Leeann’s Story

November 11, 2013

As a female, our natural ability in nature is to bear children. Creating a child, and giving birth to that being is a miracle. I, myself, have experienced that miracle and have written this to share my pregnancy and labor experience. I have felt so empowered as a woman throughout the whole process and it has since changed my outlook on every aspect.

The beginning of my pregnancy was a roller coaster of emotions. Ever since my miscarriage a few years back, I’ve always had the fear of losing another child. That is a heartbreak that will never heal and even as time passes, the memory has always remained. I felt scared for so many different reasons. Eventually, my hormones leveled out and I ended up being more optimistic than I’ve ever been..other than the occasional upset of not being able to fit into any of my clothes.

By 28 weeks I had felt more exhausted and discouraged with getting through the pregnancy as positive as I wanted to. That week my doctor diagnosed me with having preeclampsia- a condition during pregnancy where your blood pressure raises and higher levels of protein stay in your urine. If both of those continued to raise, the condition could’ve turned into the more severe form called eclampisa, which can lead to seizures and even death. Preeclampsia can cause many different problems, mainly because of the high blood pressure, including organ failure, poor growth of the baby, too little amniotic fluid, and placental abruption.

I was worried, concerned and confused. I didn’t want there to be any problems for the baby and I. My doctor put me on moderate bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy and continued to see me weekly. I had to leave work and wasn’t allowed to go anywhere or do anything unless it was absolutely necessary. I had problems adjusting to sitting around. I felt useless and guilty that my family had to do everything. I eventually came to terms with it and knew that it was the best for both of us.

Reaching the end of my pregnancy, I realized it wasn’t that bad. Out of everything that could’ve gone wrong, I only had a few minor setbacks, most of which were normal issues. At my 35 week appointment, I was dilated 1 centimeter. My blood pressure also never went down and they ended up being concerned. Both of those factors put me as a good candidate for induction. By my 36 week appointment, my doctor decided it would be in our best interest to induce at the 37 weeks mark. I agreed.

I was relieved I knew the date to go into the hospital. I didn’t have to worry about going into labor on my own and not knowing if I was or not. I didn’t have to worry about getting a labor and delivery room because it would already be held for me. Although, I was saddened that I would have to have an intervention like that. I wanted so much to have a natural birth. I felt that drugs or being confined to a bed wasn’t what nature intended.

August 26th at 6:30 in the morning we arrived at the hospital. I checked in, got changed into a gown and waited. By 7:15 the nurses took blood work and started the IV’s of pitocin, magnesium, and regular fluids for hydration. At that time, since I was already dilated, my doctor decided to break my water. To my relief, I started going into labor on my own and having contractions before even starting the pitocin drip. I was hoping that would help my body get through the labor faster and with less interventions.
At first my contractions started off somewhat slow and painless. It took a few hours for me to actually feel some discomfort. I wasn’t worried about it until I found out I was dilating really slow. From what I can remember, it took 5 hours to get to 3 centimeters. By about 4 in the afternoon, my pitocin amount was upped a significant amount which caused my contractions to get stronger, longer, and closer together. I was able to cut off all circulation in my husband’s hand while squeezing as well as breath through most of them.

I went 9 hours before I decided I needed help with the pain. Instead of taking the risk of getting an epidural (which the thought ultimately scared me to death), I decided to try a medication called Staydol. It was a onetime injection through the IV that didn’t take away all pain, but decreased the amount while making you sleepy. While I was able to sleep for about an hour, even through contractions, I gave in and opted for the epidural. I was disappointed in myself and felt like a failure for not being able to go through my whole labor without the thing I hated most. I accepted it once I had decided it to be necessary.

