Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Before I go any further, this needs to be addressed

My high powered OB GYN asked me to get records of my daughter's birth. Which is fine. I have them scanned into my hard drive. It's a PDF document with 40 some pages. I realize she is only interested in the 2 page surgical report. But, I don't want to find it. I don't want to flip through the records. I don't want to look.

This is difficult for me. But here the hell goes. This needs to be addressed before I go any further.

Here is a shortened version of my daughter's birth.

Eight years ago I woke up at 4 am with my water breaking. I got all excited. We went to the hospital and was so excited. Nothing was happening though, no contractions, just me leaking. Then, the epidural guy came and said, "I'm going into surgery so if you need an epidural you can get one now." I hadn't had a contraction yet. They did start pitocin though. Pitocin is an IV medication that makes your uterus contract.

So. I went with the epidural that numbed everything below my bra line. And they told me contractions had started but I didn't know that. I didn't feel anything. Mr. Hall held my hand and we sort of sat there for about 6 hours. Then, things starting going wrong. The pitocin was making my uterus contract but the contractions weren't retracting. My uterus was clamping down on my daughter and making her heart beat go down.

Then, I remember having a nurse on one side and a doctor on the other. They were trying to turn me from side to side, trying to release the pressure on the baby. My daughter. They were kind of snippy to each other. Then the doctor said, "We're going to do an c-section". They hiked up the bedrails and began wheeling me away.

They separated me and my husband. He would later tell me how pissed off this made him. He was left there, in the room, watching me be wheeled away. He would talk about how he wanted to punch the doctor for taking me away like that. He was not allowed in the surgical room.

I remember being hoisted onto the operating table and strapped down all Jesus crucifix style, in a T, arms outstretched. The anesthesiologist reappeared. Someone asked my to sign something and I was shaking. I heard the heart beat though, my daughter's heart beat through the machine that goes bing. Her heart beat was climbing upwards. Then, I prayed. This is what I said.

I said,

"God, if you need to take me or my daughter, here we are."

And I felt a flush of calm and everything felt safe.

(hold on, crying here, give me a minute)

(ok, that's better. back to the story)

Then the anesthesiologist put the mask over my face and very calmly asked me to breathe. He was very comforting and I will always remember that. I was put under general or complete anesthesia. I woke up shaking and disorientated. I didn't know this at the time but shaking is an effect of the anesthesia.

I remember they tried to have me hold my daughter and I couldn't hold her, I was still so woozy from the epidural and general anesthesia. I couldn't see well. I don't remember seeing my daughter at that time. I remember being so wobbly.

This stuff I'm writing here. It's taken me years to process. It was only a year ago I got the hospital records. There are so many chunks of this I still can't wrap my head around. The records help though. They helped me understand why my throat was so sore. When I was placed under general anesthesia they intubated me. Which means they put a tube down my throat to inflate my lungs. This was a revelation to me, figuring this out.

The hardest part was waking up though. Really waking up. After waking up shaking, crying and unable to hold my daughter I went back to sleep. Then, I woke up in the middle of the night and asked Mr. Hall to help me to the bathroom. The room was dark and I was attached to an IV pole. He couldn't really lift me and my legs still weren't working right. We called a nurse to help and she scolded us a bit.

The next day, more confusion. I just didn't understand why I was so sore. I mean, I had had an epidural, so I never felt anything, so why was I so sore? It turns out that I was sore because I had been through labor. This was explained to me by a nurse. I was so messed up in my head. It didn't occur to me that I had been in labor.

The words c-section messed me up. I realized I had had a c-section but it didn't occur to me that that DIDN'T cancel out my labor. Again, I wasn't thinking right.

It was a confusing time those first days after the c-section. I remember they handed me my daughter a second time and I was gobsmacked. She was so blonde. This MADE NO SENSE. I am darker. NOT BLONDE. But I held her and tried to have her nurse. That sucked. She didn't nurse at friggin all.

So there I was, body and throat sore for reasons I didn't understand. With this blonde baby I didn't recognize. Struggling to surface from all of it. Not daring to call any of this trauma because they had saved my baby and how could I question any of it.

No matter how confused I was, I still had the Momma Bear instinct. I gripped her tightly. I dressed her and changed her diaper. I was a deer in headlights but I still cuddled her with all my might.

Mr. Hall had given her her first bath, her first bottle. He did this while I was still sleeping. He reassured me this was the right baby. I trusted him.

In the next few weeks things got better. I started to wake up more. Pancake was so small and just dissolved me. Then, there was this one morning feeding. It was 5.30 am, the morning light bathing the kitchen as I warmed up a bottle.

She was in my arms. I looked down at her and stuff went off inside me. And I said, "Hey sweetie. your name is Pancake, my name is Mommie. Mommie loves you."

I had come into my role. I was her Momma. I felt it.

And it was good.

So, now my task is to ask God for some help. I obviously need some help healing here. Because my daughter's birth was trauma. I don't want to carry this anymore. I will hold up my hands and let God take this from me. I will pray. I will pray. I will pray. I will let Him take all the fear and the blood and the guts because this is not mine any more. I'll let His love wash over me and heal everything inside.

And so it shall be.

2 Left a message at the beep:

Anonymous said...

Oh, honey, what a TERRIBLE experience. That's like awful to the tenth degree. I'm saying a prayer for peace of mind this round--and better treatment.

For what it's worth, I didn't feel immediately maternal with my kids either--they grew on me, but it wasn't a Hollywood moment the first time we met IRL.

Mrs. Hall said...

i can say this is the 4th time I've written about my daughter's birth. the first time I put it here though. it gets easier each time.

and I think when Pancake was born, i had a sense of her, that I needed to grab onto her, then the love blosoomed in the kitchen that morning. i think it was more of a disconnect that healed.


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