Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Girl & Her Epidural

Yes, I had an epidural.

But not because I wanted to.

Really.

A little story:

So, I labored away for about a million hours totally unmedicated. If you followed Andy's blog updates, you know that I made NO progress. After an obscene amount of time in obscene amounts of pain (more intense than anything with Henry), I thought: "Okay, let me have them give me some Stadol...this happened with Henry...I didn't progress, took some Stadol, took a nap, and woke up at 9 centimeters...let's try that again...I bet it'll work..."

Two doses of Stadol later (and two hours of napping) ...and I was...FOUR centimeters.

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

So, I labored away some more.

After over 20+ hours of laboring and the doctors heavily suggesting a c-section and their worry that if I waited too long and needed an emergency c-section, I would be put completely under general anaesthesia (meaning I wouldn't even be awake for the birth)...I got one. last. idea.

"How about if you give me an epidural now...then I'm prepped for the c-section if that's what needs to happen...and while you are at it, pump me with as much Pitocin, as quickly as you can...if I still haven't made progress in two hours, wheel me away..."

So, it was out of desparation. Not necessarily pain management that I asked for it.

I will, however, say that once I gave in and asked for the Epi, I suddenly lost ALL control of my pain. It was as if I had given up mentally and could no longer STAND the pain. I distinctly remember moaning and asking if the Anaesthesiologist lived in Cambodia or something...he just wasn't coming fast enough. Which is weird because I was "fine" before the Epi conversation...I wonder if that's why so many women can't handle the pain of labor...because psychologically they've given up already? Hmmmm...

Anyway, they first give you a numbing dose so that it doesn't hurt to put the cathedar in. Then, in goes the dreaded Epi. Blech.

It worked...

...for a while. After some time, it was as if there was a small "window" of pain in my abdomen...maybe 2 square inches? I paged the nurse..."um, is this supposed to hurt? I thought Epirdurals were supposed to make you pain free?" I don't remember what she said, but it was something along the lines of "it's normal..." Which I thought was strange because NO amount of feeling should be present if this is what you are going to use to drug me up for SURGERY...

...a few minutes later...that window got bigger...and bigger...until I was doubled over in pain (remember during all of this they are practically POURING Pitocin into me at what was probably an alarming rate)...I paged the nurses a couple more times...Andy and our doula were furiously massaging my legs...so. much. pain.

Nurses finally call the Anaesthesiologist BACK. Who finds that apparently something wasn't plugged in the whole time, so the initial wave of pain relief I felt was actually just from that numbing shot...NOT the epidural.

Fantastic.

He plugs whatever in and I feel immediate relief. Okay, I can see the lure of this thing...

I nap for a few hours. Wake up in pain. Are you serious? The pressure I feel is ENORMOUS. I can hardly speak the pain is incredible.

They check me. 5 centimeters. And it's been like 5 hours. On the highest dose of Pitocin they can give me.

My poor uterus gave up. It was tired. And frankly, so was I.

They wheel me down the hallway. I cry. This is so surreal. But at this point, I'm also hooked up to three different antibiotics (I got an infection at some point from being checked so often with broken water) and my pulse was up to a dangerous 150...and I just wanted the girls out and safely in my arms.

I get to the OR and there's my own personal drug dealer...smiling..."How's that Epidural working now?" "Oh my God...please...turn it back on...it hurts...so...bad...I need you to turn it back on..."

Panting. About ready to scratch someone's eyes out.

"What? You can feel pain?"

"Are you KIDDING me?!!! YES."

"Oh...um...that's weird...it's been on this whole time...well, I guess you don't take well to Epidural...that's unusual...I've only seen that happen one other time...that's really rare..."

OF COURSE IT IS. AND OF COURSE IT HAPPENS TO ME. IF IT HAPPENS TO ONLY 1% OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC, YOU CAN ABOUT PUT MONEY DOWN THAT IT WILL HAPPEN TO ME.

Epidurals don't work on me.

Phenomenal.

"I guess I'll have to give you a spinal..."

"Whatever, just hurry up."

Within seconds my legs went tingly and I felt NOTHING. Ahhhh, so much better...

I laid down on the table.

And the tingling kept creeping up. And up. And up.

And I felt like I couldn't breathe. Like I had a ton of bricks on my chest.

And my arm fell off the table and I had to ask Andy to put it back for me.

And it took every OUNCE of will power to stay awake during the birth. I was so so so so so drugged out of my mind. My tongue wouldn't work. I was slurring my words. My eyes just. wouldn't. stay. open.

All of the Discovery Channel shows say that women will feel pressure and tugging...I felt nothing.

And suddenly, I saw a baby and then another and I had no idea what was going on around me. I don't even remember Andy being there. Did I even say anything to him?

They whisked the girls away and while that would normally have bothered me, I was too high to care. So, I fell asleep as they replaced my internal organs and stapled me shut.

I was wheeled to recovery...where I slept in a drug induced stupor.

And finally met my baby girls three hours later.

Where I fell in love.

Even if they are grounded for life.

For putting me through 27 hours of labor only to end up with a c-section...which got infected...and still sits open and oozing two weeks later.

And even still...

...I love being a mom.

It makes no sense.

6 comments:

Jacquelyn said...

... making you a strong canidate for adoption next time. Right?

Jeannett Gibson said...

ABSOLUTELY. I know it's early, but honestly, I'm not one of those people who gets pregnant, has some nausea and has a baby 9 months later...it's much more traumatic...so, yes, if we add a fourth, it will DEFINATELY be via adoption...well, as definite as these things can be...

joy said...

did you buy a lottery ticket yet?

Joanie said...

Yes, buy a lottery ticket. This is the only time anyone's eyes or ears will hear me say this, but for all your numbers...

I had been wondering, now I know! Thanks for sharing your story of what it's like to labor for way more than a day. (And to think I told my nephew when I called him on the 10th for his birthday that your girls would share that birthdate with him...)

I love that you are STILL the poster child for natural childbirth. Yes! Tell it like it is, Sister!

gina said...

i have no words for that story. but i LOVE the ending. you are a wonderful mom. thanks for being so patient today, i can't wait to show you the pictures...

Penny Malley said...

Every woman's Baby Story is so personal to them. And none of us would purposely choose to do or take something that might harm our baby (or babies, as the case may be.) That said, I am a firm supporter of epidurals. In my personal experience, all four times, it was the epi that caused labor to finally progress and get those beauties OUT of me. Only once out of those four times did it actually create a pain-free scenario, however. I've had the "suck-it-off-my-gown-because-it's-leaking-and-therefore-not-working" scenario, as well as the "you-don't-feel-pain-that's-just-pressure" scenario. I could tell stories. Seriously.
But for me, overall, they enabled my body to rest and not fight the contractions, so things could finally progress. (You're talking to a 4-time pitocin gal...)
ANYWAY- I'm so glad you are doing well and have those beauties on the OUTSIDE of you now!! :-)