On Sunday May 3rd, 2015, my husband asked me if I was happy. I was taken aback at first and didn’t answer right away, as this was exactly 1 week since we had our son. My body called my bluff and I blushed like a little school girl and gave him a resounding yes! These questions usually carry weight and at times end with revealing deep convictions. I, however, was just bursting with pride. I felt like giving birth to my son was the greatest thing I have ever done in this world. While his labor and delivery was a challenge, when our eyes locked for the first time when I said his name to get his attention, he captured me. I will never forget that feeling and the spiritual bond that was created between mother and son. He must not have been an hour old but he knew; I was his gal and he was quite ok with me.
We began our day on Friday the 24th, with a doctor’s visit. Our weekly check up to ensure that baby is as he should be and that mother is just one step closer to forcefully completing a self-evacuation process due to the extremities of lugging him around. Pregnancy makes you bat shit crazy is the one thing I always tell people; this serves as a warning for their life and as consent to forgive me for anything out of the way I may do with mine. Our appointment was 9am and we did our usual sit and wait forever until your parking has well expired and all the constant rounds of bumps passing your way makes you dizzy. We went in and I immediately requested a membrane sweep. Trouble knocked as my blood pressure was high, trouble knocked again as there was protein in my urine. The doctor was called in and my cervix was checked and she rushed to call the hospital to see if they could take me to induce me right away. I was ecstatic, baby would be out, daddy was patient; not quite sure what the rush was about. They could take me right away and even before she left the room I asked about my sweep, to which she replied ‘Already Done!’ …hmmmm I thought, poor bedside manner, I would l have like to have known when it was going down, especially since we are now considered to have preeclampsia.
We arrived at the hospital in 5 minutes and parked as our Obstetrics’ office is conveniently located next door. I would like to say at this time it’s almost 11am, I provided my health card and was registered to be monitored. They strapped me up and we listened to the baby’s heart beat until the doctor came to see us, to let us know that they will be giving me 2 gels 6hrs apart, Prostin e2 to soften my cervix, so that my water can break and labor can begin naturally. Approximately 1pm, we allowed the good doctor to do her work and the first gel was inserted; not bad. Daddy signed us in to be admitted and then left to gather our belongings and take care of final matters at the house. Baby was on his way and we even made a list called ‘Thierry Arrival’ on Wunderlist to ensure we missed nothing.
In an hour I was moved to a private room at the mother and baby ward and contractions started. I wasn’t attached to be monitored so I used the app Contraction Timer app on my phone to help me monitor, they averaged 40secs and eventually I was strapped to the machine again to ensure baby was ok. Daddy came back and all was well in the world again. At 6pm, we were taken back to the labor assessment department and my cervix was checked again. The doctor mentioned administering the second gel, but the good ‘ol nurse on duty kindly saved my life by advising her that my contractions were already too short.
We were then wheeled to the Birthing Suite. We were told we weren’t dilated when we were checked at the Labor Assessment Unit, and that a foley balloon catheter will be inserted to ripen the cervix. Cervix checks were already very painful; I imagined this would be worse. While it wasn’t, this doctor inserted the balloon but then advised that it kept ‘falling out’ as the cervix is already open. What a difference from being checked not even 5 minutes ago, as now we were told we were 2-3cms and things were moving quite along. At 7:30pm we were 3cm, 60%. Grateful we were but pensive and at this point, daddy and I started paying close attention, maybe this doctor was not a good fit for us, however she was the only one on duty, so we worked with her. This doctor is the reason I got an epidural, every time she checked my cervix I was physically climbing away on my back due to how much it hurt. She was sure to demand that I be still so that she can check me but was very sweet once the checks were all over. As a pregnant woman, some checks are completed many times, which means you get used to them; not in this case. Every cervix check hurt; every one. The final check with her came around and relief came when she artificially broke my water at 22:25pm. At this point, and partly because she repeated it many times, I asked for an epidural.
I was given an IV and was also on penicillin for testing positive for GBS, this was the beginning of drugs being pumped into this body. At 11:30pm, I got an epidural. This was after the doctor had me lay on my side to complete the process but failed 3 times! Lamenting about how he wasn’t sure why it wasn’t going in and that this position always worked for him. The good ol nurse chimed in and was my saving grace, when she gently suggested that he make me sit up. While she held me through the first 3 attempts, daddy was getting a bit agitated and held me through the fourth and thankfully the final attempt. I could not even stand to look at this doctor and found that he made jokes about how long he was doing this process very unnerving. At this point during the labor, I felt at a lost, I didn’t start that major stuff yet and yet every procedure was oh so painful. The nurse herself started to show compassion and it was then I knew she too saw my pain and knew If I was a different kind of woman, these doctors would not be getting away so easy! The epidural kicked in and we slept as best we could. There were more cervix checks completed but this time by nurses and while I was grateful, we just weren’t moving along.
