Thursday, November 19, 2009

Looking back on our Birth

Some things just don’t seem fair.

Yes, ten fingers and toes are wonderful. Yes, I am still alive, and he is too. But why can’t people understand there is so much more. Everyone around me either doesn’t feel the same way, or does and refuses to show it. I don’t know which make me mourn more. I hurt inside. I still look back, even a year ago and wish things had gone differently. What could I have done different>? Not had my membranes swept? Now been so nervous about “making it before 42 weeks?” Not been so angry at Phillip. Looking back, I see I was hurt long before Liam came along. We were fighting. I was fighting with myself. We were only married 4 months before our whole lives would change. I was finally becoming a woman. It was a fast transition and I see very little in common with that girl now. My stomach turns when I read stories and web pages on post partum depression and c-section recovery and anxiety. I want another chance. Yes, that is part of why I want another baby, but I feel it’s owed to me as a mother now. I feel I should get a second chance. I want to re-do it. I STILL have dreams of giving birth. I see him floating up in the tub, his eyes closed and he opens them and looks at me, I cry. He comes to my chest and nurses. I can feel his warm body against my skin. I feel that he is here, healthy, and I can take on anything. No matter what, I had a baby. He and I did this together. I guided him on his journey down the birth canal. I was there, I was the first one he saw, and he knew who I was. I can feel his fingers, each one on my breast. I cry, Phillip cries. It’s quiet, no one yelling, no one fighting, no one scared, no one nervous. No one I didn’t know. I could see everything going on, and we did it. He is never taken away from me. I hold him and hold him for what seems like hours with out even noticing the water is now cold. He sleeps so soundly. Never cries, never feels scared. I finally get out of the tub and go to the bed, I hold next to me, I know he can feel the familiarity of my heart beat. They weigh him, measure him without ever taking him from my side. He is all that I needed in that moment. I know he is tired and so am I, so we sleep. I feel like I am half awake as every time he turns, I wake and look at my blessing, then gently, we both settle back down in our nest of warmth and love and sleep.

That is what I wanted. That is what I needed.

