Tuesday, February 12, 2008

    The First Time..

    .. Ever I saw Your Face

    Yes, i'm still here.
    It seems announcing you're 40wks sends everyone into a tizz.
    The firstborn was also due on the 10th of another month, and arrived on the 20th, so I wasn't concerned.

    Yesterday, I went to the DFO while MC was at Kindy and strolled casually around the shops. Shopkeepers would ask the inevitable and i'd reply "um, yesterday", and they'd shriek "GET OUTTA HERE !! NO WAY !!" and generally freak right out.
    It was Heaps Fun, which shows you the low level of thrill it takes to amuse me these days. Fun.

    I never wrote the story of the first boy, as I really think these things need time and distance between the gore and pain and the telling. I've been thinking of it lately, and although I can clearly hear me saying to the Doctor the next day that I felt like "a bus had run right through me", I just can't comprehend that type of pain and the inner me scoffs and coughs out the word "drama queen" from behind a cupped hand.

    Surely it wasn't that bad ??

    The uncontrollable vomiting, excrutiating pain, a nurses strike, the red tape of being a private patient in a public hospital ( which means none of the staff can or will examine you despite you offering monetary bribes and asking for a paper to sign away so SOMEBODY, please ANYBODY can come and help you, assist you, look at you, help you ? ).
    And your Obstetritian is somewhere else at ANOTHER hospital delivering some other bitch's baby and NOT HERE WITH YOU. ( Actually, my Obs was somewhere on an Easter holiday jaunt with his family, and I got the offsider I didn't really care for .. but I digress... )

    Anyway, the new Obs has *promised* me a better time of it this time ( can he do that ? ).


    A Condensed Version of the First Birth:
    Warning - 'condensed' really means 'very long and unedited' ....

    I'd been to the regular weekly Obs appt earlier in the week and had an internal.
    Apparently I was 2cm dilated and the Obs predicted a baby within a week. I may have scoffed, I can't remember.

    All I was concerned about that if there WASN'T a baby by that time, I was going to be induced, and that to me, was not cool.
    I wanted a natural labour, hopefully without drugs, definitely without an epidural.
    One of my sister's young, healthy, fit friends had died from an allergy to an epidural during birth. There was no way I was having one of those.

    And besides, women have been squatting in fields for centuries, right ?
    How hard could it be ?

    So 8 days overdue and I think we were driving to Chadstone to buy something.
    I'm thinking Borders for some books, but i'd already done that, so who knows.
    Perhaps I just needed to get out of the house.

    I'd finished up work a week before my due date, and had been basically housebound ever since. It was so BORING and i'd spent the time hanging out on Usenet on the computer in some baby forum. It was an American forum, and I remember one of the mums-to-be had a famous author for a mother and i'd read one or two of her books.
    I never mentioned that I thought her mother's writing sucked wasn't to my taste.
    It was the women who wrote all those alphabet crime novels ( "N is for Noose" kinda thing ).
    It was an ok group, but I bonded best with the only other Australian in there. It was before blogs, before Australians on the 'net ( largely ), and it was lovely to find a local.
    We're still in contact today and she's a reader/email-commenter/now mother-of-three ( Hi Leanne ! :)

    Soooooooooo, we're out Chaddie way and I tell AB i'm not feeling so hot.
    Flavoured milk always revives me when i'm feeling a bit ikky, so I make him go through the Mikky D's drive-thru for a large chocolate shake.
    It seems to do the trick.
    I'm pretty sure we turn around and go home.
    I have no idea what happens for the rest of the day.


    I'll just pause here and say this story is 3 1/2 yrs old and untold.
    There are blurs of memory as happens with the passing of time ... but if I don't tell it now, it will be obliterated by a fresher version ...


    The next day is Sunday and AB is home from work.
    We decide to be slobs and have recently installed FOXTEL ( cable TV ) .. because I am terrified of being home from work and bored out of my skull.
    As it turns out, there's nothing on Cable ( typical ! ), so we end up watching a "Friends" marathon. We've never really watched the show before, and it's not a bad way to spend the day.
    Cuddled up on the couch.
    We walked out at some stage in the afternoon for a large package of Fish-n-Chips ( something we *never* ate back then, *ever* ), and stuffed ourselves so badly that dinner was unthinkable.

