The Story of a Boy….well, he was much more than that to me……
Part 5: The Birth
This is the 5th in the series. This is the second hardest part of the story for me to write. It is filled with Anger no….anger is not nearly strong enough….. it is filled with Rage. Please bear with me.
Before I begin; let me say that this post will not be funny. And it might contain information that upsets you and not in the usual way with offensive language and politics…..but in a human, sad and guttural way. I may very well ramble at times and for all of these things: I am genuinely sorry. Please read Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 before reading this. It will just make more sense that way.
Tuesday May 29, 2007
With pain, anguish, anger and fear we moved from the tiny room with barely enough room for the hospital bed; the monitor and a small, uncomfortable chair to a large, sunny and near luxurious room (especially in comparison to the tiny room) called a “birthing suite” down the hall. Papers of consent were signed, new IV’s started and in came the midwife to explain what would happen. Since I was still not in labor (not a single contraction had been had) and I was fast approaching the point of no return with sepsis: they would need to induce my labor.
Now I had had this God AWFUL thing called “induction of labor” before. And I **knew** it was the most physical pain I had ever experienced. I asked the midwife how soon I could have an epidural. I was genuinely shocked and stunned silent when she said that I could NOT HAVE an epidural. Wait? WHAT? You are joking right? ‘cause I have done the “natural childbirth” thing once too…and it fucking sucked hairy eyeballs right up until the moment they laid my daughter in my arms and I heard her cry. There would be no such happy ending today, no baby crying, no living child to take away from the experience. WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN I CAN’T HAVE AN EPIDURAL????
And she quietly and calmly explained that it was “hospital policy” to not allow an epidural to be given in this circumstance….she explained that if I had an epidural I may not feel when it was time for the baby to be born (because he is so small)~ I might not feel the urge to push. To which I replied: SO FUCKING WHAT? ISN’T THAT THE POINT???? And she quietly and calmly explained that it was important that I be able to feel some of what was happening because they would be inducing labor with a drug that they would never use on a full term pregnancy (because of risk to the unborn child). And this drug causes quick and hard labor immediately….and with THAT comes the risk of uterine rupture. So the prospect of a long protracted (sometimes two day) labor that occurs with the “regular” meds they use with full term pregnancy is determined to be unsafe in this situation in no small part due to the fact I am so sick and would likely not be able to withstand a two day induction…..and also sadly; due to the fact that my son is much to small to survive. And despite my understanding of her medical explanation; my anger grew.
Sooooooo, you can’t possibly expect me to go through this grueling process with NO PAIN MEDS can you? Oh, heavens no she said….we will give you meds through the IV and depending on how you do; if you want you can have a pain pump. OH I WANT, I WANT IT NOW! She laughed, I think she thought I was joking…..one look at my face told her I was beyond serious. And my anger grew.
You see, I have a great deal of experience in this whole labor and delivery business (on both sides of the hospital bed) and I know that after she writes the order for the pain pump, it has to go to the pharmacy….they have to mix and send up the right meds…..then someone from the anesthesia department has to come to the room~ load the pump with the meds~ program the machine and check to make sure it is working. THIS process can take way more than an hour.
So with my voice still ringing in her ear (I am not proud of how I acted then or for the next 6 hours……but I hope I can be given a pass for that behavior based on the circumstances~ and I did apologize to the staff later)……she inserted the medication mean to bring on labor. She said she would write the orders for both pain meds and the pain pump….and that she would be back later to check on me.
My husband; tired, looking more sad than I have ever seen him and haggard from the past 4 days of HELL squeezed my hand, kissed my forehead, told me he loved me and went to make calls to notify our family of the turn of events through the night.
When they said “this medication causes quick and hard labor immediately” they really, really, really meant it. It seemed to me that almost as soon as the large door to the room closed and I was alone the contractions came. Fierce and brutally painful they came. One seemingly on top of another they came. Unrelenting they came. And with each contraction my anger grew.
My husband returned what seemed like hours but was probably really less than 20 minutes later to find me breathing heavily though contractions, my face contorted in pain and anger. My physical state shocked him I think….he rang for the nurse. She came in, checked the strip monitoring my contractions and assured him that this was all “okay and expected”. Through gritted teeth and breathing heavily I asked for something for pain. She left the room. After 5 minutes my husband rang again for the nurse and through the intercom system someone in a clipped voice told us that the nurse “was working on” getting me something for pain. It took her another 20 minutes to come back….she rushed in and apologized….said she had called anesthesia to see if they could come and hook up the pain pump and she had been “waiting to see if they could come” but now 25 minutes later she didn’t think it was fair not to give me the IV med while we waited for them to come. I looked at her with eyes that I am sure would have scared the devil himself and I gritted out: stop talking and give me the damn medicine already. And my anger grew.
Now, I don’t know if you have ever had any experience with IV drugs for pain or a pain pump that gives you a dose of narcotic at predetermined intervals when you push the button……but in my experience neither really “took away” the pain of these brutally painful contractions…..they simply allowed me to rest in between the brutally painful contractions. I remember feeling like I was floating on the ceiling….in a drug induced haze….floating….sad…..but still floating…..and then WHAM a contraction would seize me and I would be yanked viciously from my sad floating state down to reality….and the bed….and physical pain such as I have never known before or since gripped my abdomen….and I thought more than once that I would surely die if this did not end soon. And my anger grew.
With each contraction, with each breath, with each nurse that came and went and knock at the door and ring of the phone for six long, grueling hideous hours….my anger grew.
Until I was whipped into such a rage I thought I might have a heart attack. I rang for the nurse…..I yelled, I screamed, I swore, I cried, I begged, I pleaded….please MAKE IT STOP. My husband, god bless him and his saint like patience, went out to talk with the nurse. Surely, there must be SOMETHING you can do for her? Please?
Back into the room he came…..me lying on the bed, contorted in pure anguish…his eyes wide and sad…..and I saw that the midwife and two nurses were with him. He came to the bed and he held my hand ……and we cried….and the midwife said she was going to check me….and she did…..and she said “oh, OK…the reason you are in so much pain right now is that you are fully dilated….the baby is right there, I can feel him….it’s time to push.”
WAIT? WHAT? NOOOOOOO I sobbed I am NOT ready. I am not ready to bring him here into the room where he will die. I want him to stay with me, heart beating away on the monitor…..alive. Two nurses, the midwife, my husband and my sister-in-law all looked back at me with tears in their eyes….sad, sad faces….the midwife said “I know you do honey, but we can’t do that…..it’s time to push”.
With hate and the rage of a thousand burning suns I held my husband’s hand and I delivered our second dear son into the world.
And I looked at him……and I held him….and he was alive….and the rage and hate was gone away in less than an instant it was replaced by sheer AWE at this miracle boy….our son….the boy we had created together and loved and wanted so much….there was no more rage, no more hate (though it would return in the weeks that followed)….there in that room…..May 29, 2007 at 6:03 pm there was me, there was my husband, there was our son…..and there was only LOVE.