I realized that I had so much working against me. The magnesium they used to keep my blood pressure down slowed my labor (they actually use that to stop pre-term labor) which caused headaches and hot flashes. The pitocin was making my contractions worse. Plus I couldn’t move or walk since I was constantly being monitored by an internal and external fetal monitor as well as a blood pressure cuff. After waiting for another hour for more lab work to be done and the anesthesiologist to get in the room, I finally felt relief. It was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I felt tingly and couldn’t move from the waist down, but it allowed my body to relax. I had a urinary catheter put in and was checked again. Thanks to the epidural, I was dilating a little bit faster and was able to sleep on and off for the rest of my labor.

At about 9 o’clock I was dilated to 9 and a half centimeters, but was only effaced on one side of my cervix. Two hours later I was finally dilated to a full 10 and ready to push. They turned off my epidural, because at that point I couldn’t feel anything. Every push I did, the baby would get farther down but I couldn’t keep him in that position so he kept going back to where he was before. I pushed for an hour and a half and by that point I was so exhausted and still so numb, that I needed help. We decided to use a vacuum so the baby could be held in place while I still pushed. After 2 pushes, a not-so-lovely episiotomy, and a 17 and a half hour labor (18 by the time the afterbirth was delivered and stitches were done), our precious baby boy was born at 12:43 AM, August 27th, 2013.

My husband cut the cord and my son was no longer a part of me, but a part of this world for everyone to share. Godric William DiBacco was 7 pounds 11 ounces, 20 inches long, and perfectly healthy as can be. The moment I laid eyes on him, I was so happy I couldn’t even cry. The joy of holding your baby for the first time brings so much joy and warmth to your heart. People aren’t kidding when they tell you it’s total euphoria. The pain and the long labor was instantly forgotten and became a big blur.

The week after was the most horrific part of the whole experience. No one tells you what to expect post-partum, and it’s certainly no breeze. I had stitches, not only from my episiotomy cut but from a minor upper tear, hemorrhoids from the pressure of the baby and pushing during labor, plus all the little things like cramping. It was painful and I couldn’t move without wanting to cry. I didn’t deal with just the physical attributes either. The hormones causing major emotional changes created a lot of bumps in the road along the way to recovery. I wanted to take care of my child and be the mother I had just become, but I couldn’t and it was hard to accept the help.

I know everything sounds so negative, but it was actually quite amazing. The reality of creating life and carrying a human being inside your body is a concept hard to understand until you experience it. I had hardly any pains, no swelling until after delivery, 3 days worth of morning sickness, and besides being tired from working most of my energy stayed with me throughout the pregnancy. I enjoyed every little kick, hiccup, and movement. I loved hearing his heartbeat and seeing his personality develop during the ultrasounds. I had so much support from family and friends even after we were home. I had a great doctor and wonderful nurses in the hospital. The baby was perfect. I was lucky.

My advice to women during their pregnancies, labor and deliveries, and recoveries…whether you’ve been through it already and are doing it again or if this is your first time… don’t take any part of it for granted. You only get to do it so many times in your life, and regardless of things you may think you can’t get through or don’t want to deal with, it’s something that only you can experience. Do what is right for you and your body, as well as your child. Feel proud of everything you have or get to accomplish during this time in your life. Go into everything with an open mind and positivity. You can get through anything if you put your mind to it.

Like I said, when you go through an experience like mine, just knowing you got to have that opportunity makes it worthwhile. The good and bads are all things be cherished. I can’t think of a more amazing feeling and I honestly can’t wait to be able to go through it again. I would do it one hundred times over in a heartbeat.

I hope by me writing this helps at least one person feel better about the process as a whole. When I was pregnant, being a first time mom, I didn’t know what to expect and it hit me harder than I thought it would. I know every experience is different, but I felt the need to share mine. Even though it wasn’t the best it could’ve been, I wanted to be honest and thorough, because ultimately it’s about becoming a mother and rising out of it as a stronger individual. I feel so great about myself for going through what I went through, and more people should as well.

If you’re interested, the next link is a video from that day. From when we got to the hospital, during labor and part of the delivery, to when we got home with him.

And also the facebook link to where my note is:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/leeann-rose-dibacco/my-pregnancy-and-birth-experience/10151724620215698

~ Leeann DiBacco

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