Friday, November 10, 2006

Life Immerging

My mom was in town to help out while I was on bed rest. Two kids with a pregnant mom on bed rest is bad news. Thank goodness mothers have mothers who know that we always need our mom. I awoke in the morning and rolled over to my husband and said, “She’s coming today. Are you ready? I can feel it.” That afternoon, he accompanied me to my doctor appointment (for the first time in nine months). Of course, I cried when the doctor said no to my request of her to strip my membranes. After all I was very large and very hormonal and very sick of pregnancy. I longed to meet the person who was letting herself be known inside me. I longed to look into her eyes and welcome her into my life and into my family.

My doctor sent me to the hospital for some tests, (I had pregnancy-induced hypertension) and when the nurses released me to go home to rest in bed, I said, “I’ll see you in a few hours. She’s coming today. I can feel it.” They laughed and went on to the next hormonal woman.

The pains started in the store. We had stopped off to run an errand, and suddenly I was having to stop every few minutes and breathe through the pain. My patient husband stood with me and held me up. We continued shopping for a while—these things take time, you know (labor & delivery AND picking out new DVD players). By the time we arrived home, we were ready to call Auntie Jess to come watch the kids. (Part of the deal of having my mom help out assured a front row seat to her first live birthing experience.) Suddenly I felt a great urgency. I announced that we had to leave immediately, and off we went to the hospital.

I had been checked in, changed into my little gown, and had monitors on my belly to listen to the baby. I was getting the IV, and the nurse accidentally went right through my vein. She was considerate enough to only work on me when I was not in the middle of a contraction. Suddenly the contractions were one on top of the other. They got worse, and there wasn’t time in between them. All of a sudden alarms started sounding, and in came several nurses. The baby’s heart rate was dropping. They hastened the doctor on duty and I could tell that something was really wrong, because they stopped being nice to me. They started shouting directions at me, no matter that the contractions were unbearable. “Roll to your other side!” (This is quite hard to do when one is firstly nine months pregnant, and secondly in the middle of intense contractions!) “Get on your hands and knees!” (Believe me, that little gown slipped right off.) There I was on my hands and knees, completely naked, the alarms sounding loudly in the room, the doctors and nurses running in and out saying things like, “Prepare the O.R.!” “Get her doctor up here right away!” My husband had panic on his face. They told him that they were going to have to do an Emergency C-section, and they didn’t know if he would be able to be in the room or not. They threw a pair of scrubs and a mask at him and told him to change, just in case. The doctor reached up inside me hard and fast in the middle of my pain and broke my bag of waters. The warmth gushed out of me and puddled at my knees as I moaned. “Cover me,” I whispered. “Someone, please cover me.” (I can’t help it, I’m modest, and even though I was in the middle of a trauma, I didn’t feel like being nine months pregnant and naked on all fours!) My sweet mother came over and found a blanket and placed it gingerly over my trembling body, and I was so grateful.

They started rolling my bed to the O.R. and I tried to get from my hands and knees to my back when I realized we were in motion and going toward the hallway. I found myself praying, perhaps out loud, asking for the strength I needed to make it through this experience. They stopped my bed in the middle of a bright, sterile room, where there must have been about ten people, including my doctor. (How did she get here so fast?!) There were several nurses at my feet, pulling and pushing, until I was in the right position. I jolted as a catheter was inserted quick and hard, and I heard the reassuring words from a nurse, “that’s it, it’s over,” and I looked up and the masked anesthesiologist was talking to me. He was asking me questions. My husband came in, and told me he couldn’t stay, and that he loved me and gave me kiss. I smiled at him, and he looked like a little boy as he backed away out of the room. My hand got cold and then my wrist, and the room and the noise and the light all faded.

The next thing I remember was waking in convulsions, and my middle was in so much pain with each jerky movement. My knees were knocking together, and I was so cold. I opened my eyes and moaned in pain and my husband suddenly showed up at my side. “Please, help,” I managed. “Hold my legs steady.” I passed out, thankfully.

When I woke next, I was in a different room and the nurses were gently nudging me, saying, “She’s hungry, do you think you could nurse her?” My eyes wouldn’t stay open and I tried to lift my useless arms, but they were like lead weights, and they wouldn’t move from my side. I tried to communicate that I wanted to see my baby, but my mouth couldn’t form words and soon I would be unconscious again.

Sometime later I opened my eyes and found my husband close by. I wondered what had happened while I was out. I asked about our baby, and he said my mom was holding her in the nursery. He told me she was just fine and perfect. Within moments my mom was handing me my child. My weak arms found their way around her tiny body and felt natural as they snuggled her in close.

“I’m so glad you decided to stay. I’m so happy that you fought,” I whispered to her. “I’m so glad you’re here with me. Welcome.” The love was immediate and profound, and the reality that she had chosen to fight for life was a part of her being. It was communicated from her soul to mine, and she seemed content with her beginning. A new life had immerged and it was hers.


Andrew said...

"Thank goodness mothers have mothers who know that we always need our mom."

Amen to that! Mother's sisters are pretty awesome too.

To Love, Honor and Dismay

The Whole Self said...

omg- i peek in here once in a while, and have never commented...but here i am! this post was magical, heartbreaking, real and so perfect. thank you for sharing. as a doula in training, i think it's so important to tell our stories, over and over. what a special story you have. xo

Anonymous said...

I've heard it before, but it still captivated me. It really speaks of your strength of a human being.

Ready to do this all over again?


Left-handed Trees... said...

I was dazed by this reading--what a profound (yet traumatic) birth story...really...I am at a loss for words!

Anonymous said...

You made me laugh and cry. So wonderfully written.

Clairissa said...

What an amazing story and how wonderful to have it documented in such a beautiful, but real way. Thanks for sharing. You and your daughter are strong women.

b/sistersshoes said...

Brittany...I was lying down and reading this, by the end I was sitting up with my computor in my lap and clutching the I have a knot in my stomach that is slowly loosening. Whew! What a story..and my 10 lb 2 ounce baby girl was an emergency C too, so I remember some of the same things, so clearly.

That woke me up :D

snuggles to you on this rainy afternoon,
xxx darlene

MiandMiksmom said...

What an amazing story...I had no idea. You are one amazing gal.

Suzie Petunia said...

What a beautiful and amazing experience. I am so glad it had a happy ending!

emma jo said...

The worst and then the best. I once heard that no one gets so close to death as the moment a mother brings a new child into the world...and I believe it. I am grateful.
Beautifully written!

Krista said...

This was truly beautiful. Thanks for sharing such an unbelievable moment. Thanks for fighting- I'm happy you are here. Of course I am crying... what else did you think I would be doing?

Alli said...

I just bawled through the whole thing. I had a little one too in July, and though not QUITE as traumatic as that, it was a scary birth.

Thanks for this.