    Spiderman II was on regular tele that night, after My Restaurant Rules. It was a good night for watching tele and I remember feeling pretty good.

    ( I really don't watch so much tele, but it seems to feature in this birth. I guess it gave me an indication of time and place, so in that way, is memorable. )

    During the movie, I began to get pains that weren't too bad, but unmistakable ( I say this now, but have no concept of 'unmistakeable' any more. Birth Amnesia is what keeps the world spinning ). By the time the movie finished, I was wincing at 30minute intervals.
    But manageable.

    I decided going to bed would be the best idea, as i'd need all the energy I could get in the following ... hours ? ... so we went to bed.
    And I was in horrible pain.

    I think it's like when you're at work all day, focussing on whatever, and then you come home and make dinner and are thinking about other things, and then when you go to bed, you've got a nagging tooth, and by 2am you're crying, fumbling in the bathroom for painkillers.
    Your body relaxes and lets you know there's a problem. Ouch.

    So I slept fitfully. Knees tucked into my tummy, face down. Like a snail.
    By 4am, I couldn't stand it anymore and got up. I showered.
    I didn't feel any better.
    I woke up AB and told him I think we should make plans. I felt really sick. He went to make me a hot Milo and a piece of Vegemite toast.
    We both agreed eating something would make me feel better. Minutes later he's cleaning up projectile vomit ( yay for polished floorboards ! ) and i'm hugging my new friend the bucket.
    Contractions are 5minutes apart. I make AB call the hospital, and they don't want to see me. They asked us to call back in an hour.
    This is NOT what they told us in birth class.
    They told us when you were 5mins apart, you should be GETTING TO HOSPITAL.

    Meanwhile, I can't even take a sip of water or lick a jellysnake without vomitting. Nice.
    We wait the hour, just. I am writhing on the floor, paralysed by motion sickness and wracked with pain. We have an old-style phone you need to go to ( as opposed to a handset that moves with you ) and the nurses insist they speak to me, and not to him.
    I yell I CANNOT MOVE and am pretty pissed off. Apparently nurses can tell 'how bad you are' simply by listening to you. I can barely speak into the phone or hear what they are saying.
    I have dragged myself across the floor to talk to them and I am as sick as a dog.
    I am not happy. They do not want to see me.
    I have no idea if this is a bed thing, or a nurse's strike thing, or a 'me' thing.

    I suffer on.

    AB has work and comes and goes on errands throughout the day. Bizarrely, this is ok with me ( !?!? ), so perhaps the nurses did know better.
    Sometimes he's gone for hours which REALLY pisses me off/scares me.
    I am on the loungeroom floor with a bucket, a doona, "Look Who's Talking" on the teev ( I know!, and it's not like I chose the movie, I didn't have the strength to crawl to the remote ! ) and lollies and water. Every now and again I try some lollies/water, but I vomit them right up.
    Lucky I don't need the toilet much, as that's like crawling through a desert of scorpions and rattlesnakes to get there.
    I'm probably very, very dehydrated.

    I just sort of do the snail position and rocking and try to focus on not being sick.
    Every hour or so there's enough relief that I can manage something like a peek at the teev, or a trip to the toiley. I have to be fast though, before the nausea hits.

    And this goes on & on & on until 5.30pm.
    My waters haven't broken, but i'm bleeding a lot. I'm also in a lot of pain and can't bear it any longer. It's been a long day already.
    I can barely walk. I'm hunched over like a .. a... hunchback.
    I think i even drag a leg behind me lurchingly.
    Next door, there's about 4 old blokes painting the house. They all stop to gawk.
    I try to hold my head high and not look so pathetic.
    We drive to the hospital.

    It's about 5minutes away and I feel every inner-city cobblestone and pebble on the road.
    I feel like people are staring at me inside the car at intersections and traffic lights. Considering all the weirdos in the city, I really doubt anyone notices me at all.

