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**You have been warned, this is very long and reads like a journal **
I am 40 days and 4 days pregnant.
My first contraction. I didn’t know that was what I was feeling at the time. I thought it was some sort of gastric intestinal thing. So I lay there and decided to check the clock if and when I felt it next. 10.38pm, then 10.46pm, then 10.54pm. I told Michael and he gave me a ‘right on’. I counted until about 2.30am when they were about 5 minutes apart then called my mom and my mother in law and told them we were going to the hospital. Once there, they hooked me contraction/heart rate machine baby was fine and I was having contractions. They gave me a shot of Demerol and told me to come back if the pain did not subside. This was because at this point I was not dilated at all. I was for sure certain that considering the pain I was in, I must have been dilating, but no. I go home and sleep.
Back at the hospital, I am in pain once again. According to the machine, baby is fine and contractions are getting stronger. I am only a fingertip dilated. They send me home with a shot of morphine and tell me to come back for more pain killers and to check my dilation. At home, I sleep because they also gave me two sleeping pills. I wake up in extreme pain and hold out until early the next morning.
I am now using the bathtub as means of coping, but it is not working well. I am in constant pain, I cannot move. It takes everything in my being to go to the bathroom, eat or anything else for that matter. We head to the hospital and I have still not dilated since the previous morning, but my contractions are 5 minutes apart. Same thing, they send me home drugged up, sleepy and tell me to see my doctor at 4.30pm to discuss options. At this point, I want this baby out. I want to be induced. The pain is extreme and I am not happy. I am also in ketosis which means that I am not eating/drinking enough…
Doctor DelBegio tells me that we will go ahead with the September 18th induction date if we do not see him at Labour and Delivery earlier than that. He tells me that I am dilated 1-2cm and assures me that the Morphine and Demerol are not hurting my baby. He says that the baby’s head is not fully engaged and is not in the most ideal position for delivery but tells me that this is common and can change at a moment’s notice.
After about 6 hours to total agony, the contractions are one on top of the other. The pain is unlike another I have ever felt at that point in my life. I am in the bathtub, Michael is trying unsuccessfully to sleep, worrying about his wife and his child. Finally I tell him, we have to go have this baby. All this stress cannot be good for him/her.
We arrive and I am admitted into the hospital at this time. They get me to change into my hospital garb (fashionable I know). They give me a shot of Phentenol (a labour drug—this is how I know things will be happening today) and get me to rest until my doctor shows up at 7.00am. Michael is asleep in our private room on the couch. He is exhausted too.
Doctor DelBegio shows up and tells me that enough is enough. Today I would be induced. He checks me and I am at 2 cm dilated. He tells me that I will be on a drug that will start contractions, and receive an epidural for the pain and hopefully see this baby Friday. I eat breakfast, my last meal before I see my baby.
I am moved into my labour and delivery room and the Pitocin is started. I can feel the contractions but because of the earlier dose of drugs, I am comfortable. The contractions get a little stronger but totally bearable as time wears on. The Doctor breaks my water and we see green. The baby has already had his/her first bowel movements. This is common with overdue babies and they tell me that it is being monitored closely.
I receive my epidural. The contractions are getting much stronger and I no longer felt the need to be brave but need to strength to push this child out. The Doctor checks me and I am 2-3 cm dilated and the baby’s head is still not totally engaged and is still facing the wrong way for delivery. The epidural did not hurt, the only pain I felt was the initial pokes of freezing agent. The contractions I am told are really intense, the epidural is doing its job. I feel nothing.
I have comfort. My contractions are through the roof, but something is wrong. They test to see where the epidural stops working, should be somewhere just beneath my breasts, but I am numb there, and in fact, numb to my shoulders.
The nurses (who were awesome) try not to look panicked as they bring my anaesthesiologist and doctor back into the room. He makes some comment about me being short. Debbie puts an oxygen mask on me and they lift the bed so that my chest is elevated. I am worried and know that this is serious. I remember reading something somewhere about lungs collapsing and cardiac arrest. I pray. Michael is right there beside me, holding my hand as they ##### me. They turn off the epidural and allow me to continue on. The oxygen mask stays on for about 20 minutes as they test and retest my numbness level.
