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Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Labor

(I ran into a draft post I had written sometime back and I thought it would be a good publish)

I hope this post helps all those first time expecting parents and married (or unmarried ) couples who are clueless of  what's awaiting them. If my labor was any less dramatic , this post wouldn't have materialized. For all those who have already gone through this experience or never will, I am sorry if this sounds too boring.

We reached our maternity hospital emergency (they call it triage) at around 9pm one Tuesday night after we suspected that my mucous plug had come out (For those wondering , mucous plug has nothing to do with the mucous coming out of the nose). There were other women in queue who were already in their labor and I was just one of the many.When my turn came, it was found that my BP (they call it PIH or Pregnancy Induced Hypertension) had shot up , accompanied by onset of slight asthma.The duty doctor performed a routine 'internal examination' to confirm the labor stage ( For those totally clueless of what internal examination is, it is a rather awkward and extremely painful process where the doctor puts her fingers into a female's cervix and God knows where all to analyze the situation there ). I thought that we would be interacting with the duty doctor all through the night but to my surprise the senior obstetrician (whom we were consulting) came to the spot and advocated "induced labor" next morning at 4 am and gave us few hours to catch up with sleep.

I was immediately shifted to what they call a LDR (Labor Delivery Room), where a machine to check my contractions and the baby's heart rate was attached to me.(Now that I look back , the LDR seems like a room to hell.) A room was allotted to us where Vinod was supposed to spent his night but he chose to sit in a chair next to my bed all night.The hospital payment package was inclusive of just 5 hrs in LDR and I honestly thought that by making me spend the night at the LDR (even when induced labor was to start only next morning), the hospital was probably trying to make some easy bucks.As soon as I was shifted to the LDR , I started developing light contractions, once every 30 min and I thought it was just some gas . ( For all those who are unaware of and will remain unaware of  contractions, it is a category of pain that seems like it is generating from your lower back or lower abdomen and travels downwards and disappears to come again after few minutes. Well, this is the simplest explanation).

One thing to note in a maternity hospital is that the only thing of any importance is pain.Almost as soon as you arrive there with symptoms of labor, you shed your veils of privacy . Different doctors examine your different body parts, in and out and all you seem to be bothered is that you get out that place in two healthy pieces (one piece is you and the other of course the baby). Apart from the doctors who engage in delivering babies daily, the other section of people that need a big round of applause are the nurses. Even though we paid for their services, I felt heavily indebted to the services offered by (both female and male) nurses. They do things for you that even your close relatives feel awkward about.

By the time it was 4:30 in the morning, my mild contractions had increased to be recognized as contractions and I was administered with some drug to induce labor...and it seemed like held broke loose after that...what happened thereafter was too dreadful to be even thought about. I started getting what is called strong contractions..atleast according to me they were strong ..but the medical staff did not feel so.All I can remember is I yelling with pain and my poor husband massaging my back ..This went on for another 12 hours. The assistant doctors would visit every couple of hrs, do an internal examination and declare that dilation hasn't happened much. Now that I think of it, I am not sure how women would want to go through this sort of self-torture over and over again.

At the end of long 16 hours, the heart-beat machine started beeping back and forth. The baby's heart beat was dipping steadily.I felt like I was being sucked into vacuum. A sense of free falling into
 cool air encompassed me..reminded me of the whale in the 'the HitcherHiker's guide to Galaxy' that had no clue of where it was going..or who it was-Poor Chap.

Much to my relief, my obstetrician sent out an emergency distress signal and I think within a span of next 5 min , I was right under the circular beam of lights inside an Operation Theatre- something I had till then seen only in the movies. I was huge and really very heavy and the team of male nurses had a difficult time transferring me over to the operating bed (wonder if that's what it's called). I was in intense pain and rather non-responsive. I thought I was dying or that I was already dead. I had started to feel way too numb and hopeless. There were male nurses all over and I think they did a very good job. I vaguely remember one of the asking me to bend , which I didn't and then he physically bend me over and probably pushed something into my spine. He then pricked my toe and asked me if I felt anything. I didn't respond . I soon realized that I was probably given an anesthesia . I could move my head and neck and see all the commotion around. I heard distress signals getting sent out, emergency pediatricians and other doctors being called in. I think there were at least 10 pair of eyes looking into my abdomen talking about the missing amniotic fluid, muconium  which the baby was about to consume, bad state of placenta etc etc...I somehow thought I had died because I had started feeling like a third party and best of all I didn't feel any pain. I didn't care about anything (even the baby) . I was just far too relieved that the pain was gone . I think all these lasted just for few minutes- perhaps between 5-10 min - just as much time required for Vinod to change and come to the OT. I remember a nice looking female nurse carrying a nice looking pink chubby baby with huge cheeks towards me and she said "It's a boy". I didn't bother to respond. She wouldn't leave.So I gave him a quick peck on his cheeks so that she did.

Soon I was transferred to the recovery room where I thankfully slept for a long time (I think I didn't get a chance to sleep for that long for the next 3 years). My legs were numb from the anesthesia and I couldn't walk. Two male nurses had to physically lift me from the bed and fit me into the wheel chair and I was taken to the room and that was the end of my melodramatic first labor :)

I should sincerely thank the team of CloudNine doctors and nurses (I noticed that the male nurses were not visible outside the OT and recovery rooms and thus I never saw them again) for all their wonderful service and thanks to Dr. Praveen Shenoi for not letting me sink into the vacuum like the blue whale !

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