I didn’t get that. I instead labored, alone. I lay at home, in the tub, in bed, Phillip sleeps, he is more interested in timing the contractions than being with me. Experiencing what I am. Birthing with me. I get out of bed and head down the hall to call Roswitha. Phillip sleeps and doesn’t stir when I get up, moaning with the intensity of the contraction. I call, they say to come in. It’s after 6 in the morning, going on 13 hours now. I’m effaced, but no progress in dilation. “The rest will be easier, it’s just about moving the baby down” No change in the afternoon. No progress. I get in a bath tub that seems smaller than my kitchen sink. Not ideal for relaxing. The contractions take my breath away and being in a small shower doesn’t help. They want me to eat. They want me to pee, they want me to squat, the want to see me “laboring” What do you think I’m doing? I hurt now. Something I am not used to, they have already given me “tinctures” to help me “rest” during contractions. They then give me a shot, that they say “most women only wake slightly at the peak of contractions”. Not me, I was awake the whole time, feeling every squeeze, every ounce of pressure on my abdomen. Jenny is gone (the midwife) more births are taking place at the center, that need attending to. Phillip lays beside me, snoring, and I cry. I look at the clock and it’s now 5:00. 24 hours into it. I feel so alone. Something is wrong. I don’t know what. It shouldn’t be happening like this. I wake Phillip in tears and tell him to get Jenny. She comes in and says, we can either, send you home, break your water or go to the hospital. None of which I wanted, but they wouldn’t let me in the water (the only place I got rest) and the best choice I felt I had was to break my water. We did, and I spent more hours as I had previously, on my elbows and knees, with Jenny and Phillip breast pumping to stimulate oxytocin flow. At this point I draw within myself, just to make it through the contractions and spend the time in between, making sure I’m relaxed enough for the next one that is less than a minute away. Jenny says “I can’t tell when she is contracting” At this point I felt lost, I knew it wasn’t going to happen, no one understood. First off, she wasn’t talking to me, the one doing the work, the one laboring, the one doing everything I can think of to make it happen. Then, she says it in almost in a way, implying that I’m not contracting. Has she ever heard of self-hypnosis? At 7:30, I decide we need to move to our next option, what ever options were left, that were presented to me. Hospital or home. Jenny says she thinks, either he is turned funny or it’s a miss fit. I know there is nothing more I can do. I decide to go to the hospital. I know a cesarean is coming. She gives me a shot similar to Nubain. I feel loopy. I feel out of my body, like I’m in a dream, a bad dream, not even feeling what is going on around me. I can’t feel the contractions as well, and I don’t like that. We go to the hospital, check in, and go up to the room. Jenny comes with and let’s us know to be prepared for a negative reaction from the medical team because we are coming with a midwife. I agree. We get up to the room. They ask me to change into a gown, I don’t want to, I want to be naked to see my body move, and contract. They say it’s “okay”. I have gotten their permission. The nurse examines me, and says I’m 6cm. It’s now past 8. 27 hours into it and only 2 cm further. She rips her hands out of me, and I nearly fly off the table. Jenny is standing beside me and sees me jump, and says “they are used to women having epidurals” The OB comes in and does the same. Same reaction. Did they forget I still have physical and emotional feelings? They put in my IV and burst the vein, then try again. It’s uncomfortable, knowing I am now hooked up to a machine. Then they put the straps on. A way of saying, we need ot see what the machine says, and not you. Again, I’m connected to a machine. The anesthesiologist comes in for the epidural, and says what he is trained. I ask for a walking epidural, they say “they don’t do that”. They keep trying to talk to me in the middle of a contraction. I know the machine doesn’t mind if you interrogate it while it is working, but I do. The epidural goes in, and with in minutes I can’t feel my legs. It had only been 30 minutes before I was working with my body and my baby, going through the process of giving birth, and now, I am not connected to anyting but a bag of fluids, a needle in my spine and a machine that “tells me when and how I’m contracting”. They say I need a Catheter, so I get one, I feel it pinch as it goes in, the nurse is surprised that I felt it. One more thing I am connected to. The OB comes in, and recommends Pitocin. I don’t like the idea, because I have researched it and know it has serious side effects, also, I know that a vaginal birth is out of the option, a cesarean is needed. No one will listed. I want to start off with half the recommended beginning dosage, and she says no, they start with double. I convince her to start with the minimum and she says “fine, do what ever” It was the way she said it that put up every defense I have had against doctors. You don’t know what you are talking about. I know you better than you do. You are just being difficult. You made the mistake of trying natural. I’m supposed to be in change. We are going ot do this my way. I also know that every 15-60 min a nurse should up the dosage, I only labored less than an hour and I can’t even count the number of times that button was pressed to increase the augmentation. I’m scared, when the OB comes in, I say I was a cesarean. She agrees, checks me, unneeded, and I know she is ok with it, because it now gives her ultimate control, and me none. I feel I am being punished by her. The wheel me back, I ask about cord clamping and she answers with something along th line of “of couse we wait” I know it’s alie, she just wants me to shut up. They wheel me back, the anesthesiologist is wonderful. He talks to me, as if I am a person. The other surgeon in the rooms talks to the nurse on the other side of me. I feel like I am in an episode of MASH. I can’t see anything. He doesn’t tie my arms down and I know he can tell I am thankful for that. I am numb now and shaking all over. More than shaking, I can’t control it, it’s more than chills or a quiver, it’s trembles, my arms almost fully lift off the rests periodically. “It’s just a reaction to the anesthetics” I finally see Phillip come in, he is in a gown, cap and mask. He is now looks like one of them. I look at his eyes to distract me, so I can see him. They say they are going to start. I knew the baby would be bigger than average, but when Jenny told htem before, she said around 8 lbs. The OB rollered he eyes, not in a “you don’t know what you are talking about way” But in, “that baby is too big” way. Jenny said, it’s a good thing I didn’t tell her over 9 was what I really expected. I feel them tugging, and pressing. My whole middle body now rocks back and forth, like they are “un-stuffing” me. “all that pushing you were going to do, we are going to do it for you” “Thanks,” is all I can sarcastically think of. The show him for a moment, “Big” “Big Baby” “He’s so big” “really big”. Is that all you can talk about? He is bunched up in a little ball squinting his eyes, due