Saturday, November 06, 2010

Pride, Paralysis, and Fear

I thought all my body would need to get kicked into high gear was to have my water broken. I mean, really. A week late, lots of prodromal labor, fourth time mom, desire to be up and active. I'd have gone straight for the pitocin, but then they make you stay strapped to these monitors and machines and I was NOT thrilled about that.

So my midwife broke my water and we waited for things to really start happening. Turns out, I got a nurse who thought I needed to be strapped to the monitors for 40 min. out of every hour anyway, so there went my big plans to be ACTIVE.

I'll help you all out here by shortening this up considerably. Here's how it went:

At the midwife's office the day before: 2 cm
Upon breaking my water: 3 cm
6 Hours later: 4 cm
*started pictocin*
6 Hours after starting the pitocin: 5 cm

Yes, that's right. 12 hours after beginning the induction, I'd progressed only 2 cm.

Six HOURS of pitocin induced contractions and only 1 cm of progression, even though the dosage was increased at half hour increments.

At that point, if I hadn't already had my water broken, I'd have stood up, ripped all the crap outta my arm and off of my belly and WENT HOME. But I couldn't, really. I was on the clock, half of my go time was gone. I had 12 more hours before they started pushing for a c-section and at the rate I was going I was going to need a few more days to get the job done.

The worst part of it was that I *thought* I was really close to transition.


Contractions every 2-3 min. lasting 60-90 seconds, controlling my breathing, concentrating on relaxing every muscle, focusing, and still nowhere near transition.

I had to stop fighting the pain, somehow.

I sat there in the rocking chair, bawling for a few seconds in between contractions, internally swearing like a sailor, when I finally pushed the call button for the nurse.

"Can I have... (gulp)... an epidural?" I squeaked out the question not really sure if I was more scared to get one or to NOT get one yet. I mean, this was ME we were talking about. It's not like I hadn't gone through this all before (well, minus the pitocin) for Waaay longer with Joshua. And there was going to be this needle.

In. My. Spine.

Who DOES that?!

"You sure can, sweetie!"

My nurse lit up like a Christmas tree. Before I could begin to second guess myself she'd called the troops in and they began to set up. Twenty minutes after I asked for it, I was beginning to feel some relief. Thanks to being short, the process itself took a bit longer than usual, but after hearing many stories of women waiting HOURS for their epi, I was really glad it happened so fast.

My blood pressure was already low to begin with and I'd set off the alarms more than once earlier in the day, but within minutes of the epi it dropped and set off the alarms again. The nurse gave me something in my IV to stabilize it, but it fell several more times over the next hour.

After that, things grew quieter, calmer, the nurses came and went, leaving the lights down so we could rest. I actually slept in between contractions, which spaced out to 8-10 minutes apart. I was discouraged. I felt like everything was out of my control now, instead of just the timing of labor coming on.

Colby went to sleep.

My mind felt numb.

I wanted to pray, but there were no words.

A few more hours drifted by.

Then the shaking began. Uncontrollable, knee-jerking spasms. I thought I was going to throw myself off the bed! I mean, usually I just puke a few times and I'm done with it, but this transition was totally different. And a lot longer than 20 minutes.

I was checked. 8 cm.

An hour later I was checked again. Still only at 8. Which, by the way, seemed to me to feel pretty much the same with our without an epidural. From transition forward I felt immense pain during contractions and pushing was every bit as painful as every other time I've done it.

Somewhere along the line I began to feel as if I were standing at the edge of a cliff. I had to jump to the other side but it seemed like a long way across. I had to cross; there was no way around it. But I didn't feel like I could.

I began to feel the pull of that irresistible current. I was drifting out to sea. The riptide had its hold on my body. I fought off the need to push, telling myself at first that I fought it because I was not fully dilated. But twenty minutes later when I was still hyperventilating and fighting it off harder than ever, my midwife began to realize something wasn't right.

I never looked at her. I couldn't break my focus away from my husband's eyes. All I could hear was his voice, trying to keep me calm, trying to help me through this fight going on inside of me.

Somewhere in my soul I watched a reel that played three scenes over and over: my little boy laying in a hospital bed with tubes and wires everywhere and a big red line down his little chest where his broken heart had been fixed; my midwife telling me I'd lost the baby and the look on my husband's face as I spoke those words to him; and pictures of our friends' precious baby lost at full term.

Bad things really do happen. I'm not immune. My children are not immune.

I was afraid.

"Lisa, you're at 10 now, you can push!", my midwife said, hoping I just needed that little bit of info to move on.

"I don't WANT to PUSH!" I huffed out in between hyperventilating breaths.

There was a flurry of activity and some unspoken communication between Colby and the midwife. Next thing I knew his hands were on each side of my face, his nose inches from mine as he said, "Hon, you need to push NOW or I'm going to have to push FOR YOU."

I stood on the cliff and jumped, not knowing where I was going to land. Not believing it was really going to turn out okay.

It only took two pushes till she was up on my chest, looking up at me with big blue eyes.

She was here. She'd made it.

We'd made it.

"Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.", was all I could think to say.

I didn't know fear could cause such paralysis. I'd never been afraid of giving birth or the pain. I'd always trusted both in my body and the outcome.

If I were to admit it, I'd even have to say I'd had a hard time understanding those women who WERE afraid of birth and pain and complications.

This time the innocence was gone.

Every birth, I think, is a spiritual journey. For me, this one took me down a new path, one that taught me not to judge, not to make assumptions, and not to take pride in something that is truly God's and His alone: giving life.


Rachel said...

Wow. Such an incredible experience. I'm glad she's here and thank you for sharing the rest of your birth story.

Nabila Grace said...

Beautiful :o)


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