I’m not big on posting the details of my private life. Generally, I prefer to live like the paparazzi are after me and will print and distort every word I say. But there are times when sharing is good, especially if it may help someone.
It is odd how much useless advice I received about having a baby, yet no one told me a few key things that are pretty big deals. How did that happen?
When I was about 41 weeks pregnant, after much research, Brian and I decided it would be smart to induce labor. When it came down to it, I did it because my doctor, whom I trust implicitly, was about to go out of town on vacation and it was looking more and more like he would not over see the birth. Add to that the fact that at 41 weeks I was showing no signs of going into labor anytime soon with induction likely anyway, and it seemed like the right thing to do.
The plan was simple: Go into the hospital on Saturday night to start a two phase process and likely deliver late Sunday or at some point on Monday. But nothing ever goes as planned, right?
On Saturday night round one of the induction process began—softening the cervix. I had been at about 30% for almost a week and my body needed more of a push before induction. The simple procedure took place overnight, and within 12 hours I was at 50%. This was not great, but good enough to proceed to step two.
Protocin was started. I knew there was a risk of it not only throwing me into labor, but to have it kick in quickly. Well, no such luck. By the end of the day, and multiple contractions later, I was still at 0% dilation.
Next up, Cervidil given over night. The results were mostly the same. The only difference was that about 1:15 in the afternoon on Sunday, I suddenly felt like someone had punched me in the lady parts from the inside. “What the heck? Hmm. I wonder if that was my wat…”
Yep. If labor did not kick in soon I was committed to a C-section. This was not at all what I wanted!
Protocin was started again. Since I now had a softer cervix the outlook was optimistic. Just as before, the dosage started out small and was increased every half an hour. This time the contractions I had were a little stronger. I hoped that with the broken water it meant that labor was on its way.
Fast forward a few hours and the contractions were coming on hard and fast. Somehow I managed not to scream. I am still trying to figure out how I pulled that one off.
The pain in my back was pretty incredible. It was mostly survived by Brian rubbing it just as the contractions started to peak. Then there was all the other pain he could do nothing abut. On a scale of 1-10 I gave it an 8. I could imagine it being worse, mostly because I was not even in labor yet, but could not fathom it being so.
In the middle of a strong contraction my doctor and a nurse arrived to find me hunched over the bed, Brian rubbing my back, tears pouring down my face, and my teeth clenched to the point we almost wondered if we should call in a dentist. The look I caught on my docs face was one of incredible sympathy and concern. It’s pretty bad when you have medical professionals cringing.
After a painful examination it was determined I was at 0% dilation and was in very early labor. We could either stop the drugs, and hope real labor kicked in, or keep going and hope for the best. Either way we were looking at another day of pain, at least. Likely I would take pain-reducing shots for a few hours only to have an epidural that would last for possibly a day. Not ideal! In discussing options, my doc had “that look” that told me we should probably move forward with the C-section I so desperately had hoped to avoid.
It did not take me long to decide.
“Get the knife!”
I was pulled off of the Protocin and felt almost immediate relief. I then learned that the pain I suffered was the result of serious, full-blown labor contractions—drug free! (To anyone who is in labor, dear God, get the drugs!!!) I went into the bathroom to splash some water on my face, and by the time I walked out a few minutes later my room was filled with five people making arrangements for my immediate C-section. All that was needed was a few signatures, a rushed test to make sure my platelet count was good, and Brian packing up our stuff and moving it to a holding cell. A whirlwind of activity surrounded me only to find myself a few minutes later alone in the room as everyone went about prepping for my surgery and awaited my blood test results. Pending those results, it was possible nothing would happen that night.
The favorable results came quickly, and I was shuttled to the OR while Brian sat, in scrubs, in the waiting room. The entry into the OR was very surrealistic, and only a few people will really understand the magnitude of it. Keep in mind; this was a surgery I feared. Not only did I not want it for a variety of reasons, I would be awake for it. The thought freaked me out.
As I reluctantly walked into the bright white room with the operating table in the middle and the big scary clusters of light above I noticed three people in scrubs and a big table loaded with all kids of surgical instruments, one thing stood out that almost set me laughing hysterically. For all my Rocky Horror friends, I must tell you that all of the scrubs and cloths were Shock Treatment green. Yes, my nurses looked like should be running Dentonvale, the insane asylum in the sequel to Rocky Horror. It’s a shame I did not have a camera.
