“Two Traumatic Births, Part 2: You’re Never Alone” – with Nechama

In part two of this episode, Nechama describes delivering her baby without her husband at the hospital due to being COVID positive. After being induced, Nechama struggles with intense contractions and a difficult relationship with her nurse. A uterine rupture then forces an emergency C-section. Nechama explains the steps she later took to heal, physically and emotionally, after this traumatic birth experience.

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Dr. Fox: Welcome to “High-Risk Births Stories,” brought to you by the creators of the “Healthful Woman” podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Nathan Fox. “High-Risk Birth Stories” is a podcast designed to give you, the listener, a window into life-changing experiences of pregnancy, fertility and childbirth.
Nechama: Then we’re getting closer to, I’m due. And I didn’t go into labor yet. And as each Shabbos came, that was really nerve-racking for me, because they told me from the beginning, my husband cannot come with me and I better just face that. Because at that time, the protocol was, you have to be 20 days symptom-free to be considered non-COVID. So, they’re like, “Just forget it.” You know, “That’s way past your due date, you’re coming to the hospital alone.”
Dr. Fox: Meaning because you had COVID, not because he had COVID.
Nechama: Because I had COVID, yeah. And they don’t want to…you know, we try, like if he takes two negative tests, and they’re like…there was nothing to talk about at that point. “We can’t put our doctors at risk, it brings more germs in.” Just, they were very clear that, “Just give it up.”
Dr. Fox: Wow. So, you know, you’re gonna be alone, when you’re in labor?
Nechama: So, I know I’m gonna be alone and I, kind of, felt great… And they told me and I heard other people’s stories of, people that came with their husband and then they gave everyone a COVID test. And once they found out they had COVID, they sent the husband home. So, I said, “At least I have time to prepare myself.” And for me, just preparing myself and knowing instead of being put into shock is just a lot easier. So, I was preparing myself that I’ll be alone. But, you know, we had plans in place. Like, my husband and my daughter was gonna watch the kids, and he’s gonna hang out outside the hospital, I’ll have my phone, we’ll do video calls, I’ll have calls with my sisters, and my mother, and my husband. And, you know, I’m like, “I did the last one, I did great, I was out of the hospital in 24 hours, I’ll be okay.” You know, “This is not my first baby, I can do this.” And I set up the support system, I had faith that I was gonna get a great nurse just like I had those previous two times, as each Shabbos came, that was the only part that really made me nervous. Because I can’t take an Uber to the hospital because I can’t expose other people to COVID, and I have COVID. My husband can’t really be anywhere if he drives me there because he can’t come in with me so where’s he going?
So, we, you know, we call the rabbi, “What should we do about Shabbos? How am I getting there? And what are we doing?” And we talked about the halachic things about getting to the hospital. But then came the hospital itself. And I was so sure that my rabbi would say because like I’ve heard many times that when a mother is laboring, you do whatever she needs, whatever will make her comfortable is permissible. You know, you don’t…you can…it’s actually a mitzvah to desecrate Shabbos. You know, for the mother, for giving birth, it’s totally fine. But when I asked him about my plan, about video calling my husband, being on the phone with him on Shabbos, he said, “No.” Like, “That’s not allowed.” And I was kind of shocked.
Dr. Fox: Your concern was, “How am I gonna break the laws of Shabbos?” And you figured, “Okay, my husband can drive me because there’s no other way to get there.” And you figured all, “If he can drive me, then I’m gonna need him for A, B, and C,” the rabbi would say it’s okay for everything else. But he said that your husband could drive you, but he couldn’t video call with you afterwards?
Nechama: Correct.
Dr. Fox: All right.
