The Trudge, The Trip and The Toil–Toby’s Birth Continued
(You can read Part One here, in the post previous)
Labor went as you would expect: I watched a TV marathon to distract me, but didn’t feel like reading the yet-unread book I’d brought with me. I wished I’d brought music because I couldn’t sleep very well. I expected it to be an overall restless night anyway, but there were more interruptions than usual.
Just’In tried to sleep in the windowsill bed there, under an afghan. He tried reading a book; he told me about his trip down the street to get a burger and the gross incompetence he found in a fast food environment, all to distract me.
The nurses walked in and tried to check my pulse and stuff discreetly, but it didn’t work. You see, these nurses used an in-the-ear thermometer, and nurses change shifts every several hours. I got a confused/shocked look from every new nurse when she tried to take my temperature and found that there was something in the way. Because I wanted to get as much sleep as possible, but didn’t want to take the tiny instruments out and in my ears, I felt compelled to teach every nurse how to pull out my hearing aid by grabbing the tube and pulling.
I was very glad I ate that meal right before the test; dinnertime and breakfast time came and went, and I really wanted food. What I wanted more was to gulp down buckets of water. I knew the nurses wouldn’t let me, even though I was going to the bathroom frequently anyway, so I drank water in sips. I lost count of how many cupfuls I sipped.
Those restroom trips was quite an ordeal; ease out of bed because of the weight, then unplug myself from the heart monitor which was plugged into the wall. After a few times of calling in a nurse to help me off of all the machinery, one kind soul finally taught my husband how to do it himself. Of course, several nurses after her came running in from their remote station when they saw the heart rate and movement both suddenly go dead.
After the heart monitor was removed, I had to take the Pitocin with me and then close the door; I must say that it was odd, sitting on the toilet with a tall, silver stand of liquid medicine as a companion. Somewhere in the middle of all the bathroom breaks and all the labor, my body started to tremble. Mostly my legs and my arms, but sitting on the toilet while trembling violently is really hard.
I wanted to try to do the entire birth naturally, without painkillers. It wasn’t completely natural because my blood was filled with Pitocin, but my mom delivered me naturally and I admire her for that. I’ve read and heard a lot of birth stories that feature The Super Woman who roars and grunts and does it all on love and sweat alone. No chemicals included. Did I have that kind of courage? It was time to try.
I wasn’t against painkillers, but I had only a vague notion of what labor and birth felt like. I knew that the pinnacle of pain was when my cervix reached an 7. I found that I could deal with the pain and the trembling by sitting at the edge of the bed or walking. At the end, I was pacing the length of the wires and standing and rocking in Just’In’s arms. One arm around his waist and my head on his shoulder. One foot forward and one back, just rocking it out, breathing the whole time, of course: cougar screams out and banshee shrieks in. Until the nurse came in and I reluctantly laid down on the bed to check the progress of my work: she told me that I was at a 6.
I begged her: “Please, can I be at a 7?” It felt horrible—surely this must have been near the pinnacle, right? I had one more contraction; while standing under quiet lights with the too-bright pulse of feeling that blinded my sense of touch, in Just’In’s arms, surrounded by wood colors, I succumbed. Painkillers, please. This was my pinnacle—I couldn’t take it anymore.
The wait was torturous, knowing that I could rescind my request, but now would be the only time. Finally, epidural inserted by a young guy who had caring words and quick, practiced fingers, and who explained everything he did. I was kicking myself for not being SuperWoman, despite Just’In’s reassurances that I was amazing. Beating myself, until one more contraction came. Before the drugs set in, as I lay immobile on my side, I felt the pain slip away like the softest of spring breezes and a river of calm set in.
My mom described it best: when under the influence of an epidural, you really just don’t care. An earthquake, a flood, and Armageddon at its fullest red fiery fury? La la la—okay, this is great!
I had not even an hour in such bliss when the room suddenly filled with people, and everything happened in quick succession: Toby’s heart rate went plummeting again, in reaction to the epidural.
The room was suddenly filled with people and activity. There was talk of a C-Section, and they started to clean off the table-on-wheels in preparation. After a night of quiet, this was something new—Trippy, and still trembly, but new.
Toby’s arrival concludes soon. Stay tuned.