    At the hospital, we park across the road in a big parking garage.
    No-one ever told us we could park out the front of the hospital in situations like this.
    As I slowly make my way from the car to the lifts, I have to stop and rest at every other parked car. I'm determined not to look as awful as I feel, but this time, in the street, i'm attracting attention.
    We get to the road and the pedestrian crossing. The walking man is red. I want to cry.
    I'm not even sure if I can make it across the road without a car bonnet to rest upon. I want to crumble to the ground. We make it across and into the hospital. They want me to sign all these forms. I use the counter to hold me up and as soon as I can, I weakly wobble over to a chair.

    There must be something in my drunken demeanor that FINALLY alerts someone that hey, this girl is NOT DOING SO WELL. The sign-in nurse rushes over and orders a wheelchair for me STAT. Finally, someone else is in charge, and I can let go of the pretention of control.

    I have no health insurance, but have employed the care of a Private Obs. I am in a Public Hospital. No-one told me that this would be a BAD idea. I am in no-man's-land. I am a labouring leper. The nurses are nice, but no-one can touch me, examine me. Only my doctor.
    I am left in a curtained off area to vomit and groan and be hooked up to a monitor.
    Baby is doing well. I am left here for HOURS.

    Finally a labour ward becomes available and I am encouraged to walk around on big padded exercise mats. A nurse is allowed to clean up the mess i'm making, and i'm hooked up to some anti-vomiting drip. I keep being asked 'if I need to do a poo'.
    It aint on the verge of coming out.

    They get me to try gas. I've had gas at the dentist.
    A nice nosemask thingy.
    Not this horse bit in my mouth.
    Also, I know the smell/taste of nitrous oxide.
    I tell them it's not on. I TELL THEM IT'S NOT WORKING. No-one cares.
    I fling the piece of shit across the room ( note: it wasn't turned on , there was a problem with the tubes or whatever. Arseholes )

    At 7pm the Obs arrives and breaks my waters in an effort to 'move things along'
    Then he disappears again. Nothing happens.
    I'm not sure what i'm doing now.
    It's dark outside and apparently my room has a nice view of the city.
    I'm put on a bastard drip at some stage - when ? - to increase my contractions in speed and intensity.
    I officially hate everyone in the room.

    At some stage I ask tentatively for an epidural - mainly in a bid to find out what's happening. Afer all this time and pain, I expect the nurse to answer "oh no! - it's too late for that now!", but instead, it's agreed upon. Holy Shit - that means there's still frikken hours to go.
    Once i've taken the plunge and asked for it, I find it takes HOURS to get the dude in.
    I'm unhappy and asking where he is. He lives in Bentleigh.
    I know where frikken Bentleigh is, I say, it doesn't take that long to get here from there !

    And meanwhile, my Obs is delivering some other whore's baby at another hospital.

    Probably transition ? Y'think ?

    So the anethesist arrives and my body has gone into shock - I can't stop trembling and shaking.
    I have to keep REALLY, REALLY still as he sticks a needle in my spine.
    I sit on the edge of the bed and AB had to bear all his weight/pressure down on me to keep me from shaking. My teeth are chattering. The needle goes in. I don't remember feeling a thing except instant relief. It's lovely. I want to pash the Epidural man. So far, he seems to be the only one i've seen today that offered anything good.

    Now i'm free from pain, i'm instantly renewed and energised.
    I'm on my back now, we're up to the pushing stage, yet I can't feel the pain. A nurse has her hand on my stomach to feel for contractions so she can tell me when to push. She doesn't seem to do this, so I keep asking her 'do you want me to push now, how about now, do you want me to push again ?'.
    I'm a firstborn. We strive to succeed, we aim to please.
    AB is crying as he's sure i'll be a paraplegic for life.
    I imagine I look like a cat. Have you ever seen a cat give birth ?
    They look kind of dopey and smiley and groggy. And they kinda smile.
    I really don't care if i'm a paraplegic.

    The Obs is using two types of forceps below. One to turn the baby ( he's posterior ), and the other to drag him out. Thankfully I don't feel this bit ( until later, 2 weeks of good drugs and eating my dinner lying down on the floor as I can't sit properly. 2nd degree lacerations ).
    I really don't care much by this stage.

