Monday, November 26, 2012

The Hospital and Four Days of Labor

Morning arrived and I dressed for the dreaded trip to the hospital's ER.  James' mother and James drove me to Halifax Memorial Hospital,  just across town.  I went bravely into the ER and got into a hospital gown.  The nurses were hustling around as the new morning shift began.  As I waited for Dr. Forbes, I learned from James that he was in with my friend, Grace.  She was in labor and just about to go up to the maternity ward.  She popped her head in to say hello to me, not knowing our circumstances yet.  After Dr. Forbes came in and examined me, he finally told us that the baby appeared dead.  No hope.  Soon I was dressed and on my up to maternity.  Grace and I were on the elevator together.  She was in active labor.  I was going to be induced.  I wanted to be in her shoes, expecting a live baby.  I was about to go through labor for the first time, so scared of the physical pain and would not have a baby to take home.  James was getting some paper work done, so his mom and my sister-in-law were with me.  As we were walking, I noticed the bright kelly green walls that had fresh paint on them.  I was lagging behind when I just suddenly dropped over and leaned on the new walls crying my guts outs uncontrollably.  My head rested on the wall and I noticed black mascara running down them ruining the new paint.  I couldn't help it.  I just sobbed and sobbed as people walked by me.  Oh dearest Father in Heaven, please please help me!  How do I do this?  How did this happpen?  Please God, no!  Take this awful painful burden from me!  I can't live through this!  Oh, it hurts so bad! 
I made it to my room where I was prepped for my induction.  I couldn't believe this was going on.  Was I dreaming?  It soon became apparent that I wasn't as needles and IV's began sticking in me.  The induction had begun.  I waited for the first labor pain to happen.  I had never had a labor pain and had no idea what to expect.  I was doing this in 1975.  No Lamaze.  No Mommy and Me classes.  No husbands allowed in.  I was alone and scared and wanted to go home!  I had some contractions which were just the hardening of my belly muscles, but felt no pain.  The day ended and so did the IV induction.  I was to get a good nights rest and try again tomorrow.  No food, not that I could eat.  James visited with me that night, but had to go home when visitors hours were over.  I was left alone to cry.  Every shift of the nurses brought on a new group to look after me.  Each new group did not read my chart enough to know I delivering a stillborn, so they came in all cheery asking all kinds of questions a new expectant mother would usually be glad to answer.  I had to explain my situation each time.  Then my room was left completely alone since no one wanted to be near the mother of the dead baby.  That is the way it was in those days.  Very hush hush.  Get that woman in, get that baby out, and then get her home as quick as possible.
The next morning, I was induced again, but with a stronger dose of potocin.  It didn't work.  I was in misery being in this hospital, not delivering, coping as best as I could with a dead baby in my body.  The baby was getting heavier and heavier to carry.  The next day, again nothing.  So if the induction didn't work on Friday, I would have a C-Section.  Did I mention that each day I had been taken to a sterile labor room on a steel hard table to labor lying flat down all day long alone?  It  was horrible. 
Friday came.  May 2, 1975.  I was given a tremendous dose of potocin.  The pains came quick and hard.  I was on that hard little narrow table and couldn't even move on my side to help endure my contractions.  I did have a spinal injection.  I wasn't allowed to move my head up.  The pain was still searing my body at 11:00 A.M. as it finally gave way to my son.  He was so beautiful!  Just perfect!  He just didn't cry.  He wasn't pink and wiggly.  He was purplish white and very still.  He had a head full of brownish hair.  Then I saw the umbilical cord!  It had a figure 8 or double knot in it!  So that is what killed my beautiful precious son!  A knot!    Dr. Forbes said the knot had probably been there since 3 months or earlier while he was still small enough to keep looping through and around.  A son!  I had a son!  A boy!  My baby boy!  Oh how I loved baby boys!  He was put in his bassinet ( I wasn't allowed to hold him) and carried out for the family to see.  James would see our son for the first time without me.  Barbaric!  What would he think when he saw him?  Meanwhile, delivering an almost 8 lb baby boy that had been dead for 6 days had taken its toll on my body.  A normal live birth, the baby is supple and can help out.  A stillborn baby like my case, the baby is just dead weight and I had to do all of the pushing out.  I was in pretty bad shape physically......lots of stitches.  Even more tears.  I thought the worse of it was done.  Not so.  You won't believe what happens in my next posts.

1 comment:

  1. Gail, my heart aches for you! It's hard to believe that no one was allowed to be in with you! But my mom said it was like that in 84 when I was born. I couldn't imagine doin this alone! You are the true testament of bravery & strength! God bless you!!