Saturday, 6 June 2009

Hazy Shades of Winter: White

I'm not deliberately stringing it out, but the title hazy is right. Just processing all of it takes some time, and meanwhile life is chugging along regardless. I am currently dealing with a MASSIVE over supply. Those unfortunate enough to be long term readers know that I'm not exactly deficient in the bosom dept, but it's Dolly Parton territory now. Hard as a rock and exquisitely painful. The poor possum is doing his best, but after a decent layback on one side it's still half full and he's slurring and protesting he can't posshibly do more. Bingley thinks its great, or did until I threatened to knee him in the groin hard enough to not need a vasectomy if he so much as raised a lewd eyebrow.

But, Monday.

At 6pm we flicked over to the Simpsons. Pretty much as the opening credits rolled I had a contraction. A proper one. I remember sitting there, breathing through it, and trying to will myself to get up the gumption to go into labour properly. I was pretty sure that if I lay down and went to sleep that I could delay it for a while, but if I wanted it to happen soon I would have to get up, and walk.

So I paced around the room, rocking my hips when I got the inevitable contractions. Bingley decided to time them on the stopwatch on his phone and they were sort of irregular but averaging about 5 minutes apart. As the Simpsons wore on they got to about 3 and a half minutes apart lasting about a minute each. I could still talk through them, but they hurt and they were pretty strong. If I sat down though they spaced out further and weren't so intense. It was really really hard to convince myself that I should keep standing up. While having a contraction Bingley laughed that he had never ever seen my belly look more perfectly round and took a photo...

At about 7 o'clock it seemed that the contractions weren't going away and that this was it. Spacing still irregular and still prone to slowing down when I sat down I knew it was probably early but the 7 hours of waiting around like a caged zoo animal were doing my head in and I wanted to get going. A midwife came to check on me, and adamant that they wouldn't be letting me labour up on the ward they called down to birth suite and asked them to get my room ready for me.

After a lot of pfaffing about I was finally taken down at about 7:30ish. Even though "labour" had only been going for about 90 minutes and I knew that it hadn't reached anything like proper intensity yet I was getting very over it. It was a bad head space to be in and was exacerbated over the coming hours.

The birth suite I was ushered into was huge. Huge and white and gleaming and... hideous. I hated it. It felt like a theatre room and was just cold. Cold in atmosphere and in temperature. It felt like it had been designed by someone who liked glaciers and had never before given birth. It was stark and open plan and the lights were incandescently bright. The whole room was so white and glaring it hurt my eyes. I was then assigned my fourth midwife for the day. A woman whose name I couldn't recall 30 seconds later and whose face I can't even remember, but who I still have such feelings of animosity towards 5 days later.

She checked my dilatation, and happily informed me I was 4cm but not fully effaced. This was good enough for me and I told her I was getting in the shower. After a day of sitting in my own amniotic fluid and anxiety, the shower was bliss. It had 2 heads and I stood there with one blasting the front of me and one the back. I tried to make sure that the water wasn't so hot that they'd worry and went to the business of having contractions and dealing with them. My obstetrician, who had come straight to the hospital after his rooms that day specifically because he assumed I would labour quickly, popped his head in and asked how I was going. Correctly gauging that I was happy in my little closed off, darkened sauna he left me alone with a cheery wave.

My midwife however was not keen to just leave me to be. It seemed that she had recently taken a course in how to completely misread the signs of a labouring woman and to irritate them as much as possible by interrupting their coping mechanisms. Every time I got into a groove she would be there, asking questions mid contraction or wanting to check the foetal heart rate (in completely the wrong position, thus leading to much fucking around and me standing still out of the shower until she could find it).

After about an hour in the shower, my contractions weren't really intensifying but just in a holding pattern that I was dealing with OK. I didnt' feel any pressure (as I was being asked every 5 minutes) and felt that things were progressing relatively slowly. This didn't actually bother me, but it seemed to bother Hated Midwife. Sometime after 8:30pm but after 9, she decided that The Possum's heart rate as she was timing it was in the 180s indicating that he was in distress from my hot shower and that I needed to get out and be put on the monitor.