to the transition form dark womb to bright florescent lights shinning in his face. He looks just like Phillip. I tell him and a tears begin to flow. Phillip goes over with them to measure, weigh and stamp. It seems like forever, no one is talking to me. I knew nothing was wrong, but I was no longer a person who participated in the birth of a child. I was suture that needed sewing. I feel more tugging and pressing, and pulling. Finally Phillip comes over with him, wrapped up. He is perfect. I want to hold im on my chest, I can’t laying flat, but I want to fell him next to me, I want him to feel my heart beat to know everything is okay, I’m here as I have been all along. He doesn’t cry when he is held. Thankfully, they let him go back to the room with me as I hold him. When they move my body to and from bed to bed, I feel dead. Like a corpse. The whole process I felt victimized. I know what women mean when they relate it to rape. Gang rape. Liam was the only one who saved me in that moment. Back in the room, Jenny is still there, quickly she unwraps him and puts him on my breast. He nurses. His hands on my chest, fists clinched. They take him away to bathe him. I ask for no soap and they look at me funny. What’s the point? I want everything possible to be familiar to him. They say he has to go to the other room in a separate bed. I ask to hold him skin to skin. They refuse at first, “he’ll get cold” I disagree, so they take his temperature to be sure. Do they know anything? He’s fine, perfectly content for the time being. We go to the other room occasionally the bed hits the walls as they “drive me to the recovery room” We get there, thinking it is over, we can rest, enjoy our family. The new nurse comes in, says how we have to wake him up to feed him, he is born hungry. Bull. What are they teaching them? They say I can’t sleep with him, it’s too risky. Bull. Sadly, she is one of the nicer ones. I feel cords still hanging all out of me. I want them gone, as soon as I feel my legs, I walk. I itch like crazy. “It’s just a reaction to the anesthesia” Now I read that ‘disclaimer’ about possible reactions, no where on there did it talk of the thing I felt. I can see why some women see anesthesia as “heaven”, after all, that’s what the paper says. There is nothing anyone can do. 2-3 different antihistamines later it’s still there under my skin, all over my body, running through my veins. They check my incision, my back, my legs, they put on wraps on my legs to stimulate blood flow, they are hot, add to the itch and again make me feel like my body is inadequate. I hold Liam. They tell me what all medicines are available for pain relief. It’s not the pain, it’s the itch and there is nothing available. We wait it out. Once I walk, The catheter is out. I have to wait for the IV because of the Pitocin for after labor. I am able ot walk, able to pee. Exactly what they wanted, I was on schedule for them. Not a lot of pain, on the outside, I think it was muffled from all that was within. A few of the nurses I only saw once, they were rude, I didn’t use much pain relief, because I didn’t want to be more out of the loop than I already was, besides, ibuprofen was doing plenty. One nurse says “ther is no need to stoic” I guess she read my file and assumed that natural birth was only to prove something. Again, brainwashed medial personnel. I don’t remember Phillip and I talking much. I think we were both exhausted, and I was doped up plenty. At one point a nurse comes in, Donna. She is an LC as well, and says, “you must be exhausted, I read your file, how are you?” It meant the world. She showed me how to breast feed, and to get a good latch, my nipples were bruised from pumping in labor, something Jenny pointed out. Liam latches, feeds, and lets go once done, relaxed and sleeping. We are up every hour or two feeding. They want us to keep track of diapers, poops, pees, and feeding, for how long and what times. Another quiz and regulation we have to pass. The next morning, Donna comes in again, and says, it doesn’t look like you go much sleep. She, I think, was the only one who took the time to read my file and address me accordingly. She was great. The next night, we had another nurse who said, she couldn’t stop us from sleeping with him, but she is required to tell us that we are not supposed to. All the more showing that the reason they do what they do, is because they are trained to do it one way, and without wavering from that way. She helps with breast feeding too, not as good as Donna, but does give me sympathy and a nipple shield. I guess it’s the best she could do. Another nurse comes in later and says they have to do apgar testing. And that means they have to take him away, she says we can come with, and we do. The next time, Phillip is sleeping and they come in at night, when Liam and I are both snuggled finally getting to know each other. The smells, textures, responses, everything. They take him and I don’t go. As soon as they leave, I hear him cry, and I sob. I try to wake Phillip and gets up in his sleep with every last ounce of energy he has to hold me. I feel a small release, but it’s not enough. I feel trapped. Trapped inside myself, trapped in a hospital, trapped in a room, trapped with the same women who hate me, in a place I don’t feel safe. The next day, Friday, we want to leave, we have filled out all the paper work, they say “we are doing everything right to get out of here on time” Another LC comes and gives us an SNS system, with formula. I can’t feed him, there is more blood coming from my nipples than milk. The cool milk feels wonderful on my skin when it hits it as he sucks through the nipple shield. The last nurse, says she doesn’t know if they will discharge Liam because he hadn’t had the vitamin K shot. There was no bruising, no purpose, it’s too late now anyway. And she says that she is concerned that we didn’t to antibiotics in his eyes, just in case either of us have and STD. We didn’t birth vaginally anyway, it wouldn’t matter. Phillip I can tell is pissed, I at this point am getting better at ignoring the thing they can’t control over me. I ask her to talk with the pediatrician, and then the pediatrician comes in and say, “no, everything is fine, he is ready to go” The nurse comes back with a vitamin K shot, ready to give. “We are not giving him the shot” I tell her “I walked all the way down stairs to get this” I didn’t care, she was the least of my worries, UNTIL, I found out the OB wanted my staples out now instead of waiting through the weekend. I had been just over 48 hrs since they went in and I was worried. She was the one taking them out too. I think that is the most nervous I had been the entire time. They come out, I shower again, and pack to go. They won’t let me walk down with my baby. So I am put in a wheel chair. Again, I’m incompetent to do this. Phillip gets the car, I feel Liam one more time and change a diaper. We get packed up and go. Both relieved to be out of there and heading home.

Not what I planned.

I know other women who had cesareans, and they are fine with it. I think they are either lying or denying themselves. Again, I don’t know which makes me more mad.

I know now, it’s okay to feel the way I feel, even if no one else feels it. I know other do though, C/SEC has helped.

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