The story of Baby Buddha's arrival is a long one- as is every story that I tell! But truly, he took his sweet time getting here! As you might remember, Bruno and I visited labor and delivery several times because of contractions but were sent home. However, on the 24th of October we were sure that the little guy's arrival was imminent. The contractions that I was experiencing were so strong that the pain was too much for me to handle. When we got to labor and delivery they said that I hadn't dilated any further than the last time they saw me but because I was in such severe pain they were going to admit me for the night and give me pain meds. And did they ever! Bruno and I spent the night in the hospital, me hooked up to a morphine drip, him sleeping restfully on the couch. He actually got more sleep than I did. I was wide awake the entire night.
By the morning my contractions had completely stopped and so we packed up our stuff and went home. I honestly don't remember any of that. The day of the 25th is a complete loss to me. All I can remember of it is that, upon our arrival home, I fell asleep and slept clear through until 6:30 the following morning. When I finally did wake up it was to contractions that were even more insanely painful than the ones that warranted my hospital stay. I didn't want to wake Bruno up quite yet because I wanted to shower and get a few things done around the house, but in the shower the pain became even more severe and I was forced to abandon all of my other "to-do's" and hightail it to the hospital. I was fairly certain that the baby was going to fall right out of me. I actually thought that. Ha! He wasn't any where near that stage, but it felt like it at the time.
So, we made the 2 minute trek to our hospital (we can practically see it from our bedroom window) and Bruno dropped me off at the front door so that I could go up to the triage area while he parked the car. All of our other trips to the hospital I was able to walk from the parking structure to the main building but this time I knew that I wouldn't make it. That's how I knew that this was the real deal.
Once I made it up to triage everything moved pretty quickly. They told me that I was in labor, had me put on the hospital gown and escorted me to the delivery room. While we were walking to my new room, my water broke. I was happy that it did so on its own, but hot damn! The contractions became even more intense at that point. And it was only 9:00 am. Baby Buddha wasn't born until 11:06 pm.
We weren't in the delivery room long before I had hit my breaking point with the pain. While I was pregnant I watched a lot of episodes of "A Baby Story" and would always look down on the women who screamed like wild banshees during their labor. Couldn't they control themselves? Didn't they have any plan for breathing through the pain? Well, um... I take it all back! Every last drip of judgment. Because I was screaming more than any of them. The pain was so insane that I became primal. All I could do was scream- a deep guttural type of sound. All of my breathing techniques went out the window. My plan to chant through the pain was a joke! And the birthing ball? All that I wanted to do with that thing was hurl it at someone! All I wanted was an epidural- STAT!
Funny, how I was so afraid of getting the epidural before hand, but when I really needed it, the anesthesiologist became my best friend. When they had me sitting up, leaning on Bruno for support, I was actually joking with the guy who was inserting a needle in my spine. Seriously, I was a non-stop comedy riot! Maybe it was nerves, or blessed relief, but it was the oddest thing. All of the dread that I had associated with a needle in my back had flown out the window and it became the single most desirable thing to me in that moment. And oh, how wonderful it was!
But, here's the fun part, my pain was so severe that the epidural wasn't dulling it enough. They had to keep giving me higher doses and stronger medications. At one point they had me on a dosage that they give to women for c-sections and I was still writhing in pain. Each anesthesiologist who came in to check me out was more puzzled than the last. How could I still be experiencing pain?
Well, I'll tell you how. The little child inside of me was posterior. Remember all of my pelvis complaints during the pregnancy? The fact that I could barely walk in the end? Well, it all makes sense now. My baby was positioned in such a way as to cause me the most crazy pain possible. Ah, my little treasure!
So, in addition to the epidural they put me on pain meds through my IV (which caused me to lose my cookies repeatedly) and then they put me on meds to stop the nausea (in addition to the pitocin that was already flowing through my veins). I had more drugs flowing through me than a junkie. And then they discovered that I was running a fever (well over 100 degrees) and that my blood pressure had jumped up, so they started me on antibiotics. Fun!
At the time, I didn't realize the severity of the situation. Even now I'm not sure that I can really grasp what was going on. No one told me that I had an infection and I've yet to have a doctor tell me what caused the infection or what it was exactly. All I know is that when my water broke an infection set in. And that they were fearful that it could transfer to the baby. But no one told me this. Not even after they took my baby away from me and rushed him to NICU. I'm getting ahead of myself though.
