13 July 2010

The Emancipation of Mimi: Part 2

If you want to catch up, you can read The Emancipation of Mimi: Part 1 here

I asked Patrick to take a picture of me before I delivered. This is what he gave me.

This was his second attempt. I am not one of those women who has the time to get dolled up for the hospital, but at least I'm standing upright.

The drive to the hospital was uneventful--no freak-outs, no missed exits, no babies in the car. Patrick called my doctor to let him know we were on our way while I allowed anticipation to fill the few moments between contractions. This was really happening. This baby, who seemed so unreal the entire 9+ months, would be joining us shortly. This baby, who was such a surprise in the first place, was going to enter our world today. This baby, who forced/encouraged me to spend more quality time with Jonas, would soon be forcing/encouraging me to spend less time with Jonas. And this baby, whose gender was still a mystery, would no longer be a mystery.

Upon arrival, Patrick dropped me off at the entrance and after confirming the third floor was where I wanted to be, I immediately found a couch in the sitting area and unselfconsciously labored right there in the lobby. Elizabeth caught up with me as I was getting in the elevator, and though Patrick was right behind her, I couldn't hold the door open for him. At 2 minutes apart, those 15 seconds were a precious commodity.

Once in labor and delivery, I informed the nurse that I would go quickly, especially if Jonas was any indicator.

Sure, sure. With a verbal eye roll inserted there, too. She was nice, but probably thinking I was just overreacting.

Despite all of my positive thinking and visualizing, things didn't go as I had planned. All of the rooms were full, so I was placed in a triage type of room--hospital bed and a curtain in a little nook of the hallway.

"Don't worry, this is only temporary. You won't be having your baby here. We're just going to wait for a room to open up."

Now it was my turn to say sure, sure. I thought there was a good chance this was where I was having my baby. Not ideal, but feasible. I wouldn't be able to set up all of my birthing things (ball, CD player, etc.), but at least I wasn't in the car.

Patrick made some sort of joke, which I didn't appreciate (though it was funny later) and I headed into the restroom to prepare myself for this baby. I could hear Elizabeth whispering to Patrick how she told her husband to shut-up while she was in labor and that he shouldn't take my lack of appreciation too seriously.

When I came out, I was informed that Doctor E. wouldn't be able to make it and his colleague would deliver my baby instead. I started to cry. When Jonas was born, my doctor missed it by 30 minutes and I was grateful because I didn't care for him. Doctor E. is different and I often mentioned how distraught I would be if he couldn't deliver my baby. So here I was in the hallway of the hospital with my biggest fear being confirmed--no Doctor E.

That's when I told Elizabeth I didn't want to have a natural birth without Doctor E. The look of terror across her face would have been amusing if I weren't serious. I love my doctor and I knew as long as I was in his capable hands, I could do anything. Without him, it didn't even seem possible to go through with it.

Fortunately, I didn't have enough time to entertain the thought of medicine. I'm sure Elizabeth said something to convince me to proceed with my plans, but I don't remember because my contractions kicked in and I couldn't really think straight while I was using my pain management techniques. Each time a strong contraction could course through my body, I saw my little J waving to me as we drove to the hospital and I was filled with incredible joy knowing I was bringing another little one into our family.

Using my pain management techniques was a challenge at home because of the inordinate amount of disruptions that seemed to only occur during Jonas' nap time. That must have been divinely inspired because the disruptions during the labor far surpassed those at home.

When Jonas was born, Nurse Robin was phenomenal. So phenomenal, in fact, that my second biggest fear of childbirth was having a poor/uncaring/uncompromising nurse.

Enter Nurse J. Ugh. Second fear confirmed. She reminded me very much of a nursing student who has never given birth, using a textbook her guide rather than the needs of the patient and a little bit of common sense. Unfortunately, I required a bit of flexibility since I didn't want my baby's birth to be of the textbook variety.

After the first 2 minutes, I knew I didn't like her one bit. She didn't look me in the eye and was always looking over my head when she talked to me. There was nothing genuine about her and I could feel disapproval radiating from her. My discontent didn't end there.

Exhibit A
As she strapped me down to the bed on my back (which is the most uncomfortable position for laboring, I might add), I informed her that my doctor approved minimal monitoring.
Well, we have to monitor you 20 minutes out of every hour.

Yes, that's fine, but my doctor said you could use telemetry monitoring so I can walk around.

