The Journey of Owen Enoch

Owen Enoch was born March 15, 2017 right on his due date. We didn’t think he would ever get here. It was so hard to wait especially since I went into false labor almost every day for two weeks. We would get our hopes up only to have them dashed when the contractions went away. We were fighting the clock; my OB said if I didn’t have the baby by March 16th, she would need to operate. So on March 15, when the contractions started early in the morning, I was ready and excited. I told Ryan he was not going into work that day. We spent from 5:30 am to noon at home working through the contractions together and occasionally with Mum and Aryanna when they would run into the bedroom while they were playing. Around noon, the pain was starting to become too much for me. We called my midwife and she encouraged us to come to the hospital. The 20 minute ride to the hospital was rough. Sitting made the contractions far more painful and the potholes and speed bumps made me want to scream. When we got to the hospital I could barely walk. We got up to the 3rd floor ( thank God for elevators) and my midwife checked me out.

She looked at me and said, “Elyse, not only have you not dilated, your cervix has not moved down into the birthing position.”

I said, “ok, id there anything we can do to get this rolling, I’m in constant pain here.”

My midwife froze. “Constant pain? You should be getting relief in between the contractions.”

My heart sank. “Well, I’m not. The pain lessens but it is not going away.”

She sent for the OB right away. I knew right then I was headed for a c-section. That realization crushed me, I would never be able to have a baby naturally now. I know that having a healthy baby is the most important thing but it was important to me that I be able to give birth naturally and not have to worry about having major abdominal surgery.  I cried in Ryan’s arms until the OB came. By this time, the contractions were only manageable because I was standing up and holding tight to Ryan and I breathed deep and moaned.  She examined me too and heard my midwife’s report. The OB told me that both the baby and I were in trouble and we needed to get down to the Theatre right now and do the c-section. I wasn’t even allowed to fill out paperwork. I signed the release for the c-section and they immediately started to prep me for surgery. They whisked me away downstairs. There was a flurry of action happening as everyone was called to the theatre.

I don’t know how long it took them to prep the theatre because that time is a haze of pain for me. I was laying on a gurney. Every contraction was worse than the last and getting closer together. I demanded a bucket because I felt like I was seconds from throwing up because of the pain. My world became nothing except breathing and moaning through the pain.

They got me into the theatre and had to put me on the operating table. Unfortunately, I had to help. I was in so much pain; it was agonizing to move. We moved inch by inch between contractions. Ryan was not in the room. He was being scrubbed up so he could be in the room. My OB came over and put me in a bear hug. She told me, “ the pain is almost over. Hold onto me. We’ll get through this together.” The spinal block was put in place and I cannot express the relief I felt in that moment. The pain was gone completely, I could finally relax and let the doctors do what was needed.

My OB started cutting me open. She brought Ryan over to look at me. She told him that if I had labored another hour, I would have ruptured my uterus and both Owen and I could have died. Thank God my midwife caught the warning signs when she did. Then, as they were cutting me open, Owen flipped inside me. It felt like the OB was digging around inside me. They had a difficult time getting Owen out. Finally, when they did get him out, there was silence.

“What’s going on?” I called out. Ryan had gone over to see Owen. No one was paying attention to me. All I hear is the Pediatrician telling Ryan, “He’s ok. He’s ok”

I’m thinking, “Why does she need to be telling him that? What’s wrong? Why isn’t my baby crying?”

Turns out that Owen had been in distress along with me. He had meconium in his mouth and nose. Thank God he did not actually breathe any of it in. The doctor sucked all the meconium out of Owen and I heard that blessed cry. It wasn’t very loud but it was there. I still didn’t know if I had a boy or a girl. No one was telling me anything. Finally I heard Ryan say, “hello, Owen Enoch.” I knew I had a son.

It took much longer to sew me up and get me out of recovery. I think it was almost a full hour before I got to hold my baby Owen.

When we got back to my room, I was utterly exhausted. Everything from the waist down was numb and couldn’t move. All my son wanted to do was eat. I felt utterly helpless. Through the next 24 hours, I was not well taken care of. My nurses did not bring my pain medicine on time so my pain went from a zero to a nine before I could get a nurse to do anything about it. Then of course it took a while to bring the pain down to a manageable level. When I got the chance to be transferred to another unit, I jumped at it. When I got down to the other unit, the Head Nurse asked me how I was doing. I told her that I was in a lot of pain.

She whirled on my nurse and demanded, “ why is this woman in pain? What have you been doing?” I felt vindicated.

The nurse replied, “It’s not my fault. Some people are not as strong as others.”

My jaw dropped. It was a good thing for her I was in pain or else I would have slapped her. I couldn’t believe I was being called weak after going through such a difficult and traumatic birth. I had just had abdominal surgery for Pete’s sake! Let’s cut you open and then deny you pain medicine and see how you like it!!!

The Head nurse took care of me personally after that. I think she felt bad for my ill treatment upstairs. My pain was finally cared for so I could think about my son. I still could not sleep but at least that was not because of the pain.

In the month that has followed, I have struggled not just with physical pain, which I still have. Sometimes I feel like I have done nothing all day and yet my scar still hurts at the end of the day. I’m still walking tender sometimes. My body is not bouncing back like I hoped it would, like it did after Aryanna’s birth. But I still have to take care of two children. They depend on me. Thank God that my wonderful mother was here the first two weeks of Owen’s life. I don’t know if we could have survived without her. I depended on my mom to take care of Ary, to cook, and to handle my emotions when Owen would not stop crying some days. My mum took everything in stride and let me lean on her without complaint. When she left, I was still hurting. I panicked a little that night. I didn’t know how I was going to take care of my kids without her.

I have felt isolated. I was not able to drive until the end of April. At first, when I asked for help from the people who said they would be there, all I got was silence. They didn’t want to provide the help I needed. I felt so alone and discouraged. I could not pick up Aryanna until the end of April. It is so frustrating to not be able to pick up my child or even have her on my lap because it may hurt me. Owen is also a pretty fussy child. He wants to be held constantly and cries a lot if he is awake. It is exhausting for both Ryan and myself. I feel like a bad mother when I can’t give Aryanna the attention she needs because Owen is crying for an hour.

Finally on Good Friday, we had a terrible day, but we went to church anyway for the Good Friday service. God met me there. He refreshed my spirit with the story of Christ’s suffering and the worship. After the service, I had several people tell me they could help in the ways that I needed. I could have cried. We just started going to this new church in February. We have not had a chance to really get to know people. Our new church family who barely know us, is supporting and loving me in a most overwhelming manner. Thank God for His goodness. I still have my bad days but I am encouraged to know that I can call someone and get the help I need. I indeed have a family here in South Africa that treats me like my own family.

 

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