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Becoming A Mother

The afternoon of July 16, 2008 I officially found out that a long awaited dream was going to present itself in early March. Yes, I was going to be a MOM! I was over the moon and dancing on the stars. This was the greatest news I’ve ever gotten in my whole entire life – no exaggeration!

Like everyone else, I went to the local clinic and picked a doctor. In our ten minute chat – we discussed morning sickness, prenatal health, and what to expect in the upcoming weeks. She stated that she didn’t “believe” in cesarean sections. That was the winning statement, for I feared surgery of any kind. From that moment on, I became comfortable with this doctor and gave her my trust. I blindly trusted the medical system. I need not to worry or educated myself any further. Everything was going to be okay.

During the upcoming months, as my body transformed to suit the little being inside of me, I saw this doctor regularly. The standard practice was having my appointments once a month until thirty weeks gestation, once every two weeks until thirty-seven weeks gestation, and then once a week until labor began. During this time the visits consisted of long waits in the waiting room and quick visits with the doctor. She would read my results that the nurse documented and then listen to the baby’s heartbeat. There was no questions asked about how I was feeling about labor or birth, as I approached my estimated due date. The doctor believed in natural childbirth, exactly what I wanted to hear. The plan was to go in when labor presented itself, go through a little pain, have the baby, and be out the next day. She even told me there was a labor tub. I was excited, as I read water can ease pain and speed labor.

March 1, 2009, my baby’s original due date, came and went. I saw the doctor the day after and voiced my concern that if the baby was going to bunk any longer, I feared he or she would be over nine pounds big. She assured me that I was measuring average and baby would only be around seven pounds. I had nothing to worry about. Then she proceeded to tell me that March 9th would be my induction date as my cervix was still closed.

Two days later, on March 4th, I woke up at 6:00am to what felt like I wet the bed. I went to the bathroom to clean myself up. As I cleaned, I noticed some blood on the toilet paper. I was unsure what this meant. I wasn’t feeling any contractions at all. This wasn’t mentioned in the prenatal classes. Confused, I called my husband who was at work. He wasn’t sure what that meant either and told me to phone my doctor. I did and she told me to come to the hospital immediately.

We arrived shortly after 10:30am. I still was not feeling any contractions. The urine sample confirmed that my water had a slight leak. Despite that I was comfortable and having no contractions, I was ordered to stay in the hospital, as to prevent infection. It was a long, boring, afternoon. We filled out paper work with a nurse who wore bright red lipstick. She told me to stay in bed because “if the umbilical cord fell out, the baby would die”. I literally did not move from that hospital bed. About 2 hours later, another nurse came in, seemingly annoyed that I was doing nothing but sitting around. She told me I should be moving around to get labor going. My husband and I then walked the hospital hallways and even went outside for some fresh air. Small twinges of pain started. By 5:00pm, I was starving – I barely had breakfast and no lunch. My mother-in-law brought us sandwichs from Subway. She was surprised how well I was coping since we were in the hospital close to 7 hours already.

At 6:00pm the doctor came in and checked my cervix – discovering I had “only” progressed to 2cm. She stated it was time to start Pitocin – a labor inducing drug that would be inserted through IV. Nurses strapped a monitor onto belly so they could watch the contractions, the baby’s movement and heart-rate. I felt the stronger contractions immediately. I was allotted time to get up, sit on a yoga ball or walk to the end of the room or go to the bathroom. Then a nurse would get me back on the bed and re strap the monitor on. As each contraction spiked, my husband and I manged to deal with it. I would squeeze a cloth breast pad I had packed and he would massage my lower back. We were managing quite well. A nurse asked us twice during this time if I needed a morphine shot to deal with the pain. Each time we declined her offer.

By 9:00pm the doctor checked my cervix again and I had only dilated to 3cm. I was disappointed. I was starting to get tired. I was also getting very tired of the lifeless hospital room, the uncomfortable hospital bed, and the annoying nurses. The doctor said she was going to break my water. By doing so, that would speed the labor along. She instructed a nurse to increase the dosage of Pitocin.

