Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Blueberry's Birth Story Part II

Continuation of...Blueberry's birth Story Part I

They took us to our delivery room and then the poking and the prodding began. First was the IV--even though I had tried on multiple occasions to request only a hep-lock in case of emergency, it was hospital policy that everybody be hooked up to an IV. Then the antibiotics drip. But the worst was the monitor. Now, I know they have a walking monitor. But the hospital and doctors don't like it as much because it doesn't give as perfect readings as the stupid waist/external monitor does. But that external monitor increased my back labor tenfold. I am just grateful that they didn't try to force me to have a catheter instead of being able to walk to the bathroom because the only relief I could get from the monitor was when I could take it off to use the restroom (which I therefore did, a lot).

This is where I get really frustrated. The IV, ok, I understand why they want that attached. But I did not have to be hooked up to their monitor like I was. And the antibiotics, I didn't want. And they were so poorly put in that it literally took two weeks before the vein in the back of my hand went back to normal because it had been so severely hurt from the antibiotic needle.

In the world of hindsight, there are a number of things that I should have just refused to allow. I don't think I really realized (or had the brain power to realize) that I could have just refused some of the stuff that went on. I had that right. Live and learn, I guess.

Any ways, they finally got us "settled" and left us alone for 5 minutes. They also finally gave me a birth ball which I used tons for the next 8 hours.

Well, this is where it gets fun (and more hazy for me). Basically, my dilation progress stopped. My theory is that the back labor probably had something to do with it (I recently discovered with doing a smidgen of research that a baby facing the wrong way can by itself cause a longer labor or a break in progress. Would have been nice if the doctor had bothered to find that out for himself). I also know that how uncomfortable and stressed I felt definitely had something to do with it. Because of the monitor they had me on, I couldn't walk. I could sit on the birth ball, which helped, but getting up and walking was only permitted for so long as it took me to go to the bathroom.

Also, heat was not allowed. Hot packs, hot shower. Nothing. I respond really well to heat. When I'm stressed or my muscles are tense, what I instinctively gravitate to is heat. A hot bath. A hot compress. Even a hot drink. Instead--cold ice chips (we did sneak in some food and Chris had water which I drank as much as I wanted whenever the nurses weren't in the room), cold compress if I wanted that (as if!), and that was it.

To be honest, I felt trapped. I was stuck in positions that I didn't want to be in, wearing clothes that did nothing but get in the way, denied the things that would have helped me, and the people who were supposedly there to help us did nothing but cause more pain and more frustration.

It was around 4:30 or so that my doctor came in and we discussed breaking my water to see if that would help me progress. He was not on call that night, and it was actually a different doctor than the on-call doctor who came in to break my water. I actually liked that doctor quite a bit--he managed to make me laugh which was saying something. I think it was about 5:30ish that they broke my water.

Good grief. I never knew I had that much liquid inside of me. It's no wonder I looked like a basketball!

Well, it didn't really help that much. Maybe a little bit, but things were still going slowly.

I think it was about 7pm that everything got even more tough.

The on-call doctor is a man that I never saw clearly. I had taken my glasses off for most of this, and so I never saw his face distinctly. I pray that I never do because I don't actually want to know the face of the man that I despise so much.

What happened was this, I was still not getting anywhere. The nurse came in to tell us that if I didn't dilate faster (like I had much control over that!), they were going to put me on Pitocin.

Here's the thing. I was doing all of this with no epidural. No pain meds. I didn't spend the last nine months of my life eating as carefully as I could and avoiding all drugs to suddenly load my baby up with as many drugs as her little body could handle before she's even born.

I did NOT want to be induced though without anything to take the edge off. I honestly didn't think I could go any longer with that kind of increased intensity. Naturally, sure I would have been OK with the gradual increase of contractions. But to have them forced like that. No. Not my cup of tea. Besides, I was concerned about the probability of have a C-section if I did go on Pitocin.

Now, I did know that an epidural would not help the back labor. That's the dirty little secret they don't bother telling you when the wonders of the epidural are being touted. It's for contractions only. Back labor--not going to be touched. But my thought was that if I wasn't dealing with the contractions as much, then maybe I could handle the back labor a bit better.

Well, we told the nurse not yet. We kept going trying different positions, going to the bathroom frequently, etc.

The nurse came in several times to inform us that I was going to be put on Pitocin. Which we continued to fight against. Finally, I had found a position (temporarily) in the bed that was helping a little bit. It was quiet. I was focused. Chris was being the amazing man that he was the entire time. And in bursts the on-call doctor.

Now, from my perspective, all I can see is a blurry shape of a very tall man with a very loud, very deep voice, his arms crossed, and expressing very loudly (Chris says he wasn't yelling, but it was close enough in my books) that if I didn't go on the Pitocin, I was going to have a C-section in an hour.

We asked why a C-section. The only answer I was given was the labor was taking to long and with my water broken, infection was going to set in (please keep in mind that at this point, it had barely been a few hours since my water was broken). The baby was fine. If they had quit checking my progress every five minutes (slight exaggeration there, I suppose, but not by much!), that would definitely limit the likelihood of infection. The other hinted at answer was that because the monitor kept shifting around so they weren't getting clear, constant readings (which don't even get me started on the shifting monitor. The whole time I was in labor they were coming in to adjust it because it just didn't fit my belly! I was ALL belly at that point, and the monitor wasn't designed to fit around my particular shape). As far as we can tell, that was the real reason. He just didn't like not having his constant readings. That or he didn't want to deal with me anymore. Blueberry was not in any distress. I was just taking to much of their time.

