I love Christmas music. And I especially love Carol of the Bells. My most favorite version is by Barlow Girl. And a close second is the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. For some reason, this song takes me to another world. I can close my eyes and the background fades away. That is why I picked this song. I knew that I would need songs that would help me move past the pain and go deep into myself.
Nolan came back a bit after the cervidil was put in. He told me that while he was home he called his parents and Brittney (my sister who was watching Vera) called my mom and dad. He also said everyone was coming to the hospital which I was thankful for. While I had a few more contractions I updated Nolan on the cervidil escapade and told him that at some point the nurse was going to shoot me up with morphine. At this point time begins to run together in my brain. I think we got to the hospital at 8pm, the cervidil happened by 9:30 and the morphine wasn't administered until around 11 or so. So sometime between 9:30 and 11 this next scene happened.
My mom and dad got to the hospital a bit after Nolan did. Now you have to have some background info. My parents, especially my mom were VERY worried about my decision to have a home birth and to see midwives instead of an M.D. So when she got to the hospital she looked angry. I knew this was a mask for her sadness, but I also knew that she was mad on some level. At that time we had no idea why Asher had so suddenly died. All indications prior were that he was fit as a fiddle. She immediately demanded to know why I had not been given a C-Section (she didn't want me to have to go through the pain of labor). Before the Dr. and Nurses had a chance to say anything, I told her that I didn't want one. I didn't want the longer recovery time, the multiplied risks to myself, or the fact that if I ever had any other children, I would have to choose a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) which carries with it a whole other set of risks or have another C-Sec. She then wanted to know why I hadn't been given an epidural for the pain, and again I told her I didn't want one. I told her we were going to try other forms of pain control before I let anyone mess around with my spine again (I'd had an epidural with Vera and it didn't work properly and left me with pain for a year afterward). I could see in her eyes that she felt so helpless. She wanted so much to take all the pain away. Emotional and physical. She couldn't put a band-aid on this, and for now there was no one to blame. I don't know what it is to watch helplessly as you child is in pain. As a mother we want to make things all better, but it isn't always possible to save our children.
By now Marla and Jim - Nolan's parents - had gotten there. I've never seen so much sorrow in one room before. And I've never seen the people I consider superheroes look so defeated. They knew it was impossible to save me. To save Nolan. And looking back, I now realized that was a defining moment in my life. The responsibility was now all on me. Each of the others could hold my hand and cheer me on...... but I had to give birth.
After a bit the nurse came with the morphine and while she was giving it to me my pastor walked in. I felt that morphine shoot up my arm, around my brain, and back down my arm. It was like a stick of mint gum was in my veins. I told Nolan that I felt a little funny. And I also remember my dad laughing at me and that I told my pastor that I hope I didn't act undignified in front of him. Later everyone said that the morphine made me say some funny things. I kept telling my mom that "You neeeed to gettt sssoomm of THIS." and that if she asked nicely I'd bet the nurse would hook her up. But I also remember that the morphine did absolutely NOTHING for the pain of the contractions. And at some point the lights were turned way down and the heat was turned up because I wanted it that way, and by about the 4th contraction after the morphine I was completely lucid again. I asked if anyone had a Bible on hand, but no one did. And the men decided to go for a walk. My mom and Marla took turns rubbing my back or getting me something to drink or coercing the Nurses to give me more red jello. Also, some where along the way a birthing ball showed up. I can't remember where it came from.... but it was nice to have for the 5 minutes I was able to sit on it. My pastor came back and said he had found a Bible in the Hospital's chapel. He asked me where I'd like him to read from and I told him I'd like the passage in Jeremiah where it talks about how God will be with you as you pass through the waters. But he never got to read any of it to me because just then is when my contractions really kicked in. I would finish one, go over and sit on the body/birth ball, only to have another one start right away. I remember looking in the mirror and crying between contractions. I remember wondering if it was really my own reflection I was seeing in the mirror. I remember seeing so much sadness in my own eyes. It was truly like being in a different person's body.
At home, I would have been looking in a different mirror. Thinking that I was one contraction closer to holding my son. Every surge of pain would have been for a purpose. That is what would have gotten me through. Right now I can't say what got me through. God for sure, but there was some other element as well. I don't know if it was sheer force of will, or possibly the intense sorrow. Maybe one day I will know. But for now, I only know that God held me up, and gave me power.
Song #4 Carol of the Bells - Barlow Girl