Elizabeth Francis

I was young and I wish I had known so much more headed into my planned hospital delivery. I was 41 weeks and had gone in the morning before my daughter's birth for the midwife to check on us. She ended up accidentally breaking my water and I began leaking. I was group B strep positive so I needed antibiotics once my water broke. I was told to go home, get my things and head to maternity. I did just that. Once there I wasn't progressing, they told me I needed Pitocin and that they would start antibiotics. Though I had never been allergic to Penicillin before, in labor I was. I went into full anaphylaxis. From here the memories are kind of fuzzy. They stopped Pitocin, brought me down to the ER, gave me an EpiPen and monitored both me and babies heart rates for a couple hours before bringing us back to maternity to begin inducing me again. I had planned on no medication for pain and wanted to go as natural as possible. I was hooked up to Pitocin all night and was doing fine with the pain. Morning came quickly and they told me I had to get a c-section because my water had broken 24 hours prior. This was so hard for me but my body was exhausted and I just wanted my baby at this point. They had a hard time placing the epidural but they got it eventually and she was in my arms before I knew it. The happiness overpowered everything that happened before. But then the spinal headache came...it was awful. I couldn't stand without vomiting. I had to lay flat for the first few weeks of my newborns life.

I wish I had known to ask to stay home until I progressed naturally a little more.

I wish I had said no to Pitocin.

I wish I had known that even if I was leaking there was still plenty (of fluid) in there for baby.

I wish I had been educated on spinal headaches, blood patches etc.

I wish I had advocated for myself and my daughter more.

Right now we just have our one girl, I'm hoping for a VBAC the second time around but that means being off island.

My recovery I think was so different than most, so i'm not sure how much advice I can give. All that helped me was lying flat and when I needed to get up (bathroom, shower etc) I had to make a plan so that I was quick and would hopefully not get sick from the pain. It was a lot harder than I expected. (Failed blood patch and I refused to try for a second one.)

I do still have a lot of numbness in my lower abdomen and my daughter is three! The doctors said working those muscles would change that, but still no luck.

I strongly believe that if I had better advocated for myself my birth story would be very different. I don't regret the experience because in the end I got the best gift ever, but I do think when we decide to try for baby number two I will make sure to do a better job of advocating for both myself and baby.