We don't have those today. They are all in the shop being repaired.
Uh-huh. Sure, sure. Don't lie to me. Just tell me you don't know how to use them.

Exhibit B.
What's your pain level?

As I informed you before, I do not want to be asked what my pain level is. I'm using self-hypnosis and any suggestion of pain makes it very difficult to concentrate.

(snaps) well you have to tell me. It's hospital policy and we have to do it to assess your vitals.
Uh-huh. I'm soooooo sure. Since every other nurse and doctor I've talked to about this has told me it is not a mandatory assessment.
Blah blah blah more lies about hospital policy, perhaps to try and convince herself she was telling the truth.
Exhibit C.
Do you have a birth plan?

(no answer, since I'm in pain--something she should have realized since she had to assess my vitals)

(Elizabeth) Her doctor faxed it in two weeks ago.

Well we never received a copy. Do you have one with you?
Really? I mean, really?! Instead of just going to check, you want me to go in my backpack and retrieve it for you? I know you're at work, but I'm the one actually in labor (Oddly enough, every other nurse who worked with me had a copy).

Exhibit D.
How far apart do you think your contractions are?
This is where I got really mad. If you have to monitor me, then CHECK THE MONITOR!!!!

I didn't say any of this. There simply wasn't enough time between my contractions, which would have been evident had she looked at the monitor. You know, the monitor for which she was forcing me to lay flat on my back on a gurney with elastic bands strapping me in.

In between each asinine question, explanation of procedures that "had to happen," and refusal to be flexible, Nurse J stood next to me punching things into the computer. I have strong suspicions that she was faking it in order to assert her authority (or perhaps refining the chip on her shoulder).

Exhibit E.
The last straw was when she had me sign papers in between my contractions. Papers that I specifically made a trip to the hospital with my toddler in tow to sign 5 weeks prior. Papers that I'm certain were in the file that she refused to check, probably alongside my birth plan.
I already signed these when I pre-registered.

No you didn't. No one signs these in pre-registration.

Yes I did. That's the point of pre-registration, but if I must sign them again, I will.
Of course, my contractions are right on top of each other at this point. I am not an ornery woman while I labor and I would even consider myself quite nice, but my anger began to bubble over as she held a clipboard 4 inches from my face, tapping her foot as if I were inconveniencing her.

Oh, I'm sorry. I'm busy having a baby so your papers (that I already signed) will have to wait. Perhaps you can move that clipboard before I shove it down your throat.

I didn't say that, but I wanted to, so I settled for purposely dropping the pen on the floor so she would get out of my face. I gained an inordinate of satisfaction out of bothering her.

Finally (finally!) she left the room for a moment. I wanted to switch nurses, but knew there was no time. Instead, I silently vowed that if we had any more children, I would have a home birth. I then felt the urge to throw up and knew immediately that I was in transition.

I told Elizabeth what I was thinking and she called the nurse over.

She needs to push.

And that's when all hell broke loose.


Frugal or Cheap? said...

I'm riveted!!!! Can't wait for the next installment, and I might add I want to go find that poor excuse for a "L&D" nurse and give her a piece of my mind!

Mrs. Ordinary said...

Call me and I'll give you her name and employee ID ;)

Kali said...
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Kali said...
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Kali said...

Oh Jen!!! I am filled with so much emotion reading this! Disbelief, frustration, shock, and down right I CANT BELIEVE THIS!!! I can not even begin to tell you how it would have made me feel if both my midwives "wouldn't have been able to make it". And if I was stuck with somebody like nurse J. I think I WOULD have shoved that clipboard down her throat... and I too am srprisingly sweet during labor. (haha thought I would be cursing the whole way through it) I am jumping on to part three.

Kali said...

P.S. can't even tell that you aren't all "dolled" up... you look great. You should have seen me haha. just got out of the shower and didn't even have time to blow dry my hair. I was a mess. still makes me laugh.
and the last two comments were me. lets just say I am challenged. posted the comment with your name in it ... then was like uh-oh and deleted it since you prefer to be called mrs. ordinary and reworded the comment then realized you have jen all over your blog... lol

The M's said...

I love reading your birthing story and can't wait to read the third part.
Bless your heart for holding your tongue! I had a similar instance when I was in labor with Keedan and my midwife, the nurse and Ryan were chatting it up while I was going back and forth with pushing and I remember being so annoyed at them for talking and smiling when I was in sooooo much pain and trying to concentrate.....but I never said a word outloud :)