Nechama: So, that really, I just broke down crying when he told me that. Like, really alone? Like, I’m just gonna have to be alone? And at that time, he said, “You’re not alone. God is with every birthing mother, He’s the third partner, He’s with you, you’re gonna be okay.” So, I didn’t really internalize it then but that’s what he said. But I really, really did not wanna go into labor and have to deal with Shabbos. So, on Tuesday, I had an appointment at the hospital. And the doctor called me afterwards and she said, you know, “Tomorrow, it’s Wednesday.” Thursday was Thanksgiving. So she said, you know, tomorrow…it’s her day at the hospital, her office is right next door to the hospital. So she’s on call for deliveries. And, you know, “Why don’t we just induce you?” It was already past my due date and she’s like, “You’ll be home before Thanksgiving.” I’m thinking more, “I’ll be home before Shabbos,” and I was like, “Okay, let’s do this.”
My first time being induced. I don’t usually like to be induced. But all I was thinking about was just, “Let’s just get this over with, I’m feeling better already. I’ll just have this baby and be home already.” So, that was the plan, to get induced Wednesday morning. My husband dropped me off, that was really hard, just leaving me there and he was gonna go and hang out in the parking lot. And the doctor came about, you know, 9:00 right before she went to the office, she broke my water. And she said, “I’ll come check on you by lunch. If anything happens in between, just let me know.”
Dr. Fox: Did you have an epidural or no?
Nechama: Not yet. No.
Dr. Fox: Okay.
Nechama: She just broke my water. I do remember when they broke my water, there was a lot of meconium in the water. But right when she broke it, I started feeling intense contractions. I forgot to say about this nurse, from the beginning, it was like, she felt really…I felt like she felt like, “Oh, poor me. I got stuck with the COVID patient.” She was just not a happy camper.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, I mean, that’s certainly possibly true. It makes it tougher and different, you know, healthcare workers are obviously…some people use the word like heroic, because they took care of all the COVID patients and, you know, true or not true, certainly people feel differently about it. And some people are more afraid of having a patient with COVID than others. Or, again, it may not…like you said before, it’s not necessarily a fear of their own health and well-being, but it could just be a fear of, “Man, if I get COVID now and be, you know, quarantined for two weeks, and I might just not feel well, and someone has to cover my shifts. And then there goes my vacation.” And, you know, it could also be logistic, but some people legitimately were very afraid of COVID at the time. So, that’s certainly possible, that that was her feeling.
Nechama: It just so happened that the two nurses beforehand were so easygoing and so okay with it, and this one wasn’t, which I respect and understand, you know?
Dr. Fox: Yeah. But certainly you got that impression that that was the reality that she as opposed to other nurses was not pleased to have the COVID patient.
Nechama: Right. Because, you know, the questions that she was asking me, all the other…you know, everyone is so like, “Wow, number nine, let’s hear about your other births.” Like, just all the questions about each birth, like, I’m like, “It’s in the notes, you see it.” But they all asked me all the questions. I don’t remember her asking you about any of the births, it was all about, “When you had COVID, what are your symptoms? How bad was it?” Like, that was clearly the only thing on her mind.
Dr. Fox: “Let’s talk about this COVID thing a little bit more.”
Nechama: So, after she broke the water, the contractions were intense. And I’m like, “Oh, wow.” I was, kind of, like, excited. Okay, this is gonna move fast. Like this is…here we go, you know? I heard her talking about Pitocin to get things going more. And I said, “Wait, maybe we don’t need it.” Like, “Wow, these are big ones.” You know, “This is really intense.” And she’s like, “Oh, yes, you do. We’re giving you Pitocin and we’re gonna up it every half hour till this baby gets out.” And I was just like, “Whoa.” Like, really in shock. I really was trying to be pleasant and to be understanding, you know? But she just kept giving me attitude. So, that really stuck in my head and I was just, kind of, like quiet, like, “Okay, like, I’m gonna listen to you.” Like, “Just like me, just stop yelling at me.” Like, “Okay, I’m not gonna fight it.” Things are moving along. She asked me if I want epidural, but again, the contractions seemed, like, really intense. I’m like, “You know what, even though I might…the plan was to get an epidural because I’m like, I’m COVID and, you know, I’m still a little bit weak.” And I’m not gonna be a martyr. I’m getting an epidural. But I had this moment of like, “Wait, maybe it’s really soon because this is so intense. Can you check me first before you give me the epidural?” So, she did have someone come check me and I was like, barely open. So, I’m like, “Okay, let’s do the epidural.”
