Okay – I think I made my point in Part 1 but if you have never been a new parent who has just given birth at a hospital, you may not get it. I didn’t get it until I had my own and for awhile there I hated myself for visiting all those new parents right after the birth of their child(ren).
Yes, I get that new babies are exciting and small and cute (well, most) and you want to see and hold them within minutes/hours/days of birth. It is an awesome experience: but not when you’re one of those weary parents.
Here is my story….and I know my story is better, worse and similar to all other new parents.
I went into labour at 2am with contractions that started exactly five minutes apart. I thought I had food poisoning as we had gone out for a fabulous dinner five hours earlier and had a chef’s taster menu. I’d even (GASP!) eaten a raw oyster.
It took a half hour of serious poo pains and liquid poops coming out of me every five minutes, along with my human co-creator suggesting it wasn’t food poisoning, but labour for me to realize that perhaps, just maybe I was in labour.
Those poo pains hurt like hell. They were the worst poo pains I’d ever had in my life. Within an hour, the poo pains were four minutes apart and lasting 30-45 seconds. Every hour they sped up a minute and extended another 10 seconds or so.
We went to the hospital around 5am I think….my human’s co-creator dropped me off at the entrance and went to park the car. By the time I walked from the car to triage, I’d had two contractions and the walk for a non-labouring person would be about 15 seconds. It sucked. Some nice-but-crackhead-looking person even asked if I was okay. I didn’t return the favour when I really should have.
So they wheel me up to the third floor delivery department (like it’s The Bay or something) and park me by the check in counter there. I have another two contractions while they prep the assessment room. They’ve seen it all before. I could see the looks on their faces “yeah yeah, we get it, you’re in labour, you’ll be here for hours before you expel a baby.”
I should clear something up as well. I was bound and determined to attempt to do this delivery drug-free and naturally. I have a very high pain tolerance (I had two brothers, what can I say?) and knew I could fight through the pain to meet my sweet baby girl. Within an hour of labour starting I had already said “I don’t think I can do this” twice, and “get me an epidural” once. We were still at home so I’m not sure where I thought we had an epidural laying around.
So I get into the assessment bed at around 6am after attempting a urine sample while having contractions about a minute apart. Yeah, good luck with that. I think I peed every where but the cup.
The nurse checks to see how much I am dilated. I think I have to be at least 18 centimetres due to the pain and searing burning that I feel inside me. She replies “you’re one pinky finger.” I literally say “you’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”
She smiles and says she’s not kidding. I tell her I can’t do this without some kind of dope. She offers up gas first and I go for it. I drained that first tank in about 40 minutes. I was sucking so hard on that gas, my human co-creator said I was totally stoned, giving people the “thousand yard stare.” Hee hee.
The nurse then offers me some morphine and yup, without hesitation I say yes. She says they just had to check on babe first. Long story short here, my baby was “sleepy” so they couldn’t give me morphine. I asked for an epidural. The nurse said she would call the doctor but would have to wait for him to get there before the epidural came to save me from being murdered. She decides to check me again before calling the doctor. It’s been under an hour since the “pinky” comment. She says “holy crap, you are five centimetres!” I like the sound of this – we are in business!
I give instructions for my mom to be called and my human co-creator says “oh it can wait,” until the nurse corrects him and tells him that if I want mom there for the birth, he better call her because we are now officially cooking with gas. He calls. Mom is en route. Whew. I feel a little bit of relief for some reason. But then…my water breaks. The pain that ensued is something I can never describe. The nurse explained that when the water breaks all cushioning is gone. No kidding. Holy crap.
They decide to move me from the assessment room to the birthing room. I have no memory of walking there but apparently I did. My next memory is continuing to hit the gas hard while screaming for more drugs. There were sounds coming out of me that if someone paid me $38 million dollars, I would not be able to recreate.
There was one doctor and a couple nurses floating around. Suddenly, there were 14 people in the room and between my screams I heard them asking about who was on-call. I knew that was hospital lingo for “we need a specialist.” I was annoyed that nobody was telling me what was up but also in so much pain because of non-stop contractions that I couldn’t ask if I wanted to. The pinky nurse kept trying to move me around. At one point she had me on my hands and knees (which at the time I recognized was a very vulnerable position with so many people in the room!). Pee was shooting out of me during most of my contractions. I was pushing without being able to stop. I kept swatting at the nurse telling her not to touch me.
