Tuesday, July 19, 2011
"Go ahead and get some rest now. You might as well sleep while you can." The nurse smiled and gathered her clipboard on her way out of our spacious birthing room.
"Sweet!" DH leaned back in the recliner and closed his eyes. I shook my head, amused, and tried to relax amid the excitement. The hurried pace of our independent life would soon be replaced with something slower, deliberate, though busy in its own way.
The epidural had taken its effect, and I felt more comfortable, weightless, relaxed than I had in months. Within a few minutes, my heartbeat had slowed, and I was breathing the deep, even breaths of childless sleep.
About an hour later, subconsciously, I noticed the steady beeping of the monitors had changed, and then I was startled fully awake by the nurse rushing in and flipping on the lamp directly above me.
"Are you light-headed? Do you feel ok?" she asked.
"I'm fine," I mumbled. Or at least I was, before you woke me up, I thought to myself.
She slipped the oxygen mask over my face. "Your blood pressure has dropped to 90/40." She increased the saline drip on my IV. "We've got to get that back up." She checked the monitors, looked at her watch, and typed some notes.
I glanced over at DH still sawing logs as the nurse quietly left the room. I figured I'd let him be. There was nothing either of us could do right then.
Feeling like I sounded like Darth Vader with the mask on, I eventually fell back into a light sleep. It wasn't long before the beeps changed again. I turned up my mouth in a slight smile in expectation of an adjustment to the oxygen mask as a couple of nurses raced in. The shock of being flipped on my side and and having a hand unexpectedly - and surprisingly painfully, given the epidural - thrust between my legs caused me to gasp aloud.
"The baby is in distress. We need to check to make sure that the cord isn't around its neck."
My breath caught in my throat, and my heart pounded in my chest. I looked over at DH, blinking back tears. I wanted to call to him, but I knew I wouldn't be able to get the words out. Plus I was enveloped in scrubs; there was no way for him to reach me.
"Your contractions are too intense for the baby. Its oxygen rate dropped dangerously low. Things are ok now. We'll keep a close eye on you. The doctor may have to do a C-section."
A pit formed in my deadened stomach.
The nurses left. I took a few deep breaths and steadied my voice. This time, I woke DH up. We watched the monitor, the peaks and valleys indicating the undulations my uterus made to bring our precious child into the world. There were points that rocketed off the chart, and I was thankful I couldn't feel the contractions associated with them.
The rest of the night was filled with rest punctuated by alarms from the monitors. The doctor arrived. She determined that my blood pressure was not responding to their attempts to raise it, so the epidural would have to be turned off. Lord, give me strength.
She also knew I didn't want a C-section if it could be avoided. She gave me a drug to reduce the intensity of the contractions, hoping they would still be strong enough to birth the baby naturally.
By 6am, I had stalled at 8cm. We decided the safest course of action was surgery.
A whirlwind of prep, fear, additional drugs, surprise and awe rocketed us through the next hour as we welcomed our first child, a healthy baby girl. The cadence of our lives was changed forever.
This week's prompt was to write about a time that rhythm, or a lack thereof, played a role in your life. And don’t use the word “rhythm.” Concrit is always welcome!