Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Birth Story

***

I thought I should put this down before I forget it...which seems incredible, considering the intensity of the entire experience.

On the 13th of November, M and I were on an evening walk. I suddenly felt a pulling pain on my abdomen and wondered if I was finally beginning to have a real contraction. So far, I'd felt my uterus tighten off and on, but I'd never really experienced any kind of pain. I told M and we decided to wait for a couple more hours before setting things into motion.

Once I got back home, the pain sort of subsided and I was back to just feeling my uterus tighten off and on. I thought it was probably just Braxton Hicks but we decided to check with my gynec anyway. Dr RG barely listened to my description over phone- she simply asked me to go to the hospital and check it out instead of debating on whether or not I was in true labour. This was a relief because I was wondering if it was all happening in my imagination and I didn't want to spend the night second guessing.

Once we reached the hospital, I was attached to a non-stress machine (which measures the strength of your contractions and the baby's heartbeat) to find out if I was indeed in labour. And it turned out that I was in the pre-labour stage! My contractions were small but happening in regular intervals. My cervix had dilated by 1 cm. Dr RG decided not to send me home. Funnily, I wasn't feeling any pain at all and I was telling M that this was a false alarm and I'd probably be discharged the next day. Through the night, I had more non-stress tests. Apparently, my gynec had suspected that the umbilical cord could be around the baby's neck and she wanted to ensure that the fetus was doing fine inside. I had no idea about this and was bugged that I'd to be woken up frequently and attached to the damned machine. I had to lie on my back during these sessions and this was very painful. I assumed that the back pain was because of the weight of the uterus pressing against my spine. I didn't realize that it was because I was in labour!

In the morning, Dr RG examined me again (and let me tell you, these internal examinations are not joy rides) and announced that I'd dilated to 2.5 cms and that the baby had descended further! I was quite happy that I'd made it to 2.5 cms without too much pain...maybe I'd make it to 10 cms and not even realize it, haaannnnn? Dr RG asked me to take a bath and get ready for a long day. I took a nice, hot shower and wore kajal and everything so I could look pretty for the baby. The hospital procedures were started. I was shaved (yeah...and I don't mean my head), given an enema (what fun) and an IV access line was fixed on my left hand. It still hadn't sunk in that I was going to have the baby and I was giggling with M and making enema-related jokes.

Through the day, I had more non-stress tests and my back was really killing me. The contractions were apparently getting stronger but I couldn't feel them at all if I was sitting up or walking around. By afternoon, I'd dilated to 3.5 cms. Whoa. What a nice, cooperative baby.

And then, I got my first taste of parenthood. The baby decided it didn't want to play ball any more. My cervix stopped dilating and I was stuck in 3.5 cms till evening. But my pains started increasing. And dear god, how do I begin to describe it? It felt like a woefully overweight elephant was trampling on my spine with determination. I kept having more and more non-stress tests and the nurses insisted that I lie on my back (later I found out that the top of the bed could have been raised to give me a sitting position- this would have spared me a world of pain.) The Lamaze breathing techniques which I'd learned during my prenatal classes really came to my rescue here. The patterned breathing gave me something to focus on and I managed to synchronize it with the intensity of my pains. M was watching the intensity of the contractions on the NST machine and trying hard not to cry. We were in a semi-private room because the private ones were not available and across the curtain, there was a woman with a preemie baby. The previous night, I'd thought the baby's wails were cute. But when it started howling during my contractions, I remember telling M that I wanted to bash that baby up. We even managed to giggle. So much for my maternal instincts.

Dr RG decided that since labour was not progressing, I should be induced. Now my contractions were already very strong and this was a long shot. I'd been in labour for over 15 hours and this was my last hope of having a normal delivery. Labour was induced and the lone trampling elephant grew into a hundred. I really did think I was going to die of the pain. The contractions were so powerful that they went over the highest bar in the NST several times. My face had apparently flushed so much that I looked black! By now, I realized that I was going to have a C-section and I was mighty pissed that I was going through all this pain with no baby in sight. I was determined not to cry because that would just lead to a breakdown. So I steeled myself and did my breathing along with the NST machine, trying not to look at M's face.

Finally, the doctor gave up. I'd been in labour for 26 hours and I wasn't progressing. She ruptured my waterbag as a final try but that didn't help either. The baby was too big to get out of me. Once she decided on a C-section, things began to move quickly. A catheter was attached to my urethra, a few busybody nurses came out of nowhere, ripped my clothes off me and put me in a hospital suit that was ten times my size and shifted me to a stretcher. By now, I was past caring what I looked like and I had no sense of embarrassment at what was happening. I just wanted the baby OUT! I remember removing my earrings and yanking out my nose-ring in the middle of a contraction- it's a wonder I didn't end up tearing my nostril!

As I was being carried to the operation theatre, I'd to sign a consent form for the spinal anesthesia and M kept telling me to be brave. I was wondering why he was saying that because I was finally relieved I was going to get an anesthesia to end this godawful pain. I couldn't talk though because I was having contractions on the stretcher and didn't want to fall off it!

At the OT, there was a team of masked doctors and I couldn't really make out their faces much. I wasn't wearing my contact lenses or glasses and in any case, I was simply too exhausted to notice. I was sitting near naked in a room full of strangers and I didn't give a damn. I don't think I'll ever feel a pint of shame in my life after this! I was still leaking amniotic fluid from the waterbag burst and I'd to sit with my back bent while a spinal was administered. The anesthetist was a senior doctor whose face I didn't see but whose voice I will never forget. He was extremely calm and told me exactly what would happen as he was giving me the spinal injections. Finally, finally....the pain stopped. I felt my body go numb and the doctors shifted me to the operating table. An oxygen mask was fixed on my head and Dr RG asked me to close my eyes. The anesthetist simply said, "Breathe for your baby!" and this stuck in my head powerfully. I focused on taking long, deep breaths, imagining the baby who was soon going to come. The pain was gone. I was all right. It was all going to end soon.

After about half an hour or so, I felt something slide out of me. And the entire OT was filled with the first cry of my child. It was wild, lusty, and so powerful, I began laughing inside my oxygen mask. They brought her to me, a certified, healthy baby. A girl. With my face and my husband's long proportions. I couldn't hold her right then because I was still on the operation table. She was taken to be shown to the rest of the family. And I lay there, stitched up and fatigued beyond words. But knowing that the this was the beginning of the rest of my life.

It wasn't an easy delivery. But I'm glad I lived through it. Now I know what I can endure. I know my own strength. Thanks to my daughter.

33 comments:

R's Mom said...

and you are posting in 8 days of the delivery..your daughter really made you strong eh?

Hugs darling...just plain tons of tight hugs..to you and daughter and M :)

Anonymous said...

this is exactly what happenned to me.. OMG.. Just add pre-eclampsia also to the mix..but yes ..at the end it was all worth it for my beautiful baby :)

Congrats on ur girl.. I love ur blog and could not help but delurk for this post :)

Suba

Vidya said...

Congrats!!!....

Almost the same story here but just one twist to the tale....doctors had decided on a C-section but at the end I had a normal delivery!

The Bride said...

Awww, hugs and congrats! I think more of us should share birth stories because then women out there have a good sense of all the different ways it can happen.

The anesthetologist sounds awesome. I shall remember 'breathe for your baby'. Though now I should go practice how to do so.

Also, this reminded me to tell my doctor I do NOT want an enema. I don't know why I'm so anti-them but it just seems like added hassle. Didn't have one in my last delivery... my body made sure I was all cleared out before active labour started.

Sumathi Sudhakar said...

Congratulations Sowmya - for getting the baby out successfully and this story out equally successfully. It is very difficult to write abut something so intensely personal, and you've done a great job of it. Delivering a baby must count as the most painful, most yucky, most humiliating and yet most sublime experience in life. And to distance from it enough to be able to write about it so soon after is not easy. Congrats again.

Meow said...

Wow... :) I can feel the goosebumps after reading this post :) And am thrilled :) **Hugs** and Congratulations to your daughter who made you realize your full strength :)

Andaleeb Wajid said...

Wow...doing a C section after all that labour pain? I can't imagine! Anyhow, glad that you're fine and the baby is fine too!

I would probably never forget the time my first child was born. I was 20 and had an emergency C section and it was so scary. But by the time things rolled around for my second boy, I was 28 and not really bothered about looking like a nearly naked beached whale on the operating table as long as they got the baby out! :D

Srinivas said...

I really don't know what to say. "That's brave" would be a pathetic understatement and "congratulations" too simple. I DID become teary-eyed at several points during the post and smiled at the end as well (remembering, too, that in half a year my sister would be going through something similar) :)

One HUGE bow! Take care. Wish you, M and your daughter a great time ahead :)

Vini said...

