vaginal birth complications

Natural child birth advocates constantly push the idea that the risks involved with a vaginal birth are always preferable to the risks involved with a c-section. The risks of a c-section are over stated and the risks of a vaginal delivery are undersold by people advocating ncb. Of course, no one wants any sort of complication, but in reality women have to make a choice and deserve to have accurate information about what can happen in different situations. Here is a story from a mom named Jackie Risnear that had her heart set on a vaginal delivery, and ended up with some serious complications afterwards as a result (shared with permission from the Fed Up With Natural Childbirth group on facebook):

A woman suggested this group to me after refusing about my birth trauma. I’ll post my experience here, not wishing for sympathy, but encouragement.

John Karl was born on October 29th at 9:51 PM, after 16 hours of labor, 3 hours of pushing and a level 4 laceration with vacuum assistance. 

I was induced with a Foley bulb on the night of October 28th. After an hour of the bulb being in place, I could NOT pee and felt like my bladder was going to explode so we went back to the hospital (They wanted me to sleep and come back when it ‘fell’ out) to have my bladder drained. The bulb was sitting on my urethra blocking urine. 

They admitted me, set me up with a catheter and IV fluids and told me I could have pitocin as soon as I wanted to after the bulb came out.

Around 4 am, a nurse came to tug on the bulb and it “Popped” out. 

Contractions were only intolerable around 3 pm, when I asked for the epidural. Around 7, they started to get me set up to push and started to let the meds wear off a bit so that I could feel when to push.

After the second hour of pushing, they called for a surgeon/delivery DR to come and evaluate weather or not I needed aSection. I had my heart set on a vaginal delivery. She said that she would do three sets of three pushes each with a vacuum (knowing I wanted to avoid asec) to get the baby out. 

By the second set of three she told me Johnny was “sunny side up” which meant he was looking out, and his head position was very dangerous. She gave me the option then and there for an episiotomy or asection. I chose the episiotomy, not knowing what future problems would occur.

Four snips and three pushes and my baby was out. I was weeping with gladness from not having to have surgery, and John was put on my chest and began nursing right away. 

In recovery, a nurse told me that I had to have at least 50 stitches because I had been cut vagina to rectum, all the way to my bowels. She called this a vaganus, which made me laugh.

Flash forward to a week later. I felt a rip in the stitches and stool began leaking out of my vagina. To the ER we went, and next afternoon I had it repaired. Three days later, I felt it rip again. The top surgeon in vaginal reconstruction in the DC metropolitan area tore the stitches down, and attempted to repair it again.

For a third time, I felt a rip. This time they admitted me. The DR decided that the only way for this repair to be successful was to open the incision and let the tissue heal completely before reattaching the perineal area. My tissue was tearing away from the stitches “like a wet paper towel”. The pain was so intense that I had an epidural for three days, and a button to push every 6 minutes that shot Diladed into my veins. I was bound to the bed for a week, unable to brush my own teeth, comb my hair, or bathe.

To top it all off, the wound was never going to heal until they stopped my bowels. They did an invasive surgery called an ileostomy that eliminates the entire colon from use and stool is released from a stoma in the front of my abdomen into a bag. Waking up from this operation was horrifying, there was a nurse pressing so hard on my abdomen trying to get the bag to “click” into place. Two days after surgery, I had a blockage and they inserted a tube into the stoma to let my small intestine drain properly. 

I couldn’t take care of my son properly. I couldn’t hold him, because it was too painful. I couldn’t nurse him because my milk dried up after the second operation. (They hadn’t allowed me to eat or drink anything for three days prior to surgery) I developed deep depression and I could barely look at him. 

I was diagnosed with PPD and PTSD during my month long hospital stay. I have to go back in March to have my perineum reattatched and my rectum reconstructed. After that heals I will have my ileostomy reversed and hopefully will be functioning as somewhat normal again.

I have my first therapy appointment on the 15th and have been on anti-depressants for a month. 

I still manage to find joy in my son, however hard it still is to hold him. I planned on breast feeding for the first year of his life but am unable to satiate his hunger and only nurse to comfort him.

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