This is the song that never ends...: ...continued...

This is the song that never ends...

Thursday, December 07, 2006


So the pit drip starts and I’m thinking, ‘hmmm, not so bad, yet.’ I’ve heard that pit contractions are completely different than regular contractions, so I promised myself that I wouldn’t beat myself up if I got an epidural. By about 12:00p-1:00p, the contractions were coming pretty regular and intense and I asked John to call the Doula to have her come and do her thang for me. At this point, I still thought there might be hope for a natural birth. She brought her little boombox and I think some Enya or something…. I’m a little fuzzy on that. Since the doctors had already broken my water, I was wearing a lovely thong made out of an adult diaper that made my 220lb body look exquisite. Doula-lady had me get on the birthing ball through my contractions and let me tell you, I’m not a fan of that at all. I found that if I sat in a chair facing John (him in a chair as well) that I could keep my legs on either sides of the chair and kind of run in place. I’m sure it looked hilarious and I can’t believe that John kept a straight face.

This goes on for a while (30 minutes was apparently a ‘while’ for me at that point) and then the nurse comes in and checks me. Hmmm. I’m, like, 2.5 cm dilated or some other crap like that. Right about now I’m gripping the handrails of the bed and counting through the contractions pretty loudly. I noticed that they pretty much tapered off after two sets of ‘ten’ and being a personal trainer, counting to ten is something I can do with the best of ‘em. This was working pretty well until I they upped the pit drip. I kept telling them that it seemed to be working just fine and to lay the hell off, but the nurses nod their head as you hear the beep-beep-beeping of the machine being increased from ‘this hurts pretty fuckin’ badly’ to ‘I’ll pay you to kill me’. So, in the spirit and praise of modern medicine, I decide to get me some of that Happy Gas.

They bring the machine up to the room and I can hear the nurses fidgeting with the tank and whispering, “I don’t know, do you think it’s working now?” One of the nurses handed the mask to me and told me to “…breathe in and tell me if you think it’s working.” What? Bitch, bring your face really close…. I declined politely, I think and told THEM to let ME know if it was working. When I heard them page the technician, I knew I was in trouble. Nurse checks me and I’m still sitting somewhere around a small 3.

I think that if you even allow the NOTION of the POSSIBILITY of having an epidural, the odds of you getting one are pretty high. When you’re lying there writhing in pain and you know that there’s someone, somewhere, who can take it all away for you, it crosses your brain a couple times……and I just wasn’t in the mood to try and stick it out. I did the unthinkable and called for the anaesthesiologist to come and shoot ma’ poor spine with as many drugs as he could pile in there. Initially, when I spoke with my husband and met with the Doula, I let them know that if I said, “I don’t think I can do this”, that was their sign to tell me that I really could get through it and to cheer me on. Well, I must not have put it that way because not one person questioned my judgement or decision. I was also swearing up, down, left and right that I would NEVER, EVER have another child. I mean, I was staring poor John in the eyeballs and it was coming from the very bottom of my soul’s core. This is it, buddy. Pack it up and call us a family.

So the epi guy comes and he’s less than pleasant. He had absolutely no time for niceties. Mind you, even when I’m this pained, I’m still polite with a bit of dark humour (see how I keep messin’ up my U.S. way of spelling things…..bah!) thrown in for good measure. This guy wasn’t having any of it. At one part in the game, I let him know that I was having a contraction and I think he said something like ‘Oh, well’, or ‘ too bad’ or some such pleasantry. That fucking thing hurt more than anything I’ve ever felt or imagined. I’m not a screamer, and I don’t remember which part of the procedure he was at, but while I was counting through my contraction, I SCREAMED ‘7’ like my insides just burst out of every orifice of my body. Literally, blood curdling.

After they injected me with the sweet, sweet poison, the epi guy practically ran out of the room and they let John back in---I think my mom might have been there at this point, too. I was telling the nurse how much better I felt and I don’t know if it was in the way I asked for the gummy bear, or what, but next thing I know, the nurse is hovering over my head, asking me the kinds of questions you ask people when they faint or go unconscious. “Carol, what’s the baby’s middle name going to be! Carol! Look at me, Carol! Talk to me….” Apparently, my body couldn’t handle the initial onslaught of drugs and my blood pressure tanked. I hate taking medicine, which is why I wanted to go natural in the first place, so when the nurse puts the oxygen mask on my face and starts threatening to shoot me up with ephedrine-more medicine, I started sucking oxygen in like I was on a downward-spiralling plane. I think it was something like, “I’m fine (deep breath), look (deep breath), I’m fine (deep breath).”

