Matthew's troubled start -epi & c-section (long) — The Bump
Birth Stories

Matthew's troubled start -epi & c-section (long)

I actually had my son in July but the birth was so scary that it's taken me a while to be able to talk about. Everything worked out fine in the end and I am now a mom to the cutest, chubbiest, happiest baby boy in the world but it's still hard to think about the day he was born. I hoping sharing my experience will help me & anyone else who had a hard time.

 I was 5 months pregnant when I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. In addition to carefully monitoring my food I was also on special watch by my doctor to make sure Matthew didn't get too big (a danger with GD babies). I was scheduled to be induced a week before my due date but at 5pm 2 days before that was to happen my water broke. 

Trouble was I wasn't having any contractions, none at all. I spoke with the on-call doctor at my practice & she told me to wait a few hours because sometimes contractions start once the water breaks. So, my husband & I had some dinner, watched a movie & waited. Five hours later and there was still nothing going on so the doctor sent me into the hospital to be induced. 

 We checked in at 11pm, I got the drugs & then settled in to try and get some sleep. Except within an hour I was having contractions. I knew my husband was going to be really tired so I kept quiet about the contractions until they were getting stronger & closer together, about 2 hours later. I was 4 centimeters when we showed up to the hospital and I continued at a good rate through the rest of the night.

At one point the doctor came in and said that they had noticed the baby's heart rate was dropping when my contractions came but that it wasn't yet to the point where they were concerned, just something they were keeping an eye on. By 7am I was in a lot of pain and decided to get an epidural. I had tried one round of some other drug first but it didn't seem to do anything for the pain. The first time they tried to put in the needle the tech missed the numbed spot on my back & I could feel the needle starting to go in, too far to the right. I yelled really loud and he tried again and missed, again too far too the right. So we tried, again, and again. Eventually they had to re-numb me and finally it worked. In fact I was still able to maintain some amount of muscle control & movement even though I could no longer feel the contractions.

 The baby's heart rate was getting worse with my contractions even though I was progressing in dilation and I was warned that my likelihood of having a c-section was increasing. At the same time, I was complaining over and over again about how cold I was. Eventually they took my temperature and found out I was running a high fever. I was 9 centimeters but my fever was so high that I was actually convulsing with the shakes from feeling so cold and the baby's heart rate was dropping even more which forced me to have an emergency c-section. 

 The prep & surgery went fine. I didn't feel anything but was completely awake and conscious through the whole thing. My husband was there with me through out all of this for which I was grateful, both then and afterwards. I don't know what I would have done without his support. Matthew was born, but then things got really bad.

He had pooped in utero, had aspirated the marconium & wasn't breathing. They worked over him right there in the room with us for so long that both my husband & I thought he was dead. I remember looking over past my husband to the table where the baby was and being upset I couldn't my baby because of all the doctor's and staff in the way. I looked at my husband and asked if the baby was going to be okay but he couldn't answer me because he was sobbing too hard. It was a nightmare right out of my worst fears from being pregnant. I honestly have no idea how long it took them to get Matthew breathing again. But he did eventually start to breathe. I got one look at him for about 2 seconds before they whisked him out of the room and down the hall to hook him up to a heart monitor and some other equipment.

The also found that he had a knot in his cord, a "true" knot, which was why his heart rate was so bad. Basically with every contraction his oxogen was being cut off. The OR doctor said that if I had tried to have him naturally he very likely would have died from suffocation. 

I was wheeled back to my room and my husband came with me long enough to make sure I was okay before going down the hall to check on Matt. Now that he was breathing he was doing fine. They found out that I had gotten an infection while in labor, likely from going so long between my water breaking and the start of my contractions & the doctor was concerned that the infection may have spread to the baby. I was put on 48 hrs of antibiotics and Matthew was given an entire weeks worth through an IV. 

 He was also diagnosed as having jaundice. So in addition to the IV he had to spend 4 days in an UV light incubator.  Finally after a full 7 days in the hospital we were able to bring our little boy home. I had a mild case of PPD afterwards, it was just all so much to take in so fast, with one thing going to bad to worse over and over again. Everyone kept asking me how the birth was and the only way I can think of to describe it is traumatic. It was worth, and I love my boy more than anything in the world but I just can't bring myself to think about having another baby. I hope no one has to go through what I did.

Re: Matthew's troubled start -epi & c-section (long)

  • I'm so thankful both you and Matthew are ok.

    I would not let this experience hinder you from having more babies. There is an 8 year gap between my son and daughter for this exact reason. I was terrified that any other children I had would bear the same fate as my son. He was born at 37 weeks and his lungs weren't ready. He spent 3 weeks in the NICU for surfactant deficiency and I couldn't hold him till he was 10 days old. He was on numerous paralytic drugs to keep him heavily sedated so he could heal. He's 9 now and an extremely bright child.

    Fast forward 8 years and it's time for my daughter to be born. She came at 36 weeks and not one problem. She was perfectly healthy. She's 1 now and we're expecting our last in the next few weeks.

    Every birth is different. Give your heart a chance to heal and in a few years (less possibly) you might feel differently. Again congratulations!

  • Thank you for sharing your birth story. I can't even imagine all of the emotion that you and your family experienced but what a blessing to be on the other side with your "cutest, chubbiest, happiest baby boy!" 

    EDD 1/31/13, MC May 17. EDD 3/31/13, MC July 26. I miss you so much already my angel loves


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  • Thank you for sharing your experiences with your children. I'm really hoping that in time I will have healed enough to think about having another baby without getting upset. The worst part is that I really do want another child but just thinking about it makes me feel terrified, panicked and kind of sad. I was an NICU baby myself so there is always that fear that what if next time it's worse? I guess I'll just have to wait and see.  
  • Hi, I don't post very often, but I had to when I read your story.  I had a very similar experience (also in July!) in that my DD, Clara, came out limp, blue, not breathing, and they worked on her for what seemed like forever.  She also had meconium, but I don't think that's what caused her problems.  What were Matthew's Apgars?  Clara's were only 1 and 4.  She is totally fine now, thank goodness.  But her rough start was really traumatizing for me and I think lead to some mild PPD in me as well.  I still tear up when I see a happy, normal delivery, or a "normal" first few days at home, because I was non-stop crying out of worry what her birth could cause for her long term and the trauma of the whole experience.

    My delivery was also strange for a 1st pregnancy because it was really fast, so fast I didn't have time to get an epidural (I'm amazed at you ladies who choose to go the natural way, it was definitely not in my plans and I wouldn't do it again; or you home birth ladies because I really don't think she would have survived if she had been born at home). 

    I had a completely normal, easy pregnancy, have never had any health problems, had a 37 week ultrasound where everything seemed fine, but I guess what happened is my placenta gave out near the end, it was tiny and shriveled and calcified.  I felt good movements the whole time though. 

    I went through a period where I didn't think I'd ever want to be pregnant again, but now I do.  Clara is great and thriving and I love being a mom now, but her rough start definitely made those first couple of months even more difficult.  But I know I'm going to be a nervous wreck for my next pregnancy!

     Anyway, just wanted to share that you are definitely not alone!

  • Thank you. It's feels really good to be able to talk with others, to share what it was like & know that not everyone has the ideal birth story, although out my friends it seem like they all did. It also helps to see Matthew growing & thriving. He is clearly a very happy & healthy boy now, even if things didn't start out so well.
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