The Birth of My Baby and Illness

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.  Romans 8:18


My daughter’s first photo

“You’re in labor, but I can’t admit you.”  The nurse stood over me on the examining table.  “Come back when the contractions are closer.”

“You can’t admit me now?”  I was ten days past my due date and ready to have this over.

“Nope.  You’ll probably not need to come back until tonight.”

Disheartened, I dressed and left the hospital.  It was 2 am.   By 7 am, I was back, and this time they did admit me.  Since I lived almost an hour from the hospital, I got little rest during the few hours between our trips.  While I suffered through the contractions (yes, I don’t recall the pain, but I remember that it hurt), my husband sat in the chair beside me asleep.  One nurse objected, but I actually made excuses for him.  “He didn’t get much sleep last night.”

Ha.  I hadn’t gotten any sleep.  But this began a pattern of our marriage–me making excuses or apologizing for his actions.

At 3:45 pm, my daughter entered the world screaming her head off.  I heard her voice before I knew whether or not I had a girl or a boy.  She had a thick head of dark hair and weighed 8 lbs. 10 oz.   We were overjoyed.

By the time I made it to a regular room, I had missed dinner, so my husband went out to eat with his parents, promising to bring me back some food.  I’ll never forget my surprise when they brought me a meal but nothing to drink. It took forever to get the hospital to get me something.  And he didn’t stay once he brought me my food. There I was, stuck in a ward when I should have been in a semi-private room, with no one to share the birth of my baby with, and no drink to wash down my dinner.

The irony to this story comes a few hours later.  The nurses kept waking me to pump me full of juice.  They gave me the option of orange or apple juice, and I chose apple.  I don’t like apple juice anymore.

By the next morning, I felt horrible.  I still couldn’t move from the saddle block anesthetic administered during delivery.  I usually experience a longer period of coming out of anesthesia, but at this time, I didn’t know that.  I couldn’t move my legs, roll over, or feel anything from the waist down.  I felt nauseous.  At some point, I lost my bowels in the bed.  The nurses asked why I hadn’t gotten up to go to the bathroom, and I told them I couldn’t move.  I don’t think they believed me, AND they left me lying in the mess.

Soon after, a friend of my parents who was a nurse at the hospital came by to see me.  She asked me why I hadn’t gotten up.  I told her I still couldn’t move.  She patted my hand and said, “You’re experiencing postpartum depression.”

I was mortified.  Everyone acted as if I’d done this on purpose, and I felt like they were punishing me for it by making me wait to be cleaned up. Then, the pediatrician came to talk to me.  While he talked, I grabbed a bowl and threw up.  He took one look at me and said, “You’re sick.  I’ll come back.”  I heard him outside the curtain telling the nurses I was sick.

Finally, someone believed me.

It turned out that the nurses pushed apple juice on me all night long to try and bring down a fever of 103.  It didn’t work and they waited eighteen hours before contacting my doctor about my fever.

So begins the darkest part of my journey.  This part of my story upsets me every time I think about it, but I will share it in hopes that others will gain some encouragement when they see how my story unfolds.


9 thoughts on “The Birth of My Baby and Illness

  1. Oh my goodness. As an RN for 30 years, I’m appalled yet again by the actions of some in the medical community. I can’t wait to read the next installment. I know lives are going to be changed by your testimony.

    • Alas, Heidi, you were in the nursery. I did nurse you once early in the evening, but they took you back to the nursery after that. The next time they wanted me to feed you, I was feeling really sick.

  2. Pingback: Life Isn’t Fair: When You Feel Trapped | The Workbench of Faith

  3. Barbara, i can’t find the words to tell you how your story is impacting me. i have been your friend for as long as i can remember, but i never realized what you had been through. yes, i knew you were pregnant and married, but i didn’t know the circumstances. please accept my apology for not being there for you when you needed me the most. as for your L&D story, as a former nurse in an OB unit, i am appalled at your treatment by all of your healthcare providers. at a time when you obviously had no visible support system, they should have reached out to you and given you the resources you needed to succeed. i wish i had been your nurse! thank you for sharing your story. you are right when you say that the hard times make you stronger. i also had many obstacles to overcome. i have also turned to God and his unfailing love. like you, i hope that anyone who knows of my story uses it to overcome the difficulties they may be facing. i love you, my friend. God bless,

    • Lee, you have always been a great and positive friend. It was a long time ago, and you and I were moving in very different circles at the time. I’m thankful you wanted to be there for me, but I know you couldn’t. You were still in high school focusing on moving on with your life. That’s to be expected.

      I’m also glad that you found strength through God. I love you, too, my friend!

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