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If you have yet to grow a human and then birth it, perhaps 'tis best that you just click out of this post now.
I will absolutely understand.
All right then, the three of you brave enough to stay, may I ask you to please not let me know what a fantastic ItWasLikeATripToDisney! labor and delivery you had, because not all of our stories are like that.
With all that said, let me tell you that today, as I was looking for some "rockin' the bump" pictures, I came across labor and delivery photos of me 16 years ago.
Holy Moley, I've got the wild eyes of a steer that knows he's about to get roped and branded in these pictures. Hog tied and bound and no way out.
I remember thinking just those exact thoughts, too, as I lay on the labor and delivery bed: there's no way out of this one, and oh, boy. Oh, boy but you've really got yourself into a jam this time.
Some women will say that during their delivery, they felt as if they were a beautiful flower slowly blooming and opening, one lovely petal at a time.
Some women is not me. I felt like somebody was playing a game of wishbone, and I was the wishbone. I didn't care who won, just snap it and get it over with.
It was Easter Sunday, 11:55 p.m., and I felt the beginning of contractions announcing that our first baby was coming! My husband and I excitedly grabbed the overnight bag I had sitting outside the front door for a month now, and left for the hospital. The pang of muscle bands across my stomach tightening visibly, I could see contractions happening close enough together that I knew I'd be admitted once we got there. I was 35 weeks pregnant and had been on bed rest since 31 weeks for pre-term labor caused by pre-eclampsia. Also known as scary blood pressure numbers. But I was doing well on medications, and we were given the good to go once some real action started up, and it had indeed "started up."
In fact, funny thing this, I felt great and ready to take this on: stronger, taller, faster -- almost Canadian. My body was making the world's greatest hormone drugs to prepare me for birth, and I had this. Megadoses of somethingcon Triptocon or whatever hormone coursed through my blood and I felt like Trinity in Matrix.
Bring it. I am Predawn History of Womankind, Clan of the Cave Bear united with all mothers past, future, present and step aside hear me roar.
Because of the pre-term labor, I had been on strict bed rest for my last trimester and had missed the Lamaze classes that all Ob-GYN Doctors order first time moms to attend, so they know what to expect during labor. My husband had attended solo, made no notes, but he had brought home the birthing tapes from class for me to watch. Reclining on the sofa one lazy afternoon while on bed rest, on my left side, of course, I fast forwarded through the footage for all of half an hour. The whole stack of six tapes. I can surmise the information in three basic steps: grunt, push, smile. And step four: *highfive* all around.
The woman on the video slipped a squealy one out in three seconds, 1 - 2 - 3 grimace, frown, and congratulations!
Let's do this.
1:00 a.m. Sunday night: I'm hooked up to a contraction monitor. Yeah. Definitely. I'm admitted.
7:00 a.m: The next morning rolls around. Still no baby but I felt like Queen of the Amazons.
11:00 a.m: No baby, but I am starting to feel a few inches shorter.
12:00: High noon at the O.K. corral. No baby and I'm ready to get the heck out of Dodge. I wanna go home. Tell me what to do.
1:00 p.m.: Our Doctor finally stops in. The nurse had called her, and after the Dr. checks me, I am told I am "progressing" nicely. Which feels like the gold stars Mrs. Sprowell gave me on my second grade spelling tests. All is great, save for one little logistics matter of position.
Seems that our little baby is in love with my spine because he can't stop looking at it. What our little guy needs to be doing is looking at mama's hoohaa.
I was in what I learned then, was something called "back labor." What my voice of experience today more accurately calls The White Hot Poke of Fire with the Devil's Trident aka the sole reason for the invention of labor and delivery pain meds.
"We've got to get this baby turned around," my Doctor snaps.
"OK, Doc, have at it," I reply.
"No," she zeroes in on my eyes. Pointing at me with her chin, she barks, "YOU need to get this baby turned around. Now, get up on all fours and rock back and forth on the bed. I'll help you from the front -- ready? NOW. (pause) I said NOW. (longer pause) Let's go... like they showed you in your Lamaze classes."
Me: *blinkblink* "Errr... Doc? I didn't make it to Lamaze classes, remember? The bed rest?"
"Oooooh," she says a little too *I wash my hands of this* for me, "That explains it. Listen, honey, if you don't get this baby out in three seconds, you'll be a C - section, he's starting to go back up."
Back. Up?? Oh hell no. And so, like someone who had lost their mind and was sitting in an imaginary rocking chair at NutHill Acres, for all its worth, I rock -- and the nurses start kneading my belly. And something starts to click THANK GOD because OH MY PRECIOUS LORD IN HEAVEN OF ALL THINGS HOLY TAKE ME NOW BECAUSE I AM NOT GOING TO LIVE THROUGH THIS.
I know I asked to die, because I remember the Doctor telling me she hadn't lost a patient yet, and she wasn't going to begin with me.
"But what if I ask you to, what if I give you permission to, what if I BEG it of you?!?!," I pleaded in between desperate pants.
"Still no." She wasn't interested in any life bargaining deal.
I grab at my husband's arm, "Promise me you'll marry right away, as soon as I'm gone, because you don't know a thing about taking care of a baby. Promise me."
And then I saw the look in his eyes. It was one of mind separating from body. He wanted out as badly as I did. Only, he could bolt, I couldn't -- and, I remember being so jealous of that. I had nowhere to go and there was something big stuck between my legs and I wasn't going anywhere.
"Doc," I gasped between the lightning bolts Zeus was aiming with incredible accuracy at my tailbone, "I know our silly little naive birth plan asked for a natural birth, which embarrasses me now -- but I changed my mind. I'll have the epidural now, please."
The nurse looks at the Doctor, the Doctor looks at the nurse, the nurse looks at the other nurse. They all look at my husband. My Doctor breathes in, then slowly exhales out her words, "Your labor has progressed too fast. It's past the point of an epidural being safe. I can't give it to you."
|I'm sorry, what was that Dr? Did you just say NO EPIDURAL??|
The rest of the story is on warp speed. I remember looking at the military hour clock on the wall: it read 13:05. We had been there 12 hours. The television sitting on a chained shelf next to the clock was on and Barney and Baby Bop were singing about "Going on an island adventure." Before those two arrived at their imaginary purple destination, a 7 pound 4 ounce baby boy with eyes so blue they took my breath away had luge sledded out of my body.
I did it. With a lot of hooting and hollering, and learning the new word, perineum, I had done it.
My first request? "Give me that phone, I am calling my sisters and letting them have it for not telling me a WORD about what this was like."
And I called the both of them, and they laughed, and then they told me I'd forget all about it and do it again.
Which I did.
Two more times.
Did I forget the part about how this was one of the best days of my life?
Because it was. I'm misty eyed right now, thinking about it.
Sometimes I wonder what's wrong with me.
Tell me a highlight of your birth story: what didn't you expect? (You can't say survival)
**and P.S? I hope it's all right that I spared you the details about blood pressure plummeting and needing a blood transfusion and 103 stitches put in places I didn't know I had and words like tear, and degrees of said tear. What's the point, right? I'm still standing (though sitting is harder). And it was totally worth it. A thousand times over. Well, at least a hundred.
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