My Story- Day One

It is finally my turn. I now officially have a story! You know the story I’m talking about. The story that all mothers feel obligated to tell every expectant mom when she is nine months pregnant and feeling anxious and overwhelmed from the imminent body splitting torture she is sure to endure. I now realize that these women do not intend to scare anyone or sound like a know-it-all. But the story is like their own “Red Badge of Courage”.  Labor and delivery is part of the initiation into motherhood and the story is brought out like a war trophy  when reminded of the hard fought and most of the time, won battle.  Maybe if I write this all out for the world to read I won’t feel the urge to tell it every time I see a preggo ready to pop. But then again, probably not. For it is  an obligation, nay, an honor to tell the story of the few most precious days of my life!

On January 26th, 2009 I went in for my doctor appointment. I had the non-stress test as well as an ultrasound / biophysical profile and a regular OB appointment. During the non-stress test, the baby was not very active and needed stimulation to wake up. The nurse rubbed the very visible bump on the right side of my belly which must have been the baby’s back or butt. When rubbed, the baby moved dramatically but not much else activity was recorded. This was very unusual for my non-stress tests. After that test, I went in for the ultrasound. At the previous US only three days earlier, the baby weighed 9lbs 15oz and the amniotic fluid was at a lower level of 7.8. This time she did not take measurements but did check the fluid which was at 7.0. During the OB appointment the nurse practitioner, Megan, said that it wasn’t safe for the fluid to get any lower. She checked my hooha, which was not dilated at all and left to talk to the doctor. When she came back she informed me that they were putting me into the hospital that night at 5pm but because my cervix was not induce-able they would be doing a 12 hour round of cervidil and then induce at about 5am. The doctor came in shortly after to explain the process again. She could tell that I was extremely nervous and suggested that I opt for the c-section because there was a good chance that I would need one anyway. She had previously told me this but I pushed it out of my mind. (I should have just trusted my doctor) I told her that I wanted to at least try to have a natural birth and she said that as long as the baby and I were healthy enough to do so she would respect that decision. She sent us on our way.

We went to Chicago’s Pizza to eat lunch since we had been in the doctor’s office for the last four hours and were starving. It was a pizza buffet which is really kind of like a dream to me, but I could barely eat. The reality was setting in that this was the last time that it would be just “us”.  I also had never really thought of the hospital stay and what was all going to happen there. I had never stayed at a hospital and certainly never been poked and prodded as much as what eventually happened. I think because I had no frame of reference and no idea what to expect, I began to freak out a little. Jimmy brought up something about what we would do with our dog for the next few days. I began to cry…in the middle of the restaurant…in the middle of the day. I didn’t want to leave my puppy and I began to think “what have we done to Jenkins!” He was going to be all alone and missing us and then when we come back, all of our attention will be on the baby. I decided at that moment that I was done with this whole baby thing and I was just going to go home and cuddle in bed with my puppy and hubby for the rest of the week.  If Jimmy had not been pushing me along, I think that is what would have happened. I guess I would have had to have the baby sometime but not that day and I was not going to the hospital.  We left the restaurant and went to clean Jimmy’s car out.  We went home and finished packing up. Well really just Jimmy, I had my bags packed like a good mommy-to-be. We called Becky and Nick Lyons to see if they could watch Jenkins that night. They said they would pick him up after they left the gym later on in the evening. This was good because it wasn’t like I was really saying goodbye to him…just see-ya-later. (Yes, I am ate up over my dog!) We left a little late for the hospital but seemed to get there in time.  They seemed all too accommodating to get me there and commence with the needle time torture so even if we had been late it probably wouldn’t have mattered much.

When we got there they already had my paperwork ready to go. Just a few signatures and I was officially a prisoner subject to whatever they wanted to do me.  I think I might be a bad patient. Although I am mostly cooperative, I am unnaturally skeptical of everyone and their intentions. We waited in the empty waiting room for about ten minutes with all of our bags and watched Charlotte’s Web on the TV. It wasn’t the cute cartoon version that makes you think of a long ago childhood innocence. It was the creepy one with that strange little girl and all of the live animals that they want you to believe are really talking. Do they take me for a fool? Those animals aren’t speaking and the pig isn’t really flipping around. Its just weird. Anyway, the nurse finally called us back and led us to room 2018.  She gave me a gown and told us to get comfortable. Uh huh lady, I’ll get right on that as I slip into this paper thin drape which is tied around my neck like a noose and hangs open for the entire world to see whatever they want.  I put the stupid thing on and laid in what was to become known as the slab of agony.  My first nurse made her way into the room with awkward glances and witty yet snide remarks that were socially inappropriate. She was to become know as the hurler of anguish as nothing that they could do to me in the hospital for those six days could come close to the pain that she was about to shower down on me.  She put the fetal monitors around my belly and started getting my IV ready.  Now I don’t hate needles on their own, but I don’t like to see them in action or before they are used on me so I politely turned my head away as every wuss does when faced with a pointy object.  As I heard the unwrapping of what seemed to be the most well packaged needle ever, Jimmy stepped up to my side and took my hand. At that very moment, I knew that this was going to hurt real bad. You see, Jimmy is usually very laid back in the doctor appointments and usually isn’t too concerned about my procedures.  When he stepped up to comfort me, I thought that he had seen what must have been a sword come out of that packaging and someone who was all too thrilled to stab me repeatedly with it. I think it took this nurse ten minutes to get the IV in right. The entire time I was thinking, “OK, you can hold on a few more seconds, she HAS GOT to be done soon.” But she just kept on going.  This marks the second time I cried that day, oh, and a few yelps and howls came out.  Finally, after wrapping my entire wolf man-like hairy arm in heavy medical tape, she released her sadistic hold on my arm. I expected the pain to subside. But it was as if she had cast a spell on me because the pain not only did not subside, it got worse without her even touching me. I even asked her while staring at my arm if she had taken the needle out.  The pain ended up staying for at least two hours. I can tell you honestly besides the contractions, this was the worst pain I experienced the entire time in the hospital.  You might say what about when they sliced open your belly, or when they gave you a catheter. No, inserting the IV(once again other than the contractions) was the worst of it. If I had known that from the beginning, I think I would have been a lot more relaxed since the almost worst of the pain was over within the first hour.

Next, the Nurse Practitioner, Cher came in to do a quick ultrasound and insert the cervidil. She literally placed the wand on my belly for a matter of ten seconds or less and said yep the head is down. She did not tell me at that point that she thought the head was facing front. I found this out the next day from another nurse. I really still don’t think that it was true because earlier in the same day at the doctor’s office the tech said that the baby was still facing the back like it always had been. Cher started to get the cervidil ready but she was supposed to be leaving at 6 for the day so Dr. Bighands came in to relieve her. They debated for a few minutes about if Cher would finish the job or go ahead and go. Because they were both being extremely too polite to each other, in my opinion,  they couldn’t come to a decision. They asked me. I have to explain that I have never had a male OB/GYN and for a good reason. It makes me uncomfortable. Almost as uncomfortable as trying to pretend that what was going on in that Charlotte’s Web movie was real.   So I wanted to holler out,”You are a man. I let a man in there once and look what he did to me! There is no way I am making that mistake again! And have you seen your hands? They are enormous. They aren’t even proportionate to your arms. You can go on with your badself and find another fool down the hall but it ain’t gonna be me!” But instead I gave the typical female response and said, “I don’t care.” Now I know why lieing is a sin. Sin hurts, and this sin hurt more than I can bare to recall. After a few jokes to lighten the mood, Cher left me in the care of these two terror beasts.

Doctor Evil and Nurse Misery began doing seperate medical histories so that I was answering questions from both of them. Please understand, all of this happened so fast that I was still in shock not only from the whole ordeal yet to come, but also from the IV torture.  Doctor Gorilla Paw confirmed with me that this was my second pregnancy to which I said calmly yes at the same time Jimmy hollered, “What? No!” The doctor looked at us as if to say “Do you two need some time alone?” Jimmy was befuddled and started wondering if I had a secret love child somewhere. He did not realize that the miscarriage I suffered five years earlier was still a pregnancy. The next question had me a little befuddled(and folks these aren’t hard questions). I somehow implied that I was on drugs while I was pregnant. Everyone became very concerned and Jimmy was trying to clear my mistaken answer before the cops and CPS were called. I thought she was asking me if I had ever in my 27 years of life taken recreational drugs. She apparently was asking me if I was a deadbeat mom to which my answer was a sheepish yes.

