Crockett’s birth was a scheduled induction, two weeks early. Knowing that my first two children were quite large, my doctor was a bit concerned that this, my third boy, was measuring quite small. The placenta was showing signs of calcification, which he explained simply meant, it was just about all used up. I don’t know why these facts didn’t alarm us at the time, perhaps because we were still in the frame of mind that nothing bad really ever happened to us. It could have been, that at that stage of pregnancy, all I heard was that I was going to be relieved of my discomfort sooner than expected.
The birth was progressing, and I don’t remember being in a whole lot of pain when the anesthesiologist came to give me my epidural. I was still a complacent patient at that point in my journey, and I just did what they told me, when they told me to do it. I have since learned with Crockett’s help, that I can have a say in my own care, or lack there of.
My experience with the epidural up to this point, was two fold. With my first baby the epidural layer was penetrated, which meant my labor was followed with a very bad, week long, headache. It also was all but ineffective, and when forceps were used to extract my 9lb, 10 oz. son, I assure you I felt everything! All was forgiven when son number one was in my arms.
With my second baby, everything worked like clockwork. I was basically paralyzed from the waist down, and had no idea I was even ready to deliver, when they told me it was time to push. The old adage no pain no gain did not hold true, and I was soon handed my beautiful strapping son number two, lipstick still intact.
Because of my conflicting experiences, I had conflicted feelings when birth story number three commenced, but they didn’t ask, so the epidural march began. As I felt the needle go in my back I prayed “Lord please don’t let them penetrate the wall, and spare me from that headache”. A sudden searing pain shot through my entire body like a bolt of lightening, from the point of entry down through my right leg. I was blinded by what was happening, and as if I was experiencing it from some other viewpoint, and in slow motion, I heard myself scream uncontrollably, long, and unlike ever before. Something horrible had happened, it was what I would imagine it feels like to be electrocuted, and I thought I was a gonner. I don’t remember all that transpired after that. I do remember that at some point during giving birth I felt my chest tighten, and my lungs struggling to inflate properly. They first administered something in my IV for high blood pressure, and then something else to bring it down again, or perhaps it was the other way around. Things went from bad to worse when they lowered the back of the bed so that my feet were higher than my head. “To control my blood pressure” they explained. Behind an oxygen mask I remember looking at Michael and wondering if I needed to say good-bye, I was very afraid. As labor progressed that anesthetist went off duty, and another came on. I remember distinctly that the new “expert” was very frustrated by all the surgical tape his colleague had left on my back, and complained to the nurse standing by my side. In the end I was handed my third son, and as any post natal mother knows, when that fuzzy bundle of love is in your arms, nothing you went through to get them there, really matters!
Soon after giving birth however, I realized all was not okay with me. There was a patch of flesh on the outside of my right knee about six inches in diameter that was super sensitive. By sensitive, I don’t mean it was sore, or even achy, It literally felt like it was raw, and nerves were exposed. Visually there was nothing there out of the ordinary, the skin was not red or discolored in any way. Every one’s first response was to touch the patch, Michael, nurses, doctors, but I would panic as they came close. I could literally feel the presence of anything even remotely close to that area of my leg. I couldn’t let the bed sheets touch it, or my nightgown, and just the thought of a shower was horrifying. It was very odd, and very frightening.
The medical staff didn’t seem to believe me, as they tried to explain it away with something about the stirrups irritating it during delivery. That was of course an absurd notion. They even sent in a psychiatrist to try to talk me out of my discomfort, and several other physicians as well. The first anesthesiologist came to visit, and assured me that it couldn’t have been anything to do with the epidural. I was young, and naive, but I hadn’t just fallen off the turnip truck. It was clear to me that no one wanted to accept responsibility for my problem, and everyone wanted to avoid being sued. Not only would they offer no explanation for my pain, they really never acknowledged that it was real. By the third day my pain had subsided enough to shower and dress, but it was still ultra sensitive. Gradually, over time, the pain became more tolerable, and today, more than sixteen years later, I feel it only occasionally.
We went through a lot with that third precious baby boy, and he taught us all far more than I could ever begin to express in this space. Some, is still yet to be taught, and likewise learned. Twelve and half years after this birth story we had to say good-bye, and he was able to say “hello” for the very first time, in heaven. So now today, almost 4 years after that bittersweet farewell, I am reminded of his arrival every so often when my jeans hit my right leg just right, or my husband leans to pat my knee, or the cat playfully rubs against my calf asking to be let out, or I have had a more stressful day then usual. My sweet Savior has given me good pain once more, and I remember my Crockett man, and oh how it hurts so good.