Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mama Trauma Drama Part 3

We're told to listen to our bodies, to trust that instinct that whispers, that throws pebbles at our mental windows and then finally screams "Something is wrong here!" We're told to listen, but we're not really told how to act once we've heard the message.

My pregnancy thus far had seemed like one big false alarm. A series of scary events ultimately turning out fine...bleeding, contractions, falls, gall bladder attack, a kidney stone....all of it turning out ok in the end. Sure I was on two medications to prevent contractions that weren't working and I had more trips to the hospital than seemed possible, but we were okay.

Then the wheels started coming off the cart. I'd been testing my blood sugar and the numbers got increasingly higher. My metformin dose (normally prescribed for PCOS) was raised. The contractions continued. Each time I went to the hospital I was asked if I'd been given steroids for the baby, each time I said no and they still didn't give them to me. (What was THAT about, by the way? I should have insisted they go ahead and do it, I suppose)

I reached a point where our biggest worry changed from what we'd do if baby came too early, to what we'd do if my water broke at home and we couldn't get to the hospital fast enough. That turned out fine, luckily, but there were things we didn't worry about that really blindsided us.

The last thing my doctor had said before he left the room that day was not to have the baby in the tub. "we're not equipped for that." We all laughed. I felt like the hurry up and wait queen having had so many false alarms. Now we knew it was the real deal we still didn't think it was going to go that fast....after all, I'd already fooled my doula. She didn't think I'd make it to when my doctor came on shift. That's me and the little, I guess, surprising people at every turn.

I walked to the tub, got in, and immediately had a brutal contraction. I changed position in hopes for a bit of relief (went to hands and knees) only to immediately have another bone wrenching contraction. My body started pushing, and all control was lost. My doula said "are you pushing?" I told her yes, I couldn't help it, and just as she was about to pull the call cord the nurse happened to come back in. There were frantic calls of "get back to the bed" and "we need help in here" and "we're having a baby!"

The doctor came running in, and I said "I need to push." He laughed and said, "Go ahead." I didn't know until my husband told me later that our son's head was already crowning at that point. It was only a few pushes later and he was out, all happening so fast there was no time for perineal massage, a pudendal block had I wanted it...quick and dirty was the name of the game this labor.

Then it all went south.

The cord was around our son's neck, so while he was immediately placed on my stomach he didn't stay there long. They said it was to clean him up, and I had heard him cry, but they were very quiet in that corner of the room as they stimulated him, as they gave him a bit of oxygen, as they encouraged him to breathe.

I remember looking at my OB and asking "Is he ok?" several times without him seeming to hear me, finally saying "Look at me! I want to know if my son is ok!" When his eyes met mine, I saw fear but could tell he was thrown by my question. It didn't immediately register that he was worried about me, not the little.

I liked my OB, really really liked him as a person, but one of my irritations with him had been that throughout all of the excitement of my pregnancy he seemed so calm, so unfazed by what was happening. He cared, but his lack of intensity about it sort of pissed me off.

In that moment, I realized that seeing him worry meant something was very wrong. I saw a bead of sweat roll down his cheek and realized I was shaking and cold.

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