Everyday, I try to find the energy to continue this very long story. The details are already getting foggy; actually, they’ve always been that way. The last 16 days have a very surreal air about them. So here goes…
Tuesday, August 8, 2006
As we head down the hall to Labor and Delivery (L&D), we run into Shawn, an Internet lez friend of Tracy’s. They’ve never met in person, but recognize each other. Shawn is just about to start her shift! This is terrific luck. Yay! Tracy gets settled into a room that looks like a really crappy hotel. Shawn swaps rooms with another nurse so now she will be taking care of Tracy until 8AM. The baby has to be born by then, right? LOL. Kim and Kate stop in to say goodnight. They’ve been taking care of me. I think the Too-Fun burrito they brought me kept me going through the birth!
The original idea was to get Tracy something to help her rest for a few hours to regain her strength. I am exhausted and can’t even imagine how much more tired Tracy must be. So do we rest? Oh no, it’s time for the L&D Triathlon. Before we even have a chance to settle into the room, substitute doula has us walking Tracy throughout the 3rd floor doing squats and lunges. We head back to the room for Tracy and the baby to get their vitals taken and then it’s off to the stairs for more labor workout!
Our main doula has returned. We fill her in on the exercise routine of the evening. Tracy continues to do some prenatal yoga in the room in between using the birth ball.
Eventually Tracy and I both feel like her progress should be checked. The doula and nurse seem opposed to this but we push to see our doctor who happens to be on call. We get a resident to come in and check Tracy’s dilation. It’s been like 10 hours and she has only dialated another centimeter! It’s completely discouraging and I can see Tracy just feel like giving up. At some point she has said, “Take me to my planned c-section now.” [Note from Tracy: Just a joke ha ha.] We asked to see Dr. Mele. Tracy has to rest. I don’t see how she is going to have the strength to make it through a natual birth without sleeping for 4 nights while experiencing the pain of contractions. There is also the looming fear of the unknown.
Wednesday, August 9, 2006 – Someone missed her due date
Dr. Mele comes in to lay out the options:
- They can break Tracy’s water.
I ask: is there a chance this won’t progress her labor. Yes, is the answer, which means that they will not let her progress naturally after that.
- They can give Tracy Pitocin.
This is not even on the table to Tracy.
- They can give Tracy a Morphine Rest
That’s it! Very little side effects or dangers to the baby at this point in labor! And Tracy might be able to sleep.
Dr. Mele and Shawn discuss the best options. As soon as Tracy gets the first shot in her PICC line, I see the first smile on her face since Sunday. It was great to see her getting a mental break. The morphine didn’t really make her sleep, but for about 4 hours, she was able to relax through the contractions and manage her pain. I was able to get a couple of hours of sleep as was the doula.
[Note from Tracy: I would lie down in the bed and not totally sleep, but drift off. Then I would feel a contraction coming and I would sit up, beathe through it, then lie down again. I could still feel the pain of the contraction, but I was able to handle it better and relax in between.]
Tracy’s water seems to break. The nurse comes in and tests it. Sure enough it is amniotic fluid! This could truely be the break and some faster progress. Dr. Mele comes in for another check. Tracy is now at 7CM dialated. The rest worked! Since Sunday, Tracy hasn’t had anything to eat. She is getting IV of fluids and the doula is forcing liquids in her every second.
Tracy starts the morning ready to go. The doula pushes more rigorous workouts with the birth ball and yoga. Tracy is still tired and the contractions are more intense. At one point, I go to check in with Kim and Kate who are in the family waiting area. I don’t like to be away too long, so I head back to the room. By this point, Shawn is done her shift but she has hand selected someone from the new shift to be Tracy’s nurse.
When I get back to the room, the doula and the nurse are all hovering around Tracy telling her she’s got to get moving. She was supposed be getting a rest, sitting on the birth ball with her head laying on pillows propped on the bed. She hasn’t really gotten the rest she wanted and now they are telling her to get back to work. This is the breaking point and the start of the doula meltdown. They are both in Tracy’s face and she starts getting really upset. She feels like they are saying it’s her fault she’s not progressing faster. Tracy drops the f-bomb which doesn’t seem to go over too well. We weren’t really the best match. From her inablilty to be inclusive of me during birth class (I’m not a dad; why couldn’t she just remember to say partner. We were 1/4 of the class and this went on for the entire 6 weeks).
