Friday, September 29, 2006
Drinkin' Music ( Kaels birth, part 1)
You know that feeling you get when you've had too much to drink? That must-concentrate-on-something-or-will-vomit kind of feeling? It could be concentrate on something like the spot on your jeans, or concentrate on a movement like frantic hand waving. Concentrate on something to take your mind away from the must-barf-now feeling you've caused yourself.
For me, it's loud techno music.
I was up bright and early on the morning of Thursday, June 8th. I arrived at the hospital at 5:50 am ("You're early! That's always a good sign.") for my scheduled 6am induction. One quick check has me pronounced "3 cm dilated, nice and soft... You'll do well today!" and I was given a half dose of Cytotek as per doctors orders. ( for those not in the "know" Cytotek is used to help prepare the cervix for dilation, making it soft. I was soft when I got there.)
Four hours later (10:30) my doctor arrived to check and see if the ol' cervix had made any changes, or did we need more cytotek, or should we start pitocin. No cervical changes. BUT, still a 3, still soft.... Doc decides that instead of drugs, he'll break my water(A.R.M.) and see what my body decides to do on it's own. That was at 11:10 am.
OK, who likes the feeling of wetting your pants all the time? Not me.
Just thought I'd put that out there.
ANYWAY... I noticed a change immediately. The uncomfortable cramps/contractions I'd been having for weeks all the sudden found the candy jar and were coming fast and furious, "bouncing off the walls". Less then 10 minutes after the A.R.M., I was huffin' and puffin' through each contraction.... And they were coming 3 minutes apart, lasting 1-2 minutes each. Nice, regular, long contractions. 45 minutes of monitoring later I decided I needed to do something about all this... And the tub sounded like a good idea.
The Redmond birthing center has some nice, comfy, HUGE jetted birthing tubs. Matt got up at the first prompting and started filling up the monstrosity with some soothing hot water. While it filled, he brought me his MP3 player.
Prodegy, Lautsprecher, KMFDM, Moby, Paul Oakenfield............. Oh yeah.
My mind goes back to those drives home from the bar... Matt manning the steering wheel, sober. Me, lounged back in my seat, window down, eyes closed, foot thumping, radio blasting. I didn't get that drunk often, but when I did, it was always the same on the drive home. My blitzd mind was somehow able to focus on the beat..... Thump, Thump, Thump...... My stomping foot reminding me that I'm in the car and not spinning in circles like my head thinks I am.
I climb into the tub with much aid from my hubby.... Sink down.... And turn up the music. Now it's just me, the contractions, and the MP3 player. The hot water makes it easier to relax in between. The jets blowing on my back and feet are that thumping reminder that I'm still here. I'm still here. Yes, it hurts, but I'm still here. The music is as loud as it's gonna get. I'm still here......
Half an hour into my soak it starts. I can't huff through them anymore. Huffs turn to moans. The relaxing break between gets shorter and shorter. I hear visitors in the room outside the door between songs. The all thought leaves again as I concentrate on relaxing my muscles, breathing, relax, breathe.. I'm still here...I call Matt in and ask him to go ahead and request that epidural.
I can't do it anymore.
My nurse comes into the bathroom 15 minutes later... she's informed my doc of my request and he'll put a call into the Bend hospital to get an anesthesiologist over and get me my epidural. OK... Half hour. He'll be here in half an hour.
I spend another 10 minutes in the tub before deciding that this isn't working. They aren't manageable here. I need to get out.
The thumping in my ears is getting quieter. The music.... Harder to "feel". I'm losing my concentration.. And all I can think about is the next contraction. My focus, once outside of me and in the music, in the thump of the beat.... Has faded.
All of the sudden, my focus has changed.
I turn off the MP3 player.
Remember those pain scale you were shown at the doctors office as a kid, with the faces in different stages of grimace... "How much does it hurt, on a scale of One to Ten?" Did anyone else have a hard time picking a number? How would you know?
Out of the tub, I had to stop twice before reaching the bed to moan through more contractions. Fast and furious doesn't begin to describe. I feebly try to dry myself off while putting on the lovely gown provided, Matt all but holding me up. Once to the bed, I request the nurse in here NOW. She wanders in several contractions later. I've lost all sense of time at this point. My whole world exists in the few seconds I have between mind blowing pain.
"When will that epidural get here?" I ask.
"On, Dr. B just called in your request."
WHAT?? I requested that epidural a LIFETIME ago! I can't do this! I can't do this!
I'm getting scared at this point. The are getting harder, faster..... Moans have been replaced with an escalating "ouch, ouch, ouch".
I'm told I got rather loud.
I remember saying I was scared.. I remember seeing my husband across the room, sitting on a chair, a helpless look on his face. I remember thinking... He's scared too.
I remember saying to him, teeth gritted "I'm OK. I'm OK"
I remember the nurse offering me an IV drug to take the edge off. I don't want IV drugs... Baby feels those too!
