Everyone Was Wrong, It DOES Matter

I woke up at about 2:40am with the vague sense of pain subsiding. Pain intense enough to pull me out of the REM that had been eluding me for months, but not so awful that it couldn’t have just been a dream. I shook the fog from my head and settled back in, dozing, uncharacteristically, once more, when it came back; a slow roll in my lower abdomen, intensifying and then subsiding. It was like a bad period cramp, I told myself, or, more likely given the meal of cased meat I’d just enjoyed hours earlier, gas. I got up to go to the bathroom, and left again, unrewarded. Surely it was the sausages.
But as I lay back down, it kept happening, and began to take definite shape. This couldn’t possibly be IT. COULD IT?!
I wasn’t ready. The baby wasn’t ready, sitting stubbornly with her head in my ribcage. It was early Wednesday. I’d just talked to my doctor who’d okayed me to push things out as far as possible. We’d just agreed to give The Girl all the time she needed to turn on her own in order to avoid a c-section. I’d been laying, inverted on an ironing board and placing frozen peas on my ribs, hoping she’d move away from the cold and down toward my pelvis. On Tuesday I’d been to the chiropractor after reading about the Webster Technique. I had four more visits scheduled to ensure maximum success…I’d paid a not small amount of money for 12 weeks of Bradley Natural Childbirth classes, I had a PLAN…this COULDN’T BE IT….
But the pain, instead of subsiding into a satisfying shit, got worse and more frequent over the next hour. There was no gradual increase, no chance to acclimate. The pains got very serious VERY quickly. As gently as I could to avoid alarm, I woke The Old Man up and let him know that I was pretty sure something was happening. We called the hospital to be safe, but knew that as The Girl was still breeched, we’d be told to come in right away, and that’s exactly what happened. I took 10 last minutes to myself and showered, doubling over three times in that span with what I knew for certain at that point to be contractions.
And then we got in the car, headed straight for the hospital and an anxiety attack.
What’s sad is that I didn’t have an opportunity to get excited. I wasn’t mentally prepared for the way things were going. Not 5 days before I’d learned that The Girl hadn’t turned. I’d gone through the ECV to no avail. My previously uneventful and healthy pregnancy had jarringly turned into something completely opposite. If there was a record, it would have scratched. Everything I’d planned for had turned upside down, and I’d barely had a chance to process the information let alone get used to it when here I was, faced with everything that I DIDN’T want, everything that terrified me.
I was on a freight train toward a panic attack. Instead of smiling with the anticipation and conjuring images of the little girl I was about to meet, I was imagining IVs and incisions, spinal needles and weeks of recovery time. There were night nurses with too sweet voices and endless questions posed to me in singsong. Things were explained to me as if I was slow and a maddening number of people telling me to relax. And then my body started to shake. Uncontrollably. The adrenaline dump. I couldn’t curb it and I couldn’t get in front of it. It had me and it wasn’t letting go. And all the while, the contractions continued, creeping unrelentingly closer together. I tried to focus on The Old Man’s voice as he remembered to coach me, but then there was the nurse with the needles and she couldn’t find a vein in my hand and oh my God the nightmare, then more nurses and the doctor and an exam which showed that time was shorter than they liked and more nurses and an anesthesiologist with no bedside manner and forms to sign with my shaking hands and contractions and that DAMN FUCKING NURSE WHO WAS STILL DIGGING AROUND IN MY HAND FOR A GODDAMNED VEIN and more forms and soothing voices that weren’t at all soothing and all the while this isn’t my plan this isn’t my plan this isn’t my plan and contractions and find the vein and stop digging around please THIS IS ALL TOO MUCH ALL AT ONCE!!!!!! and there is no room for visions of My Sweet Girl Who I Will Meet Soon, and they are wheeling me to the OR and WHAT DO YOU MEAN THE OLD MAN CAN’T COME IN WHEN THEY PLACE THE SPINAL BLOCK THAT’S THE WORST PART and no room for me to argue because I’m through the doors and on my side and now there are sticky things connected to wires and they’re all over me and contraction and I have to hold my knees to my chest and the needle is going in my back and OH GOD IT HURTS and I’m not still enough and he’s yelling at me that he can’t do his job if I don’t hold still and contraction and please let the contraction pass but he can’t because my labor is progressing too fast and HOLY SHIT THAT HURTS and now I’m going numb and what if I’m numb forever and paralyzed and there’s a sheet in front of me and I can’t see anything and my arms are strapped to boards on either side and it’s like I’m crucified and I’m crying now like really crying and this is not how I wanted it and now the Old Man is there and he’s telling me it’ll be all right but it’s not all right and the doctors are talking about vacations and they’re cutting me and there is pressure and pulling and then the wind is knocked out of me
And then there is screaming, but it’s not me. My baby is screaming and nothing is the way I planned it and beyond that sheet there is a gaping bloody hole in my body and the Old Man is telling them to put her on my chest skin to skin because goddamn it, one thing should go the way we talked about and they put her on me but I can’t enjoy it because my arms are still strapped down and with all the nurses in there they can’t get me undone fast enough and, oh yeah, anxiety attack plus whatever is in those IVs and take her take her TAKE HER I’M GOING TO VOMIT and I do and someone is sewing and telling me I have a healthy baby