So Doctor Fist put in the cervidil, which is really like a string with medicine on it. He put the medicine part in my cervix and then the string just hangs out like a tampon string. It really hurt(remember sin hurts I should have just told the truth). It seems like every time they checked me or did anything in there, it hurt much worse than at the doctors office.  I thought the thing was just going to come out and then I also had all the monitors on my arms and belly, so it was really hard to move much. Soon after the Twins of Torture left, my father-in-law came in. At this point, my blood pressure was through the roof. Every few minutes the when the machine would take my blood pressure, I would set off the alarms and a nurse would have to come in and shut it off. It eventually got so high that they quit telling me what it was. Everybody kept telling me to calm down. If calm or comfortable came out of one more person’s mouth I think I would have started stabbing people through their eye with a dum-dum sucker.

When I got to the hospital, not before, they informed me that I would only be able to eat those Dum-Dum suckers, jello, popsicles, and juice until midnight and then after that nothing. So after I barely ate all day, I was now looking at not eating until after I had this baby which I was thinking would not be for another 24hours. Visitors would come into my room and get all bright eyed when they saw the Dum-Dums  and say all goofy, “oh look suckers, can I have one, what flavors are there?” as if I was sitting on my front porch on Halloween night handing out candy. People, just because there are suckers in a room doesn’t mean you have to revert back to first grade and get all loopy. Focus please, something is about to be ripped from my insides.

After Jim left, Jimmy went to get something to eat because I didn’t want him eating in front of me.  While he was gone, I ate some jello and watched 24. I finally got a new nurse. Nurse Death-Is-At-My-Fingertips was finally gone. When Jimmy came back, he had his haircut but still had his ’70s porno stache. Both of which I had been begging him to cut / shave off. We started getting ready for bed and I realized I was not going to be able to sleep. The labor and delivery bed was not meant to sleep in. It was meant to assist in bringing on the pain of childbirth. The nurse said that the doctor had ordered me some Ambien. What? Are you serious? Most pregnant ladies don’t take any kind of sleeping aids for the better part of nine months and you want to give me Ambien? Ok…knock me right on out…that would be fantastic! We got ready for bed, me in this terrible bed with bars all through it, and Jimmy in a vinyle covered recliner that wouldn’t stay reclined because it was broken.  I fell right to sleep like I usually did, but then was up an hour later at 1am. I could tell that Jimmy was also having trouble sleeping because I could hear him squeaking in what sounded like a plastic shower curtain covered chair all night. I dozed in and out for the next hour but by 2am I was up the rest of the night. Do you know how hard it is to sleep with every machine in the world strapped to you and something hanging out of your you-know-what? Everytime I moved, the monitors got out of place and the nurses would come back in and try to quietly move them back into place. No need to be quiet sister, I’m not sleeping anyways. I also had to get up to pee every 45 minutes or so even though I hadn’t been drinking anything. I got up so often that the nurse just showed me how to unplug all of my cords and how to plug them back in myself so that I didn’t have to call a nurse everytime I wanted to use the bathroom.  On top of that, you have women all around you screaming out in labor, saying some pretty nasty things and as much as I didn’t want to listen, I had to, as torturous as it was, because when you heard the screaming stop and the baby start crying…sniff,sniff , well lets just say it was an awesome sound.  Then there was all the chair noise from Jimmy trying to hold his chair in place and the tossing and turning. At one point, I looked over at him, and he was face down on the chair trying to hold it open with his body. He is an inventive fellow and he never gave up. I will at least give him that.

I never got back to sleep. I had no idea what this next day would hold for me and was actually quite anxious and scared about the whole thing.  But as I watched the sun rising, I knew one thing that made all of my worries seem meaningless, that every passing minute brought me closer to holding my baby in my arms.

Stay tuned for day two…

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2 Responses to “My Story- Day One”

  1. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

  2. Hello Angela,

    I hope you won’t think this is too crazy strange but i just lost my father-his name was – Dr.James Cochran- so I decided to google some of is work online and see if there were things he’d done, studied, taught other etc that maybe I’d missed. I am doing anything I can to be close to him again. See I’m daddy’s little girl always and I just miss him so much. As I was doing this I came across these beautiful pictures of James Cochran your baby boy! I would like you to know it really helped me to have a smile in my time of sorrow. Thank you for posting James’ pictures. He is adorable.

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