Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Two Years Ago Today: Part III

Saturday, March 24, 12:30 am
Dr. B does another exam. 8, maybe 9 centimetres. What? I am very disappointed. H is anxious again. It has been almost 40 hours since my water broke and the risk of infection is increasing. The doctor suggests waiting for a few more hours and then consulting OB. H advocates for an OB consult now.

12:45 am
Dr. B contacts the OB on call, who suggests waiting another 3 hours. We agree to wait.

12:50 – 3:30 am
I drift in and out of sleep. Nurse Meaghan also drifts in and out of the room, checking my temperature and BP, emptying my bladder, increasing the pitocin, replacing the epidural medication. She is quiet and efficient, and her presence is very calming.

Although I am still fairly comfortable, there are several points at which the pain in my back becomes noticeable. I “top up” my epidural with the pump more liberally and the pain recedes, but doesn’t quite disappear.

3:45 am
Dr. B returns to do an exam. I am fully dialated, except for a slight “lip,” the baby is almost “at spines” (in position), and most important, the baby is “left occiput anterior” or face down.

3:50 am
We meet the OB on call, who does an exam and confirms everything. Including the baby being appropriately face down. Right. She decides that we should wait another hour. It feels like we have been in this dark room for weeks. I don’t think we are ever going to have this baby.

4:50 am
I drink some juice and suddenly feel the overwhelming need to throw up.

“The apple juice isn’t sitting well.”

I gag and cover my mouth but the vomit spews out anyway, as H grabs for a kidney dish. Then he can’t stop laughing, saying it looked like someone throwing up in the movies. My “Hollywood vomiting.”

5:00 – 6:00 am
There is now a constant dull pain in my lower back, that gets more intense with each increase of the pitocin. I press my epidural button at every opportunity.

6:15 am
Dr. B returns for another exam. I am now fully dilated with the baby at spines. Finally. Half an hour to pushing.

7:00 am
Nurse Meaghan is about to go off shift. She gets me into position to try a few pushes. There is pain in my back but I can’t tell when the contractions come, so I try to guess. I push as hard as I can. I am desperate to know if I’m pushing “correctly.” She and H say that I am. I have already decided to be a good pusher.

7:20 am
The new nurse arrives and takes control of the situation. She is very clear, direct and efficient. She says I don’t need to watch the contractions and unhooks the monitors. She counts me through a couple of contractions and says the baby will definitely be born by 9 am. I think I say there is no way in hell I’m pushing for 2 hours, and that the baby will be born by 8, but I’m not sure I say this out loud.

7:25 – 8:45 am
Pushing. And pushing.

There is no pain where I would expect it, but every time I push there is excruciating pain in my back. With each push I claw desperately at H, pulling his hand onto my back for some kind of counter-pressure. I hear myself screaming, mostly: "My back! It hurts so much! My back!" I feel awful for making fun of the other women I heard earlier, thinking they didn't bother with the wonderful epidural.

The nurse is doing as much on her end to help the baby out as I am, but still it is taking forever. Now I am terrified that I won't be able to get this baby out, that they will have to do a c-section. Now I don't want one.

It goes on and on. I keep asking if I'm pushing the right way. Why isn't it working? Then I catch a look between the nurse and the doctor, and I realize I have landed inside the scariest episode of "The Baby Story" I ever saw: I know the baby is face up and the head isn't fitting properly. Dear jesus.

8:50 am
The doctor's hands off approach has become ridiculous. She tells me "we" will keep pushing for a while longer, but then it will be time to consider an episiotomy. I tell her to do it now.

8:59 am
She's out. I want to know if she's really a girl. H says yes. They put her on my chest.

I can't believe how awake she is. Her big brown eyes look right up at me. I can't believe she's really here. I can't believe I don't recognize her. I know her, but she's all herself.

9:00 - 9:15 am
They take the baby to be weighed. I push out the placenta. Easy.

9:15 am
I hear these words: "Call OB STAT!"

That can't be good.

A male obstetrician rushes in and there is a flurry of activity. They give me a shot of something in my leg, and there is a lot of tugging and pulling. What is most disconcerting is that the OB teaches my family doctor as he fixes whatever has gone wrong. See this here, yes? You lift that and . . . I don't like it, but everything seems to be happening so far away.

The activity stops as quickly as it started. They bring me back the baby. H says I hemmorhaged, that my uterus wasn't contracting the way it should have. "I've never seen so much blood."

I didn't see any of it, but apparently I lost close to a quarter of the blood in my body. No wonder the baby seems so heavy.

I am desperately thirsty. I drink as much water as a can and then the nurse brings me tylenol and motrin. Seriously. I'm about to ask her where the real pain medication is when I throw it all up anyway.

I've been cleaned up and propped into a wheelchair, brand-new baby on my lap. As we are wheeled through L&D on our way to the recovery floor, staff pop their heads out to see the baby who was born face-up, and the woman who delivered her. I feel a bit like a rock star.

And of course, I have this:

Happy 2nd Birthday, Will!

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