I told him I didn't want a C-section. Chris and I had talked earlier (with the warnings the nurse had given us), and agreed to request the epidural if we finally got to the point of having to go on the Pitocin. So I told him that fine, I would go on the Pitocin, but I wanted the epidural.

And he told me no! As he put it, I came in not wanting an epidural and I needed to deal with not having one now. Bah! So, there you have it. I wasn't going to get one. It was certainly wasn't because I was too far dilated. His reasoning was that an epidural can slow up labor and the whole reason they wanted to put me on Pitocin was because they were trying to speed things up.

I finally told him that I wanted to talk to my husband before I made my decision. At this point, he became even more of a bully telling us that we'd had an hour to discuss before this and he wanted an answer now or he was going to make me have a C-section. After all, and I quote, "I'm looking out for the well-being of the baby!" Like that wasn't something we were factoring into all of this! Jerk! He made me so mad. I kept telling him that I was going to have some privacy and I was going to talk to my husband first.

Fortunately, it was right around that time that he got called into another room for the delivery. The nurse came back in and by this time, I was crying. She didn't have much in the way of comfort; although, apparently that doctor had a reputation of being a bully to everybody. Needless to say, the additional stress was not helping the situation at all or aiding my ability to deal with the back pain or focus through contractions.

Finally, Chris pulled the monitor off, helped me get up, and we spent every minute that the doctor was out of the room walking. Regardless of their stupid machines and monitoring. The ironic thing was that the nurse came back in and praised us for being up and walking! That's what I had been wanting to do since 12:30 in the afternoon, and they wouldn't let me!

Unfortunately, even though we walked for about an hour, it didn't do enough. I was still not progressing fast enough. It had helped, but I still wasn't far enough. So finally, I believe around 9pm, they hooked me up to yet another machine and the Pitocin started.

I swear, I could feel every drop entering my body. It did the trick. Definitely increased the contractions and definitely sped up the dilation. But I thought I was going to die. Again, though, the worst of it all was not the contractions. Even with the Pitocin, they weren't what was hurting so much. What was really killing me was the back labor. And the increased contractions, of course, only increased that pain.

Off and on that afternoon/evening, we had been on the phone with Chris' aunt who has done this six times now. She was giving us good advice and encouragement. One of the pieces was really funny though. Basically it was to talk to Blueberry. Tell her how much we wanted to see her, and how she needed to come out. Well, Chris did a good job with that. He told me to talk to her, and I told him that there was no way I was doing any talking to Blueberry, I was praying my heart out! He could talk to her!

Well, long story short, by around 10:30 I was ready to push. Oh my. That was fun. Actually, while it hurt, I much preferred it to the contractions. But what didn't help was the fact that the back pain just kept going, and once I was really ready to start pushing, they insisted on me being on my back which was just pure torture. What was even worse was when they stuck me in the stupid stirrups and made me push from that angle. I was not a silent sufferer. I will never make that claim. I definitely made myself heard. And I'm glad of it.

By the way, birth plans--useless. They don't read them. They don't listen to them. As a patient, I felt like I had no rights. I was not allowed to be in charge of my own body. Maybe some places it's better, but this particular hospital was useless.

Fortunately, after all the labor, pushing was actually pretty fast. At 11:12 pm, out popped my Blueberry. She promptly held up her head and looked around--which impressed everybody.

After that, it was all stitching me up (yes, they did an episiotomy--another thing I had requested not to have as I would have preferred the tear), holding the baby, running their tests. Oh the relief of it all being done. The back labor stopped immediately. Such relief. The doctor, charming man that he was, came in only for the delivery, stuck around long enough to stitch me up, and left. I honestly don't remember him saying anything to us afterwords. Maybe he did, but my impression was that he was just doing his job and was in a hurry to be out of there and he could care less that he was actually dealing with humans.

But the moment when they placed that wet little bundle on my chest and I looked into her beautiful eyes, was perfect. Was she worth it? Absolutely. Without a doubt.

Continued in Part III...


HPTeach said...

Hate reading that you had a horrible birth experience. I know how frustrating it can be especially with your first. And the fact that you had very valid points to do with. My back labor was horrible with T too and the epidural was amazing...granted I couldn't feel a thing (even my legs). I have heard too that that particular doctor only wants to get things done so he can be home. Meany! I'm hoping the next time you are in labor the experience will be much much better. Love ya!

Hillery said...

Anger. Compassion. Hurt. Sorrow for you. So many, many emotions, and I'm not the one who lived it.

I have been looking up Patients Bill of Rights after reading your story. How much are they really allowed to do. What are they allowed to deny you. I still have more reading to do.

The two biggest things that bother me, which are obvious. 1) What you asked them not to do, they did. If they did not have your express permission, (like the epidural) this is considered assault and you are in the right to take them to court. 2) What you did ask for (hep-lock, birthing ball, different monitor, epidural) were denied or denied for a time. The biggest one is the epidural. Pain relief is considered a right by most hospitals. It should be by all. If they denied you pain relief when there was nothing warranted against it, you could also take them before the medical board for this action as well.

I am sorry for all of this. It makes me more impassioned to help educate other mothers and mothers-to-be on their rights as a patient. I truly hope that your next birth will be the opposite of this birth, but ending in the same way, with a happy and healthy baby!

Mercutio said...

I saw his face. If I see it again, I'm going to sucker punch him.

I have only bad memories of his interactions. A sucker punch will be a good memory.

Not very Christian, though.

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