Friday, July 18, 2008

Waiting for pain

So there I lay, all alone in the labour ward waiting for the pain to come on. All the others ladies who came in with pain, came in, screamed their heart out, sobbed at times, and left happily with a baby in their hands. And I lay there throughout the day with no sign of labour whatsoever. The nurses came regularly every fifteen minutes for the checkup and it was the same story the whole of the day – no, am not feeling any pain. No discomforts either. If you will let me, I can perhaps even get up and dance. But no pain. No, I don’t want to pee either. No, no, no.

Finally, one of the senior nurses got totally worked up and came near me and forcefully asked me to get up and go pee. Even if I didn’t want to. The explanation was you will feel pain better if your bladder was empty. Now, why didn’t you tell me that in the first place?! I would have emptied the bladder every minute if that will bring on the pain. I gingerly got down from the table/stretcher and sat down on the portable commode they got me. It was so embarrassing. There I was, all capable and perfectly fit, and yet I was forced to use that thing. Yuck! After about a minute or so, I was back on the table, back to gazing at the ceiling all day long. Still no signs of pain. Finally, and thankfully, the night dawned and I was asked to return to my room. They have given up. Either this lady is totally immune to the medicines we are giving her or this baby just doesn’t want to come out right now – that was the judgment for the day.

I wearily returned to my room, and was immediately surrounded by concerned in-laws, some relatives, and my family. Everyone had the same expression on their face – which seemed to be pityingly saying “she is going to end up having a caesarean after all”. I was so angry. So damn angry. At those faces, at the medicines which were not strong enough for me, and at just about any thought that entered my mind. Why the heck can’t I get pain like any other normal woman out there? What did I do wrong? Yes, I never did those exercises the doc taught me, yes, I never swept the rooms like everybody advised except at the end, and yes, we were too afraid to try the natural induction method. But THAT IS NO REASON FOR DENYING ME THE PAIN WHICH SHOULD HAVE BEEN MY BIRTH RIGHT. Maybe, there is still hope. Maybe the medicines might start working in the night – late effect. Maybe, maybe, maybe…… I was so tired of waiting for the pain.

Then I remembered. From the moment we discovered we were going to have a baby, my one thought and wish was for the baby to be the nicest person on Earth. I didn’t want him or her to ever cause another human being any pain (Ya, I know it’s impossible but one can wish, can’t they?). So in all my mummy talks and the conversations I had with my as yet-unborn baby, I constantly emphasized my desire for how I wanted him or her to be – to love everyone without being partial and to try to never cause anybody pain.

So, maybe, my baby didn’t want to cause me the pain that will be inevitable in a natural delivery. Maybe my sweet little one was so concerned about causing pain for its mom that it decided to stay inside, and keep both of us happy. Little did it know that it has to come out one day, one way or another and what’s more, the doc sure won’t let it stay inside even a day or two more than necessary. In my case, I was lucky enough to find a doc who waited over 10 days after the given date for the baby to make its own way out. But even she has her limits. And 10 days it was.

Surprisingly enough, the next morning came very fast – or maybe I feel so in retrospect. Anyway, I was determined to invoke the pain at least that day. In spite of everyone’s advice, I decided to take bath, put on a pretty new nighty, and got ready for a whole new day – the day my first baby shall be born!

There was still one more procedure to try, said the doc. We can opt for a local application of an inducing gel which has been known to work for many for whom the other medicines don’t work. So there’s still hope. I went into the labour ward again – but this time, the procedures were not so simple. And this was local application to boot – you can guess the amount of trauma I went through. To give you an idea, the doc asked four of the assistants to hold both my legs firm while she did her duty! This one is a tough case, she murmured laughingly. Post that procedure, things began to move fast. Too fast. I started getting contractions. Mildly at first, and then increasing in strength. I was happy. But not for long. The student doc came over for the regular foetal heartbeat checkup and seemed to find something wrong. I could tell by her expression, though she did not utter a single word. She went a little away from my earshot, took out her cell phone, and murmured something into it. Then, with a decisive nod, she came back to me again, measured the fetal heartbeat, and came to a decision immediately. What happened after that seems like a nightmare. A foetal monitor was rolled over, and multiple cords were attached to my tummy. I was asked to press a button every time the baby moved and warned strictly not to press the button accidentally. The machine beeped constantly and I could feel my heart beat starting to gallop away at a crazy speed. Was something wrong with the baby? Please, no, not now. Not now after waiting for it eagerly all these days and just when I could have had it any minute. God, please no.

I can’t go into further details – but suffice it to say that I became a major emergency case. My pulse rate went down, the baby’s hear beat apparently started going higher than it should have been, and I couldn’t breathe properly. They gave me a stabilizing shot and asked me to return to my room till they could buzz my doc and have her come over. A kind nurse offered to have another kind nurse come over to my room to fit an oxygen mask on me – but I would have to wait a bit. Do continue breathing though – even if it’s difficult. And I was dismissed.

By this time, the contractions were almost unbearable. I almost fell down a couple of times on the way back to my room. My husband was there, waiting for the happy news. He was shocked to see me return – and when I told him that the nurses were trying to reach my doc, and he better go over to her house to get her right away to the hospital, he was even more shocked! Then I told him, that it’s going to be a C-section after all. I was trying to be brave but the sudden avalanche of one contraction after another took their toll. I went into high panic which didn’t help my pulse rate one bit. I screamed at him to get the doc as well the nurse to fit me the oxygen mask at once. He ran away and I was all alone again. The oxygen nurse didn’t turn up at all – but another one did. She was actually a messenger – “they are calling you back to the labour ward” and off she went without even bothering to find out if I followed her advice. I somehow managed to reach the labour ward and the high drama began again.

Finally, after what seemed like ages, my doc came in, did a few checks, and pronounced just two words that dashed all my hopes – “Prepare her”. They did the usual things that are required before an abdominal surgery and before I knew it, I was being wheeled out of the ward and into the operation theatre. All I remember of those few minutes were the faces of my dear ones looking at me worriedly, my mom praying desperately, and my sis running to keep up with the moving stretcher to put the perumal kumkumam on my forehead, and finally my husband with tears in his eyes. I think he was so very afraid. Of loosing me or the baby. But I had no time to spare a thought for him. The contractions were becoming unbearable and all I wanted then was the operation to begin and get over as soon as earthly possible.

I was wheeled into the operation theatre and transferred from my stretcher to the operation table. I saw my doc, completely covered in her operation garb, sitting in a quiet corner waiting for the other surgeon, the anesthetist, and the pediatrician to come.

I lay there waiting…….. Waiting for my baby to finally come out.

Edited to add: Continued here

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