The second part of my journey comes from birthing my son. I've actually been working on this for a couple weeks, but the emotion I've felt re counting this story has brought me to tears and boiled my blood on many an occasion.
Between my daughter and my son was 4 years, 3 moves across the country, and a new husband. I'm now 20, living in my small hometown in NL, and married. The strangest thing I found, while being pregnant with my son, was the medical care situation. Being in a remote town, an hour away from a major city, meant that my prenatal care was with my family doctor in town, but my birth would have to be in the city hospital over an hour away. I didn't have a hospital tour, I didn't have an idea of the birthing units, hospital policy, or even who would catch my baby. Honestly, I wasn't overly nervous as my first pregnancy and birth was relatively easy.
I also seemed to hear more "horror" stories this time around. It seemed when pregnancy was brought up, people had to tell me about how sick they were, or how bad the delivery was, or how they've never been able to pee the same since having children. Which, is all fine and dandy, however, anyone who's ever been pregnant understands fear of the uncertain, and these stories did not help. I was convinced that all would be well though, since my first birth was wonderful.
I actually did have a harder time carrying my son. I was diagnosed with a thyroid condition, which meant more tests, more doctor visits, more medication... All things I had not experienced with my first.
Now, barring all the previous information, it was the birth of my son that triggered the desire to help families. I was about 41 weeks pregnant, knowing what I know now, I was probably just shy of 40 weeks. I was huge, really huge. I gained close to 100 pounds (I was on medication & had a thyroid issue), I was passed my "due date", so my family doctor stated that Friday November 8 I would be scheduled for an induction. I would have to go to the city hospital, and have pitocin, and have the baby. Well, the only thing I was every truly terrified of during my pregnancy was a pitocin induction. I went to my parents house (they had internet) and looked up natural induction. My husband (Tavin) and I found whatever we could at the local pharmacy and grocery stores, and prepared for operation get baby out. Thursday evening, November 7th, 2002 I started off with a pineapple juice and castor oil cocktail, followed by hot wings, more castor oil, and black currant tea. By midnight my belly was not impressed with this plan, and if you've ever drank castor oil, you know where this is headed. I spent the next couple hours in the bathroom begging to not go into labour.
Around 2am, I started having for real contractions and jumped in the shower. This was it, I was in labour. We didn't have a car at the time, so I called my mother to give us a ride to the local clinic to be checked - a common procedure for the area, as you didn't want to have to drive all the way to the city in the winter if labour wasn't real. When I arrived, I was 4cm and it was confirmed I'd need to head to the city. There was a snowstorm, and Newfoundland highways are nothing like here in AB. Especially in a storm. The ambulance was called, and I was rechecked before leaving, now at 5/6 cms in less than an hour, they wanted to get me on the way quickly.
I didn't want to go. I was afraid. I wanted my mom. I didn't want to be strapped onto the ambulance gurney. I was very fortunate that my mothers friend was a nurse, who happened to be in that evening. Rose came in the ambulance with me and my husband as escort, and as an extra set of hands. Many a baby has been born on the highway in NL, simply do to lack of birthing facilities.
Rose sat in the back with me, Tavin was instructed to sit up front, and we were on our way. During the long drive to the hospital, Rose was my calm. I couldn't see Tavin, as I was buckled to the gurney, facing the back of the ambulance. Rose held my hand, and felt my belly during contractions, reminding me that I was doing great, and that we'd soon be there. Her voice still rings in my ears "You're doing so good, not long now". She was my doula.
Upon arriving to the hospital, Rose helped me get through the check in phase, although I really don't know when she left to go back home. It was all a jumble of wheeling through halls, wondering where my husband was, having no idea where I was going. My husband was required to do the admitting papers. Now, I don't care what any hospital policy is, when you have someone in labour, do not take away their only form of support. The bullshit has to stop. I live in Canada, the proud country of freedom, safety and understanding, but we have a ways to go when it comes to respecting a labouring person. How can anyone feel safe when they are not informed of their rights?
Moving on. I finally am wheeled into the L&D ward, and put in my room. I'm asked all kinds of stupid questions, and checked by the nurse. I'm strapped to the monitor and told to lay still. I'm contracting regular (anyone with eyes can see that), and internally I'm about 7 or so cms. Being strapped down made things so much worse, I vividly remember one specific contraction, and asking to move, to get unplugged. "No, we need to know how you're doing". I'm going to have a baby, that's how I'm doing. I'm checked again, as I can feel things changing, first by the nurse, then by the student nurse. The student accidently broke my waters. "Oh, wow. What's that! I think I broke your water, I'm sorry". Contractions intensify, I'm still on the bed, I need to get up, I need to pee. "No, I have to double check what the student did, stay still". I try, I'm a good patient. "Oh, looks like you might be ready to push, let's get you down to delivery".
I can't remember how I got there, I think I was wheeled down, because everytime I wanted to walk, they would insist on having me sit and stay still. Against my internal voice screaming no, I listened to them. I didn't know how to say no outloud.
I'm on the bed, on my back, monitored, in "Delivery", which was an operating room. Giant lights, raised bed, surgical. I was scared. My husband was doing his best to keep me calm. The doctor arrives between my legs, proceeds to check me again. Through several contractions he watches baby's head descend. He continuously puts his hands in my vagina, twisting and turning, and making me redicoulsy uncomfortable. Everytime I feel his fingers, I can feel my body tense, my baby moving further away from the exit.
He has me put my feet up to the stirrups, my back aches, my hips scream, I tell him I don't want to, it hurts. He doesn't care, he now has a better view. A better view of my vagina. He says "You're contractions aren't strong enough, hook up the pit" To that, I fight. I say no, I move my hand, the nurse stabs me with the needle, blood goes everywhere. I'm trying to labour, to handle contractions, to focus on bringing my baby in the world. I focus on pushing, on getting my baby out, and getting out of that fucking bed. All the while my legs are splayed, a nurse is poking at me, the doctor tells me to push with his hand inside me, touching my child's head.
My son arrived, just as the nurse manages to get the line in my hand. I try and say there is no need of it now, my baby is here. The doctor instructs her to keep it in. I now wonder if it's because I said no. Do I get this IV because I was difficult?
I calm down, my beautiful little boy is in my arms. My son, Jayden is 9lbs 1oz. Everyone tells me how good I did. I'm happy, overjoyed, and this memory of pain and hurt, and heartache and abuse gets buried.
- To be continued.