Another contraction hits.
OK, yes, I'd like the IV drug.. Maybe just a half dose though?
I notice no difference other then a nausiousness when opening my eyes.
I remember feeling terrified that I was drugging my baby. Was he nauseous too? I'm still scared... Is he scared too?
Then things change.
At the end of each life altering contraction.. I have to grunt. Push? What? No.... I can't be ready to push.... Yet there it is again.. With each contraction, I get this overwhelming need to push. The urge is so strong, I can't describe it. Yet, I'm not ready to push! Must grunt, breathe, anything... But don't push! It's like telling a drowning person, upon pulling them out of the water, not to breathe. You can't control it. Grunt. Push.
My nurse checks me... 8+ centimeters. Fully effaced. +1 station.
"I'm sorry honey, I don't think you're going to be able to get that epidural... You're too fast"
Beeps. Dips. I learn later that between each contraction, my son's heartrate is dropping..... It resumes it's speed WITH the contraction... But between, it drops. My doctor is called in. He check me again. I don't know what the results of that check are.
I feel all alone with this pain. Nothing else exists. Breathe, Moan, Ouch, Grunt. Repeat. I remember someone telling me to breathe for my baby. Pant for my baby. Don't push!
I remember my doc saying something about an injection..."Go ahead and get it". I have no idea what "it" was.
I remember apologizing over and over for needing it... For not being strong enough... Brave enough. I don't remember any replies.. Matt tells me he said it was OK. I DO remember seeing his face. Still scared.
Me too, honey. Me too.
I am sat up... Grunt. Don't push! And folded over, my spine bared. An anesthesiologist from the ER comes in and pokes a needle in my back. Lightning shoots down my left leg. This is the one and only time in the whole ordeal that I scream. It was such a sharp, unexpected pain! That on top of the somewhat predictable yet horrifying contractions was too much.
"Which leg?" He asks.
He pokes again. More lighting. A yelp. More apologizing on my part.
"Left!" I sob.
Breathe, Moan, Grunt.
A few minutes later I hear him mutter "it's done" and I am helped to lay back on the bed. An Oxygen mask is placed on my face. I kind of remember seeing Davinie and Alyca come in the room... But not really.
I remember asking when it would work.. I can still feel everything!! I'm told to wait, it will take a few minutes.
A few minutes later... They are going away. I can feel them less.. Yet I still can FEEL.. And it stays that way.
This is WONDERFUL!! I can feel the contractions, but they are back to being the easy crampy ones I've felt for weeks now... And I can still feel my legs, the rest of my body! Whatever they injected simply took away the pain in my belly... And that's it.
Finally, I relax. Breathe. Catch my breath.
Next thing I know, the nurse asks me to push. I push.
I remember her asking for 2 people to come hold my legs. I remember thinking I am perfectly able to hold my own legs, thankyouverymuch....At some point in the confusion I'd asked Davinie and Alyca to decide among themselves who would cut the cord ( Matt not at all interested... Alyca cut Raegans cord..) Davinie comes up on my right, Matt on my left... Although I think at some point they change sides. Holding my legs with me, I'm asked to push. My doctor is here again, not the nurse, doing some perennial massage ( hows that for too much information) between each push. I remember Davinie telling me to relax my arm... Apparently I was flexing? I remember my air mask falling off all the time, and she fixed it for me several times. I remember her patting my arm, rubbing my leg. I remember Matt's soft presence counting to ten. Several times. I remember all the blood rushing to my face..
"I don't think I'm doing this right!"
I don't know how long I pushed. I do know that it was both easier and harder then when I had Raegan. I could feel what I was doing. Easier. I could feel that progress was slow. Hard.
Then all of the sudden I've got him. The squirmy blue-ish little man on my chest.
A few brisk rubs and he is whisked away to the warmer. The paparazzi ( Davinie and Alyca) go over to assess his condition... He is yelling furiously... So apparently fine.
My foggy memory brings up me asking several times if he was OK. Short laughs from my doctor, patiently waiting for the placenta to be ready to deliver. "Yes" he says, "Hear him? That's One Healthy Boy."
I ask Matt if he wants to go over and see him? He is still holding my hand, rubbing my wrist with his thumb. "I can hear him" he says. "I'll stay right here."
Quiet, soft support.
I look at the clock. 1:43 PM.
My entire labor process, from time of A.R.M. when I started having real contractions to the time my son was delivered, was just over two and a half hours long.
It felt so much longer. It was... An entire lifetime.
Now, one week later, the memory of that day is becoming fuzzier. I remember there was pain. I remember I was scared..... But mostly, I remember that cry. I remember my husband at my side, holding my hand, counting in my ear.
I remember the important stuff.
Hours late, my daughter has met her brother, my sisters and mother are all here again, and my brother-in-law is asking me about the labor.
"So, did you find your ten?"
Yes. I found my ten.
And so much more.