    Did you see Hannibal when Hannibal Lecter invited Ray Liotta to a dinner party and gave him a lobotomy and served him up his own brains for entree ? And Ray's all happy and "mm, that smells delicious ?". Yeah. I get it.

    And then there's a baby.
    He's free of the gross white junk and he's not ugly.
    He looks like a baby and isn't wrinkled or scrunched up. He's actually quite handsome ( overcooked babies are the best ! ).
    He's very alert and he doesn't cry.
    He's an old soul. He's been here before, he knows the drill.

    3950kgs. Apgars 7 & 9. It's 10 past midnight, Tuesday.
    I drift to sleep. It's a place like Heaven.

    The boy sleeps also and we meet again at 6am.
    He's a good sleeper and feeder and we're in tune.

    And have been ever since.xx


    Jo said...

    I have to say second birth really, truely is easier!

    Jo said...

    Oh and good luck!,

    Stacey said...

    I love the way you've written this. I just had to explain to the husband that I was laughing out loud about the cat giving birth bit. (never seen it for the record). I have a sneaking suspicion we gave birth at the same hospital - big car park across the road, city views, crappy gas units, obst. that wasn't there when he should. Are we talking RWH / FPH here??
    I agree with Jo, second time round is not nearly as bad and you sort of understand the whole "this won't last forever and you'll have a lovely baby at the end" more.
    Good luck - I'll be checking in daily to see if you've smiled like a cat.

    Lazy cow said...

    Oh my wordy me. Just got home from seeing 'Juno' at the movies and am confronted with this. I really feel for you. Not a pleasant experience (mine was only 1/2 that bad, as it was shorter!)
    Didn't you just love Usenet news? I was constantly on the wedding forum with an Aussie girl and an American who both had their weddings on the same day as me.

    Verysinful said...

    Holy crap, what a terrible time you had. I really feel for you. I did LOL when I read that you wanted to pash the guy with the needle, very very funny !! I can't wait to read your next birth story. You are in my thoughts.

    h&b said...

    thanks Jo !

    Stacey - yep, the RWH :)

    Just wanted to say, after all this, I was trying to write *in the moment*, and am actually quite thankful and happy with the end result. And although I was thinking swear words, I was actually outwardly nice and not as aggressive as this all sounds. This is how I *felt*, as opposed to how I behaved.

    ( Although I did throw that stupid gas thingy. I also threw a heat compress across the room. I was hot, goddamn it, don't heat me up more ! )

    So I just thought I should clarify.


    Heather said...

    You know, it's stories like this that make me sort of happy for the emergent c-section that my daughter required.

    Elizabeth said...

    My babes weren't in a hurry to be born, either. The second one I had without ANY pain killers and a week later I suffered Post Trauma Stress Disorder, of course nobody told me that's what it was at the time. So I'm a big fan of the epidural.
    No two deliveries are ever the same so you should have a new gory tale to tell -but different!
    There, didn't I make you feel better?

    bluemountainsmary said...

    Now that was a good birth story.....

    and now for the next one - if the baby ever decides to come..

    Tina O'D said...

    After reading this all I can say is second time round really will be a breeze for you. Hopefully it comes around soon as is over very very quickly with a lovely new little addition. (I'm still guessing a pink one!!!)

    meggie said...

    That is a lot like my granddaughter's birth. Hideous to be a mother & watch your daughter go through that.
    Her second one was not so horrible, & though he was late, she had no epidural, & no forceps.
    Good Luck!

    Melody said...

    Oh my goodness! What a *horror* story! Can't believe you're going back for a sencond time...Oh yes I can. Your result was a gorgeous little baby boy. I understand the whole 'feeling HOT' thing - I felt soooo hot, that I remember.

    Here's hoping the second one comes along v.v. soon and it all goes much more smoothly this time around.

    dottycookie said...

    Blimey. Sounds like a really rough time - will be sending good vibes for a better second delivery.

    And I think I know the woman on the pregnancy group - - that you're talking about. We must have been on at the same time (though I was a longtime lurker!)