We woke up Sat April 25th, with new hopes and most importantly a new doctor. While our first nurse was a star and damn near bowed when she came to tell us her shift was over, we were elated with having a change in doctor. The nurse that took over was as stiff as a board but we didn’t mind as daddy was more hands on with mommy now. Daddy was helping me turn, attending to me more and just being an excellent support system. Our doctor set the expectation that if we don’t improve fast enough today, we will be doing a c-section. This changed to we decided to do a c-section, when the nurse advised that she is at the highest she can administer for pain meds and that we were stuck at 4 cms from in the morning. We were prepped for surgery and were now waiting on an OR. Anxiety all around, but I honestly was calm and just ready to get this over with.
I was first brought in to be prepped, anesthesia was administered, and daddy was brought in a few minutes later. Unfortunately by this time, all I could do was stare. The process began and I felt every action. It became unbearable pretty quickly and when I retorted that they were trying to kill me, I was asked if I wanted to sleep a little, to which I replied yes. This meant I missed the them pulling out my son, however the pressure from the c-section being done might have actually killed me. When I came to, dad showed me he had baby, but I was too incoherent to fully appreciate what just took place. It wasn’t until we were brought back to the birthing suite that I asked Tam to let me see him. He was already laying on me, and I got help lifting his face to mine. When I spoke his name, he gave me the most precious look ever and I will never forget that. While my sweet boy just stared, I was already feeling guilty for missing the most important part of his life so far, seeing him take his first breathe. I was however extremely grateful for the joy around me, my husband was beaming and unable to control himself. He told me that this was the best day of his life and that he loved us. In that moment I felt a sense of calm, our lives had been in responsible hands.
We were brought to our room after 1 hour and there we remained until we were discharged on Tuesday April 28th, 2015. While we had an amazing and comfortable space, we couldn’t wait to get out to start our lives without a million people justifying how we should be doing things thanks to the competitive edge that comes with a job. We had excellent nurses except one and while there is a mouth full I had about this nurse, she couldn’t ruin my time. We had one visitor and wouldn’t change this for the world. Giving birth is a very intimate moment between a woman and her body, a woman and her child and if present a woman and her partner.
A lot of people do not respect this enough and will try so hard to be present for your child’s birth and after, not realizing how exposed and vulnerable this entire ordeal is. Yes, they are happy for you, but they can wait. Healing is pertinent and will take time as coming full circle is very hard and will be very demanding. Outside forces will alter your mental and spiritual space. A clear, calm mind and environment is the greatest gift loved ones can provide once you have given birth. I say this to say, I was lethargic, my mental process was slowed and my speech was very delayed, not to mention the fact that excretions are exiting your body and you have no way to control them. Are you willing to be seen like this? In the moment people won’t comment but you in this state is not want you want others to experience. The colour of the liquids coming from my catheter is not something even I would like to remember, much less people that won’t be as compassionate.
After 24hrs my IV was removed and they continued to provide pain and blood pressure medication to help with the healing process. On Monday, I was able to take a shower by myself and after failing to stand on my own Saturday night, I decided to continue to push myself to be better. I experienced heart break when I couldn’t do anything for my child in the few hours of his life. This has affected my output as a mother and though it is something I will never ever be able to change I have yet to make my peace with it. On Monday, things kicked into high gear and everyone wanted to be home, we were told we have to stay overnight as mommy had hemoglobin issues and had to continue taking her medication for iron. In addition, I developed a rash on my arms and back and was given a Benadryl and told this couldn’t be anything I contracted at the hospital; despite me being there for 4 days now, wearing their clothes and eating their food! This goes to show how liability makes people think, even in a hospital setting and because of this I didn’t show my doctor my skin when he came to check in. Anyway, Daddy was beginning to get claustrophobic, mommy wanted to no longer be probed and prodded and baby was not responding to being breastfed as well as we liked. On this night we had the nurse from hell, who tortured me the entire night. Extremely horrible bedside manner and while I inquired about reporting her antics I decided against it as I could not give this demon another minute of my life. Tuesday morning came and we received word that we would be going home. We were blessed with a beautiful nurse with the kindest spirit ever. She held my child with such grace and love. She removed my staples and prepped and checked me and daddy out, then we were free to go.
My home was close I could feel it, but what hit next was so unexpected. I couldn’t bring myself to believe we could take him home, I kept thinking what now? How do we deal and anxiety about being a responsible for a life caused me to choke up. I cried uncontrollably the entire way home. I was so scared and once again felt helpless. Daddy was far from pleased but he was very reassuring that we were made for this and eventually I calmed down….