Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Oh, the Birth Story

It’s traditional, in the blogsphere, following the birth of a child to write down the sequence of events that comprise your personal “birth story”. Presumably, this is for the future benefit of your offspring who may or may not be interested in the degree of rectal tearing you experienced. It’s also cathartic to share your experience with others so that they know what a freaking superwoman you were despite the fact that you spent 75% of the time crying like a little girl.

In the weeks before birth, midwives encourage you to write down your “birth plan”; a sheet of instructions, detailing what you’d like in the way of pain relief, how many people you’d like in the delivery room, whether or not you’d like to stand on your head for the actual delivery, etc. Dutifully, I wrote down a two page missive that basically boiled down to the following: “I’d like to do the whole thing drug free, deliver in a birthing pool and have my husband cut the cord. Oh yeah, and PLEASE DON’T CUT ME OPEN.”

To say that my birth plan went out the window is a colossal understatement. My birth plan tied sheets together, went out the window, caught a cab to the airport and spent the weekend losing money at The Sahara and getting hammered on free cocktails.

You may have been able to infer some of my experience from my embedded reporting from inside the antenatal ward, but here’s the shortened version, minus the bits I’m still trying to forget about. And yeah. There were some of those bits.

Sunday- We arrive at 11 on the antenatal ward and are promptly left to our own devices by the severely overstretched staff. Around 2, I receive my first dose of Prostin, a compound that is meant to open the cervix. Due to the fact that there seems to be some sort of baby gridlock occurring down in the L&D department, I do NOT receive a second dose lest I actually go into true labor. I discover that contractions are NOT any fun around 2 in the morning, after Mr. DD was forced to go home. These bouts of painful internal gymnastics have no discernable effect whatsoever in the moving-the-Prawn-along stakes.

Monday- By morning, the contractions have entirely worn off and I receive one of approximately 57 painful pelvic examinations by a doctor with fingers like cucumbers who is less than gentle. (You know why health authorities have to beg women to come in for bi-annual pap smears? Cause it’s just no fun having someone all up in your bid’ness. Especially someone who has no bid’ness of their own.) At 9, I get my second dose of Prostin which does pretty much more of the same; lots of contractions that bend me in half and do nothing but irritate the Prawn as it is disturbing her beauty sleep. Mr. DD brings me sustenance; Cadbury’s Eclairs, Ritz Crackers and Lucozade Sport drinks. That night, I discover the joys of Pefiden- a lovely little drug that doesn’t actually take away pain, but makes it possible to wallow in your own brain fog in the moments in between.

Tuesday- By this time, I’m starting to get pissed off with my daily routine of contractions that did nothing. I mean, really, enough already with this labor shit, this baby is LONG overdue so WHY THE HELL HAS MY UTERUS NOT GOTTEN THE MEMO?

Around about 5pm, I am FINALLY wheeled down to L&D to get the party started courtesy of water breakage and Oxytocin drip. After being informed by the friendly (but somewhat clumsy in the field of putting in a hand peg, as you can see) midwife in the delivery suite that I was going to be there awhile before anything started happening, I consented to one of many things that I was dead set against; an epidural. But after the initial bout of heebie jeebies about having a needle inserted into my spine, once it started working, I was ready to put on a little pleated skirt and wave pom poms in hearty support of Team Numbness.

However, by about 9am, it was obvious that every attempt to flush out the Prawn had failed and the dreaded words “c-section” were uttered. Definitely not the outcome I was hoping for. I am NOT good with surgery. “Can you put me out?” I asked.

“No, we don’t like to do that. The anaesthetic isn’t good for the baby. You’re going to have to be awake.”

Needless to say that I could have used a cup of tea or something before the knives were sharpened, but literally 10 minutes after having the news broken to me, I found myself strapped down to a table with a large screen in front of my face, my husband in scrubs sitting next to my head, looking stricken and some masked strangers doing dire things out of my line of sight.

And then.

I heard her before I saw her. A gurgly cry.

They told me she was a girl. They handed her to Mr. DD, who showed her to me. He cried. I would have too, but someone was yanking on my diaphragm and it seemed a poor idea to try to use it. I heard the nurses saying what a beautiful baby she was.

While blissful numbness had kept all sensations from below my waist from troubling me up until this point, rather suddenly, I regained some of it, unfortunately, while a large hole in my lower abdomen was being sewed together. I informed my tormentors of this fact by yelling, repeatedly, “I CAN FEEL THAT!!!” until the anaesthesiologist mercifully administered a general anaesthetic and I lapsed into unconsciousness.

Here is where I need to process. Two more days on the wards followed that I would sincerely like to forget about. In the old days, following a birth, the hospital had a nursery where babies went at night so that exhausted mothers could get some much needed rest. Nowadays, “rooming in” is all the craze, but whoever decided that women who have just experienced major, traumatic surgery should also have to spend the night looking after a newborn DESPITE the fact that they are, in fact, unable to get out of bed due to various medical apparatus attached to them AND surrounded by other women with newborns, should be repeatedly kicked in the head and then set on fire.

At any rate, I put my foot down and insisted on a Friday discharge rather than a Saturday one and blessedly left with the Rock Star and the Prawn to start our lives at a family back at our cozy little flat.

So, the Prawn? She IS beautiful. We’re getting to know eachother.


tiennie said...

She is beautiful!

Funny, after 4 kids, I still remember my time in the hospital fondly. I loved having those 2-4 days of having nurses surround me in my private room, taking care of all my needs, bringing me the blessed drugs....aahh... In fact, I often didn't want to go home and have to take care of myself and my kids. The hubby was so caring and useful though!

Mollywogger said...

What a couple of gorgeous gals. Fun times ahead . . .

lisalou said...

You're both so radiant. I'm all smiles for you guys. What an epic birth story. Super Women for sure!

Patience said...

Wow- what an amazing beautiful little girl! x

MsPrufrock said...

Ooo...a blog title change.

Let me add that "rooming in" blows sometimes, C-section or not. You are in labour for hours and hours, give birth to another human being, and then you're expected to stay awake even longer to look after them. Oh, they'll make your husband go home as well just to make sure you get no sleep at all for 48 hours straight. That's really wise for people with out of whack hormones.

Ahem. I'm done ranting now. Such lovely pictures! I'm so impressed you have taken her out shopping already. I was too worried to do that. She is absolutely adorable. Yay yay yay.

Southern Comfortable said...

Again, she's gorgeous. Just gorgeous.

What a story! So sorry that your plan went out the window, especially since the non-planned events included a c-section and losing your numbness at the wrong time! Glad, though, that the final step in the plan-- bring home a beautiful baby-- worked out perfectly.

nelly said...

sorry your plans did not go the way you wanted! but you have a beautiful wee girl to enjoy now!!
i totally agree about the whole hospital thing. if there is a next time for you, midwife run birthing centers are great =) i only stayed in 2 days with #1 and 20 hours with #2.

Hopeful Mother said...

I'm sorry that the birth didn't go as planned, but so happy that you and the Prawn are home safely. Beautiful ladies, you!

SaraS-P said...

She IS beuatiful! Totally worth it!

katty said...

what a beauty!!!!

Sarahbchicago said...

Congratulations on the birth of your daughter from a fellow unplanned c-section veteran (3/22/07, daughter Julia Frances)! She is lovely, and you look very happy.

dawnatello said...

wow i cant believe you are out and about already even with a sore belly!@

H said...

Check out the cuteness of the baby girl! Congratulations!

rockmama-in-waiting said...

Thanks for all your lovely messages, ladies! I shall be returning shortly when I figure out how to type with one hand!