Thursday, November 21, 2019

Labour Room Saaga - Finale Episode (Part 1) - "The Enchanted Epidural"

Continued from Episode 2

At first, it just felt like a minor jolt, the one you have when you are tensed before the exam and your mouth becomes dry and watery at the same time, that kind of feeling. I was feeling nauseous may be because of the stress I was facing as I would be entering the most dreaded phase of the pregnancy but still I was not sure if that can be called a contraction. I was with my dad at that moment as mom went out to get fresh and come back maybe! (I really didn't bother even till date to know what happened behind the screen during my event ;) ). I told my dad about the minor movement and about me being unsure of whether or not it is a contraction. He who had no idea what to do started searching for a doctor or nurse. I was continuously hoping this is it and the errand would end in an hour or two. After getting the contraction, I was given a stopwatch or a buzzer - I am not sure what it is called and asked to press the button and record, every time I feel the contraction. They were timing the contractions. I felt like a celebrity is gonna pop out, for whose arrival everyone in the hospital is waiting with a ticking stopwatch. I was not even sure half of the time, if it was a contraction or my anxiety or if I was just hungry (though I was not at all in the mood to eat). In my experience, the most horrific part was the dilation examination done by my doctor or any visiting gynecologist available at that time. The way they shove their hands like it is an easy peasy lemon squeezy, I really  wanted to kick hard with whatever energy I could muster, so that they faint and not repeat that on me again! "I am not a chicken to be marinated for Gods' sake. I am a to be mother lying in labor not dying in labor," I thought to myself.

After a while, I was shifted to the actual labor room, where I can wait along with staff and one person from my family as a companion to me. My mother and husband took turns to be with me and I was dressed up in a maternity gown (or do they call it labor gown??) and asked to relax. The pain induction worked and the intensity of contractions started to increase. I could feel a pull, a push, a blow, an extension, a contraction, a wave-like pain, and some crawling and so much weirdness, which I really can't recollect on the present day. It did feel like period cramp at first but slowly it became the "Baap of it "シ (If I loosely translate in English, the labor pain when intense felt like the mother of the period pain which felt like a baby). I laughed at my own stupid joke and tried keeping calm. I was slowly dilating and was in pain and got a slight fever by late evening and felt like I may pass out any minute, or I may puke. Irrespective of my resistance and denial, I was fed some juice, some coconut water and don't know what else, to stay energetic and revived. When I said I couldn't bear the pain and requested the doctors to give me epidural, they happily obliged. An injection or maybe a catheter was pierced somewhere in my spinal canal and the drug was induced. It is funny how I did not pay attention at all, on what actually they were doing. I completely submitted myself to the staff and I guess only half of my senses were working, so I could not understand the step by step processes.

I lied down on the elevated labor bed, which extremely felt uncomfortable to me. The pain subsided a lot. I guess up to 40 - 50 %. Epidural works in different ways for different people. Some people completely get relieved, some partly relieved and for some, it may not work at all. I took the risk and I fell in the second category and was mostly relieved. My body mostly became numb below the waist but I could still feel sharp nabs of pain on the right side of my waist and hip. It felt weird as only my sides were paining. May be baby is struggling to move inside and kicking in my sides, is what I thought. So the wonder drug injected through the epidural helped me stay calm but refused to work on one side of the body. I screamed is what I thought but I actually was pleading... "Can you please increase the medicine dosage!?" I was still in pain. I never knew I could throw a tantrum in a hospital but I did. I was in trauma and I guess you can do all the drama during the trauma, just for that one night and none would dare to stop you, but the hospital staff who is used to labor so much day in and day out, will not be patient or pleased with you...was the fact I soon realized :-) . I was covered in woolen rugs and sheets and I requested the nurse to increase the room temperature, as I was shivering. She curtly said in an irritable tone, that it is common AC and I can get one more rug if I want. I told I will play music and was instantly reprimanded to reduce the volume to the lowest possible number as I would be disturbing other women in labor :) So I immediately sensed that being a drama queen may not be the choice we can implement involving everyone around us! シ

When all this was happening, the lady from LifeCell who came to collect my umbilical cord eagerly waited near my feet peeping now and then to see if I was ready. A nurse/doctor (really not sure who) came and checked the dilation and said it was 5 - 6 cms. The clock showed 9 PM. I came early in the morning at 3 AM and from then till now I moved from 1 to 5 cms. I was never such a poor performer. I perform well under pressure. Come on Afshan, You can do it. You can dilate quicker if you mentally train your brain, but my poor squishy brain... I didn't even know where it was anymore. I was feeling dizzy, pukish, hot and everything felt hazy. I found my mom in the corner reciting the prayers she knows and reading a page or a verse from the Quran. Even in mid of so much trauma, that scene moved me. I felt painless even if it was just for a fleeting moment.
source : here

I was squeezing my husband Imran's palms tight and hard, whenever there was a shooting pain in my right waist. The rest of the body was numb with minimal bearable pain. The nurse expressed displeasure as my mom was hovering around. My mom said she will just stay for a while and kept praying, checking on me and kept moving in and out. When Imran left my hand as he had to do some e-payment, I screamed. I screamed aloud as I just wanted to keep squeezing his palm. I felt it could be at any moment. I was counting numbers and strangely humming the song, "O humdum suniyo re , O chaliya suniyo re..." from the movie Saathiya (one of my fav songs). Maybe it played last on my iPod... but I was humming it too loud in my head. I also don't know what business I was doing down there which now was like a late-night party hangout to all the nurses, doctors and rest of the staff...

To be Continued .....

PS: I am clearing my head and recollecting that day after 2 years, hence I would like to break it here, and finish the ordeal soon :) Thanks for stopping by!

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