As she broke the water, she told us that it was not clear but rather greenish. This was meconium and meant the baby had a bowl movement. It was very dangerous and could cause fetal distress. She told us I only had 12 hours to deliver my baby or serious harm could be upon him. I secretly started to freak out.

Immediately the pain had increased. I was starting to think the morphine shot was a good idea. My husband kept telling me otherwise. We were working together through each contraction just fine. I was beginning to doubt him and myself. We decided to try the shower (there was no labor tub like promised). It didn’t seem to help. I was shivering from the pain and the cold draft coming through the shower curtain.  I hung to the handle bar on the shower wall, praying with each contraction that my cervix was moving forward and this would all be over soon.  By 1:00am he nurse checked me and I was about 4-5cm. I wasn’t dilating as fast as I was hoping. I took the morphine shot when she suggested it. My husband stopped persuading me otherwise – he was done arguing. He was also getting very tired and the feeling of helplessness was overwhelming him as he watched the tears trickle down my cheeks as each contraction came and went.

Not even ten minutes after I received the injection of morphine, I was hurling in the garbage can, while trying to deal with an intense contraction. My hands were shaking and my legs were unstable. My husband held me as we watched my supper leave my stomach. My first instinct was right, the morphine didn’t help at all – it just made things worse. However, my intuition was long gone by this point. I wished I had listen to my husband. I physically felt even worse than before and there was no “edge” off the pain.

This was the worst kind of pain imaginable to mankind. Each contraction was lasting a minute long and coming every minute. They were on top of each other, there was no break in between. I watched the hours painfully tick by on that enormous black and white clock, hoping soon this would be over. My husband continued to to say positive things. I regrettably told him I hated him and unlike my personality, cussed how horrible this pain was.

The nurse at that moment, seeing the tension, persuaded me to get on my hands and knees and lean over the bed. I was crying. I felt I was being tortured, nothing was ever going to help me. She rolled out a cylinder of “laughing gas” and told me to breath in the mask. I did as she instructed, in between each breath crying, tears streaming down my face. I hated this. I was no longer thinking about the baby inside of me. I just wanted it all to stop and I wanted to go home and curl up in my safe bed.

My exhausted husband sat in the chair beside the bed. He was done, tired, gave up if you will. He would occasionally mutter “honey, your going to see your baby soon”. Somewhere a bang of positivity hit me. I breathed another mouthful of gas and replied “I can do this”. I then started feeling pressure in my tailbone and told the nurse I needed to go to the bathroom and have a poop. Her reply was making me lay down on my back and checking my cervix. The pressure could mean baby was close. My husband got a burst of excitement and stood by the bed, holding my hand and whispered in my ear that everything was going to be okay. It was going to be over. I would soon be holding my baby in my arms. I smiled.

At 4:45am the nurse declared I was still the “same” at 5ish cm. I shattered. Crying uncontrollably – mumbling that I couldn’t do this another 24 hours – if I was only halfway there. She called the doctor, saying it was probably time to use another method of getting baby out. I knew she meant I was going to need a cesarean section. At that point, I selfishly didn’t care anymore. The excruciating pain dissolved all my senses including my good judgment and the care of myself and child. I wanted and needed the torture to stop.

The doctor came in, checked my cervix and confirmed the fear I had eight and a half months ago. I was going to have a cesarean section. The sad part is, I didn’t even care. She told me she had to call the “team” of doctors and nurses that perform the surgery. I told her to hurry before I died.

I cried the whole time, keeping my eyes closed and twisting my cloth breast pad. More nurses started to bustle around me, setting up IV’s and writing papers. I lost my husband in the chaos. I was alone in my own little painful world. I signed the cesarean consent form – my signature barely recognizable for I was shaking so uncontrollably from the fear, tiredness, and lack of food. Once, I tried hard to change my focus and asked a nurse close by what her guess was on the baby’s gender. We had not found out. It was our big surprise at the end. She brushed me off, telling me she was a horrible guesser and walked away, disregarding my only try the get out of the dark hole I was in.

