Flashback; The Birth of Lil Johnny

Posted on September 20, 2013

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In celebration of Lil’ Johnny turning one, I will share with you his birth story. The real story.

I have had this written for almost a year – written down a few days after birth to capture all emotion and so none of the unbelievable shit that went down would be forgotten. Which in hindsight was a great idea, as now I have put this experience in a little black box in the back of my brain clearly marked with “forget this shit ever happened.” Suppressed? Please. Suppressed isn’t even touching this. This shit is so far deep you need a shovel.

I have thought about publishing this many times. But I couldn’t get past reading it. Each time I tried I would find myself in a fetal position and hiding in the corner. It was too soon.
It will always be too soon.

But for sake of closure, for moving on, and to celebrate Lil’ Johnny turning a big ole’ One years old, I will share this with you.

Prepare yourself. Grab a seat. And probably a hard drink. And please know that not one iota of this horror story is fabricated. The events and revelations are true. Names have even been changed to protect the innocent (and guilty – especially the guilty).

It may be the worst birth story ever told.

Preface:
At 25 weeks I had an emergency cerclage surgery. The surgery was awful, painful, and incredibly risky. After surgery I was immediately placed on strict hellrest bed rest. There was no leaving the apartment. I could only bathe and use the restroom. That was it.

I was on bed rest for 82 days, or approximately 3 months, or seemingly… an eternity. On top of being held captive, my husband had to give me progesterone shots weekly.

At 36 weeks I had a second surgery to remove the cerclage.
After withstanding this hell I was not worried about labor or delivery at all. It couldn’t be worse than what I had already endured.
Was I wrong.

Thursday.
Contractions start. Determined not to be “that girl” going to the hospital too early, we start timing them until they are 2 minutes apart. After a few hours, they are about 2-3 minutes apart. I slowly get ready. Shower. Grab the go bag. All is ready. Let’s go have a baby.
We get to the hospital and check in. The nurse checks me. I’m not that far dilated yet, and the contractions aren’t strong enough. They determine that it’s not time. “Sorry, no baby for you.” We did the walk of shame past the desk while hearing the asshole nurses behind the counter snicker at us.
We go back home. Feel embarrassed and silly.

Friday.
At 1am my water breaks. But no contractions. I wait for contractions to start and watch Jimmy Fallon and the Today show reruns. No contractions, but told we must go to the hospital. We load up the suitcases and get another taxi. At 8:05am we are back in a delivery room – the same one from our hospital tour minus a working TV and lights. A Doctor comes in and does an exam and confirms that yes, my water has indeed broke. I am checked in. We are quite bored. No contractions. No TV. Only a radio station that plays techno music. We are both on our iPad. I’m eating jello. After a few complaints, our nurse pulls some strings and we move rooms. We’ve been upgraded. Our new room has working lights and a TV from 1982.

But still no contractions.

Around 2pm Dr. Fill-In comes in. My regular doctor is on vacation or in surgery or just not wanting to come…this is not clear. I have only met Fill-In Doc once for a half a millisecond. He has an abnormally large hoop earring in only one ear. He is overly tan. He also has some what of a mullet – I say somewhat cause it was too gelled in the front to be considered business. He thinks he’s cool. I think he looks as if he just wandered off a 1985 Ratt video. He is sipping an ice coffee very slowly. Dr. Fill-In quotes during a span of three minutes include: “We need to do something”, “Eventually we’ll have a baby”, and “Nothing is for sure.”

I am taking walks trying to jump start contractions. They decide to induce via drugs. “The contractions could start in 15 minutes or take hours.” On initial hook-up there is an issue with the baby’s heartbeat. We were scared shitless and for a few minutes had no idea about the health f ur baby. After a half hour (seemingly hours) they realize it’s their equipment and change machines. Fuck You Hospital.

There is nothing on TV; sometimes there are 11 channels, sometimes more. The cable keeps coming in and out. There is a radio with one speaker working, listening to mostly top 40. I hear a Maroon 5 song at least 32 times. Dave goes to the cafeteria and has a ham and cheese sandwich and Dunkin’ coffee. I am not allowed to eat (except for jello) and am starving; I’ve been here for 7 hours doing nothing. They still have not started the drugs. It is now 3:00.
Fuck You hospital.

Finally, the nurse arrives with the Oxytocin. They are starting off small and will check/increase every 45 minutes. We watch the charts.

Oxytocin is a natural hormone that causes the uterus to contract. Oxytocin is used to induce labor or strengthen labor contractions during childbirth. It is a powerful hormone and drug. When given Oxytocin, contractions can be controlled through timing duration. When administered during labor, contractions are much longer, stronger, and more painful.