As the anesthesiologist began her job she asked how I was feeling. I shared my concerns over freaking out while being awake, knowing full well I am going to feel “tugs and pulls.” Yeah, those little sensations will be a kid pulled out of me along with the pulling and pushing of my guts to get them out of the way and shoved back in while I am covered in gore. Couldn’t wait!
She suggested we talk through it and asked what I did for a living. The last thing I wanted to talk about was making wedding cakes when I know blood will soon gush out of me. I thought about joking how this was going to ruin my future career in porn, but even I did not see the humor at that point. Thus, I decided to tell her one of the many reasons why I did not want a C-section. After 27 years of doing it, I missed my Rocky Horror friends and needed to get back quickly. This would delay my healing and possibly leave me with a scar that would show through my corset. Needless to say I was the one who kept her entertained.
A few minutes later, I am on a slab, mostly numb from the chest down, seeing only a sheet in front of me and occasionally my doctor’s face above it. Brian was finally brought in. Apparently I was sliced just as he sat down.
I have to say that lying there, knowing what was basically happening, even though I wasn’t getting a play-by-play, was the freakiest thing I can imagine. Then it got even stranger when the tugging I felt in my abdomen was replaced by a huge swoosh when my daughter was pulled out of me. Someone said, “She’s out.” I expected the telltale cry but it took an uncomfortable moment to come. Needless to say I felt a little nervous about this. Soon the cry came. At some point Brian took a quick look over the sheet and saw her and apparently a little more. It’s a good thing he used to watch the surgery channel for entertainment because he got a couple of good eyefuls of me covered in my own gore. Lovely!
Brian was called to get the baby to show me before they left for the expected weighing, etc. while I felt more tugs and pushes, or, basically, my insides being shoved back in. The process seemed to take forever. Now the stress was really kicking in and I felt very ill. A lot of oxygen and more Rocky talk from the anesthesiologist got me through it.
After being getting my guts sewn back in I was wheeled into recovery to join Brian and Trishalana. The four hours I spent there oozing gore (Yes, I added that part to make you cringe!) went pretty quickly. I do have to say that I was a little cheesed though. I had gotten tons of useless information and advice while pregnant (like labor is going to hurt) but no one told me that many women get serious shakes after the placenta is delivered because of the hormone withdrawals. I could not get warm and suffered from shaking that reminded me of a seizure. How was this little detail left out?
Recovery was as expected—mostly. I knew I would continue to be a little swollen like I had been for months, but no one told me that the induction drugs and the IV I had been on would balloon my legs to the point where I could barely move them. I literally went home from the hospital almost 5 pounds heavier than I had entered it, and that was 3 days after delivering a baby!
I was also not prepared for the mannerisms of the nurses that attended to me. The L&D nurses were amazing! But the post partum ones were often painful to deal with. There was no respect for personal privacy. Everyone was in my face about my breast-feeding habits and became unglued at the notion of pumping. All of the nurses hovered over me to make sure I knew what I was doing and treated me like an ignorant, knocked up teenager. Two even grabbed me and my daughter and shoved her face into me, thus traumatizing her. She had been fine in post op when I was left to my own devises but now did lot want to latch. Also, the nurses accused me of not feeding her enough since she lost weight. The truth was, I was not producing yet. (Hello! That happens with a C-section!) She needed formula to supplement.
I amazed everyone with how quickly, and how much, I was walking around the hospital. Well, I did it in part because I needed it and part because I wanted to be discharged and away from the grabby nurses immediately. I did wind up telling all nurses they had to leave the room before I nursed because of bad experiences that were hurting the baby. They all seemed shocked. Too bad. And yes, I have let the hospital know of the experiences and the bad advice they gave that went contrary to the consultants they supply and the literature they give out.
As an aside, a C-section was really the way to go. Turns out the cord was double wrapped around Trishalana’s neck and her extremities blue upon delivery. God was on our side.
All is well now. Trishalana is 6 days old and very healthy. She seems happy and sleeps and eats well. She has already been on a few small outings and we are trying to get her used to being out and about while the weather here is still great. Brian and I feel we lucked out. We are two people with too much going on who now have a wonderful little girl who is relatively mellow. I don’t know how that happened, but I am sure am grateful!