My Complete Birth Story

{Chelsey and Ruari 1 day}


As I’m starting to write this I can feel my incisions stinging… they are my constant reminders of what happened. I wrote one version of this WAY back when I started this Paper Mama blog. But, I didn’t really put anything into it. I just wanted to get it out and hope that would be enough. I don’t think it was. I’m already starting to tear up thinking about it (could be those darn baby blues too). :) I know this will help me heal… emotionally at least.
Ok, here goes…. Let’s flashback to when I first found out I was pregnant: May 6th, 2009. I didn’t even have to think about it. I knew I wanted to have a natural water birth. My friends Kels and Rox had both done it. They would tell me of the wonderful feeling you get when you make that last push and there’s your baby. The baby you had been carrying and feeling for months. You know right then and there that you ARE a Mom. it seemed so peaceful and amazing. I wanted to experience it too.


{Ruari 1 day old}


I didn’t really have a smooth pregnancy. Not horrible, but not wonderful. I was extremely nauseous up to 16 weeks, I had found out through an ultrasound that I have a double uterus (basically it’s heart shaped and a little smaller), my uterus was tilted back, and I was told to be on limited movement. I don’t remember ever feeling comfortable. Always something. At 26 weeks my braxton-hicks started up. They weren’t painful… but, I was having about 5 – 15 an hour up through the birth. No one really knew why I was having so many for so long. The baby was good, I was good. And, at my 35th week of pregnancy I ended up having a hernia on my belly. It was pretty painful, and the only comfortable place for me to sleep was on my left side: on my mom’s sofa… while Mike was staying at our house with our animals.
On December 16th, 2009 Mike, my Mom, Stepdad, and I were sitting eating some soup and watching some Office reruns. I was just over 36 weeks pregnant and REALLY sick of it. I just didn’t enjoy being pregnant. While I sat there I was texting my pro mom Kels about how different these contractions were that I was feeling. She said they sound real to her. So, I got excited and we all decided to call it a night. Just in case. Mike went back to our house for the night.
When my Mom was helping me lay down to go to sleep, almost immediately I began to feel some strong contractions. I remember being excited and calling to my mom. I asked her to help me up so I could walk around and feel things out. While I was up and walking my contractions increased VERY fast. I told my Mom she’d better call Mike to come because they were getting really strong.
While we waited for him to come back over we called my midwife. She told me to run a bath, get in it, and then said we should time the contractions and call her back with how far apart they were. We got the bath ready (well, my Mom got the bath ready while I sat there helpless) and we very awkwardly lowered me into the tub.


{Ruari 1 day old}


I could NOT get comfortable. Laying down just made everything worse… but, the warm water felt very nice. So, I tried to just sit in it and count my contractions. I could not count them. It was like I was having one giant contraction. Never ending. We called the midwife back and told her we couldn’t figure out how to count them. She could her me in the background and asked to talk to me. I could barely get any words out. It had barely been 30 minutes since my Mom laid me down to go to sleep and my pain was almost unbearable. My midwife told me to meet her at the water birth clinic in an hour. While Mike and my Mom got things ready to go I tried to lay on my side on the bed… I almost threw up and had to get help back up. I told them we had to leave right now.
On to the WORST drive I had ever taken: I was in so much pain. Every bump and turn made me sick and grab my stomach. It seemed like it took an hour to get there… but, I know it was only like 15 minutes. Since it was about 10 at night we had to wait just a few minutes for my midwife to get there and let us in. I walked into the clinic stooped over grabbing my belly. Mike and I got into the birthing tub right away.
The water really was an improvement. Floating in the water took the weight off of my belly. But, I was still nauseous and grabbing my belly in pain each time I burped (which was happening a lot). I kept telling the midwife the water was too hot, and poor Mike was freezing because I wanted the water so cold.
After 3 hours in the tub I wanted to get out and go potty. I stood up and was VERY dizzy and lightheaded. My midwife helped me to the toilet…. when I sat down I told everyone I needed something to throw up in right away: I proceeded to puke up my whole dinner and any liquid I had in my stomach. My pain was getting worse… I was getting more light headed… And, my midwife suggested that maybe I wasn’t in labor and I just had the stomach flu. Ugh, I really didn’t want to hear that. It hurt so bad and didn’t feel anything like the flu. I just wanted to have this baby. I asked if I could just lay down on the bed and take a little nap for a while. To see how I felt after some sleep.
I was helped into bed where the midwife said she’d like to check if I was dilating. Turns out I was BARELY dilated. The midwife couldn’t figure out what was going on. The baby’s heart rate was fine, never in distress. So, I started to lay down for my nap and the pain jumped to pain I’d never felt before. I screamed, “I can’t breath, I can’t breath!” They sat me up and it was a little better, but still very painful.
We all decided that I needed to go to the hospital. We called an ambulance and waited. This is about when time starts to blend together for me… After what seemed like hours the ambulance arrived. They came in and set up the rack and asked if I could move to get on it. I said no. So, they obviously had to get me on there, but I didn’t want to feel that pain and not be able to breath again. I was told I would only be down for a second. They rolled me over to my back and I started screaming again. I really had absolutely no control over my screaming. I couldn’t breath. I was in an extreme pain I had never experienced before. I was just screaming.


