Saturday, November 04, 2006

1 year ago today

Brace yourself, this will likely be a long one. And rather scattered - I remember moments, not necessarily enough to write this out clearly and/or eloquently.

We join our previously scheduled program, already in progress.

12:30 am It's time to head to the hospital. I've been enduring very painful contractions for over 5 hours and for the last 2 of those they've been about 5 minutes apart consistently.

12:45 Make a couple of phone calls to let some family know that we're on our way in.

1:00 We're at the hospital. I very vividly remember checking in. They kept asking me banal questions and I kept thinking "What are you doing?! You have all of our information from previous doctor's appointments. Can't you just look it up?! Can't you see that I'm in tremendous pain and can barely breathe?"

We get into triage. I receive the lovely gown. I'm examined. 2 cm. dilated, 80% effaced. (And, if I remembered any of my birthing classes, I'd know what that meant.) Right while the triage physician is in the room I throw up. Fiercely. Painfully. (I remember looking into the garbage can at something that looked like noodles and spending many moments over the next few hours wondering what that was. The only thing I'd eaten in the last few hours was a dessert square while I was out for coffee with Joyska.) I'm not sure if it was the look on my face, the moaning or the vomit but they found me a bed right away.

On to the birthing room. (Interesting to note: In our scattered notes from that day J-L has written down twice that the room was "very nice". He, he.)

And we enter the dark hours. It's been a year and I still start to tear up remembering them. I don't even know how to describe them. The pain was so completely overwhelming that I nearly lost consciousness. My eyes were rolling back in my head and I could not speak. I have a very vivid memory of a nurse coming in to ask some questions of me and through a surreal haze I remember thinking "Gosh, I hope J-L can respond to her as I don't know how to speak." I remember J-L walking away from my side for moments and when a contraction would hit I would grasp the rocking chair I was on with one hand and try to signal him with the other hand because I couldn't call out his name. Yes, to answer the age-old question: There is a sound when one hand claps. I'm sure J-L can remember it still. I also remember more than one nurse stating that there was no rush for the epidural as I seemed to be handling it quite well. And, again, in my haze I wondered "REALLY?! What does someone look like or do that ISN'T handling it well?"

The worst position for me to endure a contraction was lying on my back in bed.

4:20 am The anesthesiologist shows up to give me the epidural. They want me to lay down in bed. THEY WANT ME TO LAY DOWN IN BED. I think at this point I probably shrieked or cried. The contraction I had just prior to the epidural was the most painful of any of them.

And then I receive the epidural. I feel like we should pause in the story at this point. Perhaps some light should beam down from heaven. A choir singing? Something. I think since I have been with J-L it was the only time that I have considered cheating on him. At the point the epidural kicked in I would have happily kissed whoever invented such a glorious thing. I am still slightly awestruck.

I'll try to speed this up a bit. Did I mention that I loved the epidural yet? I felt like I was given my consciousness back. Seriously. It was like I was living in some drug movie previously. Some scene where you're experiencing something and watching your body go through it on the other side of the room. And in between are colours and movement but they are all so disconnected and blurry and unusual. The epidural hit and I felt like I could see again. I felt like I could speak again. I still felt the contractions but they didn't cause me to black out or moan quite as much.

But I did shake though. A lot. And then they brought me the warmed blanket. Oh my. Divine.

Oh yeah, I was going to speed this up a bit. I'm sure you've all stopped reading anyway. Which reminds me, I'm recording this for future Abby. So, really, if you're bored, continue with your day, I won't mind.

Over the next few hours there were many contractions. And several more times of me throwing up. But, this was bearable.

7:55 am Due to the epidural I've lost some feeling in my legs and I'm incapable of getting up and walking so they put in a catheter.

10:20 am I'm progressing but not at the rate they would have expected based on how long I've been in labour so they brake my water.

11:05 am I'm too frozen and they're worried the freezing may reach up to my lungs so they turn the epidural off. No, no, no, PLEASE no.

12:25 pm The epidural is turned back on. Unfortunately, this time it takes a lot longer to take affect. I endure some pretty intense contractions again and remember what life was like before the epidural.

1:00 pm I have another internal. 6 cm. dilated. 100% effaced.

The contractions are getting quite strong again and I vomit a few more times. Twice neither the nurses nor J-L make it to me on time and I vomit on myself. The first time they change my gown apologetically. The second time I tell them to leave me naked - what's the point. (Keep in mind I've had nothing but ice chips and water for the past 12 hours so it's nothing too disgusting coming out.)

3:15 pm 10 cm dilated!

4:37 pm The pushing begins. And, again, a lot of this is a blur. I remember being in pain. I remember not knowing what I was to do. The nurses and doctors kept telling me that the contractions would change. That they'd be lower down and I would feel the need to push. I never felt the need to push. I felt like a failure. I would look at them and I felt like they thought I wasn't trying enough. That I wasn't focusing enough. That if I REALLY paid attention to the contraction I would recognize when to push. I never really recognized when to push. I pushed and pushed and pushed but apparently I wasn't using the right muscles. I wasn't pushing correctly. I was working so hard but still it was progressing very slowly. I remember quitting at one point. I sat back in bed, crossed my arms and declared that I was done. They would have to find some other way to get this baby out of me. But then the next contraction came and they told me to push and I did. I just got so very discouraged. I look back on it and I feel sad for that past Cynthia. Two things finally helped more than anything else and both were compliments of my husband. One: During a short break between contractions he prayed for me. Two: He started counting each time I was pushing and that seemed to give me something to focus on. A goal - to make it to 10.

And, apparently, at some point I must have learned how to push. To this day I have no idea what worked or how my pushing changed and frankly, I don't really care. All I know is that there was a lot of pain and many people in the room by the end (seriously, I think there were up to 15 people in there or something. J-L and I had no idea where they all came from or what their roles were. For all we know the janitor stopped by for a visit.) and then came one final whoosh and my darling baby was born at 6:39 pm.

And I think that's where we'll end the story for now. I could continue to discuss how incredibly painful it was when they were stitching me up which surprised me seeing as what I'd been through. I could talk about that first ham sandwich that they brought me and how delicious it tasted after the hard work and no eating for many, many hours.

But, no, this is long enough.


Blogger Heather said...

Oy veh, reading that made me clench my kegel muscles in memory. Ouch!

Happy Birthday to the beautiful girl.

2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This reminds me so much of my labours and deliveries. As horrible as they were, I forget the incredible pain. As far as having an epidural is concerned, I tell all of my pregnant friends that it is the absolute best thing you can do for yourself. And my babies were no worse for having one.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous sis said...

Oh, wow, that was so vivid and whisked me right back into my own labor. I planned to go all natural but my water broke and my birth plan went out the window. Yes, I remember the miracle of the epidural. And the pushing was far worse than I anticipated (like you, I think I had trouble finding the right muscles). Thanks for the memory and a very happy birthday to Abby!

8:09 PM  
Anonymous Wendy said...

is it ever long enough? I could go on reading for hours. I am so thankful you are willing to share your story with us in such detail. You offer us a rare and special gift - especially hits the mark for someone like me who has always hungered to know just a bit more of what it's like. Thanks.

8:39 AM  
Anonymous Accidental Poet said...

Yeah okay ouch.

I slept right through B's labour - didn't even know he was there for a few weeks, at least :) :) :)

9:49 AM  

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