Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Never-ending Story

I have heard that childbirth is like running a marathon. It can be long. You work hard enough to sweat. You reach a point where you want to give up. You feel amazing when you're all finished. You forget about the pain and do it all over again (maybe?!).

I never got to experience much of the typical childbirth. I was only in labor with Bruce for a few hours before he became distressed and I developed worrisome symptoms that led to a quick emergency C-section. With Phoebe, I didn't get to labor long at all; once it was determined that her umbilical cord and oxygen supply were cut off, we were whisked off for yet another emergency C-section. So I've always been a little envious of those women who labored long and hard and had a natural childbirth. Those women are tough. I want to be tough too.

Now I'm getting my chance! When I was first admitted a few weeks ago, I had some good solid contractions for about 10 hours. A few days ago, I got another 10 or so hours of labor before it stalled out. As I write, I am now going on my 40th straight hour of contractions. And now that I've experienced labor, I can say with surety that I would much rather run a marathon. Or 2 or 3 or 4. Labor is harder. Period.

In a marathon, you know where the finish line is and you can predict where the pain will come and how much longer you have to endure it. But in labor, there is no solid finish line and certainly in my case I don't know how much longer it is going to be.

Two nights ago, I started having contractions again after a few boring days. They started coming in the middle of the night and it took me two hours to decide they were legit enough to push the nurse call button (I know, I don't make good decisions or move fast between the hours of 10 p.m.-5 a.m.). I was monitored for a half-hour to determine that they were indeed legit contractions, then transferred up to the labor and delivery floor (again).

I had contractions every 5 minutes for awhile, then every 4, then every 3 minutes. But every few hours they would ease up to every 10 minutes or so. Some were painful, some not as much. Because I just had magnesium a few days ago, my doctor gave me a different medication for stopping contractions. They didn't stop, but they slowed down enough for me to fall asleep last night. I was so exhausted that I slept for four hours. When I woke up, I checked the graphs that the monitor puts out and they showed contractions every 4-5 minutes with a few big monster ones. And so they have continued today (except for two blissful hours midday).

The plan is to keep the baby in as long as possible - so as long as I don't develop an infection and his vitals look good, I will keep going. The doctor thinks I'm within days of delivering rather than weeks, but that finish line is still looking ambiguous. Especially after having the course changed on me several times.

I've held it together pretty well thus far, but I totally broke down this morning. The nurse wanted to put a new IV in because the one I had was too old. I hate needles, but I really hate getting IVs placed; I hate the stinging, the pinching, and that feeling of plastic tubing getting shoved under my skin. Ick. I informed the nurse that I hated it and told her to place it wherever on me, but to please please please get it on the first try. She went over my arms thoroughly. I usually have decent veins (runners generally do), but I've been poked so many times that I'm nearly out of non-blown-out veins straight enough for an IV. The rash on my skin makes it even harder to find veins.

She settled on one and went for it - and didn't get it. "Awwww," the nurse said. "You're so brave." And that was when I lost it.

I'm tired of being brave! I want to go home! I miss my family! I hate needles! I hate hospitals! I miss running! I hate daytime TV! I want to tear off my itchy skin! I hate being tethered by the monitors! I want to sleep in my bed! I can't move the fingers on my left hand because of this stupid IV! I want a shower! 

The nurse got the IV placed, I had a good solid cry, I texted Scott pictures of my bloodied hand, I called my mom and had another good cry, then some medical student came in and asked how I was doing so I cried some more. In a marathon, I think this is where I "hit the wall."

Thankfully, a few friends stopped by this afternoon and buoyed me up enough that I'm feeling ready to face another day of this. Sticking to the marathon analogy, they essentially passed me some Gatorade and paced me through another mile while giving me a pep talk.

I still don't know where the finish line is, and the course is likely to change a few more times, but I'm rounding the corner ready for the next stretch - however long it may be.

Labels:

10 Comments:

Blogger Nan said...

Man, if that graph were a course profile, you'd be running some crazy ultra marathon in the Alps. Hang in there, Mars.You are a tough nut. I'll pray the finish line is just around the next bend.

7:28 PM  
Blogger Deja said...

I'm so sorry. So so sorry. I wish I could give you a map of the marathon. You are totally brave.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Brittney said...

I don't know what to say and I don't know how you're able to keep going but holy cow way to go! You're amazing and your baby will thank you for it someday. A dear cousin of mine gave birth 4/22/2013 at 28 weeks and every time she post pictures of her tiny daughter I cheer that she's doing so well but ache that her tiny baby came so early and is so underdeveloped (though she's doing really good). I totally understand hating the hospital, I was only there 5 days after giving birth and I was going absolutely crazy, I can’t even imagine being there for weeks, but every day that I see you haven't had your baby yet I cheer a little bit. May Oliver grow big and strong and may all your discomfort pay off. You’re in our thoughts and prayers.

7:46 PM  
Blogger Brittney said...

I don't know what to say and I don't know how you're able to keep going but holy cow way to go! You're amazing and your baby will thank you for it someday. A dear cousin of mine gave birth 4/22/2013 at 28 weeks and every time she post pictures of her tiny daughter I cheer that she's doing so well but ache that her tiny baby came so early and is so underdeveloped (though she's doing really good). I totally understand hating the hospital, I was only there 5 days after giving birth and I was going absolutely crazy, I can’t even imagine being there for weeks, but every day that I see you haven't had your baby yet I cheer a little bit. May Oliver grow big and strong and may all your discomfort pay off. You’re in our thoughts and prayers.

7:47 PM  
Anonymous Cheryl said...

Hang in there Emily. Your strength is so impressive and always has been. I'm praying for you and sweet Oliver.

10:01 PM  
Blogger Kate G said...

Emily, you're the bravest most beautiful person I know.

11:12 PM  
Blogger Karyn said...

Just like in a marathon, everyone standing by to watch is saying "This is the last hill! You can do it!" And it isn't the last hill. But you can do it. You've made it so far. You've got this. We are all cheering for you!

6:05 PM  
Blogger Lauri Malolo said...

Hi sweet one....my naturopath can tell u what that rash is...u would have to.talk to her..u are under tremendous conditions and your body is being challenged more than it needs. No one knows how yucky it is and no one can even imagine the marathon that you are running... but one sure bet...is our Heavenly Father will not allow you to endure anything that you cannot overcome...that I know..and that is the one little bit of light that you have to hold on to...now I didn't say..He said it would be easy...but you have what it takes to overcome this challenge... it's okay to cry....lose it..and cry some more.. just know that all of us are here to send our strength.. faith and love to you..on my worst days..I would close my tear filled swollen eyes and envision my family and friends standing at my bedside helping me get up...may our dear Heavenly Father carry you and your burdens upon his shoulders and lighten your load...much love to you. xoxox Lauri

12:50 AM  
Blogger Suzanna and James said...

Hey partner! You have always been the tough one ever since we ran 10K's "together" in track (meaning, I ran behind you). I have no idea why you have to go through this crazy "marathon" dream, but God knows the reason(s), and you will make it.

P.S. I miss running too. By this time next year, we can go running together! :)

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Morgan said...

Thinking of you! Can't believe both our boys are 8! xoxoxo

12:06 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home