Thursday, March 15, 2012

Wesley Sage: A birth story, part 4

As I kept thinking to myself that I couldn't finish this labor without help, a wonderful thing happened. I got help. Dearly wonderful, fervently needed, help.

Over the course of the next several hours, Amy and Ken took up their position to rub my back and put anti-pressure against all of the back labor I was having. Even my mom and grandmother got in on the action I believe. (I might have lost track of everything that occurred during this time frame forward.) I took turns standing up and sitting down, but eventually just sat on the stool and leaned over the bed.

The Pitocin took its sweet time in amping up my contractions. I could feel the difference in strength almost immediately, but they were still too far apart to really get the job done. When I stood up, I could feel the contractions getting stronger, but the uncontrollable urge to push, knowing that I was too early, scared me so much that I just chose to sit down. I'm sure my labor would have gone faster had I stood, but I was too scared at that point. Again, I wasn't conquering my fear. And I knew it.

I lost track of time at this point… but I will try to relay the rest of the story as accurately as possible!

Around 11:00, I started having multiple urges to push, while seated on the stool, and I looked at Amy, like, "what do I do now?" Do I call for the nurse, so she can check me and tell me I'm still too early? Do I try to stop pushing? After about five straight contractions of having to strain not to push, we decided to call for the nurse and the dreaded dilation, "check". I somehow managed to maneuver myself onto the bed and with equal dread and hope, listened for the news.

"You're a good 7."

Oh, my goodness. I could have died. I cried and looked at Amy and said, for the first time out loud, "I can't do this anymore" even as the next contraction hit and this weird animalistic sound came out of me as I tried not to push.

The nurse, bless her heart, was actually a fan of natural birth and urged me on, trying to tell me that my contractions really just started getting to a good point, this next phase will go fast, and why don't I try laying down on my side to see if the baby will move position a little and come down more and help push the cervix open??

Bless her heart. She gave me great advice that almost killed me. At least, that is how I felt.

So I tried laying down. I laid on my left side for about two minutes before deciding that was a fate worse than death and rolled over to my right. By the way, trying to "roll over" in bed while wearing a hospital gown and being strapped down my IV lines, blood pressure cuff lines, fetal monitor lines, etc. is next to impossible. Add horrendous contractions to that and it is truly the stuff nightmares are made of.

I'm on my right side. It feels better than the left, but not by much and then, all of a sudden, the worst pain imaginable hits me. I have a cramp. In my right butt cheek. That runs down the length of my leg. Every single time I have a contraction. Wow, I did not sign up for that one.

Imagine this: Me. Stoic, calm. Quiet through 99% of my labor. Butt cramp? Butt cramp = me screaming out at the top of my lungs, "rub my butt" before uttering an animalistic snarl as I'm trying with all of my might not to push against the inevitable. By body is pushing of its own accord. My poor body has had enough of me and is taking over.

Poor Amy and my nurse are trying to tell me how to breathe through the pushing to be effective and I'm only half able to hear them. All I can think about is the next contraction, the urge to push, the fight not to, and then the butt cramp that seizes my entire body.

I tell Amy I'm done. For real and she tells me to hold out for 30 more minutes, because we will probably have a baby by then and I relinquish. Okay, 30 more minutes. Although I have no idea how long 30 more minutes is because I can't concentrate enough to look at the clock.

Who knows how much time later, I'm screaming again, "I'm done! I want the epidural!" and Amy calmly says, "ok. Let's call the nurse in." So we do. The nurse comes back in, says to check my cervix one last time and I don't even care anymore.

Somewhere my mind registers as she says, "honey, you are not getting this epidural, you're at a 9, and ready to have this baby!" I'm positive my midwife had a lot to do with that. Bless her heart. Because I really, truly, did not want an epidural. I'm so thankful that I did not have one.

