24 November 2010

birth story, part 2

And so, late on the 7th (11:30 pm-ish?), after maybe dozing or maybe not (hard to sleep when you realize this is real, and a baby Will Be Coming Soon, somehow, through your body), real contractions began. This was not an ease-into-it, gradually-increasing-sensation sort of beginning... this was a holy shit, pedal to the metal sort of 0-60 in 2.3 seconds sort of beginning...with a second shitty surprise: the contractions were entirely unlike menstrual cramps, and instead were pelvis-is-breaking hip/back/butt radiating firepain I rated 10/10 in my notebook.

I woke Doug at 1:45, who pointed out that it was snowing.
no kidding.
Thus my criteria for real labor was met.

On my way to pee and I had another big gush of liquid. Staggered to the bathroom, assessed fluid as copious and pink, and called the birth center. I had not been timing the contractions so we did that for an hour-- they were not all the same intensity, but the strong ones seriously sucked the breath out of me. About 4 minutes- 4.5 start to start, and lasting a minute and a half each...
I called again at 3-- E said to come in even though the criteria was 3 minutes apart-but not to rush. So I showered (it was part of my birth plan to begin the journey clean....)--the hot water felt good but most was spent bending over, hands braced on the edges of the tub, gasping... we dressed, already had stuff in the car, called my sister to confer about the weather (she lives two states away), and decided that she should wait until daybreak to head up but only if the snow had stopped. I kept having to stop our conversation to heave over the kitchen sink-- no barfing, just heaving, with the pain.

Off we went--much less jauntily.
The snow turned to rain as we headed north...
This time I could not walk-- to the car, to the hospital. I felt broken, breaking. I cannot describe the pain it was so intense and so unexpected. I expected the semi-familiar landscape of uterine, or cervical pain, and with maybe some back pain. I never heard about this option, this broken/breaking pelvis and hips option. I was completely paralyzed with it.

In we went, stopping, starting... but this time into a labor room not triage... I was asked to get nekkid again, into the tent like gown again, by then fluid in pad was greenish which I knew was miconium and knew that it put us into a different category... E tested the pad, and yup, my water had broken. So we were there for the duration.

Dilation? None. Horrible painful check, and fingertip/1cm but thinned nicely. Contractions 3-4 minutes apart. Baby heartrate great. Doctor called.

In between contractions which took me totally inside, one part of me asked in a Very Whiny Voice how could I have been having contractions that felt so shitty for so many hours, water broken for what, 8 or 9 hours? and not be dilated? I felt I might go insane.

I want to talk about the internal process of this, since it was another part that was unexpected. Bring cards or a movie or a magazine, the sites say-- early labor can take a long time and is mostly painless and you may want to have something diversionary with you to help time pass. My ass.

For me, the pain drove me inside, eyes closed, focused entirely on my breath, imagining opening of my cervix which each blown exhale... open I said to myself, begged my body, open. My eyes felt nearly glued shut. In between I opened them in reverse blinks, like tiny snapshots of consciousness. But each moment was just each moment.
I think, at least in the beginning, the sound I made was largely the blowing of my exhalations. I am not sure when I began to make sounds, but they surprised me too. A tone, hum, would just come with the exhalation. Loud to me, beyond my control, it just came out of me.

I was checked how many times? There was much celebration for each bloody show, but dilation remained at none for a long while, and I have no idea when that began to change, but it did not change much. Thankfully the baby remained fine on the monitor, and my contractions were good and strong and regular.I did ask for pain relief and was given an IM shot of morphine plus an anti-barf med. It did nothing. But I was hopeful. They said it would help me sleep which was complete bullshit.

I'd like to point out two things: first, epidurals scare me more than most things. second, we all thought "I can do this"-- that somehow I could do this.

At some point in this, 12 hours after my water broke, E's shift ended, and Nurse #2 came in. I will have to ask Doug who it was (W who I barely remember but what I remember is nice but I have literally no recollection of what she looked like)- a split shift I know, since she was there only for a while then we were handed off to another, G. W placed an IV but now we cannot remember why it was at that point.

Reality check: I imagined this-- walking. walking a lot. maybe using the birthing ball. the birthing stool. I imagined moving, swaying against Doug, being there with him in some way that he could feel.

In reality, I hurt too badly to move, and the pain had driven me so far inside, I just hoped he knew how much it mattered to me that he was there.
I did not even squeeze his hand during contractions. My hand was too far from the pain to help me channel it.

A birthing stool was brought in at some point, but I could not imagine moving. W wanted me to move. Heck, I cannot tell you how much I wanted to want to move. But there was NO WAY I wanted to move with this specific breaking bone pain.

Mid morning W suggested moving to the tub.
Ahhh the tub. The tub that I had imagined floating in in my fantasy birth.
The tub that was all the way down the hall.


Emily Erin said...

Wow, it sounds like it was quite a ride; I'm in it for the next installment... Hugs from here!

IVF 40+ said...

Yeah, quite the ride indeed. You write so well, I am totally with you all the way!
It also made me a little envious that I didn't get to have contractions. That is so weird!!
kisses to D, hugs to you.

Circus Princess said...

Your birthing story is a nail biter and I can't wait for the next part!

Thank you for sharing in such a vivid way.

It actually helps me to visualize horrible pain, I know it's weird, but I prefer getting pleasantly surprised if anything.

Mabelb said...

I'm hanging on to your every word.... Hurts like hell doesn't it. It's amazing how you forget. I've recently learned that by some miracle I'm about to do it all again.... Had honestly forgotten how all consuming birth is until reading this! Looking forward to the next part and the happy ending.

tireegal68 said...

Help! When's the next instalment? I can't wait! Wow, Kate, that sounds scary painful and intense! You have my admiration!

B. said...

Wow, Kate. To have been in such an intense and inward-looking place, and to remember it so vividly. I'm not sure I could have. Does looking at Della as you write these numb the pain-memory at all?

Baby Smiling In Back Seat said...

Amazing that you recall it so clearly despite so much pain.

I'd say that for me, the diversionary stuff was useful not because labor was painless, which it was not at all, but for the diversion aspect -- my contractions never hurt less than when I was on the phone with my BFF.

Looking forward to the next installment!

Michele said...

I get to the end and want more!! The way you tell it, I almost feel there!