Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Losing Focus

That was a disappointment.  This dose of Nubain wasn't working AT. ALL.

I was losing focus pretty quickly.  I felt like a flailing baby, alone... falling... out of control.  Matt could not help, Hailey could not help (really anyway, what could they do? How could they know what I needed if I couldn't tell them?) I turned to the nurse for support and asked her what to do next because I had used up all my tricks.

She sweetly suggested an epidural.

With modern monitors and medication do nurses even know how to take care of laboring women anymore?  Or are they just there to interpret the information the machine spits out and administer the medication that takes care of the pain so you don't have to?  Is that why they insisted I remain in bed... to be monitored?  Would this nurse have had any idea how to help and support me through a tough labor had it not been near the end?  Have they lost the art because no one requires it of them anymore?  It never dawned on my that I should have added "a intuitive/caring nurse" to the list of prayers I had been reciting for the last few weeks.  I know having more support wouldn't have changed the outcome, it's pretty black and white:  All pregnant women eventually end up delivering.  A healthy baby and mom are the main objectives but the avenues taken to get to that end... do they matter?  I still think so.  I believe I am in the minority.


"Let's just check you and see where you're at."


Because I know how my body labors, I knew this was it....  Soon I'd have a baby!

I voiced "It can't be long now"  because I knew...

I knew it darn-it! 

This is why the drugs weren't working... This was transition for me...  I knew it...

Replaying each of my experiences with this phase I always dubbed as my "don't remember time",  I knew it was almost time for "call the doctor", "set the stage" and "BAM! 7-8-9-10 -Baby".

I will never forget the look on the nurse's face as she replied to my statement of "It can't be long now".

The words, not so much, but the look... annoyance, irritation, pretentiousness...

"Well, I don't know about that."


Gone was my focus.  Every thing I knew, I didn't know anymore.  I lost all confidence and felt completely overwhelmed... I cried.  She had somehow, with that one look, undone all I had in me...

Defeated, I gave in... I caved... I went against all I knew about myself and my stamina.  I requested an epidural.

She checked me again... 8.  Too late for an epidural.

I wish I could report that with that news I mustered my fortitude and pressed on.  But I didn't.  I went on because I had no choice. 

I told her I was going to turn over and push.  She checked me again... 10. 

 I knew it darn-it!

I opened my eyes expecting to see the doctor and more nurses or at least the spotlights on.  Nothing.  No one.

I remember asking "Where is everybody?"  I don't know if anyone answered.

Next time I opened my eyes the stage was set...  the doctor appeared... I was pretzel-ed and pushing.  No one was talking (or cheering) I had no idea if I was making any progress.  I remember asking how I was doing and calling for some encouragement...

If there is a next time... I'm bringing the pep-band.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Climbing the Mountain

Nubain can only be given once every two hours.  I had a half an hour to go.

The feeling of being split in two was hitting me like a jack-hammer again but as the nurse checked me and said I was at 4ish I began to focus on my breathing and what has gotten me through most of my other labors.

It's a little trick I learned before Griffin was born and has always been useful to me.

Picture, if you will, a contraction as a line on a graph.  As the line rises the pain increases, and each contraction is like a mountain.  While in the valley, you are pain free.  On the way up the mountain the pain increases, but is usually tolerable... up to a point... the peak.  Only as you reach the summit does the contraction feel all consuming.  The second you start the descent, the torturous feeling gives way to cramping, the cramping lessens to aching and then, when you reach the valley, you can once again relax.

The trick is to convince yourself that, during this whole "mountaineering" process, only the few seconds at the pinnacle hurt.  The rest can be labeled "increasingly uncomfortable" or "steadily decreasing on the pain scale".  So actually, even when your contractions are lasting 1.5 minutes and they are 3 minutes apart, only a fraction of that is excruciating, the rest is a piece of cake!

On the fetal monitoring machine there is also a number associated with where on the mountain you are currently.  Matt's job has always been to watch that number and tell me the instant it decreases.  I don't think he understood why that was important to me.  Either I never explained it to him, or he wasn't listening when I gave that particular instruction, (or maybe he didn't care one iota about me and was actually in cahoots with that evil nurse)  because he was saying things like

"Well, that was a biggie" and

"whoa, it keeps going up"

or holding out on telling me when the number went down because he was waiting to see if it would go back up,

instead of just saying "it's going down"  which was all I wanted to hear.

There was no time to explain it now.  If I could just make it to 9:30 pm, I could have another shot of Nubain and all would be well with the world.

As I watched the hands on the clock move in slow motion, I, in my most convincing tone, requested, ever so sweetly, that the nurse have the drugs ready to administer immediately as the second hand reached the appropriate location.  I saw her go through the motions, but I don't think she ever went through with it.  (and I think I saw her head spin around)

I waited for that euphoric sensation, the giggling... the relief never came...