However, at that point, I could not endure anymore laying on my side, awaiting each horrible contraction and consequently, each cramp. So, with a lot of assistance, we raised the foot of my bed and I made it into a kneeling position over the back of the bed. Blessed, merciful relief!

The horrible butt cramp faded to a manageable cramp and I was finally able to push. I was in a strong position for pushing and I could literally feel my baby moving down my body. It was the best feeling I had all day. I was working. My body was working. I was doing this!

At some point, my doctor came in and wanted me to get on my back so that he would have better access to the baby should he/she get stuck. I still wasn't in a position to talk, but I just shook my head. No, I absolutely was not moving from this position. I finally felt like I could do this and birth this baby and I was not about to move.

My advocates negotiated some more time for me, but eventually everyone began telling me that I do have to move onto my back to push this baby out. This baby whose head was already low and that I really felt could crown with next good push. I wanted to stick up for myself and say, "no! I can do this, this way! This is my birth and I want this part to be right at least."

I remember reading all about shoulder dystocia, which is a common occurrence in larger babies, where the shoulders get stuck after the head has emerged. The best position to get your baby out without damaging their shoulders is on your hands and knees. So why would I move?

Because I was not at home. This was my birth… my now hospital birth. And my birth is now being dictated by what is best for the doctor. Not me. Not my baby. Positioning me on my back helped my doctor see better. It is not an effective pushing position and my strength and energy was zapped in about two pushes.

As I lay there, with people pulling my legs back and pushing my head forward to the point where I couldn't breathe, I somehow managed to get the babies head out. And all I wanted to do at that point was rest. I was burning, hurting, aching, and completely out of breath.

And then a team of nurses rushed into the room, I heard an alarm go off somewhere and wondered if that was for me and my baby and was that why there were suddenly so many more people in here?

People began yelling at me to push. Not to stop until they tell me too. Don't yell out, you're wasting your energy, and for goodness sakes, keep pushing! To which I yelled back, "I can't" and they returned with, "you can't say that now. You just have to do it!" I needed to take a breath and couldn't because someone was pushing my head forward to my belly. I needed to wait a moment and get my energy back up so that I could focus enough to push with real strength. But someone else was pushing for me. Hands were all over the place, pushing on my belly, pulling back on my legs, pushing forward on my head. And I was lost in the shuffle, but trying my best to stay with them.

Until, finally, I feel the plop of my baby coming out and immediate relief. I don't get to see him yet, but I know its a boy because Ken is yelling at me, "you did it! We have another son! Can you believe its another boy!"

My boy gets taken away by all the nurses and is cleaned up and inspected for several minutes while I lay there wondering how did it get to this? I am happy that he is here and I can hear him crying. I'm in awe because everyone is talking about how big he is and I still haven't seen him yet. And I'm just drained. Physically, emotionally, mentally. Drained. How did I get here?

Ken brings him over so I can see him, but I don't have the strength to hold him yet. I tell him, I can't take him yet because I know that I will not be able to hold him up. A few more contractions and the placenta is out and twenty minutes later, I'm stitched up and covered in warm blankets because I can't stop shaking. And I finally can hold my baby. My apparently very large boy baby.

And while I'm ecstatic over my son, I'm still trying to process everything that happened. And I don't know how I feel. Cheated? Safe? Did we make the right decision going to the hospital?

I believe that this birth happened exactly as it was supposed to. This was God's plan. But I still wonder why? Why couldn't I have the home birth where the woman is ecstatically happy after birthing her baby. The one where things are calm and soothing. I'll never know. And I need to accept that. I still learning how to accept that. And post-natal hormones don't help!

Don't get me wrong. I'm grateful to everyone in the hospital that helped me birth my big boy. Especially to my doctor and nurses who did what they thought was best for me and babe. We were given excellent care at the hospital and quite honestly, it was nice to be a little more pampered after that birth!

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I'm exhausted from just reading! Despite the fact that you didn't have the birth you wanted, you did an honorable job, and more than most would tolerate by far! Congratulations, again!