Thursday, March 13, 2014

My Labour Story: Part 4... My Heart Breaks

I had a great visit with a friend tonight, and I got to recalling a part of my labour story... I know I haven't finished it on here, and it's been intentional. I feel like it was traumatic and it hurts to think about. I wanted to document the story so I would always remember the emotion... how things happened and the details. I don't honestly think I would forget, but I know the mind has the powerful ability to block out the bad things to trick us into further procreation. Ha.

Anyway, if you haven't read the first parts, you can find:
Part One HERE
Part Two HERE
Part Three HERE.

I follow the Badass Breastfeeder on Facebook, and she shared the following photo. It got me thinking that I NEED to tell this part of the story. To gain some kind of acceptance and closure to how things went down.

It really is true.

I just re-read part three to refresh my own mind. And while I am F_CKING HILARIOUS, I also feel sick inside revisiting that night. But here goes. (The things I do for you guys... hehe).

I was pushing and pumping my pain pump thing. The nurse somehow got approval to let me keep using the pain pump because I was feeling things so much but still pushing despite it all. She really was great. Alice, I thank you.

Do you remember the monitors I talked about in Part Three? They showed both the baby's and my heart rate. What I couldn't see in my insane state of determination was that the baby's heart rate was sitting just over 200. Not a good thing. I also remember the Obstetrician commenting that her head felt swollen, and that was also not a good thing.

The Hubs could see the monitor, and after all the pushing, he could tell that something wasn't right.

The doc had come back in, and it was then that he said he believed it best to use the vacuum to help get the baby out. I had heard horrific stories of forceps deliveries, and I really really didn't want that. It was unspoken that if things didn't move along soon, I would need to have a C-section.

As you all know quite well by now, I am a huge wuss and I probably would STILL be recovering today if I'd been forced into the C-section. I heal sloooowly and always have complications. It's kind of my thing.

So I prayed to the vagina gods to spare me lifelong disfigurement and I agreed to the vacuum. The doc said it should be fairly easy to get her out with it, along with my pushing. He casually asked the nurse if they should call "peds" (pronounced peeds, meaning pediatric docs). He played it so cool. So did she. She said "probably". I had no idea that my baby was in danger and that I needed to get her out. NOW. Like, NOW NOW. She made a call, but it didn't register in my brain.

I commend the Hubs for staying calm and supportive. I can only imagine how scared and helpless he must have felt knowing there was absolutely NOTHING he could do to help the baby or change things for the better. He did the best thing he could have, by staying calm and essentially pretending he knew nothing. For that, I thank him. I had been the calm one throughout the start, but he was clutch when I needed him. Had he started to panic, I would have lost my shit and things could have ended much, much differently.

Now, a lot of moms will tell you that after enough hours of pushing, you won't give a shit who sees your boobs, your lady parts, and it won't matter if you poo all over the walls. Surprisingly, I was okay with the nurse (though I would have preferred to have wiped my own butt if given the choice... damn huge belly and peeing laying down...), and I eventually was comfortable with the male OB I had.  I was not okay with students, I was not okay with shitting myself (though if it would have helped the baby I would have). I thought that we were still smooth sailing.

Then 4 more doctors entered the room. I specifically remember trying to cover my lady parts with my hands, WHILE MY LEGS WERE UP ON A BAR, mid-push as the OB was trying to Dyson out little Baby D. Yes, apparently I was still a bit self conscious, but also taken aback by the new viewing section of my labour.

The room was set up in such a way that there was a table across from where I was laying, where they test the baby's reactions (APGAR score) and clean baby up before handing back to mom. These doctors quietly began setting up, not saying a word, besides whispering with the nurse. I remember feeling totally confused and starting to feel nervous. I didn't think this was standard operating procedure, but I was totally exhausted and relatively vulnerable.

I asked who the male doctor was. I don't remember if the OB answered me or not.

I kept pushing. I may have been crying, I don't remember.

I remember that Baby D got closer to freedom, and then the worst burning pain I've ever felt took over my loins. I may have sworn a curse word or two, which was pretty tame for me considering I hadn't really before that.

And then she was out.

All day we heard as other babies were born around us in the nearby rooms. Sweet, frantic little newborn cries as they were thrust into the bright, loud scary world. The same sound in each room.

My baby made no such sound. She made no sound at all. The OB held her up, and I still can see her little white limp body in his hands. No noise. No sign of life. No sign of anything.

I asked if she was okay. No one spoke. I raised my voice. I asked if she was alive. I started to yell, asking if she was breathing, if she was okay. No one spoke.

The team of doctors took her to that table, and surrounded her as they worked. I couldn't see her at all.

I remember the OB casually mentioning that the umbilical cord had been wrapped around both legs, and somewhat tangled. I remembered thinking that explained a lot because no one could seem to figure out how she was positioned in me (my bump looked quite weird and they needed a bedside ultrasound to figure it out the day before).

