Little Prince's Birth Story - Part 3

I’m back to share more of the story of Little Prince’s birth. Life in the Corner Table House has always been busy and really, once you have a couple kids it’s pretty much impossible not to be busy all the time. Still, when I look at my schedule lately even I am shocked by just how much there is on that. Hopefully once Little Sister’s wedding is past (less than 2 weeks now!) my schedule and my days won’t seem quite so jam packed. In any case, as I said when I started, I’m back with more about Little Prince.

Before I continue I just want to say that there are some parts, some descriptions and portions of the story in this segment (and the next one too) that are sort of graphic. I’ve tried not to be too, too graphic but in some cases a bit of specific description is simply necessary. So, while I can’t say I’m sorry for the way I’ve chosen to share certain aspects, I will apologize if the amount of detail offends. Now, to continue

After the decision to induce labor using Oxytocin was made, the drug was quickly ordered and a nurse arrived to insert an IV in my hand. Well – she tried. She couldn’t quite manage it but she tried. And then another nurse came and tried. Twice but she too failed. I’ll admit I’ve been told once or twice in the past (about the only times I’ve ever had to have an IV) that it’s difficult to tap into my veins, and I did mention this to the nurses but they didn’t really seem to believe me. Until about then that is.

Vein Finder.
Photo from - https://www.gethow.org/afraid-needles-vein-finder-will-help
Because they were having such difficulty getting a vein, they called in an ICU nurse with a Vein Finder – a really cool piece of tech that lit up a square of my arm and displayed all the veins running under the skin as if backlit or under a black light. That nurse, even with her Vein Finder, still couldn’t get a vein and, since my arms were already beginning to turn black and blue with bruising, the head nurse from the ICU was summoned. She finally managed to get the IV in, a drip of Oxytocin was started and just as it was meant to do, labor began to progress accordingly.

Three and a half hours later I felt ready to push but upon inspection, the baby wasn’t quite in the right position – it was still somewhat higher in the cervix then needed and was seemingly being held back by an unbroken sac and a great deal of amniotic fluid, or what the nurses called a ‘bulging membrane.’ Throughout all this I was doing rather well with pain management and by that point I was honestly just ready to have the baby already. So as with each of my previous deliveries, the OB and two delivery nurses prepared to break my water with a small prick to the membrane.

And that was, pretty much, the precise moment when everything seemed to go to shit.

As I said, in all my deliveries my waters were broken by the OB (using an innocuous looking tool, not unlike a crochet hook), so the sensation and typical outcome were ones I knew what to expect. I felt the anticipated ‘pop’ sensation as the membrane was punctured and immediately following was a moment of relief as the water started to drain – sort of like when you’ve had to go pee for a really long time and you’ve been holding it and holding it, cursing yourself for drinking that last bottle of water (or whatever) and then finally you get to the toilet, sit down and let go. You know, that “aaahhhhhhh” moment.  This relief lasted only a moment however.

Have you ever watched a dog running on one of those extendable leashes? It runs around moving closer and further away from its human, testing just how far it can go, until suddenly something catches its eye and it bolts full speed ahead. It runs and runs and then is jerked back hard as the leash hits its full extension. I’ve seen dogs jerked up on to their back legs and all the way over on to their backs. I’ve always thought that it must startle them nearly as much as it must hurt them when it happens.

After that first brief moment of relief it was like something inside of me was that dog running full tilt and being jerked back when it reaches the end of the leash. Pain that had been manageable to then increased 10-fold in a flash, stealing my breath with the intensity. At the same time, I was aware that the liquid escaping me just kept flowing, far more than I’ve ever previously experienced. In just seconds I felt it soak the bedding under me to my feet and up my back to my shoulders. I heard the splashes of it hitting the floor around my bed.

And I knew that was wrong.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that what was happening wasn’t right but I was, in that moment, completely focused on the pain. I was focused on trying to continue to breathe, not to “breathe through the pain” as I had been, but just to breathe because the pain was suddenly so intense that I couldn’t. I was focused on trying to keep my composure and on trying to keep calm, or as calm as I could possibly be in the circumstances. And I was focused on not letting the screams that were building inside my head to burst out of my mouth. Because while my labor and delivery had obviously not been going precisely as I’d hoped, or expected, wanted, or planned, I had been handling it well. But suddenly I was terrified for me and for my baby.

Fear, true fear had never been present in any of my previous L&D’s. I can tell you now, from the flip-side of the experience, that it’s a horrible thing – that fear. Thirteen years, (almost) four deliveries, and for the first-time: fear. Who else has experienced fear during labor and delivery – not just an uncertain fear of a nebulous unknown, but true fear for your life and/or the life of your child?

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