After that, things really went really fast. The thing that I remember really clearly was not feeling good. After the epidural, I was completely numb, which I know you feel like that but it was like, I felt extra heavy and numb. I asked about that. And they said, “It’s fine. It’s normal.” Then I started feeling really nauseous and severe pain in my neck and my shoulder. Like, “Why does this hurt?” I remember asking the nurse, “Can you just give me a pillow.” Like, “This is hurting.” And then she’s like, “I’m worried about the baby.” Like, “Could you just wait?” She was trying to move me, she was trying to…something wasn’t good with the baby so I was just like quiet, okay, like, “My pain is okay.” Like, “Fine. Do what you need to do for the baby.” I think she called for help. Like, she pressed some buttons like, “Could someone come help me?” One person came. And then after she came they called the code, I think code blue or something.
Dr. Fox: Code something, emergency.
Nechama: Code something. Everybody came running.
Dr. Fox: What was the issue? Was it because of the baby’s heart rate?
Nechama: My blood pressure dropped a lot, and I think the baby’s too. It was me and the baby that they were concerned about.
Dr. Fox: I mean, there’s a few things that could be going on, sometimes after an epidural people’s blood pressure drops. And that’s just, you know, sort of, a side effect of epidural. And when that happens, the baby’s heart rate drops. And there’s medicine you could be given and some fluids, put on your side, and everything’s gonna come back to normal. But if it’s really concerning, particularly, if you’re now having pain in your neck and your shoulder, that could be a sign that there’s blood in your belly, that you had a ruptured uterus. As in, the uterus ruptures and you’re bleeding in your belly. It’s, sort of, this weird thing we have where you get pain, it’s called referred pain, to your shoulder and your neck, usually on the right side.
Nechama: That’s exactly where it was.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. And so, I’m sure there were concerns, say, “Oh, my God, her blood pressure has dropped and her neck hurts.”
Nechama: Nobody knew about my neck besides that nurse who was ignoring me, honestly. I think it was probably one of the other signs. It wasn’t till after…
Dr. Fox: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, the heart rate alone for the baby is usually the thing that pushes people to say, “All right, we need to do something.” So, did they say right there, “We need to do a C-section?”
Nechama: So, the doctor that, you know, was on the floor was the one that came, not my doctor because she’s, like, a walkway…
Dr. Fox: Right, she’s a few minutes away. Yeah.
Nechama: He said, you know, “The baby is in distress, you’re in distress, we need to do a C-section.” And I was already, kind of, out of it a little bit. And, you know, I didn’t really even ask many questions. I just said, “Okay,” you know? You know, “We’re calling your doctor.” And she came while they were wheeling me to the OR. I remember, as they were wheeling me, I suddenly felt this huge shift in my stomach. And to me, I thought, “Wait, like, maybe everything’s okay now.” Like, “Maybe the baby is coming out. Maybe I don’t need this C-section.” And I must have been, like, very weak and not, like, talking so loud because the nurses…I’m like, you know, “Dr. Hirschberg, like, I just felt something, maybe I don’t need the C-section.” So, they had to, like, call her and catch her attention, tell her what I was saying. She just stopped and she looked at me and she said, “It’s your life. It’s the baby’s life. We need to do the C-section.” So, I think it was…you know, I really felt her love and her care and her concern, you know, she listened. And I really felt her…I felt like the burden of that decision on her. Like, I don’t know, it was just like, a kind of just a moment that stuck out in my head.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, I mean, it’s an emergent time. But you need someone to look you in the eyes and tell you like, “I know what I’m doing. You need to have this, this is really important.” And then you feel peace, right? Because when there’s all that chaos, like when you were talking about your twin birth before, it’s not that the decision was right or wrong, but since it’s so chaotic, and you don’t know what’s going on, and, you know, what’s supposed to happen, what’s not, it’s a lot more frightening than someone literally, just like looking at you, taking five seconds, and saying like, “This is what we do. You really need this. Here’s why. Let’s go.” And you’re like, “Okay, yeah.” I mean, who’s gonna say no to that? Your life, your baby’s life, right? People don’t say, “No.” I mean, like, of course, you know, but it’s sometimes with the commotion, we don’t always do that. Like, we forget to tell you exactly why we’re doing what we’re doing. And it changes the whole tenor of the event, even though it’s emergent, from emergent and horribly frightening, to emergent and just, sort of, frightening.
