I’m watching her sleep in the hospital bed. Wires and tubes cover her body as I recount to myself the Star Wars inspired joke I made earlier “You’re more machine than woman now.”
Though we knew that flexibility in the birth plan was essential, I don’t think Tina and I fully understood, before embarking on this journey, the amplitude of the events that awaited us at the hospital.
Natural birth? Only in the best and luckiest of conditions! One never knows what awaits him or her in uncharted territory. There we found ourselves in a boat, with each an ore, paddling in the same direction and somehow getting nowhere.
And so, bit by bit, I scratched entire pages out of the playbook. “Ok, we’ll induce with a Foley catheter, but that’s it.” “Sure, we’ll have the doctor perform an amniotomy, but nothing else.” One concession after the next and I found myself taking the precious birth plan that we had both agreed upon, pissing all over it, lighting it on fire and throwing it down the hospital garbage chute.
Tina suffered through over 20 hours of ‘1 minute on-2minutes off’ labour that have left her nowhere near where she needs to be to deliver a baby. All this because of our desire to birth naturally and a body that did not want to comply. Through this all, she apologized profusely (logic be damned) to the doctors and nurses for making a mess on the sheets and floor, for the noises she made while coping with the pain of childbirth, and any other action she deemed as an imposition on the health system. Through this all, I worried by her side, stone-faced, calm.
She’s exhausted. Only an hour ago, a river of tears ran down her tired face as she fought the idea that her birth plan was simply not going to happen. The stress of it clouded her thoughts and I realized just how important my role was. Supporting her wasn’t just being there, massaging her and fetching her ice chips. Ultimately, I was there to make the decisions regarding her well-being that she, herself, was simply unable to make.
A friend once told me “There is no room for suffering in labour.” This statement was my guiding light as I struggled with the choices I made, choices that have caused my partner grief and disappointment, that will determine the outcome of our experience as new parents, but that ultimately let Tina rest.
Tina’s smile finally reappeared on her beautiful face as the epidural alleviated her pain. So what’s this feeling I have? Relief? Joy? Anxiety for what is yet to come, for as we know, one intervention often leads to another?
Here’s hoping that the NEW plan goes off without a hitch. Here’s hoping that all of Tina’s efforts, the same champion efforts that could very well win her the Nobel Prize for Bad-Ass Tough Girls, don’t add up to nothing.
Not a doctor, but would love to take a look at it,