Wednesday, September 2, 2009

(Real) Labor Day 2009

So there I was last Monday night, lying in bed awake at 1:30 in the morning. Neither Manus nor I could sleep (as was becoming the norm - ever since the previous Monday night when we thought the contractions had begun...). Manus had taken a few Tylenol PM and was watching TV in the den, awaiting their effects. As the antihistamine drowsiness was starting to settle over him, he returned to the bedroom. As he entered I told him not to worry about being quiet as I was still awake. He joked, Why? Are you having contractions? Before I could launch into a diatribe on just how lacking in humor I found my spouse at that moment, I felt the most bizarre sensation in my stomach.

Someone had snapped a rubber band against my insides causing a sharp pain and a warmish splash in my pants. Could it be? No. Only 10% of women start labor that way! So I got up and went to the bathroom. I peed. It was sorta a pee plus. Maybe there was more liquid that came out. Cant be sure. Back to bed. Lie down, thus disengaging baby's head/plug from birth canal and proceed to wet the bed. Jump up, back to toilet, underwear around my ankles in a splashing puddle of amniotic fluid. Clean up in aisle nine!

An hour later, we are at St. Luke's Hospital. The contractions have begun; mild annoyances. The TENS machine is in place on my lower back, sending electrical currents to, ostensibly, scramble the pain messages to my brain. (Remember, I'm doing this au naturale ) I'm on my third pair of pants as, little known fact - you never stop leaking. The body continues to make more amniotic fluid and every time you change position...douche!
Look! Real contractions... At this point, about 6 minutes apart.
Manus and I were planning on having this baby by change of shift in the morning. Katie was born at 8:58am and we thought it reasonable that we would have our Michael at the same time. Our nurse was gentle as she broke it to us that there was "No fucking way I'd have the baby that quickly." Ha! What does she know?

We were moved to our birthing suite. It rivaled anything at Baptist Hospital. We were duly impressed.
Like, where else do you get a view of a castle from your hospital room? Dude! This place rocks.
We put some cool tunes on the stereo and waited. I was supposed to rest, as we had a long day ahead, but I was determined to stay upright and walking as that was what was going to speed early labor along. Remember - Manus had taken Tylenol PM earlier. I was expecting a scene straight from Father of the Bride Part 2, but he was a champ- stayed awake and cheered me on.
That quickly became this:
OY VEY! the pain! It was five hours later and change of shift and my check showed I was barely 1 cm dilated. Plans for au naturale were finito totalmente. I was screaming "EPIDURAL!"

They use something here called Entenox, also known as 'Gas and Air' (which as coincidence will have it, is the name of our groovy family band - Michael proving to be the breakout star of this Farting Foursome). Entenox is oxygen and nitrous oxide that you inhale through a tube. Basically, its a whippet. They convinced me to try it before going for the epidural. It made me feel really funny and did nothing for the pain and after I tried it for the morning nurse and ended the contraction in a bawling, hyperventilating, snotty mess, the nurse too was screaming "EPIDURAL!"

Long story short, as Manus' tweets do tell the tale -

epidural in ->
Malinda sane once again ->
contractions slow ->
no dilation ->
hours pass ->
doctor consulted ->
pitocin begun ->
contractions remain slow ->
no dilation ->
baby no like pitocin - decreased "variable decelerations" (apparently important to have)->
doctor consulted
hours pass
no dilation
baby still unhappy as per heart rate monitor
no change, no change, no change.... Cesarean Time!

At this point, I don't care. I'd had my labor experience, now its time to keep baby safe. Once the decision is made, it is a whirlwind of activity - sign here, drink this, put these on, this monitor on, this monitor off, move, move, move! When we bumped another stretcher doing down the elevator calling priority for the "emergency c-section" I started to cry. No one said "emergency" before... (they could have told me that any unplanned section is referred to as emergency...)

But then: bada bing, bada boom -

A baby is born.

So, as it turns out... After the surgeon made the cut into my skin, he moved aside my bladder and there was Michael. My uterus had dehisced (de·hisce (dĭ-hĭs') Medicine: To rupture or break open, as a surgical wound.) The exact reason VBACs are a risk. Also the reason my labor was never going to progress. The contraction message begins at the top of the uterus and must work its way down the muscle. A break in the muscle interrupts the message. Had we continued with the pitocin (which we stopped because of the baby's heart rate troubles) I could have burst the thin membrane keeping Michael where he belonged and not floating, tangled in my guts. So, in the end you realize things happen for a reason. Trust your doctors, trust your nurses, trust your instincts, trust that your baby just might save you both.

(I also choose to believe that the rupture was causing the contractions to be more painful than "normal contractions" and thus the reason I had to wimp out and get the drip... I could ask the doctor if that's plausible, but it might ruin my defense. Why mess with the truth when fiction and possibility fit your needs so well.)

7 comments:

Simon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Simon said...

You should have used a shamrock for the cover up :-)

Glad you are both home and safe

Debbie said...

Oh my gosh, Malinda!!! I'm in shock. Praise God that you and baby Michael are perfectly healthy. I would agree that that's what was making the contractions more painful than normal, also. I can't believe it. That 0.4% is slim, but it's good you were under hospital care just in case. My exact reasons for wanting a hospital birth.

What incredible birth stories we both have. Definitely something we'll never forget.

I hope your recovery is going smoothly and you're getting your rest. I'm thinking of you often.

xandra said...

What a story. Thanks for sharing.
I'm so glad you are healthy and well.

Leslie said...

THAT IS SO SCARY! I didn't know you ruptured- that totally freaks me out! I am so thankful you and Mr Michael are ok...scary scary scary.

I love him, wanna meet him, need to kiss him...move to Phoenix.

Anonymous said...

Mali,
Glad everything ended well. I didn't know your uterus had ruptured. Next time just go for the scheduled C!
Kisses to everyone! Love and miss you!
Jen

Anonymous said...

Do you drink funny juice? Cause you are always spot-on your game. Hilarious, of course knowing all is well!
Laura