Nechama: Yeah, definitely. And I felt like this, kind of, peace come over me. Forgot to tell you about my husband and the lunch because he…like, right before the craziness, I was like, “Oh, like, things are going really fast.” He’s like, “You know what, I’m going to go and get you some lunch so that you can have it, I’ll send it up afterwards.” So, he’s out buying me lunch, and he has no clue about any of the craziness. And I was so out of it. Like, there goes the plan of, like, calling the doula, for calling my husband, my sisters, nobody. It was just all just, like, so chaotic. As they’re wheeling me, suddenly he calls and he’s like, “I’m back.” And I’m like, “Malcolm, it’s an emergency C-section.” And he’s like, “What?” And my hand was shaking. And I just dropped…the phone just dropped out of my hand and it’s just laying on the bed.
Dr. Fox: Wait, he called you while you were rolling from your room to the operating room, just coincidentally that exact moment?
Nechama: Yes. To tell me that he’s back with the lunch.
Dr. Fox: What did he get you? I’m curious.
Nechama: I don’t know because I never ate it.
Dr. Fox: So, you go back to the operating room, and it’s still just you. And did they put you to sleep?
Nechama: No. So, because I had the epidural, they didn’t put me to sleep. The phone just, like, fell on the bed. So, I’m like, “At least my husband will hear, like, he’s here,” you know? But then it turns out that he lost reception and he’s calling nonstop. Then one of the nurses said, “Shut that thing off.” Like, “We can’t deal with that.” So, now I’m like, “Okay, right now I’m really alone.” Like, “Nobody even knows what’s going on here.” And that’s when the words of the rabbi just came into my head. And he’s like, “You’re not alone. There’s a third partner, God is with you.” And at that point, I just, kind of, surrender. I just started praying that the doctor has the ability to save the baby, save me. And I was just praying. It was really intense. I did also have this little vision of…my sister had a very scary story where she lost her baby, and we almost lost her life. And somehow at that moment, I just was thinking about her and how scary that was just knowing about it. And I’m like, “I’m here alone. Nobody even knows what’s going on.”
Dr. Fox: When you turned to God at that moment, and you decide you’re gonna start praying for your well-being and the baby’s, was that something that you prayed, like, your own prayer? Or did you go back to something that’s, you know, in the liturgy already that you knew by heart, and you started to say?
Nechama: Mostly my own, but then just somethings I knew by heart.
Dr. Fox: And so, what happened? So, you’re praying for your life, your baby’s life, they take you into the operating room, you’re awake, and they start the C-section. And obviously, I assume they got the baby out pretty quickly.
Nechama: I remember this little confusion where the doctor says, “The baby is out.” And then some people are asking questions, and she’s like, “No, he’s out of the uterus.” And she says, “Complete uterine rupture.” He was sitting in my stomach.
Dr. Fox: Right. So, just for our listeners, what that means is, while you’re laboring, the scar from the prior cesarean, right, the scar on the uterus, not your skin or anything like that, the scar on the uterus opened up during your labor, and the baby came out of that scar into your belly. And that’s why also at the same time, you’re bleeding, you have the pain, your blood pressure is dropping, the baby’s heart rate is dropping. And so, when they make the incision on your skin, and then through the certain layers, they see the baby sitting outside the uterus, and that’s a complete uterine rupture. Did the baby need a lot of resuscitation or was the baby okay?