The OB wasn't a jerk. He wasn't dismissive. He was just incredibly calm and I think trying to get me to simmer down. But not hearing anything was just awful.

There was no crying, no coughing.

I was stuck on the delivery table while the doctor started stitching up all that had been burning. I could feel the stitches and I remember he had to give me another needle with extra freezing there so he could do his handy work.

I felt so helpless and so so scared. I was certain she was dead. The little squirmy ball of baby inside of me for the past 8 months came out silent and still. I was starting to go into shock.

My baby still wasn't making any noise. I asked the Hubs over and over what was going on. It was kind of a blur, but I remember that feeling of being trapped on the table and feeling so powerless.

At one point they asked the Hubs to come over, and I think he then cut the cord.

Then, I heard some kind of sound, and I think the Hubs said she was ok. I didn't believe him.

Then this little, sweet, monkey of a girl was passed to me. She was wrapped in a towel. I don't know if I asked the Hubs to take her photo, or if he did it on his own. I remember the flash went off and the team of doctors actually shouted/scolded him, even though it was accidental.

I held her for all of 45 seconds, and then she was whisked away.

My first few second with her. Looking at this brings back the disbelief, fear, and pain. I remember thinking she looked so beautiful and so perfect.

She didn't get skin to skin contact.
I didn't get to try to nurse her.
I didn't get to feel her sweet little newborn skin on my chest, or get to feel her heart beating.
I didn't get to shower her with the love I had.

They took her away. And that was it.
I didn't understand. I wanted to see her, I needed to see her. The doctor finished stitching, and the nurse told me I had to stay laying down.

The Hubs didn't know what to do. I was hysterical and she was leaving, so I told him to go to her. To go with her. I didn't want her to die alone if she was going to die.

It all felt like an awful dream. It didn't feel like I had a baby. I remember the doctor cleaning up... I had bled quite a bit. I remember the spot light that had been on me was turned off. I was told to rest. It felt in my heart that my little girl was dying in some hospital room near me, and that I wouldn't see her again.

At that point I'm pretty sure that the Hubs knew she was stable, but in my state of shock I couldn't understand that.

I remember trying to rest, and then insisting that I needed to see her. I have no idea how much time had passed. I know the Hubs was there for part of it, and the nurse was trying to get him to sleep in the chair there with me. But he was also with the baby. It is all mixed up in my mind.

The nurse said I could go to her in the Intensive Care Unit if I could walk to the bathroom. I got to the bathroom, and once I tried to sit down, I remember shaking so violently and shuddering so hard that I smacked my head off the shower and almost hit the floor. I've heard of women "getting the shakes" after labour and medication, but this was more seizure-like than I ever could have guessed.

I was in incredible pain and so unbelievably cold. The nurse barely stopped me from face planting on the tile floor. I had no control over my body.

It took her and the Hubs to get me into a wheelchair to return the 10 feet I needed to pass to get back to the bed. At that point she told me there was no way I could see the baby. I remember crying so hard. I was certain that I was going to die. I know that probably sounds quite stupid and dramatic, but I had nothing left in me and my body was turning on me entirely. I had been awake for a long time, with no food, in shock, and completely out of control.

The pregnancy felt like an illusion. I had no baby. I was confused and weak and so tired. I remember wanting the Hubs to be with her, and being so sad and scared that I was dying and that I wouldn't get to see or hold my baby again.

Around 6am or so, I think, we were moved up to a room on the maternity ward. I remember crying, sick that I wasn't with my girl, and Alice patted me on the head and told me to rest, that I would see my baby soon. Alice was just so sweet and kind and rational throughout.

I wanted to hug her and thank her and cry on her shoulder, but I was too weak to do anything but lay on my side in the fetal position and whisper thank you to her through my tears. I clearly remember the Hubs giving her a big hug and thanking her immensely for her help. I remember feeling so glad and thankful that he did because I couldn't, and I remember feeling so much love towards him for being so candid and sincere with her. I know he appreciated all she did for us.

We tried to sleep. Our neighbours in the room were loud jerkfaces.

I will post about my first real meeting with my baby next. But this is crazy long.


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  1. oh my gods. i'm so sorry. i'm so glad you have a wonderful, beautiful baby girl, but i'm so sorry.

  2. Being a guy, birth stories kind of horrify me at the best of times. But you'll be able to dine out for years (once you fully recover and forget parts of it) on the experience, saying, no shit there I was...

    At least with such a rough start, it can only get better, right? Right? I said...

  3. Damn it girl, you've gone and made me cry. What a horrible situation - especially for you since you didn't really know what was going on. I'm so glad your baby girl is okay, and I'm so sorry you had to go through something so horrible.

  4. Oh my goodness.... How scary. When "Scout" was born a few weeks ago, also via vacuum and followup stitching, and I didn't get to hold her for awhile and it was awful. I'm glad I know everything turned out ok with you and yours.


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