24 March 2010

like a version

Here's what I know:
  • Swimming upstream is really challenging
  • Sometimes babies die before they are born. I cannot imagine how sad and scary that is
  • All things happen for a reason... sort of
  • I take responsibility for what I know
  • This situation was not an emergency
So we woke up early on this day last year, to get to the hospital to prepare for the version. They hooked me (us) up to a monitor to hear the baby's heartbeat and ensure she was not in "distress."

I saw the midwife, met the doctor who was going to perform the version, as well as the attending nurse Mary, a very sweet woman who looked like the mother Gorg from Fraggle Rock.

They explained to me what was going to happen, and that they'd need to give me a shot of terbutaline, an asthma medication, because this sends the body into fight or flight mode. Turns out the uterus does not contract while a mother is in fight or flight (nature is just that amazing), so a relaxed uterus supposedly makes for an easier time when trying to turn a baby around from the outside.

I am, however, not just a uterus. Just wanted to make that clear. I am not just a uterus. I am not just a baby incubator. I am not just a giver-forth of a new being. I am a person who is intelligent and independent and maybe a little scared about giving up control to three people, one of whose fuck ups got me into this position to begin with (I don't mean Ayano... or me, for that matter). I'm going to trust her? The midwife, that is. Especially after the doctor asks how long we've known that the baby has been breech and before I can answer she diplomatically says, "We just found out last night." I chose not to throw her under the bus at that moment, though it crossed my mind.

Okay, so they tell me what's going to happen and I understand. Before I know it, the nurse has out her syringe and is swabbing my arm with alcohol so I say "No! Stop! Please!" I didn't want it to all just unfold without me feeling ready, without feeling like a part of the process. I really did not want anything done to me. Impatient with this, the doctor left. Nurse Mary Gorg, not impatient, also stepped out. I had some time with Ayano and my tears, and then the midwife came in to explain in a little more detail that the terbutaline would probably make me a little jittery, may make my heart race (fight. or. flight.), but would wear off by the end of the day. Okay.

The doctor returns. He reminds me of the farmer in the movie Babe - even says (I honestly could not tell if he was joking) that he used to do these all the time on the farm. With cattle. Not funny. After I finally took the shot in the arm, he poured mineral oil all over my belly, and set himself up in a stance with one hand on the back of Selah's head, and one hand under her butt - remember now, her feet are down, her butt is on my right side, and her head is right under my left ribs. He stands to one side and digs in, pushing so hard his muscles are shaking. I am holding Ayano's hand and breathing into my belly, concentrating on relaxing my abdominal muscles and my uterus, breathing through the sensation I'm experiencing. I don't know how to describe it. Really deep stomach shiatsu? By a sumo wrestler? I didn't want to die, it didn't hurt so badly I wanted to cry, but it didn't feel great. So the doctor goes at it in one direction a few times, with breaks to allow Selah's heartbeat to return to normal (and for him to mop the sweat from his brow). Nothin doin. He decides that perhaps she'd like to backflip. Great. Sets himself up opposite and goes for it this way. Now this side is interesting. How to describe... how about a concrete enema? My organs have set themselves up in a certain way to accommodate how Selah was positioned for oh, months. So now let's have a grown man push with all his might in the opposite direction. I breathed, because I figured if this didn't work it is as close to labor as I would get. I breathed and held steady. Nada. Once the doctor called it quits, Nurse Mary Gorg said "I have never seen anyone so stoic during a version in all my life. Usually after one minute of this women are begging for C-sections, and they're not even as far along as you!" I looked at her and said, "I. Really. Don't. Want. A C-section."

I accepted this outcome, feeling a little bad for Selah for the disruptive smushing around.

Next step: acupuncture.

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