With the drugs attached going to the bathroom is a mess. The bathroom dance consists of moving the apparatus, cords, and plug into the bathroom with me. Dave helps and we both get tangled in tubes each time. Every 45 minutes they increase the dosage, I’m trying to gauge when to get an epidural – all they say is that I have “hours to go.” At 6pm (10 hours later – 3 hours on Oxytocin) I have a new nurse, who is very PRO-epidural, she believes I should get one sooner than later. The pain is bad but tolerable. I hold on getting the epidural as I don’t want to risk getting it too early, thus not having it for delivery. Dinner is strawberry Jello. Lunch was orange Jello. Breakfast was strawberry Jello. I’m starving – I sneak a few cookies and a piece of roll with butter. At 7:30pm they increase the Oxytocin to “get things moving along.” Things continue on…

At 10pm (at hospital for 14 hours, 7 hours on painful Oxytocin) Dr. Fill-In comes in and does a check up exam. I am 4-5 cm dilated. He orders a sonogram and finds that there is no longer water breakage, and that my water has resealed. (What? water can reseal? I didn’t even know this was possible. Fuck you birthing class and 5 pregnancy books that didn’t teach shit.) So this is found out 14 hours after? Couldn’t the sonogram been done earlier? We discuss options and then are sent home…again. The luggage is re-packed, we head back to the elevators to hail another taxi. The second walk of shame in 2 days. I hear snickers in the background.
Fuck You Fill-In Doc.

Saturday.
The gush comes while sleeping, at 5:50am, a pool of clear liquid. Up and awake by 6am. Call doctor at 7:15, another taxi. Checked in by 8:30am, confirmed water breakage at 9am. No contractions. Immediately put on antibiotics, start Oxytocin at 10:30am.

This continues for hours (again). I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.

I am on Oxytocin with gradual increases for 7 hours. It’s hell.

The lead story of the day is a tornado in Queens (holy hell, a tornado in New York?) Inside the hospital an incompetent nurse has issues with my IV, blood is shooting out everywhere, and Dave runs down the hall screaming for help. Fuck You Hospital.

I can no longer tolerate the pain and get the epidural around 4pm. At 5pm the nurse comes in, I’m at 8cm, but not progressing enough. “May need to explore alternate options.” At this point I start to have major contractions. However, The contractions feel strange – the left side feels okay (no pain) but the right side is not, I can feel the sharp shooting pains on the right through my back. It’s like my body has been split in two. I realize quickly that the epidural was done incorrectly (not centered) and that all the pain medicine was on one side of body, while the other side had none. The pain on the right is intolerable. It’s shooting up and into my neck. My right leg is in so much pain it feels like someone is stabbing me continuously. I scream for the nurse to send someone to correct the epidural. Two hours later finally at around 7pm the anesthesiologist comes back in. He is Doogie Howser young, and with his accent I can’t understand what the fuck he is saying. He “tops me off” by giving me two injections of pain medicine through the epidural. I immediately get shaky and my heart races to incredible levels. My throat starts to close and I feel sick. To top that off (pun intented), it barely took away any of the pain on the right side. Doogie is already gone. Dr. Awful finally showed up at 9pm and checked me. Said I was ready to push and was 10cm dilated.
This is it. We’re pushing with a half an epidural. Fuck you Anesthesiologist.

Shift change. New nurses.
In comes Bronx – a fucking Nazi, she just started her shift and didn’t want to be there. She came in with an attitude. Long airbrushed painted fingernails. A thick gold chain hangs from her neck. Dave called her “the closer.” Said we’re gonna push. Next contraction I tried to push and she says and I quote “that was weak and awful. NO good!! You’re not even trying. You’re wasting my time” While waving her nail at me. I wanted to strangle the fucking bitch.
At 9pm pushing positions started, all of which failed. Then the doctor turned up Oxytocin (that I have now been on for 11 hours) to max. I was CRYING, SCREAMING IN PAIN. The epidural only masking one side of pain, the other was absolutely intolerable. It feels as if someone had stabbed me with a 10″ blade and dragging the knife through my body. The Oxytocin is making each contraction so much worse, so much more intense and I feel as if the pain may make my body may go into shock. I was shaking with such intensity I thought I was having a seizure. I was begging for drugs. For anything.

Bronx continues to scream at me “Not good enough!!”, “More, More, More!” I ask how much longer, she says 15 minutes – this turns into an hour. Dr. Awful says something about using the vacuum.

Everyone leaves…then no less than 12 people enter the room.