Nechama: The baby needed a lot of resuscitation. I remember asking, “How is the baby?” And the doctor…also to compare the births, like you were saying, she was completely just calm, quiet, and was just quiet. There was no chaos in the room. It was just completely quiet. I was, kind of, out of it. I was losing so much blood, but it was, like, a few minutes later that I was like, “Well, how’s the baby? Is the baby okay?” And the doctor said, “The doctor will update you about the baby.” Like, she wasn’t saying anything so that was very nerve-racking not knowing. Because she was she was concentrating on me, she couldn’t really tell me anything about the baby.
Dr. Fox: She probably didn’t know also. I mean, yeah, she wouldn’t know, the pediatricians I assume are with the baby. Is the baby in the same room as you? Do they take the baby to another room right away?
Nechama: No, the baby was there, they were working on him in the room, trying to get him to breathe, I guess, he wasn’t breathing. So, finally, they showed him to me. And he looked really, really, really bad color and really awful. And somehow…I suddenly remember feeling this like, “I’m my own advocate.” Like, I’m hearing this all going around, and I need to speak up. And the doctor comes to me and says, “I’m Dr. so and so and we’re going to take your baby to the NICU,” and I’m like, “Just take him,” I’m just, like, yelling at him, “Just do what you need to do. Take him.” And I remember also for myself, I hear them discussing, if they’re gonna give me blood, how much blood? I’m like just, “Give me the blood already.” Like, “Why is everybody talking so much? Just do what you need to do.” I’m sure they were doing it but it was just this feeling that I had, like, I’m on my own and I need to speak up.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, and you are on your own. You’re alone in there.
Nechama: Yeah.
Dr. Fox: Since you were awake, were they talking you through any of this, like, “We’re going to do a hysterectomy. We don’t need to do a hysterectomy. We might need to do a hysterectomy.” Was that something that they were talking about? Because it’s always a possibility when you have a uterine rupture, that in addition to delivering the baby and the placenta, they may have to do a hysterectomy.
Nechama: No. She told me, afterwards she said, “I knew you would want me to keep it. Even though you can’t use it, I just, I knew you would want me to preserve.”
Dr. Fox: “The uterus is off limits. You’re done.” So, they did repair you. How much blood did you require?
Nechama: Two bags.
Dr. Fox: Two bags of blood. And after the C-section, when again, sort of, like with your twin, when did you find out that the baby was okay?
Nechama: Now, I was so out of it, like I didn’t…I, kind of, told my husband, “You need to speak to the nurses in the NICU and really find out what’s going on.” He was telling me he was okay, but I really…it took me like maybe like two days to really like…I was really in a state of shock to really process, you know, like…
Dr. Fox: Yeah. Yeah. What about your own recovery, your physical recovery? How’d that go?
Nechama: It took a long time, it really took a long time.
Dr. Fox: Longer than the first C-section?
Nechama: Yeah, much longer.
Dr. Fox: Do you think it was because of the blood transfusion and all of that, or just because it was, you were recovering from COVID also?
Nechama: Yeah, I think it was a combination of everything. It was just my…I remember the hardest thing was my legs just felt weak for so long. It was like, it was hard for me to walk, go up and down the steps. I just felt physically…I remember at eight weeks, I was just like, “This is crazy.” Like, “I have to be feeling better.”
Dr. Fox: How about from an emotional standpoint? At the very beginning when we started talking, you were saying how this was a traumatic birth. You described one birth that was traumatic with your twins, traumatic in one way, but this is clearly traumatic in, I guess, a different way. But going through a birth like that, where you almost lose your life, you almost lose your baby, you’re told afterwards, “Because of this, you really shouldn’t have any more kids,” whether that was in the plan for you or not in the plan for you, to be told that is a big deal. How was your recovery emotionally from that? I mean, it’s been a year. So, what’s the past year been like, from an emotional perspective?
