Tori’s Birth Story

My labour and delivery was pretty smooth up until the very end. 

I was in labour for about two days before I actually got admitted into the hospital.  

I ended up getting an epidural at 5 cm and that ended up being an amazing experience. I was terrified of getting it so when it happened to go smoother then I imagined, it was a huge relief. As soon as I had the epidural, I started progressing really quickly. I was able to relax and my body started moving things along a lot faster.

About 1-2 hours after I had the epidural, I was fully dilated to 10 cm and ready to push. Coincidentally, my doctor was at the hospital by chance (outside her rostered hours) and ended up delivering my baby in her street clothes, which was kind of weird. I pushed for about 30 minutes and it was the most intense experience of my life. Towards the very end, I said on multiple occasions that ‘I couldn’t do it’. But before I knew it, my daughter was here and it was the most surreal feeling. 

Holding my daughter for the first time was the most memorable experience of my entire life and I will never forget it. I remember feeling so shocked this was my baby and that she wasn’t inside of me anymore. 

I was able to hold Maisy Jo for 10-15 minutes right after delivery while my doctor pushed out the placenta and cleaned me out. She stitched me up and then was gone. The whole process felt very quick. Because my doctor left immediately afterwards, it felt like she was in a rush to get out of there. I didn’t think much of it because this was my first time giving birth and to be honest I didn’t have any expectations.

It wasn’t long after my doctor had left the room that I started feeling really sick and it quickly got to the point where I knew I was going to pass out. I remember telling my husband to take Maisy Jo from my arms because I knew I was going to drop her any second. I felt incredibly weak and could barely keep my eyes open.

I remember my vision going dark and saying out loud, over and over again, “I can’t see anything.” There was a deafening ringing in my ears and I blacked out. I don’t know for how long but it had to have only been minutes. 

I remember feeling like I was dying and I had never been so scared in my life. 

Unbeknownst to me at the time, I had started hemorrhaging and this caused about ten nurses to start running around the room. One of the nurses looked genuinely shocked by the sheer volume of blood on my bed. I was bleeding very badly and quickly. My doctor was no where to be found so they called in another doctor to assist.

The new doctor had to re-open my stitches because they realized my original doctor had left multiple, fist-sized clots in me and hence why I started bleeding so heavily. 

I wasn’t with it at all, but Ammon and my mum told me there were 4-5 blood clots on a tray. It took this doctor what felt like so much longer, to clean me out and then stitch me back up. She also shoved a huge fistful of gauze into me: I assume this was to soak up the blood. 

I passed out again after she left and didn’t wake up for hours. When I did finally come around, I was starving and I felt so horrible. I remember feeling really emotional and crying because I couldn’t eat. 

One of the first things I found out when I woke up, was that Maisy had been fed with a bottle of formula before she even got the chance to try and breastfeed. That was just the beginning of our feeding journey with formula. 

Maisy Jo simply refused to latch, even after I had multiple lactation consultants (LC) try and assist me. One of them even got frustrated because my daughter would literally clamp her mouth shut every time they tried hold her mouth against my breast. She would scream and scream as they tried to force her to drink from my boob. It was a horrible experience for the both of us. 

The nurses and LC’s couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t latch. It’s almost like they made a point of letting me know that usually they didn’t have much trouble and that just made me feel bad. In all honesty though, I didn’t really care to push the breastfeeding thing because I was already in a bad place mentally. Thankfully, formula feeding worked out amazing for us and my baby was content and happily fed. The crazy thing was that my milk never really came in, even after I went home from the hospital. 

After I was cleared for hemorrhaging, we were moved into the paediatric side of the hospital so Maisy Jo could be monitored closer. I remember having the hardest time getting comfortable and it was impossible for me to sleep. I wasn’t prepared for how painful it would be after giving birth. I also wasn’t prepared for how much I would bleed. I felt so weird looking into the mirror for the first time and seeing my postpartum body. I cried because I didn’t recognize myself. 

I was monitored for an extra day to make sure the excessive bleeding had ceased and got the OK to go home since everything seemed normal. I was told to look out for clots bigger then a quarter. I was to call my doctor if I peed out anything bigger then that. For the next six weeks I was peeing out quarter-sized clots, but nothing bigger so I assumed everything was okay.

At my 6 week postpartum check up, I consulted with an entirely different OBGYN and she said everything looked normal. I had let her know beforehand about the quarter-sized clots and she said it was probably just an infection and gave me a prescription to “clear it up”. The prescription didn’t really make a difference. 

When my daughter was almost three months old I ended up in hospital in a different state while visiting family.  I started having severe cramps before I went to bed which felt like contractions. I assumed it was just my period accompanied by very painful cramps. The next day I felt a dropping sensation inside my lower belly and suddenly felt like something was poking out of me. When I went to the bathroom I bent over and saw a large piece of tissue sticking out of me. 

My husband and I rushed to the closest hospital to figure out what was wrong. I felt so panicky because I thought maybe my insides were falling out and I was worried something very serious was wrong. 

When examining me, they found a huge chunk of placenta still attached to my uterus. My body literally went into labour again to try and get it out. The doctor I saw told me that he was shocked I hadn’t gotten sepsis, especially since the tissue had been sitting in me for over two months. He said that I probably would’ve died if it had stayed in me any longer. 

He also asked me if I was breastfeeding and I said no. He went on to explain to me me that if I had’ve succeeded in giving my daughter breastmilk, she probably would have gotten very sick. I was essentially told my milk could’ve really hurt my baby. For the first time, I truly felt like it was a blessing that breastfeeding didn’t work out for us. 

My stomach had been stuck in this huge, permanent bloat that I honestly didn’t think much of but once they had removed the placenta, I woke up the next morning with a deflated stomach. My milk also came in full-force that morning and I woke up with a soaked shirt for the first time since giving birth. I was seriously shocked. 

By that point I was already comfortable formula feeding so I didn’t attempt to get my daughter to relearn. She was happy and so was I, so I spent the next couple of weeks letting it dry up.

My birth story was not something I ever planned. I expected and imagined something very different and wasn’t prepared for the complications I had. It was a scary, intense experience, that I would do 100 times over for my baby girl. Maisy Jo’s birth day was hard and my recovery has been even harder, but it’s all been so worth it. 

I’ve come to learn that the birth story isn’t what matters: how I gave birth or what happened doesn’t define me or who I am as a parent because I’ve come out stronger and have a beautiful daughter and that’s what matters. 

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