    Christie said...

    ok... so you like watching Friends!? I would never have guessed that. AnD I can't believe that you let AB go to work- I would have lost it at that stage if he had left my side! And as for the whole vomiting thing - not nice. Are you heading to a different hospital this time? I guess this time round things can only go better, right?

    h&b said...

    Apparently my Obs says it is really really unusual to need forceps twice ( I guess you're so badly mangled from the first time ?! )

    Dotty - yes! - that's the one !

    Christie, no, not really a "Friends" fan, but it wasn't too bad ;) And yes, i've changed hospitals ( but that's more to do with moving halfway across Melbourne since the firstborn :)

    jorth said...

    Top story! Hope the second is a leeetle bit smoother ;-P

    My float said...

    Oh, beautifully expressed.

    But I have just one word for you. Caesarian.

    Stomper Girl said...

    Stupid vomiting. Stupid gas. Goooood epidural.

    Well done birthing the story of your first birth! Hope the next time round is easier with less vomit!


    muser said...

    Good lord, girl. YOu make it sound so bloody awful and so funny at the same time.
    I'm with Jo. It most definitely is easier the second time if only because you have some wits about you and you know what things mean and what you want.

    I'm really very excited. Waiting in the wings and all that. Will we have to wait days and days for an update? Are you taking a laptop and wireless internet to the hospital? Is AB trained to update? lol Good luck!!

    Debbie said...

    Delurking to tell you I have not laughed so much in ages...I actually spat a huge mouthful of coffee across the room with your cat was like you were talking about my 1st one...and I actually did pash the epidural man. Second one is better, you know what to expect and you take no shit from anyone. You have put a huge smile on my face today..Thanks and Good Luck.

    Debbie said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Louise said...

    I can't believe you had such a shocking time nor can I believe your husband went out! I'm sure this time will be better and hopefully the 'helpers' will be more helpful. I had an epidural with my first and was doing the whole shaky thing - don't think I wanted to pash him as in my stupor I thought he was a cleaner who had wandered in a side door - go figure!! You actually made me cry at the end - it is all sooo worth it!

    Cosy said...

    Love that you describe the other girl giving birth as a whore! You're a cracker!

    Janet said...

    full on story! It really pisses me off when I hear of hospitals not accepting labouring women. Who wants to be changing locations in that spot before transition? That spot where if you were a cat, you'd be settled in your warm dark cupboard.

    I hope they're much, much nicer to you this time round. Good luck (just in case it's sooner rather than later)xoxJ

    Kirsty said...

    Sensational post h&b - really, truly fabulous.

    shellyC said...

    Thanks for sharing and I love how you have told this.
    No one told us either about the carpark thing and I too had a long walk - leaning on walls every few steps as we waddle into the hospital!!

    I say screech in and mount the curb this time!!

    Good luck

    Ange said...

    Wow, definitley a birth to never forget - Hope 2nd time around is much easier & comes soon to end your waiting. I was 4 days early & already sick of the waiting so I cant imagine how bad the late waiting is!

    Suse said...

    The thing with parking in the emergency carpark, is that just as you start pushing your husband says "I have to go and move the car now".

    Which is kinda annoying.

    Good luck for the next few days! Here's to less vomit, and another beautiful in-tune babe for you.


    Fairlie said...

    Gosh. I hope it's easier for you this time around!

    Aunty Evil said...

    That was fantastic! You had me on the edge of my seat!

    Anonymous said...

    love love love the birth story... big cheers for second round fun! I had a rotten time of my first and have high hopes for the second (no news yet damn it!) Hope the next story is shared ASAP... love a good birth story. Been watching some great youtube clips of homebirth. Yeah, I'm a freak, trying to psyc myself up for a rip roaring shot at a natural next time.

    Damselfly said...

    Wow, that's amazing! How awful to be alone for all that time, in pain. I also didn't want an epidural, but my doula suggested I take the nurses' offer for one because she was afraid otherwise they'd be telling me to have a C-section. You're right -- it's so hard to stay still! How cool to have a baby like MB, and I hope your second birth will be much easier with just as cool a little one.

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