this is what i would like to call: the dark night of the soul, or even better, the dark, dark, painful night of the pitocin demon.
that doesn't even give it justice.
to explain labor pain is trying to convey the emotions of a woman to a man. or marital love to a small child. or eternity to a human. we just don't have words for it if we have yet to experience it. i don't know about others, i've heard it feels like "cramps" or "back pain" or a really bad stomach ache. to that i say, "ha!"
i have a rather high tolerance of pain. i'm one of those people who always have the random ailment plaguing my body - the latter portion of my pregnancy gives you a good glimpse. i've had kidney stones, torticollis (a twisted neck thing), and food poisoning twice. if you could extract the pain from each of those situations, triple it, and pour into onto a person - it would still only be a half of the pain of my "pitocin contractions".
okay, that may be a little extreme. but it hurt. and the word hurt doesn't do it. i had never felt anything like them in my life.
now, i understand pregnant women may be reading this... or those soon to be pregnant. i want you to know, i think i may have experienced the more extreme version of labor pains. they were manufactured and augmented with back labor thrown in. the contractions by this point were coming in at a peak, and lasting very long, then ending with a 30 second break. (they vary very different from normal latent contractions).
by this point i was on the birthing ball, with ricky sitting on our hospital bed facing me. my wonderful doula, betsy, was behind me with a rice sack warmed and pressed against my lower back. as each contraction came i would literally scream/groan through each one right into ricky's face, and then collapse during my short break.
this is one of those points where i can truly say i wouldn't have made it through that night without my husband. to say i went through those contractions alone would be a lie. i don't think ricky has ever focused longer in his entire life, and i know it was horrific to see me in such pain. but the wonderful thing about my husband, is that he doesn't decipher pain as a horrible thing. i think as Christians, we've learned pain can be one of the most beneficial causes to a slew of wonderful effects. and so with each wave of pain, we knew it meant Amos was 1 minute closer to being in our arms.
as each contraction ended, i started entering into a real fearful phase, knowing the next one was only seconds away. you get the release of one being over, but as soon as you gather your breathe, you have to start mentally preparing for the next one to come. it truly is like the waves of the ocean, one comes in, subsides, and you can see a new one gathering on the waters in the distance. i would start saying to ricky in a panic, "i don't know if i can do another, i don't think i can do it." and he would take my hands, tell me i could do it, and encourage me to relax through it (i think that relaxing through these was near impossible, but it was comforting to hear him suggest it).
Around 2 AM I threw up. I think it was from such extreme pain.
At this point I had been going through pitocin contractions for 5 hours, and somewhere during this time a nurse came to check me. I don't have it recorded but I'm pretty sure I had only dilated 1 more centimeter, at 5 centimeters. This meant it took almost a 36 hours to only get halfway. When I heard this news I really entered into panic/stressed mode, and felt incredibly defeated.
On top of this, my heart rate was decelerating, which i don't think was too serious - but the hospital would make me lie down and put an oxygen mask on my face. i could handle the contractions if i was on the birthing ball, bouncing, vocalizing through them, holding onto ricky, and moving through them. when i was on the bed, however, it was a different story. because it was back labor, i think laying down doubled the pain. it was near impossible to get through them, and i think i was crying the entire time, grabbing the side bar, and screaming/groaning. on top of this i had wires hooked up to me and a face mask on.
by the time i was back on the birthing ball, and facing ricky, it was around 2:30 AM. in between each contraction i started to tell Ricky i couldn't do it anymore, i honestly could not do it and i needed an epidural.
the main reason i finally came to this decision was the fact i was still progressing so slowly. if i had been at 8 or 9 i think the end would have been in site and i could have fought through it, but at this point there was no guessing how long my body would have to contract to get this little guy down and out. later we discovered he was turned in the wrong direction coming down, and his head was being forced again a bone inside. he really WASN'T progressing much, and the best thing we could have done was moved around to get him situated down. that was no longer possible, due to the pitocin/hook ups, and so the hours had turned into days.
i also was beyond exhausted. the last time i had slept was saturday night and we were now into monday night. between each contraction my eyes were rolling back in my head and i felt as if i was going to pass out. pile on top the fact i was emotionally unstable due to extreme lack of sleep.
our goal was a natural birth with no pain medication because it is the best kind of birth. it's the safest and most beneficial for both mom and baby. our higher goal was avoiding a c-section. i think at this point, if i had continued, i would not have had enough energy to continue through the next hours of contractions (which ended up being 17 more) and the pushing (which ended up being very difficult and long). to take an epidural was worth gaining a vaginal delivery. i wasn't thinking this clearly, of course, but now that i look back i'm thankful to God it ran the course it did to save me from the impending c-section.
i told ricky i needed one, and he of course responded telling me i could do it, take it one contraction at a time, etc. this was because i had told him to do this, and under no circumstances to let me get an epidural. it took a good 10-15 minutes for me to convince him that i truly needed one and i literally could not handle anymore. i had been in labor for 34 hours, and on pitocin for over 5 hours.
we prayed some, and during this time my most precious memory of my labor was created. i remember so clearly ricky holding me, looking into my eyes, and tearing up watching me be in so much pain and have to wave my white flag of surrender. we didn't know why it was taking so long, why it was going the way it was, and i know ricky was so sad that i had to give up to what i truly did not want. on top of it, all we wanted was to meet our son, and for him to be okay. i think in those moments it was as if everything around us disappeared and it was our on little family, in our first true moment of hardship together. i don't know how to explain it really, and for this i am thankful i went through what i did for so long - because it never would have climaxed to such a space in time for us.
we finally asked the nurse to bring the anesthesiologist - and from here on out i kinda when crazy. once i had asked for it - the waiting for it to actually come seemed like forever. i think from the moment i asked, to the moment it started working was over an hour. i was so terrified of the epidural and hurting amos. i know it is so extreme and irrational - but you have to remember my current state - rationality had become an inability.
i was crying, begging the anesthesiologist to not mess up and not hurt my baby. i was praying to God, very loudly i might add, to protect amos and protect me. and apologizing to everyone, God, myself, and man that i was getting an epidural.
and he then had me lean over and shoved that horribly long, terrifying needle down my spine.
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