Monday, June 10, 2013

Birth Story: Act I - the preambling vicissitudes

Cast of characters:
Augusta - you know her by now
Mr. August - ditto
Dr. TdC (dr. trou du cul - French for asshole. A first grade dick of a man and an OB in  Pleasantville, who unfortunately I had to deal with on a few occasions. In my opinion, the only time one ever wants to encounter this man is under general anesthesia, which made many nurses smile. They all hate him, but will state until they are blue in the face that he is a good surgeon. Why not be a surgeon then?)
Dr. Smiley - my OB

Scene 1
On the evening of February 27, Mr. A and I went out to our new favourite restaurant in Pleasantville and lived it up. I had my favorite wood oven pizza (which involves swiss chard, double smoked bacon, feta and spiced provolone). We were nervous and excited, and we kept the mood light during dinner. We were heading straight to the hospital from the restaurant. On the way out, we saw a well known (and loved) Pleasantville couple who have three children of their own. The man has just shared on his blog that he has donated sperm and that the recipient is pregnant. We chatted for a bit, and they were very excited that we were on our way to the hospital to have our baby. I took the opportunity to thank them both for donating, stating that without such a donation, we would not be on the verge of meeting our child. I left the restaurant feeling like it was a very good omen to have seen them there.

Scene 2  
We get* to the hospital and learn that it is Dr. TdC who is on call. At this point, I've already had many negative experiences with him, as I was under his care when I needed a LEEP procedure for cervical dysplasia back in 2004. I'm not too thrilled about this, but figure that we won't have to interact too much with him (famous last words). The plan is to get the cerv.idil inserted** and go home. They hook me up to the monitors. Dr. TdC inserts the cervi.dil and they monitor me until about 11pm. At that point, the nurse sends us home with instructions to come back at 8am, or sooner if things are not right. We're not sure what that really means, but we figure we'll be back at 8.

Scene 3
It's now 2am. Mr. A has finally fallen asleep, but sleep has eluded me completely. These darn contractions are keeping me up (calling them surges did NOT help, hypnobirthers). I am getting up to go to the bathroom frequently and ahem, (tmi alert) not making it in time. I start to breathe more noisily and Mr. A wakes up. He decides to count the time in between contractions. 30 seconds or less. Alrighty then. Does this count as things not being right? I am trying my best to breathe through the contractions, but they are getting the best of me. I keep trying, but I am not keeping my head above water. Mr. A decides that he needs to take me to the hospital.

It takes me an hour to put on some clothes and get myself in the car. It hurts to sit and to stand up. I am still trying to keep myself level headed - this is birth after all. It's not supposed to be a picnic. I think of my friend dragonfly, who was induced and did not need an epidural. She is my inspiration.

We get to Pleasantville General Hospital after 3am and the main door is shut. We drive back around to emerge. Mr. A parks in a "if you park here you will get your sorry ass towed so fast you won't know what happened to it" zone. I open the car door and vomit all over the snowy pavement. This woman sees it all happen and decides to help by bringing out a wheelchair. She said she just had a baby sometime ago. The security guard at emerge tells Mr. A to take me directly upstairs to the PBU triage (Pleasantville Birthing Unit) and not to worry about the car for now. 

Scene 4 
We get upstairs and the nurse welcomes us back. Right away, she tries to help me get on top of my pain. Breathe, she says. You are holding your breath, she says. So much for all those years of yoga training, I think. In this moment, the pain has me. It totally has me. She gets me on a bed at triage and decides she needs to take the cervi.dil out herself without waiting for the doctor. Bless her.

Dr. Asshole (sorry, this is the part I hate him the most and so I need to state his English name) comes in and is his usual pleasant self. He says he needs to check my cervix. I refuse. No way he's getting between my legs right now. He looks at the monitor and decides I'm in between contractions. He parts my legs and checks my cervix. I wish I had been more forceful in my refusal. I wish my NO had been loud and clear. I wish fear and the need to conform to authority didn't take hold of me in that moment. But it did. So he checked my cervix and I screamed blue murder. Mr. A was beside himself and cried with me, after trying advocate for my wishes and Dr. TdC ignoring everyone.

Dr. TdC tersely stated that I was in labour, that I needed to be admitted and that I should get an epidural. In my memory, he also waved his hand dismissively, although I might be making that part up. 

Scene 5
The stretch between 4am and 8am is a bit fuzzy, but here is what I remember. I was given nub.ain** while still in triage. The nurse apologized for having to give me an IM injection and I laughed, stating that I had to give myself many of those for gummy to live. I was moved to a room, maybe in a wheelchair, maybe in a bed. I remember the anesthetist coming in around 5am and putting in the epidural and the room being very brightly lit for that. I remember he spoke calmly and I decided I liked him.

The part that isn't fuzzy is Dr. TdC coming back in during that time and wanting to do another cervix check. I think it was after the nu.bain but before the epi. He walked in announcing he was going to do another cervix check and said to me: "Is your husband going to cry?" I remember slowly mapping out the extent of my outrage and trying to think of replies to such a ridiculous thing to say, but admittedly, I was really out of it by that point. It was like I bookmarked in my mind this thing to be really pissed off about later.

For the rest of it, I remember lying in bed and sleeping, and knowing that at 8am, Dr. Smiley would be there and everything would be alright. Mr. A was on the fold out bed next to me. It had snowed outside. We had just been through a tough episode, but we would soon meet our daughter. For the time being, I thought I'd just sleep. 

*sorry for the switch of verb tense, but I need this part to be in present tense for some reason.

** cer.vidil is a ripening agent for the cervix, delivered in a little tampon like device inserted into the cervix. Unlike gels, it can be removed if the woman has an adverse reaction to it. Like this woman.

***an opioid - pain med.


  1. What a horrible man! I am so glad you are sharing this, I hope it helps as you work through it all. Hugs to you, mr. A and gummy.

  2. Why did you not want your cervix checked? It's standard for someone in early labour.

    1. I'm guessing she just didn't want it checked AT THAT MOMENT since she was having a contraction when he insisted on doing it.

    2. Yes, anonymous, thank you for pointing that out. I did expect that several cervix checks would be part of the whole birthing experience, but as Nancy G. correctly pointed out, I just didn't want one at that particular point in time.

  3. Some doctors should just not be in the profession with conscious patients. Of course it's standard to check but when you aren't considerate of your patient in the moment then you are a real jerk. And poking fun at your husband is even worse...that's definitely not procedure and what a rude thing to say. You should have slapped him and blamed it on a labor spasm or pain ;) I agree with E and R it helps to write it down and sort it out.

  4. Gripping! I find I'm a little terrified knowing how sideways things go. I'm going to focus on that gorgeous gummy shot and the knowledge that you're both okay.

    Dr. Asshole sounds like a F*ING MONSTER. It's infuriating that there are people like this who are in the business of helping families through a terrifying and amazing experience, and who just torture them instead. What a total BRUTE.

  5. Is my husband going to cry? No, but you will when I'm done with you!


    1. seriously, we are going to write a letter to the hospital to express our displeasure.

  6. I AM NOT GOING TO FIND MY PASSPORT AND INVADE Canada to deliver a can of whoop emmer effing ass. I am fired up. I tried reading this before bed last night and, well, FIRED UP. Holy jeebus and mary jane, what an asshole. Again, with Bunny knowing this goes sideways and only focused on sweet, sweet gummy. I am not looking at tickets right now, but I was close. Seriously. The cry comment might have warranted an opinion piece in your local paper. An open letter to Dr. Asshole. Hrmm.

  7. I've heard that surgeons tend to be difficult, but this sounds like a prime specimen. I'm so sorry you had to put up with that.