I start to come to and everyone in the room looks a lot less tense and worried. After about 15 minutes of pure painlessness, I noticed that I was getting some bizarre, achy, pain-ish kinds of feelings and I thought that it could be the catheter. They check the catheter, take it out, put another one in and I’m still having the pain…pretty regularly…. like a contraction. I get checked again, still sittin’ around a 3 and it’s determined that the epidural needs to be topped up----already? They bring a specialist in to give me a half dose because they’d rather not kill me today. They watch me and I seem to handle the half dose okay….but I’m still having contractions. Around now, the baby’s heartbeat has slowed down dramatically a few times and they’ve even lost it a couple times. Every time the nurse checks me, Jack’s still way high and I’m still only 3 cm dilated. One time, when they lost the heart rate, they made everyone leave and started flipping me around this way and that. They were even paging the doctor…. Scary. They give me one more epidural top-up, I’m still practically spitting fire with pain, and then the doctor comes in. He checks me, sits down next to me and tells me that he thinks that the baby is posterior and for some reason, he won’t come down and I won’t dilate. He also said that since the epi doesn’t seem to be working and we keep having such huge dips in the heartrate, I should get in for a C-section. I don’t care. I’m not having fun. I just want this stupid day to be over with.

I get wheeled into the OR hallway and I’m still having some pretty amazing contractions even though the machine has been shut off for a while. My body just seemed to take over and keep going. They had me in the hallway, by myself for quite a while. When they wheeled me into the OR itself, it took the anaesthesiologist another 30-ish minutes to get there. The whole time, I breathin’ and countin’ like my life depends on it. I begged my doctor to give me something so that I don’t puke (have I mentioned my deep, deep obsession with the fear of throwing up----emetophobia---yes, it’s really a psychological fear-Google it, kids), he gives me a bunch of Gravol (Canadian Dramamine, I think) and then the spinal guy shows up. He seemed super-nice and you couldn’t ask for someone to be more patient. He told me that I didn’t look like a ‘Carol Lee’ and I told him that my husband is Korean. His eyes lit up from behind his mask and he chanted, “We’re having a Korean baby today!”. I had to sit on the edge of the table for him to work the spinal block and he kept telling me to stick my back out---I kept telling him that I was. He mentioned that that was the reason why the epi didn’t work. My spine just doesn’t stick out the way it’s supposed to. The whole time, I’m hugging this poor nurse asking her to lie to me and tell me that he’s almost done. It didn’t hurt much, but the waves of contractions weren’t exactly tickling.

When he finished, they helped to lie me down and the spinal guy said, “Now you’re gonna love me!” By the time I was placed on my back and they had my hands Velcro-ed down, something felt wrong. I couldn’t breathe. I started panicking and while on my back, frantically looked up and behind me at the spinal guy. It felt EXACTLY like I was trapped underwater with only a quarter-sized pocket of air to stay alive. I was screaming at him with my eyes and could only get out: “Breathe. Can’t. Breathe. Help.” He said I was fine and to try and relax. Relax? What? I’m DYING!!! Right about now is when they let John in and I was so relieved because if anyone would know I was dying and be able to help, surely it would be John. I imagined that he would look at me in a Lassie-type of understanding----“What’s wrong, girl… trapped in a well?….. down by the creek?…”----and be able to know something wasn’t right and make it better. I looked at him and tried to convey grave danger in my eyes. “Can’t. Breathe. Dying. Help.” He just looks at the spinal guy---who of course says I’m fine--- and then holds my hand. What the fuck, people? So, I give up on John and start my crazy-eyes diatribe with the nurse, who also looks at the spinal guy, who also tells her that everything’s just fine. They raise up the table a couple inches thing that it will make me feel better. It doesn’t. I’m dying. I decide this is it and that it’s the end. I make a silent promise to myself that I’ll spend the rest of my ghostly days haunting the shit out of this anaesthesiologist.

Before I know it, I hear a baby screaming, the spinal guy tells me I should be able to breathe better now that the baby’s out. I can feel my neck and the upper part of my chest now and I can take a few shallow, but deeper, breaths. I look over to my left and there’s this little screaming thing by the warmer. All I see is a mouth yelling. He’s pink and he looks perfect. I’m just so happy that he’s perfect. John was the first person to hold the baby and brought him close to my face. The spinal guy----who apparently had no idea what an unnecessarily thorough numbing job he did----tells me I can touch my baby and un-Velcros my left arm and pulls it across my face to the right side to touch the baby and walks away. My arm is stuck there, lying across my face like a dead fish. Ahhh….this is the life.
…to be continued…


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