Nechama: I really had to work through it a lot, and get myself a lot of help in many different ways. It’s been really hard, but I feel like I’ve come a long way. I’ve found tools to help me.
Dr. Fox: What was helpful?
Nechama: For one thing, this is helpful. I actually paid to speak to a birth processing doula that, kind of, does this. You know, she just, you tell your whole story and she just says…you know, people find healing in it.
Dr. Fox: Wait, you pay her for this?
Nechama: Yes, I paid her for it.
Dr. Fox: And I just do this and put it on podcast for free?
Nechama: Yes.
Dr. Fox: All right. Well, very good…
Nechama: It’s free therapy.
Dr. Fox: Come here. Free therapy. Okay. I joke but actually, I think it is worthwhile. I mean, as I’ve said before, like, who’s ever going to give you a chance to spend an hour talking about your birth story? Like, who’s gonna listen, right? I mean, no one’s gonna listen to anybody. This is like, you know, this is 2021/2022, nobody listens to anybody. But it’s really healing to tell a story like this. And people go to therapy just to tell their story sometimes. And so, if there’s someone who says, “You know what, I know a lot about birth. You know, I’m a doula, I’m a midwife, I’m a doctor, I’m, whatever. I know a lot about birth. You’re gonna tell me your story. I’m going to help you process it.” That’s legitimate. That’s therapy. I mean, God bless, that’s something that they should bill for. You know, I do this podcast for other reasons. It’s not my career and I think it’s really helpful but yeah, that is very helpful. So, I’m glad you did that, I’m glad you’re doing it again today. So, that’s helpful. What else have you found to be helpful?
Nechama: I also went to, she calls herself a body and soul physical therapist. It was amazing. She did some kind of, like, electric thing along my incision. I didn’t tell her my story, I just told her I had a C-section. And I felt as she was [vocalization] my incisions, I felt this…I just started crying. I just felt like this release. And she explained that there’s energy that gets trapped when you have a surgery and she helped me just release it. And I really felt that. And that was like, when I went…because my legs were still hurting me, I felt like I couldn’t walk. And I was able to walk after that so that was really amazing.
Dr. Fox: Wow. I definitely don’t know much about that. I’ve heard of this concept of energy. And I once spoke to someone who does this and I have to confess I don’t quite understand how it goes but that, you know, there’s a lot…you can feel it, yeah.
Nechama: I think also more than anything, it was like, I’m looking for something…
Dr. Fox: Sure.
Nechama: …I was asking people, you know? I was talking about it. I said, “I had this crazy story. I’m not feeling okay.” I was asking friends for help. And I kind of…you know, I was doing something for myself.
Dr. Fox: Sure.
Nechama: I made the drive, I paid the money, you know, it was…
Dr. Fox: Yeah, yeah. No, I’m not pooh-poohing it. I mean, listen, you could fill a truck with the things that I don’t know and don’t understand. And whether this is something that’s, you know, sort of, like true from an energy perspective, or whether it’s just like a mechanism to help you self-heal internally, who knows? Who cares ultimately? If you do it and you feel better, that’s great.
Nechama: So, there’s one other thing that also really helped me process this was my doctor who was so amazing, even though, you know, the nurses there, some of the staff in the office were also horrible as far as the COVID, you know? Just really giving me attitude and not treating me properly. I sent her a long email of just like everything that was on my head and me processing it and everything. And I told her about that nurse that had that attitude, and how that, you know, that stuck in my head about the Pitocin. I, kind of, I was getting these thoughts that, you know, this nurse, like who knows what she did to me? Because everything kind of points to the Pitocin was what likely caused me to rupture and I’m thinking, how much did she give? What happened? And the doctor encouraged me to get my medical records. So, I got like 200 pages of, I don’t know what, I couldn’t understand anything.
