Tyshanna Eileen Mae Bradley (32). Liam (4) and Cecelia (2)
Janesville , Wi. Photographed in Madison, WI.
Tyshanna shares -
"I think the hardest part was my scar. Its very light and not visible unless I am in my underwear, but it is there. I used placenta salve to help heal it. I am comfortable with it now, but it took a few years.
I was married young and waited 8 years to have kids. My pregnancy and labor with my son was typical. My water broke in the early AM hours but contractions never started. Pitocin was initiated and I ended up asking for an epidural. With the epidural, I experienced a “window” where I could still feel all the pain. I was in labor for 21 hours and never passed 5 cm. I was exhausted. My birth team, which included my husband, my mom, my husband's sister and his mother, were also tired. They had a hard time seeing me in so much pain. I ultimately asked for a cesarean and my son was born healthy.
I wanted to breastfeed and did. Twenty four hours after he was born, he had lost 10% of his body weight. I was handed a bottle at midnight and was told I had to feed him it. My husband fed him while I cried. I was sure it was going to be detrimental to our breastfeeding relationship. The next feeding we had latch issues. I contacted the lactation consultant who spent three hours with us. We left the hospital with an SNS system, formula, and an appointment with my sons pediatrician for a follow up in 2 days.
Fortunately, my milk came in pretty quickly and we had smooth sailing from then on. I nursed my son until he was 22 months old. I only stopped because I became pregnant and was loosing weight due to morning sickness. I looked and felt terrible. I decided I could not sustain 3 lives at once. My daughter's birth was much more emotional. I wanted a natural vaginal birth after cesarean. I spoke with my OB about it and she said, as long as my contractions started naturally, she would be okay with it. I hired a doula, prepared my birth plan and everything was set. I was going to labor at home as long as possible, then go to the hospital for the birth.
On May 3, at 5 am, my water broke. I stayed home, was in the yard with my son, went on walks. Nothing was getting the contractions started. My doula came over and did stair lunges and stretched with me to help facilitate contractions. They never came with any regularity. It was 12 hours with broken water and I was getting nervous. We decided to drive to Madison and go to a different hospital than my OB. I was sure my VBAC chances were greater in a bigger hospital. By 6 pm I was admitted and by midnight the Pitocin was started. I was going to get my VBAC. I labored in the bed, on a ball, and in a tub. I remember laughing and being excited after contractions. I was getting the birth I wanted. I was laboring without an epidural. I labored all night and made good progress.
Shift change happened and a concerned OB came in and wanted me to have internal monitors put in. She also wanted me in for a cesarean right then. She was uncomfortable with the amount of time since my water broke. Once again, I got stuck at 5cm but eventually got to 7cm. At that 7cm mark, something happened and I came out of “ labor land.” I remember saying“somethings wrong.” I never said what and soon went back to the incoherent birthing land. I screamed for them to shut the Pitocin off and the nurse apprehensively did so. I complained of burning and thought I needed to push. The infamous “ring of fire” women talk about, except it was in my abdomen, not my vagina. The doctor was sure I had an infection. My temperature was fine. With every contraction, the nurse pressed the monitor onto my stomach and I screamed in pain. I was able to labor to 10 cm without Pitocin and began pushing. I pushed for 1.5 hours. The OB started to notice my heart rate decelerating with every contraction. She told me I had 30 minutes to get the baby out or I was getting a c-section. I remember looking at my husband and doula and saying “ It's time.”
I agreed to a cesarean. I remember pushing through contractions all the way to the OR. I thought that if I could get the baby out, I wouldn't have to have the surgery. The OB actually told me to stop pushing at one point. I'm sure a baby born in the hallway is not ideal. My daughter was born at 2:46 PM on May 4. I knew she had been born, but there was no sound. My baby wasn't breathing and had a heart rate of 200. She was in distress. She was bagged and masked for 3 minutes. We did finally hear a weak cry, but there were so many medical professionals in the room, we couldn't see anything. I remember hearing the doctor ask for a hemorrhage kit. She also asked for formula. I started yelling “ I don't want my baby to get formula.” The OB looked at me and very seriously stated “you ruptured your uterus, I need you to calm down.” The formula was for me.
They were checking for other tears. It took 45 minutes to an hour before a nurse came over and took my husband to see our daughter. The room was very serious and quiet. No one talked. Blood tests were done and there was concern for long term brain damage due to lack of oxygen. One team worked on my daughter and another worked on me. As I was wheeled out of the OR suite, I asked if they could show me my daughter. One of the nurses held her up and I looked at her for a minute, then we were separated. She stayed in the OR suite with a team of NICU doctors. I went to recovery. The recovery nurse eventually brought my daughter to me and we were told she had no suck reflex. I attempted to nurse her and she latched on immediately. I couldn't blame her for not wanting to suck on a gloved finger.
We made it up to the OB floor where our family had been waiting for hours. My daughters birth was over but she was still not cleared. We saw neurologists and NICU doctors during our 3 day stay. My daughter had a tongue tie, that was fixed before we came home. She also lost 10% of her body weight but I refused formula. I pumped after feeding her and my husband fed her my milk with a syringe. We went home with a perfectly healthy baby girl three days later. My daughter's breastfeeding journey was quite different than my son's. She would click and gulp in air when nursing. I knew something was wrong but she was healthy and gaining weight. I saw two lactation consultants who said I was doing everything they could think of but to follow my gut. I went to two different ENT doctors. One drew me a Venn diagram to explain why he would not fix a lip tie, the second fixed it in office on the same day. Breast feeding was smooth sailing after that.
I developed postpartum depression, even with taking placenta capsules, and ended up in counseling. On my last day of counseling, when I was determined “healed”, I turned on my car and Rachel Patton's “Fight Song” was playing. It was a perfect ending to my battle with postpartum depression. I nursed my baby girl until she was 22 months old. My children are my life. I cannot imagine a day without them. They keep me in the here and now. They are the reason I stay strong. Being a parent is full of challenges. I am fortunate to do it with my best friend. Every moment I have with my husband and children is a gift.
We are done having babies. This was not a decision we were truly given. Another pregnancy and birth could be dangerous, it could end badly. I want to end the chapter of my life on my terms. This photo shoot is for me. Its my closure."