Since they had already prepped me for the possibility of a C-section (both my mind and my body; mind not so ready…)
I am according to the nurses all ready to go.
I ask somebody to get my husband but nobody seems to listen, they are all glued to my baby’s heart rate monitor and that makes me even more nervous. “Wait, she will make it, right?
There is no possibility that she wouldn’t…right?”
Then the thought hits me that my pain meds might have caused her sudden drop in heart rate. I am beside myself with guilt; the timeline fits.
It is now early afternoon and the bright sun is shining in from the large hospital windows. I ask the nurse, trembling with anxiety. She is telling me that the pain meds have no effect on the baby whatsoever, this kind won’t even reach her at all and I am trying to convince myself that she is right and that she wouldn’t lie to me.
They are trying different things with me and switching out some stuff on my IV, moving me into different positions on the bed.
The pressure is building up and I really do feel the urge to push.
The baby is stabilizing for a couple of minutes and it is then the doctor comes in with a big smile asking me if I’m ready to push? Again, I’m confused; “what about the OR?”.
Luckily my husband comes in right then asking the doctor what is going on. She tells him to get ready for the baby; she will be coming very soon!
What; I panic yet again, I’m not ready. I want to scream that she is only 34 weeks and my body has been trying to refuse this delivery all along. This is not right, but Dr. Jenny just smiles while she is checking me (this time I am barely flinching). “I knew it” she says, “knew what?” I ask “that I’m not progressing?” (almost hopeful now). “You are 10 plus one” she replies (whatever that means, 11?).
The pressure is crazy now and I almost can’t help but push involuntarily. The doctor leaves with an order to the nurse to hold off on the OR and that she will be back shortly, she then turns to me, telling me that she will be watching in the lounge (I think about that for a second: what will she be watching? Me in this bed? Me pushing? And where, in some comfy, plushy lounge?
After the doctor leaves, the motherly nurse gets right down to business, telling my husband to grab my left leg “up, out and back” as she grabs my other. I get a strong and vivid flashback to the birth of my son as she tells me to push like my life depends on it (and maybe the baby’s).
She counts to ten (rather slowly) and then tells me to rest (for about a second).
Wow, this is hard work, after the almost 32 hours in labor I’m exhausted.
What they say is true though, something else kicks in, adrenaline is flowing and it takes me over, as I grunt and push and breathe; not really conscious to the rest of the world or what is going on around me.
After four rounds of pushes she is suddenly telling me not to push anymore. I am stunned at this information; am I not supposed to push her out as fast as possible?
The social worker (the one that was impressed that I was a licensed MFT) comes in to tell me not to get scared about the team of people that will soon crowd our hospital room. “They are only here to make sure the baby is okay and to whisk her away to the neonatal intensive care unit”. She is telling me not to get sad if I don’t get to hold her and to listen and trust the medical professionals. Ehum.. okay, and when can I push again?
Nobody tells me anything and again the urge to push is intense. My husband is still holding my leg and my body feels shaky and weak.
The nurse warns me yet again not to push and I’m really trying not to; not sure what is going on.
Two young girls come in to ask if we want to donate our baby’s core blood. The nurse tells me that I don’t have to talk or listen to these girls right now but I’m feeling gracious. If my baby’s blood can save lives; why not? But then they ask me to sign some paperwork and I’m like; are they kidding me? I’m in the pushing phase of active labor and shaking like a madwoman, they want me to sign documents? Now?
Actually hold a pen and sign my name? We ask if my husband can do it but no, it has to be me. Somehow I hold the pen close enough to the paper and I’m not sure what kind of signature I produce but they seem satisfied.
The nurse tells me that my baby is not doing too well. Oh no, not again, I can’t handle more of this. She says that maybe the surgery can’t be avoided after all…
She then calls the doctor to ask her, instead Dr. Jenny comes running. She has a brief, intense conversation with the nurse and I understand enough to know that they are concerned; very concerned. Seconds later the room fills with people; what is going on here?
The doctor pulls up a chair and sits right in between my legs. She pulls the stirrups out and tells me to put my feet in them and move my bottom close. She locks eyes with me and tells me to push like I have never pushed before.
In my peripheral vision I see the nurse shake her head. I do a couple of rounds of pushes until the nurse screams that they have to roll me away to the operating room after all.
But the doctor’s face is grim, with clenched teeth she informs us all that the baby is already in the birth canal, it’s too late for surgery now. I’m not sure my husband is aware of what is going on but I am terrified. “Jenny, you are going to have to push her out” Dr. Jenny says.
The nurse tells her that baby is not doing well. The doctor tells me “One more push, you got this!” (No pressure) “This is the one push where you will have to get her out” (eh…okay, let me get on that).
I feel her head coming out, I feel it. The burning sensation is out of this world.
And then I hear the nurse gasp; “she is not going to make it”…