{Ruari 1 day old}


Once on the rack they rolled me on to my left side. This was a little better than the back. The paramedics put me in the back while mike got in the passenger seat. Off we went. Every bump, every stop was killing me. The ambulance even ended up taking a long way to the hospital. My mom arrived there a few minutes before them!!!
At the hospital: again… I had to be moved onto my back to be moved to the hospital bed… more screaming… more pain. I even hit the nurse in the head (not on purpose, of course). They put all the monitors on me and all over my belly to check on the baby. Her heart rate had elevated just a little bit.  I remember asking over and over when I could get some pain meds. They were waiting because they really didn’t know what was going on with me. I was having contractions every couple of seconds… my breathing was rapid… I was grabbing at my belly… But, baby was fine. The first doctor wanted to do a c-section right away to get baby out… but, suggested I wait an hour for the next doctor to give me his opinion. We waited.
The next doctor said he wanted to run a ton of tests before we do a c-section at 36 weeks. Ugh. It took a day and a half of me sitting in pain, pushing my morphine button for the doctors to decide what to do. So many OB’s had come in to see me. None, of them could figure it out. We ended up doing an ultrasound that showed I had a massive amount of fluid in my abdomen… this led to new thinking: maybe my appendix had burst.
Finally something had been decided: I was scheduled to get an appendectomy for Friday afternoon. Almost 2 days after I arrived to the hospital. Off I went. They had me sign something saying that I wanted to be resuscitated if something went wrong. I said, “Hmm, that’s weird to sign. But, of course!”.
I was rolled into the surgery room. The doctors and nurses were chit-chatting. This was a normal everyday surgery for them. AGAIN, I was told to roll onto my back. I told them I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t breath… So, they put me under first, then moved me and my belly to the surgical table.
So, the following was told to me… since I was out…
The doctor went to cut into my skin to get started… and blood began to squirt and pour out everywhere. Mike and my Mom heard over the intercom, “Emergency OB assistance to Surgery room…” They thought, no way it was me. It was. The OB came in and performed an emergency c-section to get the baby out. They had no idea what was bleeding and needed to get the baby to a safe place.
To sum up the surgery: After searching, the surgeon discovered that my uterus had torn. We believe it had started to tear when my Mom laid me down on the sofa… then really tore when I threw up at the waterbirth clinic. The tear was the size of a dime. I had been flat-lining and ended up losing 3 liters of blood. The craziest part: the tear was in just the right location that blood was still getting to my baby. The doctor said if it was even a few millimeters in either direction… my story would have turned out very differently. Probably for the worse.
My baby had to be resuscitated too because she was put under when I was. She was sent to NICU and was perfectly healthy. Nothing wrong… just a little jaundice. It was amazing.
My Mom and Mike had both met baby 2 hours before they knew what had happened with me. I woke up 6 hours after surgery to someone telling me congrats on my baby. Whoa. Really confusing. I was told the story of what happened, but I was on Morphine and was very confused and had lost so much blood I didn’t quite get it.


{Mike and Ruari at 1 hour}


The weight of what happened didn’t hit me until the NICU nurse that took care of my baby came into meet me. It had been a couple days since surgery and I had met a million baffled doctors, nurses, had blood transfusions, etc. The NICU nurse wanted to meet me because she was just so happy with the outcome. She told me when a baby comes into NICU it’s because things didn’t go right. She said it was so nice to just hold my healthy baby for that first hour, then to find out a few hours later I had made it through the surgery. That’s when it hit me. I had almost died. All these doctors had told me this and were telling me how lucky I was, but it was that nurse that said she was so happy to see me doing so well with a healthy baby that helped me understand the severity.
Recovery was very difficult. I could barely walk because of the pain and blood loss.. this meant holding my baby for too long wasn’t really possible. It took me a while to build a connection with her. It very much happened, but with time.
My incisions still hurt me, and I had some very hard baby blues to work on. I’m doing well now, but I’m still trying to deal with the emotional side of what happened to me. We have no idea if I should get pregnant again because we don’t know if my uterus will tear. A healthy 26 year old that has never had surgery does not have a uterus tear. It just doesn’t happen. My doctor joked that he would call it the “Chelsey Syndrome”.
I’m very blessed to have made it through this and all the help I’ve had. My baby, Laureli (aka Ruari), is an amazing baby. Even though it’s hard sometimes…. I love being a Mom. I’m learning to accept what’s happened.
Update July 2010:
Mike and I have recently decided that it’s not worth risking my life to get pregnant again. We are looking into surrogacy. And, even adoption. I can’t help but be a little selfish and want to have another “Mike and Chelsey” baby. Turns out surrogacy is very expensive, but we’ll figure it out.
Update March 2011:
We have started to research the surrogacy process! Here’s a post I wrote about it. If you have any tips or advice… I’d LOVE to hear from you!
Click here to follow our Surrogacy and Adoption progress.
Thanks for reading!