Monday, August 22, 2011

All Good and Perfect Gifts...Part 3

Part 1
Part 2

Nothing was happening. And I mean nothing.
Baby still wasn't moving, his heart rate kept decreasing with contractions (not alarmingly like Colin had but enough for concern) I hadn't gone past a 4 in 5 hours of strong regular contractions.
My lovely OB came in. "I know what you want, I am with you, but just in case let me see when the OR is open, I want to be ready just in case."
Surprisingly, this didn't make me defensive, or angry or panicked. I just said "all right. Let us know."
Luke looked at me with surprise. I had fought tooth and nail for a VBAC and now I was rolling over and accepting the possibility for a c-section. Dr. D left the room and I turned to my husband, I held his hand, he stroked my cheek. He kissed my head.
Dr. D came back in, we all looked at one another. "Well there is an open OR in 15 minutes or there is one available at 3 this afternoon. I can go back and reserve the room at 3 so we can do this the way you want!" She sort of trailed off and looked at me. I looked at Luke.
"No, let's go in 15 minutes, this is not going to happen the way I wanted."
It was like I wasn't even talking, I felt totally peaceful, totally at ease with giving up my dream scenario.
Dr. D let out a wooshing breath "oh thank goodness, I wanted to go in now, I just have a feeling we are going to need to be there."
Luke squeezed my hand "me too, lets do this."
Somehow without saying anything to one another we all had agreed that a c-section was our best option.
I called my mom and let her know to head down to the hospital. (It was her birthday!) She would get there in time for me to be out of surgery.
Going into the OR was a totally different experience this time.
I joked with the orderlies and nurses as they got me ready. Dr. D and the nurses and doctors talked about the Superbowl party she had that last weekend, with Luke asking about the food. My anesthesiologist went out of his way to make me comfortable, explaining to me why it was so bloody cold in there, and giving me focusing techniques for when they started.
"Let's start the clock!" Dr. D said brightly.
On the wall a digital clock started a countdown.
I felt nothing as she began the incisions, I was a little anxious but Luke was whispering to me and making me smile.
And all of a sudden, we were the only two people talking.

"Oh my God, her uterus ruptured." there was real fear in my doctor's voice. Flat out bone chilling fear. My heart stopped.

Everything began to move at an incredibly rapid pace.
I knew the score, if my uterus had ruptured the wrong way I could be bleeding out right now, depending on when it had happened the baby could have breached the uterine wall and could be dead.
I was trying to keep it together, I didn't want to be put under like last time but I was crying as the incredible pressure of getting the baby out descended on my abdomen. I could barely breathe.
Luke and the anesthesiologist were talking softly to me, trying to keep me calm and focused. Luke kept rubbing my temples, I could barely hear him but I am almost certain he was praying. The anesthesiologist made me keep telling him how i was feeling, what I needed, he would tell me the time periodically.

After what seemed like hours, but was mere moments in reality, I heard the shout. I heard him yell to the heavens, angry to be out. I grinned, I knew that whatever happened next, my son was here and whole and with us. I couldn't see him, I certainly couldn't hold him, but a great wave of love and relief washed over me. I felt nothing but overwhelming gratitude and blazing love for this tiny soul who had sent me a message: "Mama, come and get me, come and get me now"

I endured the wait while they sewed me back together. I barely remember what happened. The medicine they had used to stop contractions made me shake, I was cold. I was alive. Baby was alive. We were together. That's all that mattered.

Slowly we made our way back to the room, I tried to nurse and surprisingly got a latch, though nothing came out, not even colostrum. The toll of a stressful birth is the delay of your milk coming in. So once again, my kids first meal outside my body was formula. His dad got to feed him. And I was just fine with that.

My milk came in finally at the end of my long hospital stay. I had a blood transfusion, it took me a while to come back to myself. But 6 days after we went in, we got ready to leave. Our little family was complete.

Later, on the day Z was born, when my doctor came in to see me, we learned that after Dr. D had gotten through the layers of muscle and fat, Ezekiel's hand and arm were reaching up and out of the reopened scar of my first c-section. He had totally breached the wall of the uterus, the old scar had undergone a catastrophic dehiscence and he was making his escape. We joked about our "teeny Houdini", and tried to keep the mood light, I had lost less blood with a complete uterine rupture than another woman had in a regular c-section down the hall! Then Dr. D looked at me, any trace of joking gone from her face "when i saw his little hand sticking out, that's when I started to pray. I am so glad you're both here and you're both fine."

Writing about the birth of my second, and last, baby was a long process. It took me 6 months to work through my emotions. So much could have gone wrong, so much could have gone horribly wrong and when I thought about it, it made me broke out in a cold sweat. And still I felt guilty about "giving in" to another c-section. The natural birthing community I feel so strongly attached to (despite my "unnatural" births) feels that my c-sections were mistakes, were part of a medical community that views laboring mothers as paychecks that take to long to finish, that given the right conditions, if I had just stood up for myself I could have had the labor and delivery I dreamed of. And yet both c-sections saved my life, saved my babies lives.
I felt very conflicted about this.
And after 6 months of praying, of processing, I came to the conclusion that I shared at the beginning of my story. That we feel so out of control, our only natural impulse is to control everything we can. And yet, and yet, it is only in letting go of everything, in giving up any and all little bits of control, whatever shape that release may take, it is only then that there is enough room for that huge love to take over. To overwhelm us. To set us blazing with love for that new soul just arrived.

I titled this "All good and perfect gifts..." because I know without a doubt that is was God who helped me arrive at the place of peace. That it was God who stretched me bigger than myself and helped me let go of the control. It was God that had His hand in the final outcome and the outcome was so perfect, so good, such a blessing. I thank my God for that incredible gift.

3 comments:

Rach said...

Shock and awe over here. Wow. Sending big hugs to you and your beautiful family. I am thankful that you and baby are safe and sound. I can't wait to meet him. You really reached the core of what bothers me about the super-gung-ho natural birthing community: it fails to be flexible in these extenuating circumstances. When it comes to birthing, flexibility, open-mindedness, and awareness to all possibilities is key. Yeah: in some scenarios, the docs and hospital will screw you over. In others, they will freaking save your and your baby's lives.

Megling said...

"When it comes to birthing, flexibility, open-mindedness, and awareness to all possibilities is key" Beautifully said friend! Love it.

So Yeah So said...

This is incredible.
I think that, like the breastfeeding community, the natural birthing community has good intentions at its core. It's just they can sometimes come off as just as smug, condescending and narrow minded as the medical community they condemn.

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