Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Birth

I thought it fitting to start my new blog with the story of my son, Lucian's, birth. It's not the beginning of my story, nor the end, just a piece in the middle. It's not even the beginning of his story, as his began years earlier too. But it's a good place to start.

The scene: I was 39 weeks pregnant, checking into the hospital for an induction. My husband, Nemo, had been slowly abandoning me over the course of the pregnancy and had not spent a night in our home with me in over a month.

I checked into the hospital after dinner. They did an ultrasound to make sure the baby wasn't breech and then sent me to my room. Nemo quickly left me for the night, after promising that he was going to be spending the night at home with the cats (which I later found out that he didn't). Before he left, the nurse took a picture of the two of us. Little did I know that it would be our last photo together.

I remember having "Desperate Housewives" on tv, but I couldn't pay attention. I couldn't stay focused. I couldn't imagine how my life was going to be, even 24 hours in the future. The fear of the unknown to come can be incredibly scary.

I slept briefly and fitfully. At 2:00 am, the nurse woke me up for a urine test. She came back at 4:00 and said I was spilling protein in my urine. So she hooked me up to an IV with a magnesium drip. She also inserted a catheter, which was extremely painful. I think it was inserted wrong, as I had a panic attack and had to be given oxygen. I never did calm down.

At 6:00 am, my doctor came in. He broke my water (I had no idea there'd be so much, or that it would be so warm) and took out the catheter since I was in tears. I got up and used the bathroom. The nurse wasn't pleased with me. She was mad at the doctor too since I wasn't supposed to be up out of bed with the magnesium. They also started the Pitocin around this time. It took about an hour before the contractions really got going. (In addition, I was on an insulin, glucose and penicillin drip. Even the nurses were confused by all of my tubing.)

By 8:00, I realized that if they continued progressing, I was going to need the drugs. Around 8:30, Mom and Dad and Nemo showed up. I requested the epidural.

By 10:00, I was a mess. The contractions kept coming, one on top of the other without a break between them. (No one bothered to tell me that that is what to expect with an induction.) I was crying, screaming, and pleading. I used all the kleenex in the room. My Mom kept saying, get the doctor in here, there's got to be something they can do for her. Finally, the anesthesiologist came in. I started to get excited. They had me turn my body so I was sitting on the edge of the bed. He had me lean over and untie my gown. Wait! A nurse came in the room and said that they hadn't run all the bloodwork on me that they should have run the night before. I waited. And waited. And W.A.I.T.E.D.... While in excruciating pain. I don't know how long it was, but it took awhile before they even drew my blood. They got the results back quickly, but it still took a couple of hours. Around noon, I finally got my epidural.

I spent most of the afternoon in a drugged state of bliss. I was able to get some sleep. I saw people come in and out of the room, but I couldn't tell you much about it. Every so often they'd check to see how dilated I was. I was slowly inching my way there. I tried to take my mind off of thinking about what a long night it was going to be. I hadn't even gotten anywhere near the pushing part of it. Something happened around 5:00 pm. The contractions started coming again. They were even more painful. I cried, I screamed, I squeezed my Mom's hand. I saw the faces of the people I loved; I could tell that it was difficult for them to watch. I thought my soul would leave my body. I tried to retreat to that place in your mind where everything is okay. Where it's physically, mentally and emotionally pain-free. I couldn't calm myself enough to focus on that place.

Around 7:00, the doctor came back and said that I wasn't progressing and that he felt the best option for me would be a c-section. I remember being so joyful that it might soon be over. A different anesthesiologist was sent in. She took a look at the epidural, only to find that it had fallen out. No wonder the pain had returned! She promised me that she'd be there the rest of the way, and that she'd make sure I was comfortable. After that, I was reasonably comfortable.

They wheeled me into surgery, explained everything, and then started. As I lay there awake, just watching all the doctors and nurses prepare for a new life to begin, I felt an incredible calm. One that I had not felt in a very long time. At nearly 8:00, they held my son up. I briefly saw him and the heaven-sent anethesiologist knocked me out.

That night, while Lucian slept in the nursery, they woke me every hour to test my blood sugar. I remember feeling my stomach, thinking how suddenly thin I was. And a little sad that the kicking I had been feeling for months wasn't going on in there anymore. It would be eighteen hours before I'd get to see or hold my son for the first time.

Two months later, I would be filing for divorce. I'd be planning our way out from a life I tolerated while pregnant because I didn't know what else to do. At that point, I didn't know alot of the story. It would be months before I discovered that my husband had been on the phone with his girlfriend, Elvira, twelve times that day. Twelve times. That's once an hour for every hour he was at the hospital. I'm not sure he spoke to me that many times that day. I didn't realize how much he was absent from the room. At one point when the doctor came in, Nemo was sleeping on the pullout couch. The doctor asked my Mom, "how can he sleep through that?" The that being me screaming. Nemo showed almost no involvement besides physically being there that day. His body was occupying space in the room, and that was it.

Looking back sixteen months later, I have mixed feelings about Lucian's birth. On the one hand, it was the most joyful, wonderful (and physically painful!) day of my life. On the other hand, it was emotionally painful. I had dry heaves when I found out that my husband had been on the phone with his girlfriend so many times. It pains me to think about it. The birth of a child should be surrounded by nothing but joy, and Nemo robbed me of that.

That wouldn't be the only thing he would rob me of.

2 comments:

Tatiana said...

Oh girl, reading and crying for you and for myself. How much I hear your pain, how much I KNOW that pain....

stella said...

Tatiana,
Thanks for your support. I used to read your blog, before I moved and lost everything.
You're an inspiration and I hope you and your kids are doing well.
- Stella