One of which is another doctor who stands right next to me with a British accent. He introduces himself and says he’s here to push on my stomach to help the baby along.
Ok. I figure he means lightly. (Probably there more as support through the contractions.)
After the introduction I take note of his physique. He is huge, around 275 pounds, 6’5”.

I look around the rest of the room. Why the hell are there so many people?

Then comes the next contraction.

Dr. British Accent immediately pulls up a chair, stands on top of the chair, and I shit you not!! Jumps off of it and lands on my stomach WWF style. WHAT THE FUCK! This 250 lb man just jumped on my stomach with all of his weight….! I couldn’t breathe; he knocked all the air out of me. I’m trying to scream that I can’t breathe all while gasping for air. It feels like he broke a rib. Dave’s screaming “stop it stop it, you’re going to kill her.” I catch my breath and cry out for him to “stop! Stop! I can’t breathe! You’re going to kill me!”

Dr. British Accent ignored my husband and my requests…and continued to WWF me for a total of 3 times.

After the third time, the baby was out.

At 11:51pm, Lil Johnny was officially born.
After, I didn’t even care. Not that I didn’t care that my son was born, but it was that I could only concentrate on trying to breathe. I truly, really, thought I was dead.

Willem was crying, all white and covered in vermix. I looked at Dave and angrily screamed “what the fuck!!” To the entire room.
Yes, these where my first words spoken after giving birth to my son.
“I can’t believe you just did that. I can’t believe that just happened”. Replies Dave.

I am in complete shock, pain, and disarray. It was awful. It was absolutely the most painful, horrific thing I’ve ever experienced or could ever imagine experiencing.

What the fuck? why not a cesarean? FUCK YOU!

The room looks like a murder scene.

Worse, I didn’t get the skin to skin contact and didn’t get to see our baby after, as the nurses took him for testing. After pushing out the placenta they had to put me back together again. They gave me a shot of a numbing agent, and put up a screen – it was that bad. I peaked around the screen momentarily, which was a really stupid idea. All I see is blood. On the table behind him is the placenta in a tub of blood. It is everywhere.
I feel faint.
As Dave is standing he is lucky enough to see our little guy. He’s giving me a play by play. They are wiping him off – he looks great – He looks so cute…. Etc. Dave tells me that As the nurses are wiping him off Lil Johnny pees on one of them…I congratulate him. I love that he’s peeing on those assholes.

After a half hour they allow me to sit up in the bed. My whole body is in shambles, I ache. I now can fully take-in the murder scene that surrounds me. A team of hazmats are rigorously cleaning it up. Dr. Awful holds up a clear trash bag high – as a congratulatory measure – which allows me to get an upsetting visual of the contents. Holy hell. I can’t believe I’m alive. The bag holds bloody rags, towels and medical supplies, all with a puddle of blood at the bottom at least 6″ deep. It looked like a horror movie.

I can’t believe that’s all mine.

The nurses are still with Lil Johnny, why is it taking so long? Why am I not with my baby! There are many people scrambling and trying to clean up the room, it’s chaotic and concerning. Finally they bring Lil Johnny over 45 minutes later. I hold him in my arms, it’s crazy. So surreal. He’s beautiful, he has a ton of hair, the tiniest little toes and fingers. Dave and I sit with him and try to come down from all the events. We talk to him, stroke him gently, and sing to him. Tell him how much we love him. I can’t believe we have a son.

I can’t believe he came out of me.

We sit there with Lil Johnny for about 30 minutes while the nurse gets things together, taking in the moment.
Get the camera Dad says Dr. Awful.

Dave takes a photo of me with the baby, and then Dr. Awful jumps in for a photo with me with a big smile on his face.
Asshole. I removed Lil Johnny’s picture from it. It is now the background of our dartboard.
If ou look closely, you can see empty jello cups in the background.

I think of this day often.
Nothing can change my awful birth experience; the mistakes that were made, the tests that were missed, the way the hospital or nurses treated us, the way Dr. British Accent almost broke my rib.

But whats really amazing…looking at Lil’ Johnny’s face now one year later, that awful day just fades away. Does time heal all?
One thing time does not heal… my hatred of Jello. That shit will never fade.

The numbers will never fade either:

Number of Trips to the Hospital in 3 Days: 3
Number of Times my water broke: 2
Number of Times my water resealed: 1
Number of Hospital rooms seen: 3
Number of TVs that worked: 1
Number of Jello cups consumed: 9
Number of People in the delivery room during delivery: 13
Number of Hours on Oxytocin: 18 Hours
Number of Hours pushing: 4 hours
Number of Epidurals that worked: 0
Number of Times I thought I was going to die: 3

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