Dr. Fox: I’m surprised it’s only 200 pages, it’s usually like 2,000 pages.
Nechama: Yeah, I don’t know, it was a lot. I stopped printing it.
Dr. Fox: Yeah.
Nechama: So, she was just so amazing. And she said, “You know what, let’s meet at the hospital with the charge nurse, and herself, and my husband.” This was also about two months when I was trying to heal more. And we spent a long time going over the whole birth again, but this time, like, with the charts, and they were basically trying to show me that although they agreed with me that this nurse, but we will of course, give her the COVID pass, that she was afraid of COVID.
Dr. Fox: Okay.
Nechama: But her attitude was unacceptable, and they agreed with me, and that she should not have spoken to me that way. They were able to prove to me and show me that, you know, the amounts that she gave me was acceptable even for a VBAC. I also told the charge nurse, like, “Did you know that I was even a VBAC?” Because nobody discussed, “Oh, we knew, we knew,” you know?
Dr. Fox: Right.
Nechama: So, that, it just it really validated me to go back to the story and go through it all again, that was really very helpful.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, that’s really impressive that they did that. It’s the right thing to do. I mean, to give people a chance to not just process what happened but to hear them and to listen, and to hear your concerns and to address them and to go through them one at a time, methodically, you know, thoroughly, and to really let you see. And again, or maybe something could have been done better, right? That happens sometimes that you find areas where it could be improved. Obviously, they agree that the nurse’s, sort of, you know, attitude could have been improved and could have been better. And that’s very validating that you don’t feel like you’re just crazy saying, “This person is mean to me.” But like you said, going through your records and going through what actually happened step by step, either…you know, one way or another, you’re either going to find out, no, they did do things, sort of, in the correct way, in the proper way, and that gives you some peace. Or they do find something that was done incorrectly and it gives you some validation for what you’re feeling. And it’s very honest of them to do that with you. And I think that everything you’re describing about your doctor is very impressive. You know, how she handled herself during a real crisis. That’s a real emergency. It’s very stressful on us when that’s happening, because I mean, the thought of us losing a baby or a mother is, I mean, horrifying. I mean, it’s like the worst thing on earth that could happen to us, and to be very calm is really impressive.
Nechama: Yeah, she was very shaken up for a long time.
Dr. Fox: Yeah.
Nechama: She said, “I’ve been practicing for years, and this was…” I think she said, when she was a resident, it had happened, this was her first time dealing with it. So, it was traumatic for her.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, it’s, hard.
Nechama: She also told me, she said, you know, right after the birth, she went back, because she didn’t do my twins. So, she went right back to check what kind of cut I had. She’s like, “Did I miss something?” So, what she told me, she was like, “I thought, maybe I missed something.” Like maybe I had the highcut.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, yeah.
Nechama: But I didn’t. You know, she’s like, “I checked back and I didn’t,” I had the low-cut.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, no, it happens. The uterine rupture happens about 1% of the time when you’re laboring, little less, a little more, depends on the circumstances. You know, slightly less if you had a vaginal delivery, like you did afterwards. Slightly more if you have, you know, more than five kids. Slightly more if you… But ballpark, 1%. So, 99 out of 100 times, it’s not gonna happen, but one time it will. And it doesn’t mean anyone did anything wrong, or anything was done inappropriately, just for whatever reason you were the one, it sounds like. But yeah, I mean, you have to be practicing a long time and do a lot of VBACs in order to have more than one uterine rupture. Yeah, it’s tough on the doctor too. Obviously, tougher on you. But I’m glad that you had that opportunity. That does sound really, really helpful. And so, you feel like you’re in a good place now?
Nechama: Yeah.
Dr. Fox: That’s fantastic. How’s he doing?