That messed up headspace I mentioned before? This is where it started to kick in. Instead of asking her to check it properly and/or measuring the heart rate myself I agreed to turn off the shower and slowly make my way out of my dark damp birthing cave and into the stark hideousness again. Getting on the bed and into a foul hospital gown was horrible (I just didn't feel safe being naked in that room) and I obediently let the monitor be put on. Which pinged a heart rate of 155. EXACTLY the same as it had been downstairs in the assessment unit that afternoon. The midwife mumbled something about it being quite high, especially for a boy, and I had had enough. She'd got me out of my safe place and into the horrid place and for nothing.

She asked if she could do an internal (it was about 9pm) and I agreed. Too completely out of my zone as to just go along with whatever. Where she told me I was 4cm still, although now fully effaced. Lying there on my back completely vulnerable and completely anxious and incoherent this did not help me. Nearly 2 hours had passed and not even a single fucking centimetre? I wanted to cry, but a contraction was building and I had to cope with that instead, lying on my back and trying not to cry as despised midwife CONTINUED the internal and announced 5cm seconds before I yelled at her to REMOVE YOUR BLOODY HAND. I was so angry then, and upset and feelings of failure were swamping me.

When she left I started crying. "I don't want to do this" I sobbed to Bingley, "I want to go home". All I could think about was the fact that I knew that she was outside organising for me to be hooked up to a drip (because I wasn't dilating adequately according to their protocols) and how I already couldn't cope and that I was going to end up with an epidural.

We put on Good News Week and somehow I grew some cojones with midwife out of the room and I completely ignored her when she came back in. It seems that my obstetrician had said to just leave me be, and that we'd reassess. I even managed to laugh occasionally at GNW and just focused on me, the Possum and Bingley. He soothed, massaged, rubbed, allowed me to crush his fingers and encouraged me to ignore the midwife.

After GNW finsihed at 9:45pm the contractions were reaching the consistency where there's not much time in between, I wanted to vomit and felt the need to void my bowels. Because my confidence was so incredibly shaky I was not dealing with the contractions like I did with the Monkey. I just couldn't get on top of them and even when I tried to do my powerful breathing I would break halfway through and end up whacking the bed instead with my fist. The hardest thing was going through this and not knowing if I was actually dilating at all, and in my irrational state I thought I wasn't, hot helped by the midwife remarking something similar.

To make it even harder, almost every contraction, at the height of the contraction, while I was struggling with the ferocity and trying to practice my strong breathing, inevitably there would be the midwife. "Jennifer, what can I do... what can we do about this pain". "Jennifer, how can I help you". It was distracting and frankly pissed me off. I had already told her I did NOT want gas, I'm allergic to pethidine and I didn't want a fucking needle in my back. After about 20 minutes of being asked this I eventually bit out mid contraction "You can have the fucking baby for me if you want" which shut her up. I hated her then. Before it had been irritation, but now all of my self doubt and the pain and the confusion were all directed at her. I didn't want to workshop my pain, I just wanted to be left the hell alone.

It was now about 10pm and the contractions were at their peak. Their ferocity is something I've never experienced before. It felt like I was being clawed. While I described the Monkey's labour as powerful and intense, this was violent. I felt like I was in a boxing ring being battered and wondered just how much I had left in me to continue. Everything hurt, nothing helped, I couldn't escape.

At abotu 10 past 10 I was sitting on a big yoga ball with my elbows on the bed dealing with a contraction and ignoring the midwife with Bingley rubbing my back. Halfway through the contraction however the pain was the worst I have ever experienced, I couldn't take it any more, I had to get away, and through the contraction I crawled up onto the bed, trying to escape the clawing and the beating. Finally getting up on all fours I collapsed onto my left side and sobbed. I was done. I could not do any more. I would not fight it any more. I cried to the Possum and told him I was sorry but I could not do any more.


Averil said...

If I ever get my hands on that bloody midwife - ARGH!!!!

Jenn, you have me breathless. Did Bingely pick you up and carry you out of that room & away from the labour? I'll bet he'd have done that for you...

xx Ave

Kisses said...

Babe this is terrible, what a downer having such an inconsiderate midwife! Bloody wench!

Kirsten said...

That midwife sounds like an absolute cow.

Please tell us that you leaked all types of fluid all over her? Or maybe kicked her in the head in an overwhelming contraction? or just told her to get the hell out of your birth space?

Can't wait for the next instalment.

Melissa said...

Actual tears! I know he's here, and worth it, but oh, Jenn! I want to hug you.


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