This blog post is part of a series that I began for telling our story. You can read the first post here.
We went to the hospital early on the morning of April 7, 2003. We had been to a couple of birthing classes, just enough for me to know that all of the breathing techniques were useless for my personality type. I brought along a cd player and some music I found soothing to play, and some clothes for me to wear home.
We were set up in a room by a sweet nurse who let me know that the “usual” rules didn’t apply for me – I could have as many visitors as I wanted, ask for painkillers at any time, etc. The only rule that they couldn’t break for me was the restriction on eating. I don’t remember particularly wanting to eat anyway.
Various pastors from the area stopped by throughout the day to visit (this was back when my husband served as a mission developer for the city of Buffalo, so we knew lots of clergy in the area pretty well). Pretty soon I let go of worrying about who might see what, knowing that being in the hospital tends to rule out having too great a need for modesty. Those hospital gowns make you feel naked even if you’re not!
I know I had an IV, and I guess some kind of inducing meds were in it. I’m not sure anymore what all was done, except that they also had to apply something internally to get the cervix doing its thing. This was one of the worst parts of that day, because the doctor who came in was not someone I had met before. He didn’t look at me at all, didn’t speak to me, just whispered to the nurse and then did what he came to do, leaving me feeling uncomfortable and a bit sullied. Not cool. After the second time of this happened, my husband spoke to the nurse in the hallway, who took over for future treatments.
Mostly, the day dragged on. Contractions started, but they were slow to get rolling. I started to feel some pain, so I asked for drugs. They gave me something in my IV that made me feel loopy, almost dizzy. I didn’t want that again, so when the contractions grew, I asked for an epidural. THAT didn’t go well either. The anesthesiologist came in, poked around my back, and left. I lay down and a few minutes later asked when I should feel something. The nurse was alarmed, said I should already notice. She brought him back in. He poke around a bunch on my back, apparently struggling to put it in. At this point, labor was moving into the transition phase and it HURT. Like, really hurt. Pain and pressure like I’ve never known before or since. He had me curl over to give more space between my vertebrae. I started to throw up, while he kept asking me to hold still. Sure. Just let me HOLD STILL while vomiting.
He finally got it in, and the lower half of my body went numb. And then I’m supposed to be pushing when I can’t feel anything. I got to have all of the pain without relief, and then all of the relief without feeling what I’m supposed to be doing.
And then it was done.
Next post coming tomorrow, when I will share the rest.