Nechama: He’s doing great. I mean, I did have that, you know, concern of the lack of oxygen that he had and he needed, you know, oxygen for a bit. He was in the NICU for a few days, but I think because I had my twin who also had a lack of oxygen, the twin b, and he is the quicker one of the twins, so, it kind of gave me some assurance that he’ll be okay.
Dr. Fox: Don’t let his older brother hear this ever. Only today, maybe tomorrow, you’ll switch. As you said at the very beginning of our conversation, you know, I give women a chance to say what they’ve taken away from this and, you know, lessons to others. I want to give that opportunity as well. Obviously, you’ve already said a lot of them, such important parts of your story and your responses to them. But is there anything else you want our listeners to take away from your story or your stories of your births?
Nechama: Well, I think my message that I really want to be, is to really remember that there is a third partner, there’s God. And we should turn to him. I think also, the doctor is a big part to having a good connection and having that trust in your doctor, is important so that if something comes up, you’ll feel like you’re in good hands. Maybe also, I would add about getting the help that you need, and looking for answers, listening to podcasts, and going back to your doctor. Do those things, you know, because I didn’t do that with my twins and, you know, it happened now and it was so much more helpful.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, I think that’s a really good point, you’ve had basically, two traumatic births. I mean, thank God, you’re okay, babies are fine, right? But both births were traumatic in their own way. And the second one, I think, sort of, looking at them objectively, just from the outside, the second one is more traumatic than the first one, right? You had a blood transfusion, you almost died, your baby almost died, like, crazy emergency, you know, really, really scary situation. Yet, you have more, sort of, peace over your second birth compared to your first traumatic birth because you had that different relationship with your doctor because it wasn’t as frantic. And because you’ve had an opportunity to process it and get your questions answered, I mean, you’re gonna be sitting, you know, for the next, you know, hundred years, with a lot more unanswered questions about your first traumatic birth than your second one, even though it wasn’t “as traumatic,” whatever that means.
Nechama: Right.
Dr. Fox: But I think that’s a really important lesson about how to, you know, process a birth that’s difficult. Again, even if the outcome is good, right? Ultimately, the outcome is good, you have a healthy baby, you’re healthy, but that doesn’t mean that the birth itself doesn’t have a lot of lingering issues that are behind.
Nechama: For sure. And sometimes the bigger and scarier it is, it pushes you, you know, even more, maybe because this one was so much scarier, and so much more, I knew that I have to do more to get over it. I’m not gonna just get over it, I need to work at it.
Dr. Fox: Thank you so much for coming on the podcast, I really do appreciate it. You have, thank God, a wonderful, large family and you have a lot of stories. And so, it’s hard to start going through all of them, it takes a lot of time. But it’s so valuable to me to hear it and obviously, as you said, hopefully, to you, but all the more so to our listeners who get to hear this and hear your perspective on it. I think it really is interesting, but also really helpful to a lot of people who go through difficult births. So, I really do thank you.
Nechama: And I thank you. You gave me…this time I did it for free.
Dr. Fox: Whatever, just long distance rates may apply. But otherwise, we’re good.
Nechama: Thank you so much.
Dr. Fox: Thank you for listening to “High-Risk Births Stories,” brought to you by the creators of the “Healthful Woman” podcast. If you’re interested in telling your birth story on our podcast, please go to our partner website at www.healthfulwoman.com and click the link for sharing your story. You can also email us directly at hrbs@highriskbirthstories.com. If you liked today’s podcast, please be sure to check out our “Healthful Woman” podcast as well, where I speak with the leaders in the field to help you learn more about women’s health, pregnancy, and wellness. Have a great day.
The information discussed in “High-Risk Birth Stories” is intended for information and entertainment only and does not replace medical care from your physician. The stories and experiences discussed in our podcasts are unique to each guest and are not intended to be representative of any standard of care or expected outcomes. As always, we encourage you to speak with your own doctor about specific diagnoses and treatment options for an effective treatment plan. Guests on “High-Risk Birth Stories” have given their permission for us to share their personal health information.