Rev. Pamela's Blog
Rev. Pamela's Blog
My Birth Story
I planned for everything. I had scheduled out every single little thing that needed to get done before my son was born. I was supposed to finish two papers for the PhD program in which I am enrolled. I had several more weeks of work. I had a birthing class to attend. I wanted all of my T’s crossed and my I’s dotted. The gods had other plans...
It has been a month since I woke up at around 1AM to a gush of water between my legs. I thought I was peeing in my sleep, but soon realized that in actuality—my water had broken. It was three weeks before my baby was due. I jumped out of bed and rushed to the bathroom. I noticed mucus on my inner thigh as I sat on the toilet...stunned, scared and confused.
Maybe it is just my mucus plug
I got up from the toilet to alert my husband and another rush of liquid sprung forth from me. There on the light brown tile floor was a pool of liquid, tinted the color of blood.
Not just my mucus plug...okay, stay calm...
Because my husband had been wearing earplugs to deal with my pregnancy snoring it took some time for me to rouse him from my spot, standing frozen in the bathroom, still leaking.
I didn’t take the birthing class yet! How will I do this without the birthing class?
After texts with pictures of my newly sprung leak to the midwife—we determined I was definitely in labor. My husband drowsily stood by my side in the bathroom as I tried to remain calm as we texted:
Yes, it appears your water broke
Yes, you are early
It is fine...you aren’t too early
Labor will be starting
Contact me if you need to...but just labor at home for awhile
All of my plans started to dissolve around me at that point. I wanted to do a “birthing project”—work on something between the contractions that were supposed to be 15 minutes apart at least. I wanted to do the yoga sequences I had been practicing every day for months... But my contractions weren’t 15 minutes apart! From the get-go they were 4 minutes apart, and stayed that way for the next 9 hours. All I could do was shower or dose off on the floor for 4 minutes at a time, when I wasn’t leaning over my yoga ball, breathing through some of the most intense pain of my life. My husband would rub furiously on my lower back when the pain started...it was the only way I could cope.
Several hours in I called the midwife and told her I thought I was ready to go to the birth center. She insisted I wasn’t, especially since I could still talk.
“You won’t be able to function when you are ready. Trust me, you aren’t ready yet...”
Frustrated! What!?! How can this get worse?
Several hours more and I finally understood what she meant. I suddenly slipped between the worlds. The veil between this reality and the next was tightly tucked around me and my eyes were bleary. I couldn’t think. The pain continued coming every 3-4 minutes and lasted longer. It somehow didn’t seem to matter though. I felt like I was having a bad acid trip. I could no longer speak coherently. Time no longer existed.
Although I was in labor for 9 hours, I can honestly tell you that it felt like both an eternity and no time at all!
The words fell out of my mouth like bricks, “Call the midwife.”
“Me?” My husband looked concerned.
This is where the story starts to get blurry...I was in and out. Awake and not awake at all. Still peering through the veil. The gods had pulled me towards them, holding my brain hostage in some other realm as my body convulsed and primed itself for what it was supposed to do.
Sunlight too intense...
What time is it anyway?
Birth center...contraction on steps...contraction in lobby...people hurrying past us, looking like confused monsters...
Get inside. Strip down. Lay down for examination.
“Ut oh! Hmmmmm...That is not a head. Oh I hope those are fingers just up there by his head. Oh Pamela, I’m so sorry hun! But we have to go to the hospital.”
HUMMMMMMMMMMM (like dial tone)
“Whatever we have to do.” I said as I got up and struggled to put my clothes back on. My husband struggles to help me.
Car ride is dappled in sunlight. Too bright. Midwife in back seat instructing my husband on how to get to the hospital we need to go to, in order to meet with our backup doctor who had been called somewhere in the middle there.
The hum of the dial tone continues in my head.
Emergency parking. Husband parking car as midwife runs, pushing me in a wheelchair to the Mother/Baby unit of the hospital.
Waiting for doctor.
Lay down for examination.
“Oh yeah, that’s a foot”
“Are you sure, can you do a quick ultrasound?” The midwife inquires.
“Alright Pamela. I know you didn’t want it this way but we are going to have to do a C-Section okay?” The doctor’s face is too close to mine and the world begins to go even foggier.
“Do whatever you need to do.” I say with a heavy heart; it is both resignation and sadness.
What do you do when you have no choice? I fall backwards into the acceptance like a person choosing to fall off a building. I both want to do it and don’t want to do it. I can’t argue now about how they allow breech vaginal births in Canada. There is no way to advocate for myself here. At this point the stage has been set. The gods have chosen the path. There is a reason for everything? Right?
The room is filling with people having me sign paperwork and getting close to my face to explain things. I know my husband and the midwife are there but I can’t see anything, except for machines and people I don’t know who are trying to be chipper as they talk to me.
People lift me to move me to a different bed. I am wheeled down a hallway. I am in a cold operating room. There are discussions about vacations between people who are wiping me down and prepping me.
I think my husband had to move the car.
