Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Connect the Dots

(Times are estimates at the moment - charts aren't in front of me.)

1. Called to labor @ 6:30 am 9/26

2. Stopped by office to cancel appointments

3. Went to labor

4. Set up for birth on my own (not something I do often since I have the assistant and apprentice with me all the time - I liked it and moved slowly and meticulously)

5. Assistant and Apprentice Arrive about 9:00am (lots of morning traffic - they were 70 miles away)

6. Early labor - mom, dad and family interaction nice and fun

7. Teaching apprentice how not to open a methergine ampule, I slice my thumb, forefinger, middle finger, and hand from knuckle to mid-hand under wedding ring. It provides hours of amusement as I wrap and re-wrap the bandages several times because it continues bleeding; we consider going to the hospital for scrubbing in surgery to get glass shards removed, plastic surgery, placing sutures ourselves, decide on lidocaine ointment (which relieved the sting considerably) after scrubbing with gauze and Barney's Foaming Bubble Gum Soap. Apprentice and Assistant humor my whiny self by starting a chart and asking my hand's progress notes every 10 minutes or so if I don't volunteer it. They rarely have to ask since I am sharing every 2.5 minutes or so. They found some pretty purple bandaids to match my shirt for three of the slices and we hand the major slice wrapped like a fighter until nearer the birth, then I put a regular blue bandaid on it. The Princess one fell off. It was my left hand.

8. Without details, long labor with decision to move to the hospital. 2am-ish 9/27/06

9. JUST as the quiet decision to offer choice to family was being made, the phone rang and my other client that was due was in active labor. Her last labor was a 6 hour home birth of a 10 pound baby.

10. I had 20 min. to decide who was going to go where, gather up the birth supplies and drive the 40 miles to the next house if I was the one going.

11. 4 different midwives could not help... one on vacation, one whose dad was very ill in ICU, one with three moms at term or post-dates and one who was absolutely wiped out from various things with a mom hanging out there. I had no decision but to go to the mom in cranking labor and send my apprentice with the mom who was now heading to the hospital. I took the assistant with me. Neither of us had slept for about 18 hours. I hadn't brought my meds (like a goof). 2 doses down now.

12. Apprentice goes to the hospital with Client #1. I'm horrified that I have to leave Client #1 after all the work we've done during the pregnancy with abandonment issues. I work hard to get my shit together to be present for the next birth knowing Client #1 is in excellent hands with my apprentice while heaving with horrid guilt for leaving her. I feel I set myself up for this abandonment during the pregnancy by telling her I would never leave her. I note I can NEVER tell a woman that EVER again. How could I have known? How could I have known.

13. Assistant and I drive to Client #2

14. Client #2 had vaginal exam that took her from 1cm to 5cm (cervical adhesions broken... history of cervical surgery) and quickly went to 9cm.

15. Things slowed and I napped with assistant did FHTs every hour. When I woke after 3 hours and could barely remember my initials, I called and begged my favorite midwife to come and help me finish the birth. I was in tears I was so tired. She'd said no at 2am. At 7:30am, she said she was on her way. By 10am, she was there.

16. I stayed back and allowed the assistant do almost everything. I called Client #2 by Client #1's name at least 2-4 times. Hugely embarassed, I just shut up eventually after apologizing. I needed to get out of there. I took dad aside downstairs when the other midwife was close and explained that I was medically not safe, that if anything needed a sane decision, I wasn't going to be the one to make it. He expressed understanding and thanks.

17. New well-slept midwife comes

18. I retreat to the chenille-covered slider rocker and sob in the baby's room. I feel like a total failure. It is now 3 doses of meds I have missed. And a whole lotta sleep. I lay back and try to sleep and call my partner instead who begs me to come home.

19. I am worried about my apprentice at the hospital with no car and no sleep and work to figure out a way to get her home. She and I talk off and on. Client #1 still has not delivered.

20. Client #2 seems to have stalled somehow and I can no longer wait and cry. I have to find a way to drive 90 miles home and get into bed. I know I have to pass the other hospital on the way home. Will I stop?

21. Client #1 had been 9cm at home... then many, many hours later, was 7cm. At the hospital, was 9cm and then 7cm twice more. Something very, very odd had been happening. A cesarean seemed very likely despite this being a second child and a previous vaginal birth.

22. On my way home, I sob and shove exquisitely expensive Venezuelan chocolate into my mouth trying to figure out what to do. Stop? Will I be any good? I swerve over the bumpy dots on the road and float dream-like through the miles, seeing floaty weird ghosts out of the corners of my eyes thinking, "Hmmm... perhaps the new baby doesn't need to see these apparitions today."

23. I feel like a failure. Three September clients and all three I have labored with for HOURS and I will have not seen a one of the babies born. Do I scare the babies? I feel so horrible. I just cry and cry as I fly at 90 mph past the exit where my client is birthing (unbeknownst to me).

24. I get a message that Client #1 has delivered - vaginally - after 31 hours - a 10 pound baby girl over an intact perineum with a torrential hemorrhage postpartum. Thank god she was in the hospital.

25. I make it home and nearly fall over in an orgasm scrubbing my scalp and skin with a brush, soap and scalding water... I took two showers in one... one right after the other. I wanted to lie down in there and sleep.

26. I get out and find a message that Client #2 is being transfered to the hospital (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

27. I cannot sleep. Instead, I take my meds and cry.

28. I eat some pasta and cookies and cream ice cream and feel better.

29. I get a call saying Client #2 is being wheeled into surgery. I am absolutely stunned. It's 3:00pm.

30. I finally go to sleep for a couple of hours.

31. I awaken to find that Client #1 is doing amazingly and is doing very well considering it all. We will have a lot of work to process, but she is so strong and powerful, we will do great. Baby #1 was born at 12:00 noon on the dot 9/27/06.

32. I talk to Client #2 and she is so thrilled with her daughter. 9#11oz baby that was coming out ear first (best as they can tell so far) She's now how a homebirth and a cesarean. Wow. Her baby was born at about 4:00pm 9/27/06.

33. I've cried a lot. Stood in front of several clients with no make-up, my hair a gross mess, no bra, clothes icky - and have been honest and tried to stand with no shame. I hated standing there so naked and raw. It was very painful. I forced myself to suffer through it.

34. Two healthy mothers. Two beautiful big girls. One humble midwife who doesn't know what her lessons are that she keeps not actually midwifing anyone but herself.

Could that be it?

Were you able to see the completed picture?

I'm not sure if I know what it all is yet. I'll tell you when I do. Probably after a night or two of sleep. And some regularly scheduled meds.