Saturday, August 20, 2016

Alive again

Aarna is 43 days old today. She is my second baby, first one is a boy born after an emergency c-section. I didn't know it then but that was a traumatic experience for me. Though I soon forgot it, as soon as I saw my baby, fed him, swaddled him and watched him sleep; but it was a life changing experience; it changed me from a confident girl to an unfit, low lying, not-so-sure woman.

Aarna's birth was a different story all together. We reached our OB's clinic at 10:30 am and she was born at 11:49 am. What I am going to describe here is the experience of her birth - everything happened within 1 hour and 20 minutes.

I was having rhythmic pain since morning. We went to OB's clinic to check if I am dilated yet or if those were practice contractions. I was talking to the nurse and there came another one - she touched my belly and said "Oh! This is a strong one." She asked someone to immediately call an OB. Things started picking up from there. I came to all fours because I couldn't lie on my back. She massaged my back and taught my husband to do the same. By the time OB came in - I felt my baby's head dropping in my pelvis. I still remember that sensation and the feeling of panic that sensation generated in me. But I was surprisingly assertive. I was still on all fours commanding a massage from Shishir for back pain. Dr. tried checking me in that position and as soon as he touched me - it pained. I shouted "Do not touch!" He immediately backed off, I remembered good manners and I repeated "Please do not touch!" - but with the same force. Shishir asked him - "How long?" And he replied - "Baby can come any time. We need to take her to labor and delivery" Here comes the catch - "...  on a stretcher."

My OB clinic was in one hospital and my delivery was supposed to happen in another hospital which were adjacent to each other and were internally connected. So they had to take me down three floors, walk another quarter of a mile and then take me up 6 floors on a stretcher. I knew baby was down, I can't lay on a stretcher now. I asked "Can we deliver the baby here?" and my lovely doctor said "Yes we can if required, but we will see if we can take you there." They wanted to shift me from the floor to the stretcher but I did not want anybody to touch me. I got up and sat myself on the stretcher with my head and body tilted to one side resting on one elbow. I wanted to hold the baby there, neither i wanted it to come out nor did i want it to go back up. It was all in my mind, I made up that tilted position myself and no one dared to change that position - even when one person was just responsible for keeping my head from banging the walls while we were rushing through elevators, doors and corridors.

At labor and delivery place, they wanted to shift me to the bed - once gain "no! I will go myself." Though I had no strength but I didn't want anybody to touch me. I didn't want to be a patient there who needs help from strangers and I was very sure about that. This was my true self, I am surprised how I suddenly became my true self that day. Thanks to the book* which taught me how to manage early labor (which I thought was practice labor,) and allowed me to remain ahead of my pain.

Anyways, I managed to come to the bed somehow and I was again on all fours. Shishir kept rubbing my back whenever I wanted. My midwife asked me that she wanted to break the water with amniohook - I asked why? - I didn't want anybody to touch me, but Shishir said that it is bulging out and amniohook will help baby come down. At that point I really missed my doula who could not reach in time. I said yes although reluctantly and the next thing she asked me was to lie on my back. That was the only thing I did not want to do. I said - "I want to squat." I wanted to deliver my baby in a squat position. She said "But you have to lie down on your back because baby's heart beat is dropping." O! that card - the baby's heart beat card. I was helpless, i had to follow. I left the the driver's seat for the first time. My baby's heart beat was dropping. I immediately obeyed her and lay on my back.

As I was moving to my back I saw people in that room for the first time. There were 20 odd people there - all staring at me. I came out of my zone for the first time - it was the first time I was looking at somebody other than Shishir. I looked at the mid wife - I recognized her face but I couldn't remember her exactly. My previous birth memories came back - I became very scared - it was the heart beat card that time as well. "Your baby's heart beat is too low, you need a c-section immediately." And they started moving my bed to operation theater. I started trembling - I thought my baby will die. My baby.

Laying back in that position my legs started trembling again - I thought we came so far and we will have a c-section again - this baby will not come out. And there started another contraction. In a moment I forgot about that old feelings and the fact that my baby's heart beat is low again - I forgot everything and I started shouting out loud. I do not know how I shouted that laud. I did not know that I could shout that laud - I was just listening to myself shouting - I did not feel any pain what so ever. Midwife asked me to push but I had no sensation, no urge to push. I was just listening to my own voice and I totally enjoyed that shout. It was happening by itself - like when your ride accelerates down a roller coaster and you naturally start shouting. It was fun, adventurous. I was not even listening to the midwife who wanted me to push. When the shouting stopped, someone was trying to clean blood from my right arm. They tried to put an IV there which came out in all that rush. I did not notice anything because I was so busy listening to myself shouting. I didn't care about the IV or the blood any more. Somebody brought a form for VBAC approval for me to sign - it felt so ridiculous - I almost laughed and signed it - like the way a rockstar gives an autograph to a kid and shrugs her shoulders afterwards.

And came another contraction - I summoned my husband to my side. "It is starting again." He started counting for me like he has been doing at home, in the car, on the stretcher ride through elevators. I held his hand and started shouting again. He was also saying "Push." This time I listened to the midwife and tried pushing. I wanted to push out the baby this time. When this shout subsided, she told me not to shout but rather use that energy to push out with my mouth closed. She made that uhmmmm sound for me - sound that comes when you try to push out a hard you know what with your mouth closed. With the next round of contractions - again I felt no pain  - I started making that sound as I was pushing my baby out. "Come out! Come out from there!" This was a good push. I could feel the baby's head in my vagina. It was the same sensation that I felt while doing perennial massage. They call it the ring of fire - to me it was just a familiar sensation**. It was just a different sensation - a familiar one. I could have stayed there - but I also wanted to push. Collecting my breath again - I pushed again - this time even harder. And the head came out.

And when they put her on my chest I felt alive again - happy and filled with love. I told me midwife how thankful I am that she taught me how to push, I did not know it on my own. She asked me if I wanted to hug her. And I hugged her hard. I felt so happy, so live. I had felt the pain - I had felt the baby drop down, the baby coming out, I felt the panic, the fear, the courage and I felt the happiness - love - I was a live person again - Zinda, and not just a body from which a baby was removed come the recommended gestational age.


book* - Juju Sundin's Birth Skills. Skills taught in this book helped me manage early labor.

sensation** - during the pregnancy I did a 10 days' course in vipassana where we were taught to practice how to observe the sensations and remain equanimous. Vipassana meditation

ICAN - this group helped me a lot through VBAC discussions, emotional support and sharing of resources. Facebook group

No comments: