Sunday, February 25, 2007

Repressed Memories

Okay, well, I have apparently moved on from my embarrassingly erotic dreams to your classic something-goes-wrong-during-labor nightmares. Last night, I dreamed that the baby was coming, and at first everything was fine. I was walking around the halls, having contractions, and various friends and relatives seemed to come and go, talking to me and rubbing my back. I even remember walking by the nursery, looking at a tiny baby, and thinking, "Oh, soon mine will be here!"
But then I started to become aware of real pain- and you know how in dreams, you might be mentally aware of pain or hunger or something, but you don't actually feel it physically? Well, I could actually feel it, and it was very real and very intense. I began to stop in the hall during contractions, leaning my head against the wall to breathe. At one point I remember digging my fingernails into the wall, and then thinking, "No, no, I'm going to rip the wallpaper off the wall!"
After that, I found myself in bed, my legs in stirrups (that was fast!) and the doctor was telling me to push. I started to try, and was instantly aware of pain- I mean, it all came back, the specific way it feels to have a HEAD pressing down against your pelvic bones, and the panic that you feel as you think that your hips are surely going to snap apart.
I started shaking my head and crying, saying, "No, I can't, I can't push!" And then everyone was yelling at me, scolding, saying, "Don't yell, hold your breath and push!" Out of the corner of my eye I could see my doctor getting the forceps out, saying to the nurse, "I don't think she can do this. I'll have to pull the baby out."
And then I woke up. Waaaayyy freaked out. At first I thought it was just a dumb dream, but I couldn't seem to shake the terrified, out of control feelings. And then I started remembering things from Addy's birth, things that are usually mostly a blur because I had received some morphine about a half hour before pushing (the epidural window having been closed!) which rendered my mind a little fuzzy.
But I remembered that those exact panic-y, there's-no-escaping-this feelings that came over me in the dream also occurred during Adelay's birth, towards the end when they told me it was time to push. I remember pushing once, realizing in sudden terror that this was a SKULL I was trying to get out of my body, and starting to cry and tremble. I'm sure I said something to the effect of "I can't!" I guess it hadn't occurred to me that the pain of bone against bone was going to feel a lot different than contractions.
And I remember being mildly scolded; my doctor said something like, "Stop yelling, you're just going to waste this contraction. Hold your breath and use this time to push, or it will just last longer." But it was a little late to effectively use that contraction.
I remember then a long blur, in which I stared at the ceiling (while the doctor gave me a numbing shot in a not-fun place and then cut me in a REALLY not fun place) and felt as though I was hovering above my body. I had a contraction, but I grit my teeth and didn't tell anyone so that they wouldn't make me push again! That was probably when the morphine was kicking in, now that I think about it. I was kind of losing focus.
Eventually, of course, I did get the baby out, but I do remember the doctor using a suction thingy to pull her down a little bit. And I think I always felt a little bit let down about that. Like, I was a bad pusher. I failed at crunch time. Or something like that. So I think that's where the dream came from. I must still have negative feelings about that particular aspect of birth: I couldn't get the baby out by myself.
Is that crazy? Anyone ever had vivid dreams like this about a certain incident in your life which you felt badly about, even though you might not have consciously realized that it bothered you?


Swistle said...

I've had all c-sections, so I was very interested to read your account of a non-c birth, and what it feels like. Sometimes I feel like by having c-sections, I've missed out on an important "being a woman" experience--especially when people describe the experience as empowering or beautiful or amazing, and so often describe c-sections as disappointing and upsetting and scary and "not what I wanted."

I am lucky on the dreaming front: either I dream that the baby is born painlessly, or else I dream I'm having a c-section.

Mommy Daisy said...

Wow, that was an interesting dream. I don't think I've ever had a dream quite like that. I did have some strange dreams when I was pregnant, but I don't remember them now. Funny what pregnancy does to our minds and subconscience.

Lisa said...

I can't say that I've ever had that kind of a dream either. I hope this birth experience is much easier for you.