Monday, March 31, 2008

Son of my right hand

Tom and I belonged to a wonderful church- The Rose of Sharon. (now defunct) One day, I had nursery duty- and was sent for (Asked to come to the front of the congregation upstairs). I joined a group of women at the front who were being prayed for- although I wasn't sure why. Turned out, it was a group who had agreed, along with their husbands, to let God control their wombs.

I wasn't exactly cool with this. But God worked on my heart. He had to show me that HE truly was the One who opens and closes the womb. We went several months without birth control... and I didn't get pregnant!

Our home situation was in flux at this time. Tom's well paying job as a concrete crew foreman ended when the contractor he worked for eliminated the concrete crew. Tom decided to use his GI benefits before they expired, and went back to school to become an A&P mechanic. It was a real financial struggle. Tom became very depressed. I got hired at the USPS., part time. The weekend before I was due to start work, my good friend Debbie came over with a double pregnancy test kit. Mine turned out positive. I started with the Post Office, and with the morning sickness.

The lady we rented our house from decided to let her daughter move into the house- so we were requested to move. We looked and looked for a place to rent- as as the deadline for us to be out of the house loomed- I finally found a great place. Half a mile from Lake Worth. A HUGE back yard with fruit trees, a garage, three bedrooms.... and in our price range. I signed the lease on the spot. the agent handed me the keys on the front porch... just as a B-52 crashed into the house.

OK- it didn't crash into the house. It flew over so close to the rooftop I swear I could read the tire-pressure off the sides of the wheels. I had just leased a house directly in the landing pattern for Carswell AFB. We learned that you CAN get used to just about anything.
We had a fellow church member who was studying to become a midwife, under a certified midwife. Sharon asked us if we would consider letting her deliver our baby. We agreed. Tom was still going to school, and working full time at various short-term jobs. He grew tired and depressed. I was working inside a vehicle that didn't have air-conditioning- and I couldn't roll down the windows or the mail would blow out. It was the middle of the summer in Texas and I was getting larger by the day. By August, I had to take a leave of absence from the job, until after the baby was born.
I began having some serious contractions on October 5th. About 10 that night, my water broke. The midwives were called, on standby. The next day- contractions were sporadic at best. I was ordered to walk. I walked, walked, and walked some more. While I walked, I contracted. When I stopped walking, I stopped contracting. The midwives showed up, did a check. I was a "4"- not very impressive. They gave me some herbal remedy to boost contractions. I walked more.
People came to fix our leaking bathtub. Nasty people who smoked in my house and dropped their ashes and cigarette butts on the floor. I finally asked them to leave, to come back another day- I was TRYING to have a baby. It got too dark to walk outside- there are places you just do not walk at night in Ft Worth.
I was still at 4cm when the 24 hour mark from the water breaking came. In Texas, if your water has been broken for 24 hours, the midwife must transport you to a hospital. (She didn't tell us we could "fire" her- relieving her of legal obligation- and stay home, and that she would have stayed with us) So I was reluctantly transported to John Petersmith Hospital. NOT a charity case this time. I made sure I had my driver's license, marriage license, and all sorts of ID.
Petersmith pulled up my records. They refused to admit me under my current name- insisting I had to be registered under my former married name. This was NOT COOL with Mr C nor myself. He objected. LOUDLY. They called security to have him ejected. I was taken to the exam room and questioned.
Was I on drugs? WHY had I not come to the hospital At Once when my water broke? WHY was I trying to have a home birth? Was I trying to kill my baby? Did I want the baby to die? What drugs was I on? They put me down as No Prenatal Care. (Care given by a midwife Did Not Count.) I was examined, prepped, attached to a belt monitor. I was questioned more about drugs. (I didn't even take headache remedies!) I had my first and ONLY, ever, sonogram. The technician was rude to the point of being hateful. I asked if he could tell whether it was a boy or a girl, and if the baby was OK. He said I "would know soon enough" and left the room.
They sent someone in to tell me the doctor assigned to me preferred an internal monitor attached to the baby's skull. I said "NO." I was ignored. They tried inserting the monitor without my co-operation. It took four orderlies and a nurse forcing my legs apart and holding me down as I struggled and screamed out "NO!- I am REFUSING this treatment". The monitor was inserted- screwed into my unborn baby's skull against my will.
By now I had been in labor for about 27 hours. They let me labor two and a half or three more hours- mostly sobbing from exhaustion and frustration- before deciding my Labor Was Not Progressing.
This was why I had to be transported to the hospital in the FIRST PLACE!
A pitocin drip was started. They let in the midwife-trainee from our church- she was a L&D nurse at Petersmith Hospital as her regular job.
She apologized at all that was happening to me, but it was out of her control. She talked them into letting Tom come into the room with me. It doesn't take very long for pitocin induced contractions to leave one begging for a C-section. I was checked after a couple of hours of pitocin.. I was to 6 cm.
Sharon talked the doctor into turning down the pitocin, and giving me a shot of Demerol so that I could rest for awhile. I had been awake / in labor for over 31 hours. I was in tears and beyond caring. The nurse in charge came in and gave me a shot of Demerol into my IV. She explained it would let me rest several hours and be completely worn off before the baby arrived. I fell asleep at once.
I was asleep less than 5 minutes when The Urge To Push awakened me. I told Sharon, "I am going to have the baby NOW". She thought it was a question. I told her again. "I am having the baby NOW!!". She looked- baby was crowning. She called the goon squad and I was whisked into the delivery room.
I was propped and strapped into The Position. My body pushed the baby out.
"Oh, you have a son!" I was told.
"That's nice", I said, drifting back into the drug induced sleep. I was too loopy to hold the baby. I have no idea whether Tom was there or not.
Boom! from 6cm to birth in under 10 minutes. I just needed to relax. Benjamin Paul weighed something like 5lb. 12 oz. Born October 7th at 10:10 am.
In the days following- Ben was subjected to various drug tests. I was lectured and scorned by the medical staff at every opportunity. Child welfare people threatened me- they were going to take my baby from me! (As Soon As / IF they proved he had drugs in his system.) It was Simply Not Condoned: Attempted Home Birth.
We were finally released, no drugs having been found in either of our systems (aside from the Demerol).
Ranks right up there in bad birth stories, doesn't it?

1 comment:

sassy_seneca said...

This is a lot like Jade's birth except the staff was trying to get me to give her up for adoption because I was an unwed teenage mom.
I was in transition and wanted someone to bless me and the baby so they sent in a nun and she said a prayer. Then I started to contract and she said "Hurts worse coming out than it did going in? You child is a bastard and a sin against God."