A zillion congratulations to both of you! Lots of love to the baby :)

Sriganesh said...

Heartiest congratulations! Writing this post itself must have been quite an arduous experience. Can't even imagine the real experience.

Anyway now you have a baby at home to make use of your Mayil stories as bedtime tales :-) Have a great time ahead..

Surreal said...

Congrats to you and M. Wishing good health to you and your daughter. :)

Ramya said...

I resisted the temptation to read the end first and read through the birth story and it really shook me up. You were very brave and very strong.

Many congratulations to you and M and best wishes to the little one. Very happy for you :)

Divya Santhanam said...

Congratulationss...... and take care of yourself for the next few more days ... its important .... and lots of love to the little one

Gymnast said...

Congrats on your little girl!

Anonymous said...

WOH MY GAAD !!

fantastic !

very very informative !!
but 24 hrs is a lot of labour

hatts off to you

Chandrima said...

Excellent, you made me cry lady, you told a story very known to me! And your little one is already a star. J is making plans for her :-) NSA kids are overjoyed to have one more of them!

Kookaburra said...

aah ... even the memory hurts!
For you - so many hours of labor and a C section ... I hope you are recovering well ... hope bf is going smoothly - that is another crazy uphill task for many... hope you have a lot of support - emotional and physical!

CW said...

I'm all teary eyed. Welcome to the baby who's probably made her already strong mom even stronger!

I ploughed through 26 hours of labour with no dilation to match up for, and remember watching a Chinese show on TV. Was telling myself that I'll probably watch an entire season before my daughter decided to put an end to it!

Many wishes for the journey ahead.

P.S: Don't ignore the lehiyam & vethalai.

RS said...

Wow! Gave me goose bumps. God! 26hrs of labor is really hard and tough!

Hugs, and more hugs - both of you made it and you are already posting about it! Enjoy the daughter now!

semi said...

Omg!!!!! xO Congrats again =') and your entries will surely prove helpful for all the other mothers =) and what is her name? xD

Nilu said...

Congratulations!!! Very happy for you!!!! You got the girl that you were wishing for.

And your story is SO similar to mine...except that I got a boy first before I had my girl!

Take care...the recovery is long...but the baby's worth it!

M S said...

Quite remarkable, indeed.

Having read your posts for the past five years (Not to mention re-reading the whyiambrownie golden stuff from my HDD!), I am sure this event is beginning of a new phase!

Congrats GB!

M S

Anonymous said...

@M S - You have whyiamabrownie stuff on your HDD?

Wow - that stuff is priceless. You (we) could sell it to interested buyers (or) even blackmail GB at a later date. What say?

-Uncle OT

PS: @GB - I chose not to comment on this post, because I can't even imagine what going through childbirth is like.

Aunt OT sent her love to little GBM and wishes to all the proud relatives.

Dee said...

Congratulations dear!!! Whoa that was an experience, that also brought back memories of my own deliveries...and i still shudder at the way it transformed me from a calm collected woman...to a screaming cursing witch! lol...but a small price to pay for the precious babies we get in return...!!! :D Best wishes and enjoy motherhood dear!

GB said...

Thanks people!! We're just slowly settling into a rhythm at home...more updates soon :)

astrodominie said...

Congratulations! Been stalkerishly reading your blog for years; tell us the name soon!

smartassbride said...

What a brave person you are. Congrats, and I'm so very glad that you and the kutti are fine.

N said...

I've been waiting for this post :-) Congrats! I'm 23 btw :P After I get married and get pregnant, I want to read all these posts once more to enjoy it like you have done!! Cheers!!

rasmi said...

no words after reading this...have a world of happiness...

Anonymous said...

The post reminded me of my experience, made me cry. It's just a grand beginning, and a training section for the days ahead ;)

dipali said...

Thank God both you and your daughter are fine, after that huge labour and C-sec. Take care, and rest as much as you can. Tons of love, and God bless you all.

Vidhi said...

Just one word, Wow!and Congrats!

Gibson said...

Congratulations dear!!! Whoa that was an experience, that also brought back memories of my own deliveries...and i still shudder at the way it transformed me from a calm collected woman...to a screaming cursing witch! lol...but a small price to pay for the precious babies we get in return...!!! :D Best wishes and enjoy motherhood dear!