Right when I thought there was no other pain in the world this horrendous, the doctor told me she was going to insert a cathader. She instructed me to open my legs and tell her when a contraction was coming. I told her I was having one at the present moment and cried. She waited and when it seemed to slow down, she started the insertion. Another contraction began and told her to stop. She continued as two nurses held my legs down. I screamed through both a contraction and what felt like a sharp knife stabbing through my vagina. I realized then, I no longer had rights to my body. I was trapped in something I could no longer control. I was helpless. In fact, I was helpless the moment I stepped into this hospital. I just closed my eyes as the hurricane around me continued.

I was then wheeled into a very chilling room with machines, trays, a million medical tools, and big bright lights. I was transferred from my bed to a stationary one in the middle of the room. I sat on the edge of it as another doctor started to prep my back for a spinal injection. The next instructions were the hardest follow. I had to bear down over my rock hard, bulging belly in the midst of a painful contraction while someone inserts a large needle up my spine. A nurse I hadn’t seen before, held my hands forcefully tight. To add to all of that, I had an annoying itch on my nose that I couldn’t scratch. Finally what felt like forever, the spinal was inserted. They laid me down fast before the drugs kicked in and strapped my harms on boards horizontally beside me.

Before I knew it, the torture that I had injured the last nine hours, was gone … and so was my whole bottom half all the way to my toes. There was now four doctors hovering over me – the anesthesiologist, two surgeons, and my regular doctor as well as an array of nurses. They puffed a blue paper sheet up on my chest, just enough so I couldn’t see my belly. My husband, whom I completely forgot about until now, was escorted in by yet another nurse and sat down beside me. He tightly held my trapped hand.

During the time I was receiving the spinal, he later informed me, that he was in the hall angrily punching the hospital wall. He blamed himself for such a mess we found ourselves in. He vowed he was going to cut off his “wang” when this was all said and done. He was never going to do this to me again.

The next few minutes happened really fast. I was shivering and shaking. They heaped a warm blanket on my upper half. I heard suctioning noises, the doctors tried to make small talk with me. My husband watched in horror as they cut me open, bleeding, and stretching a hole in my abnormal large enough to fit a baby through. I felt my body being tugged vigorously. Then, all of a sudden,  at 6:24 am on March 5, 2009, lifted high above in the air like a trophy – was my newborn son. His umbilical cord was cut and he was rushed to a small center across the room where they suctioned out his mouth and took his vitals. I then heard the sound, I waited a whole lifetime for – a faint cry, followed by louder screaming. That was my baby. I couldn’t see him, only hear him in the distance – but he was finally here. I was finally a mother. I just wanted to hold him, comfort him, kiss him and make sure he knew he was safe. I wanted to see this small human being I waited a whole lifetime for.

What felt like eternity, the doctor brought a big white ball of blankets to my face. Wrapped up so tight, his little face peeking through, I saw my gorgeous son for the first time. He was the most beautiful person I ever laid eyes on. She handed the baby to my husband, who was filled with emotions. It was the first time I ever saw him cry. I just wanted to hug my husband and baby. For one minute we sat together as the new little family we had become. A nurse snapped a couple pictures.

Our baby was then taken to get bathed and measured. I was left alone again as my husband followed our baby. I was in the company of a few less nurses and the doctors who stitched and stapled my stomach closed. A wave of exhaustion had suddenly come over me. I started to drift in and out of consciousness. I knew I was dying. I communicated that I was “really tired” hoping the doctors would catch on and realized something was wrong. Instead of rushing around to save me, I heard the reply “I bet you are”. Not feeling comforted at all, I silently prayed to God to keep me alive so I could see my brand new son, once again.

After an hour or so, I was transferred to another bed, clothed with a new gown and wheeled to a new room. In that room, lay my son in an incubator. My husband very excited, revealed that our son weighed in at a whopping 9lbs 6oz. “No wonder he wasn’t coming out. That baby would have never fit through you” commented the nurse. She then lifted the incubator wall, picked up my son, and laid him in my arms. Close to two hours after he was born, I finally got to hold my baby. Even though this was the greatest moment of my life, it was hard for me to connect that I was now a mother and this was my child. None the less, I stroked his soft pudgy cheeks and planted that first kiss. I never wanted to let him go.

This was not how I pictured my dream of coming into motherhood would be.

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