August 29, 2007

Annie's Day, Part V

Oh, so this was the plan. We would put your mother on an innocuous sounding drug they call Stadol. Stadol is a medicine that is supposed to ease the pain in between contractions without totally eliminating it. The idea behind this is that a woman has a more involved labor when she can feel some of the pain. The last thing we wanted was for your mother to be completely numb to the most wonderful thing that ever happened to us. Stadol is injected intravenously and is a member of the opiate family…yeah that was my first clue too.

Looking back on the hour that Mom was on Stadol I jokingly said that it was like she was on Heroin. At the time I didn’t know it was an opiate. Here are some snippets from the drug’s description:

May produce unpleasant psychotomimetic effects in some individuals

Euphoria and Floating Feeling

Development of physical dependence or tolerance

There are some lessons to be learned from this. I am posting this a full two months after you were born. I only now looked up what some of the side effects of Stadol are. They tell you to be educated when making decisions in a hospital, but when the pressure is on it is very difficult to say “no”. All you want is what’s best for the person you love and relieving their pain always seems best. In hindsight, I would have preferred a little more infromation on the subject.

Okay, back to the Heroin. It really is an amazing drug. Within in seconds of its addition to your mom’s IV she was drowsy and calm. The nurses had brought the Pitocin back up to the level is was at earlier in the day and the contractions would soon be racing again. Again, the hope was that in between contractions there would be some periods of rest.

The first contraction came with the same old force and was weathered well enough. Mom thought that there was still a bit too much pain, but she spoke of the pain in an airy, light tone. Almost as if it weren’t her that was experiencing it. Sort of like she was down at the local precinct on Law & Order; standing behind the one way mirror she watched herself be interrogated by Labor and Stadol, just waiting for her to crack. Two months later I don’t know which one of the two was the bad cop.

The next few contractions continued in the same manner, but they were beginning to scare us more and more. At about 3:30 mom was somewhere around nine centimeters dillated and in tremendous pain. During each contraction she would curl up in a ball and attempt to sooth herself through it. We were not even in the room anymore. This went against everything that we had worked on. The idea is to rely on your loved ones in the room for relaxation and distraction while you cope with each contraction. Additionally, the fetal posisiton is counterproductive because it draws the baby back into the uterus, rather than downwards. We needed to find a way to get her to relax during the contractions.

Fascinatingly, the time between contractions was a little more calm than the medical staff lead us to believe it would be. In between periods of sleep your mom would begin speaking in her spectral tone about whatever came to her mind:

Mom said, “I don’t know you guys, I’m not the professional, but I think that it may be time for some more pain relievers.

Kim in her unfailingly gentle voice said, “Okay Kristen, if the pain is getting to be too much we can talk about that. What did you have in mind?"

This was followed by a long pause. Everyone figured that the thought had slipped her mind and then:

Mom said dreamily, “I don’t knowww…maaaaybe Percoset…or Vicoden, Oxycontin…oooh, howww abouuut Morphine! I don’t know, you guys talk amongst yourselves and figure it out.”

She promptly fell back to sleep.


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