Finally, my human co-creator came over and grabbed me and told me to calm down and that I had to do whatever the nurse said for the baby. Oh okay. It sort of registered but not really. My mom, who has worked in health care for 45 years could see the heart rate monitor and could tell that baby’s heart rate was all over the map. It would spike to 160 bpm, then drop to 40. She knew this was bad news and she told my man causing him to try to snap me out of it.
It was chaos. It didn’t help that these professionals had a screaming lunatic amongst them.
Then, like one of those shining angelic beings, a woman arrived. She walked over to me and I couldn’t help but stare right into her eyes. She had the ability to command my attention somehow. She said “your baby is in trouble, we need to do a Caesarean section right now.” It was all I needed. Thank you Angelic doctor-lady! I was still in pain and screaming but it was much more controlled. I now knew what was going on. I have a Type A personality and don’t like people touching me without me knowing why.
They wheeled me into the operating room and had me sign releases on the way in between screams. Within two minutes they had me in a position to be frozen and they waited for one last contraction before they jammed the needle in and froze me from the neck down. It was heaven. Heaven!
A feeling of complete and overwhelming peace enveloped me. I asked for my man a couple of times and was told he was getting into scrubs.
Then he arrived. He was crying (I had only seen this phenomenon once before in my life). I had to tell him everything was going to be okay. I think I said to him “We are Team J, let’s get ‘er done.”
I asked if my man could film the C-Section and was told no. I think someone called me a weirdo under their breath. When I am in a normal state of mind, I am a huge nerd. I love the idea of seeing someone surgically remove anything from me, let alone my baby girl!
What followed was a couple minutes of feeling someone root around inside me. Not at all painful, just freakin’ strange.
Then. She cried. Holy crap she was angry about being yanked from her lovely amniotic cocoon. So mad. I knew she was awesome immediately.
My girl was born at 825am, 6.5 hours after those first poo pains. I like an efficient child from the get-go.
We went to recovery for a few hours until my freezing subsided and they were sure I wasn’t going to die. For some strange reason my heart rate was around 40 bpm the whole time I was there too and they were a little freaked out by that sp they wanted to monitor it. Apparently I live in a nearly comatose state most days. I knew I had low blood pressure but not such a low heart rate.
Skipping ahead to the hospital room etc. My man and I have been awake since 2am…the nurses have instructed us to feed our little nugget every three hours. We do this for the remaining four days we are in hospital. So we wake every three hours to feed her but also, every hour or two (of course, not the hours that we wake to feed her) there is a nurse coming in to check my girl and also to check me and give me recovery drugs. I use the term wake loosely as we really didn’t sleep because our hospital door flew open at least once an hour. That is no exaggeration. After feeding my girl, the hospital had me pump to get my milk going. So the room door would fly open and there I’d be holding the industrial strength pump on my chest with the only thing being pumped out of the right boob was blood.
We were exhausted and just wanted to go home with our girl. Visitors just would not stay the hell away though. There were a couple people (family) who we said could come down but explained that they may have to leave so we could sleep or if we had to meet with a nurse (I had problems nursing so we had a consultant in a couple times to try to help). One family member came down to visit, then wanted to come back the next day. What the??? Um no. Fortunately we said no. We needed time as a family to bond and enjoy some quiet time. That same night that I told that family member that he couldn’t come down (and he got pissy about it, nice.) my man and I actually had about two hours where we could try to nap. The baby went to sleep, the nurse said she wouldn’t be back for two hours. My man and I looked at each other and turned the lights off after a knowing “sleep is coming” smile between us.
With the lights low and eyes drowsy, the fucking hospital door opens again. For.the.love.of.god.what.now.
It was my cousin. Seriously. I see her consistently every week for four months of the year but outside of those four months, I don’t see her. This was not within those four months. I love my cousin to death but I wanted death to take me when she walked in the door. I started to cry and made a cover story that I was so happy to see her. My man came over, kissed me and whispered that he was going home before he murdered someone. I asked him to take me with him but totally understood where he was at. He left. My cousin stayed for three fucking hours. My man came back and she was still there.
So. Please, please, please for the love of new parents everywhere. Take a second to understand what they are going through and stay the fuck away from the hospital. If for whatever reason, you just can’t stay away – make your visit ten minutes max. Get in, get the hell out.
I’m mad just writing about it.