(Ok, I can’t keep saying “my husband”, “my midwife, and “my midwife’s assistant/apprentice who was primary for the birth” forever, so hubs is now the Fardreamer, the midwife is E and the apprentice is V.)
So my hip went poing. And I went, Oh this is new. AND EXCRUCIATING.
I babbled a lot, and tried every position I ever saw, read about, heard of, or could invent. As I kept repeating to whoever was making suggestions or asking questions at the time: Everything hurts horribly, but walking is the least horrible. So I walked up and down the apartment, up and down, which really isn’t very far before you have to adjust your stride and turn around again. At some point near 11pm or midnight (so this is now Tuesday the 24th of July, but I still think of it as “Monday night” due to personal time/date stuff) I finally convinced the Fardreamer that yes, V really DID need to come over, NOW, because this is not good and not normal. I think some of the highly creative swearing helped. (Hi Mom!)
So she came over, and I was able to pull it together somewhat, because having other people around does that. There’s something about an audience that makes me at least 60% more mature, responsible, and collected (sometimes only 20% is it’s just the Fardreamer because hey, he’s there for when I shatter). I got back into the birth tub. Before that, my mind was fixated on can’t sit down, must keep moving, can’t sit down, must keep moving, but with someone else there I was able to make the monumental effort to relax into the warmth of the water. Well, what warmth there was before V and the Fardreamer had to use a couple pots to remove enough water to put more hot water in when it inevitably got chilly. I had some music ready- well, more “in mind” really because I didn’t get around to making an actual playlist – so while I was in the tub I got V to play some songs for me on Youtube as something to think about, sing along with, focus on, and generally draw encouragement from as I tried to maintain mind over matter. My mom had taught me the value of mind over matter when I was young, but I didn’t quite figure it out until I was much older. It served me well for a time that night, while I reclined in the birth tub, trying hard not to writhe, and gently set my pride and dignity on a shelf and sang along in front of Other People, oh noes! We started with Enrique Iglesias’ “Hero” and “Pale” by Within Temptation. Then we moved on to other songs, by turns comforting, cheerful, encouraging, strengthening: “You’ll Be In My Heart” by Phil Collins from the Tarzan soundtrack, “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles, “Forever” by Kamelot, “The Chosen Ones” by Dream Evil. I list them here not to bombard the reader with unfamiliar details, but because they are beautiful, important songs which helped carry me through dark places even when I wasn’t hearing them. I kept them in my head, the lyrics and melodies weaving a warm blanket which served as both shelter and armor.
But the tub was not enough. The music was not enough. Position changes, counter pressure, walking was not enough. Counter pressure actually turned out to make my hip hurt worse. The next option was a chiropractor home visit, to see if the poing could be un-poinged. V called and called and left messages with the Old Faithful doctor who was affiliated with E’s community of birth support professionals and with a couple other chiropractors in the area all to no avail. This was around 1 in the morning so I don’t blame anyone for, you know, being in bed but on the other hand they are sort of 24-hour on call and they all do home visits for pregnant women, so it wasn’t supposed to be that long of a shot.
We were pretty sure this was more than just labor pain, so we started talking about pain medication. We had Tylenol and ibuprofen, but I had already taken the former to no avail and I’ve known for years that I could pop six of the latter and not know the difference. I had a *coughcough* reserve store of Vicodin from when I had my wisdom teeth removed, so the Fardreamer (who knows a thing or two about medication due to his job) and V discussed options and looked up whether Vicodin was safe to take, but I was fast developing a short attention span and an even shorter temper so we decided to hustle ourselves to a hospital down the street for a nice shot of now-I-can-concentrate-on-labor.
When we got there, we had to answer a bunch of annoying questions, but since it wasn’t an actual emergency there was only so much irritation I allowed myself to feel. I tried my best not to look like a pregnant woman in active labor coming to the hospital at the eleventh hour with no doctor or anything, but of course I failed miserably and for about two terrifying minutes I thought the emergency room nurse was going to call a Code Preggers and I was going to be whisked away to Labor and Delivery where they would Take Care of Me and that would be the end of it all, the end of my autonomy and say-so and person-ness and birth desires and decision-making and the whole nine yards down the drain, sucked in by the impersonal authoritarian short-sighted god of Hospital Policy when ALL I WANTED WAS SOMETHING FOR THE HIP PAIN, OTHERWISE I AM PERFECTLY FINE AND WANT TO GO BACK HOME WHERE I AM ALLOWED TO WEAR OR NOT WEAR MY OWN CLOTHES AND NOT HAVE FIDDLY BRACELETS ON MY ARM LIKE AN INVALID!
Anyway the three of us waited in this little halfway room for the actual doctor to come take us to an actual room for about ten minutes, which I spent giving long soulful glances at anyone who was dressed like a medical person, hoping someone would take pity on me and hurry up the actual doctor or come take us themselves. After several other things which took far longer than strictly necessary, I did have to go to labor and delivery (although I was very careful to tell anyone with ears that I was just there for something for the pain in my hip which I poinged doing a deep squat, not here for a birth, nope, nosirree, not me) and I got trussed up in an extremely confusing hospital gown with a gratuitous number of snaps, ties, and things which could be either a neckline or sleeves who knows, beats me. So we were in the Room of Many Beeps and I had fetal monitor belts around my waist which the nurse assured me were absolutely necessary, but when they inevitably slid around to the point where they were no longer picking up contractions or a heart rate no one came dashing in to rescue me or the baby from certain death, so I rather doubt her words. She kept leaving us to our own devices for protracted periods of time and I don’t remember why for most of them. At first she told me that I had no prenatal care since I was going with a midwife instead of an OB and I was darn close to calling her a liar and asking for a competent nurse but decided instead that the wiser course of action was indeed what V and the Fardreamer said, which was to fax the hospital my file. Well of course that would require me to sign a release for so E wouldn’t be accused of violating HIPAA but obviously I was in no condition to go anywhere and sign anything of the sort, so what happened instead was that my dear loving long-suffering midwife whom I’m pretty sure has not slept in four years went to her office, made copies of my file, and drove them down to the hospital herself, and since I was there giving my verbal ok it was fine. Then the nurse assured me that a cervical exam was also absolutely necessary, and that the doctor would absolutely refuse any kind of pain medication unless one was done. Well, I wanted pain meds and I didn’t want a cervical check, particularly one done by someone like her or some random doctor who otherwise couldn’t be troubled to make an appearance, so with a firm tone and no-nonsense words I told her that no, I would not receive a cervical check and why and yes, I would receive pain medication. She floundered for a couple seconds, then said she’d go talk to the doctor and get back to me.
Apparently the doctor was currently backpacking across the Alps because she was gone for over half an hour. However, when she returned she was following in the wake of Dr. Yacht who said of course, no cervical check, and of course, yes pain meds, we’re going to give you a shot of fentanyl and (something else I can’t remember, possibly Unadulterated Happy Juice) and then keep you here for half an hour to make sure you actually get relief and don’t pass out, lose a leg, or have a baby. So that was delightful and then we got to go home at around 3am and I conked on the couch. YAAAAAY!
But then I woke up around 4:30am with all sorts of trippy disorientation and thus began the longest game of telephone in my life.
TO BE CONTINUED… AGAIN