, my husband is watching. He watched me lose a lot of blood and his babies are about to be wheeled off to the NICU.  

The anesthesiologist told him he needed to go to the NICU with the babies. I remember hearing this and my husband asking if he should go or stay with me. The anesthesiologist told him to go.

They worked on me for a long time and were eventually able to get my uterus to contract before having to take it out. Thank you Jesus. I am so happy they saved it because we may want more children and I want that option. I am so grateful the doctors did everything they could to save me and my uterus.  

I had to have a blood transfusion due to the amount of blood loss. I will spare the photos that show the wall of bloody cloths they used on me since it is pretty graphic, but know there was 16 bloody cloths on a pocket wall.  

Once my husband was in the NICU with the girls, he was told that I was in recovery and they saved my uterus.

The delivery was over and it was time to enjoy our babies. My girls spent 26 and 27 days in the NICU. Everyday I would travel to the hospital, after I was discharged, twice a day to spend time with my girls. I didn't get to process my labor and delivery. I stayed strong for my girls and pushed through the physical and mental pain that I had experienced. 

I asked my husband questions about what happened from day one, but I didn't get all the answers until weeks later. It was traumatic for him as well. 

I know I didn't deal with my traumatic birthing experience like I should have. I did ask the questions, but I tried to block it out. But as the months went by, it hurt me more and more. I cried anytime I thought about my experience. I tried to rationalize it. I said it was normal. But in all reality, it isn't normal and I almost died. I almost lost my life giving birth to the two best things that have ever happened to me. 

I didn't get postpartum depression, but what I had was the aftermath of a traumatic birth. I spent many days and nights crying over my experience. Every time I pass the hospital, I get anxious and upset because it brings back the memories. I never got the beautiful vaginal birthing experience that I hoped and dreamed about. I never got pictures with my girls right after birth (not even the ones beside my head after a c-section). I never got the skin to skin with my twins right after birth. I laid there helpless, losing a lot of blood, going in and out of consciousness and almost dying.

Over the last 15 months, I have learned ways to cope with my traumatic birth. First, please talk to someone, anyone about your thoughts and feelings. Whether it is a therapist, your partner/spouse, a friend or your mother. It feels good to talk about the experience. You will shed tears and hurt, but talking about it will get it out there. Ask the questions to anyone who was there during your birth trauma. Get your answers so you can be at peace in your mind.

Write about it. Without my blog and my personal journal, I wouldn't have been able to articulate my thoughts and feelings on the experience. Seek out other women who have had a birthing trauma. Read their stories and get some comfort that you are not alone. 

And drive by the hospital or visit the hospital in your own time. Since giving birth to my girls, I spent 27 days there visiting them in the NICU. And once they were out, I came back to donate their preemie and newborn clothes to the NICU when they grew out of them. We have had doctor appointments there. I have had three surgeries since they were born and every one of them has been at the hospital they were born at. I have walked those halls to get a sense of relief and closure. It helps. Each time it got easier and easier to be there.  

Join a moms group. Either local or online. I am part of a twin mom group on Facebook that is local, and I find that I can relate my experiences, get advice and help when I need it.

Please feel free to email me if you have any questions or comment below.


  1. Oh gosh... I obviously KNEW you were ok since you're here but reading about it, I was holding my breath & getting a little teary eyed. I can't imagine the emotions of what you and your husband both felt. It had to be so difficult to feel so helpless with all of his girls being taken in different directions & feeling like he couldnt do anything. & bless you momma... I'm sure it was a tough spirit that made your uterus contract & make sure you pulled through ok. Not every birth is the picture perfect movie experience. Thanks for sharing.
    ... & kudos to your girls for a December birthday - I'm December 30th ;)

  2. What a crazy birth experience! So glad everything is okay now!

  3. Oh my goodness that is so traumatic. You must be a much stronger person for having gone through it. I hope that if you do have more children this doesn't happen again. Thank you for sharing your story.

  4. oh my gosh! Girl!!!! That is so scary, and I cannot even imagine what it would be like to go through that. You are a STRONG ASS WARRIOR!!!! Thank goodness for good doctors and good care. I am so proud of you and so glad you got through this traumatic experience. xoxo

  5. Girl, I've already heard all about this from you, but that didn't make reading this any easier. Ugh, I'm so sorry that you had to go through all of this. I know you already know my issues that I had/still have from my traumatic birthing experience... I really want to tell my story eventually as well. These issues definitely need to be shared to raise awareness for other mamas!

  6. Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry you went through that! I'm so happy the doctors were able to save not only you, but your uterus too in case you want to try again. I'm glad you've been able to take steps to heal, and I think it's great that you could be helping many other women who have had a traumatic experience as well.

  7. This is so good of you to share hun because it is definitely important to talk about these things and people probably hide a lot. Thank you for opening up. Birth is no joke, and although we are lucky for the advancements of today's medicine, there is still a lot of danger with the whole process. I'm so thankful that you are your two little miracles are alright.

  8. Thank you for being so brave and sharing your story. Both you, Rory and your girls are so strong!

  9. Thank you for being so brave and sharing your story. Both you, Rory and your girls are so strong!