At this point, the doula starts getting angry at Tracy. She is like, “I can’t talk to you during contractions… I can’t do this and that.” What the hell? I tell her to leave us alone. She pushes a cup or water at her and says, “Well you better drink this between contractions.” I tell her to get out. What happened to you have to have the skin of rhino around a woman in labor?
Tracy is really upset, feeling blamed and like people are disappointed in her. She needs rest but they don’t seem to want to give her that. I think that part of this meltdown was due to the fact that the doula and our nurses were constantly intervening with the hospital. I’m sure they wanted to “turn the room over” and letting Mother Nature take her course doesn’t really fit into that. Still it really pisses me off (even now) that they had upset Tracy who had working so hard for 4 days; I think most people would have given up by Monday.
I was ready to send the doula home. The nurse comes back in and appologizes. And I think probably Tracy needed an emotional breakdown to just let go of everything. Still, it sucked. I decide we will make a plan that will include real rest and alone time for us. By this point though, Tracy was ready to try some yoga and the ball again. She really just kept bouncing back over and over and over again. She’s a birth warrior goddess (I’m joking here in case you don’t know).
[Note from Tracy: At that point after the meltdown I just gave up on getting rest and did my little yoga moves just to please the Doula. I really didn’t think it was going to do anything I knew instinctually that it was the periods of rest where I did the most progressing. The time they had me running around the halls I barely progressed. I just felt like they were acting like I wasn’t cooperating at all. It’s not like I had been sitting in bed for all those hours. I walked, squated and lunged for them for hours. Also the doula just didn’t get that I wasn’t into that birth warrior stuff.]
After the meltdown, more contractions on the birth ball, more fluids, Tracy hits transition. Her endorphins kick in and she seems drugged – flushed – calm and peaceful. Dr. Lokey comes in to check and Tracy is fully dialated (ie, 10CM). It’s time to push!!!!! I keep hoping that Tracy will only have to push for 30 minutes. I mean come on already.
[Note from Tracy: When I hit transition. I was sitting on the birth ball and I just started to shake, but I wasn’t cold. Then I felt like someone gave me a serious drug. It was amazing feeling and it made it easier to deal with the powerful contractions of transition.]
Warning: some graphical information follows
Around 12 Noon
I give Kim and Kate an update and get a message from Psychic Susan. Supposedly this happy little baby is coming out at 1PM. YAY! Tracy gets on the bed facing me. We have the rebozo and then… Tracy’s contractions stop! In the excitement, they just seem to go away. As they start to come back, she doesn’t seem be experiencing the desire to push. Dr. Lokey thinks that Tracy’s water broke behind the baby’s head and trickled out the sides. She suggests using her finger to remove the rest and hopefully moving things along. Sounds great. Contractions return and Tracy tries several different positions. Her legs are swollen with IV fluids and are just plain exhausted. The squat bar proves difficult. Dr. Lokey is great, suggesting several different options. Tracy ends up on her back with her legs on the squat bar. I’m facing her holding the rebozo.
1PM comes and goes. Someone is still not out. Tracy is pushing and pushing. I can see the little head covered in hair. I can tell progress is being made because the nurse and doctor continue to make preparations. First the vaginal delivery kit is opened. Then Dr. Lokey comes back into the room with Tyvek looking boots on. It doesn’t end there. Next time she comes back wearing goggles. Tracy is still pushing and at some point she can reach down and touch the little head. By the time Dr. Lokey returns dressed head to toe, we know it’s time. I go up to Tracy so I can provide support.
The baby flies out in a sea of blood and guts. It is love at first sight!
Tune in next time for:
- Bonding in the First Hour
- Nonseparation Hospital Politics
- Sushi in L&D – No, Really