Luckily we sleep together and the smell of her head is the smell of all things good and right in life.
(photo courtesy of Michelle)When she was just under 2 months old one of my oldest friends Sarah came to visit from Vancouver. We were on a walk and talking about the funny turns life takes, her burgeoning career as a therapist and mine as a mother and project manager.
The subject of Fenner's birth story came up and I mentioned how I was trying to write a story that wasn't full of bitterness, disempowerment and anger. That her birth story is rife with pushed timelines, feeling cornered and how I didn't want Fenner to know that it was awful. She encouraged me to write about it truthfully and it might help the healing.
This is the story of the Cascade of Intervention which I knew all about and could not stop.
I started out with a midwife and a homebirth plan - which ended with 8 OBs, 2 Residents, two midwives and our student, who, had been a practising OB in China (which presented it's challenges in advocacy when push came to shove, pun intended).
Knowing that none of us can really induce labour unless Le Bun is ready to join us, at the estimated week forty I started getting antsy and taking course of homeopathics that might gently convince her to come and play. Baths with Clary Sage oil, sex, spicy food, long walks, sex, raspberry leaf tea, walks, nipple twiddling. As week 42 got closer I got more desperate - the College of Midwives doesn't recommend homebirths that far post dates (their words not mine).
We started getting bio-physical profiles done every 2.5 days, knowing that if we didn't have proof the baby was healthy we'd have bogeys all over us.
I was having contractions at night but they'd chill out during the day, which felt a lot like a Hitchcock psycho-drama. Once 42 weeks ticked by we had to start consulting with OBs - my vagina became the pie in which many fingers got put. A kitchen with many chefs.
42 weeks and 1 day:
1 dose Progestoglandin (2 would have been too much) and so,
1 Folie Catheter which required me to be hospitalized and I spent 5 hours having intense and unproductive, unorganized contractions.
42 weeks and 2 days:
6 hrs later we were moved from the Labour and Deliver floor to the high risk floor
12 hours later - The midwife came with a confession that judging by the ultrasounds we were off our dates by 6 days, unfortunately obstetric "business practise" is that the dates on your file will not get changed unless the ultrasound is off by 10 days or more. We continue to have to convince OB's daily that we are sane, normal and healthy people that don't want a c-section.
I hate the fucking catheter and haven't slept in a day in a half - A nurse comes in to our room and suggests we have sex or twiddle my nipples. I start riding the razor's edge.
At 42 weeks and 3 days:
The catheter was removed and the Cervidill(pickle) was inserted. I am still not allowed to leave the hospital and go home. Jason and I break out - they don't serve caffeinated coffee to women on this floor. It's a special kind of hell. We go to Tim Horton's - it is hot and sunny outside. Jason tells me that he was amazed at just how many tools got put in me when they inserted the catheter. I get woozy.
14 hrs later at 6 am we were woken up and told that we had to move back to LD because they needed our bed - I lose my shit. The nurse watches Jason pack me up and says: Make sure you get some rest - you'll need it. I believe I actually said "fuck you you fucking crazy motherfuckers". Jason tapes a sign to our new room telling everyone to leave us alone unless it's an emergency.
I page the midwife, see the OB, get everything removed (I can't believe I had to write that) and get the hell out of dodge. In the cab on the way home I call my masseuse who cancels her afternoon appointment - I went home had a clary sage bath, went for a swedish and then for a shiatsu "induction" massage. I was a wreck.
At this point I turned to Jason and said that this was the first of many battles we were going to have to go to for our child and we were losing. We were hitting so many deadlines all set by other people that I couldn't even see straight. The OB's were starting to use terms like "scheduled c-section", the nurses were talking about what they were going to do with us and the other patients were telling us they were in for their c-sections because their arches had fallen or they had a hang nail or something.
We spend the next 36 hours in the land of the living. I got massaged, went to Lettuce Knit where I proceeded to by 8 skeins of orange misti alpaca - sleeping, walking, twiddling my nipples and knitting.
42 weeks and 6 days:
1 more dose of progestoglandin gel. Before they give me the 2nd dose we have our daily consult with the OB on deck. Dr. Seaward who refuses to meet with us and tells our midwife to tell us that we can have our section before or after midnight - he sends his resident to deliver the second dose of gel.
Predictably, like my impotent and exhausted rage, labour comes fast and hard. I could spend hours finessing this half of the story but I just had to get it out of my head. There are a number of lessons to be learned from this story - a lot of them having to do with unquestioning faith in healthcare providers. We'll take a look at that tomorrow (or the day after I make no promises)
Before I sign off - here's a moment from my day. A sweet something before bed: