I didn’t know birth stories were things til I was late in pregnancy & thought to myself, “Someone has to have written about this before!” Turns out–everyone has! I only read a few before being either disgusted, disturbed, frightened or nauseous. But now I am SO HAPPY to have my own to tell! It will be terrible and beautiful at the same time. It will be TMI with a little mystery thrown in for good measure. It will make you never want to have a baby!
I really thought I would have a textbook birth. I hate medicine, so I was hoping to avoid any medical intervention if possible. Also, I’m OK with pain–so I thought it would all be do-able. Rough, no doubt, but I could handle it. I would be in and out of that hospital in a day at most.
Just kidding! Let’s do the opposite of all that instead! Let’s start contractions 3 days before even going to the hospital! For three nights I was awakened every 7 minutes for some evil contraction–the only way I could breathe through it would be to get into the deepest squat possible & try not to scream. I was waiting until these were 3-4 minutes apart, as my doctor told me, but nothing was happening. I went to the hospital & they sent me home and told me to take Tylenol. Tylenol?!?! After the third day, my deep squat wasn’t cutting it & I insisted on going to the hospital for some pain relief. I’m getting that epidural NOW!
Luckily, they admitted me this time, and I realized how foreign hospitals are to me. This is luck on my part. The sterile-ness of them just really freaks me out. They tried to slow me down with my insistence on the epidural, but I had it going within 10 minutes & it was like pure heaven when everything went numb. I can do this birthing thing after all! No, I wouldn’t be using an exercise ball & incense–but still–I’m giving birth!
The evening continued on an uphill swing–I was dilating more and more–baby is on its way! And then I got stuck in time. I tried to sleep, but every four hours someone would come check me & tell me “no progress.” Also, my little baby wasn’t breathing optimally–so they would keep changing my positions & then put an oxygen mask on me for my little one. Now I’m stuck in a dark windowless hospital room with an oxygen mask filled with anxiety.
The next day–no new progress, and now I’m developing a fever, so they start pumping me with antibiotics. Suddenly, my dreams of a non-medicated birth have shriveled & it is decided when the doctor comes early afternoon that the baby is not moving down (yeah, I know–she’s in my lungs! I haven’t been able to breathe for months!)–and they need to do an emergency c-section.
Wait–I didn’t even read the chapters on c-sections because I was so confident I wouldn’t need one! I went to the all natural birthing classes (and by that I mean one class & skipped the rest)–that’s all I knew! Now me, so scared of hospitals is being wheeled into an operating room & my legs are being numbed (wait, aren’t my legs already numb??) & some girl asks what music I want to hear, as I moan quietly, “Beyonce.” I keep asking, “How long is this going to take? I don’t think I can do this.” They tell me the baby gets to come out right away, the rest of the time is spent putting me back together. I try to be selfless and think of the baby, but instead I can only think, “I’m going to be here for 45 minutes?”
First off, it’s not Beyonce–it’s the Beyonce Pandora station which plays music I don’t even like (I didn’t want my baby to be born to Mariah Carey!!). And instead of pulling my baby out, i just hear them laughing and joking about how full my bladder is & they can’t get past it. My arms are convulsing, which I’m told is because of some other medication (can’t keep track of everything I’ve been given). FINALLY, I hear a cry–which is the greatest sound I’ve ever heard. It’s not the wailing I expected, but just some little cries at being so suddenly thrust into the world. I hear all the doctors with the baby “She’s so perfect. She’s beautiful.” I hang onto these words, though it’s tough when you feel your insides being ‘adjusted.’ I tell them I’m in pain–they say it’s just “pressure” I feel.
They ask if I want to do “skin to skin” contact with the baby–it will make me feel better, but I insist I cannot. I just really want to be put back together & taken out of this room. After me complaining again about the length of surgery, “How many minutes now??” (my poor doctor), they bring the baby over & she is way more perfect and beautiful than you would expect of something that was just pulled out of your body.
I think I gave her a little kiss or something before saying, “It’s too much. I need to throw up.” They took the baby away, and I threw up all over the place. This is my first reaction to my daughter. After “massaging my uterus”–and doing lots of other painful things they told me were definitely not painful, I got to go to the recovery room for more uterus massaging (they need a new term for this, like uterus punching) & they also shoved her on my boob and before I said anything, she’s breastfeeding.
We stayed at the hospital for 3 more days, and I never got more than a couple of hours sleep at a time. Checking my vitals, my babies’ vitals–giving me more meds, taking meds away, doing baby tests–seeing if I could pee all by myself, etc. Daily goals like “walk across hallway” and “take a shower” took everything out of me. And don’t get me started on the lactation consultants, whose goal in life is to make you love breastfeeding as much as they do. My baby violently loved my boobs, yet there wasn’t much to fill her up with. Everyone who came in insisted she was starving & must eat–which meant I was feeding her every 10 minutes.
I can’t believe these operations are routine! Many friends and family have had them done & don’t complain as much as I still am. Women are so tough. I shuffled to the car when they let me out of the hospital & took a look at myself. I still looked about 7 months pregnant. My whole body had started to swell massively from all the fluids, etc pumped into me. I didn’t care, though, because I was so excited to be home with my baby girl!
Well, I will never do that again. Too terrible!!! It has been almost a month, but it’s gone by so fast and so slow that I can’t believe it. Days run into weeks, and I know someday I will get the hang of this–but someday hasn’t come around yet.