Midwife is with me.
Anesthesiologist is here.
“I’m going to do your spinal” he says.
He looks like he is 12. I don’t trust him immediately.
I sit up on the edge of the bed and there is movement and pressure against my spine.
“Just wanted to let you know that I have slight scoliosis at the bottom of my spine,” I coo.
“You need to know that I have slight scoliosis a the bottom of my spine,” I raise my volume.
“Oh,” poke, poke, “Yes, I feel that. Don’t worry, I will compensate for that. I just have to give you more on...” he trails off.
He explains what he is going to do, although I don’t have much recollection about it. I know there was something about I won’t feel my legs; that this will allow me to be awake but not feel anything below my waist for the procedure.
“Okay.” Again I have that feeling like a person who chooses to fall of a building.
After what seems like 20 minutes of tussling against my tailbone, the anesthesiologist says, “Okay, should be done now. You should start not being able to feel your legs, well, I guess you can feel them a bit...it is like when you get your mouth numbed at the dentist...that prickly feeling. Anyway, I’m going to do a spot check to make sure you can’t feel things okay? I’m going to put this alcohol pad against your skin. It is cool. You should not be able to feel that it is cool in places that are numb.”
“Can you feel it here?” And he places the alcohol pad against my side near the bottom of my breasts.
“Okay. Here?” And he places it against my lowest rib.
“How about here?” This time he places it near my belly button.
“You do? Are you sure?”
“I think I’m sure. Yeah.”
“Hmmmm. One second.” Again there is rustling against my spine.
“How about now?” Again he places the alcohol pad near my belly button.
“Yeah you feel it as cool?”
The others in the room are asking him if he is finished.
“Really? I don’t think you do.” He says as he assists someone else in laying me down.
“Okay.” What else am I supposed to say?
A large blue tarp is placed in front of my face, hiding the lower half of my body from my view. I have continued to have contractions through this whole process and they just add to the dizzying sensation and the feeling like I’m not really a part of reality. I don’t like how close the blue tarp is to my face but I assume there is some reason for it. I now have electrodes and an IV and all kinds of things that I never wanted to experience during birth. I continue to fall.
Suddenly the room fills with loud annoying music.
“What? Why is there music?” I look to my midwife.
“Dr. P likes to have music playing during C-Sections. He thinks its too somber in here otherwise,” someone says.
I now feel actual irritation; trace amounts of feeling violated tremble up my spine. I struggle against myself to remain calm.
Dr. P enters the room as though he is a super hero.
Knowing I need to stand up for myself I say, “can you please turn the music down?” to him.
“Oh yeah, sure,” he says.
Some turns it down, but it is still affecting me negatively—it’s just too much stimulation with everything else that is going on. And the gods insist on drawing the veil further and further over my consciousness.
“I’m going to begin now,” Dr. P announces.
I feel tingling as I assume he makes the incision. In my mind’s eye it is a machete; my husband later explains that it was a laser pen. That was when it started to get intense. I could feel hard pulling and other indescribable sensations. The midwife tells me I’m about to give birth and asks me if I want her to take a picture. I vehemently say, “NO!” I don’t want to know what this looks like. I am ashamed that I am having this experience...I am sad and overwhelmed and sad and overwhelmed. Suddenly there is loud screaming and Dr. P is showing me my son over the blue tarp. I erupt in tears. He is beautiful, and I am sad, and I am overwhelmed...and I am scared.
Someone takes my son. The doctor is asking my husband to cut the cord but not to get too close to him. Then at the same time there is more pressure and pulling in my stomach. Now it is starting to really hurt. I can feel so much.
I react, “OW!”
More pressing and pulling and pushing.
“Wait, can you feel that?” the doctor asks.
“You need to give her something,” the doctor instructs the anesthesiologist.
There is commotion off to my left side. The midwife asks the anesthesiologist what he is going to give me. Off on a table to my right they are doing things to my son that I can’t see. My husband is there with him. Suddenly they ask me if I want to do skin-to-skin with him. In my mind, the answer is, NO!, because I am so overwhelmed by the music and the pushing and the commotion.
“I guess,” is all I can muster, since I can’t explain anything else.
Someone places him on me and holds him there, placing my nipple in his mouth. Time stands still.
There is more pushing and pulling and now the corners of the room are starting to fade from view. Everything is both less and more at the same time. Later I find out that the anesthesiologist gave me Fentanyl—the drug that killed Michael Jackson, Prince and Tom Petty.
At some point I know he gave me another dose, because I was still feeling everything. My midwife tells him, “NO MORE!” during that part of the ordeal. I can’t really understand what is happening after that. I know the doctor shoves something high up into my chest cavity and then says he is going to close me up. I know that they say that there is something wrong with my son’s blood sugar and they have to take him to the NICU, and that my husband goes with him. I know that it is finished, but that it has just begun...
This blog is all about my process. I will explore my development of the MULTIHOOD program for New Moms, Sandplay Therapy, and other goodies.