Because they turned off the epidural, I eventually started to feel some pain. They also left my Pitocin in which meant that these contractions were much strong than anything I had already felt. On top of that, my catheter is bugging me. What they told me is that with every contraction, whether I had been feeling the contraction or not, the baby’s head would push on the catheter and cause me great pain. This was on top of Pain that I was feeling on top of the ever strong contractions.
The next 90 minutes were probably the most painful I have ever experienced in my life, ever. I cannot even begin to explain how bad it was. I cry when I think about it cuz I don’t know just how I made it through. The contractions were about 5-10 times as strong and 2 minutes apart, but lasting about 90 seconds each. No relief. I felt everything. This was no regular labour. I wanted to give up. I told Michael who never left my side and nurse that. Michael was about an inch from my face, not coaching me, but forcing me to breathe. Forcing me to follow his breaths. He refuses to let me give up. I could barely look at him. I was delirious. Michael never lets up. The whole time I can hear nurses and doctors talking about what to do with me. They say the word ‘c-section’. I want this baby out and safe and I want this Pain to end. The Pain was constant, unrelenting. My thought now is why didn’t they turn off the Pitocin when they turned off the epidural, or at least turn it down.
The greatest man alive enters the room. Doctor Wroz is the surgeon who wants to explain and convince me to have a c-section. They hand me a form for me to sign. All I remember scribbling was a D and a C. Nothing near my very neat signature. He says words like infection, risks, bikini incision, get this baby out, you’re in the best hands, let’s go. My favourite was let’s go. He turns off the Pitocin machine and he gives me a shot of Phentenol for my Pain. I love him. We roll down the hall and Michael is changed into his scrubs after having a much needed and deserved smoke.
We arrive in the Operating Room and it hits me that I am having this baby, like now. I shed a few tears and wish my mom was here with me, not instead of Michael but just there with me too. I feel like I am watching something on TV, not me going through this. Because of my epidural, I didn’t need any more poking, just more meds through my line. Michael is next to me, we are silent. Both of us freaked out, happy, scared, excited.
They begin surgery by asking me if I feel anything. I say no. All these drugs make me feel tired and slightly out of breath. I have those little oxygen thing hanging out my nostrils but still feel out of breathe. I am crying so my nose is slightly stuffed up too which doesn’t help. I tell them, they tell me it is normal. My left arm is numb; I focus on moving my right arm which I can. The left arm, I cannot. I can feel my knees. I feel some pressure where they are cutting and pulling me apart.
The doctor tells Michael to stand up and look at his baby. Poor Michael has never had a strong stomach. He takes pictures of everything, even this child coming out of my belly. They suction the baby and we wait for the announcement and more importantly the baby crying.
It’s a girl. We hear a slight cry and we look at each other. They call Michael over to her and they are suctioning her. She is crying, and crying lots. They check her and begin to close me up. She scores 9 and 9 on her Apgars, which means that she is perfect. All 10 fingers and 10 toes. The best news a parent could ever hear. Michael brings her to meet me and I cannot help cry. She is amazing. We stare at each other, I say things I cannot remember but I’m sure were sweet. She isn’t crying, but just staring at me, I suppose recognizing the voice that she has heard constantly for months now. I love her. Actually the word love doesn’t seem to match the feelings I have.
Michael who is led by a doctor and a nurse take her away. I am finished up and led into the recovery room. I lay there crying. The man next to me in the recovery room has been in the hospital for 3 months and just had another brain surgery. They keep asking him what year it is and why he is there. I eat a pink popsicle. I am hungry, exhausted. The only words I seem to say to the nurses are, “I want to see my baby and my husband.”
There is a two hour waiting rule at the hospital for moms and babies after c-sections. So as I am rolled into Room 305, I can hear her cry. I say, “is that her?” and someone says yes. She stops crying when she hears me. I was told that she cried most of the time before I showed up. Michael held her most of the time, but she wanted me. They move me onto my bed and the nurse grabs my left boob and shoves it into my baby’s face. She latches on and is breastfeeding, just like that. Everyone sighs and the nurse says something about it’s about time she was quiet.
Miranda Jude Carroll
September 15, 2006
Weight: 6 pounds 10.4 ounces
Hours of Total Labour: 66.5
Hours of Hard Labour: 7.5