The hours before the final push went on forever. Finally around 10ish they turned down my epidural so that I could start pushing. This is when I completely lost it. The position that they wanted me in (knees to my chest) was actually contributing to my back labor and I thought that I might just die. Literally. I'm not being dramatic. I thought that I would die from the pain. And so that's when I began SCREAMING for a c-section. This was the only time during the entire experience where I got slightly crazy on Bruno. I remember looking him in the eye and yelling, through clenched teeth, "GET-ME-A-C-SECTION-NOW!!!!!!" My poor doctor looked so disappointed in me. That actually got to me. I didn't want to disappoint her- I really really liked her. But I couldn't take it any longer. I begged her to section me, apologizing in between my pleas. She told me to hold on a second and then went outside with the other doctor who was there. I'm pretty sure that they were discussing how to deal with the difficult patient. There plan of action. When they came back they told me that, if I could just give them a few more pushes, they would use the vacuum to extract the baby. I only agreed because I knew that it would take longer for the epidural meds to kick in (for a c-section) than for a few more pushes. And if this worked then the baby would be out of me and the pain would be over.
The actual part where the baby came out didn't hurt at all. Or if it did, it was nothing compared to the back labor. I'm not sure. I do know that they had to cut me to make room for the vacuum and that, even with the episiotomy, I tore in a bad way. I didn't even realize how bad the tear was until I was showering the other day. I mentioned it to Bruno and he told me that he knew because he heard the doctors discussing it. He just didn't want to tell me because he knew it would freak me out. I wonder what else he's holding back from me? I know that there's more stuff, because little tid bits of info keep popping up- like the fact that my urine looked like Hawaiian Punch it was so full of blood. And that he questioned the nurse about it but that she pushed him off like it was nothing. These things really bother me and will take me a while to come to terms with....
So back to the story... The baby was born with the cord wrapped around his neck (something I found out days later) and didn't cry when he came out. They put him on my chest and I was able to touch his face before they took him away from me. I could see him in the corner getting examined by a team of doctors but I didn't realize that there was anything wrong with him. When they brought him back to me I asked if I could try to breast feed him and they said no. "But I need to get him latched on. Won't it help with the delivery of the placenta? And isn't it important to have him latch on in the first hour?" The doctor said that I was wrong, that those things weren't true. I didn't understand and I knew that he was wrong but I didn't know what to say. Then they took him away from me. I held him less than a minute and then he was gone. Some stuck there face near mine and said something about needing to observe the baby for four hours and then they would bring him to our room. But at no point did they say that there was anything wrong with him. I thought that this was all normal procedure.
When we finally got up to the recovery room I went right to sleep but Bruno headed to NICU to see the baby. I woke up a few hours later and went to see him myself. What I saw broke my heart. My little boy had an IV in his arm and wires attached to various parts of his little body. By this time I knew that there was concern that he had contracted the infection from me (I was on IV antibiotics as well), but I was still so confused. The baby's pediatrician never once met with us to tell us what was wrong. The only information that we got was through the nurse that was attending to him- and she wasn't exactly clear what the situation was. It wasn't until the second day of the baby's stay in NICU that Bruno pitched such a holy fit and the pediatrician called us. Didn't come in to visit us in person- called us. I have never felt so powerless in my entire life. Essentially, our child had been taken away from us and no one was telling us anything at all.
Finally, they told us that if he could eat for one full day then they would release him to us. This was a problem for me since my milk hadn't come in yet so I had nothing to feed him. All of our preparation for breastfeeding went out the window when we were forced to feed our baby formula in order to get him out of NICU and with us. This is a big issue for me. Actually, as I recount this entire experience, it all is much more of an issue than I've realized. I've focused on the breastfeeding problems, perhaps because they are more tangible and within my power to an extent, but I'm very saddened and angry about the experience as a whole. I keep focusing on the fact that we now have our son and that he's healthy and happy, but I really am upset about our entire hospital experience. Yesterday I spoke with my yoga instructor and told her a little bit about what had happened and she told me not to discount the disappointment and trauma of what we went through. Yes, we have our baby now and he's healthy, but that doesn't take away from the way that everything played out. She's right. It will take me a long time to process all of this.
I can say though that now that we're home with our little guy things have progressively gone up hill. He's fabulous! He's amazing! I could stare at him all day and shake my head in awe. How did Bruno and I make such a perfect child? How did we do that? How did we get so lucky?
Believe it or not, that was the abridged version of the story. We actually stayed in the hospital an extra day so that I could be monitored. And there were a great deal of issues with me as well, although they seem minor compared to what the baby went through. I already wrote so much though and maybe the entire thing doesn't need to be documented verbatim. If I sound a little melancholy, it's because I am. What I hoped would be a magical experience played out more like the most powerless experience of my life. I'm so thrilled to have my child now though and I'm trying to focus on that. The payoff was worth it, but the race to the finish line should have been different. Shoulda, coulda, woulda...